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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Airplane Movie Lists

Dan Here:
Time for another round of Best Of Lists.

In theaters nationwide today, is NON-STOP. An action thriller, it stars the great Liam Neeson, who is probably the second biggest action star on the planet after, yup, The Rock. Neeson plays an air marshal trying to protect the passengers from harm. However, this doesn't seem to be a traditional hijacking, we've got an unknown killer on-board and it all may be an elaborate frame-up job against our seemingly friendly air marshal. 

Definitely looks intriguing enough to rate among the best airplane movies of all-time. 
Check out Chris's positive review of NON-STOP here and also enjoy...

The Airplane Movie Lists

Dan's List

5. Airplane!

It came out in 1980 and defined the decade of goofball comedies to come. If there is a better spoof film than AIRPLANE! I still haven't seen it. The power combination of Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Nielsen and Robert Stack all playing against type is impossible to beat.

4. Air Force One

Harrison Ford can be my POTUS any day! He could have jumped in the escape pod, but instead he picks up a machine gun and starts wasting everyone in sight. This is what happens when you mess with a guy and his DVR'd (well at this point in time, VHS-taped) football game.

3. Con Air

When it comes to 90s action movies, this is one of the all-time greats. Over-the-top doesn't even begin to cover the characters and sequences that take place in this film. Every time the movie reaches a semi-logical end point they throw on another action extravaganza. Cameron Poe is one of Nic Cage's finest absurdly named characters

2. United 93

Probably the most gut-wrenching film I've ever seen. I could only watch it once and had nightmares for weeks after. It's a film that pushes the limits of cinema in both form and content and if you don't mind being emotionally wiped out it's an absolute must-watch.

1. Top Gun

I can't count how may times I've seen it, but I will tell you this: I still tear up every time I see that green water around Goose. I had to put TOP GUN atop this list as well as number one on a list of "All-Time Best Guy-Movies". It's the first film of The Streak, brought the term Wingman into the cultural lexicon and it launched Tom Cruise into the superstar stratosphere from which he will never come down. Cue the Berlin!

Honorable Mention:
Executive Decision- Seagal is dead within the first act. A risky choice, but it worked well.
Passenger 57- Snipes doin' work and definitely this first time I ever heard of an air marshal.
Memphis Belle- A who's who of late 80s and early 90s "that guy" guys. 
Amazing Stories "The Mission"- So what if it's not technically movie? This episode of the Steven Spielberg created and produced TV series, was shown on TV constantly and I've always loved it. It's got Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland and it well worth tracking down on the interwebs.

Chris's List 

#5 - Independence Day and Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

I start with these two films because, while though the bulk of the action does not take place in a plane, the scenes that do are certainly among the most intrinsic to the story and some of my favorites in their respective movies.

In ID4, first we have Will Smith and Harry Connick Jr.’s Marine Corp. pilots in F/A-18 Hornets fighter jets battling aliens. Later, Smith teams with a new partner in Jeff Goldblum aboard the alien spacecraft to deliver the virus (UFOs count as planes, right?). Then finally, we get the all out attack on the big ship with crazy Randy Quaid and President Bill Pullman. Good stuff. 

Then in Dr. Strangelove, we get Slim Pickens and a young James Earl Jones in the B-52 Stratofortress bomber plane high above Russia preparing to drop “the big one.”

#4 - The Right Stuff

How can we make a list about planes without including this nostalgic ‘80s gem about the men who pushed aviation to its very limits in the early days? Based on the novel by Tom Wolfe, the film tracks famed military test pilots like Chuck Yeager, Gus Grissom, Alan Shepard, and John Glenn from the quest to break the sound barrier to outer space exploration.

#3 - Con Air

So great in all its ridiculousness. When a plane filled with bad guys like Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom, Diamond Dog, Johnny 23, Pinball, and The Marietta Mangler take over their transport plane, how could it not be? But Nicolas Cage’s “southern” accent still makes me cringe. 

#2 - Top Gun 

Maverick, Goose, and Iceman.
“Highway to the Danger Zone,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” and “Take My Breath Away.”
Leather jackets, aviator sunglasses, and motorcycles.
Young Meg Ryan, shirtless beach volleyball, and Anthony Edwards’ mustache.
Enough said. 

 #1 - The Aviator and Hell’s Angels  

Sure Scorsese’s film is biopic about the famed Howard Hughes, but as you can tell from the title, it focuses a whole lot on the eccentric billionaire’s fascination with airplanes of all shapes and sizes. Everything from his work on the 1930 film Hell’s Angels, to his purchase of Trans World Airlines, and ultimately, his work on the infamous "Spruce Goose." Lots of great plane scenes in the film, particular his daredevil shooting of Hell’s Angels, a huge Hollywood picture about WWI combat pilots. The film was an extremely impressive spectacle for the era - so I included it as well. 

Honorable Mention:
- Airplane!, of course
- Memphis Belle - A decent film, but as a kid, I saw the real Memphis Belle plane on display and it has always fascinated me, so the movie does too
- And while the movie as a whole is dreadful, the bombing scene from Pearl Harbor is actually pretty spectacular
- Though I have heard great things, I have never seen United 93 - and I don't think I ever will. Someone gave me a DVD of it years ago, but I couldn't bring myself to watch it. It just sat on my shelf haunting me until I gave it away.

Those are the lists!
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