I’m a 35 year old bloke from the north of England. I don’t consider myself cultured or sophisticated on any substantial level. I mean, I don’t throw my own poop against the wall but I’m not exactly well versed in literature or politics. What I do like are movies. Big ones, small ones, independent ones, animated ones, documentary…um, ones. These I can understand. These I can digest and talk about all day.
Movies need actors and actresses. And in my opinion, there’s one actor who stands the test of time. For me, he ticks all the right boxes. He has range. He has charm. He’s rugged, vulnerable and funny, often all at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Mr Kurt Vogel Russell.
Yeah I know he’s not the world’s greatest actor. But the great thing about Kurt is that he’s solid. He’s dependable. No one dislikes Kurt Russell. He’s always there for you. He certainly was for me. I think Kurt became my go-to guy because he cropped up in a succession of 80s films that rocked my world; Escape from New York, The Thing, Tango & Cash, Big Trouble in Little China. All made me feel a little better. They made me smile, wince, laugh and cheer.
This is my list of six things that I believe make up the very essence of Señor Russell. Six things which make me respect him as an actor and dammit, as a person.
Note: Spoilers ahead for several films I’m sincerely hoping you’ve already seen like, fifty times.
Jack Burton admitting he would make a poor life partner choice
If you’ve never actually seen Big Trouble In Little China, I’m not angry. Just disappointed. (which is much, MUCH worse). It’s a brilliant and fantastically silly film that has tons of quotable lines, amazing set pieces and actors chewing the scenery like it’s their last supper.
KR (as we’ll be referring to him from now on) plays Jack Burton. He’s a tough talking trucker who gets himself into big trouble in…well, you know the rest. By the end, KR saves the world, stops the bad guys and kisses the girl.
Well, that’s how it should end right? But it doesn’t. Burton doesn’t kiss the girl at the end. Oh he kisses her a few times before that, but the payoff doesn’t come when the dust has settled. In fact, old Jack straight up tells her that he would be a poor choice of partner. He knows he’s so abrasive she’ll end up leaving at some point and I absolutely love that. It works because Burton is not supposed to be the hero. He’s actually the sidekick in his own movie. For all his bravado and swagger, he’s a total screw up and is obviously in way over his head. Which is why Dennis Dun’s character is actually the hero (and rightfully gets to kiss the girl at the end).
Kurt and Goldie Hawn are Hollywood Royalty
There’s a lot of bad stuff out there in the world. You don’t even have to go looking for it. Chances are it’s within half a mile of your house. Crime, poverty, people singing ‘Mambo No. 5’ at 2am outside your window. The world is awful. However, I do believe one of the great things to experience in life is finding that person you don’t want to smother with a pillow after two months of dating. I’m totally for monogamy. Meeting that special person who makes you feel things in your bathing suit areas that you’ve never felt before. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve never been a serial dater, player or anything approaching a lothario. Despite having a British accent and an ass that won’t quit.
That’s why my second moment is KR and his relation with Goldie Hawn. They have been together for over 30 years, which I personally find astounding for a couple that’s constantly in the public spotlight. Some Hollywood relationships have lasted less than toilet breaks I’ve taken.
For all intents and purposes, KR and Goldie Hawn have a great relationship as far as I can see. Kate Hudson, who is Goldie’s daughter from a previous relationship, even admits that Kurt is more of a father to her than her own biological dad.
So what’s the secret? Well, it turns out that making the beast with two backs on a regular basis is a cornerstone to this particular coupling. And I totally respect that. Because who wouldn’t jump at the chance to sleep with Kurt Russell.
Walt Disney’s final words included Kurt Russell
Ok, this one takes a little explaining. When Walt Disney was hospitalised just prior to his death on December 15, 1966, the last thing he had written down was a short list labelled ‘TV Projects In Production: Ready for Production or Possible for Escalation and Story.’ Guess whose name was on that list?
If you’d paid attention to the title of this article, you’ll know it was our man Kurt.
True, he did misspell Kurt as ‘Kirt’ but considering he died not long after I won’t hold it against him. KR was a new member of the Disney family in 1966 and the story goes that Walt was quite impressed with his acting skills and saw that a contract was offered. Additionally, in his final recorded appearance, Walt Disney said he believed KR would go on to have “a great acting future.”
Snake Plissken doesn’t care who sits in the White House
Snake Plissken is the man you want to be. He’s lean, tough and absolutely should not be messed with. In Escape from New York, Snake is an outlaw tasked with rescuing the (inexplicably British) President of the United States from being held hostage. But Snake being Snake, doesn’t have time for that shit. In a masterclass of commentary that would seem particularly suited to today’s turbulent political arena, Snake says what we’ve all been thinking.
What I love more is that Plissken sticks it to POTUS in both Escape from New York and the (weaker) sequel Escape from L.A, proving beyond all doubt that Snake can smell when a steaming turd is in charge and acts accordingly.
Wyatt Earp is the Western Terminator
KR loves historical badass and mustachioed lawman Wyatt Earp. How much does he love him? Well, he probably named his son after him and you can clearly see the relish he puts into the role playing Earp in Tombstone, which is by far the best western I’ve ever seen that stars Val Kilmer as a tuberculosis-suffering poker player.
The story goes is that KR took over directing Tombstone after the first director was fired. Backstage issues and studio interference often lead to troubled productions (Justice League, I’m looking at you) so it’s amazing that KR became a one-man damage control machine to steer the film back on track. Remember, that’s in addition to playing the main role and creating one of my favourite moments in cinema, which is this scene. If you can’t watch the link, what basically happens is that Earp shotguns a dude into oblivion and then proceeds to yell to the entire state that he’s the 1800s equivalent of a T-800.
Kurt Russell is a board member of a Nobel-prize nominated charity
I can’t put my finger on exactly why I like KR, but I like to think he would be a great guy to have a beer with and chat the shit. I would also hope that he’s the sort of fellow who would use his position in society to better mankind. Oh, wait. He totally does.
KR parlays his media clout to promote peace and goodwill around the world through charity Wings of Hope, a US-based organisation that delivers humanitarian relief to countries such as India, Cambodia, Kenya and Myanmar via specialised aircraft. Wings of Hope fly to the hell holes, of the world, providing much needed care and supplies. Except for New Jersey. They won’t fly to New Jersey.
Wings of Hope was founded in 1962 and was nominated for the frigging Nobel Peace Prize. Twice. KR sits on the organisation’s Honorary Council, along with esteemed company such ex-US Secretary of State Colin Powell and perennial grump Harrison Ford.
Hal is 34% more hilarious on Twitter. Find him there.
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