Trifecta #01: The Bruce



You can’t go out and party every weekend, so on those nights you want to take it easy, has put together a bi-weekly column to help you with your movie selection. The Trifecta is a recommendation of three movies that set a mood, that showcase an actor or director, that acquaint the viewer with a geographic location, or maybe even have some obscure link like a Best Boy or Key Grip.

The first Trifecta has to pay respect…and my generation reserves a lion’s share of its respect for a wise-cracking, Irish flat foot named John McClane – the modern action star Bruce Willis. But what am I gonna do, use the first installment to suggest you watch three out of four Die Hards? (I’d be leaning hard away from DIE HARD 2 – sorry Renny Harlin) Perish the thought. That’s not how we play stickball in this neighborhood.

Blind dateFirst, you start the party the way Bruce did, with a comedy. Bruce was still making his bones in “Moonlighting” when he did BLIND DATE, a romantic comedy based on getting a girl drunk to take advantage of her, so maybe a better title would have been “Blind Date Rape.” Kim Basinger plays the vixen, and she and Bruce have a disastrous date in which both get some hilarious scenes of drunken buffoonery and John Larroquette gets to showcase his typecast role as 1980’s slimeball. Keep a listen out for the voice of KITT from “Knight Rider” (William Daniels) in a supporting role, and notice Bruce’s excellent form at throwing a grape into a woman’s cleavage. We could all see this kid was a star.

Last Boy Scout

Then, for the entree, take it up a notch with The LAST BOY SCOUT, a Tony Scott action flick with Bruce as the alcoholic detective – seen first passed out in a car with a dead squirrel – and Damon Wayans in a great role as a disgraced ex-football star as his sidekick (giving hope to all Wayans; hope vanquished by WHITE CHICKS and LITTLE MAN). Aside from Wayans and Willis playing off each other beautifully, you’ve got Halle Berry as a stripper, Bruce saving President Carter, and, in true badass fashion, driving a henchman’s nose through his skull…after telling him he’d do so! Hey, when Bruce asks for a light, you light the man’s cigarette.

Hudson HawkAnd how do you close the night? Not with Bruce as a supporting player in PULP FICTION or with the obvious blockbusters like ARMAGEDDON or THE SIXTH SENSE, or even the full frontal nudity of COLOR OF NIGHT (really, Bruce?), no you end it with the sense of style only brought by the 1991 Razzie Award winner for Worst Film, co-written by Willis himself- HUDSON HAWK! This is how you end a marathon. Bruce cracks a one-liner Henny Youngman-style in almost every scene, Andie MacDowell makes dolphin noises, James Coburn shows off his kung fu fighting, and Bruce and Danny Aiello rob a museum using a skateboard while singing “Swinging on a Star.” It’s vintage Bruce with that classic smirk in every frame and yes, it even has Frank Stallone. And even with Sandra Bernhard making your ears bleed with every scene she’s in, I’d say the movie caps the perfect McClane-less Bruce Willis evening. Catch the excitement, catch the adventure, catch the Hawk.

Total running time for the trifecta: 300 minutes.

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