Trifecta #07: Respect the 'Stache!


by: Jeremey Gingrich

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 mustache used to be the staple of manliness. Lip whiskers were seen as a man’s way of stating his masculinity, but also keeping the rest of his face clean shaven so as not to be mistaken for a homeless man. Our stars in major films these days typically veer away from mouth foliage, however, unless for comedic effect or to play a pedophile or other sexual deviant. Daniel Day Lewis tried to do his part to bring the nose-broom back to prominence with THERE WILL BE BLOOD, but he was too much of a villain; I half expected him to twiddle his man-bristles as he tied someone to railroad tracks. But I say remember a better time! A time when three men built their careers on their lady ticklers (no, that’s not dirty), and I say a proper, masculine trifecta should be enjoyed by all those who miss the days of reverence and respect for the stalwart representation of a man’s man…the mustache.


Whoever thought of those Chuck Norris fun facts is pretty funny. But remember when Chuck burst on the scene to challenge Bruce Lee in RETURN OF THE DRAGON in 1972 (though his debut was in the Dean Martin film THE WRECKING CREW in ’69, both movies sans mustache) he was no laughing matter. And though he is known more for roles with a beard thanks to the television saturation of “Walker, Texas Ranger” – and Conan O’Brien’s comedy bits involving said show – his initial starring roles had him sporting the ‘stache, including BREAKER! BREAKER!, GOOD GUYS WHERE BLACK, and your first installment for your evening’s trifecta of manliness, THE OCTAGON. Chuck Norris versus ninjas… ‘nuff said. The films plot and overuse of flashbacks are a bit cheesy, but the fight scenes in the flick were mannish enough to inspire Paul Rudd’s character in ANCHORMAN to name his penis after it; though I still have no idea where he came up with James Westfall or Dr. Kenneth Noisewater.


The star of our next movie can’t watch RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK without dying a little inside. Tom Selleck was actually offered the role of Indiana Jones for the first film in the blockbuster series but unfortunately decided to honor his contract with the show “Magnum, P.I.” And while he did gain fame and success through his Hawaiian shirts and short shorts, if he could take a ride in the Way-back Machine, maybe he’d tell Universal Studios to suck it and hop into bed with Spielberg and Lucas. But he did manage a slight rebound starring in other films, and while QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER is my favorite of those, technically he had a Phil Jackson soul patch in it thus disqualifying it from this list. However, he did star as veteran cop Sgt. Jack Ramsay in the sci-fi pic RUNAWAY written and directed by – wait for it – Michael Crichton! Boom! Knowledge bomb! That’s right, the Jurassic Park author tried his hand at directing this flick with Selleck as a cop of the future fighting against rogue robots, especially spider-like robots that inject acid into their victims. And while Kirstie Alley makes an appearance, the best casting is the villain, psychotic robotic scientist Dr. Charles Luther: KISS’ Gene Simmons! And yes this warrants exclamation points, you got Tom Selleck, Kirstie Alley (before the fall), robot spiders and The Demon from KISS! If you don’t remember this movie, though, I understand. It came out against another sci-fi flick from James Cameron starring some body-builder. Timing is everything.

Cannonball Run

The third leg of the trifecta was a tough one for me, because I really wanted to work in Sam Elliott’s great horseshoe ‘stache as The Stranger in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, but if we’re going for iconic mustaches, we’re talking Burt Reynolds, especially in 1981’s THE CANNONBALL RUN. Though SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT came first, this tale of a cross country race was based on the real life, illegal Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was conceived by the movie’s screenwriter and editor of Car and Driver magazine, Brock Yates, and is a hell of a lot more fun. It was the first teaming of Reynolds with Dom DeLuise, but the big kicker is the rest of the cast, as lead characters and bit cameos are laden with big names. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. are a rival team in the race driving a Ferrari. Football star Terry Bradshaw and country singer Mel Tillis represent the NASCAR set in a Chevy stock car. Jackie Chan rolls in a Subaru to give the race an Eastern flavor and do an obligatory fight scene. Even Roger Moore and Peter Fonda cash in on old roles as Moore rides in an Aston Martin complete with Bond-style gadgetry and Fonda revamps Captain America from EASY RIDER. It’s just a bunch of guys and gals having fun, riding across the country in this celebration of the open road, with Burt Reynold’s mustachioed grin leading the way. Farrah Fawcett even comes along for the ride, falling for that Reynolds charm that allowed Loni Anderson to put up with so much crap for all those years. Or maybe it was just the ‘stache.

Total length of Trifecta: 297 minutes

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