I told you this would take a while, but my original reasoning was flawed. I suspected choosing would be difficult, and it wasn’t, the real difficulty was getting around to doing this post. Seriously the past few weeks have shot by and it gets to Wednesday and I realise I haven’t written this post, so I throw up some poetry instead maybe. *sigh* Today though, we’re doing it. We’re blogging this shit. RARGH!
FAVOURED FIVES: BRUCE WILLIS MOVIES
Falling down the stairs into number 5 is: DEATH BECOMES HER
Ernest Menville (that name, oh THAT NAME!), Bruce’s role in this spectacularly bizarre tale of two women struggling to hold on to youth and beauty is supporting but highly note-worthy. He plays a miserable, slimy, alcoholic ex-plastic surgeon with cheerful alacrity, abandoning his usual tongue-in-cheek cool to ham it up to the max and stagger around in a bad cardigan whining a lot and shouting out such magnificent lines as ‘You’re in violation of every natural law that I know!’ with perfect, hysterical seriousness.
Of course Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn are the real luminaries of this movie but without his shambling presence bumbling between them, they might not have had half so much fun. And this movie is fun with capital F-U-N. Every time I watch it I laugh hard enough to rupture something and be in dire need of a good surgeon. Which of course, Ernest is probably not…
Also, Bruce might be sporting the saddest moustache it has ever been my misfortune to behold in this particular role. Props, Mr Willis, PROPS.
Careening back from the future to save us all at number 4 is: TWELVE MONKEYS
As prisoner James Cole, Bruce is selected for ‘volunteer duty’. His mission? To go back in time and collect information on the deadly plague that wiped out most of humanity by finding its alleged creators, an organisation known as the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. This is only the beginning of a wonderful twisty-turny movie that swallows its own tail ouroboros-like as it takes you on a journey to the answers (just about).
This is sci-fi done right and Bruce plays his character pretty much entirely straight, without any of that trademark swagger. I don’t usually dig Gilliam movies, as I think he gets caught up in imagery and his own cleverness and tries too hard, but I love this one.
It’s dark, doomy, filled with glorious set-pieces and scenes, and a Brad Pitt supporting role that damn near steals the whole show!
Falling off the side of a skyscraper into number 3 it’s: DIE HARD
Oh John McClane, oh Hans Gruber, oh Holly Gennaro. This movie. This goddamn movie. There is nothing about this movie that is not to like. The cast, the script, the action, the wit, it’s all just so goddamn perfect. Now I’m odd in that I like the whole franchise of Die Hard from this one to A Good Day To Die Hard – I like how John changes, because lets face it, the guy’s a jerk, and the type of jerk who only ever gets jerkier. Zero self-awareness in this jerk. He’s never going to win father of the year, he’s too busy complaining about what he thinks is wrong with his kids, when frankly with a father like that its astonishing both have done so well for themselves.
I honestly can’t understand what people expected in that last movie. We’ll never see this first John McClane again because he’s the type to age badly, and in the first movie, unless you’re really not good at picking up subtext, it’s obvious he’s already bitter, confused, resentful and selfish. He doesn’t get why Holly wants to take the amazing opportunity her brilliance has earned her, but he sure knows what to do once bad guys get in the building and start to raise hell.
John’s a jerk, sure, but he’s a top class bad guy problem solver, and that’s why we love him. Here’s a man who’s happy and driven with glass in his feet, impossible odds, a whole cadre of well-armed villains and only his wits to save the day. And save it he does, with alacrity! Yippe ki yay motherfucker!
Crashing into a hover-cab at number 2 it’s: THE FIFTH ELEMENT
Pardon me whilst I assert my belief that The Fifth Element is basically Die Hard in space. Korben Dallas IS space John McClane. I remember going to see this at the cinema with my dad. This orgy of incredible visuals, glorious sequences, gut-hurting humour and brilliant characterisation. To this day I often shout ‘Aziz, light!’ as I switch lights on in my house. It’s like this movie has made its way into my very DNA.
Here the age-old struggle between good and evil is portrayed as a neon-coloured punk-fest of raging Billionaire psychopaths, perfect beings who just happen to kick arse like a beast whilst remaining beautifully vulnerable and real, huge blue alien Divas, guerillas from outer space, clockwork keepers of the balance, bungling army stiff-necks and marvellously hapless priests. God but it’s awesome!
And old Brucey is on fine form in this, his dry delivery ramped to max as a retired military man/failed taxi-driver/cheeky-but-gritty jack of all trades badass. This is his meat and potatoes, his spirit animal role. Honourable mention for Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod, who had my dad and I laughing so hard in the cinema we damn near passed out!
Dancing through into number 1, the inestimable: HUDSON HAWK
As the titular hero of this insanity-fest, Bruce is a cat burglar fresh out of prison and trying to go straight. And how very trying that is. Roped into one last job with his partner in crime, he ends up embroiled in the scheme of the century, perpetrated by the magnificently unhinged Mayflowers. A brother and sister crime duo played by Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard with such dazzling, fearless verve, they stalk and strut their way into my favourite villains of all time list.
This movie, make no mistake, is several shades of batshit crazy. The plot is so far out there they probably needed one of the freaking spaceships from The Fifth Element to go and fetch it, but it works superbly. And why? Because everyone in this movie is having an ABSOLUTE BLAST.
It’s a magical thing, Hudson Hawk, an electric melding of a script so sharpened with malice it could sew itself to the universe, a cast of characters so expertly portrayed they project from the screen in lunatic 3D, and sequences so utterly delicious, so patently bizarre that you want to hug them and squeeze them and pet them and name them George! Not to mention its female lead is a kickarse nun. Be still my beating heart!
Hudson Hawk – how I love thee! ‘Bunny! Ball-ball!’ *dies laughing*
And there you have it. Or rather them. My favourite five Willis movies in order of preference. Now for some honourable mentions:
Next time on Favoured Fives I’ll be bringing you my five favourite Arnold Schwarzenegger films of all time. I’m already developing a headache wondering how I’ll ever choose! Thanks for reading!