Tag Archives: David Strathairn

The Set of 400: #61 – My Favorite George Washington Anecdote

Today! Because nothing will make an Englishman shit quicker than the sight of George Washington –

Lincoln (2012)

Directed by Steven Spielberg (x10)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (x3), Sally Field (x2), Tommy Lee Jones (x5), David Strathairn (x4), James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (x2), Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Bruce McGill (x2), Tim Blake Nelson (x2), Jackie Earle Haley (x4), Jared Harris, Lee Pace (x2), Peter McRobbie (x3), Michael Stuhlbarg (x2), Gloria Reuben, Walton Goggins (x3), David Oyelowo (x2), Lukas Haas (x2), Dane DeHaan, Bill Camp, Wayne Duvall (x2), Gregory Itzin (x2), Adam Driver (x2), Christopher Evan Welch (x2), S. Epatha Merkerson (x2), Joseph Cross, Boris McGiver

My favorite movie from one of my favorite years, 2012’s Lincoln almost starred Liam Neeson. Wrap your mind around that for a second. For years there were stories about Spielberg trying to mount this epic Abe biopic, with his Schindler’s List star attached, and I always figured that could work. Neeson has that magisterial presence, and what more would you really need to play Lincoln? But now that we’ve seen the greatest living actor in the role, it’s pretty tough to imagine anyone else in the part. Never mind Neeson’s very recent (as of this writing) issues concerning some racist tendencies from his youth (Has this story blown over? Be sure to go look it up), which would’ve made him donning the big stovepipe a bit awkward.

If you know nothing else about me except my 340 favorite movies so far, it’s probably about time I share that I’ve got a thing for U.S. Commanders in Chief. I’m no presidential scholar – I’m too busy watching movies to dedicate the time required – but the wife and I are committed to visiting every president grave site in the country, along with their adjoining museums/libraries/road side monuments if they exist. Lincoln’s Springfield tomb was one of the few we visited before officially starting on this quest, his being the third president grave we saw, following JFK and Taft in Arlington, VA.

It’s pretty grand and glorious in Springfield, IL

Plus it has an equally classy gift shop – the wife seen here

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The Set of 400: #129 – My Favorite Waterloo Tube Station Espionage

Today! Because this is where is started for me. This is where it ends –

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Directed by Paul Greengrass (x2)

Starring Matt Damon (x5), Joan Allen (x4), Julia Stiles (x2), David Strathairn (x3), Scott Glenn (x3), Albert Finney (x2), Edgar Ramirez, Paddy Considine, Daniel Bruhl, Tom Gallop (x2), Corey Johnson, Colin Stinton

The excellent Bourne trilogy concluded in a major way with Ultimatum – and then there were two more relatively unnecessary movies, one with Damon’s Bourne and one without, that you can basically ignore. In the continuing conversation of Best Movie Trilogies, people tend to start dropping franchises from the discussion once there is a fourth film. This, I feel, is wrong. Sure – if the movies are made one right after the other, and they all tie tightly together, maybe don’t count pieces of those as trilogies. But, a series that just splits an obvious third film in two (The Hunger Games, for example) – we can still call that a trilogy, no? Or if the fourth film is cash-in bullshit made way after the fact (Indiana Jones, Scream, American Pie – I’m not making judgments whether they’re good or bad trilogies here) or is basically unrelated (The Bourne Legacy, Mad Max) – we can ignore those, huh?

Please help me forget this

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The Set of 400: #181 – My Favorite Barehanded Catch

Today! Because this is what it’s going to be like in the factories, too, I suppose, isn’t it? The men are back, Rosie, turn in your rivets –

A League of Their Own (1992)

Directed by Penny Marshall

Starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks (x3), Madonna (x3), Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn (x2), Garry Marshall (x3), Megan Cavanagh (x2), Anne Ramsay, Ann Cusack (x2), Tracy Reiner, Bitty Schram, Freddie Simpson, Renee Coleman, Bill Pullman (x3), Don S. Davis, Harry Shearer (x2), Tea Leoni (x2), Joey Slotnick, Eddie Mekka, Mark Holton (x3), David L. Lander (x2)

The best baseball movie ever made (take that, The Natural!) and the funniest (suck it, Major League!), A League of Their Own gave us so much – it was a long overdue history lesson about the WWII-era women’s professional baseball organization, the AAGPBL (that is a mouthful of an acronym, too); it’s an insight into the world back home during the great war and the unbelievable pressure on the wives and girlfriends stateside; it’s a riveting sports movie with many of the typical beats but executed at a very high level; it manages to swing expertly from hilarious to heartbreaking without losing any strength or momentum. And it’s ridiculously the third Madonna movie on this list, which I’m as amazed by as you are.

Who’s That Girl did not make the list!

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The Set of 400: #378 – My Favorite Loopy Conspiracy Theories

Today! Because Ike said, “Hey look, give us your technology, we’ll give you all the cow lips you want” –

Sneakers (1992)

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson

Starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Timothy Busfield, Donal Logue, George Hearn, Stephen Tobolowsky, James Earl Jones

All the cast in the world came together for this relatively light heist flick in the early ’90s, with pretty fun results. It’s not a movie you hear bandied about much these days – but judging by its gross, it was fairly popular in the fall of ’92. Redford and Kingsley play friends-turned-rivals battling over this MacGuffin that will decode and hack into everything on the remedial early ’90s internet. Redford’s team of good guys includes very funny turns by Aykroyd, Phoenix, and particuarly Strathairn as the blind sound expert Whistler. To my knowledge, this is also the only big screen pairing of film legends Redford and Poitier, so that’s cool! Is it a bit dated, given that the high-tech wizardry on display in this movie looks like a cheap Nintendo game? Sure. But even at the time this seemed more an excuse to gather up a ton of great actors and go on a good, old fashioned caper than to try to wow the audience with gadgets. The movie doesn’t quite match up to the heavy hitters involved, but it is definitely enhanced by their collective presence. Continue reading

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