Tag Archives: Lance Henriksen

The Set of 400: #69 – My Favorite Half-Faced Sunburn

Today! Because I know this sounds crazy, but ever since yesterday on the road, I’ve been seeing this shape –

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Directed by Steven Spielberg (x8)

Starring Richard Dreyfuss (x2), Melinda Dillon (x4), Teri Garr (x2), Bob Balaban (x3), Francois Truffaut (x2), Roberts Blossom (x3), Cary Guffey, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren J. Kemmerling, Philip Dodds, Lance Henriksen (x3), George DiCenzo

This movie was way too boring for us as kids. Like, I knew it existed, and from seeing the tape cover at the video store I knew there were aliens in it eventually, but whenever I caught a few minutes on TV it was always Richard Dreyfuss doing crazy shit in his house and a bunch of lab coat types in foreign crowds with loud music and singing and none of it made any sense. I don’t know for sure when I finally sat and watched the whole thing, but I want to say it was at least high school or later. Having grown up on alien adventure flicks, nothing about Close Encounters interested me for a long, long time.

Roy was just a little too looney tunes for us kids

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The Set of 400: #160 – My Favorite Wyoming as a Country

Today! Because I’m a fuck-up and I’m an outcast. If you get near me you’re gonna get it –

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Directed by Sidney Lumet (x2)

Starring Al Pacino (x2), John Cazale, Charles Durning (x2), Chris Sarandon (x3), James Broderick, Lance Henriksen (x2), Penelope Allen, Carol Kane (x4), Sully Boyar, Susan Peretz, Marcia Jean Kurtz, John Marriott, Dominic Chianese, Judith Malina

The bank robbery movie against which all others are forever judged, Dog Day Afternoon very basically serves as a template for how to sustain tension in a locked-in heist film where everything immediately goes wrong and negotiations drag on for hours. However, what Dog Day does different from nearly all similar films before or following is that it manages to continue throwing twists and bizarre surprises into the plot straight through to its sudden, stunning finish. Most bank hold-up films go for explosions and constant action to keep the audience engaged – here, it’s the wonderfully nuanced performances of Pacino, Cazale, Sarandon, and Durning, all masterfully guided by Lumet at his best.

It’s also a wonderfully sweaty, sloppily dressed film

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The Set of 400: #222 – My Favorite Game Over, Man

Today! Because mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are –

Aliens (1986)

Directed by James Cameron (x2)

Starring Sigourney Weaver (x5), Michael Biehn (x2), Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton (x4), Paul Reiser, Carrie Henn, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston

Oof, look at that poster! I already regret picking that. It doesn’t look like anything! It certainly doesn’t look like something we associate with Aliens. Even if they couldn’t cram a xenomorph on there somewhere, or a Paxton, or a goddamn Newt, you’re telling me that blue globe thing with Sigourney’s rocking ’80s hairdo wouldn’t have sold some tickets? Come on!

The only film in the series to make the list (sorry, Ridley Scott fans!), Aliens is such a huge jump up from the original that it almost verges on that much-talked-about mental disorder I seem to have – where a superior sequel relegates a chronological predecessor to prequel status. This isn’t quite that – Alien, while not on this list, is still a pretty great movie. But it also has completely different aims. Where that film is a relatively slow creeping space horror flick, the James Cameron follow-up is a slam bang bullets and muscles action movie, replete with unlikable, expendable Paul Reisers, more human than human androids, and Paxton delivering great, funny lines with his indelible Paxtonness. And instead of just having a pet cat tagging along for the adventure this time, there’s a grubby human child now! Fun!

And man, is that kid grubby!

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