Sunday, January 30, 2011

To Gene, On His 81st Birthday

Dear Gene Hackman,

You are the fucking shit, sir. I cannot believe you are 81 years old today. That is straight up bogus. I remember the first time I saw "The French Connection" I said to myself "I hope that guy never dies". So far, so good Mr. Hackman. It's been about 7 years since you retired from making movies, and there is a terrible void left behind. I know if you were still acting, and someone suggested to you that they make the movie 3D you'd punch them right in the mouth. I'm sure of it. A question was once posed to me: "If you could select any actor's filmography, and all other films in existence would be destroyed, which actor would you pick?". My choice was easy, Gene friggin' Hackman. Whether it be action, suspence, comedy, drama or the undefineable films of Wes Anderson, you always bring your A-game and for that I say, you rule. I have a personal tradition where I celebrate your birthday every year with a screening of my favorite movie of yours, "Crimson Tide".

You were born in 1930, which is pretty weird to think about. You were like, 12 when Hitler was being a total dick, and to be honest whenever I read history books (which I should clarify is never) I'm always surprised that you didn't just go over there and handle shit. You know, like Rambo handles shit. I think it's pretty cool though that you lied about your age at 16 to join the marines. One could only assume you felt you had kinda dropped the ball on the "single handidly ending World War II" thing. Before I break down some of his awesome movies, thought I'd let you non-Hackfans in on some interesting trivia courtesy of the internets (all of them). The majority of these are true. Regular readers will probably know when I throw some bullshit in there.

- He was the sixth choice to play "Popeye Doyle" in the French Connection. Hence the saying "Sixth times the charm". I know it's not a saying, but it fucking should be.

- Was the first choice to play Hannibal Lector in "Silence of the Lambs". He was also asked to direct the movie. He was also asked if he wanted to rail-down Jodie Foster. He declined all three offers (and vomited after one of them)

- Was arrested and jailed as a teenager in 1946 for stealing candy and soda pop. To this day I'm positive this was some sort sting operation and the basis of the show "21 Jump Street".

- In 2001 he accidently hit a car while driving in Hollywood. The two young men who were driving the other car got road rage and attacked him. They were never heard from again....probably.

- Turned down the lead role in "Jaws". I can only assume they offered him the part of the shark.

There is tons more awesome stuff about Hackman, but for now I wanted to move on and take a look at a couple of my favorite roles of his with my favorite quotes aka reasons why I'm a stone cold "Hack-fan".

The French Connection (1972)
Jimmy Doyle: Hey you! Haircut! Where are you goin'?

The Conversation (1974)
Harry Caul: I'm not afraid of death. But I am afraid of murder.

Superman (1978)
Lex Luthor: You were great in your day, Superman. But it just stands to reason, when it came time to cash in your chips, this old... diseased... maniac would be your banker.

Hoosiers (1986)
Coach Norman Dale: You are in the Army. You're in my Army. Everyday between three and five

Mississippi Burning (1988)
Agent Rupert Anderson: Now get *this* straight, Shit-kicker! Don't you go confusin' me with some whole other body. You must have your brains in your *dick* if you think we're gonna just walk away from this. We're gonna stay 'till this gets done.

Unforgiven (1992)
Little Bill Daggett - I guess you think I'm kicking you, Bob. But it ain't so. What I'm doing is talking.

The Quick & The Dead (1995)
John Herod: This is my town! If you live to see the dawn, it's because I allow it.

Capt. Ramsey: I expect and demand your very best. Anything less, you should have joined the Air Force.

Get Shorty (1995)
Harry Zimm: I once asked this literary agent, uh, what kind of writing paid the best... he said, "Ransom notes."

Absolute Power (1997)
President Richmond: Consider it a blip on the screen. As far as I'm concerned that's all he is, too.

The Replacements (2000)
Jimmy McGinty: There is no tomorrow for you, and that makes you all very dangerous people!

Heist (2001)
Joe Moore: I tried to imagine a fella smarter than myself. Then I tried to think, "what would he do?"

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
 Royal: Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?

And that's kind of it. He did a few more films after The Royal Tenenbaums but none after 2004's "Welcome to Mooseport". Sadly, on IMDB he is listed as having 99 film credits. He officially retired in 2008, but to my dismay but he had an awesome career in spite of being told he would never amount to anything. He struggled, fought and persevered and 2 Oscars and many awesome mustache's later, he is mine and probably many other people's favorite actor. 

I would like to bestow upon him another honor which means nothing to anyone but me. I will be starting a new tab at the top of the blog called "The I.I.H.O.F." That stands for "The Intangible, Inanimate Hall of Fame" where I will enshrine something specific about someone or something. To commemorate the his birthday, I formally induct "Gene Hackman's Film Career"

I'd like to leave with what could be my favorite quote of all time. From anyone. That includes The Simpsons and The Ultimate Warrior. Ladies, Gentlemen and the good people of Denmark, I leave you with the immortal wisdom of Gene Hackman. Not playing a character, just Gene being Gene:

"The Difference Between a Hero and a Coward is One Step Sideways"

Amen, sir. Happy Birthday.

Thanks for Reading


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