Mount Rushmore of Movies - 4 Favorite Male Characters in Space
Thanks to M.Brown over at Two Dollar Cinema for hosting the Mount Rushmore of Movies Bloghop in honor of President's Day. In order to participate you have to chose 4 of anything cinematic that you think is worthy to be on Mount Rushmore. The bloghop is still open as of today, so head over there if you want to join. I have chosen four of my favorite male characters in space. Three out of four films have to do with astronauts. Superman is of course the ultimate astronaut, sans the space suit.
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager
4. Chuck Yeager, 'The Right Stuff' (Sam Shepard) - Before the Apollo space program put a man on the moon in 1969, there were the Mercury 7, a group of test pilots who flew suborbital flights around the earth from 1961 to 1963. But the greatest test pilot of them all wasn't an astronaut at all. In 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to break the sound barrier. His famous plane the 'Glamorous Glennis' named after his wife, still hangs in the Smithsonian. 'The Right Stuff' is about Yeager's journey as well as the Mercury 7 (some of who go on to become Apollo astronauts). Unfortunately, Yeager didn't have a college degree so he was ineligible to become an astronaut, but the movie (and the Tom Wolfe novel it's based on) proves that Yeager has the right stuff. And Sam Shepard definitely had the right stuff when he played him. Shepard brought complete believability and swagger as Yeager. His performance is incredible and in my opinion his dusty face after a crash landing should be etched into Mount Rushmore permanently.
Tom Hanks (Jim Lovell)
3. Jim Lovell, 'Apollo 13' (Tom Hanks) - Thanks to Ron Howard (director) and Tom Hanks (fanboy of all things spacey and World War II), 'Apollo 13' was released in 1995 and the incredible tale of three astronauts in peril became known to a new generation. I was born in the late 70s, so 'Apollo 13' was before my time, as was the moon landing. When I was growing up in the 1980s, the Challenger was the only thing people talked about with regard to NASA. I remember seeing the Challenger explode on television. Like the moon landing (and Apollo 13 afterwards), the Challenger was my generation's earliest space memory and it was not a pleasant one. Seeing the troubled, yet uplifting tale of 'Apollo 13' helped me understand why space travel and especially space travel to the moon was (and still is) so important. It also helped me appreciate just how difficult and complicated space travel is. Watching a young Tom Hanks as a fighter pilot turned astronaut is of course a plus. Hanks is one of my favorite actors period. His portrayal of Jim Lovell is just one of many reasons I love astronauts. His character's harrowing real-life and death drama set in the vacuum of space should be on Mount Rushmore.
Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman)
2. Dave Bowman, '2001: A Space Odyssey' (Keir Dullea) - Clearly I love this movie. It's my favorite movie. Which means that I love Keir Dullea's face on the cover of the movie poster. There's a reason that Keir Dullea's face as Dave Bowman is the most recognizable thing from (perhaps) the greatest SciFi film of all time. Keir was just beautiful. His face was picture perfect and his expression was flawless. Hands down Dave Bowman is my favorite astronaut of all time and he's totally Mount Rushmore material.
Christopher Reeve (Superman/Clark Kent)
1. Superman/Clark Kent, 'Superman the Movie' (Christopher Reeve) - There have been a multitude of Supermans (George Reeves, John Haymes Newton, Gerald Christopher, Dean Cain, Tom Welling, Brandon Routh, and most recently Henry Cavill), but none before or after have been able to match Christopher Reeve's performance. Reeve was a brilliant actor and he was theatrically trained. Reeve is the only Superman to perfectly capture the duality of Superman (the awkwardness of Clark Kent and the elan of Superman). Superman is my favorite non-astronaut astronaut, traveling through space in an encased cradle, spinning the world backwards, or giving the audience a wink and a smile as he orbited the earth. Christopher Reeve's chiseled jaw, bright blue eyes, black hair, and striking features are Mount Rushmore worthy.