Kurt Russell is one of those actors who will probably never win an Academy Award, not even one of those special “Lifetime Achievement” awards they hand out when the Academy suddenly looks up and realizes, “Oh, shit! So-and-so has never won an Oscar?” He doesn’t take the right parts to be an Oscar-winning actor. While other actors are playing tortured poets or tortured soldiers or tortured gunslingers, Kurt Russell is always refreshingly angst-free. He’s the kind of guy who is always having fun, whether playing a super-hero or a fugitive or a trucker caught up in a struggle between ancient Chinese sorcerers, and he’s not afraid to let everyone know it.
And that’s what makes him an Unsung Hero. The sense of fun that Kurt Russell brings to every role he plays is infectious. While he’s on screen, you frequently find yourself smiling almost before you realize it; it’s something about his delivery, perhaps, the way that he drawls out each line with just enough of an accent to make you wonder whether he’s parodying John Wayne or whether he really talks like that. Or maybe it’s his body language, the way he seems to have just enough self-knowledge to play the Stallone-esque tough guy while letting the audience know he thinks it’s pretty silly, too. Or maybe it’s just the eyes. Watch Kurt Russell’s eyes when he’s on screen, and you’ll see it. He knows that this is a hell of a fun way to make a living.
Whatever it is, Kurt Russell makes movies fun. There has never been a movie so bad that it hasn’t perked up while Russell is on screen (“3000 Miles to Graceland” comes to mind)…and there have been a lot of cult classics that he’s made even better. “Escape From New York”, “The Thing”, “Big Trouble In Little China”, “Overboard”, “Tombstone”, “Stargate”, “Executive Decision”, “Sky High”, “Death Proof”…none of them art films, all of them what would probably be sniffed at by critics as ‘crowd-pleasers’, but all of them quite successful at pleasing crowds. Why? Because Kurt Russell’s in them. And he’s just damn fun to watch.
So let’s join together as geeks and give a big round of applause for Kurt Russell, an actor who knows that movies should be fun to watch.