Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Extraordinary


I used to shake my head, as in "No, I just look like him." But that's not fair. So I said to those little old ladies at Trenton Airport, "Yes, I am Harrison Ford". And they still didn't believe it was me.[1]



Okay, so he’s my favorite actor.  Ranked #1 in Empire magazine’s “Top Stars of All Time” list, named second greatest hero as Indiana Jones by AFI (#1 was  Gregory Peck in Mockingbird), America’s Favorite Movie Star (Harris Polls), and his movies have grossed more than any other actor.[ibid]


          In other words, Harrison Ford is the man.  Here are my 5 reasons why.


#5: A man off the set.


          He was a master carpenter before acting, something he didn’t need to fake in his only Oscar nomination in Witness.[ibid]  (Damn Academy!)  Harrison knows what it means to do a man’s work, so unlike the many plush stars, when he gets on screen he doesn’t come off as a powdered cream puff.


          His scar on his chin remains signature, explained in two different ways in films: Indy 3 (bullwhip) and Working Girl (knife fight/toilet seat), while in real life it was a car accident.  Fans are grateful he didn’t get plastic surgery; makes him look bad-ass.[ibid]


          Some would say real manhood is in serving others.  Ford was seen serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless Thanksgiving 2007.  He’s also an action hero in real life: as a helicopter pilot, he rescued 20-year-old dehydrated hiker, Sarah George, from a mountain near his 800-acre ranch in Wyoming during the summer of 2000.[ibid]

          A true man’s man.



#4: The chic gawk (a.k.a. his undying sex appeal).


No one wants to see a hero have to pick up his cane to hit someone, but I'm still quite fit enough to fake it.
-Ford, 2008, on Indy 4[ibid]



He’s man enough to join in on the jokes about his age (gosh, that sounded like a H. Ford fanatic line; it was)…

…[Laughing] (Sorry, I just have to keep this and start over.)

In Ford’s most recent film, Extraordinary Measures, a low-budget inspirational “based on a…,” he plays a mad scientist opposite the wanna-be Indy, Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), who plays the dad out to save his kids with abnormal diseases at almost any cost.  During Act One, Ford’s Doctor Stonehill meets Fraser at a bar in the Northwest and explains his research.  The middle-aged actress who plays the overly-impressed waitress is more than a little overly-impressed: she screws up her line gawking at Harrison Ford who simply looks at her for his reaction shot.[2]  It’s to-die-for hilarious.


In almost any other flic, the actresses really have to act to be taken by another, especially older or unattractive actor (Catherine Keener/Ed Norton, Death to Smoochie; it just crossed my mind).  Whether she’s playing his sister in Witness, the evil humanoid in Blade Runner, or the working girl in Working Girl, you can always see it in their eyes: the chics dig Harrison naturally.  (It’s one of my favorite minor hobbies: watching the actresses squeal when he’s there and either make or screw up the scene.)


He’s the man every woman wants and every man at some point pretends to be.  Ford was named Sexiest Man Alive (People) in 1998 and got Ally McBeal (Calista Flochart) – hot and 23 years younger – to marry him this year.[3]  Need I say more?


#3: Badass (his immortal roles)



It's a little-known fact, but I wanted Han Solo to die at the end of Star Wars: […] Return of the Jedi. I thought it would give more weight and resonance. But George Lucas wasn't sympathetic. He didn't want me killed by those teddy bear guys.[ibid]


          Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Jack Ryan.  There were the film flops like Blade Runner, but as Ford himself says, “I don't want to be a movie star. I want to be in movies that are stars.”[ibid]


          The various directors that have sought after him and script writers that have written parts for him seem to go back to the wise cracking tough as nails profile no matter how sentimental the story may be.  Action fans will remember the immortal lines that seem to have been penned in cheese but came out with steely grins from Air Force One: the spry President Harrison stands over Gary Oldman with “the Harrison Ford scowl” on his face.  Before sending the terrorist to his death, he glares at him and “Harrison Ford growls” – “Get offa my plane!”


“I am a kinder, gentler Harrison Ford than I once was,” says the 68-year-old superstar, “It's very little trouble for me to accommodate my fans, unless I'm actually taking a pee at the time.”[ibid]


I don't do stunts - I do running, jumping and falling down. After 25 years I know exactly what I'm doing.[ibid]


          You gotta love the way he takes no shit on and off the screen.  “Whoever had the bright idea of putting Indiana Jones in a leather jacket and a fedora in the jungle ought to be dragged into the street and shot.”[ibid]
  Or the uncredited cameo in the gay candid camera flic Bruno:


Sasha Baron Cohen:                  It’s my exclusive interview with Harrison Ford!

Harrison Ford: [Quickly walking by]      Fuck off!!![4]

         
          Asked if he would ever play Indiana Jones again, he answered, “In a New York minute.”[5]


#2: Drama king

          It takes a special breed of actor to home run so many dramatic roles on top of and combined with action/adventure thrillers.  From Witness to Regarding Henry, Crossing Over (which sucked save for Ford), and the tender Ford improv in Empire Strikes Back (“I love you.”  Han: “I know.”  Lowered into the carbonite chamber…) – Harrison draws the tear as well as the thrill.


          When I came home there was a man in my house… You find that man!!!
(The Fugitive, Golden Globe nomination, Best Actor)



          Or two classic tear jerkers: when mutinied against in K-19, a tear rolls down his cheek (must have been real); or the climactic showdown in Air Force One: “I’ll do it, [eyes watering] I’ll do it. [President (Ford) commands the terrorist leader to be released to save his daughter at gunpoint.]”



Why Harrison Ford is the man, the Joe’s Flics© reason #1 – It.

          There is nothing more sought after in Hollywood in an actor than the x-factor that glues all eyes on him from the moment he steps on stage: his terrifying photo-geneity, the charisma and star power and unique brand of acting and attitude; leadership that captures the leading role and holds it like it’s a mere lump of clay, making it a masterpiece.  It’s a rare find that showbiz calls “it.”


          Harrison Ford redefined “it.”  Pick up any one of his movies and you will see.

………………………………..


          So what’s next?  Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams and Diane Keaton debuting this month followed by Cowboys and Aliens with Daniel Craig (James Bond) due out next summer.  And Indy 5?  “As long as it doesn’t take another twenty years to make it,” says the actor in typical wise-ass straight-shot form.[ibid]


[On acting] - I love it. I don't feel as useful any place as I do on a movie set. I'm very surprised and delighted at the luck I've had. I've been enormously lucky. I've had a long run. And now I have a chance to play old guys.[ibid]

         
          Well we (I at least) hope you have a long run doing that too.

3 comments:

  1. Hurray for Harrison Ford! I still haven't seen the last "Raiders" film. Hope to eventually.

    Blade Runner wasn't so successful in the theater, but is a cult classic. I saw it more than once. It's on my Netflix queue for films to see again...

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  2. H ford is the man!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let me emphasize that again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah the new Indy is a tribute, some fun but a downer for fans. Still great to see Harrison in the hat again.

    Pretty much any HF movie is a must see for me & this post WS a trib slash objective proof that those who are somewhat as crazy as I are that way for good reason. A little tongue in cheek while I do it but you know, a laugh a day keeps the doctor... & all that. :D

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  3. Yeah BR is a cult classic but stays there. A lot of unexplored potential. We wish Ridley Scott had been more on top of his form ( well, robin hood - barf!) and/ the distrib co. Hadnt also ruined the editing @ the time. HF still rocks it out tho

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