Personal, subjective rankings with a short commentary.

The Rocketeer

Director: Joe Johnston

Year: 1991

Running Time: 108 minutes

The 90-minute action movie is a pop culture staple like the 3-minute pop song or a thirty-second commercial. Story, score, and direction all distilled into an hour and a half. This week’s Top Three celebrates the streamlined narratives and forward-running direction of three films I love. The first is The Rocketeer.

An early Nineties cult classic, it stars Billy Campbell, Alan Arkin, and Jennifer Connelly. Campbell plays Cliff Secord, a down on his luck pilot who discovers a high-tech personal rocket apparatus. Shenanigans ensue when he finds out everybody wants it. He gets chased around Thirties Hollywood by the Mob, the FBI, and Nazis. He also has to win the heart of Jenny (played by Connelly), an aspiring actress wooed by the nefarious Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton). It’s a comic book origin story that’s as streamlined as the Thirties designed. Helmed by Joe Johnston (October Sky, Jurassic Park III), it remains a lifelong favorite of mine.

What are some of your favorite action movie? Let us know in the comments.

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