Ok, so there is this event at the Summer Olympic Games that may be the best thing out there that no one knows about. You wont find it on the major coverage channels or maybe any of them. The winner should not be awarded with a medal, but given a Golden Man-card instead. I'm talking about the Modern Pentathlon, which combines five events to prove who is the most powerful and studliest of them all. I am getting a little carried away, there is actually a women's division as well.
The Modern Pentathlon consists of 5 events (sort of): fencing, a 200 meter freestyle swim, horse jumping, and the now combined 3200 meter cross country run along with pistol shooting. WOW!!! That just sounds fun, so why didn't they have that in high school. The events are actually based on skills that a 19th century cavalier would need to have mastered to work behind enemy lines. For the sake of this piece, I will be handing out medals in each of the categories to movies in which I deems best exemplify what they are about. Also, I am staying away from obvious Olympic links. Let's get started.
GOLD - The Princess Bride - What an incredible scene where Westley and Inigo Montoya square off at the top of a cliff for three minutes and 10 seconds of awesome. The chatty banter and respect that these two show for each other carries this scene to one of my all time favorites. They each start the fight left-handed just to give the other a chance until they reveal this to each other and switch to right. Just brilliant.
SILVER - Pick a Star Wars movie
BRONZE - Highlander - There are multiple amazing sword fighting scenes in this one.
GOLD - Jaws - Ok, I will be stretching things a tad bit here so relax and have some fun. There is plenty of swimming in this one and trust me that most of the people swimming in this one are going for the gold. Unfortunately, there is a big ass eating machine that with the appetite of stoner at Jack-in-the Box. Meet The Shark who can't be beaten in the water. The very, very red water.
SILVER - Pick a Tarzan movie. This guy can flat out swim, Out swim crocs, hippos, chimps ... you name it. This was probably instilled with one of the originals to portray him with Johnny Weissmuller who won Olympic swimming golds in 1924 and 1928.
BRONZE - Thunderball - James Bond in my favorite of the old school. Many of the action scenes take place on or under water.
GOLD - War Horse - I'm going with this one here. Maybe not in the vein you were thinking. It is fresh and has a very nice story to it about a young man and his horse trying to survive the hell that the British Cavalry must endure during World War I. Hey, that's two gold for Spielberg. I know he is proud.
SILVER - National Velvet - I think this one is required on any horse movie list. A classic from 1944 starting a young Elizabeth Taylor.
BRONZE - Secretariat/Seabiscuit - These two movies tied for the bronze. I have the get the historical ones in a some point and these to horse were really, really fast.
GOLD - Forrest Gump - That dude could run. He ran across America..... twice. Why? Because he felt like it. He was a star player at Alabama as well. All I have to say is "Run Forrest!!!"
SILVER - Marathon Man - It's not exactly about running but it sounds like it is. This is an amazing thriller with great performances by Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider, and the immortal Sir Laurence Olivier. "Is it safe?"
BRONZE - The Running Man - Ummmm, just look at the title.
GOLD - The Matrix - My mind was blown when I first saw this one. How did they do all of that? The stunts, the camera work, the "bullet time", and the red or the blue pill. This is one of those ground breaking special effects movie that changes the landscape of effects after it is released similar to what Star Wars and Jurassic Park did. After about the 275,000th shell casing hit the ground I was more that impressed.
SILVER - Pick a Dirty Harry movie. No mere mortal can do more damage with a hand cannon than this guy. By the way Harry, the answer is NO, NO, NO... I do not feel lucky.
BRONZE - The Wild Bunch - We can't have a list on pistols without a western. Just when the MPAA dropped many of its restrictions regarding what can be shown in American movies, this gem came along along with a couple thousand blood squibs. Maybe the most violent movie made at its time in 1969. It still holds up today and is one of my favorite westerns.
Well that wraps it up. Or does it?! (bum, bum, bum) There is a movie that embodies all of these. He may have crossed your mind while going over these events. The legendary Indiana Jones covers all of these events over his illustrious career. He is a man among men. I shall deem the awards to all be emblazoned with his likeness going forward. Cheers to the Modern Olympic Pentathlon. What a great event and what a grouping of fantastic movies.
Todd Reardon is a senior writer for Cinema Soapbox