Jul 27, 2009
The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. Pushing Tin. New York Transportation Control on Hulu
By coincidence, perhaps, I just spotted two "New York transportation control"-themed movies on Hulu.com (note that they aren't available forever, so watch now or plan to rent).
In The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Robert Shaw and crew take over a New York City subway and hold its passengers hostage. Subway exec Walter Matthau manages the crisis with the cool of Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon. The writing and acting are top notch, and of a rhythm and style that we don't see these days. Cultural bonus: it's a great look at 1974 New York -- very pre-Giuliani, and well before the spread of politically correct speech. Music bonus: a fine score by David Shire. Trivia: this movie gave Quentin Tarantino the idea to name his Reservoir Dogs characters after colors.
In Pushing Tin, John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton are New York area traffic controllers. (Note that this film came out in 1999, two years before 9/11). I didn't much care for the whole movie (which also stars Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie for the drama parts) but I loved the air traffic control scenes, especially the opening flight sequence. If you just want to see the air traffic control parts that I liked, watch the opening, the scene at around 27 minutes, and the scene at around 1 hour 26 minutes.
Minor actor bonus from Pelham One Two Three: a younger Jerry Stiller, and Doris Roberts as the Mayor's Wife. Roberts also has a small part in Walter Matthau's A New Leaf.
Pelham is great. The score is fantastic. You don't often see 12-tone scores in popular movies, and you don't expect a 12-tone score to be as funky as this is. See also Shire's score for "The Conversation"
Posted by: David | Jul 28, 2009 12:39:49 AM
Wired Magazine reports on air traffic control changes around New York:
Posted by: Phil | Jul 29, 2009 12:04:21 AM
If you want to see some more of Doris Roberts, Hulu has episodes of Remington Steele!
Posted by: Toastie | Jul 29, 2009 4:01:59 PM