By Gillian Flynn
Updated August 29, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Kurt Russell: Photofest

Why we shamelessly love the selected works of Kurt Russell

Theory of Russelltivity: The funkier the film, the hotter the Kurt. Oh, he’s foxy in such classics as ”Escape From New York” or ”The Thing.” But it seems a little pain heightens the pleasure. Begin the fantasy with ”Overboard,” an ’80s-era ”Taming of the Shrew” in which Kurt’s so buff you forgive him for convincing amnesiac Goldie Hawn she’s his wife/domestic slave. Kurt’s ”Overboard” mullet is so lively and well tended it almost acts. (In one scene, the mullet seems truly conflicted over its role in coercing Goldie into boiling a chicken. Magic time!) In ”Tequila Sunrise,” Kurt’s a cop torn between duty and drug-dealing best buddy Mel Gibson. He’s terribly dashing, whether throwing several orange juices on his boss or making whoopee with Michelle Pfeiffer. But does he value friendship over the Job? Spoiler Alert Circa 1988!! Yes. Finally, the best: ”Tango & Cash.” Kurt’s a maverick cop partnered with Sylvester Stallone’s slick cop, and Jack Palance is a baddie who fondles mice in the film that answers the question, What’s it like to watch Kurt and Sly banter homoerotically? Fast-forward to 32:12 — the opening shot of Kurt and Sly’s naked prison shower scene — and rejoice!