I have been working on a Top 5 list for a while now but it is still not ready as I need to do more research on it. However it gave me the idea for this week’s entry so I am presenting my Top 5: Arnold Movies.

The former Govenator has had quite the career over the last 40 years. Racking up an amazing 54 screen credits which also includes the 5 years he took to be the Governor of California. This kid from Austria won Mr. Universe and did it with a brashness that would make most people ashamed. He turned that into a movie career and then segued into politics. It is all pretty impressive when you think about it.

Without further ado lets get to the list, but first a quick note on my rules.
Here are the rules…

  1. Must star Arnold Schwarzenegger
  2. I have seen it

Sadly, while there are many Arnold movies, only a few were worth our time. With that in mind, I wanted to highlight some of the Arnold movies I like.

ConanConan the Barbarian (1982)

Still the best translation of the character on film to date even though it is only loosely based on Robert E. Howard’s character at the best of times. Oliver Stone and John Milius try to bring life to a character that was hard to pull off until they brought in Arnold. Sure, he is not the best actor out there but he has the one thing that great people usually have: charisma. He oozes it on screen. Here he does it as the barbarian boy who watches his family be killed by a band of men looking for “the secret of steel”. That quest leads him to slavery then to be a gladiator and finally as a man with only the single thought to avenge his parents. He meets some friends along the way, including the love of his life, and in the end he gets some measure of satisfaction but at a high cost. I remember getting to watch this at my birthday with some friends along with some other staples of my film loves, but this will always be up way high on the list. It features an amazing soundtrack by Basil Poledouris, giving us one of the best film scores. Anvil of Crom is a signature piece and instantly puts you in the mood for blood and vengeance. The whole time you root for Conan thanks to Arnold and his performance.

TerminatorThe Terminator (1984)

“I’ll be back.” Really that’s all I need to write about this because everyone knows. Hell, even f you haven’t seen it you just know. The modern day of 1984 is disrupted when Sarah Connor runs into a good looking guy by the name of Kyle Reese. He tells her to come with him if she wants to live just as Arnold decides to blow her head off. From him she learns that the man trying to kill her is actually a deadly machine sent from the future by Skynet, the computer that took over and is wiping out humanity. But her son John Connor is the leader of the human resistance and is slowing down that goal. This is when the strangeness of time travel comes into it and we develop mind bending paradoxes and cyclical loops of inevitability. It is a grim, dystopian world both in the future and in the present. Arnold roles out very little in the way of performance but what little he does is great.  With so few words he creates one of the most quotable and intimidating screen villains of of all time.

PredatorPredator (1987)

A classic Arnold movie. Dutch is a man with a team of highly trained mercenaries asked to go into the jungles of South America to help retrieve a downed US helicopter and it’s pilots. But a funny thing happened along the way to the crash site. They meet an alien killing machine that is also in the jungle looking to hunt anything that poses a challenge. Here Arnold gets some solid backup from a cast of actors who give him some great material to bounce off and create a memorable sci-fi actioner. By the time we get to the end of the movie and the battle is now getting pretty down and dirty, we see that only a super strong alien creature poses any threat to Arnold. Even on his worst day, there’s still no competition. Plus Carl Weathers, yeah Apollo Creed is in it! Right, is it possible for it to get any better? Yep Jesse “The Body” Ventura (back before he was crazy) is in there too.

Running ManThe Running Man (1987)

Based on the hit book by Stephen King. This story does alter it’s history to better fit the tale the studio and Arnold wanted to tell. An innocent man is convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison to only be recruited to participate in the latest Running Man series. As he tries not to be involved, he learns he has no choice and puts his head in the game. When he shocks the audience by killing a Stalker for the first time, things begin to go out of control for those in charge. Arnold, who plays the lead Ben, does what he does best: makes us like him and care about him winning. The whole time he is racking up a serious body count. The movie has some of the best crazy-violent deaths due to the ridiculous nature of the stories concept. It feels rather on point as the reality TV craze continues today. Plus, we are only 2 years away from this predicted future.

True LiesTrue Lies (1994)

A fun romp where Arnold plays a CIA agent living a double life. While he’s out saving the world from terrorists and rogue states out to do bad things, his home life is that of a a boring insurance salesman with a family he loves. It’s only a matter of time that things get messy both in his home life and at work. While his wife thinks to surprise him in a hotel, both get pulled into a web of craziness as the bad guys are trying to launch nuclear weapons. His character of Harry Tasker is a man trying to hold on to all the lies. It’s only when he admits who and what he is that he frees himself of the burdens he has been carrying. Arnold gets to shine and work his newly minted comedic skills while still mashing his way through every bad guy he finds. Also, Bill Paxton gets to have some real fun in this one.

So there it is, my list. There are so many more that I could have added but I wanted to go with what I think of as the best representatives of the group. If you are looking for something to watch this weekend, give one of these a try.

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!