Top Ten Movies Featuring Texas Tech Alumni
You got to love those Red Raiders when they move to Hollywood and make it big! And, a lot of Texas Tech alumni have gone on to make culturally significant movies that still have impact today. This list is based upon a few things: IMDB score, staying power, re-watchable factor, awards won and my own personal taste. And, while you may not agree with the prestige of these films on the list, you will have to bow to their presence in pop culture. In researching this article, I found a list of actors and director recognized on the Texas Tech website. They are G.W. Bailey (actor), Will Bigham (director),
Barry Corbin (actor), Randy Cordray (producer), George Eads (actor), Andy Fickman (director and producer), Johnny Hardwick (RIP) (voice actor), Brad Leland (actor),
Joe Norman (stunt man), William Shockley (actor), Jeff Smith (actor) and Alexis Topton (voice actress).
We are using these names to put together this list...so let's boogie...
10. DEEPWATER HORIZON (2016) - Brad Leland
You all know Brad Leland's face when you see it. Yes, he one of those supporting that gets a lot of work. Best known as Buddy Garrity on the TV version of "Friday Night Lights," (he also appeared in the movie as a different character) Leland has appeared in big films like "Hancock" and "The Ringer" as well as numerous TV shows. "Deepwater Horizon," the docudrama about the worst oil spill in history, is one Leland's higher ranking films on IMDB. And, as a Texan it's pretty gripping since it all happened in our backyard. Leland has a big role as BP Rig supervisor Bob Kaluza.
9. MANNEQUIN (1987) - G.W. Bailey
Hollywood veteran G.W. Bailey is mainly known for roles like this one in "Mannequin." In an echo of Captain Harris from "Police Academy," Bailey plays store security guard Felix who is always accompanied by his dog "Rambo." He is one of main foils here with a slicked back haired James Spader being the other. "Mannequin" is a simple tale. A clothes designer (Andrew McCarthy) has a mannequin come to life and he's is lucky enough to have it turn out to be Kim Cattrall. While "Mannequin" is no threat to "Citizen Kane" as the greatest movie of all-time, it did give us Menshach Taylor's Hollywood and the Starship hit, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." In case you want to see G.W. in action, he first appears as "Felix" :33 seconds into this trailer...
8. THE GAME PLAN (2007) - Andy Fickman
I had a chance to interview director Andy Fickman at a previous radio gig in Houston. Great guy- and I was happy the movie he was promoting was actually good! That movie was "The Game Plan" with The Rock! It's a simple story - a bachelor quarterback living his best life has it interrupted by his kid (whom he does not know about) appears on his doorstep. It's Disney hi-jinks but works well does as The Rock (with hair!) learns how to juggle football and fatherhood. Fickman has a nice comic touch in all of his films. This one stands out a little more...
7. STIR CRAZY - Barry Corbin
When I had a chance to interview the legendary Barry Corbin, he said working on this prison comedy was great because Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor would improv the best stuff. Corbin, in only his second movie role, plays the warden of the prison Wilder and Pryor are sentenced to. When Wilder ends being a great bull rider, Corbin's character comes alive and sees a chance to finally win the prison rodeo. Directed Hollywood royalty Sidney Poitier, "Stir Crazy" is filled with memorable gags and is consistently funny throughout. Pryor even used his experience filming this movie for some standup material. I can't post it here but look up "Richard Pryor and Penitentiary" on YouTube and you'll have a great laugh.
6. SHOWGIRLS (1995) - William Shockley
"Showgirls" was destroyed by movie critics when it was first released in 1995. Now, it's a beloved cult classic. Elizabeth Berkley took a big risk stepping out of the teen show "Saved By The Bell," to play stripper turned Las Vegas showgirl Nomi in the film. Many thought it was a career ender for Berkley, but she is still working today. Shockley plays one of the memorable villains in movie, a creepy music star who is a hybrid of Michael Bolton and Kenny G named Andrew Carver. Carver does some pretty nasty things. And, then he gets his comeuppance. The movie was NC-17 and we can't even show the trailer, but we do have this clean scene featuring Shockley...
And now on to the TOP FIVE!
5. POLICE ACADEMY (1984) - G.W. Bailey
G.W. Bailey is back on the list with the role that brought him 80's stardom - Captain Harris from the original (and funniest) "Police Academy." The original film spawned six sequels. Original star Steve Guttenberg bailed after the third one, but Bailey appeared in few more. "Police Academy" marathons have just started running on cable channels on the weekends, so that means maybe a new interest in this 80s staple. G.W. was able to shift gears and show his serious acting chops in the TNT series "Major Crimes" from 2012 to 2018. However, "Police Academy" will be the one he's remembered for.
4. SHE'S THE MAN (2006) - Andy Fickman
Andy Fickman returns to the list with the movie that put him on the map, "She's The Man. Based on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," this teen comedy is pretty intricate. So intricate, I had to take the description from it's IMDB page..."When her brother decides to ditch for a couple weeks, Viola heads over to his elite boarding school, disguised as him, and proceeds to fall for his school's star soccer player, and soon learns she's not the only one with romantic troubles." Ok, there you go. This movie made stars out of Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum and is considered a modern teen classic.
3. URBAN COWBOY - Barry Corbin
Acting legend Barry Corbin got his first movie role with this John Travolta classic. When I interviewed Barry, he said a woman was so upset at the movie premiere that his character died (spoiler alert) that he had to tap her on the shoulder and say "I'm still here darling!" to calm her down. Great stuff! Corbin plays Bud's (John Travolta) beloved Uncle Bob. Bud moves in with Bob and his aunt in Houston and then the story takes off when they start to frequent Gilley's in Pasadena. We all know the story from there - Bud meets Sissy, Bud marries Sissy, Bud loses Sissy, Bud wins Sissy back. A classic! Not only did "Urban Cowboy" deliver as a film with staying power - it's soundtrack did too! "Looking For Love," by Johnny Lee, Mickey's "Stand By Me" and Anne Murray's wedding dance classic "Can I Have This Dance" all came from this film.
2. WARGAMES (1983) - Barry Corbin
Barry Corbin is back again! "Wargames" was the surprise hit of 1983. Who would have thought that a computer hacker almost causing World War 3 would be this popular. A pre-Ferris Bueller Matthew Broderick is the hacker, the great Dabney Coleman is a military official and Barry Corbin plays a General in this intense movie. This is an 80's classic that played upon Cold War fears...and delivered.
1. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) - Barry Corbin
And it's three in a row for Barry Corbin! This Best Picture winner directed by the Cohen Brothers features a more seasoned Corbin playing a small but important role. When I interviewed Corbin, he shared that Tommy Lee Jones gets real nervous before takes. That sure doesn't show on screen. Here's a powerful scene with Jones and Corbin...
Great stuff! The movie always features a super creepy Javier Bardem as super villiain Anton Chigurh. If you haven't seen this movie and you're a Texan - you need to give it a watch - Frendo!