There’s an actor who, in one film, played the badass leader of a hardcore military team obliged to drag along a bespectacled Ph.D. with mission-critical knowledge. The same actor, in another film two years later, was himself the bespectacled Ph.D. with mission-critical knowledge dragged along on a mission with a team of military badasses. Who is it, and what are the films?
It’s Kurt Russell, in Stargate and Executive Decision.
In the latter film, it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that Kurt’s character is a student pilot who’s practicing in a small Piper at the beginning of the film (at AOPA‘s home field!) and is called on to land a jumbo jet at the end. It’s the secret fantasy and fear of every student pilot, and it was dramatized exactly the way I’ve imagined it happening to me, in the same sequence: figuring out the throttle quadrant, locating the gear switch, urging the pretty but frightened stewardess to find the POH and having her look up VFE and VS0, deploying flaps, and, after touching down (much too hard due to the unfamiliar cockpit height), desperately hunting for the way to deploy spoilers and reverse thrust. Ah, what a great film.