A Few Good Men (1992)
Perhaps the most famous explosion in Hollywood history that involves no flames, just a furiously wrinkled brow and expert shouting. Jack Nicholson’s killer exchange with a blushing Tom Cruise remains powerful despite becoming a bedrock of ‘90s pop culture.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
As if having a wallet with ‘Bad Mother Fucker’ written on it wasn’t cool enough. Sam Jackson’s hitman Jules pulverises Brett with some verbal intimidation before laying down some serious biblical verse.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Turns out you guys really like Star Wars. Who knew? Top of the galaxy far, far away pile is the series’ darkest, most revelatory moment, when Vader reveals to a one-handed, down-in-the-mouth Luke that he’s literally his daddy. Tough break, kid.
Before Natalie Portman brings out the human side of Jean Reno’s New York assassin, the film gives us a glimpse of the master at work, moving unseen through a building full of guards before closing in on his target from the shadows.
In a career full of male bonding including basically everything except kissing with tongues, this is the closest and most touching moment of connection Michael Mann has made.
Pacino’s gruff cop finally gets his man, De Niro’s slick heist man shot and dying in the cold blue light of LAX, planes flying overhead and Moby’s soaring soundtrack rising as the pair hold hands. “Cool, epic, majesterial, mournful, sublime,” you said. You were right.
The Bourne Supremecy (2004)
Matt Damon’s amnesiac superspy is damned cool, especially when he’s matter-of-factly breaking arms or, in this case, one-upping his spook assailants by proving how awesome he is.
Reeling off a list of demands, a rooftop-situated Bourne asks for Julia Stiles’ Nicky to be selected for a meet. “What if I can’t find her?” Pamela Landy stalls. “Its easy. She's standing right next to you.”
The Godfather (1972)
The masterfully cross-cut climax to Francis Ford Coppola’s crime epic, the weight of damnation hanging over Michael as he attends a family baptism while his henchmen execute his order to consolidate his power. Exhilarating, but brilliantly because of its melancholy.
During the ‘all-smiles and momentum’ good times of Scorsese’s gangster epic, young hood Henry Hill shows his girlfriend Karen the dazzling attraction of the life, walking from valet-parked car to back-door entrance to front-and-centre table in a matter of seconds.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Many critics and viewers commented that Hans Lander’s gloriously nasty, language-crossing interrogation of swarthy Frenchman Perrier LaPadite could have been a short film itself, which is partly why it sticks in the mind.
It’s a short, self-enclosed piece of QT magic, both overblown and intensely gripping, excessively stagey and brilliantly dramatic.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
“Beyond cool” is how you described Arnie’s one-handed shotgun reload during the storm drain truck chase at the start of James Cameron’s horizon-broadening action blockbuster. We’re not even sure how he does it, it’s just extra awesome.