Theme Times – John Travolta

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John Travolta By By Georges Biard

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John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, film producer, dancer, and singer. Travolta rose to fame during the 1970s, appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–1979) and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Grease (1978). His acting career declined through the 1980s, but enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction (1994), and he has since starred in films such as Get Shorty (1995), Broken Arrow (1996), Face/Off (1997), Swordfish (2001), Be Cool (2005), Wild Hogs (2007), Hairspray (2007), Bolt (2008) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).

Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for performances in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. He won his first and only Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty and has received a total of six nominations, the most recent being in 2011. In 2010, he received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. In 2016, Travolta received his first Primetime Emmy Award, as a producer of the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson. He also received an additional Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro in the series.

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John Travolta

I first ever saw John Travolta in Welcome Back, Kotter when l was a kid and have been a fan of his performances ever since, here’s my Top 20 of his works – so are you too a Travolta fan? If so, what are your personal favourites?

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Saturday Night Fever – 1977

1

Tony Manero (John Travolta) doesn’t have much going for him during the weekdays. He still lives at home and works as a paint store clerk in his Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood. But he lives for the weekends, when he and his friends go to the local disco and dance the night away. When a big dance competition is announced, he wrangles the beautiful and talented Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to be his partner. As the two train for the big night, they start to fall for each other as well.

Grease – 1978

2

Experience the friendships, romances and adventures of a group of high school kids in the 1950s. Welcome to the singing and dancing world of “Grease,” the most successful movie musical of all time. A wholesome exchange student (Olivia Newton-John) and a leather-clad Danny (John Travolta) have a summer romance, but will it cross clique lines?

Face/Off – 1997

3

Obsessed with bringing terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) to justice, FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) tracks down Troy, who has boarded a plane in Los Angeles. After the plane crashes and Troy is severely injured, possibly dead, Archer undergoes surgery to remove his face and replace it with Troy’s. As Archer tries to use his disguise to elicit information about a bomb from Troy’s brother, Troy awakes from a coma and forces the doctor who performed the surgery to give him Archer’s face.

Get Shorty – 1995

4

Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a Miami mobster who gets sent by his boss, the psychopathic “Bones” Barboni (Dennis Farina), to collect a bad debt from Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), a Hollywood producer who specializes in cheesy horror films. When Chili meets Harry’s leading lady (Rene Russo), the romantic sparks fly. After pitching his own life story as a movie idea, Chili learns that being a mobster and being a Hollywood producer really aren’t all that different.

Pulp Fiction – 1994

5

Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions. In this ultra-hip, multi-strand crime movie, their storyline is interwoven with those of their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) ; his actress wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) ; struggling boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) ; master fixer Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) and a nervous pair of armed robbers, “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer).

Blowout – 1981

6

While recording sound effects for a slasher flick, Jack Terri (John Travolta) stumbles upon a real-life horror: a car careening off a bridge and into a river. Jack jumps into the water and fishes out Sally (Nancy Allen) from the car, but the other passenger is already dead — a governor intending to run for president. As Jack does some investigating of his tapes, and starts a perilous romance with Sally, he enters a tangled web of conspiracy that might leave him dead.

A Civil Action – 1998

7

In this legal thriller based on a true story, John Travolta stars as Jan Schlichtmann, a tenacious personal-injury attorney whose fierce determination entangles him in a case that threatens to destroy him. The case — which appears straight forward — instead evolves into a labyrinthine lawsuit of vast dimensions, in the intelligent, fast-paced drama, “A Civil Action.”

Phenomena – 1996

8

There exists a world within our world. A world beneath what we call cyberspace. A world protected by firewalls, passwords and the most advanced security systems. In this world we hide our deepest secrets, our most incriminating information, and of course, a whole lot of money. This is the world of “Swordfish.” The world’s most dangerous spy is hired by the CIA to coerce a computer hacker recently released from prison to help steal $6 billion in unused government funds.

Swordfish – 2001

9

On his birthday, mechanic George Malley (John Travolta) sees a flash of light and proceeds to exhibit extraordinary mental abilities. He becomes a genius, even showing an ability to move objects with his mind. George wishes to help people, but the government wants to take him in for observation. Soon, George finds out from Dr. Brunder (Robert Duvall) that he has a massive brain tumor. With this new knowledge, George decides to spend his time with girlfriend Lace (Kyra Sedgwick).

The Taking of Pelham 123 – 2009

10

Chaos reigns in the New York City subway system when heavily armed criminals, led by a mastermind named Ryder (John Travolta), hijack a subway train and threaten to kill everyone on board unless a large ransom is paid. Dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) uses his extensive knowledge of the transit system in a bid to outwit the hijackers and save the hostages, but one question remains: even if the hijackers get their money, how can they possibly escape?

The General’s Daughter – 1999

11

Chaos reigns in the New York City subway system when heavily armed criminals, led by a mastermind named Ryder (John Travolta), hijack a subway train and threaten to kill everyone on board unless a large ransom is paid. Dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) uses his extensive knowledge of the transit system in a bid to outwit the hijackers and save the hostages, but one question remains: even if the hijackers get their money, how can they possibly escape?

Michael – 1996

12

When jaded journalists Frank (William Hurt) and Huey (Robert Pastorelli), along with “angel expert” Dorothy (Andie MacDowell), travel to a small town in Iowa to investigate a story, they find Michael (John Travolta), a disheveled man claiming to be an angel. But Michael is less than angelic: he drinks, smokes and basks in the attention of women. As the group travels to Chicago, Michael teaches them about relationships, faith and miracles, suggesting that he may be exactly whom he says he is.

From Paris with Love – 2010

13

James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has a good job as an ambassador’s aid in France, but his real passion is a side gig, working in a minor role in the CIA. He would love to be a full-fledged agent and can’t believe his luck when he lands an assignment with Charlie Wax (John Travolta). Trigger-happy Charlie soon has James crying for his desk job, but when he learns that the same guys they’re trying to catch are after him, James realizes that Charlie may be his only hope of survival.

Carrie – 1976

14

In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.

The Punisher – 2004

15

This dark action film, based on the comic book series, follows FBI agent Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) as he transforms into the vengeful Punisher after criminals murder his family, including his wife and son. Castle is gravely injured in the attack and believed to be dead by Howard Saint (John Travolta), the crime lord who ordered the hit. Following his recovery, Castle becomes a heavily armed vigilante who will stop at nothing to exact revenge on Saint and dismantle his underworld empire.

Bolt – 2008

16

The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue … until the cameras stop rolling. But Bolt doesn’t know that he’s on a TV show; he thinks his amazing powers are real. When Bolt is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to the mean streets of New York, he begins his most-amazing adventure: Armed only with his delusions and accompanied by a cat and a hamster, he sets out to to find his owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus).

Basic – 2003

16

During a special operations training mission in Panama, four U.S. soldiers are killed mysteriously, and their leader, Sgt. Nathan West (Samuel L. Jackson), goes missing. A military investigator, Capt. Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen), has trouble convincing the two survivors to talk about what happened that night. A more experienced investigator, Tom Hardy (John Travolta), is brought in to crack the case. However, when the survivors do start talking, their stories differ from one another.

A Love Song for Bobby Long – 2004

17

Bobby Long (John Travolta), a former professor turned full-time drunkard, and Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht), Long’s former teaching assistant, spend their days drinking and swapping literary quotations in a New Orleans house owned by a deceased lounge singer. When the singer’s daughter, Pursy (Scarlett Johansson), shows up to reclaim her mother’s property, Bobby and Lawson try to grift their way into keeping the home while attempting to convince the high-school dropout to pursue an education.

Lonely Hearts – 2006

18

Det. Elmer Robinson (John Travolta), still grieving the loss of his suicidal wife, pursues two notorious murderers in 1940s New York. Martha Beck (Salma Hayek) and Ray Fernandez (Jared Leto), known as the Lonely Hearts Killers, prey on spinsters and war widows, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake.

The Thin Red Line – 1998

19

In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South Pacific island. Discovered by his commanding officer, Sgt. Welsh (Sean Penn), Witt is forced to resume his active duty training for the Battle of Guadalcanal. As Witt and his unit land on the island, and the American troops mount an assault on entrenched Japanese positions, the story explores their various fates and attitudes towards life-or-death situations.

Hairspray – 2007

20

In 1960s Baltimore, dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) auditions for a spot on “The Corny Collins Show” and wins. She becomes an overnight celebrity, a trendsetter in dance, fun and fashion. Perhaps her new status as a teen sensation is enough to topple Corny’s reigning dance queen and bring racial integration to the show.

Bonus

So there we go folks John Travolta – what are your favourites?

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8 thoughts on “Theme Times – John Travolta

        1. I don’t do that many any more, just three 🙂

          They [as you know] take up a lot of time, and if you are like me trying to catch up with my catch up, well ha ha you never catch up 🙂

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