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A.J. goes to the movies

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With today being opening day of the new "Star Trek" film, anyone acquainted with me knows what's dominating my thoughts today: Woodworking in the movies!

Well, that's a big fat lie, of course. I'm really thinking of playing hooky and sneaking off to the local Multiplex as soon as it opens to do some Trekkin'. But as long as I've got movies on my mind, let's take a look at woodworking in the movies. In no particular order:

In "For Love of the Game," a key plot point revolves around a woodworking accident. Kevin Costner (in real life a woodworking hobbyist) is using the table saw. He's got a cup of coffee in one hand and uses a wrench as a pushstick with the other while ripping a board. Every woodworker viewing the film saw that accident coming a mile away.

Harrison Ford showed off his hand-tool skills in "Witness." Those skills were real, not acting – Ford worked as a carpenter before becoming a star.

The film version of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" sets a musical number around a guy building a house entirely with hand tools. Never seen anyone sing and plane boards at the same time before, or since, but boy did his plane strokes have rhythm!

Although he was known as a carpenter, Jesus has rarely been shown plying that trade. Hats off to Mel Gibson for including an entire scene built around Jesus crafting and completing a table in "Passion of the Christ."

Speaking of Mel, he makes a Windsor chair in "The Patriot." Actually, he makes several of them … but only gets to enjoy one for a few seconds each time he makes one.

In "Bicentennial Man," Robin Williams cuts his thumb off with a bandsaw when his character takes up woodworking as a hobby. (Not to worry, though; he was playing a robot, so they just screwed on a new thumb.)

Steve Martin portrays a reclusive professional woodworker – a chair maker, if I recall – in a wonderful little film called "A Simple Twist of Fate."

Those are just a few I had room for here, as I can easily think of others. How about you? What other movies can you remember that showed actual woodworking being performed? I'm not talking about woodworking merely going on in the background of a scene. And I'm certainly not talking about movies that have featured woodworking tools used as weapons – I suspect nail guns have gotten more screen time than any other tool in that regard – but movies with scenes where a main character is actually engaging in the pursuit.

Till next time,


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