This weekend brings us our first big baity film of awards season, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a supposed Scientology allegory that truly explores crises erupting from a modern man’s lack of structure and authority. The faithfully well-composed film, which includes big, beefy performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, got us thinking about other masters who’ve passed across our movie screens, be them masters of a trade, a servant, or even a universe. You thought Dolph Lundgren, Meryl Streep, and Darth Sidious couldn’t co-habitate. You were wrong, Padawan.
Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella in Masters of the Universe (1987). Warner Brothers is busy developing a new rendition of Masters of the Universe, one of the few untapped properties of our current superhero surge. But it’s tough to imagine any new blood topping Frank Langella’s booming histrionics as Skeletor, and Dolph Lundgren’s dumb-blonde hunkiness as He-Man, Eternia’s answer to Fabio. Joined by Courteney Cox and a whole host of familiar names from the toy line (hide the kids; it’s…Evil-Lyn), these intergalactic masters spar to see who can rule the galaxy, resulting in what’s kindly been called “the Star Wars of the ’80s.”