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Top 5 Best Masks in Bank Robbery Movies
Your money is insured by the federal government, you're not gonna lose a dime.
I don't think that there's much better than a good crime movie - specifically, a bank robbery scene. Gritty, tense, textbook edge-of-your-seat stuff because it feels so real. This could happen to you, (who still goes inside banks?)
Inspired by a recent watch of one of the movies on this list, I thought I would put together a list of the best robbery masks in movies.
To be clear, it's only masks. No disguises. No makeup. No full costumes. Only masks.
Honorable: Austin Powers in Baby Driver (2017)
It's a pretty funny gag in the movie, confusing creepy Michael Myers masks with buck-toothed Mike Myers ones, but the trailer ruined the bit - it was the biggest joke in the whole thing. Is that the movie's fault? No. But by the time the movie did roll around, I had seen the trailer a million times and the moment only landed because everyone went "That's the moment from the trailer!" a la Rick Dalton.
I'm not sure if this movie holds up, because of the Kevin Spacey problem and the Ansel Elgort problem. I'm scared to revisit it because I really dug it the first time around.
5. Hockey Masks in Heat (1995)
Don't get me wrong, Heat is the best movie on this list. By far. It's damn near perfect and you could argue that it is. I saw it on the big screen not long ago and boy does it sing. I usually have to grit my teeth through long movies, but it earns every second. Pacino, De Niro, Kilmer, Voight, Sizemore, Trejo, Fichtner, Azaria, Brenneman, Judd, Portman...all directed by Michael freakin' Mann.
I picked up the 4K disc recently and just typing that list made me want to put it on...
But the hockey masks? They're cool, they're iconic, they need to be here. But it's not what makes Heat the movie that it is.
4. Betty Dolls in Sugar & Spice (2001)
I must confess that I've never seen Sugar & Spice, so I can't actually speak to how these masks work in the moment, much less how good the movie is as a whole.
But a movie where a cheerleading squad learns how to rob banks from watching Heat and Point Break (spoilers for this list!) is exactly up my alley. In fact, why haven't I watched it yet?
What I can say is that this iconography is awesome. I feel like I can tell so much about the movie, these characters, and those intentions from the masks that they wear. Isn't that why this list exists?
And how about this tagline: WHY WOULD THE MOST POPULAR GIRL IN SCHOOL WEAR A MASK?
3. Clowns in The Dark Knight (2008)
Anybody who says that they knew it was the Joker the first time that they watched The Dark Knight's opener is a liar.
I'm sorry for all of the Christopher Nolan talk on the site recently, but he really got so much about this movie right and this scene might be most representative of that. It's stressful, it's scary, but Heath Ledger's Joker somehow manages to make it all fun. Bus driver? What bus driver?
The masks are so representative of that as well. Nobody needs me to regurgitate the theses on the metaphor that is the Joker's very existence because we all know that seeing a clown doing something scary makes it double scary. Putting a clown under a clown mask? The middle school papers right themselves, (I wrote one myself).
2. Nuns in The Town (2010)
Ben Affleck really knows that these masks are creepy, slowing down to get a good glimpse of these gun-wielding nuns in a still that became the image for the movie. As a whole, The Town didn't hold up as well for me on a recent rewatch, largely because Affleck's mucking it up (Fenway Pahhk) works better in some projects than others, (on a recent revisit of Argo, I bolted upright halfway through the movie and said, "I THINK THIS WON BEST PICTURE.")
But the nuns? The nuns work. Affleck knows it, the marketing team knows it, we know it. The other disguises in the movie are equally effective and I appreciate the fact that they are smart enough to change their look every time, the only sin committed by the movie that tops this list...
1. The Ex-Presidents in Point Break (1991)
Up until recently, I used to be ashamed that I hadn't seen Point Break. I am now a person that has seen Point Break. I am now a person that loves Point Break.
I also loved the Ex-Presidents, the masks worn by the bleach-blonde Patrick Swayze-led surfer gang who fund their exploits with weekly summertime bank robberies, (Who doesn't love it when Gary Busey goes, "The Ex-Presidents....are surfers!" in a way that only he can.)
It does bother me that they wear the same masks every week. Yes, the masks are awesome, and I love the fact that Nixon takes every opportunity to do his Nixon impression, but it's going to lead to your demise.
But it does ask: who are the real crooks? The bank robbers? Or Reagan, Carter, Nixon (“I am not a crook!”), and Johnson? Is stealing insured money so you can go surfing really that big of a deal in relation to Watergate, union busting, sending kids to Vietnam, etc.?
“This was never about money for us. It was about us against the system. That system that kills the human spirit. We stand for something… we show them that the human spirit is still alive.”
Is Point Break that deep? Yes.
The masks are perfectly kitschy. Do they remind anyone else of D.C. Follies?
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