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Mystery Alaska

When Russell Crowe wins an Oscar, we Aussies are very proud to claim him as one of us. When he’s pinning a BBC producer to the wall because he’s not allowed to read a poem at the Baftas, we make sure everyone knows he’s really a Kiwi.

That said, not only he is a fine actor but also (and this is more rare) he has a very good record when it comes to picking films.

His CV is as impressive for the absence of really bad films as it is for the likes of Gladiator, The Insider, LA Confidential and A Beautiful Mind.

But my favourite Russell Crowe film is the lesser known Mystery, Alaska – a gentle comedy in which Crowe and the fellow residents of a ice hockey-obsessed Alaskan hamlet end up playing host to the crack NHL team, the New York Rangers.

There’s nothing very original about the David v Goliath plot, but the script (by Ally McBeal author David E Kelley) and the acting (Burt Reynolds is outstanding as Judge Burns) make this a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

As for Crowe, well, he even manages to be quite endearing as the town sheriff – which just shows what a good actor he is!