It Can't Be A Bad Movie If A Wicked Little Man Gets A Straight-Razor Shave
Not all movies of this type are great, necessarily, but by virtue of having a scene where a wicked little man gets a straight-razor shave, they definitionally cannot be bad. It’s difficult but not impossible for a bad movie to be set on a train (for every Tall Target and Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 there’s a Snowpiercer or a Branagh version of Murder on the Orient Express); it is difficult but not impossible for a bad movie to include a scene where a man shaves himself (Multiplicity), and easy for an indifferent movie to include a scene of a handsome man shaving himself blandly, where the handsomeness is meant to distract from the emptiness of the scene, but cannot (Crocodile Dundee, Skyfall).
But if a terrible, wicked, little man, prone to malice, riddled with impishness, perhaps heading a wide-ranging syndicate of additionally nefarious little men, certainly with sinister and arcane purposes known only to him, receives a straight-razor shave, the movie he is in cannot be bad. If he is getting his fussy little shave in a hotel room? And the barber attending him is visibly nervous? Then, my friends, the movie simply has to be good. And if this wicked, fussy little man, crammed with vanities, impatient with henchmen, finicky in his violence and violently fastidious, should interrupt this shave in order to threaten another man, or even make good on threats of violence against someone else in the room with him, perhaps, someone who has been forced to stand around uselessly while this wicked little man goes through his toilet like a magnificent tyrant-king? And then after this abrupt bout of violence, the wicked little man returns to his shave and other favorite creature comforts? Where little refers to the pleasure of pettiness, in which he luxuriates like a marvelous little machine?
Then, my friends, the movie you are watching is a great movie.
Also acceptable is a scene where a freaky, preferably balding, little pervert gives a handsome man a shave (High Plains Drifter). Ideally the misshapen weirdness comes from the wicked little man receiving the shave, but it works in the other direction, if the little pervert is sufficiently freaky.
It should go without saying that none of the shaving scenes from Maverick count. Honorable mention to movies where a very big man has to shave under very cramped conditions, Thank you for your time.