The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

One of the best trends in movie violence is that of pen death, wherein the sudden, clever transformation of plume to dagger stuns the victim, rendering them helpless. It is also resourceful and handy in its use of a common object, making pen death ideal in a pinch.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)--John Cusack is (HOT) as a lonely professional hit-man who goes back to the town he grew up in for his high school reunion. His old girlfriend (Minnie Driver), is subjected to much cutesy-obsessive Cusack pursuit, while shady characters are spying and dirty deals are being carried out. The reunion provides a backdrop for the battle leading to inevitable pen death at the hands of Cusack. "Thanks for the pen," he says, earning extra cheeseball style points.

Casino (1995)--Robert De Niro is an ambitious casino mogul in old-school, mobster-riddled Las Vegas, where he marries the lovely, diamond and fur-hogging Sharon Stone. Everything is perfect until his strong-arm buddy Joe Pesci starts killing too many people, his wife becomes a HUGE druggie, and the criminal Vegas empire begins to crumble. Pesci is a mad little doggie who butchers anyone who dares even be rude. Such is the fate of one man, who meets his death in a smoky bar, where Pesci masterfully illustrates a multiple-stab version of the pen death technique.

Natural Born Killers (1994)--Two lovey-dovey psychos, Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson, roam the country viscously killing everyone who crosses their path. Pursued by an equally sick cop with an identity crisis and major hots for Lewis, the two are eventually busted and jailed. Far from being the end of the story, even more murder and riotous mayhem ensue. In a film so jam packed with violence, it takes a sharper eye to notice the pen death inflicted by murder mama Lewis, as she sends the horny, crooked cop to his grave. Accomplished with such grace and panache, her move begs the eternal question, "How sexy am I now?!" MARJORIE SKINNER