Monday, August 15, 2011

We can be heroes....

Just one more for the boys, for a while at least. On to our heroes. Not the ones you necessarily want to marry, or the ones you necessarily want to ahem, spend time with (although obviously not ruling that out). I have not repeated any that have appeared in my other blogs, although most of them are heroes too. Here's to the men who portrayed some of our all time heroes on screen. The criteria? Making a stand, putting your life on the line, self sacrifice. Some real, some fiction, but all brave and good, even if that isn't so evident initially. Handsome helps, but is not mandatory for this category. Who doesn't like their men brushed with a little superhero?

Oskar Schindler Liam Neeson Schindler's List
Tall and handsome, a womaniser and social climber. Oh so slowly, he realises what his 'business associates' are and reluctantly at the beginning becomes involved in saving the lives of thousands of people through putting them no his work list, the list is life. A heart-breaking performance, culminating in the scene where he scrabbles on the floor, looking for something to sell to save one more life. Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.

Indiana Jones Harrison Ford Raiders Of the Lost Ark
Ahh Indi. What a character. Sexy nerd Professor by day, intrepid archeologist by the hour. The dry wit, the hat, the whip, the ladies. When you hear that rousing music and see his eyebrow rise in disbelief, you know you're in for a wild ride. Brave and almost fearless, don't put him near a snake, but other than that, anything goes baby. He's enough to make you wish you were an ancient relic, to be dug up and admired.

Rick Blaine Humphrey Bogart Casablanca
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Isla walks into Rick's cafe. Bringing with her her husband resistance fighter Victor Lazlo. Rick is bitter and jealous. Refusing to give them the papers they so dearly need to help them escape, Rick is hell bent on making her pay for leaving him. Finally, Ilsa admits that she loves him and wants to stay. He makes her leave, sacrificing himself for her safety. What a guy. Here's looking at you, kid.

Harry PotterDaniel Radcliffe Harry Potter series
The boy with the scar crept into our hearts. Saved by the love of his Mum, he is the only person who dare utter the name of the arch villain Voldemort. We follow his journey from young school boy to noble young man, watching his mistakes and bravery with affection and admiration. Finally good overcomes evil and we sadly wave goodbye to our hero, safe in the hands of Ginny. Thanks Harry, it's been magic.

Atticus Finch Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird
Scout and Jem were lucky kids. They had a dad we would all envy. Calm, wise, moral and handsome. Never shouted, never screamed, just imparted his wisdom in a timely manner. Aching with loneliness from the loss of his wife, Atticus made a moral stand when he defended a black man accused of rape. Teaching us all a lesson in not to judge, Atticus is the everyday hero we all aspire to. Stand up, your father's passing....

Billy Costigan Leonardo DiCaprio The Departed
Billy is from the wrong side of Boston. He also has a temper. Sent deep undercover to infiltrate Frank Costello's world of Irish mafia, Billy puts himself on the line every day. There is a mole in the police force, and Billy has to find him. In every scene, Billy becomes more and more paranoid, unsure who to trust, convinced he will be found out and killed. But he keeps on going. Alone and frightened, he works it out eventually, but what a price is paid. Sorry for your troubles, Billy.

George Bailey James Stewart It's a Wonderful Life
Feeling increasingly claustraphobic, George wants out. Duty bound to stay in his town and work in the family business, George has itchy feet and wants to fly. An angel comes to him when he's at his lowest ebb, and shows him what life would have been like if George had not existed. Filled with luck and the good fortune of being born, George realises that it truly is a wonderful life, and the angel gets his wings.

Andy Dufresne Tim Robbins The Shawshank Redemption
The only innocent man in Shawshank. Andy was imprisoned for killing his wife. For years, this smart and gentle man took what life had to throw at him, slowly carving his rocks, and a plan. As he lives through unspeakable acts and tolerates the evil warden's demands, Andy is never alone as he has Mr. Mozart with him. Quietly anarchic, always calculating his moves. Forming one of the sweetest friendships ever with Red, he keeps his hope alive. Finally, he reaches his dream destination, and waits for Red.....

Red Morgan Freeman The Shawshank Redemption
The only guilty man in Shawshank. He is resigned to prison life. After meeting Andy, and resisting the thought of ever leaving his incarceration, Red is given one more chance. A lifetime of being told what to do makes him doubt his abilities to follow a dream and Andy to sunnier Mexican shores. Steeling himself, Red chooses to get busy living and we see one of the most heartwarming reunions of all time. He hopes the pacific is as blue as it has been is his dreams. He hopes.

Robin Hood Russell Crowe Robin Hood
Which Robin to choose? I plumped for Russell, because he's the most down to earth and he falls for a Marion who is his own age, not twenty years younger. Earthy and brave, plundering the rich and giving to the poor. Honourable and true, not a pair of tights in sight. His arrow hits the target every time.

Lt Aldo Raine Brad Pitt Inglourious Basterds
What a hero! This Righteous man from the Deep South is in the Nazi killin' business. He is ruthless and has only one rule for his troop, that they give him one hundred Nazi scalps or die trying. Lt Raine is comical, honourable and brave. It's ok if he's a little loopy he has the heart of a lion. Dressed in his tuxedo disguised as an 'Eyetalian', the accent is totally convincing. In this movie dream of how World War II should have ended, Lt Raine wins the medal. Arreeeevaderci Adolph.

The entire crew Memphis Belle
In May 1943 the crew of the Memphis Belle embarked on their 25th mission. If successful they would be the first US air squad to complete their tour of duty. On their safe return, they will be heralded as heroes and bring good news when it is desperately needed. Their mission is to bomb a Nazi bomb factory. The diverse characters on board leads to disagreements and the horror and claustraphobia of the flight is brought home to us. This is no glamourisation of war. They all show true valour and insane courage in the face of adversity. This is a tribute to all the brave people in the forces, we salute you.

Benjamin Button Brad Pitt The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

His name is Benjamin Button and he was born under unusual circumstances. Born old, and aging beautifully, Benjamin is a worldly wise and gentle man. Accepting with grace the fact that he is different, he takes chances and finds beauty in most everything he encounters. Falling in love with Daisy when they are both very young, but he looks so old, he bides his time. Travelling far and wide, inspiring people along the way, Benjamin and Daisy finally have their time together, but it's all too brief as Benjamin continues to get younger, but only on the outside. Daisy cares for Benjamin until he gets young and dies cradled in her arms. Oh the tears I shed. A sublime love story, a sublime story of time and acceptance. Benjamin Button is what Forrest Gump was aspiring to, Benjamin just did it so much better. A calm and sweet soul, he delivered wonderful thoughts in his Southern drawl with such beautiful Buttonisms as "Your life is defined by opportunities...even the ones you miss", indeed it is Benjamin, indeed it is.