If there’s one thing this year’s not-so-surprising hit “Hunger Games” taught us is that even the seemingly most ostensibly weak and can become a warrior. In that film young Katniss, though extremely empathic and always willing to stand up for her family, looked like someone who’d probably be pushed over like a piece of wonky cardboard on a ruffled mattress come the games. And yet, despite everyone and against the odds, she rose up to defy the cynics, stared death in the face and told it “You’re not taking me. I’m not lying down for nobody.”
And we cheered as the slender girl turned into a warrior woman on the battlefields, refusing to give up and determined not to let others ill-intentioned arrows destroy her.
This morning I heard an interview with our Clint Morris, who as most of you know has just endured what’s unarguably one of the toughest years of his life, as he described his hurried downfall at the hands of a tumour.. and the tear- enduring folly that would follow it. To suffer what he did, and to experience such unpleasantness and the realisation that this might “be it”, would’ve been nightmarish. Something he will never forget.
Yet like Katniss, he proved he’s extremely resilient and wasn’t going to go down without a fight. And boy did he go down swinging.
When Clint arose again, he was stronger, wiser and equipped with a new outlook on life and an attitude that screams “go get it!” and “now or never”. And to see what he’s done with his life since remission, or whatever it’s called, you’d say his words have truth to them.
Even now, with the potentially life-robbing news that his future travel plans and other dreams have been hindered, and with much his life has changed externally since the events since March 2012, he’s got more spunk and strength than ever. As his friend, journalist Guy Davis jokingly wrote on Facebook a few weeks ago, the movie “Unstoppable” is about Clint. And it must be true. The guy now has body parts that will never work the same way again, and is a mere shadow of himself (I think the other half of Clint is still kissing Katniss on the Games field somewhere), and yet it’s not preventing him from going out there and making the most of his life.
Like Katniss and Clint James Bond Morris (tell me he’s not channelling Pierce Brosnan in “Goldeneye” these days?) cinema has seen many of its abused-and-used turn into inspiringly strong warriors… let’s take a look at 10 of them!
Brian McCaffrey (William Baldwin) – “Backdraft”
The younger, less reputable brother of fire-fighter hero Stephen (Kurt Russell). Didn’t get to prove his worth until about ten minutes before the end of the movie, but put his life on the line to not only show everyone his skills, but save their lives, causing an audience to jump on their feet and cheer for the underdog.
Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) – “Death Wish”
Kindly Architect and family-man Kersey could only watch helplessly as psychos brutally killed his wife, and raped his daughter. Not letting fate get away with such a cruel end for his beloved, he takes matters into his own hands and plays eye-for-an-eye with the culprits.
Jack Putter (Martin Short) – “Innerspace”
With the real muscle incapacitated, it’s up to the lanky, clumsy and somewhat introverted Jack – whose day-to-day life consists of being insulted and taken advantage of by his colleagues at the supermarket he’s employed at – to save the day. And he does! complete with Rod Stewart on the car stereo… and Meg Ryan on his arm!
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) – “Jerry Maguire”
After agent Jerry, a charming but carefree young man, loses his top job, many clients, spoilt girlfriend and has his reputation tarnished, he – with the help of a lovable squirt and his pretty new assistant – gets his life back on track by forming his own company, which is soon a success, and discovers love again. The character, I’d say, is most like our own Clint – without the Bruce Springsteen songs that play whenever he cocks a smile.
Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) – “The Karate Kid”
All he wanted to do was ‘fit in’, but no, those bullies had to tease him, beat him and embarrass the poop out of him in front of a pretty girl. Determined not to get about being scared all the time, he seeks the help of a kindly local who teaches him martial-arts. He keeps getting knocked down, and sustains some ouchy injuries, but he keeps coming. And yes, he eventually gets his own back!
Detective Paul Diskant (Chris Evans) – “Street Kings”
The new detective on the block is just some ‘green’ and mostly useless weakling as far as the other, stronger (corrupt) cops are concerned. But when push comes to shove, and some handcuffs need to go on, he steps up to the plate and proves he has some fight in him.
James T.Kirk (Chris Pine) – “Star Trek”
In 2009’s “Star Trek” reboot, a mischievous, cheeky ladies man whose reputation has turned to shit because of some bar brawls and his unruly behaviour is forced to show people that there’s some value in him – and a future ‘Captain’ – when he finds himself the unlikely lead protagonist in a scuffle against some murderous time-travelling aliens.
Will Hunting (Matt Damon) – “Good Will Hunting”
Always deflecting his inner issues with humour, a knack for ignoring hard to discuss conversations, and so low self-esteem that he doesn’t believe it when he’s told he’s gifted. Ultimately, Will rises above his problems, comes to terms with his abusive past and learns to forgive those who’ve made him this way, and goes about to not only get himself “a life” but… the girl.
Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) – “Con-Air”
Good-boy sailor-type, wrongly sent to Prison for sticking up for his love, who finds himself on a prison plane full of seemingly stronger and more threatening fellow prisoners. Fuelled by the love and need to see his little girl, and determined to get back to the woman he loves, he stops sitting silently and begins to take control of the situation.
Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) – “Pay it Forward”
Yes, it’s a terribly sad moment but it’s also one of the most heroic on film. Young Trevor, a boy with a heart-of-gold who goes about helping people (ultimately inspiring the ‘Pay it Forward’ rule), decides to (and this reminds me a bit of Clint too) stand up to some bullies to protect a friend, Adam. Adam watches helplessly as Trevor is stabbed. He later dies in hospital. The town puts on a vigil to salute someone who sacrificed his life for a friend. I’m sure some of us can relate to this. Sad movie and a lovely performance by young Osment as the all-heart hero.
Can you think of any more unlikely heroes?