Cinemas’ Angels: 4 Great Movie Heroes

Villains are overrated. Sure, it’s fun to explore the twisted minds of The Joker, Anton Chigurh, and Frank Underwood in the hopes of uncovering a cautionary tale that dissuades us from following in their footsteps, but the trouble is that all too often, great swaths of the viewing audience end up being seduced by such characters to the point where they admire them and defend their actions. The aforementioned Underwood has since become one of TV’s most “beloved” characters, alongside such wicked fiends as Tony Soprano, Lorne Malvo, and Walter White. It should also be noted that this trend is by no means exclusive to TV shows; people talked more about The Joker than Batman when The Dark Knight was released, Hannibal Lecter has always been more popular than the FBI agents sent to work with him, and even the HAL 9000 is referred to more often in conversations about 2001: A Space Odyssey than any of the other (human) characters.

Bad guys, it seems, aren’t just more interesting than heroes; they’re downright cool from time to time. As Jonah Goldberg succinctly puts it, characters who act by their own code of conduct are “sexy” because they are lone wolves who play by their own rules, while characters who prefer to take the path towards integrity and appeal to ideals greater than themselves are pansies, goody-goodies, or just plain “blah”. Perhaps the reason for the rising interest in villains is that they are often portrayed as damaged or flawed individuals, which makes it easier for the audience to relate to them. That’s a solid enough point, but it’s one that doesn’t allow any room for growth. A person may have a sense of belonging if they hang out with people of similar character, but that doesn’t help them become a better person. In order to do that, one has to aspire to something grander and put forth the effort to change the way they are, and sometimes people learn to become more compassionate and selfless through storytelling. Countless heroes have been depicted in all sorts of mediums, and while they can often come off as perfect or too good to be true, the ideals that they represent are ones that should at the very least be commended and passed around.

Again, villains have a respectable place in popular culture and they are just as vital an element of any story. But it’s worth remembering that there are characters in fiction that are meaningful not because they are the most powerful or the most cunning, but simply because they are patient, wise, and kind. This list is more or less a friendly reminder that such characters are worth taking note of because the ideals they represent are what help teach people to be better than they are.

Just a few caveats about the list: these are just characters that have mattered to me, and I invite people to comment about cinematic heroes that have mattered to them. Also, none of these characters matter more to me than the others so the order is simply alphabetical, not descending/ascending in terms of value. Lastly, I issue a general warning for spoilers so, if you haven’t seen any of the movies I’ve listed, read at your own discretion.

James from Calvary

Father James, the hero from the 2014 drama Calvary.
Father James (Brendan Gleeson) prepares for another spiritually tumultuous day in the 2014 drama, Calvary.

“I do know what felching is.”

A good priest, in fact an excellent priest, is hard to come by in movies. At best they are portrayed as unfeeling hardasses who expect people to be perfect and do everything in their power to ignore the fact that people are naturally flawed, and at worst they are seen as hypocritical liars who indulge in every vice possible, from swindling, to drinking, to all manners of sexual deviancy. Father James (played by Brendan Gleeson) is a compelling counterpoint to these two simplistic, and weathered, stereotypes.

As Father Robert Barron describes in his video essay on the film, James is a man who’s stuck in a, “…spiritual wasteland in the wake of all the terrible sex scandals in Ireland, as well as in the wake of post-modern relativism.” In a world where people have an inherent distrust of religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, James musters the courage to not only stand by his faith but to use it in an honest attempt to help others. He cares about his parishioners (whom he knows all by name), visits with them regularly, and gives them advice that could help them live better lives, but he doesn’t for a second pretend that they will change overnight or that they’ll listen to every word he says. Moreover, he is a priest who is willing to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers, and that all he’s trying to do is the right thing. In one of the film’s funniest scenes, Milo (played by Killian Scott), a slightly unhinged parishioner, tells him that he’s thinking of joining the army in the hopes of relieving his increasingly vitriolic angst, and James advises him to consider the fact that the Sixth Commandment, “Doesn’t have an asterisk beside it, referring you to the bottom of the page where you find a list of instances where it’s okay to kill people.”

“What about in self-defense?” Milo replies.

After a brief pause, James simply says, “That’s a tricky one, all right. But we’re hardly being invaded though, aren’t we?”

This acknowledgment that people will always have a tough time doing the right thing, coupled with his magnificently roguish sense of humor, is what makes James both compassionate and brave. He knows that his job requires him to listen to people talk about how badly they’ve screwed up their lives, and though he does judge them from time to time, he never does so in a manner that makes it impossible for them to change. In fact, there are a few moments in the film where he butts heads with another priest, Father Leary (played by David Wilmot), for being too harsh on people and not realizing that their personal feelings aren’t supposed to get in the way of offering solace. Whether he’s listening to the confessions of a salacious woman, the ramblings of an atheist doctor, or the sad history of a male prostitute, James always puts aside his own emotions for the sake of those who are speaking to him.

But as great as these qualities are, the best one is the awareness that he himself is flawed. He’s a neglectful father, a hard drinker, and a man who is, at times, prone to violent outbursts. But he never tries to cover these things up, and instead owns up to them and tries his best to make up for his past misdeeds. In this sense, he is a character who leads through example and not simply through words of wisdom, and demonstrates that forgiveness is what heals both oneself and others. During the last fifteen minutes or so of the film, there is a scene where he talks to his daughter (played by Kelly Reilly) about how awful it is to him that people tend to concentrate on sins rather than on virtues. His daughter asks him which virtue he thinks is the most important, and without any measure of doubt he says, “I think forgiveness has been highly underrated.”

It is touching, then, that the only two people at the end of the movie that show a measure of growth are those who’ve forgiven the wrongdoings of others.

Margie Gunderson from Fargo

Margie Gunderson (Frances McDormand) as the picture of grace in the 1996 film Fargo.
Margie Gunderson (Frances McDormand) as the picture of grace in the 1996 film, Fargo.

“And here you are. And it’s a beautiful day.”

It’s always Margie. Never “Marge” or, if you’re feeling really silly, “Margaret”. It’s always Margie. That’s how iconic this character is; people always refer to her by a nickname, as if she was a real person. Frances McDormand’s star turn as Fargo‘s pregnant police chief is a dazzling performance that fuses patience, honesty, and even motherly love in order to create one of cinema’s most original, and beloved, heroines.

There are many things to say about Margie, and they’re all worth mentioning. The journalist Cathleen Falsani, in her book The Dude Abides, has talked about how Margie’s pregnancy makes her much more of a guardian figure than if she weren’t pregnant or if the character had been male. Tony Zhou, at the end of his video essay on Bayhem, praises the Coen Brother’s choice to make Margie a humble character that, in a very subtle manner, espouses the virtues of living a simple life. These are wonderful qualities to be sure, but the one that often goes unnoticed is her graceful attitude towards the people she meets and the investigation that she’s involved in.

Besides being pregnant and self-effacing, Margie is different from about every other cop in cinematic history in that she isn’t some kind of emotional wreck who is desperately trying to crack the case. Think about your average movie cop and immediately you’ll get images of no-nonsense, gung-ho loudmouths who are busting down doors to get their guy or awkward know-it-alls that are more pariahs than team players. Margie is a perfect balance between the two; she doesn’t take guff from anyone and she knows how to work the investigation, and all with a genuinely content smile. Those scenes where she’s questioning witnesses and suspects almost feel out of place in this movie because she’s so nice. Actually, they don’t even feel like interrogations, they feel like ordinary conversations. Though it’s obvious that the people she’s speaking to aren’t her friends, she still approaches them in a polite and calm manner.

And in a way, it’s her politeness that gets her to the end of the investigation. Roger Ebert highlights this perfectly in his Great Movie Essay about the film in which he talks about the scene between Margie and Mike Yanagita (played by Steve Park), an old acquaintance from high school. She agrees to have dinner with the guy out of a sense of pity, and in a marvelously uncomfortable scene, she rejects his advances while assuring him that he hasn’t scared her off. The poor guy talks about his wife’s passing, and Margie listens intently with a truly sympathetic look on her face. The next day, Margie learns from a friend that Mike’s story was a complete sham, and that not only is the “wife” alive, she never even married Mike. As Ebert says, many have dismissed that scene as being “inexplicable”, but if anything it’s what makes Margie realize that there are people out there who are compulsive liars, and it’s what drives her to have another interview with Jerry Lundergaard (played by William H. Macy) after having doubts about the first time she spoke to him. In essence, her good nature helped her solve the case.

And then there’s the scene, easily one of the best scenes in the movie, where Margie has Gaear Grimsrud (played by Peter Stormare), the man responsible for five of the film’s seven murders, in the back of her cruiser. The brevity of her monologue is precisely what makes it so powerful; it doesn’t seem like she’s arriving at any great truth, and yet she is. Moreover, McDormand’s delivery is what sells not only the words spoken, but the character’s underlying grace. She doesn’t shout at Grimsrud, she doesn’t deride him, but rather, in a tone that mirrors that of a mother speaking to her child, she tells him that, “There’s more to life than a little money, ya know.”

Coming from a lesser character, that would sound like a cheap proverb from a fortune cookie. Coming from Margie, it feels like warm, nourishing wisdom.

Viktor Navorski from The Terminal

Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) exudes patience and quiet fortitude in the 2004 comedy, The Terminal.
Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) exudes patience, fortitude, and optimism in the 2004 comedy, The Terminal.

“I have chance go New York, fifty-fifty.”

The situation that Viktor Navorski (played by Tom Hanks) gets caught in would cripple most people. After flying from his home country, Krakhozia, to New York City, he is told that a coup took place while he was in the air, and his passport has been invalidated because he technically doesn’t have a country to return to. Worse still, since he is a stateless individual with no acceptable form of identification, he isn’t allowed into New York either. Thus Viktor is condemned to remain inside JFK International Airport until either country grants him entry. What could’ve been played up to be a Twilight Zone-ish mind-bender ended up being a charming examination of patience and fortitude in the face of a horribly unfair circumstance, at the center of which is the aforementioned Krakhoziani.

There is the temptation to call Viktor the charming idiot, since most of the film’s laughs come from him not understanding how things work in America, but that is a rather harsh, and dismissive, way to describe the character. While it is certainly true that he doesn’t understand American customs or laws, he doesn’t simply blunder his way through his problems nor does he give up and resign himself to his situation. Instead, we see that Viktor’s lack of knowledge is his greatest asset since it forces him to look at the problems he faces in a different way, thus leading him to solutions that most people would’ve never seen.

When he’s told that he must sleep in the terminal, he fashions himself a bed made out of discarded seats and sleeps in the terminal. When his food vouchers are thrown in a garbage can, he discovers that by returning carts to their rental areas, he can earn quarters to buy food. When he’s given an opportunity to work as a construction worker, he accepts the job on the spot. When he reads news reports about the crisis in his country and discovers that he doesn’t fully understand what’s being said, he goes to the indoor Barnes and Noble and teaches himself English. As symbolized by his love for jazz, Viktor is a master improviser, and it’s his ingenuity and adaptability that ensure his survival inside JFK.

Still, that’s not what makes the character great. Most people would probably find a way to survive if stuck inside a terminal, but Viktor finds a way to live in a fulfilling manner. He doesn’t seclude himself and become a peculiar, Boo Radley type, but rather becomes as integral a part of the terminal as anyone else there. He helps Enrique (played by Diego Luna), the young fella who drives the food cart around, get married to his sweetheart Dolores (played by Zoe Saldana). He helps a hopeless Russian emigre escape the clutches of the tyrannical Frank Dixon (played by Stanley Tucci), the senior US customs official, so that he may deliver medicine to his dying father. He plays cards with his pals from around the terminal, and he even manages to fall in love and, if only temporarily, court a beautiful stewardess named Amelia (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones).

He is such a decent person, in fact, that the aforementioned Dixon finds his presence a nuisance, and in response, tries to get rid of him. First he lies to Viktor and tells him that he can leave the terminal, but Viktor sees through the plot and realizes that he’ll be arrested if he tries. Then Dixon attempts diplomacy by offering Viktor political asylum, but that too fails because Viktor has no honest fear of his home country. Optimism, then, is what drives Viktor to bend, not break, the rules to his advantage since they are the only things that will get him to the end of his journey.

While the story is maudlin at times, it’s message is powerful. As Dr. Viktor Frankl (quite the coincidence) said, “The last of human freedoms [is] the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” Bad things can, and often do, happen to us, but we always have the power to choose how we’ll meet those challenges. Some may cower, some may surrender themselves to despair, but in Viktor’s case, we see a lot of value in the person who hopes and does his best to live in an uncomfortable situation, and all with the added virtue of not having to sacrifice his integrity.

Will Kane from High Noon

The duty bound Will Kane (Gary Cooper) displays courage in the face of danger in High Noon.
The duty bound Will Kane (Gary Cooper) displays courage in the face of danger in the 1952 Wester, High Noon.

“I’ve got to, that’s the whole thing.”

Abraham Lincoln once said that he intended to run his administration in such a way that if he had lost all his friends by the time his term concluded, he would, “…at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.” Will Kane (played by Gary Cooper) is one of the finest cinematic exemplars of this maxim.

By all counts, Kane should be allowed to calmly bow out of the impending danger that is headed his way. In fact, one of the best things about High Noon is that the townspeople, as cowardly as they are, have very decent and rational motives for trying to get Will out of town. They tell him that his tenure as marshal is over, so there is no need to risk his life against the vicious criminal (played by Ian MacDonald) who threatened vengeance against him. He has a comfortable future as a store owner waiting for him. And above all, it’s his wedding day, and it’d be the grimmest of ironies to allow his sweetheart Amy (played by Grace Kelly) to become a wife and a widow in the same day. And yet he stays to defend his town against those who would tear it apart in search of pathetic revenge.

It’s worth noting that over the course of the film, he is isn’t just asked to leave; several people flat out demand that he abandon his post. The local judge and pastor, his friends, and even his beloved all issue dire predictions about the outcome of the gun battle, and Amy goes so far as to say that she’d rather leave him than have to watch him die. Yet in spite of these conjectures and ultimatums, his response each and every time is, “I can’t.” It must be stressed that he says, “I can’t,” not “I won’t.” That may seem like a silly semantic observation, but it provides a lot of meaning in terms of Kane’s character. He knows full well that a wiser person would heed the advice that his friends had given him, but in the end, he has a duty to ensure the security of the townspeople, even at the expense of his own happiness. At one point, he even declares to Amy that he doesn’t like the situation any more than she does, but he has to do it because it’s the responsibility that he accepted.

In this sense, Kane transcends the typical macho gunslinger character who’d say, “I’m not afraid! I’ll kick their asses into next Friday and ask for seconds!” If anything, he is afraid. He asks for help, and when he’s rejected at every turn, he sincerely doubts he’ll make it through the final battle. But he does come out on top with some help from the person we’d least expect, and at the end of the day he allows himself to head towards that cozy future that the townspeople had talked about.

Growing up, I always hated to hear parents (sometimes even my own parents) say something along these lines to their kids; “Son, you are going to sweep the house/clean the dishes/take out the garbage, and you are going to like it.” It’s always the last part that irritated me; and you are going to like it. Most of the time it’s meant as a joke, but sometimes people really demand that others do things they don’t want to with a measure of enjoyment. All too often, it seems, we associate the things that we have to do with the things we like to do, and sometimes they are the same thing. I like to write, so I feel the need to write. My little brother likes playing video games, so he plays video games. Soldiers defend. Teachers teach. Musicians play. But it would be foolish to think that responsibility and duty are always synonymous with passion and enjoyment. Parents probably don’t like changing their child’s diapers any more than the guy who has to empty port-o-potties likes his job, but they are ultimately things that have to get done.

It is easy, and at times understandable, for people to quit if the job at hand is too taxing, but there are some things in life that require us to step up to the plate and plant both feet firmly. Kane did so without a shred of false bravado, and while he was honest enough to say, “I don’t like what I have to do,” he was also valiant enough to say, “But I have to do it.”

Conclusion

It’d be needlessly disheartening to say that the cinematic world is running out of heroes. There are still many characters out there that are meant to personify humanity’s best traits, even if they are of the anti-hero variety. The fact of the matter is, though, that villainy has become a bit more fashionable nowadays, or at the very least, more intriguing. There was a time when audiences would boo and sneer at the villains on screen. Today, we sit and listen to them, sometimes more often than we listen to the heroes. Perhaps the reason we enjoy studying villains is because we recognize them as divergences from the norm, and we want to know how it is that someone could fall so far from the moral high-ground. That’s a well meaning intention, but isn’t the study of unusually saintly people just as interesting? Isn’t knowing what it takes to be a good person as valuable, if not more valuable, as knowing what it takes to be a bad one?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Posted on by
I'll tell you all about myself when we meet face to face.
Edited by Misagh.

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account

46 Comments

  1. Thank you for such an excellent article! For a long time, I have thought that the trend of the villain being glamorized at the expense of the hero disturbing, and, indeed, a detriment to our culture at large. Where did we get the idea that a hero is boring and a villain interesting? I must say, it is refreshing to see someone who also believes that a virtuous character that is interesting and complex in himself is not an oxymoron.

  2. Amanda Dominguez-Chio

    I always considered “The Terminal” to be an underrated film. That being said, I was delighted to see that Viktor Navorski made your list. You offered a detailed analysis of his character. Well done! I was also happy to see Margie from “Fargo” on your list. She was my favorite character in the film.

    • August Merz

      “The Terminal” really does need a lot more love, doesn’t it? Sure, it’s a bit schmaltzy, but a little bit of schmaltz is good, and it certainly helps to provide a counter-balance to all the cynical, grim movies that are coming out nowadays. Anyways, I’m glad that there’s another fan of the film around. Thanks for the comment Amanda.

  3. Hello! In your intro, you argue that “Perhaps the reason for the rising interest in villains is that they are often portrayed as damaged or flawed individuals…but it’s one that doesn’t allow any room for growth.” I agree that villains have become more popular and glamorous than heroes, but villains can grow and develop character. It depends on the medium. Television allows for growth for any character, hero or villain. Of course, whether that growth sticks depends on the show.
    Also, I feel that villains portrayed as damaged/flawed make us the audience give them the benefit of the doubt because we know they’re villains. But when heroes (or any protagonists) exhibit flaws, we might gasp but we condone the flaws because we know they’re heroes.

    • August Merz

      That’s a good point dramatist. While I did say that villains can often be stunted in terms of growth, that certainly doesn’t mean that they always have to stay that way. In fact, sometimes that’s the way to create a truly memorable character. At the beginning of Game of Thrones, I could not stand Jamie, and yet, he’s become a relatively decent guy in my view. Same goes for Claire in House of Cards. Though I haven’t seen the third season, the trailers have hinted at the idea that she’s becoming more conscientious of the damage that she and her husband have wrought.

      You’re also right when you talk about the deeds and misdeeds attributed to heroes and villains. If Walter White does something bad, then we just see that as being a part of his character, but if Tyrion or Tony Stark were to do something bad, then we’d be much more disappointed and shocked because we’d never expect them to do something like that.

      I appreciate the comment and discussion dramatist.

      • Ryan Errington

        You certainly raise a good point regarding audience expectations of a character’s actions, depending upon how the narrative is structured. Thus we as the audience can have internal dialogue with our thoughts of morality.

  4. Aaron Hatch

    I love this article. I completely agree that cinema is almost devoid of true blooded heroes now a days. I would say one of my favorite heroes in film is Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird.

    • August Merz

      Atticus is outstanding, and the only reason I didn’t include him was because I wanted to make this article about purely cinematic heroes, which is to say heroes that have been created only for the screen and haven’t been adapted from any other works.

      With that said, Atticus is still a wonderful character. His patience, wisdom, and belief in people’s good nature are great lessons that people can learn. There are times when he comes off as perfect, but that could just be because the story is told from Scout’s eyes, so it’d stand to reason that a child would consider their parents to be perfect. But no matter what, it’s clear that he’s a good guy, and the inherent righteousness of the character is something that should be aspired to.

      Thanks for the comment Hatch.

  5. Those Numbers
    0

    James gave up the breakbeats and took up the Cloth? Fuck sake. Are any of my heroes still getting off their face?

  6. Any film which addresses the sins of the catholic church and the purpose of its clergy in a world made cynical by the monstrous betrayal of innocence is welcomed by me. This film crammed it all in and sadly failed on almost every level. Clumsy script, overwrought acting, full of cliches and unsubtle direction. What a pity.

    • August Merz

      I disagree completely. The acting seemed fine from all involved; sure, it wasn’t anything stellar, but no one did a poor job. The storyline itself, and this refers to your point about the script being clumsy and the movie being full of cliches, was both original and well told. It was original in that it deals with a man who, by his own admission, wants to murder a good priest to avenge the crimes that were committed against him, and it was far from being a cheery story. The director could’ve been cheap and showed a montage of all the characters living happy lives after James’ passing, but if anything, many of them are still where they are at. As I mentioned, only two of the original group end up alright. There was religious symbolism to be sure, but it felt in alignment with the story that was being told. While it was a drama/thriller/dark comedy, it also felt like a fable in that the main character does something that few people probably would, so it stands to reason that there would be spiritual imagery and elements throughout the story.

      Overall, I thought it was a great movie. I’d like to hear what bits from the story were clumsy, and who stood out to you as acting poorly.

  7. The character McDormand portrays is an enigma in itself: a pregnant, lady sheriff, living with a dorky stamp illustrator husband, in a frozen shit turd of a place called Fargo; sounds like an acting challenge to me. Had Keaton been without the compliment of Streep and DiCaprio she likely would have won easily, but sometimes you get lost in the mix.

    • August Merz

      Perhaps, but McDormand gave such a charmingly nuanced performance, that she really does stand out not only for her heroism, but for all the details that you mentioned. I’ve never seen Marvin’s Room so I can’t speak to the quality of Keaton’s performance, but Margie has made a rather indelible impression in my mind that I find is rarely topped. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Love Tom Hanks performance.

  9. Bertram
    0

    I love Fargo, still my favorite by the Coen Bros. I think Marge’s character is the reason this film did so well. Her pure character draws the audience in almost immediately, and the fact that she’s pregnant just hammers her innocent appearance home. She is dealing with issues that are well beyond anything we could see a person like her coping with.

    • August Merz

      There is a realism to her performance, and it certainly helps to make her a believable character. Thanks for the comment.

  10. McCaggers

    Great article! Its really nice to point out the complexities in the hero when the villains are always stealing the show. I really liked your analysis of Margie. Well done!

  11. There are some films I just know I`ll love, and Calvary is one.

  12. Brendan Gleeson was very good. Sligo looked class. The humour was very dark which I liked.

  13. Lorenza
    0

    Shame there is no Marge in FX’s ‘Fargo’. 🙁

    • August Merz

      I have a feeling there may be a mention of her in the second season seeing as how it takes place in the 70s. Here’s hoping. Thanks for the comment Lorenza.

  14. Willard
    0

    Many people believe that courage is a lack of fear and this is often reflected in fiction (Daredevil and Green Lantern have both been billed as men without fear), but that’s ridiculous– a person would have to be incredibly stupid or pathologically dysfunctional to be unafraid of something that threatens his life (or of any other realistic danger). Courage isn’t about being fearless– it’s about being afraid and doing what needs to be done in spite of it. Will Kane is the quintessential example of that.

    • August Merz

      Absolutely. I think it was Mark Twain who said that, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is the mastery of fear.” As you said Willard, everyone is going to be afraid of something – to believe the contrary is to believe that humans lack a fundamental human emotion – but that doesn’t mean that that fear has to control what someone does, and the greatest heroes are often ones who admit that they’re afraid and movie forward anyway. Thanks for the comment.

  15. Bell Knapp
    0

    It would be great to have more pregnant characters in movies and on TV. Competent, incompetent, strong, weak, whatever. In reality, people get pregnant and carry on with their lives, but this life event is often erased from films.

    • August Merz

      It’s funny you say that because looking back on it, the only two pregnant female characters that I can remember that had starring roles were Frances McDormand in Fargo the film and Allison Tolman in Fargo the series. Other than that, pregnant women are typically portrayed as side characters. It really would be nice to see more pregnant women as leading characters in films and TV. Thanks for the comment Bell.

  16. Hailtothechimp

    I’ve always felt that certain films are only as good as their villains, however you do an excellent job in pointing out that the greatest of heroes can help a film.

    • August Merz

      Thanks, and I do want to stress that villains can be just as fascinating as heroic character, in fact sometimes more so. It’s just important to pause sometimes and realize that good characters can be just as intriguing. Thanks for the comment Hailo.

  17. Katie Brown

    Wonderful list. I haven’t seen the first two movies on the list–but I definitely want to now!

  18. Goforth
    0

    Watched High Noon with my elderly father. It was a blast to watch a great classic movie with him. It might very well be the last film I see with him. If so – this film will be even more special to me.

    • August Merz

      I’m sorry to hear about your father’s health and I’m glad the two of you had shared such a fun and sweet experience. The best to you and your father Goforth.

  19. Calvary is a great movie, and real step forward in McDonagh’s evolution as a film-maker. Gleason is fantastic.

    • August Merz

      I’m right there with you. One should also remember that Martin McDonagh, John’s brother, has a couple of great movies under his belt too (In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths). Between the two of them, it seems like we’ll (hopefully) have a lot of darkly comedic, often dramatic films awaiting us in the future. Thanks for the comment Alger.

  20. Giovanni Insignares

    I always feel that heroes are seen as boring and uninteresting because of how relatable they end up being. It seems kinda strange…but some people wish to watch films with characters they can’t necessarily relate to, hence the love of villains. As you point out, they get so much attention because they inhabit characteristics that we, as normal human beings, can’t commit (unless you want to get arrested or killed). But I think it’s that simple (and relatable) nature that makes characters like Margie so great. They show that it doesn’t necessarily take a superhero to solve an insurmountable problem. Sometimes all it is is simple human intuition.

    Overall, great analysis. I very much enjoyed reading this.

  21. The ending of Fargo is so wonderful because it is so intimate. “There is more to life than money” “You know we are doing pretty good”. Such small inconsequential lines that just defines her so well, is only amplified by the fact she is going to be a mother soon.

    • August Merz

      That is a nice detail to take into account, as the last lines in the movie are, “Two more months”. Thanks for the comment sook.

  22. Maurita Kay
    0

    High Noon is an average western movie really..

    • August Merz

      Average as in the story is like most other Westerns, or average in terms of quality, because I’d agree if it was the first, but disagree if it was the second. As far as the narrative goes, it is a lone lawman facing off against a gang of hoods story, which is very similar to other Westerns (e.g. 3:10 to Yuma, Hang ‘Em High) but it terms of the quality, I’d say it’s a fine movie. The acting is good, if a bit hokey, the action was exciting, the pacing was good, so I don’t see how it’d be an average movie in terms of craftsmanship. But then again, to each his own. Thanks for the comment Maurita.

  23. Amazing write-up on these great heroes.

Leave a Reply