Sunday, September 09, 2007

Never boring

This is the Bruce Willis who greets me every morning. This RS cover has graced a bulletin board in every office of every job I've had since 1986. It's a fabulous, all-purpose smirk -- no matter what I'm thinking, Bruce seems to be channeling my inner brat.

I fell madly in love with him when he was the infantile and ineffable David Addison on Moonlighting. Charismatic and different from every TV actor who had gone before, he moved effortlessly from physical comedy to verbal jousting to derring do to romance, sometimes all within the same episode. For me, his most memorable moments are as Petruchio, a swain so cool even his horse wore Raybans, and when he delivers that impossible monologue about the man with the mole on his nose: "Did I happen to mention, did I bother to disclose, that this man that we're seeking has a mole on his nose? I'm not sure of his clothes or anything else, except he's Chinese, a big clue by itself." (I've got the DVD.)

Then I thrilled to his iconic film role in Die Hard. A New York fish out of water, he has to save his estranged wife and her company at Christmas in LA. He was an action hero with no superhuman abilities but a lot of attitude. I still love the dialog -- "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." "Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister," and, of course, "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf**ker."

While they are his signature roles, there's so much more to Bruce Willis than John McClane and David Addison. If you get a chance, give these films a look. While not all the movies are successful, Bruce Willis is always interesting to watch. He plays a diverse group of men -- some cold, some ugly, some sweet, some wounded, some heroic … and some that don't even smirk.

In Country. The offbeat, remote and emotionally scarred VietNam veteran who still bothers to wake up each morning because he's raising a teenage niece that he loves.

Mortal Thoughts. A cold, feral, blue-collar brute -- a daringly unlovable choice for a newly-minted screen hero.

Death Becomes Her. The milquetoast doctor/cuckold/moral compass.

Pulp Fiction. He plays a boxer on the take and maintains his credibility in even the most incredible situations … and delivers one of my favorite lines in film history, "Zed's dead, baby, Zed's dead."

Nobody's Fool. Smalltown titan who hopes his bravado camouflages his terror of his own mortality.

The Sixth Sense. The sensitive shrink with a gift for reaching troubled young patients. And I think we can agree that Haley Joel Osment plays a kid with troubles.

The Kid. A professionally successful but personally desolate 40-year-old who helps, and is helped by, a very special little boy.

Lucky Number Slevin. A deft hitman who is so much more than we think.

16 Blocks. A weary, alcoholic cop who has almost forgotten why he took the job … almost. He quietly, efficiently and unexpectedly does the right thing, surprising himself as much as he surprises us.

Unconscious Mutterings #10

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Dork :: Dweeb
  2. Refurbished :: Electronics
  3. Basket :: Case
  4. Mousse :: Chocolate
  5. Studio :: Inside the Actor's …
  6. 8 ball :: Magic
  7. Masking tape :: Painting
  8. Love :: Sigh
  9. Wilder :: Gene
  10. Lindsey :: Bionic Woman/Sleep Number Bed
For more information, or to play yourself, visit Unconscious Mutterings.