Among the bicycles in the trees, the broken lumber in the field and the torn foundations, a little girl rises to confront her greatest challenge—a twister.
When I first saw this film in the fall of 1996, my wife and I were in the middle of visiting family in Nova Scotia. The theater had a handful of folks and we had just settled into our seats. I didn’t know what I was in for, but I could feel magic in the air. About half-an-hour into the story, I remember turning to my wife and saying, “How did they do that?” From there, I didn’t say a word until the very end. When we left the theater that evening, it had rained. How appropriate, I thought.
“The suck zone. It’s the point…basically at which the twister…sucks you up. That’s not the technical term for it, obviously.” ~Dustin Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Women Who Wow Wednesday wouldn’t be complete without Twister’s Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), the go-getter who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. She and Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) chase storms for a living. They look for massive fronts, then they plow into them hoping to gain a better understanding as to how they form.
Who are we kidding? They chase tornadoes. The bigger they are, the more of a thrill the chasers get.
For Jo it all started when she saw her father taken in a whirlwind. Since then, her fascination with tornadoes has only grown. Bill’s fiancée Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz) can’t understand the driving force that keeps the woman going. Jo treats the storms as a normal thing. Her matter-of-fact attitude shows when she tells Dr. Reeves, “If you have to pee, you should do it now. There’s not many places to stop on the road.”
But it’s not all chases, hootin’ and hollerin’. Jo genuinely wants to understand what makes a twister do what it does. She’s so enamored with the thought of an early warning system that she’ll do anything to make it happen, even if it’s getting out of the truck in order to reach out and touch the beast.
[Discussing at Meg’s on the tornadoes they have seen so far]
Joey: No, that was a good size twister. What was it, an F3?
Bill: Solid F2.
Melissa: See, now you have lost me again.
Bill: It’s the Fujita scale. It measures a tornado’s intensity by how much it eats.
Laurence: That one we encountered back there was a strong F2, possibly an F3.
Beltzer: Maybe we’ll see some 4’s.
Haynes: That would be sweet!
Bill: 4 is good. 4 will relocate your house very efficiently.
Melissa: Is there an F5?
[Everyone goes dead silent]
Melissa: What would that be like?
Jason ‘Preacher’ Rowe: The Finger of God.
Melissa: None of you has ever seen an F5?
Bill: …Just one of us.
[Looks upstairs, indicating Jo]
The fact of the matter is tornadoes don’t scare Jo. She’s seen small and large twisters, sisters and monsters. They don’t scare her. If she can help alert those in the storm’s path, then she will have done her duty. After all, she’s seen the worst of the worst and everything else is easy by comparison.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.
What did you think of the movie Twister? What did you think of the character Jo?