Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Bill Harding

The twisters came early in the season. The emergency response system warned citizens of the imminent disaster ready to strike. But not all took cover. They needed more time.

Bill Paxton as Bill Harding
Bill Paxton as Bill Harding

When Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) arrives at his old team’s gathering ground holding papers for a divorce with his estranged wife Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), he doesn’t know that his next decision would place him on a course with destiny, and as a feature in Wednesday Warriors.

A scientist. A philosopher. A weather prognosticator. Bill can feel a storm brewing on his skin. He draws dirt from the ground and pours it into the air to measure wind speed, updrafts and wind current. He doesn’t need a barometer to know when a twister is churning in the atmosphere, ready to make an appearance.

Bill Harding is the barometer.

His old crew consists of his wife Jo, an overzealous driver Dustin Davis (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Robert “Rabbit” Nurick (Alan Ruck), Tim “Beltzer” Lewis (Todd Field), and a few other eager storm chasers who follow the direction of their former leader into the mouth of tornadoes.

Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister
Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in Twister

Their mission? To measure the creation, movement and death of a twister. Their problem? They have to get in front of the ravenous beast and drop Dorothy in its path. The whirlwind will then suck the information-gathering instrument into its vortex and produce the statistics Bill and his team needs to understand how tornadoes come to be. Above all, it is his hope the device’s data will one day save lives.

Joining Bill in his quest to intercept a tornado-in-the-making is his current flame Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz). She sees things differently. She sees cows flying across their path as unusual. Sister twisters grazing their truck like a plaything as heart stopping. A monster storm burying them in a hideaway as things of which she can’t compete. She doesn’t even know where to start.

There really isn’t a place for anyone in Bill’s life who can’t keep up with him. It’s not on purpose. He just has a propensity to follow his instincts. If his instincts carry him to drive his truck in the middle of a field while a massive rainstorm twirls overhead, then that is what he’ll do. To him, in the greater scheme of his life, only one thing matters—get Dorothy into the heart of the tornado.

What the character Bill teaches in the movie Twister is that obstacles, problems and difficulties are nothing when a goal is clear and crisp. Hurdles are there to hop over. Complications are there to overcome. Whatever stands in his way, he is ready to confront head-on.

Bill shows what it means to dedicate oneself to a passion.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What do you think of the character Bill Harding in the film Twister?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Memento’s Leonard

I wake up in the mornings not knowing who I am. I keep photos in my pocket as reminders of who people are. I even have gone as far as tattoo important clues to my identity all over my body. Like I said, when I wake up tomorrow morning, I won’t remember any of it. I will however have the photos and tattoos.

Guy Pearce as Leonard in Memento
Guy Pearce as Leonard in Memento

If you think that’s hard, try to remember your timeline moving backwards. Instead of learning as you go, you’re learning in reverse as you fall more and more into the sore spots of your memory. That’s what I have to deal with every day. It’s not easy. My life could have greater meaning, but how far can I get if I don’t remember from one day to the next who I am or who did me wrong?

Which brings me to my dilemma. Not only do I have to keep track of those who I’ve contacted, but I also have to maintain a system to keep me grounded. It’s a tough system but it works. I leave clues for myself all over my hotel room so when I wake up I can jumpstart the learning process again. The system covers everything. The dilemma is me not knowing who to trust. I have to write it down. Even the hotel manager of the room I’m staying has tried a few times to scam me. I caught him. From what I can tell, he’s a good guy though. He once asked if I could blame him for trying. I don’t blame him.

Memento Poster
Memento Poster

My only friend Teddy calls me Lenny, but that’s not my real name. Everyone thinks that if someone knows his or her own name it makes life easier. Not for me. I know my real name. It’s not Lenny. I’m still stumbling trying to figure me out.

I’ve learned something about myself recently. I’ve learned I don’t like people who say things because of what others expect. I’m fine with that. I have tattoos to prove what people do is the opposite of what they say. What I find disturbing is finding someone who is sincere but not remembering the person the next day. Do you know how hard it is to find someone honest only to forget about them after falling asleep?

I can go on by telling you about my tattoos, but the tats don’t make me who I am. I’m looking for someone. If I could define who I am, then I could say I’m the guy looking for someone. It’s the one thing that motivates me to live another day with this condition I have. It’s the only thing that compels me to move forward beyond the tall, thick walls within my mind.

I’m Leonard (Guy Pearce) from the movie Memento, today’s Wednesday Warriors‘ highlight.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen Memento? What did you think of the mystery created by Christopher Nolan?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Ethan Hunt

No matter how many iterations Mission: Impossible will go through, versions, remakes, reboots—I will always be a fan. And no matter how many heroes/anti-heroes the series gives birth to, I will always be a fan.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

What makes Mission: Impossible such a great TV/movie series to follow is not only the awesome music—does anyone not know the Mission: Impossible theme?—but also the premise to the franchise. The premise is simple, spies try to outwit each other in a game of cat and mouse until there’s a winner. There’s more to it than that, but as a general rule, that’s what Mission: Impossible is all about.

In the Sixties, the coolest part of the series is the self-destructive tape recorder Mr. Phelps (Peter Graves) has five seconds from which to escape. The other part is the pull-away masks. These two items is the meat and potatoes of the Mission: Impossible series that carries over remake after remake. No matter how many versions I’ve seen of the series, how many times have I seen an MI agent remove a face and trick us all into believing the agent was someone else?

As a leader and a very smart individual, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is one of those agents. He has the cool gadgets. He has the masks to boot. However, nothing in his box of magic does he pull off the greatest spy capers without the help of his loyal team.

The current incarnation makes Ethan into an action hero. He can do anything. He can hop out of planes, drive fast cars, blow away enemy agents with his dead-accurate aim, and he can wow a woman simply by his charm. If I didn’t know better, he was a superhero.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise

Ethan’s big thrill is to catch an enemy agent in the act. If that means he has to scale a castle wall, knock out four guards, dive through a corridor booby-trapped by lasers, then that’s what Ethan will do. He will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

The cool gadgets are a bonus. From pen lasers to invisible ink, Ethan has it all. The best gadget however, is the one he uses against another agent during a dinner meeting. Green light, red light is how Ethan puts it. He bends a piece of chewing gum in half and tosses the piece on the face of an aquarium. It is one of the most thrilling scenes in the series. I believe it’s the same scene where he says, “Upset? You haven’t seen me upset.”

Lastly, what would Ethan Hunt be without his team? He needs the help of other agents to accomplish his missions. His team consists of experts in the field of technology, physics and the human condition. They follow his lead in everything. The tougher the mission, the more his team provides their loyalty to him.

What else can one say about Wednesday Warriors‘ Ethan Hunt? He’s a secret agent. Knowing that, he might as well be a superhero.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you watched any of the Mission: Impossible shows or movies? What do you like about it?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Danny Ocean

Vegas hasn’t been the same with Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in town. He has broken the bank on more than one occasion. Casino owners hate him. His ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) hates him. But he’s looking for a change. He just got out of prison and he’s got a score to settle. And what would Wednesday Warriors be without a true risk taker such as Danny Ocean hitting the scene?

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts

Danny has a plan. As extraordinary a plan as it seems, he wants to rob a casino. His friends Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) think he’s crazy. And it might just be the craziest idea he has had in a long time. Why not? The casino’s there, why not rob it?

Maybe his friends are right. Maybe robbing one casino is a crazy idea. Maybe instead of robbing one casino, he’s shooting too low. How about robbing three casinos all at the same time? His friends couldn’t call him crazy anymore, that’s for sure. After all, a stunt like that would make him insane.

In the planning phases, and as his team grows, the fact comes out that his ex-wife married Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the owner of the casinos. What better way to taste vengeance than to take from the very man who is the supposed provider for the former love of his life?

Ocean's Eleven
Ocean’s Eleven

Danny also has a knack for remaining calm in a frantic situation. When he thinks his gang has reached the limit as to what they can do, he simply asks Rusty if they need another guy. When Rusty doesn’t respond, he takes the silence as a yes. To make sure, he asks again. Again, when Rusty doesn’t respond, Danny goes and hires one more guy.

All told, eleven make Danny’s gang. Each member has a gift. Each one has a specialty all his own that no one else can replace. This is what makes Danny Ocean’s gang unique.

As part of the heist, he commissions them to find a way to get to the money locked in an impenetrable vault, buried deep in the ground with laser triggers at every turn. If Danny is to get to that money, he will need more than an elite team a thieves. Danny will need his suave charm, his exceptional intelligence and plain ol’ good luck working on his side.

Okay, so he’s been in prison—but it has yet to stop him from committing one of the biggest heists Vegas has seen. He wants that guaranteed payout and revenge against his ex-wife for her decision to remarry, even if he won’t admit doing it because of that.

Aside from Danny Ocean’s charm and wit, he loves the thrill of the chase. Nothing can compare with watching a plan come together. He lives for this kind of stuff.

Mild mannered, level-headed Danny Ocean. He’s got an ace up his sleeve.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen any of the Ocean movies? What did you like the most about them?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Clark W. Griswold

Every now and then, everyone deserves a vacation. It all depends on what the definition of a vacation really is. If it’s laying on the beach soaking in the sun then this family man is not for you. But if you’re looking for the ultimate adventure, where you travel across the great American desert, dance the polka in ethnic attire, visit Vegas on a budget or simply have a quiet Christmas meal as your house teeters on the threshold of hell then this family man is for you.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation
Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation

For today’s Wednesday Warriors, Clark W. Griswold shows how taking a vacation becomes a quest for survival, a battle against all odds a… [insert another outrageous metaphor for war here]

Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) knows how to be a supportive husband and loving father. He loves his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and his two kids Audrey and Rusty. To him, they’re the perfect family. As the perfect family, they also deserve the perfect vacation. Instead of heading to the airport to visit their favorite amusement park, Wally World, Clark chooses the unconventional route. He takes the family on a no-holds-barred cross-country adventure where the dog pees on their lunches and the cops stop them for animal cruelty.

National Lampoon Vacation movie poaster
National Lampoon Vacation movie poaster

It doesn’t stop there. No, no. For their next vacation, he decides to forego the American dream for a shot at touring Europe. Lucky for Clark, he has relatives living in Europe—the problem is—he just can’t find them. In fact, Clark can’t find a nickel if it fell from the sky staring at him in the face. The Griswolds shack up with the wrong family. Add to that the racy video Clark and Ellen inadvertently filmed, which quickly is a victim of a burglary and becomes the hottest item to hit the black market, their vacation suddenly turns into an international affair.

Could the Griswolds’ vacations get any worse?

Of course!

For Clark, nothing is a challenge. His attitude works much like that of a warrior who never surrenders. If the Vegas casinos take all his money, he simply finds a way. Even if it means burning through the kids’ college education for one more single payoff. Even if it means getting into a road rage incident to prove his manhood. Even if it means the Christmas turkey becomes a relic of charred cinder. Yes. Clark W. Griswold doesn’t know the meaning of uncle.

He will fight. He will survive. And he will live his life to the fullest—even if it kills him.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen any of the Vacation movies? What did you like about them? Will you see the next one in the series?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Brian O’Conner

Turbo-charged, Nitro-boosted Brian O’Conner—the cop with the metal—exceeds all limits this week on Wednesday Warriors.

Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner

The Fast and the Furious movie franchise may not win awards, but what it lacks in praises by the academy it more than makes up in heart-pounding, adrenalin-soaked, action-packed racing sequences. The photography is a blur, the editing is jarring, and the shear thrill of its biting score burns tread marks around the competition of wannabe imposters.

Inspired by article focusing on street racing in the 2000s, The Fast and the Furious torched the box office, raking in $207 Million on a production budget of $38 Million. It shot to #1 throughout North America in 2,628 theaters on opening weekend. Even then, the film had the markings of a juggernaut series few would reminisce in disputing.

Among the players stands Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), a bulk of a man tearing like thunder on four wheels. A hijacker. A family man. He’s the guy who the cops have been wanting to jail for a long time. Next, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriquez), the strong one. She’s Dominic’s girl. She has earned a god-like status among her admiring peers as a crazed driver that no one ought to mess with.

Brian O’Conner
Brian O’Conner

Then, there’s Brian (Paul Walker), the cop. The guy sent in to bring Dominic to justice.

How can one describe Brian without spoiling the story? He loves the thrill of the chase. He loves speed. Give him a choice between sitting in a sandwich shop ordering tuna and cranking the juice on his NOS (Nitrous Oxcide Systems) tank—he’ll choose street racing any day of the week. He is not a cop who goes by the book.

Torn by his allegiance to the police force and his newfound friendship with Dominic, Brian searches for a way to breach the boundary between duty and honor. Falling for Dominic’s beautiful sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) was not in the plan. Yet, neither was burning dust in one high-speed contest after another.

Eventually, Brian questions his abilities and weighs the consequences against losing the one thing that drives him. Respect.

[Author’s note: The first time watching The Fast and the Furious I remember how actor Paul Walker seemed like the everyman. His boyish grin and stellar gaze certainly captured the attention. When I heard of his passing on November 30, 2013, I didn’t know what to think. I was still recovering from the shock. I eventually learned Walker was the passenger that fateful day of the accident that had taken his life. Reports stated he died instantly. I still can’t believe he’s no longer with us.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen any of The Fast and the Furious movies? What did you think of Brian?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Tyler Durden

“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”

If that sounds like the craziest line you’ve ever heard from a movie, you’re probably right. Then again, the character who said it was pretty crazy. So it’s understandable why anyone would think that.

Brad Pitt is Tyler Durden
Brad Pitt is Tyler Durden

Released in 1999 and directed by David Fincher, Fight Club soon went on to become a cult classic among film buffs. I know, I was one of them. That’s why for Wednesday Warriors I’d like to talk a bit about Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt and what he means to the average viewer watching the movie for the first time.

I’ll try not to spoil it, but I will make a few references to the film’s content that may seem like I’m spoiling it—I’ll try not to. I promise.

A lot of folks have heard about Fight Club‘s rules. If you haven’t, I’ll lay down the first two as a starting point for this post:

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.
The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!

The movie begins with The Narrator (Ed Norton) who’s sick of his corporate day job and wants to change his life but isn’t sure how to do it. He’s living a miserable existence, possessing miserable things, and taking part in miserable activities as a way to buy his time until he dies and leaves this miserable world.

The Narrator then meets Tyler.

Tyler Durden's perspective.
Tyler Durden’s perspective.

Tyler has a different perspective on things. He believes people should break free from their depressing schedules in order to truly experience a meaningful life. He believes those stuck in their pitiful routine have given up and need a shot in the face to snap them out of the rut.

Enter Fight Club.

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club

“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” Tyler says to The Narrator. Of course, The Narrator will do no such thing. To sucker punch someone because they ask? It doesn’t make sense. Yet Tyler insists, wanting The Narrator to make sense out of the nonsense. This is how Fight Club comes to life—two guys beating the crap out of each other until someone says uncle.

Yet, what Tyler wants The Narrator to understand is it really isn’t about the fight. Anyone can pick a fight. Anyone can also beat someone senseless. The whole exercise is about feeling alive again. Doing something beyond oneself as a means to feel every bit that kid again before the establishment got a hold and knocked the kid out of them.

This is what Tyler says:

Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

Tyler may appear antiestablishment and may give the impression he hates all forms of authority. In reality, he’s quite the opposite. He’s the type of person who wants to push people to question their beliefs, think about their morals, and tempt them to understand who they are as a way for them to become stronger than they think they are on their own individual merits.

Tyler is not antisocial either. He is very much the people person no one expects him to be. A leader. An instigator. Different. And it’s that difference that sets him apart from other leaders to light the flame of independence in an effort to stir a crowd to action.

Tyler Durden. Rabble-rouser.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you seen Fight Club? What do you think of the Tyler Durden character?