Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Tony Stark: Iron Man

Flamboyant. Captain to industry. CEO to a weapons firm. The self-centered Tony seems he can conquer anything. His ego is larger than life. So what is this genius doing held captive in an Afghan cave while everything around him collapses?

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man
Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man

Wednesday Warriors presents Iron Man (a.k.a. Tony Stark), the industrialist who makes creating weapons technology look easy.

[Spoilers lie therein.]

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is a daily headline. He along with the rest of the other superheroes protect the world from criminals determined to destroy the innocent. But with great power comes great controversy. Eventually, the superheroes would fight among themselves to produce one the greatest civil wars in comic book history.

Tony is one of those superheroes.

Dressed in designer suits, fashionable glasses and sporting a sarcastic wit, Tony can’t imagine a better place to be than performing research for his late father’s weapons company, Stark Industries. As the cliché goes, he has the bull by the horns and isn’t about to let go for anyone—especially not for anyone who dares threatens his livelihood.

Iron Man
Iron Man

Tony’s life from jet setting entrepreneur takes a turn for the worse when a mission to demonstrate his latest weapon throws him behind enemy lines—a place, days earlier, he wouldn’t have imagined possible. Compounding his problems, he creates a heart out of a car battery to keep himself alive while he devises an escape plan.

Soon, what becomes his scheme to survive transforms him into a superhero of reckoning. The classy super suit is all Tony needs to defeat his enemies and anything else standing in his way. Even if Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), his father’s former partner, attempts to stand in his way to uphold justice, Tony will do anything to ensure the super suit will not fall in the wrong hands.

The film Iron Man highlights what happens when an ordinary man comes to acquire superhuman strength. Among the funny scenes resides a powerful story built on the simple premise that good overcomes evil. Within the sarcastic dialog comes the character Iron Man. He’s strong, resilient and difficult to get rid of. His power though, does not come from his super suit but his will to do good, even if it means dying for what is right.

That is the mark of a true hero.

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Have you seen any of the Iron Man movies? What did you think of Tony Stark?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

The Big Lebowski

Mistaken identity. Urination on a rug. Plot negligible. Hadn’t the title given it away, a fan would have certainly picked up on the cues. I’m talking about Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski who references himself in the third person as The Dude. He has a problem with a soiled rug, bowls with fascinating people, and meets a richer version of himself.

Jeff Bridges as The Dude
Jeff Bridges as The Dude

Every so often, a movie comes out to blow away audience expectation of what a film should deliver. The Big Lebowski is a cult classic because of its ability to go beyond expectation. For today’s Wednesday Warriors, Jeff Lebowski takes center stage as The Dude who falls into a plot to pay a ransom for a kidnapped heiress.

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, Sam Elliott and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman make the cast to this offbeat film a treat to watch.

Before continuing, this 1998 Coen brothers movie possesses very little plot. Other than The Dude’s penchant for wanting compensation for a stained rug, and his cravings for White Russians, he doesn’t have a job, no prospects for employment and he carries on as a 1990’s hippie. But you know what? It works.

If I were to summarize the movie in a quick one-sentence review, I would say this: It’s about a bunch of guys talking about life and hanging out. If anyone’s attempting to find meaning in the film, there isn’t any. It’s simply about guys doing what they do best—being guys.

The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman in The Big Lebowski

However, that isn’t to say I haven’t found meaning in the movie. To me, The Dude represents someone who has figured things out. He knows himself well and understands his limitations. He has a way of communicating that, although others may find annoying, given he’s too laidback for his own good, brings everyone he speaks to into his world.

As many times as The Dude finds himself bound, kidnapped, drugged and lost, he always maintains a strong presence in his relationships with his friends. He may lose his mind every now and then, but he knows who his friends are. He never loses sight of those people who matter to him.

I enjoy watching The Dude react to every changing situation, whether it’s from a terrible bowling score or a car wasted on a bad bet. In all of The Dude’s dealings, he keeps one thing in mind—he keeps it real.

Jeff (The Dude) Lebowski is Wednesday Warriors’ down-to-earth character spotlight.

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Have you seen The Big Lebowski? What do you think of Jeff Bridge’s interpretation of The Dude?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Haley Graham

Who? Yeah, that’s what I was hoping you’d ask. Haley Graham, super-pumped female gymnast who blows away the competition with genius tricks and phenomenal backbone. Keeping it real, she and her crew take no prisoners. Today, she’s burning treads on Women Who Wow Wednesday.

Haley Graham
Haley Graham

You say you haven’t seen Stick It? There’s no excuse. Get it. The girls in the film are those who zombies would fear. They wouldn’t even need shotguns. All they’d need is a pair of leos to bust some bones. With gymnastics described more as a car race, you’ll love the lingo:

Burt Vickerman: You’re popping your clutch, losing traction.
Haley Graham: I’m not popping [censored]
Burt Vickerman: Are you sure?
Haley Graham: I’m so sure I’m practically deodorant.

Haley Graham (played by Canadian actress Missy Peregrym) gets caught busting up a new model home with her bike. The judge gives her a choice: boot camp or VGA. No way is she goin’ to VGA. Boot camp. The judge begs to differ. VGA it is.

Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham
Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham

VGA—The Vickerman Gymnastics Academy—notorious for turning little girls into elite gymnasts at the cost of injuries. What did Haley get herself into? There are over 2000 navy seals in the U.S. There are only 200 elite gymnasts. The price? Six-hour days training tricks that could kill you.

Haley’s philosophy is simple: “If you’re gonna eat mat, you eat mat hard.” And why not? If you’re going to do something, you do it to win. No half-hearted attempts. No one remembers second best. But Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), coach extraordinaire, doesn’t want Haley eatin’ mat. He asks, “Are you gonna learn to control your tricks or do we need to have an ambulance on call?” As if Haley would respond to a rational argument, “Call ‘em up.”

And what does she think of her training with Vickerman?

Gymnastics tells you no. All day long. It mocks you over and over again. Telling you you’re an idiot. That you’re crazy. If you like running full-speed towards a stationary object, vault’s for you. If you like pealing pieces of skin the size of quarters off your hands, bars is for you. If you like falling, then gymnastics is the sport for you! You get to fall on your face. Your ass. Your back. Your knees. And your pride! It’s a good thing I didn’t like falling… I LOVED IT!

Training
Training

Her fire for perseverance and thunder for winning infects the entire team with wild results. Pretty soon, the other girls are popping their clutch.

Defiance
Defiance

Yet Haley’s not all about Haley. When one of her teammates gets trashed by the judges ‘cause her bra strap is showing, Haley’s defiance proves incendiary with the other gymnasts. Screaming full speed toward the vault, she stops short of busting her trick, pops on the apparatus, exposes her bra straps, and purposely scratches on her attempt.

Burt Vickerman: Wait. Next time you should stick your tongue out too.
Haley Graham: I would, but my coach likes it when I control my tricks.

Haley’s move gives the gold to her teammate since all the other gymnasts scratched on all their vault attempts as well.

The VGA Team
The VGA Team

That’s what Haley’s all about, not to prove she’s the best, but sticking it so the team would be the true winner in the end.

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Have you ever sacrificed something you wanted for the good of someone or something else?