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

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.

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

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

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Jo Harding

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.

Helen Hunt as Jo Harding
Helen Hunt as Jo Harding

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.

Jo Harding
Jo Harding

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.
Melissa: Eats?
Bill: Destroys.
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?