Posted in Wednesday Warriors

David Dunn

Of all the Wednesday Warriors I’ve written about, David Dunn, the mild-mannered hero of the movie Unbreakable, and today’s highlight, is one of my favorites. If you haven’t seen the film directed by The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, then I don’t want to spoil it for you. You can skip to the last paragraph to get the general gist of the film. For everyone else, keep reading.

Bruce Willis as David Dunn
Bruce Willis as David Dunn

A train wreck leaves everyone onboard dead except for David Dunn (Bruce Willis). In fact, he doesn’t only survive, but he walks away from the tragedy without a scratch. Returning home, his wife Audrey (Robin Wright), with whom before the accident he wasn’t getting along, takes her husband’s survival as a sign that their troubled marriage is worth saving.

In another part of Philadelphia, Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) finds himself reading about the accident and about David’s miraculous event. No one should have survived that crash. No one should have just walked away without a scratch. As with David, there is more to Elijah than anyone knows.

One day, David’s son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) retreats in the shadows as his father lifts weights. It’s one of those scenes where the audience is slowly discovering something about David that Joseph is realizing himself. What exactly does Joseph see?

Joseph sees that his dad is not ordinary. Joseph sees his dad is capable of lifting more than anyone could possibly lift. Joseph sees his father as extraordinary.

David Dunn of Unbreakable
David Dunn of Unbreakable

In another scene, David asks Audrey if she remembers the last time he was sick. He comes to the realization that he’s never been sick–not even a sniffle.

On the other hand, at one point or another, Elijah has broken every bone in his body. Sickness follows him wherever he goes. Confined to a wheelchair is something he’d rather not admit to but can’t avoid.

From there, David dons a poncho and wanders the city. In a busy metropolis train station he extends his arms and allows the people to brush his hands. It is then a superhero rises from the devastation his life could have been. No longer does he wander to discover his abilities. He knows who he is. With a poncho acting as his cape, he can rescue those in need. He can give aid. And his life has turned from a helpless victim to that of a strong father figure boys could emulate.

Lastly, every superhero has an arch villain with whom to contend. If David were unbreakable, with neither train wreck nor bomb unable to harm him, then logically, someone who is on the opposite side of the spectrum, breakable, will have to be his archenemy. There is only one person who could fit that description.

As with all superhero origin movies, the character has weaknesses to overcome, strengths to discover and dark demons to fight. In David’s case, there is more to his life than what others may see. He possesses a disturbing curiosity as to how far he can go with his abilities. The critical question, however, is much more personal. How far would we go should we discover we are not who we think we are?

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Have you seen Unbreakable? What do you think of the David and Elijah relationship?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

What Scares You?

Somehow, whenever October rolls around, I feel a definite shift in people’s attitudes. I think a lot of it has to do with Halloween coming at the end of the month. I also think the time change at the beginning of November has people thinking of the darker evenings. For some, it brings SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and for others, the shorter days can prove a great motivator to flee for warmer climes.

The Exorcist
The Exorcist

However, for today’s Monday Mayhem, I’d like to concentrate on one thing: Horror movies.

For some, Horror movies can be a sensitive subject. Depending on the story, the film can act as a portal for demon possession. Don’t ask me where I read that. I just did. I can’t blame anyone for thinking that. If you’ve seen The Exorcist, you would think there is more to that film than the simple possession of a little girl on screen. I saw it when I was ten years old. I couldn’t sleep for a week. Years later I read somewhere that two main characters connected with the film died unexpectedly shortly either before or after the premier. Reports surfaced that during the film’s run, certain members in the audience passed out in the aisles while watching the film. Stationed outside movie theaters were ambulances waiting for more and more victims. A few of the cast members once said they believed the set was haunted.

The Sixth Sense had a similar effect on audiences, but in a different way. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that movie. I would consider the flick a perfect case study for writers who want to learn about plot, pacing, character development and escalating action. The film also sports an ending that few, if any, could have guessed. I know I didn’t have a clue.

The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense

I consider The Sixth Sense a Horror movie, but not in the way that others might consider it Horror. The escalating images of dead people with its eerie musical cues and scenes written in the Hitchcock style, makes this film more than an ordinary Horror film. It’s scary, not because of what you see, but because of what you don’t see.

The whole Horror genre nowadays has changed. More and more filmmakers attempt to outdo each other with graphic scenes of gore that would even make a serial killer take notice. As the audience desensitizes to yesterday’s splatter count, they also want more. Gone are the days when a filmmaker could get away with not showing the murder. In fact, if I may be so bold in saying, today crime films can fit into a category all on its own for being a cross between the Detective and Horror genres. Throw in a couple of demon possessions and there you’d have the perfect genre.

Nevertheless, knowing all this, I have a question for everyone—and I’m genuinely curious about your thoughts about this subject.

What scares you?

What I mean is, what really scares you?


What scares you?

Posted in Freedom Friday


I am convinced that 1999 was one of the best years in film. I didn’t notice this until one night when I was looking through my DVD collection and came upon The Matrix, a movie about a reality within a reality. Flipping the box, I came upon the date and remembered Fight Club came out that same year. This led me also to note American Beauty and Magnolia released that year, too.

Brad Pitt in Fight Club
Brad Pitt in Fight Club

I have a few minutes, grab a chair, and let’s talk movies for Freedom Friday.

Did you know The Mummy and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out in 1999? Both mega-blockbusters took in just under $1.5 Billion. That’s a lot of money, especially for back then.

What thrills me, though, is not the blockbusters, but the movies that have become annual events here at my home. Movies like Drop Dead Gorgeous, Analyze This, and Payback get a yearly viewing from me. Why? They’re fun movies! Whenever I’m bored, which happens more often than you think, I grab one of these movies, ease into my couch and let the story carry me away. I’m like a little kid wanting to watch the same movie again, even after having watched it twice already in a row. I never tire of these.

The Matrix
The Matrix

Anyway, about 1999—the world held its breath wondering if the lights would go out because of that supposed nasty Y2K bug that would have otherwise crippled North America’s very capable power grid. Of course, Y2K came and went with not even so much as a whimper. But the movies remained and the stories tempted their audience to be different. The majority of films imposed the message on us that we humans are unique, different, and filled with hope, and that we should go ahead and fulfill our dreams.

Here is a list of movies that hit theaters that year and why I feel they merit more than an once-in-a-lifetime viewing:

JanuaryThe Thin Red Line: A military movie gone crazy. So many cameos hit the film that I can hardly keep up including George Clooney, John Travolta and John Cusack.
FebruaryPayback: Mel Gibson as the bad guy out to settle a score. Notable mentions go to October Sky, Office Space and 8mm.
MarchAnalyze This: Robert De Niro spoofing his mob boss roles from the past. Hilarious. Notable mentions go to Cruel Intentions, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and The Matrix, of course.
AprilGo: One drug deal, three different points of view. Incredible.
MayThe Mummy: A mummy comes back to life and eats people’s body parts. Sounds like a modern zombie movie. Notable mentions go to Election, and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
JuneTarzan: Disney’s animated version. Great song by Phil Collins.
JulyDrop Dead Gorgeous: A mockumentary about teen beauty pageants. Notable mentions go to American Pie and The Blair Witch Project.
AugustThe Sixth Sense: The kid sees dead people. Scary as heckfire. Notable mentions go to Dick and The Iron Giant.
SeptemberAmerican Beauty: Kevin Spacey has a midlife meltdown. Awesome! Notable mention goes to Double Jeopardy.
OctoberFight Club: Don’t talk about Fight Club. Notable mentions go to Mystery, Alaska, Three Kings, and Bringing Out the Dead.
NovemberDogma: A loophole in Catholic dogma may undo creation. Hey, anything with George Carlin is funny. Notable mentions go to The Bone Collector, The Insider, Sleepy Hollow and Toy Story 2. You didn’t really think I was going to forget this one, did you?
DecemberMagnolia: Multiple plotlines that all intertwine somehow. Notable mentions go to The Green Mile and Man on the Moon.

Quite a list, isn’t it? Can you believe these great movies came out all in one year? I suppose the fear of the Y2K bug consuming civilization made for a situation where creative juices flowed freely.

Speaking of which, I have to head off. I think later tonight I’ll pop in Fight Club and have Jack’s complete lack of surprise engulf me.


What 1999 movie do you remember as the one you cannot forget?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Lucy Whitmore

How would you feel waking up every morning and not remembering what happened the day before? Some would find it scary. Not to Lucy Whitmore. To Lucy, it’s such a part of life that she accepts it as normal. Only, she doesn’t know it.

Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore
Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore

This week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday series features a girl with a problem remembering things. If you haven’t seen 50 First Dates, I’ll try not to spoil it for you. Then again, perhaps you’ll read this post and not remember anything by the time it’s all over.

The movie 50 First Dates is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s second venture on the big screen. The first being The Wedding Singer where Barrymore plays Julia, a waitress who meets Sandler’s character at a wedding hall and soon become friends. In this film, Lucy (Drew Barrymore) forgets. I won’t reveal how or why, but she can’t remember from one day to the next what she did, and everyone around her feels the burden, including Henry Roth (Adam Sandler).

An interesting tidbit about the movie is it reveals the twist ending to the film The Sixth Sense. I’ll tell you, I laughed the first time watching Lucy blurt out the details, because if you hadn’t watched The Sixth Sense, it would have been the biggest spoiler ever. At the time, I’m sure I could’ve heard the Hollywood executives curse up and down Beverly Hills for Sandler’s reckless inclusion of the horror flick’s most guarded secret.

And if you haven’t watched The Sixth Sense, then consider this your warning. You’re welcome.


Getting back to Lucy, her lack of remembering serves to protect her from bad memories, but also proves to make annual gatherings, such as birthdays, repetitive for everyone else except Lucy. She manages to make her daily routine always something fascinating to watch, especially after Henry comes into her life.

Despite her situation, Lucy manages to brighten a room with her smile and her paintings. An avid artist, Lucy paints a work of art every day and makes it her homage to her father, who patiently keeps her from getting hurt from external influences.

Lucy also sings whenever she is happy. She sings The Beach Boys, and she brings joy to everyone around her. If anything is true about Lucy, she’s a fresh burst of happiness and shows that happiness any way she knows how.

If you really enjoy characters who have a zeal for life, Lucy is it. Every time I watch this movie, she never ceases to put a smile on my face. I’m hoping she will do the same for you.


If you’ve seen 50 First Dates, what did you think of it? What did you think of Lucy?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

An Open Letter to Zombies Everywhere

Dear Zombies,

Where do I start? I understand you’ve taken over the media. I understand you’ve taken the spotlight from the vampires. I understand that. I remember not too long ago when you dragged your feet, moaned as if you had ingested the most wonderful meal in the world and possessed the most demonic eyes on the planet. I know, I’ve written about you in my Monday Mayhem series.

Zombies [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
Zombies [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
But that’s not why I’m writing. You see, I’ve noticed something—and I’m sure you can correct me with your indelible tabletop intelligence—you’ve changed. I don’t know how to explain it. I can describe it as a shift in your behavior. A modification in your genetic makeup. An alteration in your biological configuration. Whatever it is, I’m scared.

You have to understand, it takes a lot to scare me. I mean, I’ve seen The Exorcist umpteen times, The Omen and The Shining several other umpteen times, so I’m no slouch when it comes to the Horror genre. It takes quite a lot of to scare me. Granted, certain scenes in The Sixth Sense make me want to crawl under the sheets and suck my thumb like a little baby. So, yeah, you can say I get scared. But like I said, it takes a lot.

Also, you have to remember, I grew up watching Saturday Morning Cartoons where animators drew you as funny little characters with barely enough intellect to figure out where you belonged in the grand scheme of things. You don’t have to tell me about your history, I know it. Yes, even the voodoo incantations chanted in Haitian tribes to raise their dead. Talk about messed up.

Again, that doesn’t faze me. Not in the least.

Zombie [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
Zombie [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
You know what really scares me? You know what keeps me awake staring at the bedroom window in the darkness of my room? What compels me to look over my shoulder in a lonely parking lot? What drives me to speed my pace walking from Main Street to my house on a cold winter night?

The virus. Your virus. It chills my bones to the marrow to think I can become one of you, one of the horde, one of the crowd, simply by a single bite from your infected mouth. It churns my gut to know this.

You know what else? I don’t like the fact that you are fast. I don’t have a chance. Since when did you become so fast to the point where you can crash cars from their spaces and dive on to your victims? You’ve become undefeatable. Should you flock as I’ve seen you do in many of the modern movies—we have no means to defend ourselves other than to hide as mice would from a cat hunting its prey.

And that’s not fair.

At least give us a hint of what we can do to create an antidote for your condition. At least give us a chance. We can’t outrun you. We can try. But you will win.

I liked you better when you were slow and punchy.

At least we had a chance.

Yours truly,

Jack Flacco


Do you have anything you’d like to add as a P.S. to my open letter to the zombies?