Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Mitch McDeere

Whenever I think of superheroes, I think of Batman and his ability to pass through the shadows undetected; Superman, and his power to repel bullets; Captain America and his super strength; Iron Man and his flare with a super suit; and finally, Black Widow, who is an expert at stealth and deception.

Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere
Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere

And whenever I think of heroes—movie heroes—I think of the ones people would least likely chose. For instance, Ray Kinsella fits perfectly in the mix as the farmer who builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere in the film Field of Dreams. And then there’s Lester Burnham who rebels against a midlife crisis to find his way back in the drama American Beauty.

But of all the fictional heroes I enjoy watching over and over again on the small screen, Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) of the film The Firm has to be the most fascinating of them all.

For those wondering who Mitch McDeere is—he’s one of the top Ivy League graduates of his class, lands a position at the prestigious law firm Bendini, Lambert and Locke in Memphis, and is a faithful husband to a beautiful wife.

Tom Cruise is Mitch McDeere
Tom Cruise is Mitch McDeere

During the time of his recruitment, the firm offers him a position as a junior lawyer. They don’t stop there. They give him a brand new Porsche, which he chooses black as its color, a new house to live in at the cost of a no-interest loan, a new office complete with his own secretary, and all sorts of other delights I can’t remember offhand, but I’m sure they are also top of the line frills.

Everything seems perfect to Mitch. The perfect wife. The perfect car. The perfect house. And the perfect job.

What Mitch doesn’t know, however, is all that goodness comes at a price.

The first thing to go is his time with his wife. He’s the first to show up at work and the last to leave. He works on weekends and doesn’t have the time to even study for the bar exam, which, incidentally, the firm guarantees he will pass if he maintains the strenuous pace he’s been following.

Of course, there’s one thing the firm didn’t tell him, and that’s the fact that they will supply all the rewards, luxuries and services, but in return Mitch is theirs. The firm integrates with every aspect of his life from his professional life as a lawyer to personal life, picking the furniture that goes into his home. What’s more? The firm takes an active interest in ensuring they have their hooks in him completely by encouraging him to have a child. In their view, he’s less likely to leave if he has a family to look after.

Now, before you begin thinking that Mitch got a raw deal and can’t get out, which I happen to agree with, he devises a plan. The thing is, the plan is so intricate and so complex, that he becomes that which he never thought he’d become—an enemy of the firm.

When I think of Mitch McDeere, I think of a character trapped in a life that looked great on the outside, but rotten to the core on the inside. It took him time to figure that out and a resolve few people possess. Yet, when he did figure it out, he escaped his old life and began anew. A new life. A new identity. And a new goal that doesn’t lead to a superficial victory.

Mitch McDeere is today’s Wednesday Warrior.

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Have you seen The Firm? What do you think about Mitch McDeere?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Reading

I wasn’t much of a reader in my young adult life. I mean, I would read the occasional textbook, newspaper and the back of a cereal box, but I never considered myself a fiction reader. In January 2013, that all changed. I had gone through a transformation of sorts months earlier and one of the things missing in my life was reading fiction.

John Grisham Books (Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
John Grisham Books (Credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Stepping back to December 2012, I began reading Nicholas Sparks novels. Given I had lost many loved ones in the preceding months, his novels actually connected with me lending comfort when I needed it the most. I read A Walk to Remember, The Notebook and Message in a Bottle back to back. Somehow, the strange, inexplicable feeling I got when reading his novels translated to a healed soul.

Jumping right back to January 2013, I made a promise to myself to read every single day. I also promised myself I would read John Grisham’s complete bibliography. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Believe me when I say that reading Grisham is no small task.

John Grisham (Photo © David Burnett)
John Grisham (Photo © David Burnett)

The project didn’t start out in chronological order based on publication date, but as time went on it drifted into that pattern. I began with The Firm. I had read the book when it first released and it was my last fiction book before life took over and left me with no time for anything else. From there I burned through Ford County, A Time to Kill, and The Racketeer. At the same time, I was editing my first book in my Ranger Martin series and noticed how everything started coming together quite nicely. My blog was also in its infancy and I drew on Grisham’s stories for inspiration.

Next came The Pelican Brief, Bleachers and The Client. I think this is where my wife and I spent our anniversary on our yearly getaway trip to resort country, an hour north from our town. As surprising as it sounds, we decided the best use of our time would be to relax and read by each other’s side. Amazing what happens when the kids aren’t around for a couple a days. We had fun doing other stuff, too, but when presented with the opportunity for peace and quiet, we were in our element. Who can deny that a good story calms the soul?

By the time summer and early fall rolled around, I had completed the final edit for my book, approved the cover, and sent Advanced Reader Copies (ARC’s) to the reviewers. At the same time, I had read The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, and I had just started reading A Painted House when my book hit the shelves. That whole period was a blur to me. I still don’t know how I was able to contain my excitement.

Here it is, spring again. At the time of writing this Freedom Friday post, my John Grisham literary love affair continues with me having read Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, The Last Juror, The Broker, and The Innocent Man. I have a few books left and then I will have accomplished my goal of reading John Grisham’s entire bibliography.

What’s next for me after rediscovering the joy of reading fiction? I’m seriously considering Ernest Hemingway. I don’t know. His terse writing appeals to me. And it might even influence my writing. We’ll see what the future holds.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What’s on your bookshelf these days?