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.

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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 Monday Mayhem

A World War Z Sequel

The 2013 zombie film World War Z raked in truckloads of cash at the box office. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready for a sequel. For my Monday Mayhem series, let’s talk about this for a few minutes and see if we can make any sense of wanting to have a sequel hit another blockbuster season.

World War Z Wallpaper
World War Z Wallpaper

Call this a wish list. I suppose this is my wish list of what I would like to see in the next World War Z installment. However, I’ll have to stop short of presenting other wish lists for sequels to the films Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. I’ll leave these for another time. Right now, I want to jump in to the heart of the zombie saga based on the bestselling novel by Max Brooks.

When I speak with my friends about World War Z, they say the film is a great action movie. I agree. The film certainly knows how to pack a knockout with its vast array of visual and sound effects. I can’t get over how incredible it looks and sounds whenever I sit down to watch the thing. I don’t think this undead flick can ever bore me.

Yet, what can the sequel deliver that the first movie didn’t? The first movie contains the change a human goes through when the virus enters the bloodstream. It also features a number of battles between humans and zombies, not readily seen in other movies. The sheer magnitude of the choreographed sequences leaves me to want more. And the best part about the movie is the little moments when the audience falls for the subtle trap that nothing will happen to our hero if there is dead silence on the screen. That fallacy quickly disappears soon after watching the movie for the first time. The scares come fast, and they come frequently.

So what would the sequel need to do to keep the audience interest from waning? It would need something never tried before.

World War Z
World War Z

I would love to see a subplot where a naval ship by the coast suddenly turns into an undead barge where people would have to defend themselves against a breakout of the virus. Since the boat would be a closed environment, confined to the water or the high seas, the people trapped wouldn’t have much choice other than to fight or run. Given there wouldn’t be that many places to run, the entire subplot would yield a pivotal dramatic beat akin to the plane scene in the first movie.

The other thing I would enjoy watching in a World War Z sequel would be a battle between the zombies and the humans in a wooded area, much like the film Gladiator. With the humans having only a short supply of ammo to contend with, every shot would count. Why not have a scene where humans could defend themselves with farming equipment fashioned as swords. Have you seen a scythe? Imagine the damage a tool like that could do on the undead population. Worrying about ammo would be so outdated. A whole range of weapons exists in a barn. Have you seen the ending to the film Twister?

Lastly, no sequel would be complete without new characters. This is where Brad Pitt himself could fall by a new strain of the zombie virus, but he’d have enough sense to quarantine himself before the full effect of the infection kicked in.

Actually, after thinking about it, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all. The film wouldn’t have anywhere to go after that little debacle, unless it happened in the end and proves to be a cliffhanger for a subsequent film.

Maybe?

BUY IT NOW!

What do you think a World War Z sequel should look like? Should Brad Pitt once again lead the cast?

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?