I meant to post this on Memorial Day, but a sizzling hot barbeque packed with tasty jibs, in addition to a Land of the Lost marathon on TV and a DVD copy of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, delayed its creation. I regret nothing.It is without any sense of sarcasm or pretension that I state the following fact: AMERICA KICKS ASS. Besides being the birthplace of Patrick Swayze and the home of Kennywood, the United States is a leader in innovation, producing such groundbreaking inventions as pizza and Mexican food. But as every red-blooded American knows, the freedoms that we enjoy here in this great country are not, in fact, free (some would argue that they cost exactly $1.05). Many a brave American soldier has lost his life in defense of the flag, making the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of his fellow countrymen. In the movies.
Today I present a list of five such warriors, a tribute to these heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and their government.
And remember, next time you salute the ol' stars and bars: Life was lost and blood was shed for that honor. All gave some. Some gave all. In the movies.
5) LT. NICK "GOOSE" BRADSHAW (ANTHONY EDWARDS) - TOP GUN, 1986
Military branch: Air Force
Cause of death: Shitty ejector seat.
Goose was the object of Tom Cruise's unabashed Bromantic feelings in this majestic tale of love, death, battle, and redemption. Goose was the epitome of an American Bro. He had a moustache, and followed up any sort of sweet Bro-move with the now infamous "Top Gun high five/low five" combo. His death was a major blow to Cruise's "Maverick", but also gave him the strength to carry on in a time of great adversity (this theme was mimicked two years later in the Cruise vehicle Cocktail, when his inferior, non-moustached sidekick Doug bit it).
And isn't that what Memorial Day is all about? Country and dudes and remembering stuff and barbeques and whatnot? Indeed.
Godspeed, Goose. You are not forgotten.
Goose flies a plane. Watch Goose die. Die, Goose, die!
4) RUSSELL FRANKLIN (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) - DEEP BLUE SEA, 1999
Military branch: None
Cause of death: Devoured by giant, mutant shark.
Okay, so maybe Russell Franklin wasn't in the military, per se. But he did die in service to our government, working as an inspector aboard the undersea research station Aquatica. So he too deserves mention on this very important day.
I think that what made Franklin's death so meaningful was the manner in which he perished. Devoured by an enormous shark, mid-sentence, in the middle of a speech about survival and courage and stuff, the act of violence was a bloody exclamation point at the end of a monologue that really summed up what being American is all about. For the record, Mr. Franklin's last words were: "...so we're not going to fight anymore. We're going to pull together and we're gonna find a way to get outta here! First, we're gonna seal off this -- (CHOMP)". The words still ring true today, just as applicable (if not more so) as they were 10 years ago. Rest in peace, Russell. You taught us all a little bit about ourselves.
By the way, did I mention that there has never been a bad movie made about giant sharks? Hell of a track record.
Watch the scene itself below (if ever there was a clip in need of assistance from Keyboard Cat, it's THIS ONE - anyone have video editing software?):
3) "GOD" (BILL PAXTON) - NAVY SEALS, 1990
Ranking: Sniper (?)
Military branch: Navy SEALS
Cause of death: Gunshot wound or something.
I hardly remember anything about the movie Navy SEALS, due to the fact that I haven't seen it in about 17 years. But here are a couple things I DO remember:
1) Navy SEALS kicked fucking ASS.
2) Hella shit blew up and hella dudes got killed.
3) Something about swimming or water or something.
4) Sweet moustaches.
5) Bill Paxton as "God", the coolest sniper ever.
Indeed, "God" was the highlight of this film. Always perched somewhere handy, within shooting distance of the nearest skirmish, "God" bailed his Bros out numerous times, always plugging the bad guys right as they were about to kill Charlie Sheen. "God" had everyone's back, and his death toward the end of the movie (I think) was a major blow to not only the Navy but to America as a whole. Don't believe me? Check out the cover of Time magazine shown below:
I'm afraid he is, Time. I'm afraid he is.
2) PRIVATE VASQUEZ (JENETTE GOLDSTEIN) - ALIENS, 1986
Military branch: Space Marines
Cause of death: Aliens, man.
Vasquez was a bad-ass. Long story short. She rocked a HUGE fucking gun, wore a bandana, and had a much larger set of cojones than any of the other Space Marines on her mission (especially that pussy Hudson). Vasquez blew tons of aliens away, logging the highest body count in the movie before her death about halfway through it. Not only was her demise a huge blow to lots of "butch" chicks in the LGBT community, but it affected EVERYONE at least a little bit. Even the kind folks at Lego (see example).
Vasquez died defending her country in the best possible way: In space, with a really awesome gun. And for that, we honor her here today.
It must be noted at this point that Private Vasquez is the only person on this list who doesn't have a moustache. While moustache-having is usually a prerequisite for action-movie-sidekick-awesomeness, Vasquez's gender prohibits such lip ornamentation. But I think that it's safe to say that her "inner moustache" is ENORMOUS.
1) BLAIN (JESSE "THE BODY" VENTURA) - PREDATOR, 1987
Ranking: Higher than you
Military branch: US Marines Special Forces
Cause of death: Lazers.
Left: The nature of Blain's death reminded me of the JFK assassination. Only more significant.
WWF wrestler-turned-actor-turned-Governor of Minnesota Jesse "The Body" Ventura created one of the most memorable film heroes of all time in this 1987 masterpiece, the muscly-armed tail-gunner known only as Blain. Blain was a dark, complex man, a man ready to blow tons of guys away at the drop of a hat (to defend his country, of course), a man who "(didn't) have time to bleed". When he took a lazer to the back of the head, followed by another one through his chest, the country mourned what was arguably America's greatest loss ever, the loss of an icon, a hero, a Bro.
I still miss Blain, and think about what he did for our country almost every day. But especially today (or yesterday, rather), because of the whole "Memorial Day" thing. And remembering stuff is important.
Here's a quick tribute to the man (including his untimely death) set to some really awful music. Enjoy!
Want to say a few words about a fallen (movie) hero? Feel free to add your own in the 'Comments' section (PS the 'Comments' section = another fine example of American ingenuity).