This is a post unlike any I have ever done, but I think it took someone else to describe what it is I tend to look for…Deeds…Not personalities…Actions do speak louder than words, don’t they? We spend most of our youth being programmed into what others want us to be, but when do we become ourselves?
I learned early on that life for me was one cage evolving into another. I spent most of my life watching shows and movies looking for heroes to save me from the hell I called my life from the time I was a child. Then I came to a harsh realization. No hero was coming. No one was hearing me crying from the time I was 11 to the time I was grown–except me, a mouse named Brutus (at one point) and the air.
Until anyone can tell me what it is like to be so scared to leave one’s own room that they crouch over a hole in the floor to piss under the house rather than risk sneaking to the bathroom, then nobody can tell me what fear really is. I learned early on what it is, but I never learned how to do anything but to mentally escape from those awful memories.
One of the movies I love the most now is called “The Shawshank Redemption“. When I watched that, it was the day I realized I had escaped and I felt very empowered by the fact.
When I watch movies, I look for things that CAN play out in life. Because I knew there were no heroes, I hated the Marvel comics and such my brother loved. I hated cartoons like Johnny Quest and such because, again, they weren’t real. It was the musicians that caught my attention then. Many sang about things I wanted to feel. If there was anything I wanted to feel it was to feel loved for the person I was inside….
Most of those same cartoons depicted good winning over evil, but in my home it seemed that it was the evil winning. It was eating at the heart of my family like a cancer. I endured a lot and survived. I truly did live in a war zone. Any step I took could result in all hell being unleashed.
As a result I grew weary of Hollywood and all the fake heroes being put out–but I still had a thing for “Fast Times at Ridgmont High” and (as I have discussed before) “The Breakfast Club“. I can also assure you that the tale of each kid in that latter movie in some way mimicked my life–except for Claire’s. I related most to Ally Sheedy‘s character who (she says) was ignored. Nobody really knows what went through her head…
However by then, for the most part I stopped spending money on movie tickets because I realized that much of what was coming out was hype more than substance. The one movie I SHOULD have went to see was “Chariots of Fire”. At least the two main characters were real and did exist. Ian Charleson and Ben Cross brought the two men to life for me in that film when I finally saw it a few years ago. In hindsight, not many will dispute the idea that Ben Cross should have gotten an Oscar (or at least the nod) for how he brought Abrahams to life in that movie, but for whatever reason, that did not happen for him.
He played a bigger role a few years before that and very few people took note of this during an interview he did–but they damned well should have. The man stood up for what he felt was right and that, in my book is more worthy of being book material and/or put on celluloid than this bloody trash Hollywood keeps throwing at us as of late…Ben put himself on the line and could have ended up in a Russian prison for it years ago. I hope he writes that story soon. That is the type of story we need out there…Not this Depp/Burton “Dark Shadows” fiasco or the “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” crap!
If you’re interested in knowing what the hell I am talking about, I will refer you to an interview he did in 1982–the year my son Eric was born. Had I read this interview then, the man’s picture would have been right up on my wall next to John Lennon’s for having the guts to stand up for what he believed was right in a time when the political turmoil was immense. That is a person worth looking up to. Too bad I never knew about this until YESTERDAY because to me, THIS is what heroes are really made of. If actions do indeed speak louder than words, then the words he spoke in this interview should have resulted in his actions screaming at an entire generation or two.
I remember going to NYC in 1981 and seeing Russian subs off of the coast so I know if I had seen this, I’d have done a double take!
Mr. Cross, you can be as humble as you want to be, but this is one story that does need to be shared. I am glad the interview was still available…
Here is the link:
I know the action he took to help a Russian couple trying to leave Communist Russia (which was a prison cage in itself) screamed at me quite loudly–and while he has such a knack for bringing these characters he plays to life, it is this time that should be shared with the world because there is a message in it worth hearing and seeing–and it is real.
Sometimes it takes conscience and a bit of unbridled individualism to do the right thing. He certainly did so, and for that he has my utmost respect. Right now he plays a villain called “Mr. Rabbit” on the Cinemax show, “Banshee” and he is doing an excellent job. I hope this opens many doors for him to come, as he certainly deserves that after all these years.
And here is a link to a performance the Galina and Valery Panov did after their defection…They were so marvelous! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMMbdG6eB-8