Here's to You, Mr. Willis
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that knows me personally, or has read any of my blogs, that I’m a huge movie buff. I tend to follow the Hollywood scene and the celebs in it. Most of them are assholes. *cough Will Smith cough* Others seem like cool people, and today we’re going to talk about one of those.
Yes, after the “slap heard ‘round the world” from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Everybody Hates Chris, which don’t worry I will not be talking about here, everybody seemed to just want to discuss that. Every conversation was dominated by that whole thing and it seemed like that would be the biggest bit of celeb news to hit the airwaves. That was until Bruce Willis came along.
This past week it was announced that the action star and all-time badass would be retiring from acting after being diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Aphasia, which affects language and communication.
There isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said already, but I just wanted to talk briefly about the man himself, and the impact he has made with his work.
While I wouldn’t say Bruce Willis was my hero, like just about everyone else, I would have definitely called myself a fan.
When I was a kid, Bruce Willis was one of the coolest guys I ever saw on screen with a great line of work. I mean come on, Pulp Fiction, Twelve Monkeys, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable. Dammit, even Disney’s The Kid was a really good movie and he was good in it.
Of course though, the movie we all think about the most with Willis is Die Hard.
So many things made that movie stand out as an action classic, but the biggest was the character of John McClane. John McClane, a role that made Willis a film star, was so far removed from the action hero character audiences were used to seeing in those days, and to be honest, still do.
Unlike a Schwarzenegger character where you knew the man was going to win no matter the circumstances and who was practically invincible, McClane was relatable and real. Just an ordinary guy trying to survive and be the hero, despite not wanting to be.
We all know the plot by now. Terrorists take over the building, and McClane is the only one that can stop them. Although the hero, McClane wasn’t the confident character with the muscles. He was a sarcastic wiseass in way over his head and was terrified throughout. This made you root for him in such a way that even though you knew he would win in the end, you cared enough about him to go on that journey and worried for him. You could almost feel like you were watching yourself on screen.
Willis made John McClane an unforgettable character and in my opinion the greatest action movie hero, in the greatest action movie of all time.
Because of the success of that film, he spent most of his career doing action films and held that reputation as an action star, but he did manage to do excellent work in all sorts of genres throughout.
Willis was also a successful singer, releasing an album called The Return of Bruno in 1987. He later formed a band called Bruce Willis and The Accelerators, which would sometimes perform for USO Tours for the soldiers in Iraq.
But, if the music and film careers don’t make him cool enough, he’s also a major SpongeBob fan. That, as far as I’m concerned, is the ultimate level of badass.
Despite a fairly publicized marriage and subsequent divorce to actress Demi Moore, and the three daughters they share, Willis rarely spoke much about his personal life. At least no more than any other celebrity. He did later remarry and have two more daughters though.
I don’t know what will happen to him now, or if we will ever see him out there again. I hope to one day. But if not, let me just say thank you sir for decades of great work. Good luck on this next stage of your life, and continue to do what you always do, and what we all love you for; kicking ass!!!