Ten: The Contender, Politics, and The Matter of Character

You hear the word “character” pop up often when it comes to major elections in the US. It’s a weighty word, and if you choose to use it there’s an awful lot of unpacking that must occur, especially in a political context. You run into questions such as how is it defined? Can “character” mean something different to opposing parties? Does it mean something different to every individual? Does it signal something aside from its typical use when applied to the government? How, exactly, do we demonstrate “good character” vs. “bad character”– can you have either and exhibit behavior associated with the opposite? Finally, and vitally, does character matter, and should it matter at all to leaders and voters?

  • The Contender’s ranking on the Oldometer: 8/10
  • Gary Oldman character quality: There’s so much to say about Runyon, the forceful Republican Senator that Gary portrays here. On the one hand, he is utterly the villain to the idealized Democratic Hero of the story, but on the other hand he is far, far from being one-dimensional. Runyon believes in his course of action and his definition of integrity as fervently as his opposition does, and I imagine if the story were flipped Runyon could be perceived as the hero who sticks to his guns. That said, in the finale of the film the screenwriting falls short and Runyon practically starts stroking his mustache and cackling, which is unfortunate, but he’s still highly memorable, and one of Gary’s most formidable roles.
  • Does Gary die in this one? No.

Continue reading “Ten: The Contender, Politics, and The Matter of Character”

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Nine: Air Force One, The American Dream President, and Nostalgic Patriotism

Welcome to 1997! Bill Clinton is the real-life president, Hillary is dutifully performing her First Lady tasks, we have yet to experience the era of Marvel’s 500 Avengers flicks, The Matrix will not be released for another two years, Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford are our highest-paid movie stars, and the world is rocking its pre-9/11 vibe. Enter modern action-classic Air Force One.

  • Air Force One’s ranking on the Oldometer: 6/10
  • Gary Oldman character quality: Well, Ivan Kurshonov is a Heavy, in the style of many James Bond villains, and his aspirations are high (take down America!). He has no qualms about threatening the lives of little girls, either. Still, while the script doesn’t attempt to humanize Ivan, exactly, he’s hardly a one-note bad guy, and Oldman is mesmerizing enough to help support Ford in shouldering the movie, which is unusual for a baddie in a movie of this scale.
  • Does Gary die in this one? Yes! And how! Die, Ivan! Die!!

There’s almost too much to say about this masterpiece of a thriller, so I’m going to break it down.

Continue reading “Nine: Air Force One, The American Dream President, and Nostalgic Patriotism”

Eight: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Grief, and Goodbyes

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Confession: I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II a few months ago, and have been putting off blogging about the film.

Of course, there’s plenty of material to feast on in Deathly Hallows, Harry’s final chapter, where it All Goes Down: the near destruction of Harry, his pals, and the institution of Hogwarts at the hands (or wand) of the evil Voldemort, who looms large and powerful. This is the film in which Severus Snape– arguably the most interesting and compelling character of the entire Potter saga– shows his true colors (and they are beautiful. Like a rainbow). Mrs. Weasely curses (so effectively), lots of characters that we love bite the dust.

  • Harry Potter and the Death Hollows: Part II’s ranking on the Oldometer: 7/10
  • Gary Oldman character quality: Gary reprises his role– if just for a few moments– of Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather. Sirius is a very resonant character to many (myself included), and one of JK Rowling’s best creations.
  • Does Gary die in this one? Well, he already died a few movies ago, so… no?

Continue reading “Eight: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Grief, and Goodbyes”

Tiny Gary is exhausted.

As you may have noticed, I skipped a week of Gary-blogging. Tiny Gary and I were in California, collecting sea glass together. Here he is, organizing his personal haul and remembering better times. Both TG and myself are having a hard time resuming our regular lives.

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“And you, you’re my favorite.”

Also, I’ve noticed that the traffic for this blog has really picked up, so I thank you all. I thank everyone. EVERRRRYYYYYOOOOONE. Remember, if you’re interested in future blog posts, there is a handy-dandy little box to your right where you can enter your email address and receive My Year With Gary posts in your inbox.

Six: Lost in Space, the horrors of ’98, villainous career advice, and life lessons from Vincent Price

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And here we have it! The first truly, truly terrible movie from Gary Oldman’s oeuvre that I’ve hit this year. When I say this movie is heinous, I’m not joking. Just when you think the cinematic dust has settled (and there’s a lot of literal dust in this movie. Space dust?), just when you start hoping that this hunk of sci-fi flotsam might at least coast to a passable ending, it surprises you by getting even worse.

One: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Character Building, and The Gift of Loss

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’s ranking on the Oldometer: 5/10
  • Gary Oldman character quality: Sirius Black is troubled, interesting, solid. Also has great hair.
  • Does Gary die in this one? Yep.

HOT

I didn’t read the Harry Potter books when I was a kid. I recognize that this is weird for a millennial, but I was highly resistant to major trends because I was far too cool for that crap and I would either join the party very late (my first Britney Spears album, Baby One More Time, was purchased at the local used bookstore) or not at all. I’m not sure how Lord of the Rings figured into all of that, but we’ll just make a special exception for that one; I was a homeschooler, after all, and dressing up as a hobbit was practically a requirement for my breed. Okay, I never dressed up as a hobbit, but I did start a website with my friend called “The Hobbit Hovel” using Homestead.com (anyone remember them?) wherein you could choose your own Shire-related adventure. I lost interest in this project quickly, which is too bad, because I’m not unconvinced that it could have really taken off. I mean, come on, that classic Enya midi music that played on the homepage and caused the site to move at a snail’s pace? I could be sitting on millions right now. Anyway….

Continue reading “One: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Character Building, and The Gift of Loss”