Because my first love is film I have a tendency to take it hard when someone from the movies that I love passes away, whether it’s a writer, director, actor, or actress. Whether they are old or when it’s sudden, it just plain hurts.
The news of the passing of Bill Paxton hurts especially so because of his many memorable roles in his 41 years in the movies, films like “Twister”, “True Lies”, “Titanic”, “A Simple Plan” and “Apollo 13”. We will remember him for his quotable lines as Hicks in “Aliens”, and to movie geeks as one of the few to have been killed on screen by an Alien, a Predator, and a Terminator. But I will always remember him in those not so memorable roles that he had the uncanny ability to make you never forget, like the vampire Severen in “Near Dark”, Chet in “Weird Science”, and even recently as Master Sergeant Farell in “Edge of Tomorrow”. His twang and swagger that caught that balance of confidence and over-compensation of a middle brother made his performances something that would stick with you long after the film was over. I always loved seeing him pop-up in films and while there are quite a few of his films and his acclaimed run on “Big Love” that I’ve missed, I will have to go back and find again what I already know to be true. We lost a tremendous character actor way too soon.
What is the most unfortunate is not enough people were exposed to directorial debut film 2001’s “Frailty” about a man who recounts a turning point in his life when his father claims to have been instructed by an angel to kill demons disguised as humans. It was and is a phenomenal film, few ever capture the genius that was Alfred Hitchcock, but Paxton, behind the camera paid homage and gave us a fantastic ballsy thriller that should be seen out by all who love film.
I recently watched Tombstone where Paxton plays Morgan Earp, and he has the line “Look at all those stars, I mean, you look up and think, God made all that and still remembered to make a little speck like me…” Yes he did Bill, but you are not the speck, you’re the star.
–Robert L. Castillo