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The Greatest American Hero
Indianagrabsidol.jpgNot that long ago, the American Film Institute released another of their "100 Years, 100 ... fill in the blank," lists. This particular list was "100 Years, 100 Heroes and Villains." The hero in the number one slot was Atticus Finch. That's pretty hard to argue with. I still get a little dusty in "To Kill A Mockingbird" when Reverend Sykes turns to Scout and says, "Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing." Then all of the black people that were in the balcony during the trial stand out of respect for Atticus. The hair on my arms stands at attention just thinking about it.

The silver medal on that list was Doctor Henry Jones Jr. Indiana to his friends. Indy to his sidekicks and lovers. That placement put Indy ahead of James Bond, Rick Blaine (Casablanca), George Bailey (It's A Wonderful Life), T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), and The "Italian Stallion" Rocky Balboa. Pretty select company I'd say.

So what is it about an archeology professor with a beat up fedora that captures the imagination of men and woman alike? What makes Indiana Jones such a universally beloved character?

As I am sure 99.99999% of you know, the fourth chapter of the Indiana Jones saga, indianaposter3.jpg"The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," is being released tonight at 12:01. (I know that's technically tomorrow smarty pants.) Many of us have been waiting since 1989 to see another globetrotting adventure with Dr. Jones. I have been battling with my inner child, trying to keep expectations realistic. The truth is, I've had the Crystal Skulls Countdown widget on my desktop for six months. That's ridiculous.

I think what makes Indiana such an iconic character is that he is the ultimate guy's guy. He's the kind of man that we want to watch a ball game with and the kind of guy woman want to marry. He's also somewhat complex. Much like myself, Indy toes the line between being a romantic and a cynic. Does he believe in God and/or the supernatural, or does he dismiss such notions as tales of the "boogeyman?" His words, not mine. That's what he tells Marcus Brody in "Raiders" before he embarks on a journey to find the Ark of the Covenant. Does Indy believe in the basic tenets of Christianity, showing his faith with a leap onto an invisible bridge, or does he dismiss such beliefs and rely solely on what science can prove? I've watched these films literally dozens of times, and I'm not sure. Is he a selfish opportunist, looking only for "fortune and glory," or is he willing to risk his neck for complete strangers - e.g. a small Indian village - based only on his own definition of morality?

whip.jpgOf course, we can overlook those kinds of logical and ideological questions and just love the fact that Indy battles evil armed only with his wits, a bullwhip, a six-shooter and a 10-year-old Chinese kid. There is no other force in the 20th century more reviled and wicked than the Nazi's. Indy took them on twice. The Third Reich was nearly toppled by a khaki clad professor of archaeology. Sure, it was a bigger deal when allied troops captured the Nazi Eagle's Nest, but Indy put a sizeable dent into the regime before that when he took the Holy Grail out from under their Aryan noses at Petra.

Indy is tough as nails. In a scrape he can hold his own against seven thugs in a Tibetan bar, or a Goliath-like German airplane mechanic. He's smarter than you and me. Especially me. And he's funny. "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage." Anybody ever said anything that clever? Anyone? Yeah, me either.

This weekend on 68th Street in Manhattan, I will join millions of others in cinemas across the globe as we relive our youth and join in the adventures of Dr. Indiana Jones, the greatest hero in the history of film.

What am I doing after the movie? I don't know, I'm making this up as I go.



"Truck? What truck?"

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9 Comments

All that, and he's hot, too!

said Miss Cellania on May 21, 2008 8:22 AM.

Indiana Jones is fantastic. I worry a little though. With all of the high expectations that we put into all of this, I wonder if we will be a little dissapointed. I mean Harrison Ford is an old man now. Are we going to be expecting too much? Look at the new Rocky. Sure Rocky doped himself up with giant doses of HGH for the part, but he was still old, and I found myself a little dissapointed as I watched the show.
If Harrison pulls this off he will truly be the greatest of all time. I guess even if he doesn't he will probably still be the greatest of all time.

I wonder if he will shoot any sword twirling bandits in this one?

said Dave on May 21, 2008 9:39 AM.

Thank you for the link, Miss Cellania.

I appreciate it.

said Johnny Wright on May 21, 2008 12:41 PM.

What would Ralph Hinkley think about the title of this post? For shame.

said curlyelk on May 21, 2008 2:23 PM.

Atta boy, Curly. Good eye.

said Johnny Wright on May 21, 2008 3:03 PM.

There goes my "believe it or not, I'm walking on air..." joke. Thanks Curly.

said Echowood on May 21, 2008 4:39 PM.

In the clip you can hear the Wilhelm scream.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_scream

said E on May 21, 2008 8:13 PM.

Wow. Thanks for the clip.

Hate to be a party pooper but I can't see how they can live up to this. All I recall the last one was there was a hot foreign chic who was a bad guy (I think) and had some cheezy accent.

Let us know how it is.

said E on May 21, 2008 8:39 PM.

Thanks for reminding me to torrent this!

said Jeni Gump on June 28, 2008 11:25 PM.
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