Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the award-winning biopic based on the military career of Chris Kyle, was released on video May 19. With the proceeds, Warner Brothers plans to donate up to $1 million to the Wounded Warrior Project.
I’m a big fan of Clint Eastwood’s directing, and while American Sniper wasn’t my favorite of his, it was still pretty well crafted (albeit full of seriously hard R-rated content). It made nearly $350 million in theaters and was nominated for six Academy Awards, too, including one for Best Picture. And I’ve talked with lots of people—many of them Christians—who thought it was the best movie of 2014. But Sniper had plenty of detractors, too. Many of the movie’s critics contended that Eastwood trotted Kyle out as an unquestioned hero. And that by giving us such a hero, American Sniper essentially sanctified the controversial Iraq War.
I’m not sure if that’s altogether fair.
Throughout his directorial career, Eastwood has been a master of understatement. He does not engage in Tarantino-like flourishes of dialogue and grindhouse gore. He doesn’t have the visual tics of a Wes Anderson or the dreamlike hand of Terrence Malick. With Eastwood, the story comes first. And he’s confident enough to step into the background and allow his stories to speak for themselves. He treats his subjects with respect and allows them a certain grace. But he’s not afraid to give other characters their say, too.
The folks at Grace Hill Media were gracious enough to give me a couple copies of American Sniper to give away to y’all, so let’s keep this simple.
Answer the following question for me:
Who’s your favorite cinematic hero? And what makes them a hero?
Your heroes have got to be from the movies, but beyond that, the criteria is wide open. Your answer can be long or short. You can name one or several. It can be a major, multi-movie champion or a bit character in a tiny indie flick. I’m not so much interested in who you pick, but why they resonate with you so. Stick your answers in the comments section, if you like, or shoot me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or even tweet it to me (@AsayPaul with the hashtag #hero).
I’ll pick the winners, appropriately enough, on Memorial Day. Good luck, one and all. I can’t wait to read what you have to say.