Solo Man?

Bruce Willis captures us in his one-person movies. I’ve watched each of his three, three times. He successfully embarrasses by foiling trained professional good-guys while outwitting the trained bad professionals and killing numerous of them until he finally meets the head bad guy and does him “in” to a grand finale. In one installment, to show off how invincible he is, he does all this damage barefoot with surrounding glass surrounding the floors.

That spaghetti-cowboy introduced me to this theme of “I’m the savior” in films. (He’s also the former mayor of Carmel, CA.) If he ever dies, “Make My Day” ought to be on his gravestone like any of these one-man heroes death is never the movies’ choice. Add to our solo heroes besides Willis is Stallone, Lundgren, Butler, Elba, Diesel, Cruise, (I’m not done yet) Cage, Norris, McQueen, Damon, Walberg, (two more) Seagal and Crowe. And, that’s a partial list. Let’s add Charles Bronson, just to show my age. What great times for us guys to watch movies!

“Shaken, not stirred” brings out a list of seven of them playing what’s now called an “iconic” role. An icon means pointing to something deeper. There’s nothing iconic about a one-man show. How sad. (And, David Niven as Bond? You’re kidding!) Uma, a female, tried it in a two-part film, but I refuse to watch them.

You may dismiss my reflection because we all know better. Yet, do we? We may think “it’s just a movie” but its solitary portrayals can seep into our emotions and onto our behaviors. A bit of Willis can easily emerge while driving on 76th Street or during a heated encounter. We become the hero of our own story which, dismally, is not the community of faith Christ lived and witnessed for us. And, continues to witness for us through his Dad’s graces.

The “Body of Christ?” Ummm. Are we collectively working together, or are we, singling ourselves as individual individuals, acting out a fictional character that’s been shown and taught to us constantly on that silver screen? Attempting to live out that alienating American myth of a false individualism.

Is the “Body of Christ” lived during each moment of our lives or is it absorbing two hours watching a “guy” violently solve all the world’s problems – and doing it all by himself?

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Serving as Administrator, St. Catherine of Alexandria, 8661 N. 76 Place, Milwaukee, WI. 53223. www.stcatherinemke.org. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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