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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

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When I first discovered Spartacus: Blood and Sand four years ago, I wasn’t sure I would like it.  The Starz series was marketed as a graphic and stylized telling of the world’s most famous gladiator when he was first taken into slavery and trained to kill and maim for sport.  But I was intrigued by the setting, a ludus (gladiator school) in the city of Capua that provided the backdrop for the adventures and romances of the slaves and gladiators down below and the Roman nobles upstairs.  Soap opera storylines with tons of violence, blood, sex, and gore.  Think Downton Abbey meets 300.

After only one episode, I was captivated by this show for one reason… Andy Whitfield.  I knew I was witnessing one of those rare moments when an actor so completely inhabits a character and plays him with such perfection that you feel blessed just to be watching.

Tragically, in 2010 Andy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and was forced to abandon the role of Spartacus.  He lost his battle in September 2011.  The world lost an incredibly talented actor and the Spartacus series lost its heart and its anchor.

Starz was faced with the difficult decision of what to do next.  Many fans believed that they should have simply cancelled the show and not even attempted a recast.  I think maybe I agree.  The show limped along for two more seasons—Liam McIntyre doing his best to fill the late Andy Whitfield’s shoes—before concluding in April 2013.  I watched until the end, but it almost felt like I was watching a different show.  For me, season one—Blood and Sand—was like a moment frozen in time.  Perfect casting meets perfect storytelling.  I know I’ll never forget it, and I will likely re-watch that season many times over.

If you don’t mind wading through tons of violence, blood, sex, and gore to witness a truly compelling performance by a gifted actor, I recommend giving this a watch.

 

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John CenaDear John:

You don’t know me, but for years, I hated you.

It’s nothing personal, since I didn’t actually hate the person “John Cena.”  Just the character “John Cena”—the one on TV, the one you’ve played for a decade in World Wrestling Entertainment.  The handsome, muscular, high-fivin’, flag-salutin’, corny-joke-crackin’ company man.  The modern-day superhero, who wears brightly-colored T-shirts while forever preaching the values of “hustle, loyalty, and respect.”

Man, I hated that guy.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  “Why?  Why such animosity directed toward an obviously righteous and upstanding guy?  After all, would you hate on Superman?”  Apparently, yes.  And I wasn’t alone, judging by the boos and jeers you routinely inspire from a large segment of the WWE Universe.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: you have millions of devoted, rabid fans who will cheer your every move.  But you also have equally devoted, rabid detractors—just as many and just as loud. In fact, whenever you’re in the ring, arenas across the country resound with dueling chants:

“Let’s go, Cena!”
“Cena sucks!”

“LET’S GO, CENA!”
“CENA SUCKS!”

Now, as to why they think you suck, I can’t say for sure. Maybe they resent that you’re always the focus of the show, or that your matches are predictable, or that you vanquish bad guys too effortlessly. Or maybe some folks don’t like you because you’re not Stone Cold Steve Austin.  You don’t swear.  You don’t flip people off.  You don’t drink beer in the ring.  You’re the smiling, perfectly manufactured poster-boy for a kinder, gentler WWE. And for that, they hate you.

And me? My beef had more to do with your character’s lack of dimension.  Basically, you’re too heroic, too virtuous—and as a result, not particularly compelling, dramatically.  After all, any interesting character, in any form of entertainment, needs to have cracks, vulnerabilities, shades of grey.  In terms of drama, your lack of imperfections is your biggest weakness.

None of this is your fault, incidentally.  You’ve been saddled with the hardest role in professional wrestling—that of the squeaky-clean good guy.  And you play that role well.  No one, not even the Haters, can question your work ethic or your dedication to the company.

Nor can anyone doubt your success: your merchandise sales are right behind Hulk Hogan’s and Steve Austin’s.  (Pretty good company, I’d say.)  But that success also limits you: WWE execs don’t want to do anything too extreme with you—and that includes turning you into a bad guy (something pretty much every pro-wrestler does at some point)—for fear of messing with their cash-cow.

So, yeah, John… for many years, I was firmly in the “Cena Sucks!” camp.  But then something changed.  In a way, this change had a lot to do with one of your catch phrases. “You can’t see me,” you’re fond of saying—and it was true.  I couldn’t really “see” you, not fully, because I was only looking at you one way, from the perspective of a jaded wrestling fan.  But I’m also a parent.  So I tried “seeing” you as a parent would.  Or more accurately: I tried to see you as my own children would.

For years, I shielded my twin sons from wrestling.  After all, I lived through the WWE of the late ’90s; I couldn’t expose my kids to the occasionally mature (read: downright sleazy) content.  But a little over a year ago, knowing the WWE adopted a tamer, “PG” format, I took them to their first live wrestling event.  They were eleven years old.

They cheered for you, John. And I don’t even remember encouraging them to cheer for you; somehow, they just knew. As did all the other kids in the arena.  And at that moment, amidst the deafening “Let’s Go, Cena!’ chants, suddenly my mind flashed back, to a Larry King show (of all things).

It’s July 2007. Wrestler Chris Benoit had killed his family and then himself, and you and several other wrestlers are talking with Larry, trying to make sense of this horrific event.   A mom calls and asks what she should tell her children.  In reply, Bret “The Hitman” Hart offers up just three words: “Watch John Cena.”

Good advice.  Kids should watch—and admire—John Cena, both the person and the character.  The person John Cena, because you seem like a legitimately good guy: not only do you never get any bad press, but you’ve visited more sick and dying kids (over 300) than any celebrity in the history of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  And the character John Cena, because you stand for something.   A lot of things, actually.  “Never Give Up.” “Rise Above Hate.” “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect.” These are the ideals emblazoned across your T-shirts—and they’re good ideals.  Ones I want my sons to embrace.

So, John… on April 7th, you’re set to face the WWE Champ, The Rock, in the main event of the WWE’s WrestleMania 29 pay-per-view extravaganza.  WWE hopes to shoehorn 90,000 fans into New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium—and you know half of them will be chanting, “Cena sucks!”  But I’m here to tell you: don’t let the Haters get you down.  Just keep concentrating on the other 45,000.  The kids.  The ones that need you.

Let’s Go, Cena!

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bosom buddiesI recently re-read Twelfth Night, after a twenty-year hiatus. And I have to say: that play is kray-kray. Oh, it’s fun and light-hearted, and it has some important things to say about gender and identity.  It’s just not the most realistic depiction of life you’ll ever seen.

For the uninitiated, here’s the basic plot:  Viola is caught up in a storm at sea and washes up on the shores of a strange land called Illyria.  For reasons that defy logic, she decides to disguise herself as a man in order to work as a servant for the duke, the lovesick Orsino.  Donning a new name (Cesario) and an apparently extremely convincing costume, Viola becomes fast-friends with Duke Orsino, who asks her (him) to speak on his behalf to the lovely Olivia, who has sworn off men for seven years.   As it turns out, though, Olivia’s man-fast lasts considerably shorter; she immediately falls in love with Cesario/ Viola—who, conveniently enough, has a secret crush on Orsino.

Things get even nuttier later when Viola’s twin brother Sebastian, presumed dead, also washes up in Illyria, totally unaware that his sister is not only alive and living in this same city (what are the odds, right?), but has been basically masquerading around as him for three months.  So Sebastian is confused why all these strangers seem to know him… but not so confused that he declines the marriage proposal of Olivia (whom Sebastian has just met).   Despite these complications, all’s well that ends well: Viola and Sebastian reunite, and Viola and Orsino get married (even though, just moments before, Orsino considered her to be his male servant).

Yeah, so… a little light on the realism, that Twelfth Night.  I’m not saying that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a fact.  Even Shakespeare himself recognized this: in Act III, the character Fabian says, in a moment of inspired self-reflexivity, “If this were play’d upon a stage right now, I’d condemn it as an improbable fiction.”

Improbable or not, though, it’s a great play, one worthy of analysis and discussion.  I have twelve observations/ discoveries about Twelfth Night.  Here are the first six:

(1) As far as Shakespearean titles go, the name Twelfth Night is pretty nonsensical.  It refers to the Feast of the Epiphany, the last night of the Christmas season—but that never comes up in the play. Instead, scholars have surmised that the play was first performed on the “twelfth night”—hence, the name.  I wonder why more current-day screenwriters don’t try something similar.  It would clear up a few things….

“Hey, you want to see that new movie February 18th?”
“Sure.  When’s it coming out?”
“Duh!”

(2) Speaking of titles, Twelfth Night is the only Shakespeare play with a subtitle (What You Will), which could refer to three things:

(a) The audience (as if Shakespeare, acknowledging the role the theater-goers have in the creative process, is conceding, “You folks will do with this play what you will.”  Or maybe he’s saying, “I know I’m taking a walk on the wacky side with this one, but hey, I think it’s cool. So, say whatever you want. I gotta be me.”);

(b) The playwright’s own name (Has there ever been a writer more infatuated with his own name than Master Shakespeare?); and

(c) Ahem… a certain part of the male anatomy.  (I’m serious:  “will” is bawdy Elizabethan slang—and Shakespeare sure does enjoy some bawdy slang!  Of course, since this play involves a woman dressing as a man, maybe the punning especially works here.)

(3) Twelfth Night is one of four—count ‘em: four—Shakespearean plays involving shipwrecks, the other three being Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, and Pericles.  And who can blame Will for going to the shipwreck well so often?  After all, a shipwreck is dramatic, visually compelling.  Thus, when The Tempest opens with a storm at sea, we are immediately thrown into a tense and chaotic scene.

Similarly, in Twelfth Night—actually, it’s not similar at all; the storm happens off-stage, in-between the first two scenes of Act I.  Missed opportunity, I think—as do others; from what I’ve read, some Twelfth Night directors have flip-flopped scenes 1 and 2, which means the play begins with Viola, the main protagonist.  (Of course, that means Orsino’s famous line “If music be the food of love, play on” no longer opens the play, which causes some purists to cry foul.  Eh, can’t win ‘em all…)

(4) For my money, a whole play based on cross-dressing smacks of genius on Shakespeare’s part.  Remember: back in the day, male actors played the female parts.  So, in the case of Twelfth Night, you have a male actor playing the part of a woman playing the part of a man.  How convolutedly cool is that?

(5) And yet, despite its coolness… the whole reason behind the cross-dressing is a little contrived.  So, let me get this straight: disguising herself as a boy is the ONLY way Viola can get a job in Illyria?  Yeah, yeah, I get that she knows absolutely nobody, and she needs food and shelter and all that.  And yeah, yeah, she first thought of going to Olivia’s first, only to be told that she wasn’t seeing anyone (due to that whole “mourning-for-seven-years” thing).  But you’re telling me there is not a single other person living in Illyria who could lend her a hand?  Or that she’s so desperate that cross-dressing is her only option?  And where did Viola get all these men’s clothes, anyway?

I’m reminded of Bosom Buddies, that early-80’s sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari as two wicked cheap guys who dressed in drag so they could live in an inexpensive apartment for women.  So the two can’t afford to pay rent but they can buy an entire new wardrobe of women’s clothing?  (Incidentally, you know the whole double-meaning of the title Bosom Buddies?  That they’re best friends but they’re also dressing up as women, which means they have fake bosoms?  I literally JUST figured that out last year, a whole thirty years after the fact. Man, either the pun is that subtle or I’m that slow.)

(6) Speaking of sitcoms… Twelfth Night showcases Shakespeare’s susceptibility to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome (CCS).  And who is Chuck Cunningham, you ask?  Why, he’s an original character of Happy Days, of course—the college-aged, basketball-playing older brother of Richie and Joanie Cunningham, the eldest child of Howard and Marion Cunningham.  Chuck appeared sporadically on Happy Days during Seasons 1 and 2, then in Season 3, he went upstairs… and never emerged again.   The writers just dropped him.

Well, three-hundred-and-fifty years before Joanie loved Chachi, some Shakespearean characters experienced the same disappearing act.  And some pretty major characters at that. Where did Benvolio go after Act III of Romeo and Juliet?  What about the Fool in King Lear?  What happened to him? In Macbeth, Fleance fled and never came back.  Same with Donalbain.

Twelfth Night may be one of the most egregious examples of Shakespeare’s CCS.  In Scene 2, Viola is talking to a character known only as Captain, presumably the captain of the ship that just sank.   The Captain not only tells Viola about Orsino and Olivia (he’s either known them or had heard about them previously), but he’s the one Viola enlists in her scheme to disguise herself as a man.  “Conceal me what I am,” she says to the Captain, “and be my aid” (I.ii.54).

In fact, the Captain is the only person Viola knows on Illyria and the only person who knows her secret.  So that seems pretty important, no?  Apparently not.  After Act I, he disappears from world literature forever.  Seems like an oversight– which I have to admit, I enjoy.  Sort of refreshing when the greatest playwright of all time screws up, isn’t it?

Part II of Twelfth Night Observations… coming soon (providing, of course, I don’t come down with Chuck Cunningham Syndrome…)

 

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Just under the wire (and perhaps the mistletoe)… a literary Christmas quiz, one that will require you to use your (egg)-noggin!  Happy holidays to everyone!

  1. In O. Henry’s short story “Gift of the Magi,” what is the name of the woman who sold her hair to get a Christmas gift for her husband?
  2. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, during his Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts, what gift—a Potter family heirloom—does Harry receive via an anonymous Dumbledore?
  3. What Shakespeare play is named after the Feast of the Epiphany, which takes place on January 6th (the day, according to some scholars, when the play was first performed)?
  4. What is the name of Scrooge’s former employer, the proprietor of a warehouse who would host Christmas balls?
  5. In John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, the narrator describes how Owen Meany, during one holiday season, played a role in a Christmas pageant and a role in a  version of A Christmas Carol. What were these two roles?
  6. I am an American poet who wrote a poem called “Christmas Trees (A Christmas Circular Letter),” but you probably know me better for that other wintry poem, the one about keeping promises on the darkest evening of the year. Who am I?
  7. I am a classic American novel which ends with the line, “So we beat on boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly to the past.”  This Christmas, I was supposed to get 3D movie treatment (thanks to director Baz Luhrman), but the studios decided to postpone the film’s release until the summer.  I am who?
  8. In The Catcher in the Rye, which historical figure is Phoebe Caulfield reportedly playing in her school’s Christmas pageant?
  9. John Milton, author of “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” is better known for what other religious poem, about the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden?
  10. Chris Van Allsburg, the author of children’s books such as Jumanji and Zathura, is also the author of which Christmas classic?
  11. Which now-classic Christmas movie—about a boy and his BB gun—is based on a book of short stories called In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, written by Jean Shepherd?
  12. Joe Christmas is the main protagonist of what William Faulkner novel with a decidedly non-Christmas-y title?
  13. And what non-Christmas-y Yeats’  poem ends with the line, “Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born”?
  14. The song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”—recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sarah Maclachlan, and Bette Midler—is based on the poem “Christmas Bells,”  written by which American poet (famous for “Paul Revere’s Ride”)?
  15. According to the Foreword of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, which character reportedly dies on Christmas Day 1952?
  16. What is the name of the young boy who is one of the two main characters in Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”?  (Hint: he shares his name of a famous Christmas elf.)
  17. In what C.S. Lewis novel does Santa Claus give children named Peter, Susan and Lucy “tools, not  toys”—including a sword and a red shield emblazoned with the picture of a lion?
  18. What is the official title of  Clement C. Moore’s “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”?
  19. I am an American poet whose poem “The Savior must have been a docile Gentleman”—which notes how Jesus was born in Bethlehem on ”so cold a Day”—has two of my trademarks:  it’s brief (40 words) and full of dashes!
  20. Boris Karloff, who narrated the animated special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” famously played what famous movie monster, originally created by Mary Shelley?
  21. What Scottish poet wrote the poem “Auld Lang Syne” in 1788?
  22. What Christmas ballet is based on an 1816 short story by M. T. A. Hoffman about a toy that comes to life?
  23. What Irish poet, famous for “Don’t Go Gently into That Good Night,” also wrote “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”?
  24. I am the author of the one-act play The Long Christmas Dinner, but you probably know me better by my Pulitzer-prize winning play Our Town. I am who?
  25. Which Christmas carol began as a poem, written by Father Joseph Mohr in 1816, which was then set to music by his friend Franz Gruber?

Answers:

1. Della

2. Invisibility Cloak

3. Twelfth Night

4. Fezziwig

5. Baby Jesus, Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

6. Robert Frost

7. The Great Gatsby

8. Benedict Arnold

9. Paradise Lost

10. The Polar Express

11. A Christmas Story

12. Light in August

13. “The Second Coming”

14. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

15. Lolita herself (Mrs. Richard Schiller). She died while giving birth to a stillborn child.

16. Buddy

17. The Lion,The Witch, and The Wardrobe

18. “A Visit from St. Nicholas”

19. Emily Dickinson

20. Frankenstein’s monster

21. Robert Burns

22. The Nutcracker

23. Dylan Thomas

24. Thorton Wilder

25. “Silent Night”

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Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season has begun!  In keeping with the theme of our blog, here is a list of our favorite Christmas “stories” from movies and TV.  Full disclosure: Neither of us has ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life.  Mark vows to watch it this season, but I kind of want to see how long I can hold out.  If we haven’t lost all credibility after this confession, take a look at our top ten Christmas picks:

10. Love Actually (2003 film, Richard Curtis)
This movie beautifully depicts the ways in which sorrow and hope are often intermingled during the holiday season.  We also love the multi-threaded storytelling that brings characters together in unexpected ways.

9. A Muppet Family Christmas (1987 TV special, Jim Henson)
In this sweet and magical Christmas special, Fozzie Bear brings the entire Muppet gang to surprise his mother on Christmas Eve.  Also a cool crossover with characters from both Sesame and Fraggle Rock.

8. Die Hard (1988 film, John McTiernan, Steve de Souza, Jeb Stuart)
Not only does it take place on Christmas Eve, the emotional core of this awesome action movie has to do with John McClane’s love for his family—and his ultimate redemption.  What’s more Christmas-ey than that?  In many ways the terrorists’ attack on Nakatomi Plaza is a metaphor for the unrest in the McClane family. The fact that not only do John and Holly survive but rekindle their love for one another is truly a Christmas miracle!

7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 TV special, Chuck Jones)
Three reasons we love this one: 1) A faithful adaptation of the Dr. Seuss story, 2) the totally cool narration by Boris Karloff, and 3) Thurl Ravenscroft (the original voice of Tony the Tiger) singing the delightfully creepy “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

6. Christmas Party: The Office, Season 2 (NBC, Greg Daniels)
During its second season, The Office became the highest-rated scripted series on NBC for their ability to blend deliciously cringeworthy comedy with surprising moments of heart.  This is most evident in the Christmas episode when Michael Scott—disappointed in his gift of a homemade oven mitt—hijacks the Secret Santa party and turns it into a Yankee swap.

5. A Christmas Story (1983 film directed by Bob Clark)
My brother-in-law will be disappointed that this movie only makes #5 on our list.  Indeed there are many moments of perfection in the film. Topping the list:  Ralphie’s relentless campaign for the Red Ryder BB Gun (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”); Flick’s tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole; and Ralphie’s dad’s “major award”—a leg lamp in a crate marked FRAGILE. (“Fra-JEE-lay! Must be Italian!”)

4. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970 TV special, Rankin-Bass)
A fun and comprehensive origin story in which we learn how Santa got his name, why he’s sometimes called Kris Kringle, why he has a beard, why kids hang stockings on their chimneys, why Santa enters homes through those same chimneys, how reindeer got the ability to fly, and why Santa and Mrs. Claus now live at the North Pole.  Plus a very cool villain-turned-good-guy in the Winter Warlock.

3. The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974 TV special, Rankin-Bass)
This TV special starts out with the great feminist musical number: “I Could Be Santa Claus.”  Mrs. Claus was the Lilly Ledbetter of her time.  Plus: Heat Miser and Cold Miser.  Enough said.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 TV special, Charles Schulz, Bill Melendez)
For many of us, Christmas is about hope, peace, and the promise of a Savior.  This is brought home with stunning simplicity when Linus interrupts the pageant practice to recite a passage from Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:8-14).

1. Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977 TV special, Jim Henson)
This somewhat obscure Christmas special will always top our list.  For over ten years we’ve been watching it with our twins on the original VHS tape.  Adapted from a children’s storybook by Russell Hoban, this Jim Henson TV special tells a Gift of the Magi story with a twist.  Emmett puts a hole in his mother’s washtub (laundry being their main source of income) in order to enter a talent contest.  If he wins, he’ll use the prize money to buy his mother a piano for Christmas.  Meanwhile, Ma Otter hocks Emmett’s tool chest (which he uses for odd jobs) in order to buy herself a costume for this same contest.  If she wins…she’ll buy her son a guitar.   Set to a delightful soundtrack of original songs by Paul Williams, Emmett and his Ma learn about the value of family, the gift of music, and the importance of making the most of what you have. (“Oh, Emmett…that’s about the nicest present anybody ever tried to give me.”)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our list and some additions of your own!

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Tonight the final episode of iCarly—iGoodbye—will air on Nickelodeon, and we’re very sad to see it go.  Our twin boys were in fourth grade when they discovered iCarly. Becoming less interested in PBS shows like Arthur and Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman, they were looking for something a bit more “sophisticated.”  They turned on Nickelodeon one day to check out iCarly and were immediately hooked.  The best part was… we loved it to.  Dan Schneider put together a fantastic writing team that struck the perfect balance of silly and clever humor.  Carly and her friends Sam and Freddie were smart, funny, and creative.  Carly’s brother Spencer was delightfully weird and artistic… Jerry Trainor’s spastic physical humor reminds us of the great Jim Carey.  We have been equally entertained by supporting charaters like Gibby, T-Bo, Nevel, Mrs. Benson, and Mandy.

109 episodes and we haven’t missed one.  Some of our favorites: iWant More Viewers, iSpeed Date, iMust Have Locker 239, and iBelieve in Bigfoot.  Our favorite running gags: Sam’s butter sock, Spencer setting things on fire, Sam’s love of meat, the younger Gibby randomly taking his shirt off, and spaghetti tacos.  (We actually made spaghetti tacos for dinner one night, and they were pretty good!)

Our iCarly love reached it’s pinnacle when we had the amazing opportunity to meet Miranda Cosgrove at a radio station contest in February 2011.  Totally awesome.

So goodbye iCarly.  Thanks for the memories and most importantly… the laughter.  We’ll really miss you!

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It’s been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and whoever said that really had something there.  After all, writers have depicted plenty of grand and epic battles over the centuries, but what about the rallying speeches that inspired them?  Here are some of our favorite battle-cry speeches from fiction:

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate

“Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

Mockingjay
Katniss Everdeen’s speech after the hospital bombing

“I want to tell the rebels that I’m still alive. That I’m right here in District Eight, where the Capitol has just bombed a hospital full of unarmed men, women, and children. There will be no survivors. I want to tell people that if you think for one second the Capitol will treat us unfairly if there’s a ceasefire, you’re deluding yourself. Because you know who they are and what they do. This is what they do! And we must fight back! President Snow says he’s sending us a message? Well, I have one for him. You can torture us and bomb us and burn our districts to the ground, but do you see that? Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!”

Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spartacus’ speech to gladiators and slaves after the attack on the House of Batiatus

“I have done this thing because it is just. Blood demands blood. We have lived and lost at the whims of our masters for too long. I would not have it so. I would not see the passing of a brother, for the purpose of sport. I would not see another heart ripped from a chest, or breath forfeit for no cause. I know not all of you wish this, yet it is done. It is done. Your lives are your own. Forge your own path, or join with us, and together we shall see Rome tremble!”

Braveheart
William Wallace’s speech to his countrymen

“I am William Wallace. And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny! You have come to fight as free men. And free man you are! What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?… Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least awhile. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!”

Game of Thrones: HBO Series
Tyrion Lannister’s speech at the Battle of Blackwater

“Don’t fight for your king and don’t fight for his kingdoms. Don’t fight for honor. Don’t fight for glory. Don’t fight for riches, because you won’t get any. This is your city Stannis means to sack. That’s your gate he’s ramming. If he gets in, it will be your houses he burns, your gold he steals, your women he will rape. Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them.”

OK… time to weigh in.  Let us know of any of your favorites that we missed.  Based on these speeches, whom would you follow into battle?

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