The Shawshank Redemption Gets Better With Age

Many things in this world get better with age. Films are no different in this regard. For many of us, certain films seem to get better every time we see them. With this thought in mind, I can’t help but notice one movie that has garnered more accolades and respect as the years go on, The Shawshank Redemption. Frank Darabont’s 1994 directing debut has gone on to become one of the most beloved and respected films of all time, but it did not start out that way.

The year Shawshank was released in a year that won’t soon be forgotten. With outstanding films like Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and Disney’s The Lion King, Shawshank at the time was left twisting in the wind. This is not to say that Shawshank didn’t receive its fair share of recognition. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman. It walked away with zero awards that night, but it would not soon be forgotten.

Shawshank would make a mere 24 million at the box office in the US essentially making it a flop in the eyes of studio executives. But thanks to the video renting market it would go on to be the most rented movie of 1995, starting it on it’s way to becoming one of the most loved films of all time.

IMDb’s top 250 films list, which based on fans voting, ranks Shawshank number one above the first two Godfather movies. In 1997 The American Film Institute released it’s top 100 films of all time list. This list did not include a three-year-old Shawshank Redemption but did include Forrest Gump at number 71. Ten years later AFI released an updated list that could consist of films released during the ten years since it’s initial release. In 2007’s list Shawshank came in at number 72 while Forrest Gump dropped to 76.

What is the reason for such high praise thirteen years after it’s release? I don’t think anyone can say or pinpoint one or two exact reasons for this. The only explanation I could come up with is that it’s a movie that gets inside you and grows. It genuinely get’s better with every viewing. The incredible acting and dialogue never lose their perfection as can happen. We have all seen a particular movie and walked out of the theater loving the film and then given time and years removed we see a campiness to its delivery and it doesn’t strike the same chord it did initially.

Shawshank tends to have the reverse effect on many people, myself included. The heart of the film gets bigger every time. It never seems to lose its effectiveness. This is not to say that it’s not without its minor flaws and areas of believability, but they don’t distract from its intention and overall finished product.

What is it that keeps us coming back for more and making the film grow bigger and bigger? It’s undoubtedly superbly written and has a flow that never waivers or has a dead spot what so ever. The cast is one of the best assembled despite only having two major stars. The cast is full of real professional actors that deliver performances worthy of praise from the top to the bottom of the billing. There are a million things that need to go right for a film to be decent and prosperous and almost every one of these things happened with this movie.

Shawshank shows no signs of slowing down in its continuous rise as one of the most beloved movies of all time.

Some Roles Deserve More Recognition: Dennis Quaid As Doc Holliday

If there is one tragedy to award seasons (and I understand there are multitudes of disasters) it’s that sometimes genuinely beautiful performances, award-worthy performances, get overlooked and fall through the cracks, the failure to garner any nominations let alone even one statue. It may take time to come up with a list but there is one performance that pushes to the forefront of my mind when this topic is brought up, and that is Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday in the often panned Wyatt Earp.
The film itself has been criticized from its release on even by some of its stars, I think of Michael Madsen in particular. It is long and can be dry at times and isn’t Kevin Costner’s most energetic performance but none the less it has several high points. Two that come immediately to mind are the performances of Gene Hackman and Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. Part of the criticisms of Wyatt Earp is its release timing. It was released six months after the very popular and highly praised film, based on roughly the same subject, Tombstone. Tombstone also turned in a magnificent performance from Val Kilmer, who played the same role as Dennis Quaid, the infamous, Doc Holliday.
I could write all day about the differences between the Wyatt Earp and Tombstone films, but the focus here is on Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday, one of the most notorious gunfighter’s in the old west.

Doc was well known for a few things. First was his name, John Holliday was given the name Doc, because he was, in actuality a dentist before a famed gunfighter. After Doc contracted tuberculosis, he turned to the outlaw life as a way to thumb his nose at his illness and God whom he blamed for his illness. Being the most famous old west figure to hail from the great state of Georgia, there is a special place in Dixie’s heart for Doc. There are museums and monuments to Doc in his hometown of Griffin, Georgia.

The factors that lead me to feel the way I do about Quaid’s role in the film are several, but I will only examine a few. My goal is not to compare it to the favored Val Kilmer performance because I feel that would be unfair to Quaid.

First is the effort that Quaid put into this role. An ordinarily thick well-built man, Quaid lost over 30 pounds to play the dying and sickened gunfighter. With a gaunt look and spot-on Georgian accent (I would know I heard it growing up), Quaid almost doesn’t even look like himself. Instead, he is a shell of a man, almost as if he had tuberculosis. Quaid became someone different and looked and sounded more different than ever he had become Doc.

My next thought lay within his performance and compared to historical records, Quaid captured the ornery disposition that Holliday possessed. With a strong opinion and natural ability to offend, Doc indeed on made one friend late in his short life and that was Wyatt Earp. The scenes in the film between Wyatt and Doc are what makes the movie worth the entire experience. Costner and Quaid played against and with each other, so naturally, you are overcome with the thought that it genuinely was Doc and Wyatt. This has very little to do with Costner’s acting and everything to do with his trust and faith in Quaid to carry each scene.

Quaid will never get an award for his role of Doc Holliday despite whether or not he deserved one but from this fan’s viewpoint, it wouldn’t have hurt or been out of line to give recognition where recognition is due.

The Deer Hunter Is An Overlooked Masterpiece

Robert De Niro has made many, many iconic films in his time that will live on for generations. No film may be more overlooked than The Deer Hunter. The films span time periods, decades and cultures. The list is long and distinguished, and for a good reason, he made brilliant films with brilliant performances and chose brilliant scripts. Any filmmaker could create a masterpiece with De Niro in his prime. One filmmaker took full advantage of his opportunity to do so.

Michael Cimino’s second film was the period at the end of a long sentence that was the Vietnam War. The Deer Hunter may have been the most, sadly forgotten movie by many, as it’s rarely shown on television and certainly not on pay cable channels. It was the darkest side of the war that everyone knew was terrible, dark, sad and cruel.
The story is that of several Pennsylvania steel worker friends and what happens when three of them are proudly shipped off to Vietnam and leave their small blue-collar town behind. After being captured POW’s and facing the horror of what a POW goes through they struggle to return home and find any sense of normalcy.

The Deer Hunter took much criticism at the time of its release, and since for it’s most controversial scenes during the POW’s capture. The prisoners are forced to play Russian Roulette for sport for the Vietcong to gamble over. The film then shows the effects of the forced roulette has on the three surviving veterans. The controversy is over whether or not these things happened or if this was a figment of the imagination of the screenwriter. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter. The scenes were shown for one reason only, and that’s to show how harrowing and horrific this war was, and ALL wars are. These powerful scenes that are even hard to watch no matter how many times you see them are like that, so they make the most profound impact on the viewer and reach them to show the ferocity of war.

American actors (left to right) Christopher Walken as Nick, Robert De Niro as Michael, Chuck Aspegren as Axel, John Savage as Steven and John Cazale (1935 – 1978) as Stan in a promotional portrait for ‘The Deer Hunter’, directed by Michael Cimino, 1978. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

When Robert De Niro was awarded the AFI lifetime achievement award in 2003 with a special ceremony, they touched on most of his films and showed clips of interviews where he discussed his movies. During no other discussion was he nearly as emotional as he was when he talked about The Deer Hunter and the effect it had on him. He was nominated for every award across the board but won very few, sadly.

Christopher Walken emerged as a star for his role as Nick. Nick becomes disconnected from reality and stays in Saigon and begins playing roulette for money and the thrill, not realizing his actions and what he has left behind at home. It’s only when Michael (De Niro) returns to Saigon to attempt to bring his friend home does he briefly see his friend through his jaded and fogged view of life.

Michael Cimino never achieved anything close to The Deer Hunter in his career again, nor does he ever have to. His film left an indelible mark on the minds of those who saw and those who continue to discover it. While the film will be remembered for its terrifying roulette scenes and Walken’s stunning performance, it will also be known for bringing Meryl Streep to the forefront of the movie world and being the last work of John Cazale who was in some of the most pivotal movies of the decade. It was the sad and last word on a horrific time in American history. The film is not a perfect film, but all of its aspects together from the story and the emotions it draws on to the acting to it’s most beautifully haunting musical score, it’s a movie that couldn’t be made any better.

Many artists make many many pieces and rarely are they masterpieces let alone one of them. Filmmakers are artists, and many of them don’t create masterpieces, Michael Cimino didn’t make too many films, but he has the distinct privilege of having made a true masterpiece, no matter how dark and depressing or sad it may be considered. It was indeed a piece that had to be crafted and, and it was done with a perfect stroke by its artist’s hand

Raiders of The Lost Ark Is The Greatest Adventure Movie Ever

Before I dive into why Raiders Of The Lost Ark is the greatest adventure movie ever, I should explain the difference between adventure and action films. An adventure movie is entirely different from an action movie for a few reasons. While it does contain action, it is always more about the story and getting somewhere, or something whereas action films will still be about just that, the actions that take place and more geared towards stunts and effects. With these thoughts in mind, we decided to take a look at what makes, in our opinion mind you, Raiders Of The Lost Ark the greatest adventure movie of all time. We know there will be many of you who have opinions and thoughts on other films for consideration and why and we encourage all your comments, but our focus is to pinpoint all the elements that make this a great adventure movie.

To begin our analysis, we look at the characters and how each one is the perfect fit for the story. First obviously is Indiana Jones. With a name that screams adventure, he has the ideal costume for every man of his time without it being like a superhero suit you can immediately identify with him. He has a profession that makes the exotic locations not seem out of place. He has a style and demeanor that you can’t help but root for. The casting of Indiana couldn’t have been more perfect. Harrison Ford has a classic look that isn’t too worn yet not polished at all with a smile that makes you smirk and smile too.

It’s Indiana’s friends that aid him in his adventure and search for the ark that complete him. He has the woman on his arm who is pretty but not ravishingly beautiful, and she knows and even shares his love of searching for the rare, this makes her the perfect companion on his adventure.

Sallah is the guy around the city of Cairo that knows everyone has the connections and knowledge of the area unlike anyone and tries to live vicariously through Indy by helping him.
As for the villains in Raiders, none could be better than the always hated Nazi’s along with Jones’ consummate arch-enemy Dr. Belloq who teams with the Nazi’s and takes advantage of there equipment and money to try and outdo Indy who has almost primitive tools of the trade and relies on his knowledge and instinct. Along with the behind, the scenes overseer for the Third Reich is the creepy, typical Nazi Major Toht who breeds evil love for Hitler and his goals.

Raiders offered great worldly locations right from the beginning where Indy finds a treasure cave perfectly booby-trapped for which only Indiana knows the way through the traps that are set. Frozen land of Nepal to the desert of Cairo to a remote island that will witness the power of the ark for all there to see.

The story itself is near flawless, from the perfectly timed trouble Jones encounters with the wit and humor woven throughout the story and the perfect amount of action and fight scenes. You are never lost due to complicated plot lines and too many things going on at once yet you are engrossed in the story from start to finish.
There is something for everyone in Raiders from an underlying love story to the care used elements of history and even ancient history. It is a movie and story most everyone loves and no doubt its one you have to finish watching every time you come across it on TV. It never seems to be, and everyone has a favorite part of the movie, whether it’s the giant stone ball chasing Indy to start the film by shooting the town swordmaster in the street. Every young boy gravitates to Indiana Jones and wants a fedora hat and whip yet there is enough of a great story that a lot of women don’t get bored by the film. It’s a perfect homage to adventure films of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s yet it still rises above them all. It’s an adventure we all want to be on and let ourselves get lost in without it getting old.

Review: The Post

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock over the last year is well aware that journalism has been under fire in this country. As a fan of journalism movies, I was extremely excited about Steven Spielberg’s new movie The Post. Set in 1971 it tells the true story of the leaked documents detailing the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war and what the government knew and didn’t know as well as what they failed to tell the American people. The New York Times ran a story featuring based on information they received from the whistleblower. The struggling Washington Post then obtained all 4000 pages of the report and was stuck in a moral and legal dilemma as to whether or not to release the information to the country. Feeling bound by their journalistic obligations they soon decided that releasing the documents was more important than the legal ramifications that could come their way.

The film has a truly all-star cast led by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep with great supporting roles at every turn. Tom Hanks plays the famous editor Ben Bradlee Sr. who was also played wonderfully by Jason Robards in the 1976 masterpiece, All The Presidents Men. Meryl Streep plays Fay Graham the owner of the paper who’s family has owned the paper for decades. Doing her best to keep the paper afloat all while trying to keep its integrity and relevance. She is on the verge of taking the paper public on the stock exchange when the documents find their way into the hands of the newsroom. After combing the damning documents the quick decision must be made ultimately by Graham as for whether or not to publish. she is conflicted because of not only the legal backlash but how it could ultimately be the end of the paper if mishandled in any way.

Spielberg has done a fine job capturing the quick pace that journalists work at as well as the enormous pressure they can be under in a time factor as well as morally. He shows the tension so well that we as the viewers can feel it at every level. As good as Hanks and Streep are, and they are great, the film is really carried by its supporting cast. The pace of the film is so quick it will be a movie that needs multiple viewings to absorb all the information that is given in rapid-fire succession.

Two years ago I reviewed the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, and I mentioned how the death of great journalism is slowly happening in this digital age. Once again a film shows the power of true journalism and how it can’t go away or be taken away no matter how ugly what is reported is. It is the last line of defense to hold ANYONE in power accountable, not just in government but in any daily situation. The Post talks about how newspapers fledgling and that is so much truer today, yet even in times like those, great things happened and they still can.

Spielberg pulls no punches and shows the truth behind everything that went into informing the public about the disaster that was Vietnam. As bad as everyone knew the war was for so many years, they had no idea how deeply and just how bad it really was. These papers tarnished legacies such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy just 11 years after his assassination. Richard Nixon undoubtedly took the brunt of the heat at the time leading him to wage war on the Washington Post (sound familiar?). The paper survived and ultimately took the president down a couple years later with the Watergate scandal.

There is no question that Spielberg had the current times on his mind while making the movie but he did not let that change the way the story was told. He didn’t have to change things to make a point about today. The story itself is the message of journalism and the power it has. There is a saying that the pen is mightier than the sword and when you realize that right to a free press was an amendment to the constitution before the right to bear arms, it shows that the founding fathers knew this well over 200 years ago. The Post will leave in awe as well as having you thinking deeply about today’s political climate. It will rank with great films such as Spotlight and All The Presidents Men and is one many people need to see.

Review: Molly’s Game

Aaron Sorkin has without a doubt been one of, if not the best screenwriter in the last 25 years. His newest effort, Molly’s Game is no different. From his debut with A few Good Men to his hit show The West Wing to his Oscar-winning script for The Social Network. His dialogue driven work has lent life to stories that otherwise may not have seemed as exciting for example once again The Social Network and Moneyball. Those are two stories that while interesting don’t necessarily lend themselves to a compelling movie.

For his latest effort, Sorkin not only goes behind the words but he goes behind the camera for his directorial debut. There is no doubt Sorkin has taken notes and learned a lot from some of the top-notch directors that have brought his words to life such as David Fincher, Rob Reiner, Bennet Miller and Mike Nichols. Those are some pretty good auteurs to learn the craft from, and Sorkin didn’t miss anything they showed. Molly’s Game is much more of a cinema-friendly story than some of the others, but Sorkin has made it beyond compelling. After the success of the underground poker film Rounders, which levitated the poker world and game to the heights it knows today, Hollywood has tried and failed to capture that world again. Enter Molly Bloom and Aaron Sorkin.

Molly Bloom was Olympic level mogul skier who after injury found herself thrust into the money hungry world of Los Angeles where her career ambitions took a left turn when she took an assistant job to a high-end realtor who also happened to play in a high stakes poker game with some of Los Angeles’ elite millionaires. After diligently learning their world and making friends with the games regular players which included an A-list Hollywood actor who, although not named in the movie has since been identified in her book as Toby McGuire as well as his longtime friend Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio she eventually starts her own game with these elite players. Determined to keep her game legal and make enough money to get her degree and the life she initially set out for herself, the greed and glam of L.A. took over as well as the vices that come with it. Battling substance abuse which snuck up on her as well as the idea that she was slightly untouched she loses the L.A. game. This leads Molly to take her knowledge and skills to New York City where the clientele is less than savory and soon includes members of the Russian mafia. Molly finds herself on trial for multiple offenses that include fraud as well as money laundering all of which add up to a possible 20 plus years in prison. Her new unlikely high priced attorney Charles Jaffey are soon building a defense as Molly reveals all aspects of her business for Jaffey.

The film is driven, and I mean driven by the two stellar performances of two time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba. When working with an Aaron Sorkin script, you need actors that can deliver not only a massive amount of dialogue but can deliver it razor sharp. Think of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War, Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs and recent first time Oscar nominee Allison Janney in The West Wing, maybe the greatest master of his words. Without actors of this skill and caliber, these films fall flat. Elba and Chastain master his words just as well as anyone. The quick pace he demands is maybe as tricky as any stunt Tom Cruise does in any Mission Impossible film. Chastain delivers to a point where I can’t picture a Sorkin film NOT including her in some aspect.

To discuss Sorkin’s directing abilities he shows he can hang with most directors working in Hollywood. While he didn’t bring much new to the table as Fincher did with The Social Network, for instance, he paces the film and moves the story along in a way that leads to zero dullness and keeps the viewer captivated from beginning to end. He knows how to work with great actors as well as get the best out of them. In light of today’s Oscar nomination announcement, it comes as no surprise that he is once again nominated for his unparalleled writing ability. The surprise is that Chastain is left out as a best-actress nominee, something that hasn’t happened to an actor speaking working words in a film since 1995’s The American President and has only happened twice out of his eight feature film scripts. To say it’s a snub is an understatement, but such is the way of the Academy. In no way is Molly’s Game a film to be missed or should I say experienced.

Sam Rockwell Finally Got The Credit He Deserved

I wrote this article over years ago on my old blog,  and it was so nice to see Sam Rockwell finally get the recognition he deserves on Oscar night a few months ago.

Some years ago I remembered having a conversation with a co-worker about who is/was the greatest guitarist ever. He was convinced that the best guitarist was some guy who none of us had ever met and who wasn’t and isn’t famous and never will be. I argued with him on this point but as time has gone by I believe he is right. I think the same may be right for actors. The best actor is probably some man or woman doing small theater in a nowhere town who doesn’t have the confidence to try and make it big. That’s not to say there aren’t some outstanding working actors. It’s also fair to say that some actors, including famous ones, don’t get their due justice.
The focus here is to bring awareness to people who do and do not know who Sam Rockwell is and just how underrated his acting is. In all fairness to Sam, there have been unwise choices, but the great ones outweigh those. There are times that he acts for the love of acting or even for the experience of who he may be working with or for the enjoyment of playing the character he’s encompassing.

Most people first caught a glimpse of Rockwell in the Tom Hanks movie The Green Mile as Wild Bill Wharton. That same year he was in the cult comedy Galaxy Quest as Guy Fleegman. A couple of years later he would make a small appearance in Jon Favreau’s indie hit Made. It may have been a small role, but it was a hilarious and memorable scene as the hotel clerk. After a couple of shorts films and some very indie movies he met George Clooney and eventually won one of his most defining roles. Clooney was about to embark on his first directing project, an adaptation of the Chuck Barris autobiography, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Rockwell won the prized role of game show host and creator Chuck Barris. He nailed it. With one of the best acting performances of the year, he made you feel like you were watching The Gong Show all over again and played the role of a CIA assassin to perfection.

He next teamed up with Nicolas Cage and Allison Lohman in the con man comedy, Matchstick Men. He career appeared to be on the rise. Then, as happens so many times, taking a role in what would be an epic failure. The highly anticipated adaptation of a beloved sci-fi classic novel and British mini-series, A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The moved fell to critical and financial dismay. The next couple years would be commercially lean for Rockwell, and he wouldn’t grab notable recognition until he was in the independent western movie, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. He would play Robert Ford’s brother, Charley. The one trouble with the Jesse James film wasn’t critical acclaim or poor box office numbers because it exceeded everyone’s expectations in those areas. Unfortunately for him, Casey Affleck was so good he stole the show from Rockwell and received his first Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Rockwell was back in the shadows as fast as he came out. Rockwell was every bit as good as Affleck just going unnoticed.
He continued to work and took a smaller but critical role the next year in the critically acclaimed Ron Howard project, Frost/Nixon based on the Broadway play. Once again acting out-shined Rockwell with stellar scenes that are instructional videos on great acting, between Frank Langella and Michael Sheen.

Returning to the indie scene, he tackled his best role and by far his most challenging. The low budget sci-fi thriller, Moon, seemed doomed from the start. With a budget of only 5 million and filmed during the writers strike and at the helm was a first time director, it seemed destined to fail. The pressure weighed all on Rockwell’s shoulders. With at least 95 percent of the scenes being him alone talking to a computer voice only rock-solid performance could save the movie. As far as indie movies go? It was a smash success! Sam had done it. He had made the film without question with a once in a lifetime performance. Sadly again not many knew about Moon nor did the awards committees see fit to honor the significant role he made.

Rockwell has worked steadily including roles in Iron Man 2 and Cowboys and Aliens working with his good friend Jon Favreau. We can only hope that one day Mr. Rockwell will get his due justice, meanwhile keep your eyes open for what could be his next great performance.

Today’s Youth Could Use A John Hughes

Anyone who spent any time as a youth during the 1980’s no matter what ages, has at some point felt a connection to John Hughes films. One of the decades most loved filmmakers, Hughes passed away 2 1/2 years ago and had given up writing original screenplays, although he was the creator behind some movies with story ideas. He hadn’t directed a film since 1991’s Curly Sue. His films throughout the 80’s were loved by everyone and Hughes, himself was regarded as a voice for the youth of all kinds. A voice for the youth wasn’t his only talent as a storyteller.

Hughes was born in Michigan but grew up in suburban Chicago, and that is where his heart would always be. It was evident in his movies that he genuinely had a love affair with Chicago as far back as his third screenplay, National Lampoon’s Vacation, where the Griswolds hailed from the windy city, and many of his films either took place there or had its characters originate from Chicago.

It was his directing debut that would strike a chord with America’s youth as Molly Ringwald played young Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles. The story is one of a girl whose family is too distracted to remember her sixteenth birthday. Dealing with early high school life and genuinely showing the distinctions among the youth for the first time and in a real yet light-hearted way, which would go on to become his trademark.

It would be the next year that would mark one of the most excellent movies of Hughes career and the decade with, The Breakfast Club. It would be this movie that would indeed give birth to the Brat Pack and start a pop culture phenomenon. The Breakfast Club would be a movie that would define a generation and bring together all the many types of high school students despite what crowd they ran. With as much comedy as drama, the movie showed in bright light the difficulties and pressures that are on the shoulders of all young people in America. Hughes did this, years before Kurt Cobain made it ok to feel different and talk about it. Hughes ability to speak frankly and openly about the problems facing young people is what would draw so many to his movies.

Even his more light-hearted efforts like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off would have these underlying storylines, as Cameron had a difficult life while it seemed like all his friends and all those around him, including his best friend Ferris, had a perfect life.

Hughes even managed to show the joys and difficulty of married life and all that comes with it in 1988’s She’s Having A Baby. A movie that had more of a personal touch for Hughes as it is very loosely based on his early writing career and marriage.

He was a voice for many and said and showed things we all were thinking and feeling. His period of brilliance and time on top was brief, but he still managed to leave a substantial indelible mark on popular culture.
Hughes semi-retired after one of his many muses, John Candy, suddenly passed away in 1994. He felt a piece of creativity left him when Candy died, and we all lost out because of it, but he held true to creative integrity not forcing something that wasn’t there and making money and movies just because of who he was and the fact that he could.

It is unfortunate that today’s youth doesn’t have a voice speaking for them and showing them it’s ok to feel the way they do and that things will be OK in the end. Instead today they get movies like American Pie and Dude Where’s My Car? It was a loss for all when Hughes’ heart gave out in August 2009. We are fortunate to have the legacy he left behind and hopefully future generations will be able to look at his work and identify with his message. We could use him today more than ever.