Aidan is a badass. This five year old loves monsters, and he uses any excuse to dress up in costume - especially ones he creates himself out of paper and crayons. And last month he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is not a particularly badass illness. In fact, it completely sucks. Aidan has gone through the first round of chemo and come through like a champ, but he still has years of treatment ahead of him. Also not badass: the cost of health care in this country. Aidan’s parents have set up a website, Aid For Aiden, to collect donations to help the little badass out.
The Driver (James Taylor) and The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) are the characters at the center of Monte Hellman’s classic road movie Two-Lane Blacktop, but the character who has always won my heart is Warren Oates’ GTO. Named for the canary yellow muscle car he drives, GTO wanders into the path of two professional street racers who drift their way from city to city, making their living tearing down back roads. They end up in a cross country race, headed east to Washington DC, with the pink slips of the cars in the balance. But that’s not what Two-Lane Blacktop is about.
If there were to be a patron saint of badasses, it would be Warren Oates. Not because he was particularly tough, although he could - at times - hold his own. Not because he was all that handsome, although he had a certain roguish charm to his smile. What made Warren Oates so badass was the way that he simply didn’t give a shit what people thought. Oates lived his own way - hard and rough, leading to his untimely early death - and worked his own way, staying out of the spotlight. There was a period in the early 70s when Oates - almost always relegated to supporting roles from which he handily stole entire films - was the best actor working in Hollywood.