I’m not one of those people who gets upset when someone dies, unless it’s someone I cared about, or whose work touched me in some profound way. It is, after all, the final act for all of us. We’re very rarely prepared, and sometimes it comes sooner than later – but make no mistake – it’s the end game for all of us.
Bill Paxton was someone whose work deeply touched me. He was a working actor who stayed busy and never phoned it in, but make no mistake, he was capable of transcendence.
In no particular order, here are my three favorite Bill Paxton roles…
One False Move: This brilliantly written script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson was brought to life by Bill Paxton’s role as the small town sheriff Dale “Hurricane” Dixon and Billy Bob’s indelibly cruel murderer Ray Malcom. Frightening, poignant, and unforgettable.
A Simple Plan: This haunting masterpiece pairs Paxton again with Billy Bob in one of those rare “perfect” films. A richly textured and multi-layered portrait of two brothers caught in a tragic spiral, doomed by their own weakness and greed.
Frailty: This movie is one of those stunning works that is an impossibly complete and flawlessly executed vision of a first-time director who just happens to also be the lead character. Think Charles Laughton directing “Night of the Hunter,” except Paxton also starred in it. It also features an amazing and menacing early performance by Matthew McConaughey.
I’m thoroughly toasted from a long day in the ER but I can’t go to bed without honoring this man’s work. Gone but most definitely won’t be forgotten, RIP Bill Paxton, and thank you for your work.