Bill Paxton, Rest In Peace.

This afternoon, I was watching Aliens— comparing the older Special Edition DVD’s color correction with the less pleasing ‘teal and orange’ color correction of the Alien Anthology Blu-ray– and briefly staring at my laptop when I read of Bill Paxton’s passing.

At the moment I read that startling headline, I glanced up at my TV only to see one of Paxton’s closeups on the screen.

What an odd, sad coincidence, I immediately thought.

I’m not usually one to mourn people I’ve never met, but when I found out this afternoon that Bill Paxton had passed away, I have to admit, I really felt stunned…and quite sad. Like most of us, I only knew the man through his work, but, perhaps due to his everyman screen persona, I felt like I really knew him. And not only knew him, but liked him.

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The first time I remember noticing Bill Paxton onscreen was his small role as a sadistic military academy cadet in The Lords Of Discipline

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…on Videodisc, no less (this was sometime in 1984, when I was a Freshman in high school). Along with the rest of the cast, Paxton’s performance left a vivid impression.

By the time I’d seen The Terminator and Streets Of Fire, I knew him by name.

Weird Science, Aliens and, finally, Near Dark, cemented him as one of my favorite new character actors.

One False Move, Traveller and A Simple Plan each gave him the opportunity for more serious, less flashy, but emotionally satisfying lead roles. 

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Paxton’s feature film directorial debut, Frailty, remains one of the best movies I’ve seen since the year 2000.

So many memorable performances, so many terrific movies. He will be missed.

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