Something just came to my attention. Well, a while ago actually…I’m not sure if it matters or if it’s that big of a deal, but I think it proves a fact. People will gravitate to someone after something very tragic happens. It’s almost like no one pays that much attention to that person, and then when something unexpected happens, they flock to the scene. It seems like that’s sort of what happened with late actor Heath Ledger. My friend brought it up, and it had me thinking a bit.
You’re probably asking how I came to this realization…I saw the movie Lords of Dogtown for the first time, and my friend brought it up before the movie started.
As bad as it might sound, it is true. After people learned that Heath Ledger had passed, it seemed like all of a sudden people were huge fans of him. It seemed like everyone immediately recognized him as the Joker in The Dark Knight, completely forgetting about the movies he’d played in before, probably because they didn’t know the movies he’d played in prior to The Dark Knight. Focus only on a movie everyone knows, instead of the ones that got him the start to be able to play in his most well-known picture. That’s original.
With all honesty involved here, I first fell in love with Heath Ledger as an actor when I saw 10 Things I Hate About You. I didn’t know that it was a modern adaptation of The Taming Of The Shrew until I’d seen it a couple times and found out from my sister, but that didn’t really make a difference. He played the character of Patrick Verona perfectly, and I don’t think the movie would’ve been the same without him as the rebel who ends up having a little of a soft side.
The next movie I’d seen Ledger in was The Patriot, as a part of a school project in the 8th grade. I’m pretty sure I’d missed the beginning of the movie because I wasn’t in school when it started, but I’d seen the rest of it. His role as Gabriel Martin, a patriot’s son, is a far-cry from that of Verona in 10 Things but that’s the entire idea of acting. I distinctly remember that some of the girls sitting in front of me thought that he wasn’t bad-looking, which honestly, he wasn’t. They thought this for most of the movie until…They found out that he was one of the main characters in the controversial, award-winning film Brokeback Mountain. I can’t say that I wasn’t shocked upon learning that Heath Ledger was to play opposite of Jake Gyllenhaal in the particular role he was in, but I didn’t lose any respect for him. Yeah, I was pretty surprised and what have you, but whether you’re in a provocative role or not, something new to you or not, it doesn’t change you as a person. You’re still the same person once you leave the set of whatever movie you’re shooting or whatever it is you’re doing. Some people, I think, don’t understand that.
Another Ledger film, that I still haven’t seen all of, is Candy, filmed in his native of Australia. From what I saw of it, the movie isn’t hard to follow, but is very raw and real. The story of Candy revolves around the complicated and deadly love between artist Candy and poet Dan. Their love that was once strong and stable, gives way to Dan’s heroin addiction and swirls into something they never saw coming. Like any movie that focuses on more of the real world than some are willing to accept, it really makes you think about how some people live their lives and what happens when some kind of dependency ruins a part of them or in the process, destroys someone else. The other film I still haven’t managed to watch all of is A Knight’s Tale. I swear, it’s been on a million times and I’ve never seen the whole thing. A Knight’s Tale, inspired by The Canterbury Tales, came out after 10 Things and seems to be one of the movies other than The Dark Knight that people seem to recognize him in. Don’t get me wrong, The Dark Knight displays one of Ledger’s best performances via the Oscar that he won, but there was more that led up to that point. While Candy shows real life in a present-day, on the receiving end of an addict in love with the two very different things in his life, A Knight’s Tale shows real life in a completely different time, on the receiving end of a squire who fills his dead master’s shoes, literally, with his jousting talents.
The last movie I saw Heath Ledger in was, as with almost everyone in the entire world, The Dark Knight. Before I’d seen the movie, I heard a lot about how the classic villain wasn’t the same criminal that was portrayed by Jack Nicholson or that of Cesar Romero before him. Every actor has their own way of portraying characters and Ledger’s rendering was no exception. While Nicholson and Romero’s interpretations of The Joker seemed clean and well-kept (for a criminal) as far as make-up and clothing go, Ledger’s version was more gritty and rough, via the smudged make-up and cleverly stylish mismatched clothes. Out of all three actors’ perspectives on the classic character and his deranged nature, it seems like Ledger’s interpretation was unexpected. The very core of his character bleeds with the corruption and insanity of a society driven under, something that previous outlooks didn’t display in such the manner that you get chills down your spine.
Most people are quick to believe that The Dark Knight is the Australian actor’s last movie before his untimely passing…and they’re right for the most part. The fantasy film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, would have been Ledger’s final finished movie, but everything doesn’t always work out how it should…Oddly enough, the movie still manages to work out. The main character, Tony, is able to go travel through this imaginarium (via the title) and as he travels, his image changes. Upon Ledger’s untimely departure, the role of Tony was taken by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, working out perfectly since Tony’s character looks different every time he goes through the imaginarium. Even though the film didn’t finish with Ledger fully present, I would still like to see it for myself and see how good it is.
The whole time I watched Lords of Dogtown, I wasn’t thinking about the comment my friend made beforehand, but how I would’ve like to live in California in the 1970’s. I could honestly picture summer, the sun all around, watching people skateboard in empty swimming pools, so care-free without a worry in sight. Aside from the fact I was thinking about summer in California, I felt pretty educated because I honestly never knew where the sport/culture of skateboarding started. I had really never thought about it, and after the movie ended, I still felt proud that I knew how it all started. It’s pretty amazing how something so simple as a way to kill time could be the next big sport. I was also amazed to know that the movie was written by Stacy Peralta…The Stacy Peralta. One of the three individuals that started the skateboarding movement and went on to become a legend. That definitely made me smile. Just learning and knowing how the legends actually became legends, it was 100% worth it.
Seeing Dogtown was (as I just said) definitely worth it. Not only did it feature the beloved and missed Heath Ledger, but it also showcased the origin of how skateboarding started and how the legends came to be. That’s the beauty about movies sometimes, you learn little (or big) facts that you never knew before. May Mr. Ledger rest in peace and the heart & soul of skateboarding live on.
Life is a joyride of non-stop ups and downs. Live every day and regret nothing.