I was headed home from the shore when my pop texted me, “Sorry for your loss.”  I was puzzled.  Who the hell did I know that died?  When he texted back that it was Bill Paxton…my heart just sank.  I went to Facebook and all of my friends were posting about him.  I went to Twitter and it was all over there as well.  Bill Paxton – dead at 61.

Nearly everyone that knows me personally knows that Bill Paxton has been my favorite actor since I was a kid.  He starred in many movies that many beloved.  Aliens, Weird Science, Tombstone, Apollo 13, Twister…there are many people out there who love Bill Paxton because he was a memorable actor who landed some memorable roles.

For me…he was always so much more.

Of course it started for me in those years where he landed the one/two punch of Weird Science and Aliens.  Growing up in the 80s I believe it was mandatory to see these flicks and I just loved him.  As the dickhead older brother who was turned into a piece of shit to a wise-cracking Marine who figured out that he was going to die on an alien planet he gave his all to his performances.

This being the 80s I had no IMDB.  You couldn’t like an actor and go find every role they’ve been in.  So I would go to each videostore and ask clerks which movies he’s been in.  I would scour every TV Guide for any mention of any movie Bill Paxton may have been in.  I actually kept a piece of paper that I would write down Bill Paxton movies on – so if a new one was coming out I would write it down to see it…or if I was watching TV late one night and suddenly in some movie called Lords of Discipline he showed up I would squeal.  Add another title to the list of Bill Paxton movies.

I would rent tons of Bill’s flicks at the video store that many never heard of.  For instance?  How about the time Bill Paxton escaped Mark Hamill on his airplane in Slipstream produced by Star Wars’ Gary Kurtz and Tron director Steven Lisberger?  Or the time Bill had to face off against a bum who had been squatting in his new house in The Vagrant?  The awesome cheesiness of Monolith that had Bill Paxton running around with Louis Gossett, Jr?  People would often confuse Bill Paxton with Independence Day’s Bill Pullman but never realized the two starred in an AMAZING horror film titled Brain Dead along with Bud Cort.

He also died.  A LOT!  Who was the awesome sniper in Navy Seals who gets shot dead?  Bill Paxton!  Who is the cop who gets shot dead in The Last of the Finest where Brian Dennehy, Joe Pantoliano, and Jeff Fahey have to go get revenge?  Bill Paxton!  Who was the brother that died that forced Patrick Swayze and Liam Neeson to go off to find his murderer?  BILL PAXTON.

It didn’t matter how long he was on-screen because for me …it was magic.

I dragged my friends all over to see his films.  There was two years in a row where Bill Paxton had a Christmas movie out and my poor friends would just go along with me so I could see Trespass or Tombstone on the big screen.  Even though it was literally Christmas Day there we were in the theater seeing Bill take on Ice Cube and Ice-T – or get shot down in a saloon.  One time a movie theater offered for me to see Indian Summer for free if I sat down and watched 45 minutes worth of previews first.  So I went with my friend Tara…she wasn’t too pleased but I got to see a FREE BILL PAXTON MOVIE IN THEATERS!  And then Bill gets to hook up with Diane Lane?  Classic.  I once conned my buddy Makio to take me to Philadelphia to see Bill in an indie movie that was playing nowhere.  “We are going to see him in a Marky Mark film?” he asked.  The answer was yes but it was worth it because Traveller was fantastic.

It just went on and on for Bill.  True Lies, Apollo 13…and then he finally landed Twister.  A big budget summer film starring Bill Paxton where he actually didn’t die, get sick, or was just pathetic.  Bill was “the hero”, so to speak, and I was damn happy that Twister was a huge success – even if as a movie it wasn’t that great.  We did get early Phillip Seymour Hoffman AND Helen Hunt in a wet, white t-shirt.

The acting roles never stopped.  He did direct some amazing films like Frailty and The Greatest Game Ever Played.   He got pretty well known from HBO’s Big Love. He might have stopped being a leading man but his roles never failed to impress me from a Buffett clone in Club Dread, a sleaze in Nightcrawler, a theme park owner in Spy Kids, to his incredible role bossing around Tom Cruise in my much beloved Edge of Tomorrow.  I may have stopped running to the theater every single time Bill had a new movie out but I still tried my hardest to watch everything he was in.

People pass on.  It’s a way of life.  But when it comes to those idols you care about it always sucks that they are gone.  Luckily Bill has left behind such a legacy of amazing films that I can only hope that people will continue to discover him for many years to come.

In starting this site I wrote a massive list of topics I wanted to cover.  On this list included a “Top 5 Bill Paxton Movies” and a “Top 5 Bill Paxton Movies You’ve Never Seen”.  I only wish they had been more timely because now they will just be a memoriam.  I do believe I’ll still make that happen though…

I feel like I can go on for days and days.  But I’m going to stop and just say goodbye.

Good bye Bill.  Thank you for everything.  I’m not sure that any actor will ever over take you for my favorite actor of all times.  And I’m happy about that.  Thank you for all you ever did.  Were you robbed for the Oscar nom for One False Move?  Damn straight.  But in my eyes you were always an award winning actor.  And you’ll never ever stop being that.