I have waited a long time for this moment. Throughout my life, I've watched what amounts to miles of film about the trials and tribulations of high school life. From The Karate Kid to Spider Man, I've had to sit through decades of movie theater darkness, biting my tongue as the more relatable and, frankly, superior character in every story is immediately stereotyped as "The Bully." Instead, Hollywood wants to linger on the awkward nobodies, those stumbling meek hoping just to get a girlfriend or a shred of popularity when the clearest choice for a hero is obviously the guy who already has all those things, along with a convertible and pushed-up sleeves.
Where is his redemption story?
I have patiently tolerated this prejudice my entire life, but not anymore. Studios have finally looked out across the cultural landscape and said, "Hold on. Who's making movies for the rich kids? Who is making films about the tribulations of the flawless elite?" The answer, of course, was nobody.
Now, this may be the first you've heard of the newly released smash hit, A Warrior's Heart but that's exactly why you need people like me in your life, telling you what matters most in the world and what you should believe, or else. In the proud tradition of films like To Kill a Mocking Bird and Last of the Mohicans pleading for tolerance of a subjugated people, A Warrior's Heart is another thrilling crest in cinematic history. Yes, we only account for a small portion of the population, but we still have a voice, goddammit, and it is probably richer and fuller than yours.
A Warrior's Heart revolves around two private-schooled, white-toothed teens named Conor and Brooklyn as they fall in love over completely surmountable odds. Together, they build a steamy and muscular love triangle between each other and their shared passion for lacrosse. Everything is plaid skirts and money until, look out! Conor's father dies while being a hero in Iraq. Unable to deal with his emotions, Conor acts out by breaking a trophy case and then has to go to a wilderness camp as punishment where he plays wilderness lacrosse with wilderness Indians. Through his time in camp he learns that the exorbitantly wealthy and Native Americans are not so different after all, they are both, for instance, minorities with little-to-no body hair. The story is bold and unapologetic in its exploration of the American teen, acknowledging that every boy has to learn to quell his rage while slowly and painfully learning what it means to be a man, and that every girl really likes boys who play sports.
If that somehow hasn't sold you, here is a press release about the movie "pulsating" through theaters. And here is the trailer:
I think some context is in order. After watching that trailer, you may have mistaken this movie for something you'd rather not see. In fact, you may have mistaken it for the worst hunk of cloying twaddle at which anyone ever bothered pointing a camera. That's understandable. Your close-minded bigotry toward the genetically and socially advantaged is a product of our culture. You have been taught to judge with your heart instead of your eyes because ugly people have tricked you into thinking it will build character. But I ask you honestly: Who needs character when you have muscles and an allowance?
The first lines of dialogue in the trailer are:
"It's funny what you notice the first time you see someone. Confidence. A nice smile. What's impossible to know at first glance is everything else."
This may sound like the opening to a horror movie in which the cute new guy at school turns out to be a sociopath.
We know how this is supposed to go.
But that's only because you have been conditioned to expect any handsome high schooler who starts a movie flawless to end up being the antagonist by the end. Not Conor. When he is introduced, he is already perfect and then he spends the next 90 minutes getting perfecter.
A Warrior's Heart is revolutionary because it's willing to heap all its attention on the quintessential bad guy while insisting that he's really not that bad. What other movie has had the courage to do that? The trailer even introduces us to the kid that very clearly should be the main character in the conventional high school movie before turning its back on him immediately.
"I probably have asthma."
He's shorter, skinnier and inferior in every way except hair length. Conor even emasculates him, by threatening to take his position on the team while the kid is naked. But this movie isn't called Pigeon-chested Kid Who Tries Really Hard it's called A Warrior's Heart and warriors aren't supposed to be nice. Finally, a fair shake for the big guy.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, "I'm not so sure I want to like Conor." Well good news, his dad is dead. For all of you whiners who still can't get enough of stories about, ugh, overcoming adversity, the film murders his father to make Conor more sympathetic. In addition, every sequence of the trailer where you might start thinking that Conor really shouldn't be the protagonist, they've squeezed in a bigger, blonder guy to remind you that there's always someone you can dislike a little bit more in the movie.
"Here I am."
"Me again. LOL."
"Excuse me. Nameless device, passing through."
Conor isn't the weak kid with a good personality and he isn't the classic meathead either. He is somewhere in between and the trailer for A Warrior's Heart works furiously to walk that line. It tells the viewer that this isn't going to be a movie about character development and overcoming obstacles as much as it is a tribute to just being awesome and perfectly suited for the world. Oh, and I almost forgot. It's also about Indians.
The Cultural Importance
In order to overcome the sadness of losing his father, Conor has to explore his roots. Well, some roots. Any roots will do, really. Conor is whisked away by his father's Native American war buddy to a camp where he can vent his anger by hitting stuff with tools or kicking over barn frames. Conor is mad but the Indians are wise and soon he's learning to cope with loss through the healing power of wilderness lacrosse. And so lacrosse becomes a great metaphor for the film as a whole. Just as the Native Americans graciously handed the sport to white, East Coast prep schools, their very presence in this film serves only to pass on the minority spotlight to a new and deserving group: The one percent.
"You clearly need this more than we do. Sincerely, all of the Native Americans."
I haven't seen the full movie yet so I don't know how it ends. But presumably they all have a good laugh about their shared experiences and then they win the big game. The kids graduate, Conor gets a full-ride to play lacrosse at Duke and the Native American soldier waves goodbye to him before morphing into an eagle and pecking out the eyes of the Iraqi terrorists who killed his friend, all as the Star Spangled Banner swells underneath. Cut to black. Credits. I love this fucking movie.
For more from Soren, check out The 6 Most Baffling Search Queries About Relationships and 5 Mediocre Movies Made Awesome by Real Events.