More on Heroes and Protagonists

I’ve begun to notice how to read people’s eyes.

For example, the eyes of Heath Ledger and Robin Williams have a bipolar wear-your-emotions-on-your sleeve feel. They also have the look of someone who’s always thinking, more specifically, looking the abyss of fear and despair. They are able to express on camera their own inner depression.

But when they’re playing happy, it’s usually overly happy and desperately happy, like they’re at their own monster’s ball (a party thrown by British corrections officers for a death row inmate the night before his execution). A happiness which they expect might be the last time they’re happy ever. A nostalgic happiness that recognizes the beauty of the moment, but worries that they’ll never see a moment as wonderful ever again.

There seems to be a signature look in depressed people’s eyes. A vacancy that’s looking at the loss in any situation.

On the other side. There are also winner’s eyes. Those of Tom Cruise, or Arnold Schwarzenegger. When you see Tom or Arnold smile, they’re genuine smiles of: “I’m the best and can conquer anything.” Contrasted to Heath’s or Robin’s, their smiles and comedic performances are usually overly animated and desperate. Arnold’s best comedy comes from the clash of context that comes from a man’s man (and winner) who tries to win at the most unexpected contexts. Like winning in kindergarten, or trying to look smart. It’s their arrogance and obliviousness to their weaknesses (coupled with their overwhelming and admirable confidence) that draws out the absurdity in situations.


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