Every great once and a while, Hollywood will come out with a big-screen movie that features a character of omnipresent effect – a character so overwhelmingly convincing it is known, treasured and remembered by virtually everyone, everywhere, for eternity.
Clark Gable's Rhett Butler in the iconic 1939 film "Gone With the Wind" immediately comes to mind.
Who else better exemplifies southern, blue-blood aristocracy?
What about Marlon Brando's Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola and released in 1972?
A truly cutting-edge, though accurate, take on a ruthless Sicilian mob boss who made such a lasting impression that we simply can not refuse him.
The first time I saw the film, I was an 18-year-old college freshman and didn't have a clue regarding the working parts of the mafia underworld, where they came from, the nature of their business, their hierarchy, their lingo, etc.
Though I was ignorant of these mafia-related facts, I was enamored by and thoroughly enjoyed the movie to the extent I commenced studying up on organized crime.
Then came Heath Ledger's timeless Joker character in "The Dark Knight," a sequel to "Batman Begins," which hit theaters in 2008, starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Personally, I feel "The Dark Knight" is an apt title for this particular production because over the course of the many movies I've watched, I never viewed a character as superbly dark as was Ledger's painted-face, carnival barker-dressing, manically brilliant Joker.
One scene I particularly enjoyed was when the Joker – highlighted by darting eyes, and nervous facial twitches – proudly announced Gotham City deserved a higher class of criminal.
Who better to deliver than the Joker?
Tragically enough, however, sick theatrics entered the once family themed theater when 24-year-old James Holmes, obviously too deep into the Joker's character, stormed into a theater in Aurora, Colo., July 20, during the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises," opened fire and killed 12 people, wounding another 58 – a modern-day massacre.
Dressed in combat gear and in possession of a variety of semiautomatic weapons, Holmes was arrested shortly after the killing spree.
So horrendous was this needless act, so great was the outcry and media coverage, help came pouring in from law enforcement agencies across the nation. Theaters from across the nation also stepped up security measures.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the gunman suspected of attacking the crowd resembled Batman's arch-villain.
"It clearly looks like a deranged individual," Kelly said. "He had his hair painted red. He said he was 'The Joker,' obviously the enemy of Batman."
Rest assured that Holmes, at one time a doctoral student at the University of Colorado-Denver Medical School, will be dissected by a litany of celebrity shrinks, and the media will report with incessant voracity.
Still, prosecutors and high-end defense attorneys will be visiting their hairdressers, purchasing new designer suits, and elbowing each other in an attempt to secure the best possible position in front of the camera.
Many books will be written by the many people associated with the Aurora theater shooting; many will hit the talk-show circuit.
Business as usual, right?
Mind you, in no way am I attempting to make light of the Aurora theater shooting; however, I do find it ironic that our society has sunken to such an abysmal state that violence is one of its greatest money-making commodities.
Of course, we, the public, have the constitutional right to demand the news.
The press has the same constitutional right to give us the news.
For some reason, I keep thinking about the opening verse to the Don Henley hit, "Dirty Laundry: I make my living off the evening news/Just give me something, something I can use/People love it when you lose/They love dirty laundry.