The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, June 11, 2010

The "A-Team's" Hidden Heart

Today we get a cinematic update/reimagining of the classic 70’s action-comedy “The A-Team.” And I can’t wait to check it out! But while on the surface we understood each of the basic personalities that made the team work (the planner, the pilot, the seductive “face”, and the snarling mechanic) behind the scenes there was a different dynamic entirely. Mr. T, the mohawked, super-buffed mechanical genius who was afraid of flying “B.A. Baracus” was secretly a softie. I know this because his former bodyguard, the amazing martial artist Cliff Stewart, is also my instructor. And Cliff tells stories about those days.

It seems that, while “T” crafted his super-tough public image carefully, behind the scenes he was an absolute wimp when it came to children. He donated time, money, and skill to children’s centers across the country, his generosity knowing no limit…except for one thing. NO PUBLICITY. No cameras, no reporters, no whisper to papers or television stations, or he would stop giving. This wasn’t about fame or self-promotion. It was purely because he loves children, sees them as the future of the world, felt a deep and abiding love for their hearts and minds.

That is an adult human being. On the path of the Hero’s Journey, it is the final step: “the student becomes the teacher.” This is the stage when you give back, teach what you have learned, share what you have acquired. Without this, you CANNOT move on to the next stage of your life, and even snarling B.A. Baracus knew it. Do you?

I don’t know how I’ll like “Rampage” Jackson will do imitating the inimitable Mr. T, but I know one thing: when it comes to filling THOSE shoes, I pity the fool.


Reluctant Lawyer said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing the update to the A-Team. Looks like it will not destroy a fond childhood memory, unlike many of the recent remakes.

I've started whistling the themesong to the original while I'm doing my household carpentry projects. Makes installing baseboards seem just a bit more exciting.

Michelle said...

80's...A-Team is from the 80's.

We streamed the original from Netflix before the film came out. Then we saw the film last night.

Oh it was good. And I wish they did more of the BA subplot of redemption. But we really, really liked the movie.

Michelle said...

Must not hit send so quickly....

Mr. is pretty amazing. I meet him as a kid, he came to the opening of a new ski lift and my dad brought me to work that day to see him. I was pretty young, so all I remember was the summer mountains and Mr. T smiling.

He had a cartoon show too..We used to watch it every afternoon. Mr. T was gym coach to team of children.

Steve Perry said...

I understand the Guild sussed out eleven writers on the A-Team.

Always a bad sign.

When you remake a so-so TV show, if you can't improve it, what is the point? Cliff's stories about Mr. T are terrific -- and that's because Cliff is terrific -- but the show was silly. All that hardware, all those bullets, nobody ever got killed.

Battlestar Galactica's remake was outstanding, and given what they had to work with, amazing. I think the people who are going to enjoy A-Team are the folks who hold a fond spot for it in their memories.

I could be wrong, but Karate Kid is kicking its ass at the B.O. and that's not a surprise. KK had a heart where the A-Team kept winking at the audience.

Frank said...

All that hardware, all those bullets, nobody ever got killed.

Killed? In my recollection, no one even got hit, unless it was a plot-point.

And silly? You mean that Hannibal's day-job as the monster in low-budget horror movies wasn't serious?

Yeah, the show was a cartoon, but there is was something very satisfying about a group of loveable vigilantes helping people who have no where else to turn and seeing the arrogant bad guys goes from a position of unquestional power to handcuffs.

I watched it every week and loved every minute.