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The TBTS Movie Character Hall of Fame: Pvt. William Hudson

May 11, 2011
Bill Paxton as Pvt. William Hudson in Aliens

Bill Paxton as Pvt. William Hudson in Aliens

Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re very honored you could join us today; for today, we induct another member into a very prestigious Hall of Fame: the TBTS Movie Character Hall of Fame. There are many movies, with many characters. Sometimes a movie has more than one character (it’s true!), and sometimes a movie may not have any characters. The latter are generally unsuccessful, while the former continue to thrill us in our “movie chairs.”

James Cameron always insists that his movies are about people, not technology. Assuming that you take him at his word, it’s hard to argue that one of the most, ah…colorful people he’s ever put on screen is Bill Paxton as Pvt. William Hudson in 1986’s Aliens. In a movie filled with guns and spaceships and guns and aliens and guns and androids, Pvt. Hudson stands out. His on-screen transformation from loud and cocksure to, well, loud and terrified is a sight to behold.

What do you mean, “THEY cut the power”? How could they cut the power, man? They’re animals!

Before Aliens, Paxton hadn’t done much, but his roles had been memorable. He was among the first unfortunate victims of Schwarzenegger’s The Terminator in 1984 and played the asshole older brother Chet in 1985’s Weird Science. His roles were generally summed up as “obnoxious, crew-cut douchebag #1.” Perhaps it was the aplomb with which he approached these roles that caught Cameron’s eye for Pvt. Hudson. Within 5 minutes of his appearance in Aliens he back-talks his Sergeant, insults a female squad-mate, and sneers derisively at herione Ripley.

Shortly thereafter, during dinner with his fellow Marines, we get a glimpse of what is to become of all that confidence. I’ll save you the spoilers (all 3 of you who haven’t seen this amazing film). Suffice to say we get a taste of the Hudson we’ll see in the 2nd half of the movie. Later, in a scene deleted from the theatrical release, Hudson proudly describes the equipment he and his squad have at their disposal.

I’m ready, man, check it out. I am the ultimate badass! State of the badass art! You do NOT wanna fuck with me. Check it out! Hey Ripley, don’t worry. Me and my squad of ultimate badasses will protect you! Check it out! Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. FWAP! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic E-lectronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks…

Naturally, the first alien attack shatters the façade and we are shown the real man behind all that bravado: a terrified, drooling, sniveling, pathetic sack of meat whose entire world has crumbled around him. Still, after a quick dressing-down and straightening-up by Ripley, he applies himself to the task at hand and once again becomes valuable to the team. He remains a little erratic, but he makes his mama proud and actually ends up going out like a boss. He takes out his share of aliens before buying the farm in the movie’s penultimate battle. Click here if you’d like to see all of Hudson’s lines from Aliens cut together into one video clip.

And so, Pvt. William Hicks, we at TBTS salute you. It may be “game over, man, game over” for you, but your memory lingers in the minds of film lovers everywhere.

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