In honor of the Nice Guy propaganda that’s going around lately and even included in my most recent read, Wild at Heart, I decided to dedicate this week’s media post to Nice Guys. This isn’t about your average nice guy, though. The key to remember is that being a nice guy doesn’t make you the RIGHT guy to save the day or to get the girl you want.
Harry Potter series
1. Harry is a nice guy who promotes team work and prevails against the forces of evil. He doesn’t prevail because he’s nice, he wins because he’s inspirational and a leader.
2. Neville is an incredibly nice guy who stands toe to toe with evil. He also cuts off the head of the HUGE snake his friends are running from
3. Ron gets the girl despite being a complete idiot about girls because he knows when to admit he’s wrong and he’s loyal beyond reason. That’s a nice guy
Sweet Home Alabama – two great and nice guys in that movie, only one is the right guy though. That doesn’t make the other guy not great or worthy, nor does he act like it when he gets left at the alter. I love the end credits showing a picture of his subsequent wedding to someone else.
Percy Jackson series – promotes team work and doesn’t take all the glory. Still the guy who stands up to the villain in the first movie and than Cronos in the second.
Wreck it Ralph – just go see it. Ralph and Felix are amazing in many ways.
Captain America – Steve Rogers and Bucky and Howard Stark are nice guys. That doesn’t mean they back down from the enemy. It also doesn’t mean they throw it in everyone’s face all the time. One of my favorite parts of this movie was that Steve Rogers reported back for duty with the acceptance of punishment for saving lives. It was a great touch in cinema that really brought home that he does things because they are the right thing to do. He was always a nice guy and he got shot down a lot by girls and by the government in everything he wanted to do before finally getting selected. He never shied from a fight, that’s not the part that makes you a nice guy. A nice guy does what even the weak version of this superhero does. Much like his DC counterpart, Clark Kent/Superman.
How Do You Know? – Paul Rudd plays a role that is exquisitely vulnerable. This doesn’t stand in the way of the strength of his character. He is conflicted and confused and trying to do what is best for his situation and he doesn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of that. He may seem weak at times, but it’s a precarious situation that we meet him in during this movie. It’s a very well written and performed part. Also, Owen Wilson’s character is a nice guy in his own way, and shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s nice in a way that seems obvious to him but isn’t easily understood by most people. The important thing was that he was consistently trying to be thoughtful, which should always count for niceness.
These guys are nice but not the pushovers that people talk about online or in that book, not that it was a bad book. There are plenty of bad examples of guys who were too nice and have no backbone. My point here is just to show that you can be a nice guy and still stand up to the enemy. You can be a nice guy and not get the girl or not be the chosen one (Neville). That doesn’t invalidate your masculinity or worthiness of another fight or another girl. Every hero has his crusade, but not every crusade belongs to every hero.