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People often write the South off as a cultureless wasteland, filled with backwoods, folksy nobodies, living life in a world gone by. Those of us who live here, however, know that this judgment isn’t entirely accurate; the South isn’t an irrelevant relic, but a place where the culture of the Old South mingles with modern society and contemporary issues. In fact, some of the greatest works of art in the last 30 years have been inspired by or set in the American South. The result in literature and film is often blood-soaked poetry, where characters must survive in a land filled with breathtaking vistas and the eccentric individuals that the Southern culture of honor breathes life into. Some of these works of art have contemporary settings, while others take place a hundred years ago or more; however, the setting is less important than the work having the feel of the South.
Con Air might just be a perfect movie. There is a scene where Cameron Poe, the story’s hero, played by Nicolas Cage, finds himself in a vulnerable standoff with U.S. Marshal, Vince Larkin, played by the nervously captivating John Cusack. Within this standoff, Poe utters the following line: “There’s only two men I trust. One of them’s me. The other’s not you.” Poe’s line shows a hero’s undying skepticism of all outside threats. Over the course of the movie, the two’s relationship turns from agent hunting convict to friend trying to understand friend. Poe, a free man at this point, refuses to simply walk away from an unfinished job, and instead chooses to fulfill his heroic duty. In the end sequence, Poe graciously gifts his daughter with a stuffed teddy bear, and as she shyly takes her father’s gift, she takes our hearts as well. This hero won, as most heroes do, so yeah, Con Air is definitely a perfect movie.
Like the lesson Con Air teaches, a hero can’t simply be a novice desk agent out in the field for the first time. A hero must come from a not so friendly background, filled with misfortune and fate’s unfortunate influence. A hero is an outcast in some form or fashion. A hero doesn’t just fight, he or she fights well, like ‘Apollo Creed walkout music worthy’ well. A hero can work for a government agency, but within that agency, the hero should be either disliked, excommunicated, and/or a habitual rule breaker. A hero must have a cool name, and more often than not, that name begins with the letter “J”.
Below is a list of film’s greatest “J” named heroes, beginning with the least deserving and finishing with the most worthy “J” named hero. The characteristics by which each hero will be ranked are as follows: background, abilities, and love life.