Year Released: 2017
Directe by: Joseph Kisinski
Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jeff Bridges
(PG-13, 134 min.)
Genre: Action and Adventure, Drama
“I want you to all breathe in this beautiful vista, because once you’re Hotshots, you’re never going to be able to look out into the wild and see that pure beauty again.” – “Supe” Eric Marsh
With so many now bashing men – deservedly so in some cases – this latest Hollywood release resets the balance by showing us real life men to admire. The fact that it is based on true events makes this action drama even more poignant.
All men are created equal... then, a few become firefighters. Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. As most of us run from danger, they run toward it--they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.
Hollywood takes a pause from its endless sequels, prequels, and comic book rehashes to tell a real story, this one based on the deadliest wild fire ever in Arizona in June of 2013. It’s not the view from the coastal elite bubble usually favored by Tinseltown, but one from the ordinary men and women who make up most of America.
As in the equally well done Deepwater Horizon, a film about the oil rig that exploded in 2010, or the recent Patriots Day, about the Boston Marathon bombing, knowing that you are watching events that actually happened, rather than – say the tangled imaginings of some upstart screenwriter – actually makes the film more gripping.
Terrific performers enhance the production. Josh Brolin, recalling the understatement and restraint that he brought to Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, anchors the film as “Supe,” Eric Moss, the fire fighter crew chief. He is taciturn to a fault, what his feisty wife calls “his John Wayne thing,” but what he lacks in words he makes up for in heart. He has a knack for knowing which way the fire will go, and stubbornly follows his gut, even when it means alienating those above him, who for the most part, prove to be wrong in their by-the-book predictions.
Moss is drawn to fire like a moth to a flame, with a kind of respect and awe for his deadly foe:
I worked this blaze near Big Timber, Montana, in the blink of an eye there’s fire everywhere, and then charging out of these flames comes this bear on fire. That was the most beautiful and terrible thing I’ve ever seen.
The crew would follow him to the hates of hell, which is actually what they do in the infamous Yarnell Hill Fire of 2013.
Jennifer Connelly plays his devoted and feisty wife Amanda, holding her own among a cast almost exclusively of men. We see in her the pain of “sharing your man with a fire.” There is great chemistry between Connelly and Brolin, so that even their arguments, loud and angry at times, are grounded in love.
Jeff Bridges plays the local fire chief, Duane Steinbrink, with the same curmudgeonly charm that underscored his performance as Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton in 2016’s Hell or High Water, a film as spare as the west Texas plain it inhabited. Duane navigates around Moss’s temperamental nature, his dry humor and unruffled nature a calming force. He picks up the pieces of a chair Moss has smashed to smithereens over a perceived slight without comment, but gives a teasing warning for its replacement, which he carries in with much fanfare.
Miles Teller, the least known of the major actors, plays the pivotal role of Brendan “Donut” McDonough, an aimless druggie in need of the discipline and redemption the firefighting unit provides. He is only three months clean when he asks for a job, and Moss takes a big risk in letting him in. The crew wants nothing to do with him, but Donut will not give up, and he takes their taunts without complaint, just as he does the punishing hills he barely survives on his first day of training.
The film is almost as business like as the crew itself. It pulls at your heart strings by trying not to. These, not our actors, singers, or overpaid professional athletes are the true American heroes. It’s high time that Hollywood recognizes them and their peers paying the theater admissions.
Not to miss on the big screen.
Our Arizona Mule Cocktail glows almost a bright as the fires the Granite Mountain Hotshots battle. And the Jalapeno infused vodka gives it hot bite, too.
Lift your glasses to the Granite Mountain Hotshots, mulish perhaps in their dedication to their craft. “Only the Brave” who run into danger and not from it. Ordinary men and heroes all.
Arizona Mule Cocktail
An Arizona Mule Cocktail is an easy cocktail that will impress your friends. It's got a bright color from the prickly pear and a kick at the end from the jalapeno infused vodka. It will be a hit every time you make it! – Author: Aubrey Cota
Recipe type: Cocktail
2 oz. Jalapeno Infused Vodka
1/2 oz. prickly pear syrup
4 to 6 oz. ginger beer
1. In an ice filled shaker combine jalapeno infused vodka and prickly pear syrup
2. Pour into an ice filled glass and squeeze a lime wedge into glass
3. Top off with ginger beer
4. Garnish with a lime wedge