My New Favorite Action Hero

Mr. Chili and I were watching the pilot of Kill Point last night (the pilot aired last month, but we have Tivo; we can bend time). I really think I’m going to enjoy this show – it’s got some issues, sure, but it’s still going to be among the better of the offerings put out there this summer.

images-3.jpegI’ve always been fond of the Wahlberg brothers as actors. I’m not entirely sure what it is about them that I like, but I find both of them – Mark and Donnie – entirely agreeable on screen. In Kill Point, Donnie, the elder Wahlberg brother, plays a hostage negotiator with a particular affinity for language and it’s proper and precise use.

I always wondered why the negotiators in hostage movies weren’t portrayed as picky grammarians. There’s a scene in The Negotiator where Samuel L. Jackson’s cop-turned-hostage-taker busts the chops of a cop who’s been handed the phone before Kevin Spacey’s hostage negotiator arrives on the scene: Jackson gets the poor, inexperienced, sweating bastard all worked up about how he should never say no to a hostage taker and how the things he says can mean the difference between life and death for an innocent, but the scene is played more for laughs than anything else.

The point, though, is a valid one: when someone is relying almost exclusively on language to navigate a dangerous and tense situation, one should be in complete command of that language, and he should be aware of every nuance and flavor of the words and structures he uses in his communication. In one scene in the pilot of Kill Point, Wahlberg challenges a superior’s sentence structure. In another, one of Wahlberg’s coworkers mentions that she started a sentence with “but” last week and she still hasn’t heard the end of it.

All though the episode, Wahlberg is obsessing over a sign in the restaurant where the good guys have set up their base of operations. He sends one of his men to find the owner of the place and ask him if he’s got a brother or a cousin or a friend named Marco. The boy has no idea why his captain would care, so he keeps putting the task off. Finally, after being ordered to find out, he comes back with the answer: no, there’s only one Marco, and why the hell do you care? Wahlberg sends for a can of spray paint and changes the sign that’s been hanging above their heads – and driving him CRAZY – all day. The sign reads Marcos’. If there’s only one Marco, he says, then the goddamned apostrophe goes on the OTHER side of the S!


(photo courtesy of



Filed under admiration, Grammar, great writing, popular culture

4 responses to “My New Favorite Action Hero

  1. I told you you’d like him! Love me some Donnie Wahlberg. The show is just awful overall but he and Leguizamo are tearing it up!

  2. Kizz, ever since you mentioned that scene – with the misplaced modifier – I’ve been looking forward to seeing the show. I DO love it, despite the glaring awfulness of some of it, because of Wahlberg. I was laughing out loud after the “I STILL haven’t heard the end of it” comment…

  3. nhfalcon

    Why is it whenever I say I like the blazer over the t-shirt look people look at me like I’m nuts, but then when you see celebs like Donnie here in that kinda getup, there’s no problem?

  4. Leah

    Sounds like a good show, but I have no time for regularly scheduled TV, and no money for TiVo.

    I do have a grammar Wednesday request, though. I’m too lazy to look this one up myself, and I just can’t seem to remember the rule.

    How do you make a non ‘s’ ending plural word posessive?

    I washed the children’s clothes


    I washed the childrens’ clothes

    He accidentally walked into the women’s locker room


    He accidentally walked into the womens’ locker room

    You get the idea. It’s been bugging me, but my grammar books really are packed away right now.


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