Despite how hard we might try, this game of life is rarely 'picture perfect,' and instead we all find balance in knowing we put our best foot forward in pursuit of things more likely within our grasp. This isn't to say we don't dream big because we do: rather it's a mature acknowledgement that existence is and always has been imperfect, so take the goodness in small doses and you're more likely to find happiness in the day-to-day pursuit of your memories.
Bill Paxton was the ultimate cinematic underdog.
In his most memorable work, rarely was he front and center: he was either part of an ensemble or he was cast as one of those background characters who brought his A-game to a B-role. With Bill, you could always be certain that no matter how many minutes of screen time he had or how many lines he was given from the script he was going to attack every moment with the kind of quality workmanship needed to make the project succeed. He turned in the kind of effort that drew attention to the sum total of the affair rather than inherit a role for notoriety or personal acclaim; and that's probably why his skills surpassed the limitations of his contemporaries.
In fact, his resume reads like a syllabus for any aspiring actor to study. The Terminator. Weird Science. Near Dark. Predator 2. Tombstone. Apollo 13. Twister. HBO's Big Love. Edge of Tomorrow. TV's Hatfields & McCoys. (I could go on and on as his genre contributions are all particularly fantastic, but methinks you get the point.) Rarely was he cast in the typical leading man role -- where the "bigger than life" quality often sends marquee names -- but instead he fleshed out those secondary men who excelled despite their flaws and gave a motion picture some much needed flavor. He turned small moments -- like I mentioned above -- into the stuff of film legend.
His passing was sudden, and I suspect the news rocked your world as much as it did mine. In one of the comment boards I frequent, I wrote that he was truly one of Hollywood's least expected geniuses and arguably one of its most unappreciated ones as well. In short, he delivered exactly what a picture needed in a way uniquely ... well ... 'Paxtonian,' and he will be sorely missed.