the law. Thus, I created the “good mentor” using the patterns existing
for mentors whether they are the law, or they are running from it, in
order to show the broad application of the model. Walter White’s role
as a teacher turned mentor in Breaking Bad, paired with The Silence of the
Lambs, Lethal Weapon and Men in Black, highlight both the broad
application of The Hollywood Model and where it adjusts and develops
for mentors. This sets up expectations and has implications for how
viewers evaluate mentors both on the screen and in real life. These
mentorship roles exemplify the “good mentor” as someone who
experiences life overlap with their mentee, becomes personally
involved, fights a tension between right and wrong, and who learns
from their mentee.
Life Overlap
While analyzing the mentor relationship throughout film, it
appears the crux of the relationship with their apprentice is always built
on an overlap in both of their current life situations. In most cases, that
overlap is mutual struggle. In Lethal Weapon, Roger Murtaugh (Danny
Glover) and Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) form an unlikely duo. Murtaugh
has just turned 50 years old, and is dealing with an identity crisis of sorts
as a result of feeling as though he is now in old age. On the other hand,
Riggs is depressed as a result of the death of his wife Victoria. He is on
the verge of suicide, with no regard for his own life, as he cannot bear
living without his wife. While the situations in both Riggs’ and
Murtaugh’s lives are totally unrelated, both are thrust into a place where
they need each other most, without even knowing it. Murtaugh needs
youth and passion back in his life, while Riggs needs stability and
someone to lean on. The confluence of these circumstances allows
Murtaugh to flourish in the mentorship role.
In Men in Black, Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) is emotional
about the life he left behind. In order to join the Men in Black
organization, he had to sever all ties he had, including all contact with
his beloved wife. Throughout the film, it is evident he struggles with
being totally alone in the world. He is seen checking in on his wife with
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