April 16, 2009

What a character

As I'm sure you read in yesterday's riveting post, I've been tagged into a sick and twisted game of Name Your 10 Favorite Movie Characters. Proper blog etiquette dictates that I have no choice but to follow the lead of other distinguished bloggers who have come before me, and I'm nothing if not, uh, etiquetious? Etiquetteful? Wait, does etiquette have an adjective form? What is going on here?

OK, sorry, back to the movies.

Once upon a time, I kept a running list of my 10 favorite movies. Sad but true. Until yesterday, though, I had never really thought about favorite characters, so I wasn't sure I'd be able to come up with 10 strong entries. Turned out the problem was narrowing the list down. So, before you get to the good stuff, here are five favorites who just missed making the cut: Tony Stark (Iron Man), Roy Hobbs (The Natural), Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark) (Duh), Jason Bourne (take your pick) and Willy Wonka (the Johnny Depp version, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

And, also before you get to the list, make a commitment right now - I know you can do it. Leave a comment below telling us all who your favorite movie characters are. Doesn't have to be 10, but enlighten us a little bit.
And now, in no particular order:

Jake Gittes – Chinatown
A 1940s L.A. private eye who was consistently pissed off, but also consistently interesting and entertaining. Gittes would make the list just for how he delivers the great line at the end of this clip alone - one of my favorite movie quotes ever. Also, Chinatown is possibly the best movie ever, so this gives me a chance to insist that if you haven't already seen it, rent it. Like, immediately.

Benjamin Braddock – The Graduate
For a character who wasn't conventionally cool, Ben did OK for himself (see: Robinson, Mrs.; and Robinson, Elaine). I'm trying to put my finger on what else I liked so much about him, and I guess one thing is how he is apparently liked by his elders but doesn't seem to care at all about what they think.

In one great scene, his parents tell him that his post-college plan sounds half-baked, to which he nonchalantly replies, "No, it's not. It's completely baked." Also, for example, this.

The Joker – Batman: The Dark Knight
Me, before leaving the theater (which was also wayyyy before I knew I'd have to write this whole entire list): “I would pay to watch that movie again right now with just his scenes edited together.”

Sam – Garden State
The ultimate quirky-cool-creative-fearless (good combo, right?) movie girlfriend. Extra points for introducing Largeman (and many of the rest of us) to music by The Shins.

Creasy – Man on Fire
Creasy appears simultaneously to be falling apart and totally in control. Watching him, you can't help but think that a guy who seems to have a death wish is maybe not the best choice for a bodyguard for your 10-year-old daughter in Mexico City. And yet, you're confident because this is a guy who just gets things done.

Don Logan – Sexy Beast
I know this list is for favorite characters - not actors - but the completely psychotic Don Logan makes the Top 10 specifically because it's hard to imagine this intense, terrifying ferocity coming out of the same actor who played Gandhi. That might sound pretentious, but we are talking about Sir Ben Kingsley. [Until I find something embed-able, you'll have to click the text link to watch a trailer. Sorry for the.... nevermind.]

Floyd – True Romance
Nobody on this list had as little screen time as Brad Pitt’s character in True Romance. I’m not normally super-amused by stoner humor, but Floyd just needs about 30 seconds to crack me up. I rented this movie last year pretty much just to watch his scenes.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Amadeus
I wonder if it's OK to include actual historical figures on this list. Yes, I have decided it is.
While I realize others probably found Tom Hulce's frequent giggling a little bit grating, Wolfie makes the 10 Best for making me feel like I was watching absolute genius in action - even if he was half-nuts. Bonus points for you if you recognize the dude playing the emporer in this clip and can name the other 1980s movie he was most associated with.

Vicomte de Valmont – Dangerous Liaisons
John Malkovich's character is evil, but so much fun. Well, until the whole swordfight thing.

Juno MacGuff – Juno
Wise-cracking, fast-talking, cute as all get out? Check, check and check. But she’d make the list just on the basis of “most romantic use of Tic Tacs."

And that makes 10. Your comments, please....


Daddy Geek Boy said...

You are my hero for including "Floyd" on your list.

Really good, thought provoking and at times unconventional.

Your escalator operator said...

Thank you! This cracks me up because while I was working on the list, I was actually thinking to myself that I hoped someone would think it was thought provoking and at least a little unconventional. It's like you read my thought bubble.

bugs said...

it's amazing that i think i saw maybe none of the movies you were talking about - okay, maybe 1.
my quickly=put=together without a lot of thought list:
-steve buscemi (actor, i know, but pretty much anything he's in)
-tom cruise in "a few good men" and in "top gun"
-"sally" from "when harry met sally"
-julia robert's character in "pretty woman" (shallow, i know, but i loved that part)
-the women from "thelma and louise" (badasses of their time)
-"ariel" from "the little mermaid"

ha. how do you like that?

Your escalator operator said...

B - Nice going. I have to admit I didn't expect Steve Buscemi characters to show up on your list, but I'm impressed. Also, I'm trying to remember the names of the women from Thelma and Louise...

Thanks for sharing!!

JBhumitra said...

i think the word you were looking for (etiquetious?! lol) is "polite."

your list was extremely surprising and unconventional. you did a good job with diversity. i like amadeus but i cant remember the movie that well i saw it when i was so little. i have been meaning to watch it again.

as mentioned yesterday, butch cassidy (and probably also the sundance kid) would be on my list. so thats one and two.

3) slater from dazed and confuesd
4) torrance from bring it on
5) tony stark from iron man (that was a good call, even if he didnt make the final cut!)
6) luke from cool hand luke (yes i have a thing for paul newman)
7) nick naylor from thank you for smoking
8) jeff megall from thank you for smoking
9) marty mcfly from back to the future
10) doc from back to the future
11) billy mack from love actually
12) david the prime minister from love actually
13) robinhood from robinhood (the cartoon)
14) gandolf from lord of the rings
15) whistler from sneakers

oh my gosh there are so many more!

GlutenGirl said...

On a whim I can come up with these but I reserve the right to change them:
Lloyd Dobler - Say Anything
Harold Crick - Stranger Than Fiction
Will Hunting - Good Will Hunting
Andrew Shepherd-The American President
Neil Patrick Harris - Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
Juno MacGuff - Juno
John Hannah - Sliding Doors

Your escalator operator said...

GG - A nice, eclectic list. Five points for agreeing with me on Juno! Plus, this is informative, because I didn't realize there was anyone other than Annette Bening in that American President movie.