Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Greatest Movie Character of 1990-1999: 01 - Introduction

Cross-posted at FilmChaw.

My wife tells me I have a rich internal life. That's her far-too-kind way of saying "why do you think about all this random nonsense when you're not even sure where you're going or why most days?"

For instance: Have you ever wondered to yourself, Hey, I wonder who the greatest movie character of the 90s is? I mean, you just went through the 90s year-by-year to figure out which movies were likely to enter the cannon of Great Cinema, or, failing that, Enduring Entertainment. But what about, you know, the characters? Could Hannibal Lector survive a match-up with Col. Nathan Jessup? Is Forrest Gump still a player?

Just me, huh? Oh well. Moving on . . .

We're going to do something about this, people. We're going to discover who the best of the best of the best. Here's what I plan to do.

We're going to do this March Madness style. I, along with three others, will hold a draft to choose 64 movie characters. First pick will be first seed, second pick will be second seed, and so forth. We'll then pit character against character, each of us writing an impassioned case for why our chosen character is the better movie character. Any criteria is fair game: enjoyability, iconic stature, importance to film culture, hair, whatever.

Then, all of you go vote at FilmChaw for the character you wish to see win. Winner advances. Loser hangs him or herself from the HOLLYWOOD sign.

So now you're probably asking yourself (if you haven't stopped reading already, that is) when will it happen? When will the draft take place? When will I do this?

Do it? Readers, I'm not a Republic Serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I've already done it.

Voting starts sometime this week.


Ahem. Anyway. We gonna do this like Brutus, cause we knew 'dis.

Obviously, I needed to find three other crazy people. This was not hard.


HDouble is a part of the poker-blogger bedrock. If poker bloggers were hockey teams, he'd be one of the original six. If poker bloggers were elements, he'd be Helium. If poker bloggers were pizza toppings, he would be cheese. This guy was around back when the Blogfather was only a Blogbrother. Not only that, but he wrote a series of film posts comparing poker to various movies that are must-reads.


1) Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
2) Phil Connors, Groundhog Day
3) The Dude, The Big Lebowski
4) Morpheus, The Matrix
5) Ghost Dog, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
6) Mike McD, Rounders
7) Herman Blume, Rushmore
8) Dignan, Bottle Rocket
9) Barton Fink, Barton Fink
10) William Blake, Dead Man
11) Jesus Shuttleworth, He Got Game
12) Truman Burbank, The Truman Show
13) Marge Gunderson, Fargo
14) Bernie LaPlante, Hero
15) Neil McCauley, Heat
16) Raoul Duke, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas


Astin has become one of the prime FilmChaw contributors (though nobody can touch The Real Dawn Summers), and possesses one of the more refined film palates out there. Also, if you listen to some people, he is me, which makes this praise more than a little suspect.


1) Jules Winfield, Pulp Fiction
2) Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects
3) Ash, Army of Darkness
4) Sarah Connor, Terminator 2
5) Austin Powers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
6) Eric Draven, The Crow
7) Agent Smith, The Matrix
8) Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense
9) John McClane, Live Free or Die Hard
10) Mr. Blonde, Reservoir Dogs
11) Brodie Bruce, Mallrats
12) Jean Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg, The Fifth Element
13) John Malkovitch, Being John Malkovitch
14) Happy Gilmore, Schindler's List*
15) Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas
16) Darth Maul, Star Wars Episode I: The Death of Hope

*Citation neeed


Riggstad is a closer, and is therefore allowed to drink some of the coffee. He can handle the truth. Come with him if you want to live. You're a daisy if you do.


1) Tyler Durden, Fight Club
2) Col. Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men
3) The Terminator, Terminator 2
4) William Wallace, Braveheart
5) Little Bill, Unforgiven
6) Forrest Gump, Boys On The Side
7) Mona Lisa Vito, My Cousin Vinnie
8) Cpt. John Miller, Saving Private Ryan
9) Doc Holiday, Tombstone
10) Malcolm X, Malcolm X
11) Micky Knox, Natural Born Killers
12) Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
13) Nicky Santoro, Casino
14) Lt. Colonel Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman
15) Roy McElvoy, Tin Cup
16) Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting


Julius_Goat is me. I'm pretty old, I guess. Estimates range as to how old. I reckon some day I'll get those carbon dating fellas out to my flypaper shack in the Ozarks to test me and then I'll know for sure. Then I'll shoot 'em because I hate trespassers and Nosey Nancies. I keep my teeth in my mouth, but I'm thinking about getting them into a Roth IRA or maybe a hedge fund. I am tall enough to ride all the rides at Seven Flags. I am omnifragrant, which means that I smell of everything, and, therefore, nothing. In my spare time, I catch eagles with my bare hands. You just need plenty of patience, and bare hands. And a gun. In seven years, I've caught 0 eagles. Someday I think I'll catch one, if I just stay positive. Today's the day!


1) Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
2) Blake, Glengary Glen Ross
3) Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas
4) Milton, Office Space
5) Dr. Evil, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
6) The Jesus, The Big Lebowski
7) Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story
8) Drexel, True Romance
9) Derek Vinyard, American History X
10) Annie Bates, Misery
11) Karl Childers, Sling Blade
12) "Double Down" Trent, Swingers
13) Dirk Diggler, Boogie Nights
14) Wooderson, Dazed and Confused
15) Donald "Sully" Sullivan, Nobody's Fool
16) Red, The Shawshank Redemption


Keep watching this space -- Round 1 begins soon.


Anonymous said...

64 greatetst characters from 10 years of movie history - and only 4 of them women? Marge Gunderson, Fargo? Amélie Poulain, Amélie? Lola, Run Lola Run? Garret Blake, Message in a Bottle? I'll grant you, that the Vincent Vegas are usually cast male, but 4 out 64? What would your sister say? Actually, she pointed this out to me just now... What would Mary Collar say?


Julius_Goat said...

Amélie Poulain was 2001, not the nineties.

Lola is a good movie, and a good if action-movie-thin character, and iconic with that hot pink hair. She was on my list of potential picks but I stick by my team. I think all those characters happen to be stronger in one sense or another.

I never saw Message in a Bottle but it looked like Kevin Costner romantic comedy dreck, and I've never had that assumption questioned. Unless you'd like to mount a serious defense, I presume that was a joke.

Actually, Marge Gunderson got picked. It's funny but everybody that has commented so far (on FilmChaw, Twitter, or here) has complained about somebody being left off that actually didn't get left off.

The gender disparity is definitely striking; I'm not sure what to tell you. I think we all basically just picked the best character we felt was still available at the time. I will say that keeping it to just 64 is hugely limiting; I can think of dozens of characters that I can't believe didn't make it.

It probably says something about the people who did the picking; four guys who were teenagers to young twenties when these movies came out and thus probably skewed sort of heavily male when it came to characters with whom we identified with at the time.

I also daresay it has a lot to do with how much more often Hollywood gives the best lines and character development to male characters, leaving women with more static or ornamental roles. Even in the case where a movie had a good to great role for a female, often there was a more dominant male character who it just made sense to pick. For example, Trinity in the Matrix, or Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs (both of who really should have been picked up). Etc.

What's even more unfortunate is that, by random chance, two of these women will face off in the very first round. Dr. Collar would probably strangle me with a rope braided out of shredded copies of Ernest Hemingway biographies.

Mike Maloney said...

No Ben Linus? Absurd.

Mike Maloney said...

Oh, and I think Doc got hosed only garnering a #9 seed.

Wolfshead said...

Good thing it ain't up to me as Astin would win in a landslide if only because he has more characters on his list that I've actually seen. Not a big movie watcher in the 90s and really don't bother with most of them when they hit TV either.

F-Train said...

The fact that Lester Burnham remains on the board is a crime.