Monday, August 29, 2011

The Greatest Movie Character of 1990-1999 004: Round 1, Heat 4

Clarice Starling Division - Round 1, Heat 4


Eric Draven, The Crow

You're killed by a group of thugs after watching them rape and murder the love of your life the night before your wedding. What does one do? They come back from the dead with preternatural powers and one of the most iconic makeup jobs of moviedom and take revenge, obviously.

The Crow was an instant cult hit. It hurled "goth" into the mainstream (again), launched a hit for the Stone Temple Pilots, and made Brandon Lee a legend. Yes, his tragic death on-set contributed largely to both his status and the film's success, but Eric Draven could have well launched him out of bad B-movie action and into the mainstream. The character was SO successful that it was brought back for 3 sequels and an upcoming remake, even though the actor who portrayed the protagonist was long gone.

Crow masks were everywhere, t-shirts were sold like mad, WCW ripped the character right off when it remade Sting in his image. The black-and-white harlequin that was a reborn Eric Draven was inescapable. Here was the ultimate anti-hero on a mission of righteous vengeance - unstoppable, superpowered, and tortured.

Let's face it, if Micky Knox had killed Shelly, Draven would have made short of work of him. 17 years later, that face is still cool, and people still know what it means - sometimes, good people come back to get the justice denied them in life.

- Astin

Mickey Knox
, Natural Born Killers

(Note: Riggstad is busy campaigning for Barack Obama 2012. . If  he gets a spare moment, he'll give us his take on Mickey Knox.  In the meantime, we'll just point out that Mickey Knox is a well-acted character in an iconic movie, not some drippy emo Robert Smith from The Cure wannabe who can't even take a single bullet. Vote accordingly.)


Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas

"Are you kidding me?  Are you f***ng kidding me? Who is this crewcut retard they're sending out here to whack me? To whack me?  With his little f***ng golf clubs and his little f***ng opera man voice, listen to him, sounds like he's gonna cry, get outta here ya little f***ng ****kn***gler*** of a gl****blerch**** before I wrap that mothercr***ng golf club around your ugly little Caddyshack pl***unking head for you, you f***ng cry***ler****gle. I'll show you a hole in one, you fu*k*ng larchbl****ck, call ya mother and I'll show her a hole in one and my f**king hat trick, too. Now go home to Bob Barker and cry into your pillow for a week."

Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore

"The price is WRONG bitch!"

I LOVE this matchup. Tommy DeVito, the foul-mouthed nutjob gangster of Goodfellas vs Happy Gilmore, the foul-mouthed nutjob golfer of, well, Happy Gilmore. Two psychos facing off, only one victor. Let's do this.

Happy Gilmore quotes:

Shooter McGavin: Just stay out of my way... or you'll pay! LISTEN to what I say!
Happy Gilmore: Hey, why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What'd ya say?

Shooter McGavin: You're in big trouble though, pal. I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!
Happy Gilmore: You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?
Shooter McGavin: ... No!

Terry: All you ever talk about is becoming a pro hockey player, but there's a problem: you're not any good.
Happy Gilmore: I am good. You know what, you're a lousy kindergarten teacher. I've seen those finger-paintings you bring home and they SUCK.

"You little son of a bitch ball! Why you don't you just go HOME? That's your HOME! Are you too good for your HOME? ANSWER ME! SUCK MY WHITE ASS, BALL!"

"Golf requires goofy pants and a fat ass."

"Hey, if I saw myself in clothes like that, I'd have to kick my own ass."

And of course the one at the top, spoken to one Bob Barker.

Tommy DeVito Quotes:

"Fuck you in the fucking fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck. Clown."

"I am somehow amusing like a painted-face harlequin one would find in a circus or carnival environment? I commend you on your pointed compliment sir."

Or something like that.

Both are loose cannons, ready to explode at any provocation, real or imagined. But Happy IS funny and turns what seems like a truly idiotic movie into a classic piece of comedy. This is the movie that made Adam Sandler's post-SNL career. Pesci was already known by the time Goodfellas came around, and let's face it - Pesci, De Niro, Liotta in a gangster movie directed by Scorsese? That's hard to screw up.

It's not easy to knock Tommy, so I'll go for the one area that he lacks - growth. Happy Gilmore goes from hockey playing thug who has no direction and beats up everyone into a zen master of golfing. He endures personal tragedy and comes out the other side with an acceptance and maturity that seemed unachievable at first. What? This was the template for every Sandler character? Yah, but Happy did it early, and better than his predecessor, Billy Madison. By the end of the film, Happy is still Happy, but the rough edges have smoothed a bit.

Tommy? By the end of the movie he's *SPOILER ALERT* dead. Why? Because he refused to change. He showed no capacity for growth as a person and paid the price for his hubris. This isn't a tragic death, nor a hero's death. This is the inevitable end for a violent psychopath in an environment of violence. If only he'd discovered golf.


Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story

Malcolm X was one of the most fascinating figures in the last century of U.S. history.  As a movie character . . . eh, not so much.

Buzz Lightyear, on the other hand, is the sparkplug that juices one of the most successful and influential movie franchises of all times. Buzz is the heart. Buzz is the soul.  Buzz is the nutball who doesn't know he's a toy, until he embraces his destiny entirely.  He's the perfect toy, because he's so totally committed to the game, he doesn't always even know it is a game.  Also, on Spanish setting, he's a hell of a flamenco dancer.

Vote for Buzz over Malcom, citizen.  No one man should have all that power.

- Julius_Goat

Malcolm X
, Malcolm X

(Note: Riggstad is on assignment with the Peace Corp, helping to save the baby seals from corporate interests. Don't judge him; he can kill you with a magazine. If  he gets a spare moment, he'll give us his take on Brother Malcolm.  In the meantime, we'll just say that if you can't vote for one of the most electrifying performances of the decade and one of the most amazing and uniquely American individuals of all time, instead of a cartoon toy, well, brother, you can't see the clear glass of water in front of you.)


Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

My favorite movie of all time, with my favorite character of all time. 

The "process of living" often gets in the way of the actual living of life.  The alarm clock rings, we shovel some food in our mouth and rush off to work for 8 hours a day.  Drive home, eat again, clean up.  Take a shower. Maybe you squeeze a workout in there or a tv show.  Head on the pillow, and the alarm clocks rings again.  Shovel some more food in, off to work again.

Life can become an infinite loop of the same boring activities if you let it.

Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered? 
Ralph: That about sums it up for me. 

Like Phil Connors, we're all stuck in the same place every day.  Most of us have to wake up at the same time every day, go to the same job, see the same people, and sit in the same meetings.  So how do we escape this sameness?  How do we embrace the routine and make our life worth living?  

Like Phil, we fight.  We fight against the sameness, we fight against accepting that our life consists of a routine that can imprison us.  We fight for freedom and for dignity.  We fight against death.

Phil Connors is a fighter, and Groundhog Day takes us through the 5 stages of accepting his own mortality.

Stage 1: Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.

Yeah, Sport,I know there's a blizzard. 
When are the long-distance lines gonna be repaired?
What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.

Stage 2: Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.

I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piƱa coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.
*That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get *that* day over, and over, and over... 

Stage 3: Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."

What I wanted to say was...
I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person...

I've ever met in my life.
I've never seen anyone... that's nicer to people than you are.
The first time I saw you... something happened to me.
I never told you, but... I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could.

I don't deserve someone like you.
But if I ever could...
I swear I would love you...

for the rest of my life.

Stage 4: Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

This is pitiful.          
A thousand people freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat.           
What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town.               
They used to pull the hog out and eat it!
You're hypocrites, all of you!
You got a problem with what I'm saying?
Untie your tongue, and you come out here and talk.
Am I upsetting you, Princess?
You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. 
I'll give you a winter prediction.
It's gonna be cold...
it's gonna be gray...
and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.

Stage 5: Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her/his mortality or that of a loved one.

When Chekhov saw the long winter...he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope.         
Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life.          
But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney... and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts...
I couldn't imagine a better fate...than a long and lustrous winter.
From Punxsutawney, it's Phil Connors.       
So long.

The fact that Bill Murray can take us through the five stages of grief, while making us laugh really hard, is what makes his character so memorable.


Donald "Sully" Sullivan, Nobody's Fool

This is Paul Newman in his last great role, and it's one of his very best.  More believable than Cool Hand Luke, more relateable than Fast Eddie Felson, more likable than Hud, Newman settles into the skin of perennial loser and hereditary bad father Sully like a pair of broken-in work boots, and, because he's Paul Newman, he's also the coolest guy in town (and Bruce Willis is in town).  Sully lives in an old town in upstate New York that's just like him -- hard working, but everybody knows nothing will ever come of it.

Sully walked out on his wife and kids. He's got a bum knee. He doesn't have more than a couple of twenties to rub together. He let the family house rot to pieces out of spite for his old man.  He'll punch a policeman rather than stop driving on the sidewalk. But he's the only guy who can coax the demented old lady off the snowy road, and he does it by charming her. He'll even help the old lady's daughter by taking over at the local diner while she tends to her mother's feet.

Here's the thing about Sully. He's a total screwup. He's about the best guy you'll ever meet.

I expect that Phil will beat Sully in this matchup.  Groundhog Day is by far the more popular movie, and Murray is admittedly great in it. But if you're one of the lucky handful that has seen Nobody's Fool, I bet you are voting for Sully.

- Julius_Goat

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Your Weekly Dose of Crazy

So here's a supposedly insane thing that I'll never do in the first place.

This is perfectly safe except for literally everything.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Doodle 008

This is Plato. Plato is a superhero. He can make any part of his body whatever size he wants it. He uses this innate skill to fight the forces of evil, whenever he can find it. It's not easy to find the forces of evil.  You try it, sometime, and see how you like it.

Still, he's got real powers. Mass control. The only problem with this is the Law of Conservation of Mass, which Plato must follow. This means that, if he wants to make one part of his body big, he needs to make other parts of his body correspondingly small, and vice versa.

So, as you can see here, he's sporting some big ol' arms. But he had to shrink his legs down to get them.

That's how it goes when you are a superhero bound by the basic laws of physics.

I'm still pretty bad at hands. That's how it goes.