Sunday, July 3, 2011

PiT Master Movie Character Countdown, Part 1

I know, I know. I promised that this endeavor would have been finished already. Just goes to show you, you can't trust people on the internet. EVER.

For example, this is what I really look like.

Now that I have silly things like apologies for tardiness out of the way, on with the start of the list. As this is the Presented in Technicolor Master Movie Character Countdown, I'm going to start with 50 and move towards 1, probably in groups of ten, for both genders. This should take a while, depending on how often I update (which, as has been evidenced so far, can be trusted to be "frequently"). I'll try to keep everything limited to one image per entry to keep the page loading times down, and any videos I want to include will be included with links as opposed to being embedded.

The important thing to remember is that I don't think this is the order of "GREATEST FILM CHARACTERS EVER OMG" because I don't take myself that seriously (Editor's note: do not take this to mean that you should take the author any less seriously). These are just my 100 favorite characters from movies I like organized in a nice and neat list. 

Now, without any further postponement, I am very happy to present (in technicolor) to you dear reader...

The PiT Master Movie Character Countdown
50) Genie - Aladdin (1992) - Robin Williams
"Did you rub my lamp? Did you wake me up? Did you bring me here? And all of a sudden you're walking out on me? I don't think so, not right now. You're getting your wishes, so SIT DOWN!"

-Aladdin was one of the movies that really got me into animation when I was younger. I was hooked. I couldn't get enough of cartoons (Darkwing Duck, Batman: The Animated Series, and The Lion King would make sure I stayed hooked). I could never believe it, how could someone draw a bunch of things on pieces of paper that could not only move, but move beautifully. Genie is the epitome of that. Hand drawn, over-the-top, and ballistic, and voiced tremendously by Robin Williams (a man known for being over-the-top and ballistic), I could never ever find fault with this character. He's the reason I keep coming back and watching the movie over and over again, not to mention shelling out nearly thirty bucks to grab a copy on DVD. His attraction comes from his genuine friendly attitude and outrageous personality.

Genie's greatest moment in the movie is his "Friend Like Me" musical number, which doubles as his character's introduction.

49) Captain Malcolm Reynolds - Serenity (2005) - Nathan Fillion
"This is the captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then - explode."

- Malcolm Reynolds is a character I first fell in love with when I watched my roommate's DVD's of the failed Fox TV series, Firefly. Now although I loved his character then too, he's made the list based solely off of his movie presence (as have all of the entries on the list). Start with one part pirate, add one part western gunslinger, one part scoundrel with a heart of gold, two parts Han Solo, and all badass, Mal Reynolds doesn't search for adventure but finds it and meets it head on. He's not perfect, and he's often bested by his shipmates and opponents in various ways, but there is no question that he's the leader and aims to always do the right thing.

Captain Reynolds' defining moment in the film (and the series as a whole) is, after finding out the horrors inflicted on innocents, he resolves to 'misbehave' and gives a rousing speech to that effect.

48) The Terminator - Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) - Arnold Schwazeneggar
"Chill out, dickwad"

- Everyone knows the Terminator. Everyone loves the Terminator. That's all for a reason. His character is a machine, meaning that he should be pretty static, not going through too many changes as the film progresses. Instead, the Terminator goes through the most poignant changes in the whole move: he learns the value of human love and spirit. A machine. Wonderfully acted by Arnie, and perfectly written for him by James Cameron, The Terminator proves that along with being unbreakable, unstoppable, and terrifying, humanity is also worth pursuing. Not to kill, but to love.

His most iconic moment can be found here. This is also formerly my desktop background.

47) Tyler Durden - Fight Club (1999) - Brad Pitt
"Only after disaster can we be resurrected."

Existential to the point of becoming annoying with his preachings, physically abusive, crazy, not overly concerned with the well-being of others. There is no better character to lead a generation of people pissed off about consumerism, the day-to-day, and all things considered "normal" than Tyler Durden. Maybe it is a testament to how great the character is that he has been adopted, shanghai'd, and strong armed to fit into the belief systems of dudebros and frat boys and people that he himself complained about the world over. Go to any douche bag's apartment or dorm room and you will nearly inevitably find a Tyler Durden poster.

Tyler's greatest moment was his total submission to the savage beating at the hands of Lou, all to just be able to have a place to house Fight Club.

46) Magneto - X2: X-Men United (2003) - Sir Ian McKellen
"How does it look from there Charles? Still fighting the good fight? From here it looks like they're not playing by your rules... Maybe it's time to play by theirs!"
- X2's Magneto has several very significant differences from the previous movie's incarnation of the character. Namely, this one is not the evil super villain he was in the first film. He's not even the main villain. This allows for a lot more latitude in the character's portrayal. He's more of a freedom fighter than the misguided idealist he was in the previous film. As the plot progresses, the audience can't help but be attracted to Magneto's classiness, ideals, and demeanor (especially after its revealed how the X-Men are seriously over-matched by the main villain, William Stryker). He's more Hannibal Lector than Auric Goldfinger in X2, and its all made possible by Sir Ian McKellen's full grasp of his character.

His greatest moment in the film is his implausible escape from the plastic prison he is held in.

45) J.J. "Jake" Gittes - Chinatown (1974) - Jack Nicholson
"Have you ever heard the expression 'Let sleeping dogs lie'? Sometimes you're better off not knowing."

- This will be the first of many film noir characters to make the list (its almost as if I really like those kinds of movies or something). J.J. Gittes is the main character and detective in Chinatown. Throughout the film, Gittes remains the stubborn, seemingly amoral private eye that gradually reveals his feelings for the female lead, his enigmatic client Evelyn Mulwray. He is ultimately helpless, revealing the true irony in the plot. Sometimes you're better off not knowing.

Gittes' iconic moment in the film is his zombie-like walk away from the scene of the climax, where his partner tells him to "Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown."

44) Hiccup - How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - Jay Baruchel
"My name's Hiccup. Great name, I know. But it's not the worst. Parents believe that a hideous name will frighten off gnomes and trolls. Like our charming Viking demeanor wouldn't do that."

- I have a lot in common with Hiccup. We both mess up a lot, but we mean well. We're both very sarcastic and talkative, but sometimes we have trouble expressing what we actually mean. And we're both very concerned with our relationships to our parents and want them to like us. A more unlikely hero has not existed in all of animation: a screw up, nerdy kid that unites a bigoted, tunnel visioned village of vikings to help better society. What's not to like about that. It's so hard to divorce the character from the actor playing him, I had to include the picture of Jay Baruchel with the entry. Perfectly cast, perfectly performed, and perfectly animated.

His signature moment of the film is winning over Astrid to the "Dragons seem to be pretty okay" way of thinking.

43) R.P. McMurphy - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Jack Nicholson
"You're no crazier'n the average asshole on the street."
- McMurphy is already an icon of the counter-culture, star character in maybe my most favorite movie of all time, and the star character from a pretty damn good book. The way he inspires the patients at the mental institution makes you immediately forget that the man is a criminal and only in the institution in the first place because he's trying to dodge jail time. All of the patients have their own sets of problems that, to them, seem insurmountable, but McMurphy's way of treating them as human beings as opposed to Nurse Ratched's cold way of treating all of the patients as machines that need to be fixed seems to genuinely get positive results. His inspiration outlives the man himself and even comes through beyond the screen. There has been many a tough day for yours truly where I thought back to the antics of one R.P. McMurphy.

His greatest moment, besides getting everyone to play along with his imaginary World Series game, is his return from the electroshock treatment.

42) Dr. Alan Grant - Jurassic Park (1993) - Sam Neill
"Because Velociraptor's a pack hunter, you see, he uses coordinated attack patterns and he is out in force today. And he slashes at you with this... a six-inch retractable claw, like a razor, on the the middle toe. He doesn't bother to bite your jugular like a lion, say... no no. He slashes at you here... or here... or maybe across the belly, spilling your intestines. The point is... you are alive when they start to eat you."

- Dr. Alan Grant was my first "favorite movie character." The man hates kids (what are those? Smaller versions of adults), hates computers, and flies by the seat of his pants for the most part. He is book smart as well as rugged, and throughout the movie proves both. The key part of his story arc involves him learning of the importance of family and he learns how to talk with and relate to kids. He's the aloof adult that has never really had much interactions with the younger generations and by the end of the film the kids are sleeping on his shoulders.

The turning point for this character, as well as my favorite part of the movie, is when he settles down with the kids for the first night out in the park in the tree. He is reassuring and fatherly, even in the face of danger in the wilderness.
41) Walter Sobchak - The Big Lebowski (1998) - John Goodman
"Do you see what happens Larry?"

- The Vietnam invoking, automatic pistol toting, bellowing bowling phenomenon, Walter is one of the Coen Brothers' most memorable characters. And that's saying something. Walter is over-the-top like Genie, angry, and almost the exact opposite of the easygoing Dude. He's the perfect foil for the character of the Dude, taking everything way too seriously, especially bowling. When the Dude finally snaps at Walter over all of the horrible things that have happened to them through the film, Walter breaks down and bashfully apologizes. Those two were meant for one another.

His greatest moment in the film could be any one of his rants, or his trying to toss the ringer to the kidnappers, or the climactic fight against the nihilists, but I happen to believe that you should turn up the volume on your computer and watch this about a million times.

Thank you all for reading and stay tuned to Presented in Technicolor for Part 2 out of 10.

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