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Greatest characters in film


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So I got this idea from Progressive Boink.

 

I figured it would make some good discussion, so go! Who do you guys think the 100 greatest characters in film are?

 

For a start, I'm picking Bill.

 

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I've watched the last chapter of Kill Bill 2 probably more than I've watched the rest of Quentin Tarantino's movies combined. I've never been more conflicted about a movie ending,

I would have rioted if she hadn't killed him, yet was inconsolable when she did.

That laugh/cry she has at the end of the movie? That was me while watching it. He is dangerous and vulnerable, funny and cruel, in charge and completely at her mercy. I think a lot of the character came from David Carradine himself, and he was brilliant in the role.

 

 

So what do you guys think?

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Yeah, that was the role of David Carradine's life. It's a shame it didn't reinvigorate his career. I have to admit, I still wonder how those films would have turned out if Warren Beatty had accepted the role.

 

My pick:

 

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Michael Corleone

 

Watching Michael Corleone go from decent war hero in The Godfather to remorseless monster in Godfather Part II to regretful old man in Godfather Part III is one of the most heart-breaking and powerful experiences in popular cinema. His downward spiral feels inevitable, as he's incapable of escaping the code of honor that his family and his culture have instilled in him since birth. At the end, even his powerful and dangerous father wanted peace, but Michael possessed all of his father's cunning with little of his wisdom. When it's his turn to lead he pushes his family even deeper into darkness with calculated ruthlessness and violence, and the family never recovers.

 

For me, Michael Corleone is hands down Pacino's best character in a career filled with great characters.

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C'mon now. He used to be good looking. Now he looks like Clint Eastwood's goofier brother.

 

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That was a bad picture! Warren Beatty's still got it... I mean, a little sun damage, some wrinkles and being put next to Annette Benning can do a lot. Anyway, he's still got the attitude of a good looking guy, which would kill it.

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That is nowhere near as bad as Clint Eastwood is looking these days...

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I'll probably come back to this and add some more, but for now, the ones coming immediately to mind are:

 

George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life

 

IAWL is a story all about George Bailey, and he's only ever off screen when it's absolutely critical to telling his story, so you really get to know him. He's a dreamer repeatedly faced with the reality of having to give up his dreams to do the right thing by his family and his community, under so much pressure that one misplaced deposit envelope can drive him to the brink of suicide. As Robin told Batman in the animated episode, 'Christmas with the Joker': "it's about the difference one man can make to an entire city."

 

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Rick Blaine from Casablanca

 

So, a lot of the reason Rick makes my list is his snappy one liners and how cool he is, but there is plenty of depth to him. The allusions to his idealistic past running guns to Ethiopia and fighting against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, which he brushes off as cold mercenary work. The conflict he has between wanting to be a cold cynical businessman and his inescapable sense of justice when helping Annina's husband cheat at roulette so he can win the money they needed so she wouldn't have to sleep with Captain Renault. And there is his famous decision to let Ilsa go at the end, which may seem like it the only thing to do if you're not a scumbag, but the more you watch it and understand the context of the times, the more noble it seems.

 

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Han Solo from Star Wars Episodes IV-VI

 

People give the Star Wars prequel trilogy a lot of shit, but if you're willing to be honest and look at the original trilogy without the prejudice of nostalgia, the original trilogy is guilty of a lot of the crimes that people say are the downfall of the prequels. They are cheesy and the dialogue is often uninspired. After looking at it with what I think is a fair perspective, the real significant difference between the original and the prequel trilogies is Han Solo. The prequels had Anakin in Luke's place, Padme in Leia's place, Qui Gon in Obi Wan's place, but there is is nothing that comes close to (or even tries to come close to) Han's role. He was more than a fast talking, street smart, bad ass. He was the most charming jerk...no, most charming character in all film. A stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder through and though.

 

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Edited by Reverend Jax
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People give the Star Wars prequel trilogy a lot of shit, but if you're willing to be honest and look at the original trilogy without the prejudice of nostalgia, the original trilogy is guilty of a lot of the crimes that people say are the downfall of the prequels.

 

I totally agree, the original trilogy were absolutely just charming B movies. Bad dialogue and worse acting (excepting with Harrison Ford, but how much of a stretch is it for Harrison Ford to be charming?). I think the problem with the prequels is that they tried to be something they just weren't, they kept the same B movie dialogue and acting but tried to make it an A list blockbuster so it felt like something was lacking. That and people didn't have that nostalgia from watching them as kids, when you don't know any better than bad dialogue and bad acting : )

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I totally agree, the original trilogy were absolutely just charming B movies. Bad dialogue and worse acting (excepting with Harrison Ford, but how much of a stretch is it for Harrison Ford to be charming?).

Well, Harrison Ford wasn't the only good actor in that trilogy. Alec Guinness was always great in everything he did. And James Earl Jones' voice acting for Darth Vader could really have screwed up by another actor. But generally speaking, yeah, pretty poor acting.

 

And Harrison Ford is always charming, but none of his characters (Indiana Jones included) were as charming as Han Solo, in my opinion. I mean, just look at him:

 

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Edited by Reverend Jax
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Well, Harrison Ford wasn't the only good actor in that trilogy. Alec Guinness was always great in everything he did. And James Earl Jones' voice acting for Darth Vader could really have screwed up by another actor. But generally speaking, yeah, pretty poor acting.

 

I kinda disagree there. In the first film, yeah, there was some pretty poor acting, but upon rewatching the original trilogy recently, I actually felt a lot more respect towards Mark Hammill's performance in Empire (his "NOOOOOO" nonwithstanding) and Jedi. He was especially good in Empire, considering he had to spend the bulk of the film convincingly conversing with a muppet. Being the token guy on the heroic journey, Luke wasn't as showy as Han Solo or as glamourous as Leia, but I felt like Hammill brought a lot more skill and professionalism to that role than it really even deserved.

 

Han Solo was such a great character simply because Ford didn't take shit from anybody. He was the oldest of the three leads with a young director filming a project that no one really believed would take off. Watch some of the documentaries about making the first film and you'll see that Ford - while not being completely insubordinate - would often play the role his way and not Lucas' way whenever he could get away with it, and often Lucas was too focused on sets and effects, or simply too exhausted to argue much about it. That's why there are no memorable performances in the prequel trilogy. George Lucas became an icon and his word was gospel when it came to those films. And, while he's certainly a genius with imagining his fictional worlds, he's crap with directing actors, but none of the actors on the new trilogy had the balls to oppose the great George Lucas. People always say "oh that fuckin' Hayden Christensen" but when the likes of Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee, Terence Stamp, Samuel L Jackson, Ian McDiarmid, Jimmy Smits and Liam Fuckin' Neeson all give crap performances too, you have to put the blame somewhere besides the actors.

 

Wow, this thread gets off-track easily, huh?

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It took me a bit to think of who my favorite character in a movie is. I made a list and I hope you like it.

 

1. Annie Hall

It's one of those things where I went through a phase where the only movie I watched as Annie Hall, she's one of those characters where no one was like her. And at the time that movie came out no female character was like her in any other movie. She was funny, different and sexy. She wasn't the smartest person in the world, but she had a lot of heart, and every time I watch this movie I don't fall in love with Diane Keaton, I fall in love with Annie Hall.

 

2. Chris McCandless

Into The Wild was a movie that changed my life. The reason the movie changed my life was Chris McCandless! He was just one of those people you wish you could have met in his travels. To be one of the people that ran into him on his journey would have been so great! He's everything that I want to be and I'm at point in my life where I wish I could just go out there and do something. That's the great thing about him, all of us talk and say we are going to do these things. He did it he did everything he wanted to do. And it was all for a good reason. You should really see this movie.

 

3. Royal Tennenbaum

Not much to say here, he's just a funny guy. You want to hate him because he's such an asshole. But than he goes off and does something really sweet. This is also my favorite movie of all time, so I could say every character in this movie is my favorite.

 

 

 

 

I was going to put a lot of names on this list, I really was. The thing is, my list changes everyday... I watch so many movies and so many of the characters in these movies have had such and impact on me. To leave a name out would make me feel almost bad. The two I named are my favorites today.

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Wow, this thread gets off-track easily, huh?

 

We're still on track. As for Hamill in Empire and Jedi, I'll concede he improved, but overall it was a story that transcended acting performances (when I saw The Matrix on opening day, in order to convince my brother it was actually good despite starring Keanu Reeves, I had to compare it to Star Wars, saying the movie transcended bad acting).

 

As for more great characters, I'm trying to decide between next profiling Christian Slater as Clarence in True Romance or Christian Slater as JD in Heathers. I'm leaning towards JD because I don't just want to profile heroes. I'd like to profile crazy too.

Edited by Reverend Jax
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We're still on track. As for Hamill in Empire and Jedi, I'll concede he improved, but overall it was a story that transcended acting performances (when I saw The Matrix on opening day, in order to convince my brother it was actually good despite starring Keanu Reeves, I had to compare it to Star Wars, saying the movie transcended bad acting).As for more great characters, I'm trying to decide between next profiling Christian Slater as Clarence in True Romance or Christian Slater as JD in Heathers. I'm leaning towards JD because I don't just want to profile heroes. I'd like to profile crazy too.
Clarence is great!!!!!Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet!!!! I loved him in Blue Velvet!!!!
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As far as Star Wars acting goes, it's bad acting, not bad actors. And absolutely is the fault of George Lucas not knowing how to direct actors. "Faster, more intense!" isn't gonna get anyone anywhere. But they're obviously plot driven movies... and in the case of the prequels, more special effects driven than anything else.

 

The best thing I can say about Hamill's performance is that it's vaguely competent, and that's not really a compliment is it? But again, not necessarily all his fault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I think you should do Slater as Clarence, who cares if they're all good guys? He'll be one of mine if you don't...

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And I think you should do Slater as Clarence, who cares if they're all good guys? He'll be one of mine if you don't...

 

I did watch True Romance again recently, so it's more fresh in my mind, whereas it's been years since I've watch Heather (though I've seen it about a dozen times), so it's not as fresh in my mind. I promised Kertins (Senshik) I'd bring it over so she could watch it. I think Lindsay hasn't seen it either.

Edited by Reverend Jax
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True...

 

It took some skill for him to play it, but it wasn't the most developed character in the world. It was just fun.

 

But I don't want this thread to be too objective, I want people to put their personal favorite characters whether they're good or bad or well developed or not. Like, Aladdin would belong here just as much as Atticus Finch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I'm just predisposed towards Gary Oldman.

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Another pick, because I'm watching Clerks right now.

 

Randal!

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Unquestionably the heart of the movie. He has all the best lines, delivered with pitch perfect accuracy. And he was the only one in the cast who didn't think of himself as an actor... Kevin Smith should have paid him every cent he felt he was owed, he wouldn't have had the kind of movie he had without him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"You sound like an asshole!"

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