Rankings — October 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm



Heather’s 100 Favorite Characters In Film #40-21

40. Drop Dead Fred played by Rik Mayall in “Drop Dead Fred”

“Dog poo, dog poo, yucky yucky dog poo. Dog poo on the chair… all on the sides, all up there, yucky yucky smelly dog poo!”

Drop Dead Fred is nothing but an insane display of comedy gone completely wacky.  Fred himself is pretty much unlikeable.  He wears an obnoxious neon green color that counters his flame red hair and British accent visually making him just as outrageous as he is verbally.  Instead of making his playmate Lizzie laugh by being hilarious, he calls her Snotface and refers to her mother as the Mega Bitch.  He is offensive and rude, and somehow simultaneously absolutely hilarious.  While Drop Dead Fred is vulgar and offensive, not to mention obnoxious, they are the same qualities that also make him shockingly amusing.  Fred incites the deviant in you, and makes you laugh while doing it.

39. Jeffrey Goines played by Brad Pitt in “12 Monkey’s”

“Telephone call? Telephone call? That’s communication with the outside world. Doctor’s *discretion*. Nuh-uh. Look, hey – all of these nuts could just make phone calls, they could spread insanity, oozing through telephone cables, oozing into the ears of all these poor sane people, infecting them. Wackos everywhere, plague of madness.”

12 Monkey’s is a great addition to the Sci-Fi genre, with a really original concept, but Brad Pitt as Jeffrey Goines is what makes this movie worth watching over and over again.  If anyone ever has the nuts and bolts to challenge Brad Pitt as an actor all they need do is watch this performance and easily be silenced.  The combination of psychotic behavior intertwined with such a reflective level of intelligence almost has you believing what he’s selling.  There’s some strange logic to Jeffrey Goines crazy, which makes it entirely plausible that he had the following he did. 12 Monkey’s is a good movie, but it’s something exceptional because of Jeffrey Goines and Brad Pitt.

38. The “Dude” or Jeff Lebowski played by Jeff Bridges in “The Big Lebowski”


“Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.”

The Dude exists for all the shameless underachievers in the world who are quite content in being just that.  The Big Lebowski is basically a day in the life of a “Dude” who drinks white Russians, smokes a lot of pot and lives to bowl.  These are the essentials of the dude.  If you mess with them or his rug, he will drag his mellow butt after you until his world has returned to it’s original simplicity.  Though his goals are simple, his life is simple, and I think either people can relate to that desire for a calm and unadulterated life, but also I think everyone probably knows a guy like “The Dude”.  The Dude is a hero in the world of the everyman.

37. Sara Goldfarb played by Ellen Burstyn in “Requiem For A Dream”

“Purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening.”

Requiem took a deep insight into drug use and how it can affect anyone and everyone, and with Ellen Burstyn’s character Sara Goldfarb, an elderly woman, displayed that prescription drug abuse could result just as severely as a drug like heroin.  A widow and a mother of a junkie son addicted to heroine, Sara loses her sense of identity.  Unable to save her son and having loneliness consume her she finds direction when she is chosen to appear on a game show.  Her favorite red dress no longer fits her, and in desperation she see’s a doctor and goes on uppers to lose the weight.  She accidental begins to mix the pills and quickly becomes addicted.  Without eating and the unhealthy amounts of pills she begins having vivid hallucinations, where even her refrigerator begins taunting her.  The transformation Burstyn makes from the lonely widow, to the drug addicted lunatic is one of the most profound performances by a female in film EVER.

36. Michael Corleone played by Al Pacino in “The Godfather-Part II”

“I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”

I picked Part II specifically because this is where Michael really changes and is challenged by the dark and twisted world around him.  The story of Micheal reflects him being unbound by the two main principles that his father instilled in him. One involving the importance of family and the second regarding enemies, but when Micheal is faced with the dilemma of family being the enemy he must make a decision that could startle the heart of your coldest man. The film comes full circle finally at the end when comparing how things once were in Vito’s time and how they are finally coming to an end in Micheal’s.  There is a sort of poetry to both their lives, and watching Micheal evolve in this sequel, is one of the most profound performances in my memory of an actor.  Al Pacino has never been better than he was in this movie.

35. Beetlejuice played by Michael Keaton in “Beetlejuice”

“Ah. Well… I attended Juilliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT… NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU’RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY… NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I’m qualified?”

He’s the ghost with the most!  Beetlejuice shells out his share of evil and funny unlike any other character before him.  Somewhere it the middle of perverse humor and scary behavior Michael Keaton strikes of wicked balance between comedy and horror with this dark comic villain.  The terror Beetlejuice incites is genuinely coupled by a gut-busting joke.  The manic behavior and crazy dialogue really shouldn’t work, but somehow Michael Keaton makes this character larger than life.

34. Captain Kirk played by William Shatner in “Star Trek-The Wrath Of Khan”

“No. Not like this. I haven’t faced death. I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing.”

I considered doing Captain Kirk in an entirety and he probably should be included that way, but William Shatner’s performance in The Wrath Of Khan is by far “Admiral” Kirk at his best.  There is such a range the character has to go threw in this film.  The sorrow, the strength, and wisdom he has to encompass to make it to the end of the personal battlefield that was himself vs. Khan could have been any ones personal nightmare.  But Shatner as Kirk made it authentic.  Science Fiction film or no, real emotions glistened behind his eyes and a sense of real urgency and despair emoted throughout the whole film.  Kirk was never better than in this film.  Our resilient hero persevered again, but at a cost so great, the film ends leaving you contemplating if the glory was worth the tragedy.  That personal connection is attributed to his character and that’s saying something.

33. Col. Nathan Jessup played by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”


“Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said “thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”

You expect Marines to be tough, so one expects a Marine Colonel to be as tough as a human can possibly be.  Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup personified that Marine ideal to a point so tough and powerful, you may find yourself bleeding from biting your lip so hard in anticipation of what he would say or do next. Jessup is only in the film for a few brief scenes, but they are the scenes that make this movie so remarkable.  Adapted from play, the final courtroom scene with Jessup is easily in my top ten moments in film history.  Letting an actor with Nicholson’s range and ability to deliver lines like no other actor on the planet, the quote above was movie magic waiting to happen.  Just reading the words I get chills down my spine.  This character and this performance is beyond my ability to translate fully.

32. Rose Sayer played by Katharine Hepburn in “The African Queen”

“Dear Lord, We’ve come to the end of our journey, and in a little while we’ll stand before you. I pray for you to be merciful. Judge us not for our weaknesses, but for our love and open the doors of heaven for Charlie and me.”

Rose Sayer may not have always been recognized as Katharine Hepburn’s greatest performance, but strong willed, thick skinned Rose is one of my favorite female characters of all time.  The trip she takes down the river, and the adventures she endures, and the frightening moments she overcomes is riveting to watch.  The budding relationship between her own stubborn character and the hard noses Bogart, is one of the most pleasurable reluctant romances to watch unfold.  This is a movie I could watch one hundred times over, thanks to Rose.

31. Butch Cassidy played by Paul Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

“If he’d just pay me what he’s spending to make me stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.”

Butch and Sundance (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) lead the criminal group called The Hole In the Wall Gang. Butch is a thinker, while Sundance is a doer. Butch and Sundance have robbed too many trains and now they have a group of specially trained trackers following and hunting them down.  Finally their luck runs out and that’s when this story takes place, at the end of the two’s glorious run.  It was a toss up whether to pick Butch or Paul Newman’s role in The Sting for this slot, but I felt Butch has a quality and likability that appeals to everyone that Henry lacked.  Watching Butch felt like watching Paul Newman divulge everything that was charming while masculine out of himself.  The team between himself and Robert Redford is the best “buddy” combo to ever be onscreen.  The charisma the two had together was a kinetic display of movie magic at it’s best.  As great as Redford was as Sundance , he did play second fiddle by a small margin to Butch, who is probably one of the most likable character’s in cinematic history.

30. Edward Scissorhands played by Johnny Depp in “Edward Scissorhands”

“Because you asked me to.”

Johnny Depp was finally recognized by the Academy for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean, but I believe his role as Edward was much more poignant of his acting ability.  He barely speaks throughout the film, but managed to convey his emotions subtly in his expressions rather than compensating for his lack of dialogue.  Without question Depp is one of the most gifted actors alive right now, but I doubt even Burton knew the chemistry he and Ryder would have as Edward and Kim.  Both are profound actors, but what made this movie really work was the implied relationship that developed between Edward and Kim.  The small moments and glances were so intimate and wistful.  By the end, the story clearly shows Edward as a gentle, kind hearted soul who doesn’t know how to connect with the rest of the world even though he desperately wants to, and what person can’t relate that sentiment?  His relationship with the stereotypical cheerleader who supposedly has everything on the outside is clearly just as miserable on the inside as Edward.  Their intimate relationship and different kind of love is heartbreaking as neither can comfort one another they way they want to.  It is truly the greatest unconsummated love ever on film.

29. The Joker played by Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”

“Oh, you. You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren’t you? Huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”

Heath Ledger’s Joker is the best male performance of 2008 hands down.  His maniacal depiction of The Joker as a twisted sociopath with no real intention or motivation behind his actions makes him a vicious foe who craves nothing more than chaos, danger, and destruction.  The most interesting aspect of the performance was the layers behind the Joker’s seemingly mindless behavior.  Even as gruesome as the Joker was, there was something sadistically charming about him.  It was Ledger’s truly owning and living the character that made the Joker something so much more profound than a silly comic villain.  I found myself breathless during each scene he was in, and unable to move.  I can’t speak more highly of what he achieved, and to rise above the expectations I had, I literally find myself dumbfounded.  His demonic portrayal of the classic villain is staggering.

28. Riddick played by Vin Diesal in “Pitch Black , The Chronicles Of Riddick, and Riddick”

“All you people are so scared of me. Most days I’d take that as a compliment. But it ain’t me you gotta worry about now.”

Somehow, though the vicious and menacing killer, Vin Diesal makes Riddick the most charismatic and likable character in each of the films he’s in.  In “Riddick”, his sarcasm and indifference to everything played perfectly against the enemies passionate campaign to make the universe one full of nothing other than Necromongers.  As an army they managed to destroy planet after planet, system after system, of those unwilling to be tolerant of their religious oppression, yet they meet one rogue bad dude, and can’t seem to stop him.  The best part is Riddick is entirely a reluctant hero.  Even at one point his friend Kyra announces that she “hates not being the bad guy”.  It’s funny.  The charisma of Vin Diesal as Riddick and his dark unbreakable persona is what makes “Pitch Black” and “Riddick”, two completely different movies; exciting.  If they put “Riddick” in a film and Vin Diesal plays him, I’m there, plain and simple.

27. James Bond played by Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and George Lazenby (The Bond Movies)


“The names Bond, James Bond”

When you have seven different men play a role and the franchise only grows in it’s success, there’s a lot to be said about that character.  Obviously, it’s not just about the actor playing Bond, but about 007 himself.  The gadgets, the women, and the exciting cars may go with the job, but it’s the deadly cool and calm secret agent named James Bond that has kept people coming back for generations to watch a see what new espionage or over the top psychotic bad guy he’d have to face at the end.  The Daniel Craig Bond is going in a different direction now, but some of that old campy and cartoonish villains were what made the Bond movies that much more fun.  Bond is all about raw entertainment and pleasure, and we all know he delivers.

26. Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp in “Pirates Of The Caribbean Trilogy”

“She’s safe, just like I promised. She’s all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we’re all men of our word really… except for, of course, Elizabeth, who is in fact, a woman.”

Captain Jack Sparrow has become one of the greatest iconic character’s ever on film and Johnny Depp’s strange interpretation of the madman pirate gave the world a fresh new way to view the cliched pirate persona.  Depp was without comparison a scene stealer, so much so that his peculiar performance won him an Oscar nomination.  Winning over the Academy in a role like that speaks thousands of words.  While Depp may have invoked a certain mocking of pirate cliche, he also managed to embrace the typical idealism’s behind pirates and make them fun and more compelling: FUNNY.  There may be something deranged about Captain Jack Sparrow, but there is some strange wisdom to this oddball character that gives him a depth that probably no one other than Johnny Depp fully understands.  I for one, adore the mystery and the obvious of CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow.

25. Chili Palmer played by John Travolta in “Get Shorty”

“Well, I could see myself in the parts that Robert De Niro plays. Or maybe even, an Al Pacino movie, you know, playing a real hard-on. But I couldn’t see myself in those movies where three grown-up guys get left with a baby, and so they act like three grown-up assholes, acting all cute…”

Some may love to argue this point and you can all day but it won’t change my mind.  There was never a smoother character that John Travolta or any other actor ever played than Chili Palmer from the dark comedy Get Shorty.  The Loan Shark gone Hollywood Producer has an air of confidence coupled with a sort of nonchalant indifference to those that surround him, be they enemies or friends.  His tough exterior and bravado contrasted by his softer interior that has a childlike adoration for the movies make him way more than a thick headed strong arm who has a dream.  Some of the dialogue directly taken from the Elmore Leonard novel is some of the best writing to ever grace the screen.  It was a perfect marriage of writing and performance.  Get Shorty is my favorite comedy of all time and Chili Palmer is why.

24. Yoda played by Frank Oz in “The Original Star Wars Trilogy”

“When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not.”

I’m rather fond of the youthful (for Yoooooda) Yoda that is in the new trilogy, and am gracious beyond comprehension for the joys of watching him battle with a light sabor while using the force against the darkest of enemies.  I am thankful to understand why he hid on Dagobah, and where his jaded perception of Luke stemmed from, but it’s the Yoda of my childhood that greatness was invoked.  His greatest impression was left in The Empire Strikes Back, but also Return Of The Jedi.  The past is never explained, only alluded to, some mysterious disaster that if Luke was even told about would never understand, and it’s mystery was left alone.  His focus was bringing the Jedi back, though his resolve was all but gone. When the stubborn Luke, who gives up so easily comes to train with Yoda, where there might have been patience there is none.  He is but a guide for Lukes journey, unwilling to teach the steps for him, but only to point him in the right direction.  His jaded almost melancholy approach was coupled with a vibrant sense of humor, that to his last breath still chided.  As a kid, I cried watching the mentor fade away, and even now it stirs up a reflection of that same sorrow.  Yoda is pretty remarkable and is right: “Size matters not.”

23. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lector played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence Of The Lambs”

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

Clarice Starling is a young FBI agent that has been given the assignment to interview the vicious and despicable serial killer Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lector. Intelligent, cunning, and vicious Hannibal fed on his victims after he killed them.  Sir Anthony Hopkins performance as Lector was the perfect contrast to Clarice’s shaky, careful naivete. Lector was confident, but not arrogant. He was perceptive, sinister, and even polite. In some ways almost likable, despite his heinous crimes. While portrayed as a monster he sees himself as an artist. The scenes between the two, separated only by the thick glass, contained unbelievably dynamic interchanges that propelled an already eerie film.  Hannibal is one of the most remarkable villains ever.

22. Raoul Duke/Hunter S. Thompson played by Johnny Depp in “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

In the drug induced world of Gonzo and Duke, Hunter S. Thompson’s narration from his novel about the events is poignantly like the voice of Oz in the back round.  His strange insight-fullness mixed with his dry comic sense was the stuff “Being John Malkovich” had to of been inspired by.  The remarkable sense of being caught in his world, was a world wind of confusion and joy.  Johnny Depp’s interpretation of Thompson is without question his best performance ever, and one of the best performances on film PERIOD.  He’s had ingenious moments as an actor before, but unless you hadn’t been told one would not have known it was Johnny Depp playing Raoul Duke, because he became Thompson, physically and psychologically.  Together himself and Benicio Del Torro make one of the most compelling character stories ever on the big screen.

21.Lestat de Lioncourt played by Tom Cruise in “Interview With The Vampire”

“Evil is a point of view. God kills indiscriminately and so shall we. For no creatures under God are as we are, none so like him as ourselves.”

Lestat is my favorite fictional character in a novel of all time.  The greatest character ever created and Tom Cruise of all people somehow managed to play my literary hero Lestat with all the charisma, the sense of humor, the sarcasm, and the delicious hedonistic pleasure anyone could imagine to every degree of hope I ever had.  Cruise is Lestat, and no one, including Stuart Townsend could ever capture his spirit the way Cruise did.  This is a role I would have deemed Oscar worthy Cruise played it so powerfully and brilliantly.  There has never been a character so devastatingly wicked, that you simply can’t resist.  As good as Lestat could get off the page is as good as Cruise delivered.

1 Comment

  • So many great characters here but my fave is probably Raoul Duke, that’s such a crazy ass movie.