Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: A Dozen Characters for the Ages

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Dozen Characters for the Ages

My friend MovieMan0283 over at The Dancing Image recently suggested I take part in the ongoing film blogger conversation regarding favorite film characters. Normally I'd call this a meme. But it seems everyone is being a tad mindful of each other's schedules and avoiding any application of pressure by skipping the usual, " are the rules... and you must select five other bloggers... blah, blah, blah..." So in that spirit, I will do the same because it seems so much nicer. After the jump, I've listed a dozen of my favorite movie characters in chronological order. With each, I've included a pivotal quote which is either character defining or somehow seals their celluloid fate. I encourage all of you to come up with your own, and list them in the comments section or your own blog. Enjoy! Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly (1955) She told me if I dropped her off at the bus station, I could forget her. But if she didn't make it, she said, "Remember me." Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle in The French Connection (1971) All right! You put a shiv in my partner. You know what that means? Goddammit! All winter long I got to listen to him gripe about his bowling scores. Now I'm gonna bust your ass for those three bags and I'm gonna nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie. Pam Grier as Coffy (1973) It was easy for him because he really didn't believe it was comin'. But it ain't gonna be easy for you, because you better believe it's comin'! Gene Hackman as Harry Caul in The Conversation (1974) I'm not afraid of death. But I am afraid of murder. Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974) If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien (1979) Wait a minute. If we let it in, the ship could be infected. You know the quarantine procedure. Twenty-four hours for decontamination. James Caan as Frank in Thief (1981) You are making big profits from my work, my risk, my sweat. But that is okay, because I elected to make that deal. But now, the deal is over. I want my end, and I am out. Michael Douglas as D-Fens in Falling Down (1993) I am not economically viable. Al Pacino as Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way (1993) Who the fuck are you? I should remember you? What, you think you like me? You ain't like me motherfucker. You a punk. I've been with made people, connected people. Who've you been with? Chain snatching, jive-ass, maricón motherfuckers. Why don't you get out of here and go snatch a purse? Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth (1998) I have rid England of her enemies. What do I do now? Am I to be made of stone? Must I be touched by nothing? Terence Stamp as Wilson in The Limey (1999) You tell him, you tell him I'm coming. Tell him I'm fucking coming! Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007) I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people.


Anonymous said...

This is Rebecca..this is quite difficult...ok, so not in any particular order...and I haven't seen that many movies. It's a Baker's Dozen!
1. Wall-E in Wall-E
2. John Malkovich's character in Dangerous Liasons
3. Itzak Stern (Ben Kingsley) character in Schindler's List
4. Marketa Irglova's character in Once
5.Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro_ in the Usual Suspects
6. Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) in Pan's Labrynth
7. Ouiser (Shirley MacClaine) in Steel Magnolias
8.Raimunda (Penelope Cruz) in Volver
9. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson)Lethal Weapon
10. hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis) Last of the Mohicans --the movie itself, not so great.
11. "Red" (morgan freeman) in the Shawshank Redemption
12. Vianne (Juliette Binoche) Chocolat
13 tie between Amelie in Amelie and Edith Piaf (Marian Cotillard) in La Vie En Rose

MovieMan0283 said...

Great picks - I'm especially intrigued by your choice of Cate Blanchett, accompanied by that beguiling photo. Definitely a bit different than most of the other to elaborate?

Tony Dayoub said...


It is difficult, isn't it? It took me several days to narrow mine to 12. I like your list, and wish I had seen Once, Volver, and La Vie en Rose (that one's on my Netflix queue)


I think the arc of her character from the beginning to the end of the first Elizabeth, and then continuing on in the flawed Elizabeth: The Golden Age, rivals that of Pacino's Corleone character. To me the evolution is unprecedented in a female role. Read more in one of my flawed early postings.

MovieMan0283 said...

Interesting reading of a much-maligned film which I did not see. Your analysis has made me want to revisit the original Elizabeth, however, which I haven't seen since it was in theaters.

Anonymous said...

I just saw both Elizabeth movies recently. Cate Blanchett was the highlight of both films...of the films themselves, I found them a little choppy and trying to do too much (I know that's poor grammar, sorry). But that's just me.
She was fabulous in both movies.

Anonymous said...

I noticed I am drawn to characters that are braver than I am. They are who they are with no apologies. Rebecca

Tony Dayoub said...

Yeah, I think my favorite characters have a cold streak in them that I often times identify with/wish were stronger in me.

Patrick said...

My mind is a complete blank. Well, partly blank anyway, can think of a couple -

Gregory Peck in The Big Country, I liked his philosophy of not doing the expected thing.

Ray Liotta in Something Wild, great villain.

Bill Murray in Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.

Anthony Hopkins in World's Fastest Indian.

Tony Dayoub said...


The Big Country is actually the next DVD i'm going to buy despite never having seen the film. It just looks like a great film (with a great fight scene, I hear).

Liotta and Murray are very good choices in each of their respective films.

World's Fastest Indian... hmmm. I've always wondered whether the film is any good. It looks promising, but I have heard nothing about it.

PIPER said...

I always remember the scene where Warren appears at the door at Eduardo's house. The way he speaks to Eduardo has always hit me strange. He's almost breathless in his delivery. At first I thought this was some of the worst acting, but then as his character unfolded, you really understood the fear and determination in everything he did.

This is one of my favorite Soderbergh films. And a great choice for one of your characters.