Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Greatest Movie Character of 1990-1999 004: Round 1, Heat 2

Vote. It's Easy.


Heat 1 Results
Morpheus 28, John Malkovitch 8

Ghost Dog 15, Trent "Double Down" Walker 19

Captain John Miller 25, Barton Fink 11

Andy Dufresne 29, Will Hunting 7


Mia Wallace Division - Heat 2

The Jesus, The Big Lebowski

This is very much like The Highlander. There can only be one Jesus in this tournament. I don't think I'm being over-confident when I say we all know which character named "Jesus" from the 90s is more memorable, so I'll save my big argument for closer competitions down the road. If Mr. Quintana can't win here, there wasn't much hope of his besting some of the truly memorable characters he'll meet in future rounds, anyway.

So I'll just leave you with this animated GIF

- Julius_Goat

Jesus Shuttleworth
, He Got Game

Man, what a tough draw. Up against the Jesus? I don't know how I could vote against the guy.

But I will give this my best shot... I mean the guy is a purple-suit-and-hair-net-wearing-pederast-with-a-long-pinkie-fingernail. Strangely, Turturro plays a college coach in "He Got Game," and he shares a scene with Ray Allen:

Category: Nickname
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Basketball Jesus
Jesus Quintana: "The Jesus"
Verdict: Ok, so we've got a guy named after Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, one of the most beloved street ball players of all time, and a guy who immortalized himself in cult movie history with the quote: "Nobody Fucks with the Jesus!"

Jake Shuttlesworth: "My all-time favorite ballplayer was Earl Monroe.
Earl the Pearl. Yeah, he was nice. See, everybody remember him from the Knicks,
you know, when he helped win that second championship. I'm talking about when he was with the Bullets down at Winston-Salem Stadium...
before that game, with points a game the whole season.
. ...
the whole season.
But the Knicks, they put the shackles on him, man, you know, on his whole game.
They locked him up, like in a straitjacket or something.
When he was in the streets of Philly, the playgrounds, [ Grunting ]
he was like-- [ Laughing ]
- You know what they called him? - What?
Jesus. That's what they called him-- Jesus. 'Cause he was the truth.
Then the white media got a hold of it. Then they got to call him Black Jesus.
He can't just be Jesus. He got to be Black Jesus.
You know, but still... he was the truth.
So that's the real reason why you got your name.
You named me Jesus after Earl Monroe, and not Jesus in the Bible?
Not Jesus of the Bible, Jesus of North Philadelphia.
Jesus of the playgrounds. That's the truth, son.
The way he dished, the way he, you know, he spinned.
You know how you do, coming off and all that. Taw"

Despite the great Spike Lee lines delivered by Denzel, I have to give this to the pederast.

1-0 Quintana.

Category: Job
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Basketball Player
Jesus Quintana: Unemployed
Verdict: All I'll say here is that I wish I played in the NBA.


Category: Best Line
Jesus Shuttlesworth: "Basketball is like poetry in motion, cross the guy to the left, take him back to the right, he's fallin' back, then just J right in his face. Then you look at him and say, "What?""
Jesus Quintana: "You said it man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus!"
Verdict: Again, Spike's lines go down against the mighty pen of the Coen brothers.

2-1 Quintana.

Category: Theme Music

Jesus Shuttlesworth: "He Got Game" by Public Enemy
Jesus Quintana: "Hotel California", Spanish Version, by the Gipsy Kings

Verdict: This is a tough one. I really love the the Gipsy Kings version of the Eagles horrible classic. But Chuck D came up with great lyrics over the Stephen Stills riff from "Something's Happening," and I have to give this one to Shuttlesworth due to originality.

Nothing to lose
Everythings approved
People used
Even murders excused
White men in suits
Don't have to jump

Tied up at 2-2.

Category: Clothing
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Outfit by Nike
Jesus Quintana: Purple bowling jumpsuit

3-2 Quintana. Let's just move on.

Category: Signature move
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Dunking on Denzel Washington.
Jesus Quintana: After bowling a strike, Jesus performs a little dance on the lane that can only be appreciated by watching it:

Ok, the Coens make Jesus's strike pretty impressive, but Ray Allen's dunks during his match with Denzel are pretty sweet. I definitely could bowl a strike but I can't throw down reverse jams against Denzel.

Point to Shuttlesworth. 3-3 in a close call.

Category: History
Jesus Shuttlesworth: All-American
Jesus Quintana: Pederast

8 year olds, dude.

4-3 Shuttlesworth.

I feel I'm up against Johnny Cochran here, and my poor defendant is going to the chair no matter how good my argument is. It's going to be difficult to vote against one of the most memorable characters in the Coen brothers' profilic library of original personalities. But hey, at least I've got Basketball Jesus ahead on my scorecard.



The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The beauty of this character is his transition from bad guy in part I to savior in part II. It really puts the “like” factor of this character into a relm of unexpectedness. It’s nice to witness such an almost unbeatable villain finally come back and actually be on your side. The shock and eventual relief that little John Connors shows in the hall way of that mall after realizing that the bad guy was actually on his side resonated throughout the viewers and all adrenaline levels shot up knowing that you now have said badass on our side. Cause that what it was… Our side. Not John’s, not Sarah’s.. . Ours.

The Terminators growth throughout the movie was almost a little campy, you know… feelings, emotions, caring… but he still got the job done with always the most vicious and creative displays of violence as possible, and never failed to disappoint by dispatching of the bad guys, over and over and over again. Something to be said about persistence. Terminator II rocks. A’sta La Vista Baby.


Bernie LaPlante, Hero

A tough matchup for me here.

I debated a long and extremely subtle joke involving the Terminator's housekeeper, but I was never good at that type of humor.

I don't know what anybody could write that would convince somebody to vote for a cynical Dustin Hoffman character against Arnold in one of his best performances. Does it help that Mariah Carey's most famous song was written for this movie?

The truth is, I picked Bernie Laplante late in the draft because I thought it would be interesting to see if:

1. anyone would vote for him and liked this movie as much as I did

2. I could persuade some people to see the film.

So what is so special about Bernie? Nothing really - he's the everyman who is able to act heroically when the situation arises. He's the "unknown hero," symbolizing all the heroic people out there doing good whenever they can. A hero who doesn't even think about what the word means (until he figures out that he can get a million bucks for his heroism).

But honestly, now that I'm trying to figure out what to write about Bernie Laplante, I can't come up with anything spectacular enough to defeat Arnold in Terminator 2. Terminator 2. We'll forget the fact that the original character was a relentless killer and featured young Arnold who embodied the word "fierce," and that the second version, who actually protects the hero and becomes a "good guy." Seems like a character from Wrestling... anyway, Bernie Laplante was a good reluctant hero who shows the value of living a good life -- robots who use time machines to fight other robots somehow seem less heroic, but I'm definitely biased towards humans. But maybe my guy has a shot against a watered-down version of the character from the original film in 1984.

What wouldja say if I toldja I ran
into a burning plane an' saved a
buncha people, Chick, an' risked
my goddamnlife?

You mean like Bubber? The hero?

Yeah, like that. Same thing.

Well... I mean... what am I supposed
to say here, Bern? Is this a riddle
or what?

I mean, if I said it, wouldja
believe me?
Ya wouldn't, would ya?

It's a character thing, Bernie.
I mean, you wouldn't do it. No
offense. Me neither. I mean, a guy
like Bubber, he's a certain kinda
guy. Heroic. You and me, we're
not... heroic. It's not our nature.
It don't mean we're bad or nothing.
We're just not so inclined. What
about it?




Mona Lisa Vito, My Cousin Vinny

Forget about the fact that Marisa Tomei is a top five hottest chic on the planet. Forget that she won an Oscar for her performance. The gal nailed this role and made this movie. Her dedication to her man, her unbelievable background, which she makes very believable to the audience in her portrayal, and her overall cuteness factor makes her one of the best characters of the 90’s hands down. The writers did a fabulous job tying her skills into winning the case. Marisa playing this character was hands down her best role of her career. I kinda liked when she got all naked in When the Devil Knows You’re Dead, but that’s just cause she goes full frontal.

What makes this role perfect is her stubbornness, her badassedness, and yet her ability to show that she’s still a woman. Her frustration for wanting to be married, have a child, and taking matters into her own hands so that her man can finish the job to obtain what SHE wants.

Overall, she is a fun, interesting character that helps defines the movies main character. Without her, he doesn’t play out so well.


Annie Bates, Misery

This seems cruel. Not only do we have the previously-pointed-out paucity of female characters in our list, but one of them has to go in the first round.

And not only that, but do you realize that only eight of all 64 of these characters are Oscar winners for their roles? Do you realize that not only is this the only matchup between two women in the first round, it's also the only matchup between two Oscar winning roles? It could be argued that this is the most competitive match in the whole sheebang, at least until we get to the later levels.

Here's the thing. Mona Lisa Vito may be a hot mama, and very funny, but she's going to be neither pretty soon. Because Annie Wilkes is going to ride right over her cockadoodie dirty birdy skirt with a rider mower and then bury a sledgehammer between her eyes.

Annie Wilkes -- Arguably the purest cinematic characterization of a Stephen King creation.

Annie Wilkes -- For those moments when she goes from exuberant to dead-eyed, vacant, truly terrifying.

Annie Wilkes -- One of the most iconic names in cinematic thrillers.

You're thinking about voting for Mona. But you'll vote for Annie. You'll do it because you're scared not to.

- Julius_Goat


Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men

You have that luxury… you have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiagos death, while tragic probably SAVED LIVES. And my existence, which is grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, SAVES LIVES. 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 these words as the backbone of a lifetime spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a person who rises and sleeps under the very blanket of freedom which I provide, and then QUESTIONS the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just say Thank You, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. EITHER WAY, I don’t give a GODDAMN… WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE ENTITLED TO!

I didn’t even recount the most famous of lines, or most commercial I should say, which is of course, YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Nor did I recount the funniest… “Tom, get me the president, we’re surrendering our position here in Cuba”… Or how about,” What I want is for you to stand there in your faggety white uniform, and with your Harvard mouth, extend me some fucking courtesy”.

No, don’t really need to. The beauty of this character, so eloquently portrayed by one the most talented and revered actors of our time, is how he convinces the viewer of how terrifying a man he really is, and at the same time how necessary he is. Not because he is inhuman, but because it is his JOB. His total disregard for one human life, or several, in order to do his job, which is to save thousand as he sees it, is evident in his stance as a Marine. The fact is, men like this (ok, women too you liberal feminist fags), NEED to exist. Jack shows why and more importantly HOW, with his portrayal of Colonel Nathan R Jessup. (insert cheap shot at competing writer) Leave it up to a Canadian to not understand that. After all, what do they ever need to defend. A country? BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

OK, kidding about the Canadian thing… I think… As a movie character, aside from the fantastic acting, the writers make this character. Jack is nothing more than a talented vessel. The writers really try to show the horror of this maniacal, egotistical narcissist who in the end makes you believe that his existence, although grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, really does need to exist. See a sane person knows that it is necessary. A liberal, humanist can keep their head in the sand until another tower falls I guess.


Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas vs Jack Nicholson. Yah, I know it says "Col. Nathan R. Jessup", but let's be honest here - did ANY of you remember that was his name? No. He's "Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men." A middling movie remembered for ONE line. The character isn't memorable, the scenery chewing from one of the greatest actors of the 20th century is. But we aren't here to debate actors or their best quotes. No, we're here to find the best CHARACTERS.

But MY Jack? Why he's ALL character. Do you know who does his voice? Nope. Sure, you can look it up, but that's not necessary, because you remember Jack Skellington, not Chris Sarandon and Danny Elfman. Yah, that's right - TWO people were needed to bring this walking, singing, dancing saviour of Halloweentown to life. Skellington is a case study in character growth. Starting out as the toast of the town, putting on the best Halloweens every year, we see that this soul is lost. Having feared that he can't top himself, he wanders and discovers a world he just can't comprehend. His good intentions lead to the Christmas from hell, and through this journey he discovers not only the old "meaning of Christmas", but himself. This leads to him bringing righteous retribution down on the villains of his town, while begging for forgiveness for those he was wronged. Find me one other character from the 90's that can be as joyful, lovable, misguided and terrifying as Jack Skellington. He GROWS, he IS the movie. He doesn't just show up for a cup of coffee and a good yell at some pretty-boy Scientologist, he elevates what could have been just another holiday special to a classic.

Here's a test. Jessup's famous line: "You can't handle the truth!" Now please, recite ANYTHING else he says in that speech.

A line from Jack: "There are children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads. They're busy building toys, and absolutely no one's dead!" You're welcome for the earworm.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but I'm sure you can handle it. Jessup doesn't qualify for this tournament since you don't recognize his name without the picture. 19 years after A Few Good Men, Jessup is good for a single line in Nicholson retrospectives. 18 years after Nightmare, Jack Skellington is still gaining fans, being seen in theatres in 3D, and causing people to hum songs about their confusion about snow. Truly great characters endure through time and become legends. Mediocre ones only survive through their best line.

- Astin

1 comment:

Bill said...
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