Jason recently tagged me with a current movie-blog meme to name my all-time 10 favorite movie characters. Harder than it sounds, and I'll probably smack my forehead later over somebody I've left out, but let's forego the throat-clearing and have it, shall we?
Here are the 10:
10. Marge Gunderson (Fargo). Unlike Happy-Go-Lucky's Poppy, here's an optimist do-gooder who doesn't wear out her welcome. A tireless worker, on the side of justice, and nobody's fool.
9. C.D. Bales (Roxanne). My favorite Steve Martin character and a perfect amalgam of his talents as physically and mentally agile comedian, poet, acrobat and romantic.
8. Faye (Chungking Express). Dizzy charmer one critic compared to Kate Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. Boogies to "California Dreamin'. Breaks into your apartment and cleans while you're away. What's not to love?
7. Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers-version only). A hopeless klutz desperately trying to maintain his dignity, and a moron who always solves the crime despite himself.
6. H.I. McDunnough (Raising Arizona). Normally can't stand Nicolas Cage, but this character is one of his best: a charming, drawling, hapless convenience store robber who will do anything to make his wife happy and wouldn't hurt a fly.
5. Indiana Jones (pre-Crystal Skull). Not a superhero or superspy, but an archeology professor-cum-roguish adventurer with a sense of humor and history, who ultimately does the right thing without ever being haughtily noble about it.
4. Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction). A murderous Bible-quoting hit-man who finally figures out what the quote really means as he struggles against every instinct to spare another person's life.
3. Chili Palmer (Get Shorty). This movie-buff gangster who fulfills his destiny as a Hollywood producer is the unruffled epitome of cool.
2. Jean Harrington/'Lady Eve Sidwich' (The Lady Eve). Savvy con artist who falls for one of her marks, then after being made, seeks revenge and falls for him all over again. Take note, ladies, her cold-open for how to meet a man: she trips him.
1. Ben Braddock (The Graduate). My sentimental favorite for lots of reasons, but now primarily to go against the trendy backlash that he's an empty vessel. Quite the contrary: he's merely foolhardy and not fully formed, impulsive and misunderstood. He may turn out just like his parents, but anyone who knows how to wield a giant crucifix as a weapon still leaves enough room for hope.