Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Let the Argument Begin

I agree with Mr. Crow that anytime someone puts up a "Best of" list you're in for the inevitable argument. Empire's list, here covering the top 25, is way too skewed toward the last few decades in the 20th century, and ignores too many great female movies characters and those of movie animation, altogether. You have Hans Gruber (Die Hard) at 17, but no Henry F. Potter (It's a Wonderful Life)? Even if he's listed below the 25th, that's just wrong. Gollum at the 13th spot, and Pinocchio is where? For that matter, where's any of Bogart's characters--go ahead, pick one: Rick Blaine, Sam Spade, etc. (I'll wait...)? And, I'd be just as wrong to ignore the Betty Davis roles (Margo Channing, Baby Jane Hudson, etc.). Very few of the current crop of actresses even come close to her. Who stands out as overlooked for you?


  1. I lean heavily on old movies so yeah, I would name Bogart roles (Charlie Allnut in 'African Queen') and Hepburn roles (Tracy Lord in 'Philadelphia Story') and so on. And almost any character Bette Davis did should be in the 100: Margo Channing, Jezebel, Charlotte Vale, Fanny Skeffington, et al). But how can they NOT have named Atticus Finch? Gregory Peck's character in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is, in my humble opinion, the single greatest character in film history. For Finch not to even be in the top 25 reeks of ignorance.

    Not that I'm opinionated or anything...

  2. Oh, man. How did I forget about Atticus!?! I can't think about TKaM without recalling one of the greatest, most memorable scenes in film:

    Rev. Sykes: "Jean Louise. Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."

    That scene still get me...

  3. That is such a great scene. So powerful.

  4. Not only is Atticus NOT in the top 25, but Ace Ventura and Napoleon Dynamite rated higher than him? Uh, NO! This list contained characters from far too many (what I classify as) idiot comedies. And yes, it is skewed far too much to recent movies. And Jessica Rabbit? Come on!

    I also don't think Clarice Starling should be at the bottom of the list and Ellen Ripley at the top...but that's just a personal preference. The Terminator would not have made any list of mine. And that's like just my opinion man...because The Dude wouldn't have made my list either. And I have to say my biggest surprise...Tyler Durden? No. 1? Really?

    If I was going to offer up some characters who didn't make the list at all, I would definitely include Jackson Pollack (Pollack), John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Andrew Beckett (Philadelphia), Truman Capote (Capote), Ruby Thewes (Cold Mountain), Private Pyle (Full Metal Jacket)...all fairly modern as well...but Bogart's Casablanca role was included, Newman's Cool Hand Luke role was included, Eastwood's Dirty Harry....I think Meryl Streep should probably have a character on the list - maybe Sophie or Karen Blixon? I think I'd also include Ethal Thayer (On Golden Pond).

  5. Jen, all of your points are more than valid. Empire's list had a decidedly young male bend to it. It's the only reason, I can reckon, that Tyler Durden ended up in the top spot. I mean, really? And, for me, Streep's Sophie certainly should have been there. It was the first role that really made me take notice of how good she was as an actress, and how haunting that character is to film history. Pivotal.