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8 May 2010


            - It is more likely that this list will not be subjected to changes in the future. I say this because, after watching “The Hurt Locker” I realized there’s no more room for creativity in this world. Sure, “AVATAR” is guilty for this as well, but movie characters are not what they used to be anymore. To say that the only production company that has kept that up is Pixar is nothing new, but even them have set up the bar way too high, and one wonders what will be left of them after robots, talking fishes and super heroes. So for this list I most likely won’t move from my choices, and here I set a couple of rules:
-         Rule 1: Movie characters only. That is those who were created for the movie and only for the movie.
-         Exception to rule 1: If the character has been adapted several times then is valid.
-         Rule 2: All time periods and all movie genres are valid too.

10. - The Precint Captain (So I married an Axe Murderer)

            I had to pick a good character for the start, and what better way to start than with the nicest, kindest and most well hearted Police Chief of them all. If you are tired of all those bullshit Police Chiefs who just put barriers, hold back the hero and basically act like a douchebag, then give yourself a good dose of this guy. He is always supportive, he is always ready for a chat, and when he notices one of his men is down, he goes talk to him (and even offers him a hug!). He is so awesome that when Anthony LaPaglia’s asks him to stop being nice and “act” like the Police Chief of “Serpico” or “Starsky & Hutch”, he does it! The cherry on top of the cake is given when, after an argument they “act” in the police station, The Police Chief asks LaPlagia how well he did it or if he was too rough with him. I want to invite this guy to a cup of tea.

9. - Detective Tequila (Hardboiled)

            Usually, when people are said the word “badass” they instantly think on American Action Heroes like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold. I personally don’t think on those testosterone, steroids, brainless filled macho-men, mostly because it will hurt my image and turn me into the pussy father from that condom commercial. Instead, every time somebody says the word “badass” I think on that guy who’s holding a baby and a shotgun at the same time, while he looks at you like you just wiped your ass with his mom’s photo. That badass is Detective Tequila, played by Chow-Yun Fat in the ultimate action movie “Hardboiled”. Detective Tequila is not the usual badass, mostly because he doesn’t spend his free time munching the pictures of his enemies or looking meanly into the void. He plays jazz in a slums bar, tries to romance the girl at the office and has incredibly realistic arguments with his Chief in the Police station (another awesome Police Chief who follows the rules by the book but knows when it’s time to kick ass) and most important of all, kills the bad guys, usually involving lots of bullets. Tequila is the kind of guy you want to have next to you if a zombie apocalypse happens, because he can kill one guy from the opposite corner of the room with a shotgun and not even shake. But aside from his natural born badass kick ass skills, I admire and love him because he manages to protect a baby from every single threat in the world (fire, hits, bullets, terrorists, bad music) to the point of taking a bullet. You have to admire a movie character that saves the children. If you don’t then you are the devil.

8. - The Joker (Batman, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, The Dark Knight)

            Speaking of him, look who shows up! Now, taking one incarnation of the Joker can be really difficult and nearly impossible. So instead of picking just one I am going for a whole threesome of Jokers, since they all are unique and fantastic.
Jack Nicholson’s Joker was funny and gritty. He knew when to joke and he knew when to be an absolute son of a bitch (of course, only when it was funny). He even looks like the Joker from the comics. You know, the thin face, prominent chin and madman eyes. He looks as if he was genetically engineered to play this nutjob of a train wreck with purple suit, and hat make up only enhanced the effect. It is, certainly, one of his most memorable performances.
The Batman from the animated series was brilliant of course, and his small appearance in Mask of the Phantasm gives me the window of opportunity to mention him here. There’s not to much to mention respect his looks, because he is exactly like the Joker from the comics, with the creepy face and those eyes that follow you everywhere you go. The killer here is the voice, that manic, craze-driven, witty-retort-spouting voice given by no one else but Luke Skywalker. I mean, Mark Hamill is the greatest Joker, even better than the next one I will mention, but the sad thing is that he was present mostly on the TV Series (and brilliantly so, on the Arkham Asylum videogame). If they could release an animated Batman movie for the theatres focused on The Joker then he could be the best of this spot.
The best Joker to ever be portrayed on the silver screen is, without a doubt, Heath Ledger’s take on “The Dark Knight”. You see, sometimes people forget what movie villains should be. Movie villains should be intimidating, scary and threatening. They should be more Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs” (extremely well educated gentlemen who can take your eyes out just thinking on it) and less Emperor Palpatine in every Star Wars movie (you know, constantly mugging for the camera every five seconds to the point of becoming a parody of his own self). The Joker is the perfect villain, because he is absolutely terrifying. There’s nothing scarier in this world like facing a bad guy that you don’t know what’s thinking or what’s he going to do next. The Joker is exactly that kind of bad guy, you never know what’s he going to do or what’s he going to kill and with what exactly. His random personality and way of acting makes him the biggest threat you can ever imagine, and all this is done with a big, creepy, ill smile on his pasty face. But hey, what’s a few explosions and victims if you can’t laugh about it? That’s what the Joker does to you. Want to see a new magic trick I learned?

7. - The Faun (Pan’s Labyrinth)

Speaking of things that you never know what they are, here’s a character you never know what side is he into. Guillermo del Toro is an expert on creating characters that are morally ambiguous. He does this because that’s how the world is. Nobody is all good or all evil (except Hitler for the baddie and Jesus for the goodies). The Faun is the perfect example of this. He is an eight foot tall, well, faun. He is old, wrinkly and at first really friendly, when he introduces our young female protagonist to this magic world of fantasy. But as the movie progresses he gets younger, and with that, meaner and more dangerous and threatening. It’s funny how the younger the Faun is the more dangerous and evil he becomes, kind of like, hey, normal people. Every time you see him appearing from the shadows of that bottom well, or from beneath the furniture of Ofelia’s bedroom you can feel all the warmth sucked from where you are. His presence is intimidating as fuck, with those twisted horns, that body made of wooden crust and that face that can go from benevolent smile to hellish wrath. Del Toro has a lot of memorable characters, but The Faun will populate your dreams (and nightmares) for months, of course, if you let him.

6. - Dory (Finding Nemo)

Oh Pixar. Pixar, Pixar, Pixar, why are you doing this to me? When selecting the characters I like from all the movies I have ever watched I literally had to write a list alone for Pixar. Even with that, I ended up having 25 characters, and it took me so much time to narrow all of them to one that now I feel really guilty. It is like selecting your favorite adorable puppy from a group of 25, knowing that the 24 you don’t pick will be turned into cat food. But anyways, this is movie characters, so I am sure that the other characters I don’t pick are picked up by somebody else, so the guilt is slightly lesser. Now seriously, if I have to pick a character from a Pixar movie I will definitely go for Dory from “Finding Nemo”. She has the most personality out of every other Pixar character I have seen. You can consider her as the personification (or in this case fish-ification) of Marlin’s optimism. You know, always forgetting about it and being more random than a 1000 faces die. But in the end, as Marlin grows in optimism, Dory grows up in character. She starts remembering things; she grows feelings for others; worries, needs and traits that turn her into the quirkiest and most lovable female Pixar has ever created. She is a sweetheart you want to stay close to; only and just only because her naïveté reminds you that there’s still innocence in this world. If you take all that and you throw in a flawless, wise-cracking and gut-twistingly heartbreaking voice acting from Ellen DeGeneres then you have won my heart. Congratulations you solitary female favorite movie character of my life.

5. - Sir Launcelot (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

Who doesn’t like comedy? I don’t mean the comedy that’s done nowadays where they try to think what the basis of comedy are instead of just going for it. Monty Python knew comedy like nobody else in the world, and their movie “Holy Grail” is the perfect example of it. First of all, I like every actor from the Monty Python troupe, but John Cleese (in every movie, TV Series and sketch they ever did) throws a shadow so big and dark over the other actors that is hard not to consider him the best of all. His characters are always exaggerated cartoonifications of reality whiplashed with his own mix of eccentricity and wit. I had to convince myself (in a blood fist argument I must say) not to put in number 5 “Every character played by John Cleese in Monty Python and the Holy Grail” just because the title was too long. But seriously, this guy is a powerhouse in this movie! Which character should I pick!? The angry peasant who screams to burn a woman (played by Cleese’s wife back then) accusing her of being a witch? Or maybe Tim the enchanter, with his magic rocket-launching, flamethrower staff. Or maybe the French Taunter, with so many insults that it’s preposterous not to remember all of them. Or should it be the Black Knight, who had worse than losing both arms and legs in a sword fight. But no, I had to keep it simple so I went for the coolest and most badass of them: Sir Launcelot, the bravest and more courageous knight of all. He is also the funniest. Just seeing how excited and decided he gets every time he has to face peril leaves me perplex, to the point that I rub my eyes just to make sure that what I am watching is true. The scene where he storms the castle is now one of the pillars of slapstick comedy and action sequences, as he rampages through what starts as a cheerful wedding and turns into the aftermath of “Kill Bill”. He kills, slashes and mauls every single human being and flower pot in his way, all the time laughing and screaming. AND IT IS GLOOOOORIOUS! You can take or leave with “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, but you must admit that’s the greatest scene of the entire movie. Sir Launcelot. I have modeled every Dungeons & Dragons character after him, and so far I have never lost.

4. - Juror Number 8 (12 angry men)

I am not exaggerating or falling into tangents with this following statement: Henry Fonda’s character in “12 angry men” also known as Mr. Davis, also known as Juror #8 is, perhaps, my favorite movie hero of all time. Yes, there, I said it. Screw Batman, screw Spiderman and fuck the entire cast of Fantastic Four. Juror #8 is the biggest hero movies have ever had, and if somebody wants to prove me wrong I invite you to do so. Why do I like him so much? Well, this is going to be a long one, so sit tight. Juror #8 is the bravest man in the entire movie, standing alone against a pack of 11 men filled with rage, doubt, fear hate and despise. He is the voice of reason that speaks to defend, not just the life of a “maybe” innocent kid, but also the integrity of the entire American legislative system. He is the one that asks for cross-examination of evidences, the one who fights to get the truth un-buried and exposed, and the one who, one by one (literally!) convinces every men from the Jury that the accused is not guilty. His attitude, the way he acts and exposes the facts, is always clean, pristine and educated. He never raises his voice and he never insults to anyone, because he is going with the truth as his sidekick (represented by that heart warming Juror #9). But you know what makes this character so good and so admirable from my perspective? The fact that he is an average every day Joe. He is a normal guy, the kind of person you meet on the bus on your way to work, and never takes credit for anything. His mundane character is so solid you instantly believe the character, and that’s what makes him the most courageous hero in movies, at least for me. He might have never escape from a giant boulder, destroyed a space station or killed in the Name of her Majesty, but he did prevent a kid from being wrongly executed by the wrath of mankind. That alone is admirable.

3. - Yiyi the Cat (Kiki’s delivery service)

            Oh, he, he, he, he. I love this character. I think that’s where the description should end, because that’s my entire opinion for Yiyi right there: Love. Yiyi is a black talking cat who’s friend with the protagonist Kiki and his attitude, witty retorts, wise comments and cracking jokes make him the Japanese equivalent to Jiminy Cricket. He is not only the biggest hidden magic factor of the entire movie (he is a black cat who only talks with the protagonist because she is a witch) but also the voice of reason. Alright, he complains and everything but he is always trying to knock some sense into Kiki’s head, and sometimes even achieves it. Amongst his best moments I have to pick the one where he is forced to substitute a plushie cat and he ends up making friends with a dog. It is not difficult to see why Yiyi is such a great character. He is a charmer, an enchanter; every word and action he says or does is accompanied with the biggest charge of suave style you will ever see in your life. Miyazaki has created a ton of characters on his entire career and has directed a lot of movies, but “Kiki’s delivery service” is the best, and 90% of that opinion goes to Yiyi. It’s a bit of a disappointment when, at the end of the movie, Yiyi is kind of absent due to a plot point I won’t reveal, but even in his little appearances he still is as awesome as always. Yiyi the cat: The first that comes to my mind when people say “black cat”.

2. - The Xenomorph (The Alien Saga)

            The Alien Saga is one of the most fucked up franchises in the entire history of movies, and yes with “fucked up” I mean “fucked up by the producers and writers”. If I had to pick a character I had to go with one I really adore and can stand beside in every movie, and when doing the run down I realized I couldn’t even stand besides Ripley! Don’t get me wrong, she is great…In the second movie. In the others she is just a weird character that doesn’t feel it belongs to the same universe. Plus, they made the mistake of focusing just on one character trait and exploit it like fuck (you know, the tough female lead that was so cool back then but that now is so badly done it’s even ridiculous (except when James Cameron makes it)). So fuck it, I thought, I can’t stay beside any human character, so instead I decided to go with the monsters themselves, the xenomorphs! With Xenomorph I mean every single Alien the franchise has ever had (and yeah, even if it’s hard to admit, I also mean the Alien Queen and the aliens and Predalien from the AVP movies) since they all have been treated consistently having only three motivations: Kill humans, impregnate humans, hiss a lot. That’s it, and they are masters at their job so don’t tell them they are doing it wrong! They have kept themselves original and consistent, all with the same concept but different aspects, adapting really well not just to the environments they habit but to the time period their movies are aired. In the first Alien the monster was barely visible, and his motivations were shadowy and never clear. In Aliens the monster was many, and they all had the purpose of segregating and protecting their progeny. In Alien3 the monsters wanted to…eat people, yeah and spread the AIDS according to some movie critics. In Alien Resurrection, the monsters just wanted to splatter the walls with gore and they were clearly visible. In AVP they wanted to free their mommy (awwwww) and in AVP2 they wanted to have oral sex with humans and take over the world (starting with Kansas or whatever). I know it sounds silly and stupid, but it’s made out of concrete!!! Nobody can take that down, it’s solid, sturdy, consistent. Something you can’t say for the personality of Ripley during the last two movies or about other characters from the franchise. They are also the only character that has been in every movie, so fuck it. The bugs win this time! Game over man! Insert coin.

1. - The Piggy-Lamp (Amelie)

            Now, for my favorite, the best, the very best movie character that I have ever seen in my life…the choice surprises even to myself. I don’t know what’s motivating me to pick this character or who has boggled with my brain to make my eyes turn to the, possibly, obscurest movie character you may have ever heard of in your entire life. My favorite movie character of all time is the Piggy-Lamp in “Amelie”, a movie from the year 2001, directed by French master Jean-Pierre Jeneut. What’s or who’s the Piggy-Lamp you might be wondering? Well, that’s an easy question. It’s a Lamp that has the statue of a clay Piggy holding the light bulb in the apartment of our heroine Amelie. It appears for a total of 5 seconds in the entire movie. It doesn’t speak, it doesn’t move and it doesn’t do anything…but switch off the light and allow Amelie to have a good night sleep. That’s it! Nothing else! That’s the entire contribution this character makes to the movie world, and I am still surprised how much I like it! It’s adorable, it’s beautiful and it’s stupidly poetic. It’s the kind of choice an artistic asshole would make just to be an artistic asshole when he has no idea what to say to defend his choice. I do know what to say to defend my choice: Because I like it. And why do I like it? Because it’s a living clay Piggy-Lamp, and his appearance is so under toned that more people should pick him. I demand a Piggy-Lamp movie now! If we had movies about the fucking annoying sidekicks from “Land before Time” we can squeeze a couple of Euros to bring the Piggy-Lamp to his big release.

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