Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Favorite Film Characters Meme

Ok, call me lame!

But between nasty head colds, work and family time, I just haven’t been so focused on the blog, and I didn’t even check my KidsFlix email account until Monday night, when I saw that I’d been tagged by Culture Snob to name my 10 favorite film characters.

Ten? Favorites? Listen, I’m the kind of person that can’t even name a favorite film or book of all time (I can, however, name my favorite album, my Desert Island Disc, if pressed; I’ll save it for another time, but maybe give you a hint. Yeah, a hint. If you guess, I’ll burn it for you and send you a copy. Lemme think on this for a minute.). I have lots of favorites, and distilling my favorite film characters into a mere 10 might be impossible.

So, I’m going to steal an idea from 10 Movies to See Before You Die, and roll ‘em out slowly. I might not even get to ten! Ha. Are memes made to be broken?

Culture Snob tagged me (thank you, oh Snobby one) as one of the newer members of LAMB (The Large Association of Movie Blogs), a great place to find film blogs of all kinds. In the “Q&A” we newbies participate in, we had to name three of our favorite movies, which I was able to do since it’s a small number of the 20 or 50 I might consider true favorites. So, I’ll start by naming two characters from two of my favorite films.

1. Scarlet O’Hara, from Gone With the Wind
I saw this film as a kid, in an old rep theater we were lucky enough to have in town at the time, and the impression the film made on me cannot be understated. I think I dreamed about it for weeks afterwards. Much of it had to do with Scarlett O’Hara (full name: Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler), the plucky and sassy heroine who thinks, for an agonizing two hours’ worth of screen time, that she’s in love with the weak and wussy Ashley Wilkes, when all along it’s clearly the arrogant and handsome Rhett Butler she needs in her life. He’s her only possible match.

Along with the complex romantic storyline, the film is, of course, filled with numerous history lessons, told in glorious, melodramatic technicolor. I haven’t had the pleasure yet of watching this with K, but hope to do it soon. (Let this serve as a recommended Kids’ Classic, while we’re at it!)

Scarlett’s courage, determination, craftiness and fire (it’s in her eyes) left an indelible impression on me, and on legions of moviegoers (and maybe young girls?). We’re not supposed to base our choices here on the actor or our love for them or their methods, etc., and I can say without hesitation that this fictional character, Scarlett O’Hara, a 100-pound, spoiled rotten, Southern Belle, lives on and looms as large as any screen character in film history.

2. Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs
Back in 1992, we hadn’t quite seen a film like Reservoir Dogs. Some of Scorsese’s works come close, but there was something ultra cool about Reservoir Dogs that captured our attention. It was named "Greatest Independent Film of all Time" by the British film mag, Empire.

There are a handful of fascinating and memorable characters in the film, and it’s difficult for me to choose between Mr. Blonde, played by Michael Madsen, and Mr. Pink, played by Steve Buscemi. So, deciding quickly here before this turns to an all day debate, I’m going with ... Michael Madsen’s Mr. Blonde.

If you haven’t seen the film, I’ll just say right up front that Mr. Blonde is very suave, very cool, and very handsome. He’s sexy in a dark way -- “quietly menacing” is how it might be put in a bodice ripper -- except this guy is truly psychopathic and sadistic.

He’s the ultimate “bad boy” that we chix are supposed to love. Hmmm.

Now, ask husband D if I’m one for lots of graphic violence and sadistic themes in movies. He’ll tell you I am not. In fact, I don’t even bother with horror films because 98% of the time there is someone being tortured, physically or psychologically, and I really can’t take that. The gore isn’t so much a problem as it is the other stuff. Bah. Life is short. I don’t need to spend 28% of my lifetime squirming in my chair. (Don’t ask me where I got 28%.)

So why Mr. Blonde? Why am I choosing the guy who plays out the most awful, disturbing scene in the film? I can not tell you precisely why. Maybe I am just a sucker for a handsome bad boy, and that’s all it is. Maybe it was the way he moved, dancing around the hostage he was terrifying at every turn, or the way he spoke as if he were simply styling the guy’s hair, or giving him skin care advice. Maybe it was Mr. Blonde’s sheer craziness, his being so removed from what he was actually doing that he conveyed some sort of mystery and otherworldliness.

Maybe it was that his character was clearly one of the signs that Quentin Tarantino was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Ok, that’s all for now.

UPDATE: Jump here for the complete list.

In thinking over the hints I might leave you for my musical D.I.D., I’ve come up with a couple:

1. It’s a ‘70s record.
2. It was punk before punk was invented.


  1. I remember being completely enthralled with Reservoir Dogs and Michael "Mr. Blonde" Madsen when I rented this movie back the early '90s. Watching it by myself in my apartment, I actually stood up and cheered when Mr. Blonde met his demise. How embarrassing.

  2. Oh, good, so it's not just a sex appeal thing... I mean, his character WAS so awesome, and yeah, I think him biting the dust was as satisfying as all his other scenes...

    Hey, FF, I was just researching to put together my TAG list, and you're one of 'em! I'll post a fresh piece announcing the five sites I'm tagging to continue this thread...


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