INTRO: Back again! Part 2 of the sweeping epic series that is the Kublakai Top 5 lists. REJOICE! Today I want to discuss characters. I love TV, I love movies and I love books, in essence I just love stories. I feel like when you talk about stories people kind of gloss over the plot line and then usually say something like, “The end is crazy” or “It was really funny” or “The special effects were unbelievable!”. In the end though, no story works if the characters suck – period. And sometimes a story can be mediocre if a character is strong and engaging. This was a really hard list to compile and narrow down but the more I delved into this, the more I enjoyed it. It sent me in search of older movies and shows that I love which was its own reward. Okay, Lets do this!
5. RIPLEY If there is a better alien, sci-fi, movie series than Aliens – show me. Then, I’ll tell you you’re wrong. These movies scared the living sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeit out of me when I was a kid. Not-to-mention everyone else in the world and then won some awards to boot. They may have not been the first to implement the idea of monsters in space, but they re-invented it. Smart, fast paced, witty, terrifying and brilliant. And behind all that, tying it together is Ripley. She’s smart, she talks shit as well as any of the boys, can handle a machine gun as well as any piece of technology on a spaceship and balances her femininity while still managing to be as tough as nails. The real power of this character is that it kind of exposes the sexism in movies (not like it’s a secret) because she is a woman lead in an action film when that just wasn’t done. And, instead of her being a women in an action lead, she was just the lead. Guys didn’t walk away from the film and go, “That chick fucked shit up!” (I mean they probably did but…..). They walked away and said “RIPLEY fucked shit up!” (It probably helped that she kind of had a great name. If Ripley was a man, please believe there would be 10 rappers with said name.) For maybe the first time in cinema, a female lead was blowing some shit up and it wasn’t just a novelty. Not just a sexpot in black leather, killing monsters while still giving teenagers a chubby. (YES, that was a Underworld diss- they all suck almost as much as the Resident Evil movies.) She was everything a male action lead was, just as good, just as smart, just as bad-ass – period. Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some sexual stuff in the films. Upon re-watching, shortly into the first film there is quite the crotch shot while Ripley is undressed as well as some suggestive moaning (See: every female in pain scene, ever. I won’t go into detail – ask your college film teacher.) PLUS, social-commentary aside, Sigourney Weaver was made for this role and worked it to a T. Now she is a sci-fi GOD with cameo’s in so many roles I lost count (most recent: Cabin in the woods… Go see it, it’s amazing… and Paul. Ya know, that alien flick with Seth Rogan). Her only real competition ever is Sarah Conner from the Terminator films but it’s only fleeting. She can’t compete.
In the end, she is complex, she is smart, she is tough and she is what ties this fantastic series of films together. Even people that weren’t fans of horror or sci-fi enjoyed these movies and Ripley is the reason. If you haven’t seen them, they are required viewing for any film connoisseur and if you have, watch them again.
4. JULES & VINCENT
This pair of gangsters and the infamous Royale with Cheese scene changed how we view cinema. There would be no Boondock Saints, there would be no Snatch, there would be no Sin City, there would be no Requiem for a Dream. This movie, this scene and specifically these characters changed the way we look at film. Dialogue and character could no longer be overlooked because you have big explosions (I’m talking to you Michael Bay, YOU FUCK!). When this film came out, I had several friends that memorized the bible verse from the scene. For those of you that havent seen it, to teach a lesson of what happens when you fuck with Marcellus Wallace’s money, they kill Bret, the poor, white college kid who hadn’t paid what he owed. Jules, Played by Samuel L. Jackson, rattles off what is now, the infamous, “I shall strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furrrrrious anger….” We all know how it goes. And it was amazing.
Say what again! DO THEY SPEAK ENGLISH IN WHAT?!?
For me, the greatness of these Jules and Vincent is that it revealed more subtly what is true in real life. We are not one emotion. This includes bad guys. Villains don’t just sit around and discuss villainry (Unsure if this is a real word but I like it so I’m rolling with it). Just because these guys were about to perform a hit, they were discussing a fucking Big Mac in the Netherlands as opposed to the States. It’s funny because they are obviously sociopaths but the discussion is actually interesting and so is there personalities. Jules with his sheeny afro and Vincent with his strange mullet-esque slicked back greasy hair. Both in 70′s black and white business suits, the ones with the skinny ties long before madmen was on and made it popular again. It’s ridiculous and captivating at the same time. Then, just as you become use to it, you see them in a diner in strange t-shirts and floral swimsuits discussing philosophy, Jules looks seriously across the table. “Like cain in Kung-fu, I am just going to walk the earth.” Vincent looks confusedly back, “You’re gonna be a bum, Jules, a fucking bum.”
A five dollar milkshake. That’s milk and ice cream….. and that’s five dollars?
Call Tarentino what you want, an egocentric asshole, closeted racist (I’m with Spike Lee on the N-bomb usage in this movie. Not Ok), weirdo, chin-face (that was a CHIN joke, nothing more!) but he created two of THEE most memorable characters of all time, if the last 20 years. They were, funny, interesting, deep, entertaining, unbelievably quotable and iconic in ushering in a new era in characters for the 90′s and beyond.
3. TYLER DURDEN
YOU ARE NOT YOUR FUCKING KHAKIS.
I am Jacks raging formula movie. I hate myself but make millions off of stupid, lazy, stoned teenagers who only want to see shiny things with swords make stereotypical, pseudo-racist remarks (I’m looking at you Michael Bay, YOU FUCK!). I am David Fincher. I take bloated budget, make movie of substance from Chuck Pahlahiuk’s genius, brainchild book of the same name and create one of the best films of the last 20 years. I am film executive who lost his ass because film was too good too pitch in ‘high concept’ form and lost millions. I am bored-of-same-old-same-old-movie-goer. I am laughter.
I am reader of blog that has no idea why Kubi is writing in this style. I am unconcerned Kubi.
Go watch Fight Club.
There most likely is not another movie that I have seen as many times as Army of Darkness. I truly believe Bruce Campbell was born only to play this role. Only recently, when I saw Cabin in the Woods was there a film that even remotely rivaled the ridiculous/amazing caliber in which Army of Darkness reigns supreme. This movie is the only reason I don’t start a petition to have Sam Raimi dismembered for Spider-Man 3 (His new Oz movie better be good!). As I tell everyone that hasn’t seen it, it is the best purposefully B-movie of all time. And it is only possible because of Campbell’s portrayal of Ash, an Elvis-esque looking clerk at S-mart, “shop smart, shop S-mart!”, who takes a camping trip with his girlfriend to a …….cabin in the woods…… and through the discovery of a weird, demonic book, The Necronomicon, the trip takes a turn for the un-dead and ultra weird. Girlfriend dies, Ash is transported to 16th century wherever and the rest is cult classic history. He belts unbelievable one-liners that no one else in this world would dare and somehow makes them charming, “First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me…. *spits out grape seed*….. BLOW.” or “Gimme some sugar baby.” The low-budget effects (brilliantly low budget mind you) and completely ridiculous storyline may add to the beautifully wonky (I am obviously running out of adjectives) Ash but it doesn’t take away from his genius. Campbell owns this character and even after reading his biography and hearing his irritation with people that come up to him expecting him to be exactly as he is in these movies, I think I would find it hard not to do the same thing. Ash is Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell is Ash. Ash is basically the dream of every nerdy kid who has come of age, become a real adult but doesn’t want to fully be an adult yet. Or maybe it’s just mine but it’s my list so he gets the number 2 spot. Either way, once you’ve seen these movies, it’s hard to forget him and not chuckle every time he pulls himself from the deep well with his chainsaw/hand after killing the witch/demon below (yeah, it’s that kinda flick), showing the in-awe crowd his shotgun and yelling, “This is my BOOMstick!!” Just watch:
If you want to see what real creativity, imagination, passion and a belief in fun (not like you Michael Bay, YOU FUCK!), ridiculousness and ultra strange gore in film making looks like, watch this movie. Evil Dead 1 & 2 are the pre-story to Army of Darkness and are definitely worth your time. I’ve re-watched them many times and while they aren’t required viewing to enjoy AOD, they are recommended.
1. THE JOKER
If you disagree with my number one pick, we probably can’t be friends anymore or ever. I’m sorry about that. Please leave…………………… I’m kidding!!! only kidding………………………..Kind of.
The character of the Joker feeds that insane part of everyone’s brain that looks at life and even when everything is great, fantastic and beautiful, you have that tickle in the back of your mind that still says, “lets fuck some shit up.” The Joker is fully committed to crazy and we all appreciate it because I think we want that…. but can’t. Life doesn’t work that way. So we watch The Dark Knight and Batman and all the episodes of The Animated Series with Joker in them repeatedly to get our fill. The fascination, to me, of the Joker is that he is not unaware of his crazy, he bathes in it and makes it sexy. Most villains are stupidly obtuse or are not villains of their own freewill. They drank something that made them too angry, Someone else, even more sinister is REALLY pulling the strings or they are just trying to avenge their family, wife, world, etc… The Joker has no ulterior motives, he’s just deranged and psycho, he thinks it’s funny and that’s good enough for him. The joker’s laugh doesn’t come from jokes, they come from the insanity of a world that is not what it seems…. Under control. Really, that’s the big joke to his character. It’s also why in The Dark Knight, they honed in on that idea and we all clung to it and enveloped it so wholly. I should say, I am not putting Heath Ledger’s Joker at Number one, although it is, in my opinion, the best joker depiction thus far. I love Nicholson’s Joker. I may even love the animated joker more than both (voiced by Mark Hamill, yes, Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill.)
I am saying that the character of The Joker is the best character the fiction world has ever created. Because really, we love him not because he’s fun and wily and *sarcastic teenage voice* “he tells jokes while being bad!” but because he is the villain we kind of think we are. Anyone who says they’ve never had an impure thought is probably a Sandusky in waiting. (YEAH, SHIT JUST GOT REAL SON!) It may sound far fetched but there are plenty of heroes that we root for but The Joker, in my opinion is the closest manifestation of the little devil on the shoulder telling you to make mayhem for the pure idea of it and we like it. No matter which Batman medium you are being entertained by, be it comic, movie, cartoon, TV show, when Joker is on the screen, you pay attention. I would even venture that you root for him, because his crazy is something you relate too. The insanity of a world that we kind of have control over…… but not really. It’s nervously funny, so we laugh…..hahaha… funny… hehe… *awkwardly walks away*
Was that too deep for a blog post about fictional story characters? Maybe a little. (why so serious?) Ask my girlfriend about how long I can go into the depth of the Dark Knight movies…. #NERD.
BUT fun fact time – I have long been a Joker fanatic. My first rap name: The Joker (I was twelve, don’t judge!). If you ever wondered why I so frequently use the color purple in all my promo, banners and the like, well now you know. I mean just look at the banner for this blog, joker is in there. And if you are friends with me, it comes as no surprise, as my humor is far darker than most. I try and stay lighthearted but I don’t hesitate to laugh when things get ugly. That’s what the Joker would do.
OUTRO: THATS IT! NOW, LETS ARGUE ABOUT IT! Below is the honorable mention list. There are more that I am sure I forgot. The TV show list didn’t have Sons Of Anarchy on it. That was a huge miss.
WHATS YOUR TOP 5?
KGB from ROUNDERS (Movie) Omar from The Wire (TV) Archer from Archer (TV) Joey from Friends (TV) Jack from The Shining (Movie) Patrick Bateman from American Psycho (Book & Movie) Daniel Plainview from There will be blood (Movie) Al Bundy from Married with Children (TV) Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects (Movie)