Thursday, June 05, 2003

Going through the AFI's top 50 heroes and villains list:

The hero list is very annoying. I will grant that it does a good job listing many of the major heroes that come to mind. But there are way too many pious lefty hagiographic snoozefests on this list for my taste. And with all the silly ideologically-motivated bogus entries here, there was NO room to include, to name just two, Max Von Sydow's or Jeffrey Hunter's Jesus? They put a DOG before Moses, and don't include Jesus at all? Grrrr....

1. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck ), "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Nice one, but...the greatest hero in cinema history? No.
2. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford ), "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
3. James Bond (Sean Connery ), "Dr. No."
4. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart ), "Casablanca."
Should have been higher.
5. Will Kane (Gary Cooper ), "High Noon."
One of my favorites, but why do I think it's so high on the list because Bill Clinton said HN was his favorite movie of all time?
6. Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster ), "The Silence of the Lambs."
I loved everything about this film except Foster, who I have always thought grossly overrated.
7. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone ), "Rocky."
People forget what a revolutionary film it was at the time. Sure, it's crude and ugly, but its unabashed and unambiguous heroism made audience love it at a time when Hollywood was giving us almost nothing but sneering, cynical protagonists who were only marginally better than the bad guys they were chasing.
8. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver ), "Aliens."
9. George Bailey (James Stewart ), "It's a Wonderful Life."
10. T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole ), "Lawrence of Arabia."
11. Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
12. Tom Joad (Henry Fonda ), "The Grapes of Wrath."
Another iconic lefty role. I guess I shouldn't mention that this was also Hitler's favorite movie.
13. Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson ), "Schindler's List."
Should be MUCH, MUCH higher on the list.
14. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), "Star Wars."
15. Norma Rae Webster (Sally Field ), "Norma Rae."
Predictable that a lefty union movie that NOBODY saw makes the top 100 heroes ahead of Terry Molloy in On the Waterfront, one of the great movies of all time. Disgraceful, too.
16. Shane (Alan Ladd), "Shane."
17. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood ), "Dirty Harry."
18. Robin Hood (Errol Flynn ), "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
19. Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier ), "In the Heat of the Night."
Figures that the ONLY black actor in their entire damn list was from this crappy movie about evil Southerners. I found Poitier's character in, to name one film, Lilies of the Field, far more heroic.
20. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, (Paul Newman and Robert Redford ), "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Seeing this one, I start to wonder why Micky and Mallory from Natural Born Killers aren't on this list.
21. Mahatma Gandhi (Ben Kingsley ), "Gandhi."
Ho hum. Yet another lefty icon.
22. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas ), "Spartacus."
And another.
23. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando ), "On the Waterfront."
Well, it's about damn time.
24. Thelma Dickinson and Louise Sawyer (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon ), "Thelma and Louise."
PUH-LEASE. Why not the cannibal couple from Eating Raoul while we're at it?
25. Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper), "The Pride of the Yankees."
26. Superman (Christopher Reeve ), "Superman."
27. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman ), "All the President's Men."
28. Juror No. 8 (Henry Fonda), "12 Angry Men."
It's one lefty icon after another.
29. Gen. George Patton (George C. Scott ), "Patton."
Throwing us right-wingers a bone with this one.
30. Luke Jackson (Paul Newman), "Cool Hand Luke."
I love this one in spite of my general hatred for late-sixties anti-establishment films.
31. Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts ), "Erin Brockovich."
Hurl. Retch. Shudder.
32. Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), "The Big Sleep."
33. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand ), "Fargo."
It's funny with this one. A lot of silly people I know loved the movie and this performance in particular because it seemed to goof on Midwestern people, and they thought of this film as a condescending parody of life in the great dimwitted expanses of flyover country. But the film really doesn't play that way--I found it gently appreciative of a culture that is as foreign to most Hollywood aesthetes as something from central New Guinea.
34. Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller ), "Tarzan the Ape Man."
35. Alvin York (Gary Cooper), "Sergeant York."
36. Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne ), "True Grit."
Bleh. Of all the JW characters, they picked this unpleasant, dislikable slob? No. I want Ethan Edwards from The Searchers or Sean Thornton from The Quiet Man or John Chance from Rio Bravo. To name three.
37. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness ), "Star Wars."
38. The Tramp (Charles Chaplin), "City Lights."
Sorry, the Chaplin Tramp persona was never a hero.
39. Lassie (Pal the dog), "Lassie Come Home."
No comment.
40. Frank Serpico (Al Pacino ), "Serpico."
41. Arthur Chipping (Robert Donat), "Goodbye, Mr. Chips."
42. Father Edward Flanagan (Spencer Tracy ), "Boys Town."
43. Moses (Charlton Heston ), "The Ten Commandments."
44. Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman ), "The French Connection."
Loved it at the time, but I quickly got sick of 60s/70s antiheroes, and I have really grown to despise pretty much every American studio film made between 1968 and 1975.
45. Zorro (Tyrone Power ), "The Mark of Zorro."
46. Batman (Michael Keaton ), "Batman."
Visually great fun, but Keaton is the weak link.
47. Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep ), "Silkwood."
No, it's not the radiation sickness that's making me vomit, it's the film.
48. The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger ), "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
49. Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks ), "Philadelphia."
My gag reflex is broken beyond repair by this point.
50. Maximus (Russell Crowe ), "Gladiator."

My additions, besides the ones noted above:

William Wallace (Mel Gibson), "Braveheart"
Sidney Carton (Ronald Colman), "A Tale of Two Cities."
Max (Mel Gibson), "The Road Warrior."
Judith Traherne (Bette Davis), "Dark Victory"
Ash (Bruce Campbell), "Army of Darkness"
Major John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman), "Glory"
Henry V (Kenneth Branagh), "Henry V"


The Villain list is much better. Whereas the choice of heroes is strongly informed by the usual Hollywood lefty sensibilities, the villain list is surprisingly mostly free of the evil right wing strawmen who have populated American cinema for the last several decades. But I must quibble. Not even ONE Gary Oldman performance? Are they serious? And I don't even want to go into the list's painful neglect of horror movie villains.No Jason? No Michael Myers? No Leatherface? For shame.

1. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins ), "The Silence of the Lambs."
2. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins ), "Psycho."
3. Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones ), "The Empire Strikes Back."
4. The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), "The Wizard of Oz."
5. Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher ), "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
6. Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore ), "It's a Wonderful Life."
7. Alex Forrest (Glenn Close ), "Fatal Attraction."
8. Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck ), "Double Indemnity."
9. Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair ), "The Exorcist."
10. The Queen (voiced by Lucille LaVerne), "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
11. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), "The Godfather Part II."
12. Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell ), "A Clockwork Orange."
13. HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain), "2001: A Space Odyssey."
14. The Alien (Bolaji Badejo), "Alien."
15. Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes ), "Schindler's List."
16. Noah Cross (John Huston ), "Chinatown."
17. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates ), "Misery."
18. The Shark, "Jaws."
19. Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton ), "Mutiny on the Bounty."
20. Man, "Bambi."
Oh, please. For a cartoon villain, I would go with Jeremy Irons from The Lion King.
21. Mrs. John Iselin (Angela Lansbury ), "The Manchurian Candidate."
22. The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), "The Terminator."
23. Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter ), "All About Eve."
24. Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas ), "Wall Street."
25. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson ), "The Shining."
26. Cody Jarrett (James Cagney ), "White Heat."
27. The Martians, "War of the Worlds."
28. Max Cady (Robert Mitchum ), "Cape Fear."
29. Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), "The Night of the Hunter."
30. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro ), "Taxi Driver."
31. Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), "Rebecca."
32. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway), "Bonnie and Clyde."
33. Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi ), "Dracula."
34. Dr. Szell (Laurence Olivier ), "Marathon Man."
35. J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster ), "Sweet Smell of Success."
36. Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper ), "Blue Velvet."
37. Harry Lime (Orson Welles ), "The Third Man."
38. Rico Bandello (Edward G. Robinson ), "Little Caesar."
39. Cruella De Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Gerson), "One Hundred and One Dalmatians."
40. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund ), "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
41. Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway), "Mommie Dearest."
42. Tom Powers (James Cagney), "The Public Enemy."
43. Regina Giddens (Bette Davis ), "The Little Foxes."
44. Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis), "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?"
45. The Joker (Jack Nicholson), "Batman."
46. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman ), "Die Hard."
47. Tony Camonte (Paul Muni), "Scarface."
48. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey ), "The Usual Suspects."
49. Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), "Goldfinger."
50. Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington ), "Training Day."

My additions, besides those above:

Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) "Arlington Road."
John Doe (Kevin Spacey), "Seven"
Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman), "Leon"
Al Capone (Robert DeNiro) "The Untouchables"
Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne), "Mad Max"
Wez (Vernon Wells) "The Road Warrior"
Calvera (Eli Wallach) "The Magnificent Seven"
Count Orlock (Max Schreck), "Nosferatu"
Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), "Rear Window"
Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth), "Rob Roy"

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