“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
Writing is a solitary endeavor. The writer spends most of the day rummaging around in the tower of words inside his head, hoping to find some discarded phrases that can be assembled in some way that provides entertainment and, on rare occasions, beauty.
So when the opportunity to face off against some fellow bloggers in order to determine who the best movie character of the 90s was, I was intrigued. It wasn’t exactly a collaborative effort, but it seemed like a 4-person competition with three other writers who like movies and pop culture would shed some light in the tower of words. It sounded like fun — trying to out-write 3 other bloggers and convince readers that my favorite movie characters were somehow “better” than other, more popular characters.
64 characters, 32 first-round matchups, just like the NCAA tournament. Each blogger drafted 16 characters from the 90s, and each character would be matched up against another blogger’s character, with the readers voting on each matchup to determine the “winner” and decide who advances to the next round.
Characters would be selected via a draft, so I went into the draft with two possible strategies.
Strategy 1: Draft to win, selecting characters that I thought had the best chance to advance. This would essentially involve picking candidates well known and liked by the public. Basically, go through the top 100 movies of the 90s and draft the most-popular characters. See the Median Voter Theorem for more on why this is a good strategy.
Strategy 2: Draft according to “aesthetic value,” selecting characters that appealed to me because of their uniqueness and artistic value. This strategy wouldn’t give me my best chance to win, but it would probably be a lot more fun. In other words, would you rather win with Jack Dawson or lose with The Dude?
Winning with an underdog is a lot more fun than winning with the team that is “supposed” to win. Also, I just couldn’t stomach the thought of writing about any character from “Titanic”.
One of my favorite bets I won was betting that “Snakes on a Plane” would make less than $50 million in US box office sales. I wasn’t sure if I was the favorite in this bet – the pre-movie hype was huge, and the marketing for the film was done well – but I was betting that American moviegoers needed more than a silly ironic joke masquerading as a story in order to entice them to spend their hard-earned cash to make a trip to the movies. Collecting on my bet was sweet, more because my faith in moviegoers was rewarded than for the small amount of cash that went into my pocket.
Guess which strategy I picked?
The first round consists of 32 matchups. Each blogger will make the case why their selected character is “better” than their opponent’s selected character. What “better” means will be up to the voter.
Still not interested?
One of the first matchups pits my 11th round selection, Jesus Shuttlesworth (played by Ray Allen in Spike Lee’s “He got game”) against THE Jesus, masterfully played by John Turturro in one of my all-time favorite movies, The Big Lebowski. Somehow I’ll have to convince you to vote for Mr. Shuttlesworth, while my opponent, Julius Goat will try to convince you that a stereotypical latino pederast deserves your vote. 8 year olds dude.
May the best character win.
I defer to the tournament commissioner, organizer, and fellow poker blogger Julius Goat for an overview of the participants and breakdown of the teams. Watch this space for the first round, coming soon.
HDouble is a part of the poker-blogger bedrock. If poker bloggers were hockey teams, he’d be one of the original six. If poker bloggers were elements, he’d be Helium. If poker bloggers were pizza toppings, he would be cheese. This guy was around back when the Blogfather was only a Blogbrother. Not only that, but he wrote a series of film posts comparing poker to various movies that are must-reads.
1) Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption
2) Phil Connors, Groundhog Day
3) The Dude, The Big Lebowski
4) Morpheus, The Matrix
5) Ghost Dog, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
6) Mike McD, Rounders
7) Herman Blume, Rushmore
8) Dignan, Bottle Rocket
9) Barton Fink, Barton Fink
10) William Blake, Dead Man
11) Jesus Shuttleworth, He Got Game
12) Truman Burbank, The Truman Show
13) Marge Gunderson, Fargo
14) Bernie LaPlante, Hero
15) Neil McCauley, Heat
16) Raoul Duke, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
Astin has become one of the prime FilmChaw contributors (though nobody can touch The Real Dawn Summers), and possesses one of the more refined film palates out there. Also, if you listen to some people, he is me, which makes this praise more than a little suspect.
1) Jules Winfield, Pulp Fiction
2) Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects
3) Ash, Army of Darkness
4) Sarah Connor, Terminator 2
5) Austin Powers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
6) Eric Draven, The Crow
7) Agent Smith, The Matrix
8) Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense
9) John McClane, Live Free or Die Hard
10) Mr. Blonde, Reservoir Dogs
11) Brodie Bruce, Mallrats
12) Jean Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg, The Fifth Element
13) John Malkovitch, Being John Malkovitch
14) Happy Gilmore, Schindler’s List*
15) Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas
16) Darth Maul, Star Wars Episode I: The Death of Hope
Riggstad is a closer, and is therefore allowed to drink some of the coffee. He can handle the truth. Come with him if you want to live. You’re a daisy if you do.
1) Tyler Durden, Fight Club
2) Col. Nathan R. Jessup, A Few Good Men
3) The Terminator, Terminator 2
4) William Wallace, Braveheart
5) Little Bill, Unforgiven
6) Forrest Gump, Boys On The Side
7) Mona Lisa Vito, My Cousin Vinnie
8) Cpt. John Miller, Saving Private Ryan
9) Doc Holiday, Tombstone
10) Malcolm X, Malcolm X
11) Micky Knox, Natural Born Killers
12) Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
13) Nicky Santoro, Casino
14) Lt. Colonel Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman
15) Roy McElvoy, Tin Cup
16) Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting
Julius_Goat is me. I’m pretty old, I guess. Estimates range as to how old. I reckon some day I’ll get those carbon dating fellas out to my flypaper shack in the Ozarks to test me and then I’ll know for sure. Then I’ll shoot ‘em because I hate trespassers and Nosey Nancies. I keep my teeth in my mouth, but I’m thinking about getting them into a Roth IRA or maybe a hedge fund. I am tall enough to ride all the rides at Seven Flags. I am omnifragrant, which means that I smell of everything, and, therefore, nothing. In my spare time, I catch eagles with my bare hands. You just need plenty of patience, and bare hands. And a gun. In seven years, I’ve caught 0 eagles. Someday I think I’ll catch one, if I just stay positive. Today’s the day!
1) Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
2) Blake, Glengary Glen Ross
3) Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas
4) Milton, Office Space
5) Dr. Evil, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
6) The Jesus, The Big Lebowski
7) Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story
8) Drexel, True Romance
9) Derek Vinyard, American History X
10) Annie Bates, Misery
11) Karl Childers, Sling Blade
12) “Double Down” Trent, Swingers
13) Dirk Diggler, Boogie Nights
14) Wooderson, Dazed and Confused
15) Donald “Sully” Sullivan, Nobody’s Fool
16) Red, The Shawshank Redemption
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