Thursday, August 21, 2008

new poll: best film character name

It's official. The worst actor ever is... Nicolas Cage! He won with 60% of the votes. I'd like to thank the nine intelligent movie-goers that recognized Nicolas Cage for what he is (the worst actor ever). Perhaps one day I'll post my thoughts on him, and it's subtitle could be "In Defense of Keanu Reeves."

I've put up a new poll regarding the best film character name. I've narrowed the list down to four. These four names are iconic. They exist outside of themselves. The movie's not just named after them, and they're not simply "a totally awesome character." The names themselves -- how they sound, what they imply, the feeling you get when you hear them -- are at the heart of the poll. So don't pick your favorite character. Pick the name that serves as a signifier for that character and that character's significance.

Your choices are:
Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
Lando Calrissian (Star Wars)
Donnie Darko (Donnie Darko)
Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects)
Other names that could go on this list include:

Scarlett O'Hara (Gone with the Wind), Idgie Threadgoode (Fried Green Tomatoes), Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs), Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's), and of course Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird), but I eliminated them because the names originated from a novel first. Not to be ignored by adult fiction are Roald Dahl's Violet Beauregarde and Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Scarlett O'Hara is indeed an iconic film name, but the actual name itself is not particularly interesting. Her character would still be remembered in the same way had she been named something else. As far as novel characters go, is there really any question that Atticus Finch is one of the greatest names/characters of all time?

Other fantastic names include Lloyd Dobbler (Say Anything), Norman Bates (Psycho), Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard) and the title characters Forrest Gump and Indiana Jones. I think that out of this group my vote would fall for Norman Bates, simply because that name represents all the themes of the film. Those two words, those harsh sounds, mirror the brutality and insecurity of both himself and the Marion Crane character. Although I really enjoy the names Forrest Gump and Indiana Jones, their immortality really rests in the characters rather than the names.

What are some other names I neglected to mention?


Goddessdster said...

First thing that popped to my mind was Han Solo, because when we were kids, we didn't get the meaning of the name Solo and all it signified, but as we grew it sort of kicked us in the head a bit. But I think you're right in rejecting names whose characters might overshadow what you're asking.

I would have voted for Lloyd Dobbler, I've always had a thing for L sounds.

This poll is much harder than the last one. I'll have to think about it.

And yes, please defend Keanu Reeves. Mostly because he's my absolute favorite bad actor. Mostly because of Constantine (my favorite bad movie). I'm sad, I know. I'm gonna go watch Spaced now.

Goddessdster said...

I've been thinking more and more about this and I've come to the conclusion that Keyser Soze is the only answer. Why? Because his is a character name who defines a character the viewer doesn't meet until the end of the movie but feels she knows already. The name alone is all we have of KS, but he is a fully developed part of the action of the movie.

So I stand by my vote.