Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Next Five Favourite Movie Characters

1.Antonio Bandaras as Zorro in the Mask of Zorro - From vagabond thief he becomes Zorro, the fox. His learning curve is steep but with each moment and adventure he becomes a better hero while he is also becoming a better man. His wicked sense of fun combined with top notch fighting and acrobatic skills makes this my all time favourite literary hero - the one I would most like to be. To sweep the lovely Catherine Zeta Jones’ Elaina off her feet occurs only because she is a worthy partner and love to this redeemed man.

2. Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in Tombstone. The performance is among the greatest to NEVER win an Oscar and no one who has seen this movie can deny it is a performance so complete and layered that its thrilling to see each scene which he absolutely dominates. No mean trick against some of the best character actors ever. Kilmer’s Holiday is first and foremost a gambler and murderer but he is also a loyal friend and has a noble sense of justice for those not involved in the life he has chosen for himself. He understands the demons that make men do the evil that they do.

3.Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow - The three Pirate of the Caribbean movies. Another actor robbed of his just awards for the most charming and least trustworthy hero with a heart of gold in movie history. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel he often appeared as a lazy fop. His character was said to be a combination of Keith Richards and Liberace. He plays each moment pretending to be only out for himself while simultaneously orchestrating a chess match against his opponents that is never predictable. You can see the wheels turn in his head each time he is confronted with his own death like he is having the most fun anyone could be having on the high seas.

4Bruce Lee - Game of Death, Enter the Dragon. For a person from Hong Kong who could not speak English he literally changed the world. When Enter the Dragon was released the world was first introduced to his dynamic fighting speed, style and technique. We also saw for the first time how clearly charismatic he could be. All his movie roles are simply Bruce Lee playing himself since each role showcases his abilities and philosophy of life. This was something that North Americans had never seen before and it influenced a whole generation of young men who were looking for something to believe after the aimless 1960s. His fitness teachings predate anyone with the exception of Jack Lalanne. His uniquely created fighting style was a perfect fit for the movie industry - visually dynamic. This caused the opening of martial arts schools all over North American and the desire to learn such skills still goes on to this day. The same moves and energy can be seen in such films as ‘Kill Bill’ (where we see UMA dressed in his famous yellow track suit that Bruce wore in Game of Death)and every movie by Van Damme, Norris or Segal.

5.Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante - in Stand and Deliver. Playing a real life math teacher at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, Olmos gained extra pounds and allowed his thick hair to be thinned out to create a regular guy who commanded respect not through the strength of his body but through the power of his words and example. Like any teacher his desire to do anything to reach his students was achieved through comedy, sometimes guilt but always with a heavy dose of love. He has unwavering faith in anyone who was willing to commit to the knowledge he was trying to impart to them. Sure he could be inflexible when the students let themselves down but always he was there to help pick them back up. He is the model I follow in my classrooms and since I often deal with the most challenging type of students, his example has proven invaluable.


Wings1295 said...

I agree with you on Banderas as Zorro. Saw that flick thanks to you, and it was great!

Also know someone who will be very happy with your choice for #3.

Siskoid said...

Doc Holiday! Wow! If I'd thought of it, he would totally be on one of my lists!

Nicole said...