Friday, May 8, 2015

10 Favorite Screen Characters

Jamie at Through Two Blue Eyes has tagged me to make a list of 10 of my favorite screen characters, which is something I could not pass up on spending way too much time on!

Instructions: For this quick, fun blog hop, you just name your 10 favorite characters from movies or TV, then tag 10 friends (if you can) to do the same!

Pretty simple. In theory at least. Leaving people out is one of my least favorite things to do, and my list of favorite characters goes on way beyond the number 10. (It goes way beyond 100 for that matter!) But I'll try to not think about it too hard and just go with some favorite characters who have been impressing me with their greatness lately.

The descriptions of the characters my contain spoilers for their character arc. I'll try to keep away from unnecessary plot spoilers though.

"Oh, did you hear that, lads? He says we'll blunt the knives!"
Bofur -- The Hobbit Trilogy (reviews: movie 1, movie 2, and movie 3)

Since this is for favorite screen characters, I will forgo mentioning Bard, Bilbo, and Thorin, because I first loved their characters in a book, not on the screen, but Bofur is different -- there is no personality for him in Tolkien's novel. But the dwarf played by James Nesbitt in the Hobbit movies is full of personality, stands out effortlessly, and is easily my favorite of the twelve dwarves. (And for someone who is just fun and fun to love, he even beats out Thorin.) I love his chipper attitude, the way his hat and braids to not conform to the laws of gravity, and his fantastic mustache. I love that he's always eager to help out, honest and straightforward, and that he's always the one who wonders where Bilbo is. He keeps things peppy and lighthearted and is just generally one very cool dwarf.

"He'll keep calling me... He'll keep calling me until I come over. He'll make me feel guilty... Uh, this is ridiculous. Okay I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go."
Cameron Frye -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This John Hughes iconic classic is, in my opinion, one of the more hilarious movies ever made, and Alan Ruck's Cameron, best friend of professional hooky-player Ferris Bueller is a big part of the film's greatness. He's the guy who protests to everything but is bullied into participating in crazy adventures because the hero is sure that the only reason he's a sour-puss in the first place is because his parents bullied him that way. Definitely true for Cameron. This movie doesn't have much plot or character development to speak of -- it takes place in one day, and is almost nothing but high quality, funny fluff -- but interestingly, Cameron does get quite a bit. He learns to stop worrying and start living. He also stares into the eyes of a child in a pointillism painting and seems to see something quite profound. And he makes a very necessary third wheel to the party of three friends who have the chemistry for teenage adventure and hilarity like no one else.

"You like a man who takes himself too seriously. You want my opinion? You need to lighten up!"
Dr. Johnathan Crane -- Batman Begins (review)

An easily overlooked Dark Knight Trilogy villain what with Bane and the Joker, but Cillian Murphy's psycho psych doctor has found a special place in my heart. It has a little to do with his dramatic and off-putting facial bone structure, and a little to do with his dazzling blue eyes that seem to drill into your very soul, but mostly it's his eerie calm persona, particularly in that one scene where he puts Falcone out of commission. Every time I watch that scene I am struck again by the detail and subtlety of the performance, and the way Crane puts on a poker face, but is just readable enough. I love the details of him; the way he smacks open his mouth and breathes audibly before speaking; the way every eye movement and smile seems like a precise and conscious act; and the way he calls Batman "the bat man."

"Oh, the park? I've always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after 'Nam. Then I joined the circus to become a clown fighter. I know about 46 ways to kill a clown. I hate clowns. I'm kidding -- except for the part where I really do hate them."
Owen -- The Way, Way Back (review)

I'm fairly sure that there are no roles that Sam Rockwell has taken that aren't awesome. Every time I see him his characters are the funniest and the coolest. Owen, the underachieving manger of a retro water park though, is arguably his best. He jumps at the chance to befriend an awkward, lonely kid, Duncan, who wanders into his park, impressing him with his extravagant comedy routines, and uncanny ability to dodge work. He becomes a friend, mentor, much-needed father figure, and place to escape to for Duncan. And when Duncan opens up to him, he sincerely encourages and consoles him, putting the jokes aside. Though they seem like opposites on the surface, Owen sees himself in Duncan; someone who is hurting more than he shows, and feels oppressed by the world. He doesn't have all the answers, but commendably does his best help Duncan on his way -- and makes him and us laugh with his signature Rockwell-style banter.

"I'm not seeking forgivness for what I've done, father, I'm asking forgiveness for what I'm about to do."
Matt Murdock -- Marvel's Daredevil (review)

Defense lawyer by day; masked vigilante by night. One interesting twist though: he's blind! As he says though, "there are other ways to see." And he uses every single one of those ways to help him "see" better than sighted people can. Then he uses this skill to kick butt. Awesomely. He fights criminals at night and defends accused criminals during the day, and all the time, fights the devil inside him, and tries to find a balance with it, not knowing if he should embrace or eradicate it. Charlie Cox's immaculate performance portrays both of Matt's contradictory sides with ideal balance. On one side he's kind and gentle, easy-going and fun loving; but is driven, and cares about the things and people that need caring for. Then the darker side does more for those things and people than the good side and the law will allow. This side tells one villain that he enjoys hurting him, and says it very convincingly. The best thing about this character though, is the incredible jaw-dropping fight scenes he is involved in.

"I'm a leaf on the wind; watch how I soar."
Hoban "Wash" Washburne -- Firefly/Serenity

Joss Whedon's TV show Firefly and its sequel film has no shortage of totally awesome, totally original characters. I however, am partial to the goofy pilot Wash, who is, for the most part, the comic relief. He is played with comic genius by Alan Tudyk (along with Whedon's brilliant comedy-writing skills) and never fails to be hilarious and endearing. He's laid back, wears Hawaiian shirts and plays with plastic dinosaurs on his console. He's married to his totally opposite -- the captain's right-hand woman, hardcore and serious Zoe -- and their relationship works every bit as well as you wouldn't think it would. He may be a goofball, but when there's a call for it, can be serious too, and the change just adds that much more gravitas to whatever the situation may be. There are nine very shiny people on board the Serenity, and weird blonde guy who flies her is one of them.

Morse: "How do you do it? Leave it at the door?"
Inspector Thursday: "Cause I have to. Case like this will tear a heart right out of a man. Find something worth defending--"
"I thought I had! Found something."
"Music? I suppose music is as good as anything. Go home. Put your best record on. Loud as it'll play. And with every note, you remember: that's something that the darkness couldn't take from you."
Endeavour Morse -- Endeavour (reviews: series 1; series 2)

Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is a young, opera music and crossword puzzle loving Detective Constable for the Oxford Police in the 1960's. He's reserved and sensitive, usually quiet with occasional outbursts of passion; very smart, but not very wise. He sees connections in cases that no one else does, and is often ridiculed for his wild theories -- but to be fair, he is by no means right all the time. I like him for these reasons, and because of how he goes against the grain; in his work and pretty much everywhere else, and even as a character. Sure, on the surface he may be your typical brazen, world-weary detective who's a loner and drinks too much, but he's really too young to be world-weary yet, loneliness is a hindrance to him, and his brazenness is a facade too easily seen through. He's also a complete gentleman, gentle, kind and caring. Often scared, but always brave; in some ways modest, in some proud; and if you want someone who will never give up on a case until the end, there are a lot of detective shows out there that boast their detectives have that quality, but for DC Morse, actions speak louder than words.

"You're just different now. You're just different now, and there's nothing wrong with that."
Leo Fitz -- Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) was always my favorite character -- from the very first episode I believe. First of all, you're naturally twice as awesome if you have a Scottish accent, and Fitz's is an exceptionally good one. Also, I like that he is a novice at field work and unusually not good at fighting for a SHIELD agent. But of course has the bravery go in the field and fight if he needs to. At the beginning of season two he lost a little of his coolness with the trauma-induced speech and motor skills dysfunction, but that just added depth and sympathy to the character. And then, in the 11th episode of season two he just blew me away. I thought for sure he was going to tell someone when he leaves after finding Skye with all the broken glass, but no -- he understood immediately what was going on because he's smart, but he also knew what to do because he's really smart, and is experiencing a similar situation. His quick thinking in that scene seriously impressed me and his compassion and understanding of Skye that made my favorite Agents of SHEILD moment. Now, every time I see him I think to myself, "Oh my goodness, Fitz is so amazing."

"You know, 'nerd culture' is mainstream now. So, when you use the word 'nerd' derogatorily, it means you're the one that's out of the zeitgeist."
Ben Wyatt -- Parks and Recreation

I only ever started watching Parks and Rec for Chris Pratt's hilarious goofball Andy Dwyer, so a few things about the show really surprised me; like how awesome and funny the show is overall, and how great all the characters are. The show's quality gradually gets better from the very first episode, and finally hits its peak only after Ben Wyatt and Chris Trager join the cast of characters. Ben (played by Adam Scott) is the uptight stick-in-the-mud geek; shamelessly nerdy, and surprisingly cool. I began to really like him only because he and Leslie's romance was so cute, and it's really neat how they complement each other in such strange ways, and then upon re-watching some episodes I really began to appreciate the contradictory awesomeness and awkwardness of him. I love how he nerds out over things like the Game of Thrones throne, or creating The Cones of Dunshire or the claymation movie, yet can be very charming as has healthy relationships with everyone in the Parks Department (even Ron!). And I just love that he never gets the appeal of Little Sebastian -- he's like the show's reality check.

"Hello little guy! It's the sweetie man coming!"
Wikus Van de Merwe -- District 9

I only recently saw District 9 for the first time, and in spite of the super-unique premise, and the incredible visual quality of it, the thing that blew me away and impressed me the most was the main character's character arc: Sharlto Copley's dorky South African government employee who gets way more than he signed up for when he is selected to head up the relocation of a huge population of stranded aliens. At first, Wikus is completely unlikable. He's a jerk, insensitive, oblivious and self-obsessed, and putting on a front for the "documentary" cameras -- though I don't think even he knew he was. Once the gloves come off we see the real him -- an even worse person -- still self-serving and even more of a jerk, plus a coward. But he's also confused, scared and desperate, so as we begin to understand him we also begin to sympathize with him and become involved in his journey to heroism. It's a journey that he gives a lot of resistance to, before all at once completing the transformation and becoming a totally awesome, full-fledged selfless action hero. It really is one of the craziest character arcs I've ever seen, and along with Copley's charming and raw performance, makes a very uniquely endearing character.

Phew! And there you have it. And interestingly there seems to be common theme or trait among all these guys, but I'm not sure exactly how to define it... they're all more than they seem to be? That's true of most of my favorite characters. Anyway...

I am tagging:
Banrion An Gheimhridh
Elora Shore
Tegan Hall

Obviously, you're not obliged to participate, but if you'd like to, I love to see your list!


  1. Thanks so much, Sarah! I can't wait:D

  2. Thanks for tagging me! I will do this tag as soon as I can. You mentioned some very interesting characters.

    1. Sure thing! Looking forward to it! And thanks very much. I thought too hard about it. :P

  3. I adore Fitz. I've not seen him in S2 yet since I'm still enjoying the first season (yep, I'm way behind jumping on this fangirl bandwagon), but he is awesome. I love the way he cares for, loves, crushes on (whatever phrase you want to coin) Simmons and their cute back-and-forth banter (it's some of the best on TV IMO). Cannot wait to meet him in later seasons. :)

    Fun tag and post, Sarah.

    1. Ahh, well you have lots to look forward to then! He is pretty amazing. But, since you haven't seen season two yet, I will refrain from commenting with my thoughts about the Fitz/Simmons relationship. ;) I hope you continue to enjoy! :D Thanks Rissi!

    2. Uh-oh. That sounds like they'll be more complications than I'll like. ;)

  4. Thanks so much for tagging me, and I'm sorry to say I didn't even know it (does blogger have some sort of notification when you get tagged?)! I absolutely ADORE LEOPOLD FITZ and I'm so happy to see him on the list, along with Matt!

    1. No problem! No, I don't think so, that's why I commented to tell you. That would be a really nice feature to have though! Yes! He's great isn't he? And so is Matt -- both in very different ways. :D

  5. Thanks for tagging me! Wow I haven't been on Blogger for a while (again). o__O But I'll definitely participate in this tag! :D

    1. You're welcome, I'm looking forward to seeing your list!! :D

  6. Thank you :D
    My favourite among them has to be Daredevil :D

    1. Good taste. :D He's so cool and awesome and such a unique character!

    2. Here :
      You might have to scroll down a lot :P

  7. These are some great characters!! So in love with this list right now!

    I LOVE Dr Crane from Batman Begins (I have a crush on the actor XD) He was such a neat villain!

    Many of these I haven't seen, so I should put them down on my to-watch list! :D


    1. Ah, thanks so much Jamie! And thanks again for tagging me -- I had a lot of fun doing it. :D

      Haha, yes! I admit I have a bit of a celebrity crush on Cillian Murphy too. He's a natural at villains, and makes great heroes too. :D

      Oh yes, I would recommend particularly, if you haven't seen it, The Way Way Back. My favorite movies change around a lot, but it has consistently been in my top five ever since I first saw it.

  8. There's a number of movies on here I haven't seen! Thanks for the tag. :)


    1. Hehe, yeah I went pretty obscure with some of them, but they're all fantastic movies and shows. :D No problem!