Friday, January 02, 2009

Best Movie Characters of the Decade

I re-watched "The Dark Knight" a few times over the last couple of weeks. I'm probably going to watch a couple more before I send it back to Netflix. I'm just so dazzled with everything about this movie: the appeal to the senses & the appeal to the cognitive, the cinematography & the score, the writing & the acting, etc. etc. etc. It's just SO good. The more I see it & think about it, I think it may be one of the top 3 films I've ever seen. And Ledger's Joker -- well, he's just pitch perfect.

Which got me to thinking... What are the best movie characters that have been introduced to the public consciousness this decade? You know, the ones that you just can't get enough of. Here's my stab at ranking the best of them. I came up with thirteen from this decade so far...

13.) Juno MacGuff
Ellen Page
Juno (2007)

She's so darn spunky & unique. She's just likable.

12.) Mater
Larry the Cable Guy
Cars (2006)

He's so funny.

11.) Jim Braddock
Russell Crowe
Cinderella Man (2005)

You can't help but love & root for this guy.

10.) Bruce Wayne / Batman
Christian Bale
Batman Begins (2005)

By far the best Batman so far. Christian Bale has entered an elite group of superstar young actors that make compelling characters.

9.) Daniel Plainview
Daniel Day-Lewis
There Will Be Blood (2007)

Plays the slimy confidence man with great poise.

8.) Buddy the Elf
Will Ferrell
Elf (2003)

Cockeyed optimism meets cold, hard reality. And he plays it with supreme humor. I think it's Ferrell's best character: even better than Ron Burgundy & Ricky Bobby.

7.) Jason Bourne
Matt Damon
The Bourne Identity (2002)

The best of the super spies with the initials J.B. (e.g. James Bond, Jack Bauer). Watching those films, you just can't wait until he gets cornered and is forced to unleash his lethal skills.

6.) Tony Stark
Iron Man (2008)

His arrogance is intoxicating. You just want more! And we'll have plenty once they're done with his films...

5.) Maximus
Russell Crowe
Gladiator (2000)

Crowe is the only actor to make my list twice. With this character, he made the William Wallace of this decade.

4.) Alonzo
Denzel Washington
Training Day (2001)

The best twist of any film this decade is when you figure out that Alonzo is really a bad guy. His character was just so compelling.

3.) Ruby Thewes
Renee Zellweger
Cold Mountain (2003)

The best of the two female characters on the list. She steals the show. If you've seen the movie, you understand.

2.) Captain Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

I thought he was the best character created for a movie since Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday in "Tombstone." In fact, they're quite similar in nature. I somewhat wonder whether Depp (or the POTC writers, or both) copied elements of Doc Holliday when they were piecing this character together.

1.) The Joker
Heath Ledger
The Dark Knight (2008)

Simply the best.


Jordan said...

My list might include:

Shrek - Mike Myers - This thing was huge when it came out.

There are several series that I want to find a character in. Such as Harry Potter (Harry), Lord of the Rings (Aragorn or Sam), Spider Man, or even the Oceans series.

Since I am a baseball sap, The Rookie with Dennis Quaid was fun to dream about.

I also like the magic films of The Illusianist (Ed Norton) and The Prestige (Christian Bale).

Cuba Gooding Jr. did a great job acting as Radio.

I love the hoots from Secondhand Lions.

How about James Caviezel in Passion of the Christ.

The lady who played in The Queen. Very well done...

The rat in Ratatouille.

The princess in Enchanted.

3:10 to Yuma had 2 high flying stars in Bale and Crowe, and both were good.

Marley the dog. If you see the movie, bring a box of Kleenex. Owen Wilson was himself, but it was perfect for the film.

And with that... I have officially seen too many movies.

III said...

Some of those get Honorable Mention perhaps.

Once I started making the list, there were lots of great movies (e.g. "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) that I wanted to find characters from. Or great actors (e.g. Leonardo Di Caprio, who had a fantastic 2006) whom I wanted to add to the list. Or great figures (e.g. Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ") who were portrayed in film.

But, ultimately, these are the most memorable characters from movies this decade. The characters that made the biggest impact on their own merit. That's what the list is.

Aaron said...

Bale is the 2nd best Batman so far. If you'll recall my review of The Dark Knightover on Facebook, you'll remember that I don't care as much for Bale's growly-Batman-scary voice, and compared it to the awesome baritone employed by Kevin Conroy in Batman: The Animated Series. And while it was not actually Conroy on the screen, if you watch(ed) the show - as well as all of its spinoffs, such as the Superman animated series and the two Justice League series - you can definitely tell that Conroy carries the role of Batman and Bruce Wayne effortlessly and perfectly. I remember when I was a kid absolutely freaking out in one episode where Batman is on the phone with Lucius Fox - but since he's talking to Lucius, he can't be Batman, he's got to be Bruce Wayne - so it's Bruce Wayne's voice coming out of the Batman costume. That threw me for a loop! And it still does, even now that I'm a 25-year old fanboy.

But Bale is a fairly close second.

III said...

I'll take your word for it. I guess the extent of my Bruce Wayne / Batman experience is seeing Adam West, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Michael Keaton. He out-classes those guys.