Recently, the incomparably intelligent Stevee at Cinematic Paradox wrote a clever post about movie characters who share similar personality traits to her. The idea struck me as such a brilliant one that I had to do one of my own, but before you read mine, I highly recommend you read hers.
Great. So now you get what this is all about, and without further ado, here is my list of characters:
Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), Magnolia (1999):
One of Paul Thomas Anderson’s great abilities as a writer/director is the wide range of characters he is able to fluently write and create. Kurring is definitely the most sympathetic in the whole movie, and is a driving force for innocence, naivety and an obsession for the job. I can’t say that I’m innocent, or naive, but when I pursue something I do it with the same gusto and energy as Kurring. If only I could have half as many awesome monologues.
Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), The Seventh Seal (1957):
Most of the great Bergman characters are female, but a hefty percentage of the notable protagonists are male, too. And if there was one I had to compare myself to, it would probably be Block. I’m a halfway decent Chess player, I’m not confident in the existence of a deity (in fact, I’m probably atheist) and in at least a few senses of the word, I’m disillusioned, though reasonably happy with the world.
Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), Blue Velvet (1986):
We all like to have a bit of detective in us, and while I’m certainly no Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, MacLachlan’s determined self-made detective in the ruthless David Lynch thriller resembles my own stoic personality somewhat, though it’s hard to really analyse yourself and compare yourself to a movie character. But I’m like Beaumont, I suppose. Why? Because I’d really dig dating a young Laura Dern. And it’d be awesome to see Dean Stockwell singing Roy Orbison in a creepy voice.
Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), Fargo (1996):
I would never commit any of the second-hand atrocities that Lundegaard does, but in other terms, I feel an eerie connection. “I’m cooperatin’ here!” is one of a few personal slogans I sport in public some times, and other things he says not only make me laugh but awkwardly remind me of my own stupidity sometimes.
Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), Requiem for a Dream (2000):
I don’t do drugs, let me get that clear, but in almost all other aspects of Goldfarb’s personality, it’s a tick for me. I always want the best for everyone, but find at times it’s difficult to provide that. The only real difference is that I don’t give up as easily as him.
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), American Psycho (2000):
Although I can never prove this to you, I do not have homocidal tendencies, sick sexual preferences or any of the night-time evils that Bateman commits. I am not a narcissist, unlike him, either. I guess the only real similarity is our tastes in pop culture, which are shared by few other characters in recent memory in a manner as darkly comic as Bateman’s.
I hope the above list hasn’t weirded you out too much, but I guess what I’m trying to say can’t really be said without using idiotic cliches, but I’ll say it anyway: My personality, like everyone’s, is unique, and parts of the above six people can be put together to resemble something similar, but nothing can be exactly the same.
So what about you? Any movie characters that remind you (even minorly) of yourself? Leave a comment below. Thanks.
David Lynch is a weird, wacky and inspired director, and almost all of his films have his own deft touch, often demonstrated within scenes or moments that are perfectly ‘him.’ Here are five scenes from his films that, had someone else directed them, they would be nowhere near as good as Lynch made them.
1: The Pencil-Top Eraser Scene, Eraserhead (1976)
From the beginning, when The Lady in the Radiator sings her song, to Henry’s head popping off and getting taken away by a boy to a pencil factory, the scene is coated in weirdness. It is the one scene that remains most difficult to decode, but it is in some strange way a piece of pure genius.
2: “Don’t You Fuckin’ Look At Me!”, Blue Velvet (1986)
For obvious reasons, I can’t include a video here but this strangely rhythmic, horrifically violent “rape” sequence is directed with an eerie comic flair by Lynch, and acted stunningly by Dennis Hopper.
3: The Monster Behind Winkie’s, Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The most difficult and out of place scene in Lynch’s masterpiece is a scene that has developed a steady cult following. It’s one you can enjoy on its own, even without the rest of the movie, and prompts serious thought into the meaning of the film.
4: Susan’s Monologue, Inland Empire (2006)
In what I’m seriously starting to consider my favourite Lynch movie, there are a huge number of scenes that rival for this list, but one of the obvious picks would be Laura Dern deep in character as she plunges into a spiteful monologue about her life. This isn’t the whole thing, but it’s some of it.
5: Susan Running, Inland Empire (2006)
Okay, so this is only thirty seconds, and to some it won’t count, but there is so much meaning in this shot, about Nikki/Susan’s lust for the spotlight, how she yearns for it and runs at it; it’s also a huge shock and really jolts you back into the movie.
Anyway, so that’s my list. Anything I’ve forgotten, or something you’d like to add? What did you think of these creepy Lynchian scenes? Leave a comment below. Thanks.
Anyone who’s read a considerable amount of my posts or taken a schmooze at my Favourite Directors page might notice I have a slight obsession with the film catalogue of David Lynch. I’d like to talk to you– and hopefully not bore you –with a little explanation about why he is one of the greatest minds in the art of film at the moment and what makes him special to me.
David Lynch was always interested in art, and in the mid-sixties he spent $200 to finance a short artistic ‘picture,’ entitled Six Men Getting Sick. He won an award, and was approached to create another feature. His next was called The Alphabet, and is among my Top 10 Horror Movies even though strictly speaking, it’s not a horror. It’s a short film based on a nightmare that his wife’s niece had. Watch it for yourself and tell me you’re not creeped out:
This is a perfect example of the madness in David Lynch’s head. Many of his shorts were like this, including two that followed it: The Grandmother and The Amputee.
After those two came Eraserhead, his first feature length film and his weirdest.
But I’m not here to catalogue his whole career (that you can see on the banner at the top of this post). I’m just here to help some people to come to grips with this man and perhaps make peace with the weirdness he produces.
Many have had problems with his films, and if you’re not into big, confusing, think-about-it narratives, then I suggest to stay away from Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and INLAND EMPIRE. Thankfully, he has made some more accessible films, such as The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, and The Straight Story.
But I think the real talent lies in those tricky mythological mazes of deception and disturbance. It is within those labyrinths of destruction and terror that true entertainment and artistic value lies. The first time I saw INLAND EMPIRE only a few months ago, I was utterly bamboozled and kind of annoyed that it made almost no sense to me at all. Yet… I strangely enjoyed it. Even the completely frustrating and annoying parts had artistic value and entertainment within them. Sometimes it comes from the writing, and sometimes it comes from the acting.
The point I’m trying to make is that no-one can really be 100% satisfied when they reach the end of a Lynch film, because often, they don’t get what they’ve just seen. But it’s not about getting it… its about enjoying it. And you might find, as I did, that if you mull over what you’ve just seen and think about it for a few days, a light bulb might go off and you might finally get it. Lynch himself has said that he doesn’t like to explain his films because he believes each movie should have its own interpretation to the viewer.
Of course, there’s no reason you should have to listen to me, I’m no expert, I haven’t even seen all of Lynch’s movies (The Straight Story still eludes me and I’m trying to finish Season 2 of “Twin Peaks” before I watch the movie). It’s just… I’ve heard too many people say they’re fed up with Lynch that haven’t really given him a proper chance. A person I like to refer to in this case is Roger Ebert. He gave Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart and Lost Highway all bad reviews, but then he gave Mulholland Drive and INLAND EMPIRE the most positive reviews you could have hoped for. Here was a man who had given up on Lynch (well… almost) but who radically changed his mind when finally something clicked.
Oh… listen to me. I’m full of crap. I’m rambling, and I’m sorry, but hey! Hopefully you’ve learned something. Now go watch INLAND EMPIRE.
Thanks for reading.