Top Ten Movie Friendships

This is a list I was just recently inspired to make. Once I got started, there were many options, but it wasn’t actually too difficult of a list to make. I realized very early on that this wasn’t just a list of the closest friends in film, it was a list of my favorite friendships in film and what they meant to their stories as a whole. It was interesting to also look at each individual character and the part they played in the friendship. It was fun list and I hope you enjoy.

10. The Dude and Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski)

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski and Walter Sobchak are two loyal buddies who enjoy conversation, each other’s company and bowling. The Big Lebowski is my favorite comedy and the two main characters are great friends, but part of the hilarity comes from the fact that The Dude and Walter contradict each other so much. The Dude is the chillest of chill, he let’s things slide and lazes around without a care in the world, while Walter is a Vietnam veteran prone to screaming and pulling out his “piece”.

9. Billy Bickle and Hans Kieslowski (Seven Psychopaths)

If you didn’t get the chance to catch Martin McDonagh’s masterpiece, Seven Psychopaths, I’d get on that. Yes, Marty and Billy Bickle are best friends and to watch Billy violently attempt to inspire Martin to finish his most recent screenplay is thrilling. However, in this story about stories, the friendship that offers the juiciest inspiration to Martin’s story is one between Billy and the wise and mysterious, Hans. Hans takes life as it comes whereas Billy has plans to tell his story how he sees fit.

8. R. P. McMurphy and Chief Bromden (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

One Flew OVer the Cuckoo’s Nest is one of the greatest movies ever made and the more interesting relationship involved is one between a hero and a villain. However, there are some great friendships formed in the film and the most beautiful of all is the friendship between the free-spirited Randle Patrick McMurphy and quiet Chief Bromden. Chief Bromden is the patient affected most by McMurphy’s will to stand up against the oppressive Nurse Ratched. The friendships leads to one of the greatest endings in film.

7. Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin (The Social Network)

The Social Network is a generation-defining masterpiece and it’s not about Facebook. It uses Facebook and this internet age we live in to tell a timeless tale of people and their nature. At the heart of this extraordinary film is a friendship that exemplifies betrayal. “I was your only friend. You had one friend.” Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were best friends at Harvard University before the multi-billion dollar company, Facebook, got involved. Eduardo is merely “left behind” in the wake of Mark’s rise.

6. Aidan and Woodrow (Bellflower)

Insipered by Mad Max, Aidan and Woodrow are two best friends who aimlessly spend their days making flamethrowers and bad ass cars for their post-apocalyptic gang, Mother Medusa. The only problem is that the apocalypse hasn’t happened yet so until then they’ll seemingly spend their days drinking, hanging and preparing. That is until a girl makes her way into the picture. Aidan is one of the most loyal friends in film. He’ll do anything for his best friend. It’s too bad I can’t say the same about the adolescent antihero, Woodrow.

5. Andy Dufresne and Red (The Shawshank Redemption)

I’ve never personally met a single person who wasn’t moved by the beautiful movie that is The Shawshank Redemption. It’s a stupendous film hardships, hope and the saving grace of friendship. The two friends at the center of this flawless film are none other than Andy Dufresne and Ellis Boyd Redding. Andy and Red are two charming, kind, intelligent and loyal friends. They are also prisoners at Shawshank prison and it’s their friendship that unites them through hell and to eventual freedom.

4. Sam and Frodo (The Lord of the Rings)

The Lord of the Rings isn’t just one of the greatest movies of all time, it’s one of the greatest stories ever told. We are taken on an epic journey and one friendship stands not on;y as the best, but also as the most important for without it middle earth would’ve never been saved. “Frodo wouldn’t have gotten very far without Sam”, those words spoken by Frodo at the end of The Two Towers are honest and true. The friendship between Sam and Frodo is a lasting one that overcomes the fiercest of obstacles. If the two didn’t have each other Middle Earth would’ve never been saved.

3. Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd (The Master)

This was actually the friendship that inspired the making of this list. The Master just came out recently and I was blown away. It’s a modern masterpiece that exudes brilliance with every passing second. It tells a poetic and powerful story about obedience and control. At the heart of The Master is the relationship between a leader and a follower. Freddie Quell is a drifter, a confused man looking for purpose after a violent world war. In a word, Quell is lost until he meets one Lancaster Dodd. Dodd is the influential leader of a religious following entitled The Cause. There’s a unspoken battle of power between the two them, but at the same time there’s an underlying love between them. They care about each other, but they’re just following different paths.

2. Narrator and Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Fight Club is and always will be one of my favorite movies. It’s a dark, nihilistic and extraordinary look at a bored generation. There is just layers and layers of meaning behind the enthralling masterpiece that is Fight Club. The friendship that drives this raw and insane drama is the friendship between the Narrator of the movie and the charismatic Tyler Durden. The Narrator is the white collar worker who exemplifies that bored generation I mentioned, while Tyler Durden is the anarchist and chaos that takes him out the mundane funk he seems to be in. However, there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the mystery that is Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden is one of the greatest characters in the history of film and it’s a relationship with him that tells one of the greatest stories of all time.

1. Batman and Commissioner Gordon (The Dark Knight Legend)

The friendship between Batman and Jim Gordon represents the greatest friendship in film. The Gotham police Commissioner, James Gordon is Batman greatest friend and ally. Not only are they true friends, but their friendship is solely based on the idea of fighting the good fight against the forces of evil. Batman is an absolute good, he does what he does because it’s the right thing to do. Commissioner Gordon is a good cop, one of the few. He’s a good man, a hero worthy of praise, but he has to do the good things he does under the confines or “shackles” of the law.

“A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat on a young boy’s shoulders to et him know the world hadn’t ended”. The life of the greatest hero in existence can be a lonely one and without the lasting friendship between noble cop, Jim Gordon, Batman would not have been able to overcome the chaos and despair that he overcomes. Batman and Gordon don’t hug, or catch up, they don’t go out for coffee, invite each other over for family dinners, or catch a movie. The friendship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon is based around protecting the innocent and the good people who can’t fight for themselves. It’s the greatest friendship in any story ever told.

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Top Ten Movie Antiheroes

This will honestly end up being one of the most fun lists I’ll ever get to make. Antiheroes make for some of the best movie characters ever, plain and simple. It was some what of a blast to look back over all the movies I love and realize just how interesting some of the characters are. It was intriguing to look through movies and actually decide for myself whether a character is an antihero. This is a list my favorite protagonists in film that don’t fit the definition of you’re average hero.

I want to be clear though and say that not all of the characters on this list can be considered “bad”. An antihero doesn’t have to be evil, the character just can’t fit the bill of hero. While this was one of the most gratifying lists I’ve ever made, it was also one of the more difficult ones. There were, in fact, a few that just didn’t make the cut and I’d like to mention them. I almost had Antonio Saleri on the list, but he didn’t end up making it. Also, I juggled the idea of putting the scheming Jack Sparrow and the careless Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, but I unfortunately had no room for them. If I were to have an eleventh I would have to say Mark Zuckerberg because I just loved what Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher did with that character. I had to mention those honorably, but now let’s get into the actual list.

10. Charles Bronson (Bronson)

I am actually some what depressed that I was only able to give Michael “Charlie Bronson” Peterson the tenth slot in my list, but I unfortunately didn’t have the heart to make anyone lower. Tom Hardy gives a performance that other actors can only dream of giving as main character, Bronson. The character is dark, brutal, deranged and morbid, but not with out a sense of comedy from time to time.

9. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange)

Many might be surprised to find Alex DeLarge this low on a list of antiheroes. Where as, yes, Alex DeLarge can easily be considered the most evil of the characters on this list, I would not consider him my favorite antihero. This list, however, would not feel complete with out him. This is a character that could’ve easily been the antagonist of a movie. Instead, A Clockwork Orange examines a character filled with apathy and malevolence.

8. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver)

This is another selection I’m sure most would be disappointed in, not because its on the list, but because it wouldn’t be surprising to see Travis Bickle in the #1 slot. I love Taxi Driver and Travis Bickle is an amazing character, but I had to decide on an order. Robert De Niro puts his all into his work and when he’s given a character as enthralling as Bickle, it’s hard to imagine that anything would go wrong and nothing did. Travis Bickle is an awesome antihero.

7. Mark Renton (Trainspotting)

Trainspotting is a grim, yet beautiful mosaic of life itself pieced together through the adventures of misfits. There are highs, there are lows and at the heart of the masterpiece is the development and study of protagonist, Mark Renton. Like most of his mates, Mark Renton is a junky. He is defined, at first, by his opening monologue, “I chose not to choose life. I chose something else and the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroine?” He may be getting off the stuff, he may be relapsing and he may be shooting a dog so it’ll attack its owner, but he’s always an awesome antihero.

6. Michael Corleone (The Godfather Part I+II)

Whether I’m discussing his dark character arc in The Godfather or Al Pacino’s masterful performance in The Godfather Part II, I’m still discussing one of the of the greatest characters in cinema and one hell of an antihero. Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone was a performance that could make one speechless, but for me it’s a performance that doesn’t even compare to what Pacino did with by far the best character in the story. It takes two movies, but Michael Corleone’s transformation from the most decent Corleone into the most despicable is nothing short of extraordinary.

5. Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Yes, I was just introduced to this character for the first time last year, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with every aspect that makes up Lisbeth Salander and there was never any hesitation as to whether I’d put her on this list. The titular girl with the dragon tattoo is relentlessly mesmerizing. She’s dark, she’s layered, she’s damaged, she’s desensitized, she can be brutal, she can be lovable, she can be kind, she can be insane and she is, as described in her first scene, “different”. Some may argue that Lisbeth isn’t an antihero, but I don’t think its in the repertoire of your average hero to set your father on fire or shove a metal rod into a man’s ass. She’s an antihero and one of the best.

4. Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)

He is one of a handful of main characters in one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever created. He also happens to be the most compelling character of the film and the greatest antihero in a film full of great antiheroes. The well-spoken hit man, Jules Winnfield, is my favorite aspect of one of my favorite films and to keep him off this list would be a sin. The character of Jules is as enthralling as he is enjoyable. It’s a blast watching the way he works to interrogate his victims before blasting away and then later, it’s inspirational to watch his character arc come to fruition in one of my favorite scenes in film. Winnfield is unarguably one of the greatest antiheroes in film.

3. William Munny (Unforgiven)

“I’ve killed women and children. I’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawls at sometime or another.” Through honesty, this is a quote that serves as a reminder of who we’ve been watching throughout the film, Unforgiven. This is the same character who never previously failed to attempt to convince himself and the people around him that he “ain’t like that no more”. William is the most honest, monogamous, and decent character in the film, yet by the end it’s realized he can also be considered the most cruel and despicable.

Unforgiven is the greatest western in existence and it has a lot to offer story-wise and thematically. It manages this through the study of a man thrust into a world of lust, violence and lawlessness. William Munny describes his character and the themes of the film with a single, simplistic line, “We all have it comin’, kid.” Unforgiven will always and forever be one of my favorite movies and it would be nothing with out its profound protagonist.

2. Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood)

It was unbearably difficult to make this list and one the most difficult aspects of its creation came from having to place Daniel Plainview in this slot when he could’ve easily been considered my favorite antihero in existence, but after much consideration I placed him here. There Will Be Blood offers up the greatest character study in film. It’s not only the greatest because it’s a flawlessly made film and the study of Plainview never fails to keep your interest, but also because, through beautiful writing and one of the greatest performances in all of film, in Daniel Plainview you find one of the most fascinating characters ever.

No other film, not Refn’s Bronson, not Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, not even Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, examines a character so mind-numbngly deranged and despicable and does so with so much flair. Paul Thomas Anderson is a master director, but it took a mix of him and the greatest actor of all time to create the monster that is Daniel Plainview. What can be said? The greed and hatred of Daniel Plainview is something you have to experience for yourself because like most masterpieces it’ll mean something different than what it meant for me.

1. Tyler Durden (Fight Club)

Fight Club is simply one of my favorite films. That’s all there is to it and that’ll never change. Every ounce of me is madly in love with every minute detail that makes up the masterpiece that is Fight Club. What comes with a love for the film, Fight Club, is an unconditional love for the character, Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden is one of my favorite cinematic characters in existence and he’s my favorite antihero in film.

Fight Club offers up a portrait of a generation that has “no great war or great depression”. This is a generation with nothing to be remembered for and once this realization comes to fruition the angst, anger and anarchy is driven by one man. He’s the epitome of cool, he knows what to say and when to say it and you listen because you know he’s right (“in Tyler we trusted”), he lets that which does not matter truly slide and he’s everything you wish you could be.

“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” It’s constant words of wisdom like this that make Tyler Durden the leader that is understandably followed and one of the most spectacular characters in film. There’s a lot to the idea of Tyler Durden and he’s something of a wonder that would take a while to establish, but what puts him at the top of my list is the epiphany by the end that there’s a Tyler Durden in all of us and that’s a fact that can’t be ignored. This very idea encapsulates why antiheroes are so fascinating. They aren’t usually black and white, antiheroes are the greys in between and Tyler Durden is the greatest in film.

Top Ten Coen Characters

In the universe of the greatest directors known to man, The Coen Brothers, there’s always a lot going on. Most of it unorthodox and all of it enjoyable. These feats are made possible through the amazing characters they develop or sometimes just randomly throw in there for a bit of fun.

In each Coen film there’s always some type of entertainment that can be brought from almost every character. Maybe its because of his/her sick and twisted humor they crack at random moments, maybe its because of their affection and kindness towards even the rudest person, or maybe its because their penchant for laziness. Either way, there’s so many different ones to choose from, these are my favorites.

10. Loren Visser (Blood Simple)

Out of the Coen Brothers first movie comes one of the sleaziest dirt bags known to film, Loren Visser. Everything he does is unethical and everything he says is made somehow disturbing. There’s not much he won’t do to bring in a quick buck. He’s the ultimate dirt ball you’d absolutely never want to meet. Not to mention he has one of the greatest maniacal laughs ever put on screen.

9. Chad Feldheimer (Burn After Reading)

Chad is down right stupid and dimwitted. If you really look at his dialogue, your kind of wondering why anyone would find it funny because its almost too forced. Brad Pitt plays it to perfection and I am in stitches every single time he’s on screen. You really couldn’t see it played any other way after seeing Mr. Pitt do it so hilariously. I love Feldheimer to death by the end of it all.

8. Mattie Ross (True Grit)

The quick-witted and persistent 14-year-old who drives the plot of the Coen Bros. masterfully made western is an unquestionable candidate for this list. She’s young but at the same time smart and she’ll stop at nothing to see the avenging of her father through. A truly entertaining character that you can’t stop feeling for based on the way the character is perfectly performed and what the character’s endgame is.

7. Leonard Smalls (Raising Arizona)

Even though I love the Coen Brothers and find basically everthing they make a masterpiece in one way or another, I’m actually not a huge fan of Raising Arizona. Its not that I don’t like the movie, it’s that I don’t believe it stacks up to their other films. I can not, however, deny my love for the motorcyclist from hell, Leonard Smalls. You don’t get to see him much in the film, but when you do, your eyes are wide with appeal, at least mine are.

6. Marge Gunderson (Fargo)

Among a lot of terrible people in the world of the Coen Brothers, Marge Gunderson is by far the most kind hearted. She makes it her duty to not only protect and serve (she’s a pregnant police officer), but to also be incredibly sweet whenever she can, even if its towards someone she knows doesn’t deserve it. Marge has a great husband, a child on the way and an important job she’s committed to. This is Frances McDormand at her best, one of the greatest female performances I’ve seen. Period.

5. Walter Sobchak (The Big Lebowski)

The Dude is of course iconic and one of the greatest characters in film, but not all of the laughs come from Jeff Bridges. John Goodman’s character is definitely a huge part of the puzzle piece. Honestly, every action, every facial gesture, every word he utters or shouts at the top of his lungs, I’m usually laughing uncontrollably or at least chuckling. The vietnam vet Walter Sobchak makes every scene he’s involved in memorable, to say the least.

4. Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn (True Grit)

Rooster Cogburn is such a fascinating character to watch develop. At times he’s dark due, in part, to a checkered past, while at other times we know far well that this is the hero of the story. Also, he never fails to draw out a chuckle from time to time. A unique and interesting character in every sense. Jeff Bridges puts every ounce of performance he’s got into Rooster and the result is one of the greatest western heros that a lover of films can ask for.

3. Charlie Meadows (Barton Fink)

It’s hard to top Walter Sobchak and Rooster Cogburn, but Goodman is able to do it with his portrayal as Fink’s hotel neighbor, Charlie Meadows. Charlie has such an unbearable presence in each scene. You just can’t wait until he pops in for a chat the next time. He’s the epitome of the classic neighbor whom you just love sitting back and talking with. Then the character turns in a completely different direction and John Goodman plays it to absolute perfection.

2. Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (The Big Lebowski)

The Dude is quite possibly the most iconic character The Coen Brothers will ever create. That’s surprising because he doesn’t do much at all. He’s usually just smoking weed, bowling or drinking a white russian. It’s difficult for me to put The Dude at number two because most would have put him at number one. I absolutely love The Dude. The Big Lebowski, the funniest movie of all time, is centered around him and his laziness. The plot is driven by the insane events going on around him and even more so, his insane friends. But no matter what happens you can always expect The Dude to just sit back and ride along. “Fuck it” he might say, but I think he puts it best when he says “The Dude abides”.

1. Anton Chigurh (No Country For Old Men)

By far one of the greatest villains and characters ever put on screen is Anton Chigurh. And he wouldn’t seem as evil if it weren’t for the perfect concoction. I’m speaking of course of the of the original writing by Cormac McCarthy, transfered to the screen by the two of the greatest writers working in film, directed by the aforementioned writers and performed to absolute perfection by Javier Bardem. Through these ingredients, we get one of the darkest presences ever put on screen. What we get is a confident and intelligent killer basically representing death itself. Killing is routine for him, almost to the point of being an art form. The modern day movie villain that lies at the heart of their greatest feat in film is with out a doubt the Coen Brothers’ greatest character.

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