Jenny @Outlanderl tagged me to write a quick post about my 10 fav characters in books, movies and TV.
Of course, at my age, I have experienced a lot of books, TV and movies. TV wasn’t even available for public use when I was little. So I really had to think about my favorites and, of course my remarks. I could never make this simple.
I have to start with Starz Outlander‘s Jamie & Claire Fraser. I’m counting them as one because I picture them as “joined” in the Biblical sense. I read Diana Gabaldon’s series and never thought anyone could capture the rapturous pairing of these two characters on TV or in the movies. Well, Starz has truly surpassed all that I ever expected and more. Truth be told, if I had to pick one, it would be Jamie just because I’m a woman and he is HOT! But I cannot see Jamie being hot with anyone but Claire, so they have to be a twofer.
Next I would have to say anything that Mel Brooks ever made, but my favorite is Young Frankenstein and the character was the Monster because I loved Peter Boyle. YF was my Mother’s fav. In 1980, I moved to Florida with my family. My Mom came to visit and there was a showing of Young Frankenstein at a local theater. Mom, my oldest daughter, Kim, and I decided to go.
I was new to the area so I picked the furthest theater I could find,because I didn’t know any better. Arriving at the last minute, all three of us ordered our ”usual”, a tub of popcorn with extra butter layered and a large drink. Even in those days it was a lot for one person to eat. The theater server looked at me in shock. I said straight faced, “I have brought several orphans with me to the show and we are all sharing,” Thus began our hilarious night. Which is too long to share here. The next morning we sat for the whole morning laughing over scenes like these:
Mom passed away about a year ago, but a couple of days before she passed, we talked about “Schwanstucker,” “Puttin on the Ritz,” “Ah Sweet Mystery of Life” and laughed again.
The next movie I loved was, The Way We Were and Katie Morovsky. I was Katie, a rather plain smart young woman who fought like Don Quixote for causes in which I believed. And I always crushed on the unattainable rich popular guy (Hubble Gardiner) who would love me for what I am. Her passionate belief that one person can make a difference never left her, even though Hubble did. Till this day, when I see the movie or hear the music, I cry! And Robert Redford! OMG.
Another fav was Cabaret and the character Sally Bowles. I had seen many musicals over the years and loved them. I think this was the first one that had such a dark side to it. Combining the musical with the story of the Nazis and their rise to power, was genius. It also was the first musical that I recall to address bi-sexual and/or homosexual themes. Sally Bowles was a survivor and Liza Minelli understood this concept, I am certain. I often wonder what happened to Sally after Brian returned to England and she was left in Nazi Germany. Bob Fosse added his unique, glorious touch through dance and music.
My first Book Boyfriend was Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. He was a man that I thought was everything a woman could want. Well to do, educated, shy, heroic without fanfare, passionate without being obvious, and someone you could depend upon to always do the right thing. I ended up marrying a man just like him (although he wasn’t “well-to-do”). I was smart to look for Mr. Darcy in the man I married, for I have been happily married for 49 years and he made all my dreams come true. When the movie came out I realized I would never think of Mr. Darcy as any other actor than Colin Firth.
I always loved science fiction, but my fav character from all those books and movies was Ripley from Alien. She was the first female character I had ever seen in a movie that was the kickass hero. She was tough, smart, sweaty, snarky and kicked the s—t out of the alien creature she battled. I even took my 8 year old daughter to see it so she could see what a hero she could be. It scared the tar out of her and she hid under her father’s coat some of the time, but she turned out to be quite the hero herself. It was a huge shift in how we women looked at ourselves. Ripley paved the way for Sarah Conner, Katniss Everdeen, Buffy Sommers, Trinity, Lara Croft, Elizabeth Swann, Charlie’s Angels and numerous others. It is no longer unusual for the woman in a film to be the hero. Thanks Ripley, ye done us proud.
I have always loved the works of John Irving and have read many of his books. I was particularly struck by the character of Dr. Wilbur Larch in The Cider House Rules. He was a flawed man who performed illegal abortions in an orphanage he ran. It was in the days when women died using coat hangers and other dangerous methods to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies. Dr. Larch felt it was his duty to provide a safe place for women to come for an abortion or to have a baby and leave it at the orphanage so they would not have to live with their shame. It really doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you may be on when it comes to abortion, but Wilbur Larch lived his life with one goal: To be of use. I adopted that motto for my own life and it has stayed with me. I wanted to be “of use”, not taking up air in an empty effort to survive. Dr. Larch helped me to understand that one needn’t be a perfect person to help others. It didn’t matter how flawed you may be, you could still reach out, you could still make a positive impact in another person’s life.
I cannot leave Law and Order SVU and Olivia off of this list. I think Olivia is a strong character with many layers that I enjoy watching. She is dedicated and committed to saving victims of sex crimes. I cannot imagine how much strength that takes. I would arrest one child rapist and kill him/her on the spot. Then I would be in jail and that is the end of my career. Olivia keeps going like the ever ready rabbit. I think the fact that Mariska Hagarty has continued Olivia’s work in real life makes me even more attracted to the character. The charity she started in 2004, Joyful Heart Foundation, helps victims of sexual abuse.
Curtis Elliott in Snowpiercer was a character, I will not soon forget. Snowpiercer is a story of survival following a modern ice age. The Snowpiercer is a perpetual motion train that travels the globe and contains the last of civilization. Common to all human social structure, there are classes of people ranging from the elite to the people who live in the tail. Curtis lives in the tail, but leads a rebellion that eventually changes everything. I liked Curtis because despite his tough exterior, he loathes himself for being willing to do anything to survive, even cannibalism. Despite this, he still possesses a compassionate side that rises to the surface, even though he thought it was gone. He sacrifices his arm and his life to stop the train and let humans return to a world of melting ice. Snowpiercer is a frightening, gory movie, but Curtis is a character that proves good is inside even the most vile persons, if they let it blossom.
I cannot ignore the film and character to which I owe my Twitter existence. Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard. Norma is an older silent film star who is desperate to make a comeback in the film industry. She goes so far as to write her own script and hires a handsome, down on his luck screenwriter (Joe Gillis)to help her polish it. Of course, Norma becomes the original cougar and keeps Joe in style at her mansion. Eventually, Joe falls in love with a younger woman, resents being a kept man and decides to leave. Norma, who is slipping from reality, shoots and kills him. When all of the newsreel cameras show up because of the murder, Norma thinks it is time for her close up instead of a trip to the funny farm. What attracts me to Norma? She is the faded symbol of glamourous old Hollywood, a star in the truest sense. She is a woman who, despite being an aging actor that no one wants to hire, never gives up. Crazy as she was, I admire her steadfast belief that her big break is still to come. I admire her courage to find love even in the company of a gigolo. I admire that she kept busy each day with beauty treatments, script writing and signing pictures for her many “fans”. It goes to prove that there are only three things we need in life – something to do, something to look forward to and someone to love.
So that’s my big 10 so far. Hope you get a chance to see/read some that you may not have taken the time for in the past.