One of the reasons why I read books or watch movies is to get lost in another world, to escape the mundane and taste the exotic.
However, another equally powerful reason is to meet interesting people. Just like a good story will make you want to escape and live in another world, a great work fills you with the desire to meet the characters that inhabit that world.These are the people who you’d like to hang out with, talk to, pick their brains if possible.
This list was in danger of being dominated by a single movie (The Godfather is my favorite movie of all time, so the top 3 slots would easily be filled by quite a few of the cast).
But, that’d be boring! Instead, I thought hard about the characters on the big and small screens that have left a significant impact on me. These are three of the most intriguing and characters I’ve come across.
There’s just something about a good man going bad that intrigues the hell out of me.
Walter White is about as average a Joe as you can imagine. He lives in a New Mexico suburb, teaches High School chemistry, and has a loving wife and son.
Well, that life is soon turned on its head when Walter is diagnosed with cancer and decides to start manufacturing and selling crystal meth with the help of one of his former students to pay for his chemotherapy and to provide for his family once he’s dead.
Try yawning at THAT.
Walter’s transformation from nerdy chemist/father/husband . . .
. . .to hardcore gangster . . .
. . . is a delight to behold. I know it sounds like overhyped hyperbole, but I truly believe that Breaking Bad has the best writing on television.
The characters, plotlines, and dialogue are THAT good.
Dr. Gregory House
There isn’t anyone quite like Dr. House on television. Sure, you may run across characters that are jerks, characters that are intelligent, and characters that are amoral/immoral.
But rarely do you get a jerky, intelligent, and amoral character who you can’t help but respect.
Dr. House is damn good at what he does. The absolute best. And because of his skill as a diagnostician, he’s able to tear into the people around him with near immunity.
But it isn’t just that he’s a good doctor; that’d be selling him short. It’s that he makes sense whenever he’s treating other people like idiots. He constantly questions societal norms, and he’s willing to say what other people are too afraid to admit.
Dr. House will call people out on their bullshit constantly, whether it’s a patient who’s making a stupid/selfish choice or another doctor who is naïve in thinking that everyone is honest.
Captain Jack Sparrow
Pirates of the Caribbean
Ok, this one is certainly a guilty pleasure.
But come on, watch Captain Jack Sparrow for just ten minutes and tell me he isn’t a unique and interesting character.
From his surprisingly vast vocabulary (for a pirate) to his unmatchable savvy, there isn’t a situation that Jack Sparrow can’t talk his way out of.
His elastic swagger and slurry British accent are icing on the cake. His enemies (and friends) might hate him, but they can’t help but respect his ability to turn any odds in his favor and come out victorious in the end.
Maybe he’s making it all up as he goes along; maybe he’s a master tactician who thinks two steps ahead of Black Beard and Davy Jones. Either way, his motives are usually a mystery (does he really want to save the damsel in distress or just get rich?), which keeps me wondering if he’s a good or a bad guy.
So, yeah, I tend to like anti-heroes best when it comes to characters. The more morally ambiguous, the better.
What are some of your favorite characters in film or television?