Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wow! Busy time at work. Now, onto a random geeky thought, and then the topic.


If Lister, from Red Dwarf, was suddenly young again and attending Hogwarts, I bet he'd be a Hufflepuff. Now, I know he's the main hero, and he is brave, but he's still not that brave, isn't that smart, and has absolutely no ambition. No, he's definitely a Hufflepuff. Rimmer, on the other hand, would quite possibly be the most pathetic Slytherin in the history of Hogwarts. He's all ambition, but has absolutely no ability to follow through with it. The Cat is also a Hufflepuff, being that he doesn't exactly fit anywhere else, and like Lister, has no ambition other that being the sexiest man alive. Kryton is a Ravenclaw, although I was briefly tempted to say he was Gryffindor, as he is very brave and is willing to sacrifice himself, but in his own words, he is like that because of his programming. His most defining characteristic is his ability to use rational thought and deductive reasoning to solve mysteries and save the rest of the group. Holly would also by Hufflepuff, for obvious reasons.

Now, onto the main topic, the ULTIMATE MOVIE BADASS SHOWDOWN!

It was late at night, so I don't really have any idea how the topic of conversation started, but my sister Amber and I began discussing which actor's the greatest badass in the history of movies.

First, we had to weed out some of the potentials, using the badass test: If they were alone in the artic wilderness with only a hunting knife, could they take down a bear?

Keanu Reeves- No.

Sean Connery/Harrison Ford- Although it's tempting to bring either of these men, who have achieved feats of badassery including, but not limited to: getting that guy the hell off his plane, being a highlander, snapping a subordinates neck, cutting the rope of the bridge while standing on it, being James Bond, and shooting Greebo first, neither of these men qualify. They are just not badasses. Harrison Ford could survive in the snow wasteland, Empire style, but there's no way he could take down a bear with a knife. He'd need a gun or Luke or something. If he was truly a badass, he would have fought that swordweilding guy instead of just shooting him. He's cool, he's awesome...but he isn't a badass. Sean Connery is smooth and cool, but his James Bond was, shall we say, a little light on the action. In fact, any James Bond would need an invisible car or exploding wristwatch to go along with that knife if he's going to beat that bear. Sean Connery is only a badass on SNL celebrity Jeopardy.

John Belushi- Although I'm certain he could take down a bear, there just wasn't a large enough sample of movies to declare him a movie badass. Sure, he has Animal House, Blues Brothers, and 1941 under his belt, but he also has 'Neighbors', and in that, he was anything but a badass (in fact, he seemed half-asleep, wonder what he was on at the time).

Kevin Kostner/Any Baldwin- No, and you're stupid for asking.

Mel Gibson/Russell Crowe/Al Pacino/Robert Deniro- No, but it was mostly their own choice. They may in fact be crazy badasses, even in real life, but they all decided they were going to also be sensitive, serious actors/directors as well, and you can't have it both ways. Also, in Gibson and Crowe's case when Southpark contributes a whole episode to making fun of you, it's pretty much over (Southpark being the most badass cartoon on the network, sorry but Boondocks has to take second).

Jean Claude Van Dam/Jackie Chan- studied ballet/dancing in teen years. Automatic disqualification.

Stephen Seagal- No, but closer then you'd imagine. He never did manage to reach the same level of badass in Under Seige though (level 8.7)

Uma Thermon/John Carradine- Both get honorable mentions for Kill Bill, but both have a nasty habit of starring in some of the worst movies ever made. Still, Kill Bill 1 & 2 are solid.

Bruce Campbell- Now settle down out there. Yes, Ash is one of the greatest badasses ever, but Bruce Campbell is not Ash. Bruce Campbell has been in a lot of movies, and the Evil Dead series alone does not a badass make.

Brad Pitt/Orlando Bloom- close, but not quite. Both these men lean just a little too far into the 'pretty boy' category, and despite their best efforts in movies such as Fight Club, Snatch, and the Lord of the Rings series.

Various horror movie stars/monsters- let's face it, they fight like cowards.

Anime/Cartoon/Video Game characters- let's face it, they're not real. They're just ink and pixels (alhtough Donald Duck gets an honorable mention).

Arnold Schwartzenegger/Sylvester Stallone/Vin Diesel/John Wayne/Clint Eastwood- Technicalities mostly: Arnold's never been a badass. He's just big and strong. Stallone starred in porn. Badasses watch porn, and screw porn stars, but they don't star in porn. Why? Because it almost certainly required being naked in front of a bunch of guys, and even if they're cameramen, that's a little gay. As for Vin Diesel...whatever happened to him? John Wayne was a badass, to be sure, but he never really took many risks. He tended to play the same role over and over, and although it was a badass role...well, see Bruce Campbell above for details. Clint Eastwood would definitely be getting top honors...if it weren't for 'Paint Your Wagon'. Why Clint? Why?

So who does that leave? The final six!

Christopher Walken- Not only would that bear be killed and skinned, but he'd be thoroughly creeped out first. Christopher Walken started being a loony badass in Annie Hall, and has continued to this day. Now it's true, he's been in some questionable movies, but as Robot Chicken proved, Chris could sell breakfast sausage and sound crazy and unsettling. From being the ultimate creepy brother of a girlfriend, to holding the only picture of an orphan's dead mother over a flame, to being the Headless Horseman, and to dancing to 'Weapon of Choice' through an empty airport, Walken is the man. Yes, I said dancing disqualified you, but I'll make an exception. I don't want to be on this man's bad side.

Lucy Liu- From slicing heads off in Kill Bill, to countless Asian action movies, to Futurama, to Shanghai Noon, to being the only Angel that could actually kick ass, Lucy Liu has earned this spot. That bear is sliding neatly in half as she fashions a furry white adorable outfit to warm herself, with her smiling face peaking out...sorry, got distracted there. Onto the next!

Willem Dafoe- Everyone who just said "Who?" immediately hit yourself, and go see Boondock Saints, where he stars as the most badass gay character in movie history. He doesn't stop there of course, and also starred as the incredibly hardcore Green Goblin, and arguably one of the toughest soldiers in movie history in Platoon. Okay, so he's been in a lot of movies where he wasn't a badass at all, but he did all this AND was crucified upon a cross. Now that's tough!

Samuel L. Jackson- Recently he's become a bit of a parody of himself, but here's a man who's earned the words on his wallet. Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, A Time to Kill, the Incredibles (kickass movie), Shaft, Diehard 3, the only good thing in Star Wars episodes 1 through 3, and he's about to get those snakes off his motherf'ing plane. Now, you might say that he gets killed a lot in the movies he's in. Now there's a badass. He isn't afraid to get killed off in his movies. He'll walk on, be a complete badass, get riddled with bullets, and then get eaten by a shark. You have to give credit to the man who has the guts to announce, at his trial, 'Yes they deserved die, and I hope they burn in hell!'

Humphrey Bogart- It's hard to be more of a badass then Bogey, though you have to accept that Bogey was a badass in more subtle ways. Everyone remembers him as his hardened detectives, fearless soldiers and heartless villains, but just as Samuel isn't afraid to die, Bogey isn't afraid to appear weak and vulnerable. His broken, obsessive captain in the Caine Mutiny, to his honestly panicked scene in the African Queen with the Leeches, Bogey was a badass without hiding behind a fake, macho persona. He'd beat the bear. He wouldn't beat it as easily as the others did, but you'll completely believe that the fight was real. Bonus: Bogey brought another piece of realism to his parts. He has a scar on his lip, where he was punched very hard when he was younger. Before he hits anyone in a movie, he scratches that spot on his lip. So when he's scratching that spot, he's honestly getting himself psyched up to tear someone apart. Bonus 2- his wife Lauren Bacall, went on to marry Frank Sinatra (music's biggest badass ever) after Bogart's death.

Bruce Willis- Although he had a weak middle (Hudson Hawk, Bonfire of the Vanities/Countless horrible movies I won't watch including the Kid/Unbreakable) Bruce Willis won my heart with badass roles in movies such as Die Hard 1-3, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, 12 Monkeys, and Sin City (emphasis). Bruce Willis was the only action movie star of the 80's/90's who wasn't afraid to take a beating through the movie. When will Hollywood learn? A mortal hero who pushes himself through unspeakable pain and torment, is far more interesting then an invincible one (Less Superman, More Batman). Any doubt as to whether he should make the list was erased with his role as Hartigan in Sin City (ties with Clint Eastwood's character in Unforgiven as the most badass character over 50 years old).

Which is the greatest? Next week!