Archive for May, 2010
Entertainment Weekly’s latest edition features a list called “The 100 Greatest Characters Of The Last 20 Years” so of course, being the list person that I am, I had to write about it. What’s interesting about compiling a list of characters is that it shows how much fictional people affect our lives. This is a list of characters; not actors, musicians or writers. These people are not real, yet they left such an impact that they could not be ignored.
As I’ve mentioned before, making lists opens the door for criticisms and complaints because no one will ever completely agree with you. Although I thought EW compiled a pretty good list (and some of their choices are definitely on my list) I’ve decided to make one of my own, but only of the Top 20 Characters because 100 is WAY too ambitious and time consuming. To be fair I will give both lists: EW’s Top 20 Characters Of The Last 20 Years and mine. Let me know what you think.
1) Homer Simpson
2) Harry Potter
3) Buffy The Vampire Slayer
4) Tony Soprano
5) The Joker (Heath Ledger)
6) Rachel Green (Friends)
7) Edward Scissorhands
9) Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)
10) Spongebob Squarepants
11) Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)
12) Fox Mulder & Dana Scully (X-Files)
13) Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
14) Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski
16) Bridget Jones
17) Lara Croft
18) Sue Sylvester (Glee)
19) Morpheus (The Matrix)
20) Ally McBeal
1) Forrest Gump – Tom Hanks exemplifies that the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is no cliché. Call it luck or call it genius but either way Forrest Gump changed the lives of more people than he realized.
2) Jerry Maguire – Tom Cruise should have won an Academy Award for his performance as a high-powered agent who trades all his power for a soul.
3) Ari Gold (Entourage) – Inappropriate, the negation of P.C. and funny as hell, Jeremy Piven kills it as a ruthless agent who will do anything for his clients.
4) Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting) – Angry, beaten and misunderstood. With the help of Robin Williams, Matt Damon (in his debut) plays it brilliantly.
5) Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Shawshank Redemption) – Although we meet Morgan Freeman’s convict in jail, he is the epitome of what is means to be a best friend. (Also, see: Carly Brown)
6) William Miller (Almost Famous) – Patrick Fugit plays a young writer who is based on Cameron Crowe and his experience writing for Rolling Stone magazine. He is a teen who is along for the rock and roll lifestyle ride and ends up doing and seeing way more than he bargained for.
7) Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction) – One quick conversation says it all:
Jules: I want you to go in that bag, and find my wallet.
Pumpkin: Which one is it?
Jules: It’s the one that says Bad Motherfucker.
Keyser Soze (Usual Suspects) –Never has there ever been a more tangled web of lies as the one Kevin Spacey spins in this classic. No one saw it coming and then all the sudden the man in question disappears. Amazing.
9) Hank Moody (Californication) – David Duchovny kicks ass as a writer who has more addictions than common sense while showing that charisma and talent might just conquer all.
10) Sawyer (LOST) – Josh Holloway’s Sawyer starts off as an angry man living his life for revenge but turns into a person we can relate to regardless of the fact that his favorite phrase is “Son of a bitch!”
11) Angela Chase (My So-Called Life) – Never has there ever been a more accurate and gritty portrayal of what it means to be a high school teen. The dialogue, the acting and the storylines are a force to be reckoned with.
12) Cher Horowitz (Clueless) – Unapologetic comic genius. Alicia Silverstone brings a whole new meaning to the term “high school movie.”
13) Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) – Although she can be self-centered at times, SJP brings humanity, comedy, fashion and writing chops to a ground-breaking show that pushed the boundaries of both television and clothes.
14) Vivian Ward (Pretty Woman) – Julia Roberts shows us that hookin’ ain’t easy but driving a Lotus is in this very clever spin on the overplayed rags to riches story.
15) Tony Stark (Iron Man) – Obnoxious, charismatic and brilliant are a dangerous but fruitful combination for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He is too smart for his own good but that fact is also saving the human race.
16) Dr. Greg House (House) – The phrase “doctors without borders” doesn’t even begin to describe Hugh Laurie’s addict/genius/handicapped character. He does whatever it takes to make sure to a) solve the medical puzzle and b) save the patient. In that order.
17) Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) – Johnny Depp shows his range is a good as his looks with his hysterical and believable turn as a pirate who may or may not be drunk, a rock and roll front man and the most clever pirate in history.
18) John J. Dunbar (Dances With Wolves) – While adapting to a culture on the other side of his spectrum, Kevin Costner pulls off an Oscar-winning performance as a lieutenant who breaks on through to the other side.
19) Dylan McKay (90210) – Probably the blueprint for Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass, Dylan McKay went to rehab before he could drive and was forever haunted by his father’s death. Luke Perry fuses James Dean looks with a character that can definitely be described as a rebel with a cause.
20) Chuck Bass (Gossip Girl) – Dark, angry, rich and troubled, Ed Westwick’s Chuck Bass is the ultimate bad boy/rich boy who makes no apologies for being exactly who he is regardless if he’s wearing plaid pants or not.
Last time I wrote about American Idol (February 25, 2010) I concluded my post by mentioning my two favorite contestants: Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze. Apparently I know something about musical talent because my two favorite contestants are also the two finalists that will be battling it out tonight for the title on the American Idol finale. My point is not to brag but to say that I’m proud of myself for being able to recognize musical talent even though I cannot sing or play an instrument myself (although I really, really wish I could).
Although DeWyze is an incredible singer and musician there is no chance in hell that he is going to beat out Bowersox tonight. Have you heard her renditions of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason,” Alanis Morissette’s “Hand In My Pocket” and Kris Kristofferson’s/Janis Joplin’s “Me And Bobby McGee”?! Go download these songs on iTunes right now. Bowersox sings these classics like she went through the heartache that inspired them to be written. And, to top it off, she can play the guitar! Speaking of which have you seen the acoustic she’s been playing? It looks like it’s been on the road with Johnny Cash, The Eagles and Bob Dylan for the last 100 years. And the way Bowersox sings –as if her life depends on it – sounds like she could have been there with them.
I always thought that American Idol was for creating pop stars but Bowersox is no pop star. She’s got dreads in her hair, piercings on her face, used to play music on the streets of Chicago, is a mother and is 24 years old. As much as like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, Bowersox does not fit their mold my any means. She is an old soul and, in a room full of egos, has been gracious and kind on every episode I’ve seen this season.
Although the winner tonight may have a bit of thunder stolen by Simon Cowell’s departure, I’m very excited for Bowersox. She will win tonight and she will have an incredible career. There is no one out there right now who has got her talent and humility. Instead of wondering if she can hit a note or if the synthesizers need to be turned up, the people who help make her debut album can breathe easy because there is no question that this girl can sing and play her instrument. Congrats in advance Crystal….you’ve earned it.
I have really tried to stay away from writing a blog post about LOST for several reasons: 1) As much as I’ve absolutely loved watching every single episode of the six-year show, some of the science aspects were a little out of my league. I’d much rather focus on the characters’ stories. 2) There are so many details and so much to discuss and I didn’t want to get bogged down in a bunch of theories and recaps. I’ll let the nerdy LOST-obsessed bloggers do that. 3) So much has happened and it has been so awesome that I wasn’t sure how I could possibly tackle such a beast. Because LOST was a beast of a show in every way possible. From the number of characters and storylines to the time travel to figuring out what was real and what wasn’t to the actual beasts like the polar bear and the smoke monster, it was just too much…but in a good way.
But since it was such a groundbreaking show and the finale was last night I knew I had to write something to pay my respects. Between the actors who literally had to pick up their lives and move to Hawaii for six year to the crew and the writers, I can just imagine the kind of epicness that went on to make sure the show went on. In the recap before the two-and-a-half hour finale, the actors were interviewed (which I thought was extremely enjoyable and well done) and they said how this show was a total team effort. And I totally believe it. I don’t know how something like LOST could be pulled off any other way. Much like the characters in the show, the people who were responsible for making the show happen had to either live together or die alone in the sense that if there was no collaborative effort there would have been no show.
The finale averaged 13.5 million viewers which according Entertainment Weekly was “solid but not spectacular.” Just to put that number into perspective the M*A*S*H series finale, which is the most-watched series finale of all time, attracted 105.9 million viewers when it aired in February 1983. The second most-watched series finale of all time was the Cheers series finale which aired in May 1993 and attracted 42.36 million viewers. LOST’s number ties with the King of Queens series finale which ranks #56 on the list of most-watched series finales. I honestly can’t believe that an incredible show like LOST ranks so low but maybe DVRs had something to do with it. Which brings me to my next point:
Since I was unable to watch the finale live last night I relied on my DVR to record all things LOST for me. That being said, because of the popularity of the show I knew that I could not open a computer, search the Internet or check Facebook before I watched the finale because I didn’t want anybody spoiling anything. I think that not only is that fact a testament to how much LOST changed and challenged television but it also shows how engaging the show was from beginning to end.
The finale showed LOST coming full circle. Episode one began with Jack on the ground, waking up after a plane crash and the final episode shows him laying on the ground seeing a plane take off (with his friends who finally get to leave the island on board) before he dies. I loved the idea of the show coming full circle and concluding the way it began, while still making sure that everything that happened in between not only happened but was important.
I think it will be a very long time before we see a show like LOST that sparked so much conversation and went so deep into so many characters’ stories. There is no question that these writers knew what they were doing and were ballsy from the beginning considering the two-hour pilot cost $11.5 million, making it the most expensive pilot in TV history. They knew they had something great and they had the courage to run with it and everyone in the pop culture world thanks them.
So here’s to LOST: a show that took big risks and didn’t just jump over the bar set by previous television shows, it hurled, leaped and took flight over the bar. A show that brought us characters from all over the world with intertwined stories that were so intricately woven that you literally could not miss one episode. A show that brought out all kinds of emotion and discussion. A show that relied just as much on its writers as it did its actors. A show that will never be duplicated.