Welcome to part four. We’ve officially broken into the top 10. At this point, all of these characters are perennial all-stars, and are relatively interchangeable in terms of their order. But I believe wholeheartedly in the philosophy of elitism, so the hierarchy remains.
10. Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump
Look, the man may not be the smartest shrimp in the Bubba Gump boat, but there’s no way Forrest isn’t making it onto this list. Let’s just consider all of his accomplishments for a moment. Forrest teaches Elvis how to dance, and subsequently wins the hearts of every female in America. He’s a star running back for Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide. Heroically, he saves four of his platoon buddies in a heavy firefight in ‘Nam. The piece of shit Lyndon Johnson had the pleasure of being mooned by him. Gump earns a spot on the All-American Ping Pong team, and beats the fuck out of the Chinese during the Ping Pong Diplomacy. He turns his ex-superior officer, Lt. Dan, from a welfare-dependent, long hair-wearing, hippie lowlife into a legitimate businessman. Mother nature is his secret weapon to eliminate all his competition. He leaves his shrimping company in the hands of his capable friend (who invests their money what Forrest refers to as “some kind of fruit company”) because he needs to take care of his mother. The lucky bastard bangs the woman of his dreams, and then copes with her leaving him by running across the nation- first in khakis, and then in 5-inch inseams, consequently turning him into a celebrity. Then, he marries Robin Wright (nice pull, bro) and just hangs out on benches telling stories and lives off of his Apple investment money for the rest of his life.
So I don’t care what his fucking IQ is. The man is a hero and a fratstar, and you would be lucky to accomplish a tenth of the things my man Forrest did.
“I’m sorry I had to fight in the middle of your Black Panther party.”
9. Gordon Gekko – Wall Street
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
I’m starting this one off with a quote, because I want to address something important. This is one of the most misquoted movie lines of all time. People always seem to leave out the “for lack of a better word” part. The point that he’s making isn’t about money grubbing or swimming in your vault of gold coins, it’s about efficiency and the nature of human self preservation. The guy is essentially just channeling his inner Adam Smith. Plus, he taught Bud Fox how to fucking party. He hooked him up with a baller penthouse, a smokin’ hot slam, and more coke than the 80s knew what to do with. That’s right, Gordon Gekko was Charlie Sheen’s debauchery coach. Think about that for a second.
Does he commit white collar crimes including securities fraud, insider trading, extortion, and a host of others? Maybe. Ok yeah, definitely. But the dude has impeccable hair, wears the fuck out of a suit (in spite of it being the 80s), and patronizingly calls everyone “pal.” What more do you want from him?
He then gets out of prison, convinces everyone that he’s reformed, and uses his daughter’s pussy boyfriend (Shia LeBouf was cast perfectly) to pull of a genius financial heist. Money Never Sleeps might have been a subpar movie overall, but Gordon Gekko has never been better.
“What’s worth doing is worth doing for money.”
8. Rick Blaine – Casablanca
By far the oldest character on this list, if you haven’t seen Casablanca yet, you are fucking up in life. Rick Blaine is the complete package when it comes to TFTC. He’s an American who owns a bar in Casablanca, which is controlled by France, which is by default controlled by the Nazis. He used to run guns for freedom fighters because he wanted to help people and actually gave a shit, but he realized that the world sucks and now he’s only out for numero uno. It worked out pretty well for him. His bar is the happenin’ place. He has a fun, antagonistic relationship with the chief of police, Captain Renault. He’s basically just there to party. Until fucking Ilsa shows up, that lying bitch who left him in the rain back in Paris. To be fair, he should have known better. Nothing good ever comes out of Paris. So she shows up with her husband and asks for his help. And he totally has the ability to. But does he? Fuck no. He just makes her realize that she is still in love with him. So he agrees to help her husband escape if she stays with him. She accepts, because, duh. But when they get to the plane he tells her to go with her husband, because if she stayed with Rick, she’d eventually resent him. And that’s important advice for all you TFTC wannabes out there. You’ll be awesome at life, but women will eventually grow to despise you. It’s the downside to the job. Then he shoots the Nazi commander trying to stop him, Captain Renault decides to side with him, and they walk into the mist like the “fuck the Nazi bros” that they are.
So to summarize. American hero has the coolest bar in town. Drinks an unhealthy amount of whiskey. Seduces a married woman…twice. Saves the Resistance leader. Kills the Nazi leader. Gets away with it. TFM.
Ugarte: “You despise me, don’t you?”
Rick Blaine: “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”
7. Clark Griswold – Vacation
I initially planned on just writing about my man, Clark W. Griswold Jr. and his antics in the first Vacation film. But as I thought more about it, I realized that I really need to consider him in the context of all four movies (yes, including Vegas Vacation). So I will be going back and re-watching all four again in succession and writing up a full column just on Clark. Watch out for that in the coming weeks.
6. Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Oh man, what to say about Indiana Jones? I’m gonna be honest, I’m personally a little upset about the fact that he’s out of the top five. Yes, I’m aware that I’m the one in control of this list and could have put him there if I wanted to, but in the context of pure frattiness, I don’t think he edges out anyone up there. However, personally, he might be my favorite character on this list. He has the perfect balance of brains and brawn. Or as I like to call it, thinks and balls. He’s as equally comfortable in a sharp tweed jacket talking about nebulous historical concepts while coeds sexually try to get him fired as he is getting in bar fights and foiling Nazi plans. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but there should be a meter for awesomeness based on how much trouble you give the Nazis. The top of that list is probably Eisenhower, Churchill, and Patton, followed closely by Dr. Henry Walton Jones Jr. That’s a hell of a list. He also has this thing for the ladies. They keep telling themselves that he’s trouble and they need to stay away from him, but they never seem to be able to. The best Indiana Jones love interest is obviously Marion Ravenwood. She was the daughter of his mentor, who was very young when he first took her to the boneyard. So really, it’s kinda like the time my buddy Watkins banged our faculty sponsor’s freshman daughter in his sixth year. Classic Watkins.
Indiana also illustrates what may be of the single best TFTC moments in history. He has just finished battling a bunch of goons when the last guy shows up with a fucking sword and wants to tango. Jones is having none of it, so he lets the guy have his cute little karate display, and then just pulls a gun and shoots the motherfucker. What makes this scene even better is that they were supposed to actually fight each other, but Harrison Ford wasn’t feeling so hot that day (he says he was sick; I heard he was on a heavy booger sugar comedown). So instead, he came up with the idea of shooting the guy, which makes for two big moments that Harrison Ford is responsible for. Pretty awesome.
Also, let’s not forget that his dad is Sean Connery. Indiana Jones is a legacy.
“I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.”
Top five next week, boys. Sad to see this wild ride come to an end.