Here it is. The moment you’ve all sort of, but not really that anxiously, been waiting for. This, gentlemen, is the top 5. The best of the best. These movie characters aren’t just first ballot Hall of Famers, they’re the reason a Hall of Fame even exists.
Catch up on Part 4 if you missed it.
5. Michael & Sonny Corleone – The Godfather
When I first made this list, I ran it by one of my roommates for his opinion. At the time, I had Michael alone at the five spot. He was adamant that Sonny is actually a much better example of a “frat” movie character. I disagree. We’ve argued so much about this over the past few weeks that I’ve decided to dedicate an entire column to the debate. So in the coming weeks, look for the Godfather argument to end all Godfather arguments. Not Part I vs. Part II, it’s Michael vs. Sonny (the answer is Part II, by the way).
4. Ron Burgundy – Anchorman
Anchorman fundamentally changed the way that my friends and I talked to each other. While Billy Madison quotes often find their way into conversation relatively often, it’s always intentional. However, I often find myself quoting Anchorman and not even realizing it. Ron Burgundy’s voice and personality has become so ubiquitous in my life that I can’t even separate his words from my own. That’s a big deal. Ron Burgundy is also a hero. He held the entire city of San Diego in rapt attention as he seduced them with tales of local news fuckery each night, and man did he ever nail Veronica Corningstone. Now look, I’m all for equality for women, but you also have to appreciate a man who stands atop the glass ceiling and seduces the ambitious women below him.
In more “frat related” terms, he was the head of the boys club. All of the other guys, awesome in their own right, looked to him for guidance. He was a leader of men. Sure, he might’ve gone off the deep end after some fucking GDI, Nacho Libre-lookin’ motherfucker punted Baxter off the bridge, but did he get his shit together and save the day? Sorta. As much as any other fraternity man would have. Actually, Baxter the frathound saves the day. How many times have we seen that? Some silk shirt-wearing doucher tries to slip through the door without paying, boom, frathound starts barking. And Ron even found a way to let go of his chauvinistic ways and be a co-anchor with his lady. That’s very modern of you, Ron.
His hair, perfection. Mustache, impeccable. Jazz flute ability, unapproachable. Clothing style, decidedly seventies, and always incredible. Ron Burgundy is an American icon (and I really hope they don’t fuck up the sequel). Also, will Audrey ever have her shit together?
“I’ll have three fingers of Glenlivet with a little bit of pepper. And some cheese.”
3. James Bond – 007 Series
Okay, let’s start this off right. I actually like all of the Bonds. Yes, even Timothy Dalton. But I think we all know that the best, and definite GOAT of the Bond franchise is Sean Connery. No question. I used to think Pierce Brosnan was second for me, then I watched GoldenEye a few weeks ago. It REALLY doesn’t hold up. At all. It’s not even fun-bad like The Three Musketeers or First Knight. It’s just bad-bad. So Daniel Craig is probably number two followed by Roger Moore. Sorry, Pierce. We’ll always have The Thomas Crown Affair, you and I.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about a character who has been teaching me how to be a man before I ever played team sports or pledged. Most action movie characters are cool under pressure. Bond is on another level when he’s under the gun. He’s not just calm; he’s funny. He has more quips and one-liners than SPECTRE has goons. By the way, how ballsy are you as a villain to make your operation’s name the “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”? Seriously. Anyway, Bond always has his priorities straight. Find the booze and the gambling, and then let the women and danger come to you. Bond doesn’t buy flowers; he gives looks. He doesn’t use “lol;” he smirks and winks. He doesn’t text her and then wonder why she doesn’t text back, because she’s already visited and left his room.
The man wears a tuxedo like no one you’ve ever seen, takes none of his villains seriously, and pulls so much pussy that one of the women he bedded was actually named “Pussy.” So, why isn’t he higher? Because, gentlemen, James Bond is still a Brit at the end of the day. He may have gone to Cambridge, which is very WASPy, but Britain doesn’t have fraternities. And likely never will. Plus, I’m still not over the whole “Redcoats burning down the White House” thing. So, for that reason, while James Bond might be my biggest childhood idol, I can’t in good conscience put him at number one.
“Believe me, my interest in her is purely professional.”
It always is, James. It always is.
2. Tony Stark & Bruce Wayne – Iron Man/Batman
The first version of this list had Bruce Wayne at number seven and Tony Stark here at number two, but I soon realized that these two men are cut from the same cloth, so it makes more sense to talk about them together. They are the very definition of what a fraternity man ought to aspire to be. They’re rich, first because their fathers were rich, but later because they are both genius inventors and businessmen. Their chill-to-pull ratio is so high that it’s not even fair to put them on the chart, because it skews the curve for everyone else. But most importantly, they found their purpose in a higher cause than themselves. Rather than sit around and do rich guy things like owning a shit ton of sports cars, buying hotels so they can swim in the fountains, and generally doing whatever they wanted, they set out to make the world a better place (while still doing those other things, obviously).
That’s ultimately the point of being a fraternity man. Yes, it is about brotherhood, partying, and being the cause of every sorority girl’s regret, but it’s also about philanthropy, and using your position in the world to help out those who don’t have the same leg up that you do. Bruce Wayne could have just ridden the “my parents died, so feel sorry for my poor, rich self” train until he died at forty from causes related to excessive alcohol abuse. Tony Stark could have just kept making weapons and turning a blind eye to how they were being used. But they didn’t. They used their God-given intelligence, persistence, arrogance, and charisma, and they combined it with technology and some nebulously defined martial arts, and became icons. That’s what we should all aspire to do — become so bored with our status quo of the Three Ps (privilege, pricetags, and pussy) that we strive to become something else: a symbol.
Plus, Tony Stark treats his robots like pledges, and Bruce “has to” act like an asshole in order to “maintain his cover identity.” That’s just fucking awesome.
Bruce Wayne: “Let’s put a couple tables together.”
Harvey Dent: “I’m not sure they’ll let us.”
Bruce Wayne: “Oh, they should. I own the place.”
Prat: “Is it true that you went twelve for twelve with the Maxim Girls last year?
Tony Stark: “That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.”
1. Eric “Otter” Stratton – Animal House
Here it is. Number one. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Obviously, the number one person on a list of “frattiest characters” has to be an actual fraternity man. Now, I know that many of you are wondering, “Why the hell isn’t Bluto on the list?” Well, the simple answer is that I wasn’t gonna put two characters from the same movie separately on the list, and I certainly wasn’t going to steal Otter’s thunder by making him share the spot with a fat idiot who thinks the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. It’s un-American. But I love Mr. Blutarsky; y’all need to know that.
Now, Animal House. This is where it all started. Van Wilder, Old School, PCU, Revenge of the Nerds, Monsters University, Stomp the Yard — none of these films exist without Animal House. Hell, TFM doesn’t exist without it. Animal House proved to America that fraternities weren’t just institutions for boys to make friends and drink a lot. They were a resource for telling some of the greatest and most hilarious stories of all time. And Eric Stratton, known to his brothers as “Otter,” was the rush chairman of the Deltas, the fraternity that started it all.
Otter is the man we all wished our president would be, in spite of the fact that our presidents usually are more like Robert Hoover (trying to maintain a good image, but mostly pushovers). Hell, he might as well have been the Deltas’ president. Otter is funny. He’s handsome. He’s charismatic. He’s smart, but doesn’t apply himself. He parties harder than everyone else in his chapter, excluding that Jack Daniels-chugging son of a bitch, Bluto. He uses the tragic death of a dead girl to get sympathy dates from her friends. That’s fucking cold. And incredibly awesome. Hell, he even helped work through tense race relations by having Otis Day and the Knights come play their toga party.
Everything is working out relatively well for them, but Dean Wormer’s hard-on for getting rid of the Deltas gets out of control, and he enlists douchey Kevin Bacon to get them gone for good. So, what does Otter do? He bangs the dean’s wife, makes a bold speech in front of the school council, and then agrees to lead his brothers into battle with the Deathmobile once they’re kicked off campus. Even after having their charter revoked, he still acts as a leader and a brother. That’s what being a fraternity man is all about.
Otter: “Point of parliamentary procedure!”
Hoover: “Don’t screw around. They’re serious this time!”
Otter: “Take it easy. I’m pre-law.”
Boon: “I thought you were pre-med?”
Otter: “What’s the difference?”
(Addressing the room) Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests. We did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick, twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg. Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!
(Leads the Deltas out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner)
That’s how you end a list, boys. So who did I leave off? Are you still mad that Shooter McGavin didn’t make the list, even though I explicitly told all you fucks that I wouldn’t be including characters from sports movies? I bet you are. Oh well, the list is finished and written in stone. It’s time to sit back with a cold one and enjoy the debate.