Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Top 10 "Teacher" Characters in Movies (Part 1)

Many inspirational films contain a similar element: a character that acts as a teacher (literally or figuratively), a role model, or just a kickass guy with loads of wisdom. I've compiled a Top 10 list of what I think are some of the best characters that fit this description. A couple of these movies are so inspirational that they make guys squirm in their seats trying to act like they're not about to burst in tears (note: a future list that I'll make: Movies that can even make men cry). But most of these movies are ridiculous - either way, these are some great characters:

10. Fortune from Rudy - Ok, so maybe the whole wise janitor/custodian character has been overplayed in after-school specials, but this guy is great. Fortune plays the source of strength and wisdom for Rudy to continue his studies/football at Notre Dame. One of his best lines:

"You're 5 foot nothin'...100 and nothin'...and you hung in with the best college football team in the land for 2 years...and you were also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life time, you don't have to prove nothin' to nobody except yourself...and after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen..."

After this, Fortune reveals that he used to play for Notre Dame, quit because he thought he was getting benched because of his color, and that a day didn't go by that he didn't regret it. Cue the tears.

9. Roy Munson from Kingpin - Ok, the diversity of this list can begin here - the only tears that anyone would ever shed over this guy would be out of sheer pity...or more likely laughter. Roy (Woody Harrelson) is a bowling pro who gets mixed up with the wrong guy (Bill Murray) and an underground hussling scheme which lands Roy a hook for a hand, an introduction into alcoholism, loss of hair, and an end to his bowling career. This leads him to forcing himself as a mentor for an Amish guy named Ishmael (Randy Quaid), trying to gain a profit from acting as his coach in the pro circuit. Roy makes the list because of the ridiculous dialogue resulting from a down-and-out drunk and an Amish guy with no clue about the real world:

Roy: Thomas can raise a barn, but can he pick up a 7-10 split?
Ishmael: God blessed my brother to be a good carpenter...It's OK.
Roy: Yeah, well he blessed you too, and I'll give you a hint at what it is: it's round, has three holes, and you put your fingers into it.
Ishmael: You leave Rebecca out of this!

8. Priest Pai Mei from Kill Bill Vol. 2 - Being wise and acting as a master in any type of martial arts usually go hand in hand, which is why Pai Mei had to make the list. Pai Mei is far from the nice, gentle master though - in the first conversation he has with Black Mamba (Uma Thurman), he informs her that because she cannot speak Cantonese, he'll talk to her like a dog, he makes sure that Black Mamba knows that he kills at will, he threatens to chop her arm off, and embarrasses her in a fight. An awesome training montage follows. And oh yea...he has majestic long white hair and a Fu Manchu to match.

7. Louis Stevens from Only The Strong - Many people have not experienced the gem that is this film. You may recognize "Louis Stevens," the martial arts expert named Mark Dacascos as the Iron Chef America chairman. He was also in the movie adaptation of Double Dragon. In my mind, however, I can't see how any of his works could top Only The Strong. The movie is based on the Afro-Brazilian martial art form called "Capoeira," which is a kick-ass dance-fight hybrid. You know the song that Mazda ruined in their commercials: Zoom Zoom? Well it used to be a good song, one of a few good ones that are played during the capoeira sequences in this movie.

Anyway, Stevens plays a Green Beret who returns to his high school as a teacher to find it run by drug dealers and gang lords. He conforms a group of rebels from the school to the art of capoeira, but of course one of the rebels is related to the worst druglord in town, and a final showdown between Stevens and the druglord becomes the climax. Bad acting + ridiculous plot + coincidental town-wide knowledge of an obscure fighting form + awesome fighting + awesome music = great movie.

6. Dewey Finn from School of Rock - This movie is highly coincidental in that a down-and-out wannabe rock enthusiast (Jack Black) just happens to fraudulently sub in a classroom full of young musical prodigies, therefore enabling him to mold them into a band. But we can look past that. Jack Black, a musician himself in real life, shows his humorous musical talent in this film, teaching the entire class to damn the man, one of life's great lessons.

To be continued...look for the Top 5 tomorrow...

1 comment:

Mike said...

Any list that mentions "Only the Strong" is a candidate for a retweet. Well played.