Feels kind of like a theme, to do a movie-friends post right after a movie-parents one, but it was a coincidence — I swear! It just so happened I was watching a movie and one of the characters just stood out and hit me like a train; “This kid’s such an awesome friend!” I was amazed at what an impact this fictional person could have on me. And so at A Few Movies More we started to think of other movie characters that are awesome friends.
A good character is the basis of a good film. If you don’t have solid, believable characters, then your movie will never reach any kind of iconic (or even just “Good”) status. Cinema is full of friendships, but out of the thousands of fictional people to choose from, who would you actually want as a friend? Sure, Leon the Professional is a bad-ass dude with healthy bones, but would you really want a hitman as your best mate? Brings a bit more edge to a friendship when your pal is constantly killing people. Obviously, there will be some fun and so-never-gonna-happen choices, but hey, that’s the fun of the list. So without further ado, our Top 5 Movie Characters We’d Want as a Friend.
Honourable mention: Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I’m so totally spewing that I can’t include Buffy in my list. So technically there is a movie-Buffy I could include, but she is no way near as cool a character (and friend!) as the TV Buffy. She’s the chick that guys want to be with and girls want to be. Even though she’s so awesome, can kick vampire ass, and is charmingly witty, she’s one of the best friends you could ever have. More so than being about vampires, I think the show is about friends. Time and time again, Buffy, and in turn her circle of friends, prove their loyalty, along with just how much they care and enjoy being with each other. Buffy is THE best friend – not necessarily perfect, but your mate who’s always there and you always want to be there. Even though being friends with her brings with it the perils of bloodthirsty vampires, demons, life-threatening situations and the end of the world, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wouldn’t have to think twice before having Buff as a friend.
5. Falkor (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) – The Neverending Story
A man’s best friend is his dog — so to speak. OK, so I’m not technically male, and Falkor is not a dog (though very canine in appearance and attitude), but I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would choose to NOT be friends with a Luckdragon. The Neverending Story has a cast of strange and wonderful characters, but something about Falkor — from the moment I first saw the movie when I was about 5 or so — was so awesome that I felt sad there was no such creature in real life. So imagine having this: a cuddly, humungous friend-slash-pet who not only talks, but also brings you luck AND flies. It’s really a win-win-win situation. Handy for going out, you don’t need to pay for parking or catch public transport because your friend will fly you there. And really, you’ll practically sail through life “With luck!” when you have Falkor as your bud. And anytime you have enemies who need to be taught a little lesson, playing childish tricks is not underneath fun-loving Falkor — he’ll help you chase ‘em down some alleys and straight into some garbage dumps. “Haha suckaz — and you thought your friend’s BMX tricks were cool!”
4. Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) – Lord of the Rings
Though my brother’s response to this post when I asked who he would choose was (to be succint) “Duh, Pippin?!” I had to stand my ground. Pippin is quite amusing, loyal I’m sure, and probably a hoot from here to Hobbiton, but I know I’d rather a wisened wizard on my side when face to face with a recently woken Balrog. With his dry wit and good humour, Gandalf is that older friend you have who might not be in the same place in life that you are, but his reliability and laid-back smarts is comforting when you’re sick of your friends who act like kids. He’ll show up for your 111th birthday (real life skill: always be there for you), give you the inside on where to go when being chased by Ringwraiths (real-life skill: travel experience and life tips), and provide some pretty awesome dragon-style fireworks for your party (real life skill: lots of fun, and has cool gadgets that you’ll never have). One of the other really cool things if you had Gandalf as part of your fellowship? Though he may die (did he?!) he’ll come back to life. He ain’t no conjurer of cheap tricks.
3. Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres) – Finding Nemo
There really is nothing quite like that one awesome friend you have who is just a little bit… slow on the uptake. Anyone who knows what I’m talking about will also know how much fun you have with this person, and how much a source of amusement they are. They can technically be a genius, yet still manage to laugh-till-you-cry with you when, for example, talking about accidentally touching someone’s butt. Technically the only female on my list (though with TV, Buffy Summers would SO have been number one with a bullet!), and a fish at that, I’m not sure what that says about me as a female, but Dory is one of the best friends anyone could ever have. It’s kind of a theme here with all my other picks, but you really can’t go wrong with a friend who asks nothing of you except your friendship, and always has your back. Dory crosses an OCEAN for Marlin, and even manages to kind-of cure herself of her short-term memory loss condition. Now how’s that for a true test of friendship! Having a friend you can just be silly with, yet will get you through a tough time — rare indeed.
2. Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) – Clerks
The bad thing if I were friends with Randal is we’d never get ANYTHING done. All we’d do is snack on some freebie nachos and gatorade, watch movies, and have endless debates about really unimportant things. The good thing? Well, I actually like doing all of the above, so Randal would fit into my existing life quite nicely. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings than Star Wars fan myself, so we’d be constantly fighting about this and probably a whole lot more, but having friendly arguments/debates is one of the best past-times you can experience with your pals. His talent for sarcastic quips and making fun of people would be a great source of amusement as well. And at first glance, it does seem like he doesn’t do much (well, that’s actually true) and he keeps getting his best friend into all kinds of trouble (OK, that’s true as well). But when push comes to shove, he is very protective of his BFF, and when you have a friend whose got your back, how can you go wrong? As when Dante gets back together with his ex-girlfriend, Randal’s absent-minded response to said ex is “Break his heart again, and I’ll kill ya. Nothing personal.” A friend who would kill for you — awww!!
1. Chris Chambers (River Phoenix) – Stand By Me
The most normal of the bunch and my inspiration for the list. While watching Stand By Me recently — after not having seen it for a few years — something struck me; Chris Chambers is an AWESOME friend. I still remembered the camaraderie between the group as a whole, but as a 29 year old I’ve only now realised the subtle (and really, for a movie about pre-teen boys, quite sweet!) friendship between Chris and Gordie. As an adult, Gordie says you never have friends in your life like the friends you had when you were twelve, and fictional characters aside, I’m sure Gordie never had a friend like Chris for the rest of his life. Chris is fun, adventurous, encouraging, funny, protective, clever, honest and loyal. He may mess up from time to time, but he’s never mean or ignorant, and he’s always upfront with who he is and what he’s about. Now did I just describe the ideal friend or what? After losing his brother and being ignored by his parents, Gordie is kind of sleepwalking through his young life. But best mate Chris is always supportive, either with Gordie’s talent for writing and storytelling, or the more extreme confrontation when they find The Body. With a friend like Chris, you’d be able to get through anything. It’s all the more heartbreaking at the end of the movie though, when we find out what happens to Chris. It’s almost like losing a real friend, it gets me every time.
5. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) – Harry Potter series
If Hagrid were ever to show up on my doorstep, I’d be all like, “Holy crap, this giant is going to murder me and then eat my bones!” But this couldn’t be further from the truth. As once this gentle giant with a heart of gold has revealed his true colours, it becomes apparent that he doesn’t have a hostile bone inside his gigantic body. He’s the definition of a big friendly giant, although he still has the ability to turn the badass dial up to eleven and sort out anyone foolish enough to cross him, or anyone close to him. Plus as an added bonus, he’d have access to all those awesome magical artifacts that I could mooch off. Shotgun the invisibility cloak!
4. Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) – Reservoir Dogs
So you’ve just taken a bullet amidst a very unsuccessful bank heist, you know what you need right now? Well, a hospital might be good, but more importantly, you need a good friend. See, a good friend is always there to rely on when you need them the most, and like the good pal he is, Mr White is right there for Mr Orange when he needs help the most. As Mr Orange writhes in pain from a soon-to-be-lethal gut shot bullet wound, Mr White calms him down with soothing encouragements to help him through the pain. To prove his loyalty even further he does the unthinkable and reveals his real name to the dying Mr Orange, and even stands by his wounded brethren while his criminal counterparts throw undercover cop accusations his way. Sure, things may not end too well between these two, and despite this last minute revelation, Mr White stands by his dying comrade just like any true friend would.
3. Dr. Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd) – Back To The Future
Wouldn’t it be the best having a mad scientist for a best friend? Just think about it, all those gadgets are at your disposal, not to mention the freaking time machine! But beyond the materialistic benefits of befriending the eccentric Dr. Emmet Brown, there’s also a kind-hearted and friendly old kook under that manic hair and those crazy bug-eyes. And since he’s all about inventing and testing new gadgets in the name of science, you’d never know when he’s going to call on you to come along on some new crazy adventure as a result of a whacky experiment. And who doesn’t love adventures?
2. Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) – Star Wars series
Loyalty has to be one of the most amiable qualities in a friend, that reassuring thought that they have your back and they’re always looking out for you. So wouldn’t it be cool to not only have a friend who’s loyal, but who’s also a seven foot tall monkey-dog creature that could rip somebody’s arms out of their sockets on your command. Yes it would. Plus if I’m ever unlucky enough to get cryogenically frozen by a bounty hunter (we’ve all been there right?), my man Chewie won’t think twice about rushing to my aid and busting my ass out. And best of all, he doubles as both a best friend and a pet. Convenient.
1. Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) – The Shawshank Redemption
There aren’t too many exceptional characteristics that define Red as good friend, unlike most of the other choices I have on this list, he’s just a regular guy who marks himself as a kind-hearted and dependable individual. However that’s what makes the guy so damn likeable. He’s the kind of guy you could imagine sitting down and wittering away the hours with as he tells you all sorts of interesting anecdotes, all the while you hang onto every word he says. And once you’ve taken into account the contrast between his positive outlooks on life against the sombre setting of Shawshank prison, you can’t help but to respect his optimistic and upbeat perspective.
Honourable Mention: Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) – The Social Network
The guy who didn’t quite make it to the list this week is Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, and all-round cool guy (if by cool guy you mean kind of a jerk). So the jury’s still out on whether or not Zuckerberg is actually an evil asshole, but movie Zuckerberg definitely screwed over his friends. Best, and possibly only friend, Eduardo returns to Facebook HQ to find he’s been cut out of the billion dollar enterprise that he helped get off the ground, ex-girlfriend Erica gets slandered online, and mentor Sean Parker gets arrested for drug possession (okay not Mark’s fault, but I thought listing three examples would be more impressive) – way to look after your friends Zuckerberg. “Your best friend is suing you for 600 million dollars.” So despite his 500 million facebook friends, Zuckerberg finds himself alone and lonely. Guess that’s the price you pay for being a grade-a jerk off. And why he didn’t quite make the list this week…
5. Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) – The Big Lebowksi
Who could be a more chilled out guy to spend your days with than the lovable slacker Jeff Lebowski, aka The Dude. In an average day you guys could get together, smoke a bit of weed, have a beer, and then chill out at the bowling alley for a while. Sure you’d have to put up with his dumb-ass friend, Walter, but you’d be so chilled out by that point I can’t think it would bother you too much. The Dude practically radiates relaxation to the point that it would be nearly impossible to stress out near the guy – unless of course you get caught up in an elaborate kidnapping scheme, that could put any one on edge.
4. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) – James Bond Films
Who knows what Q gets up to in his free time? Down there in his little laboratory at MI6 with all of his crazy inventions. Personally, I like to think the little man has adventures and who better to join him on these adventures than us. Whilst Bond is out saving the world and sleeping with beautiful women, Q and I are flying jet packs, testing shoe phones and submarine cars. Seeing he’s our bestie, he lets us take stuff home to deck out our pads with the world’s most high-tech gadgets and to fool and trick our friends with our hidden arsenal of spy toys (imagine the shenanigans one could have with an invisible car). Then at the end of another exciting day in the laboratory I imagine the two of us would sit down and enjoy a sneaky glass of port and smoke cigars, or maybe a pipe…
3. Brennan Huff and Dale Doback (Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly) – Step Brothers
“There’s so much room for activities!” I think anyone who watches Step Brothers can’t help but feel envious of all the childish shenanigans these two got up to. Between double bed bunk-beds, shark week and fighting little kids, these two get up to more exciting mischief than you’d think possible. I wonder if actually being around these guys would be as hilarious as it is watching them in the cinema – if we had friends like this in real life would we constantly be laughing or would we avoid them because, well, they’re a little retarded? Still it’s good to see adults having fun without drugs or alcohol. Also I really want a boat tree house, crossbows and a Chewbacca mask.
2. The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Okay so we can probably agree the old T-800 Terminator may not be the friend you call up for chat, or to go clubbing on a Saturday night. No, the Terminator is the friend you call when its time to fuck shit up. Some guy been given you guff? Get on the phone to this homeboy and problem officially solved. This terminator’s got your back and no matter what you say or do to him his love is unconditional – I mean it’s in his programming. And the best part is you can teach him all the badass lines you can think of, and he’ll use them whilst crushing your enemies. Great way to test out personal catch phrases.
1. Jules Winnfield (Samuel L Jackson) – Pulp Fiction
One of these days I will do a Top 5 without a single Tarantino answer, but not today. There is very little that needs to be said about Jules Winnfield. The guy’s a bad motherfucker with a hell of a wit and a knack for storytelling. He’s the sort of friend you can call on when you’re in trouble too, as he definitely knows how to handle himself. The downside of this friendship, of course, is that the man has a bit of a temper and it’s probably not best to get on his bad side. Also, he might occasionally bring a corpse to your place for disposal. The things we do for our buddies, right?
You’d rather someone else as your bud? Hit up the comments!
(Thank you to Tina Burke for the lovely B&W sketch of the two friends hanging out, that I used at the start of the post. Please check out her work at http://www.tinaburke.com.au/)
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