Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fictional characters I'm in love with

Spent the evening tonight with some high school friends I hadn't seen in a good long while. Originally, the plan was to go out to dinner, but instead, we stayed in and I learned how to cook a traditional Bengali feast. This was brilliant. If you ever want to catch up with someone who you haven't seen for a long time, cook dinner together. I mean, like, 4 courses, at least. It takes a couple hours to do right, the food is immensely satisfying, and it's a great combination of entertainment and nourishment.

Anyhow, that's an aside as far as this post as concerned. After dinner, I finally watched Amélie, only 6 years after the film came out. It was great, and it was a lot of fun to react to. On the one hand, the main character and everything does is immensely charming. On the other hand, if someone did half this stuff in real life I would think they were irredeemably creepy and possibly run screaming in the opposite direction. That said, I totally developed a crush on the main character, which got me thinking about all the fictional characters I love. And so I am going to list them.

This is not the same as listing all of the actresses I'm in love with. Not coincidentally, most of them appear on this list, but this is a list of characters, not actresses. So yes, of course it matters whether I find them physically attractive, and the personality that an actress brings to a role is important. But it's the whole package...the way the character is written, the way it's played. Basically, I want these people to be real, so that I might marry them.

Honorable Mention - Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum, Phantom of the Opera): Okay, I'm cheating a bit on this one, which is why it's getting "Honorable Mention" instead of an official place on the list. I've seen Phantom on stage 3 times, and I was never particularly drawn to the Christine character until Emmy Rossum took on the role in the movie. My perspective is impossibly colored by the fact that I decided Emmy Rossum was the woman of my dreams after I saw her use the word "quizzically" in casual conversation on "The Tonight Show" while promoting the movie. I would feel guilty making this list without her appearing on it. Though she hasn't really had any memorable or truly original characters, even before I saw her on "The Tonight Show" and decided she was the girl for me, I was transfixed by her while watching the movie. That grace, that voice, those cheek bones...

4 - Claire Cleary (Rachel McAdams, Wedding Crashers): This one isn't cheating, but it's still a bit of a cop-out for two reasons: (1) because the whole movie is set up to highlight how Claire Cleary is the greatest woman in the world, and (2) because at least 75% of guys I know would have her on this kind of list. But what you can do with someone who is that attractive, smart, rich, nice, and slightly nerdy? That's not even fair. She's not people. As a side note, can we all agree that Rachel McAdams should be mandated by law to stay a brunette at all times? I was tempted to put Amy Stone from The Family Stone on this list on the strength of the Rachel McAdams brunette look, not to mention the intelligence and sarcasm of the character. But I'm going to limit this to one appearance per actress, and Claire Cleary is, as I said, written to be the perfect woman.

3 - Anna Stern (Samaire Armstrong, The OC): The writers of The OC did a pretty good job turning Summer into a not-horribly-annoying character, which is good, because I was pissed when she won out over Anna for Seth's affections in season 1. Anna is basically my dream girl. She's smart, constantly sarcastic, uses pointlessly large words (anyone remember Sandy impressedly mouthing "anathema" when Anna busts out with that one during Thanksgiving?), and has an indie musical taste and personal style without being overbearingly scene, trendy, or whatever else. She's also just the right amount of aggressive, and loves nerds. Hey, I'm a nerd! See, e.g., this list; this citation. It would be perfect. When she briefly reappeared during Season 4, I was ecstatic. If everyone on this list really did exist in real life, she is probably the one that I would end up really really pursuing...the others benefit from living in the magical realities of their movie worlds. And seriously, what happened to Samaire Armstrong anyhow? She did 1 season on Entourage (ahhh, Emily was darling too...), and I basically haven't heard from her since.

2 - Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou, Amélie): Like I said, a lot of the things that Amélie does in the film would freak me the hell out if done in real life, but in movie land, it works. She has this incredibly spritely quality to her. Endearingly mischievous. Even her smile, which I think is objectively scary looking, comes off perfectly in the context of this character, this movie, shot in this style. She's probably the most non-realistic human on this list, but you can really imagine that having one person like this in your life would improve it immensely. And she and I have so much in common! I, too, love cracking the top of crème brulée! And skipping rocks!

1 - Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation): This is the gold standard, how I define this very category. When I walked out of Lost in Translation, that was the first time I ever left a theater thinking, "Why is she not real?" When I break down the attractive elements of the character, it looks a lot like Anna Stern: smart (and educated/cultured...I wouldn't have realized that Evelyn Waugh was a man), adorable looking, sassy, thoughtful. But for some reason, I just have this incredibly visceral reaction to the character. That persisted even after I saw Scarlett Johansson go on the nighttime talk show circuit and completely eviscerate my opinion of her as a real-life human being, as opposed to the characters she plays.

1 comment:

Pam said...

great list. i have a special fondness for charlotte, because i had the same reaction as her character did in most of the scenes. (for instance, after hearing that the girl checked in as evelyn waugh, i leaned over and whispered "but...evelyn waugh was a man!" and of course, two seconds later....)

and you make a list of restaurants to hit up in LA, and i'll be in for 2 of them.