Saturday Silliness - Second Fiddle
Recently I looked at some list that was, like, the "100 most memorable movie characters," or something like that. It had your Travis Bickle, and your Darth Vader and your Tony Montana. Oddly, Rhett Butler wasn't on the list. I figured he was a shoo-in.
But what about the poor second fiddle? They guy next to the guy? The "Also Starring:" guy? They get no respect. So here, in no particular order, are my favorite second bananas, Han, Rusty, Gimli, Quint and Khan.
I suppose it could be argued that Han Solo wasn't really a second fiddle as much as a co-star. But really, he was. Star Wars was about Luke, and Darth and Obi Wan and Leia. Han came in during the second act, the rouge that you weren't sure was a good guy or a bad guy. But in the end, he saved the day, didn't he? Where would Jedi-wannabe Luke be without Han? Splattered all over that canyon, that's where.
Best Line: "I know." (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) I mean, can you be any cockier than that?
In a film series that packs an amazing amount of star power, there's usually a problem finding the "one" who really stands out. And while the films may be named after Danny Ocean, it's Rusty who really drives things forward. He's the guy who comes up with the names of the other cons, who keeps Danny focused, and who's got the stones to make the call to Terry Benedict. Plus, he loves to eat!
Best Line: "And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't, under any circumstances... " (Ocean's Eleven) We never found out what, but I bet it was important.
Gimli, son of Gloine
Another star-packed film series, where it was easy to forget some of the stars, was Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gimli, played to perfection by John Rhys-Davies, was the comic relief in Jackson's films, but also was a key (if diminuative) part of the plot. His constant bickering with Legolas was perhaps missed on a first viewing, but by the end of the trilogy the view can appriciate the relationship these two men had.
Best Line: "That still only counts as one!" (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) In case you didn't realize it, Gimli and Legolas were in a constant competition to see who could kill more of the enemy. Gimli was just clarifying the rules.
The late, great Robert Shaw portrayed many iconic roles, but none so memorable as Quint, the hard-edged shark fisherman from 1975's Jaws. Quint was no-nonsense, and all business. He knew the sea, he knew men, and he knew fish. He was a modern-day Ahab, seeking after the Great White Shark, perhaps as vengance for what had happened to him in his youth, aboard the USS Indianapolis. I think in the end, Quint knew that the only way to destroy the shark was to let it destroy him as well.
Best Line: "Well it proves one thing, Mr. Hooper. It proves that you wealthy college boys don't have the education enough to admit when you're wrong. " Just because Quint led a simple life, doesn't mean he was simple-minded.
Khan Noonian Singh
I don't care who you are, there is not a more menacing villan in all of sci-fi than Khan. It's that fact that there is a deep-seated humanity about him. Darth Vader was bad all the time; Khan could be gracious and charming. Khan's not bad, he's just misunderstood, or so the saying goes. Ricardo Montalban, who played Khan to perfection, said that the very best villans are the ones who don't see themselves as villanous. Khan believes he is on a noble quest - either to return his marooned crew to Earth (and power) or to avenge the death of his wife. He sees himself as a hero - and that's what's so frightening. If Quint is the modern-day Ahab, Khan is the Ahab of the future, chasing James Kirk " 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames" if necessary.
Best Line: "I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on... hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... buried alive! Buried alive...! " With that sentence, so powerfully delivered, we both see the root of Khan's anger, and the depth of his madness.
Honorable Mention: Hector Barbossa. I just love this guy.
Best Line: "And thirdly, the Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules."
So who's your favorite second (or third) banana?