In this portion we discuss the characters that quite delighted me and that I may remember most glancing back to 2013. Whether it be what they did, contributed to a movie's plot or someone just gave a terrific performance these folks just stuck in my mind the best. This list was actually quite a bit tougher to edit down than I had thought. All of them will be in alphabetical by character name until then end where I present the absolutely best and most memorable character of 2013 (that one was easy).
Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) of The Wolf Of Wall Street
Jonah Hill is proving to be quite the hybrid of comedian and esteemed actor. He might be the best of the bunch coming from the Apatow tree. His performance as Donnie Azoff is somewhat of a complete commitment and transformation. I was totally lost in this guy and COMPLETELY forgot I was watching Jonah Hill. He's absolutely that good. He should nab his second and entirely deserving Oscar nomination here, and hopefully win it as well. Hill had the energy, goofiness and craziness to totally help make this movie work. This was quite close to being #1.
John Cale (Channing Tatum) of White House Down
Hey, look I just 21 Jump Street'd my first two on the list. John Cale was the John McClane character in the Die Hard-esque White House Down. A movie that did feel like it was made with much respect and love given to the original confined space action film. The film surprised me by being a lot of fun regardless of how ludicrous everything was. Cale was also a great action hero to follow as he was pretty funny and capable of handling the job. He makes this list because, although its not going to happen, I would love to go on another "how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice" adventure with him.
Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) of Pain & Gain
This is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's career best. Everyone was raving about his show stealing, Bible-preaching meathead ex-com Paul Doyle when the film opened. Dwayne had 4 films released this year and was the highest grossing performer at the box office. This was by and large his best performance of the four and he really helped to breathe and provide the perfect wild card foil for Mark Wahlberg. All the crazy stuff in this movie is usually based on his actions and reaction.
Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) of Man Of Steel
While the film she was from may have disappointed many, you can't deny-harmful to humanity or not-the action in the film was quite a spectacle. She was in-arguably one of the bright spots. While we aren't given much depth to her character, she was able to shine above it by proving very lethal. Her fighting moves and techniques were unlike anything I've seen captured on film before. It was almost the perfect transfer of something video game inspired to the big screen. I can't help it that my reasoning is so simple. I thought she kicked ass, looked cool and was really awesome.
Frances (Greta Gerwig) of Frances Ha
Maybe I'm just a really big fan of this under-used (in a mainstream sense) and underrated actress named Greta Gerwig. Frances Ha is a complete one-woman show and she absolutely nails it. She plays a pretty awkward character that you're able to get behind and she just gives you the kind of compassionate desire to just kind of jump in and help her. That you have such feelings for a character of her ilk is a testament to what the performer is bringing to the screen. You may not see things on her level or agree with a few decisions but you're willing to let her live and learn herself.
Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) of Don Jon
What starts as a complete stereotypical characature of a guido ends up being a total and complete human. Its all to the credit of JGL as both director and performer to bring to life his character of Jon who learns a lot about the term "it takes two to tango". Maybe you didn't see the film, but you at least got the first part of it from one of the year's very best cut trailers. Through this tale of Jon's life you're able to laugh at him, laugh with him, get frustrated with him and then open your mind with him as well. Its quite a full experience on what looked to be just a straight up comedy. And that complete arc is why he's one of the year's most memorable and best characters.
Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) & Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence) - the girls of American Hustle
Amy Adams puts on a full range of deceit in a film that feels like its very much told from her perspective. She got to play the person emotionally in the middle of all of it. She also got to sport a fake British accent. Most of all...holy damn was she a smokeshow in this. I've always thought she was pretty, but this is almost "iconic" in its sexiness with her. Maybe I just have a fetish for women in 70s garb, but every time she was on the screen it was very hard to notice anything else. Jennifer Lawrence on the other hand gets to play the scene stealing train wreck. She comes off as both scary and hilarious at the same time. She also gets to flaunt her sexiness as well, but here I think we remember her more for her complete wildcard unpredictability in every scene she graces.
Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of The Smaug
I know I already discussed this one a little bit. Legolas may have returned, but it was this elf that was all I really cared about. She was given a lot of the awesome and crowd pleasing action bit in the film. She's put in a rather silly love triangle, but I enjoyed the compassion and care that came through Evangeline Lilly's performance. Legolas seemed like a boring, mute, grumpy old bug while Tauriel felt like a person and a fully realized character. Her presence was very much enjoyed in this movie and in a movie already bloated and stretching it, this added character seemed to brighten it up and enhance it.
Yukio (Rila Fukushima) of The Wolverine
This is somewhat of a triumph. She looked as if the character and actress might end up being some kind of annoyance during the film's duration. On paper and in the trailer it kinda seemed like "Uh oh!" However, I was happy to be incredibly wrong as she proves her worth and really adds to the film. Yukio also is a great counterpart to Wolverine and Fukushima has some great sidekick chemistry with Hugh Jackman. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of her. Not only is she badass when she's sword fighting, she's equally as interesting when she's not or inbetween the action bits.
And now...for, hands down, the BEST and MOST MEMORABLE character of 2013 in film...
Alien (James Franco) of Spring Breakers
Look at my shit! This one was easy. James Franco goes incredibly method and totally lets Alien consume him. Alien was a complete transformation for Franco. Your feelings on the film itself aside, you couldn't help but laugh and be completely taken by him. If there was one thing from this movie you'll remember its the white Florida gangster rapping Alien. My wife claims that she has a hard time seeing James Franco now without being disgusted by thoughts of Alien. Be prepared too folks, as this guy is going to be that costume you see 8 people dress up as thinking that they had a "unique idea" (word to the wise, if your costume didn't exist at last year's Halloween...you're not going to be the only one dressing up like that). There were so many quotable lines and memorable moments from this character that he just completely jumps out at you more than any other character in 2013. One would think Franco SHOULD be a lock to win a Best Supporting Actor statue this year, but its not always like that. If he doesn't even get nominated that would be an absolute joke.
That's it for characters...don't worry, we'll have more leading up to my Top 10 Films Of 2013 list that drops on Monday at Why So Blu!
Keep checking back to NAPTOWN NERD for more reflections back on the year in film that was 2013!!!