Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Anti-Hero Films

Starting today, the Slackers Selection Movie Blog will now officially be doing two Top 5 Movie Guide posts a week! Wednesdays will continue to feature a particular actor or director, while the Saturday post will now contain a genre or category of sorts. We figured, we're here to enhance your collective movie experiences, so the more lists and movies we can talk about, the better. In our inaugural Genre post, we'll start with Anti-Hero films, in the spirit of this weekend's "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance".


For the record, if you're unfamiliar with what an "anti-hero" is, Wikipedia defines it as:
A protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis in which the character is generally useless at being a hero or heroine when they're supposed to be one.
Basically, he usually ends up saving the day, but it's for his own selfish reasons, or maybe even out of dumb luck. Generally, he's not trying to do anything for "the greater good", it just so happens that him saving the day accomplishes what he wants as well.

So without further ado, hit the jump for all of our picks!

Alex Schopp -

     1. Escape from L.A. (1996)
I mean, I don't think one even really needs to explain this choice. A great film with a great main character who really embodies that anti-hero role perfectly. He ultimately does what is right for the people around him, but it's all driven by what keeps him alive and helps him escape.
     2. The Boondock Saints (1999)
Great story. Good brotherly love and some epic taking-back-the-streets type stuff. Plus I'd say this counts as one of those unlikely team-ups that I enjoy so much in movies. Working with the police under the table; getting to do what the police can't. Good stuff.
     3. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
One of the best things Mel Gibson has ever done (and he's done a lot that's great work). A cool look at a post-apocalyptic, dystopian future that I really enjoy seeing in movies.
     4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
A lot of this almost doesn't count as an anti-hero story, but a lot also does. In my opinion, I think Jules and Vincent are both anti-heroes. Doing bad things but for a "better good" - at least through their perspective. Great classic Tarantino writing (one of the few Tarantino films I actually enjoy) and fun intersecting stories that make this movie really interesting to watch.
     5. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Between this and "Taxi Driver", they're probably the two most notable anti-hero movies in modern cinema (though Clint Eastwood really needs to be thrown in that conversation as well). But this is my favorite among all of them. Great ending as well that's the epitome of an anti-hero.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Taxi Driver (1976)
"Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man..."
     2. Léon: The Professional (1994)
"This is from...Mathilda."
     3. Office Space (1999)
"The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."
     4. Re-Animator (1985)
"I was busy pushing bodies around as you well know and what would a note say, Dan? Cat Dead, Details Later?"
     5. First Blood (1982)
"Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe."

Derek Clem -

     1. From Hell (2001)
Not your traditional choice, but if you think about it, all he was really doing was cleaning the streets of London.
     2. Unforgiven (1992)
This is sort of a way for me to cheat considering Eastwood's character, Will Munny, is pretty much an embodiment of all of his former western anti-heroes - Blondie, Joe, Manco, The Stranger, etc.
     3. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Assassins make great babysitters when their conscience tells them to.
     4. Taxi Driver (1976)
Classic.
     5. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
When your world is a prison, Luke is certainly a "world shaker".

Nathan Hinds -

     1. Rambo (2008)
Sylvester Stallone plays the tortured soul role to perfection, and brings to life, in my opinion, the best "dude" character of all-time.
     2. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Johnny Depp is one of my all-time favorite actors and this is a career-defining role.
     3. Sin City (2005)
This is just one big anti-hero ensemble! So original when it came out. Such a bad-ass movie, and I can't wait for the next one (if it ever actually happens..).
     4. Troy (2004)
People say this isn't historically accurate. Something that people should know about me right now, I couldn't care less about historical accuracy. If I want that, I'll read a history book. I want movies to entertain me, and this movie entertains the hell out of me. Oh yeah, and technically there are plenty of hero's in this movie, but Brad Pitt's portrayal of Achilles is why this makes the anti-hero list. It's one of my favorite roles from any sword and sandals style film, which is also one of my favorite genres of film.
     5. Bandits (2001)
The duo of Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton is one of my all-time favorite on-screen pairings.

Andy Schopp -

     1. Star Wars (1977)
Does anyone really need me to say anything other than...Han Solo? Didn't think so.
     2. Escape from New York (1981)
Snake Plissken is the guy we all pretend to be when we are acting like a bad-ass that doesn't give an F!
     3. Mad Max (1979)
Something about the post-apocalyptic Mel Gibson gets me every time.
     4. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Killer with a heart.
     5. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Even though this movie isn't very high on my list of faves, it has to be on this list due to the Sam Jackson/John Travolta team-up.

There you have it, each of our Top 5 Anti-Hero Movies. Looks like the big one to watch out for is "
Léon: The Professional",  which, other than "Taxi Driver", is the quintessential of the genre. It showed up on four of the five lists this week, though it didn't grab any #1 selections. The other films making multiple appearances were "Taxi Driver" and "Pulp Fiction", each with two, and also two from each of the Rambo, Mad Max and Escape series', though none were the same titles.

Hopefully you're now more versed in the anti-hero genre and some of our selections are new to you and can intrigue you enough to search them out. Our main goal is always to inform and spread the word on all of the great movies out there.

If you think we missed any of the important ones, let us know below!