A question that doesn’t get asked enough around movie conversations is what character, if you had the chance, you would like to be. Perhaps more than just the casual ‘what’s your favorite movie’ question, revealing who you would want to be exposes your inner feelings, your deepest desires. Your choice both reflects what you value and what you aspire to. Your choice of character likely has some ability that you don’t yourself possess, not in any problem-solving, world-saving, lover-getting capacity, anyway. Saying your favorite movie says something about who you are, but saying what character you want to be says everything about what you’re not, and who maybe you’d rather be. That’s a lot to ask.
Well I, Matt, am asking it anyway, and answering too. If we don’t walk out of the theater imagining a life in the world we just watched, then why do we even go? Here are my top 10 characters that, given the chance, I wouldn’t mind being.
10.) Butch Cassidy–Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy’s somehow got a whole gang behind him even though he’s never shot anyone (spoiler alert). It’s just one example of how easy everything seems to come for Butch, a care-free criminal and friend to the Sundance Kid. Not to mention he’s got that charisma…and that smile…and those…blue eyes. I’d trust him. I don’t have a man crush on Paul Newman. You do!
9.) Hawkeye–Last of the Mohicans
Like many on my list, Hawkeye isn’t exactly the loquacious type. His steely gaze, ruggedness, and handiness with a rifle ooze the kind of self-reliance I only wish I possessed. Running up a mountain with the ‘Promontory’ track from the original score in your earbuds is about the manliest thing you can do.
8.) Hiccup–How to Train Your Dragon
He rides a dragon that understands English and is also his best friend. I have a 2011 Kia Soul with a sun roof.
7.) Jason Bourne–Bourne Trilogy
Martial arts in your muscle memory? Ability to level people at a moment’s notice? A bank safe stuffed with cash from a dozen currencies and as many passports? Yeah, I wouldn’t mind. Not that I have ambitions to go around assassinating people, but it would just be nice to know that if I got into some real trouble that I could kick somebody’s ass and disappear.
6.) John Keating–Dead Poets Society
I have a horrible memory for books. If I had a library of quotes and poems at the tip of my tongue the way English teacher John Keating does, I would know the best thing to say at all times. And, you know, it would be great to be such a positive influence on young minds. Who wouldn’t want to be referred to as ‘O Captain, my captain?’
5.) Danny Ocean–Ocean’s 11
I purposely wore a bow tie to my senior prom only so I could wear it untied afterwards, just like Danny Ocean does. Ocean has all the style of James Bond but without the constant threats to his life. Also, how cool would it be to know all the right friends in all the right places? You could literally do anything.
4.) Indiana Jones–Indiana Jones trilogy
Where the brains meet the brawn. I would love to have an encyclopedic knowledge of history, speak multiple languages (some ancient, some modern), and hold my own in a fight. Plus, he’s a great problem solver. Also plus, the fedora. It’s all win-win.
3.) The Driver–Drive
All I really want in life is to wear The Driver’s scorpion jacket and walk around in slow motion with the movie’s soundtrack behind me. That’s all.
2.) Elrond–Lord of the Rings trilogy
Sure, I could have gone with Aragorn here. He seems the type, given the other strong, silent types with one foot in another culture on this list. However, I’ve always thought the elves in the Lord of the Rings movies were the coolest, and Elrond is the coolest of them all. For whatever reason, I dig the melancholic long defeat the elves fight, and Elrond does it well. He’s both a general and a scholar with the hindsight of thousands of years of history to guide his steps. His address at Rivendell ain’t too shabby either. I’ll take it all.
1.) Luke Skywalker–Star Wars trilogy
Duh. I mean…come on. This one is a no-brainer. The dude is a Jedi. Besides that, he’s a pilot, can converse with aliens and droids, and has the hair I totally wanted as a kid…because I wanted to be Luke Skywalker. That’s my guy.
So I’m noticing a trend in the characters I want to be. I want to be a smart–maybe in the street sense but also a wise beyond my years sense–stoic, multilingual warrior poet with friends in the right places and something to fight for. Also, maybe I want a soundtrack to my life, and a cool hat. There, my soul is laid bare.