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danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Character Contradictions

Many of the most memorable characters in film are rife with contradictions. For example, Indiana Jones claims not to believe in magic. Yet it’s his belief that the Ark of the Covenant will unleash a deadly spirit that saves him and Marion in the finale.

Can you think of some examples of contradictions in other classic characters?
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crAZRick
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Character Contradictions

[ Edited ]
Since it happens in practically any movie you can think of, I can think of 500 or so character contradictions, from my own personal collection of DVDs alone. Let’s start with a few obvious and ‘classic’ examples:

John McClane doesn’t believe his wife Holly has much of a chance out in LA, raising their two kids and trying to be a big-shot in the Nakatomi corporation all by herself. He also doesn’t believe that ‘fists with your toes’ will help alleviate air-sickness or post-flight tension. He certainly doesn’t believe he’s got what it takes to out-class uber-classy Euro-trash terrorist leader Hans Gruber. But, when Gruber has Holly and the $650-million in untraceable bearer bonds in-hand and practically out the door, McClane is willing to Die Hard trying. Even though all he’s got are his Beretta 9-mm, 2 bullets and some Christmas-themed packing tape, a quick-wit, a smart mouth, bare-feet and nothing left to lose against Hans and at least 1 more thug (possibly 2 :smileywink: ) McClane comes full-circle from the man who ran from the fight in the first act, to face down the evil mastermind. Even then, McClane most definitely doesn’t believe the same thing could happen to the same guy twice, let alone 3 or 4 more times!! Some more fine character-contradiction over 360-minutes (so far, another 120-minutes coming soon…) on-screen has allowed John McClane to Die Hard, Die Harder, Die Hard With a Vengeance, and eventually Live Free or Die Hard

Virgil Brigman is a hard-working oil-driller. He doesn’t believe in government interference on his rig after a nuclear submarine disappears during a hurricane on the surface. He doesn’t need some Navy SEAL or Marine jarhead mucking up his rig, and certainly doesn’t need his ex-wife’s grating, begrudging support, respect, understanding, cooperation, or assistance on his rig, even if it is technically her rig. He definitely doesn’t believe in UTIs—Underwater Terrestrial Intelligences, although UFO works too Underwater Flying Objects… everything about these characters contradicts when they encounter a ‘Russian water tentacle’ and Virgil Brigman is left stranded and out of oxygen at the bottom of—and by the end of—The Abyss

Thomas Anderson doesn’t believe, in The Matrix. Not that he doesn’t believe in the Matrix, he just can’t quite find the answer to the question: What is The Matrix? Mr. Anderson doesn’t much believe in himself either, but, at the same time, something nags at him, driving him. He certainly doesn’t believe the Matrix is what Morpheus tells him it is, and he definitely doesn’t believe that he is The One. Not until he takes the Red Pill, falls out of his reality, falls into love, throws up a little of his single-cell protein Tasty-Wheat breakfast, and takes 8 to 15 bullets at point-blank range in the chest, not to mention stomaching enough character-contradictions to fuel 2 sequels!

Bill S Preston, Esq. and Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan certainly don’t believe in time-travel, nor in their own importance in the grand scheme of things. Character contradictions (and laughs!) abound though as we embark with them on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Marty McFly doesn’t think his style of rock’n’roll is too loud, nor that his friend, eccentric scientist Emmett Brown is any more fruity than Marty’s own wacky family. Marty certainly doesn’t believe in himself as much as he should. And, he too definitely doesn’t believe in time-travel, until he has to get himself Back to the Future three times over, facing multiple character-contradictions, growth, as well as several close encounters with the space-time continuum.

Sonny Koufax doesn’t believe he can be Big Daddy enough to sweet little Julian in order to win back sweetheart Vanessa’s love. Sonny doesn’t have enough faith in himself to find work as a lawyer after graduating law school, so how can he be a father figure to this kid? Character-contradictions collide when Sonny tries to give Julian up to foster care, almost gets arrested, and is forced to become the lawyer his father always knew he could be, representing himself in the custody suit for the kid he thought he no longer wanted. All this in an Adam Sandler movie!?! WOW!

More Sandler? OK! Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore also decidedly under-achievers. Billy doesn’t believe he can or even wants to take over his father’s hotel-chain empire, especially since there are so many other capable folk vying for the job. Happy is a hockey player, and that’s all he wants to be, but he wants to be a pro. If only he could manage his anger-issues and violent-tendencies and channel that energy into puck-management, he would be. With the help of a sweet and sexy third-grade teacher, a sweet, sexy PGA-tour image consultant and a generous dose of character-contradictions, Billy and Happy find some self-worth, and ultimately determine their own fates

Paul ‘Wrecking’ Crue doesn’t believe he will ever suffer behind his superstar football QB image, regardless the shadow of scandal which hangs over him. He certainly doesn’t think he’ll ever get himself arrested, let alone do hard time in the hole in gen-pop. And he would deny most emphatically ever throwing a(nother) football game, especially guards-vs-cons, given that the penalty for winning that game would mean another 10 to 20 years get tacked on to his sentence. Character-contradictions take to the huddle, leading QB-coach/team-leader/role model Paul Crue to do just that, as he runs The Longest Yard

Eddie Kasalovich doesn’t believe he’s too-smart-for-his-own-good, he doesn’t think he’s so great, he hasn’t really applied his knowledge by getting a real-job in any field; he’s a lab-rat, of sorts. He doesn’t think that his friend and mentor, Dr. Barkley, nor government goon, Paul Shannon, nor fellow-lab-rat, Lu Chen, are bad guys. And he certainly doesn’t believe that using harmonics-based fusion to develop an alternative source of energy will ignite a Chain Reaction that will envelop himself and his pretty, perky, plucky partner Lily in a murder-conspiracy plot. Enter some few character-contradictions and that’s exactly what happens…

Like sports movies, but not a fan of Adam Sandler? Doug Dorsey was within moments of Olympic Gold when a brutal injury sidelined him and his Gold medal hockey-hopes, permanently. He doesn’t believe he is anything but a hockey player, even goes back to Minnesota and fails to fit in with the working class folk back home. He certainly doesn’t believe he will ever be found on The Cutting Edge of Olympic Gold again, as partners in the pairs-figure-skating arena. Characters become a mass of contradiction (even as hearts melt over the skating rink) once hotshot hothead Doug is confronted by the cold-as-ice prima-donna, Kate Moseley in what may well be the last chance for Olympic Gold for each of them.

Detective Del Spooner, along with the rest of the world in 2035, doesn’t believe that I, Robot could ever commit a murder. It’s not part of their programming. Spooner doesn’t believe he will ever come to accept a robot as much more than a glorified toaster-oven, after an incident involving a robot which saved Spooner but left a helpless little girl to drown. Neither does Spooner think so much of his own particular place in life since the accident. Character-contradictions step in and step up the story when Spooner investigates the death of his friend Dr Lanning, only to find that it appears the death was not as obviously a suicide as first appeared. In fact, all evidence points to the fact that a robot, with the contradictory name Sonny, may well have done the dark and dastardly deed…

Ellis Boyd Redding doesn’t believe Andy Dufresne is cut out for life in prison, no more than he believes that Andy’s philosophy of Eternal Hope will see the soft-hearted, quiet soul through the hard times ahead. Red pegs Andy early as the first to break down and cry that first night, and that thinking costs Red a healthy amount of smokes. A great deal of character contradictions later, and a certain Shawshank Redemption is realized by both Andy and Red, as they maybe share a beer or two, same as they shared on the roof that hot summer in Shawshank years earlier, though Andy may still not be a drinker in the end of the film…

Thelma Dickenson is the typical quiet housewife; the man, her husband Darryl, brings home the bacon, Thelma fries it up in the pan while Darryl watches football on TV. Louise Sawyer pines after her rock-star beau, even as she struggles to support herself on a waitress’ salary while waiting for Jimmy to make it big and taker her with him into rock-legend superstardom. The gals take a road-trip, and, plenty of character-contradiction later vaults Thelma and Louise to the top of America’s Most Wanted charts, and plummets them into the world of fugitives on the run. It’s all down-hill from there, but what a twisty-curvy-sexy ride with these two spitfire gal-pals!

Gumshoe Eddie Valiant doesn’t like toons; heck, a toon dropped a piano on Eddie’s partner, killing him! Doesn’t matter that toons didn’t know you couldn’t just reinflate a human by blowing air into a thumb—EDDIE HATES TOONS! Character-contradiction steps in and smacks Eddie upside the head, in the shapely form of seductive toon siren, Jessica Rabbit. Before Porky Pig can say Th-th-th-th-th-th-That’s All Folks, Eddie is on the case, trying to solve the mystery of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? In the end, poor Eddie even voluntarily plants a sloppy wet kiss on ol’ unsuspecting Roger! How’s that for character-contradiction?!

Luke Skywalker doesn’t think he’ll ever be allowed to join the Republic Army Academy and fight in any Star Wars, nor amount to anything more than Tatooine’s premiere expert moisture-vaporator repairman. He certainly doesn’t think he’ll ever really know, let alone master, the Force to become a Jedi like his father before him… heck, on Tattooine, he doesn’t even know what the Force is nor who his own father was! A healthy dose of character-contradiction (not to mention the interdiction and tutelage of a Muppet and a ghost or two) and 2 sequels later, Luke completes his training in time to fight back even as The Empire Strikes Back and finally marks the Return of the Jedi as Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight helps his father to fulfill an ancient prophecy which brings balance back to the Force and does away with the evil Empire and the dreaded Sith once and for all.

Now, in typical Star Wars fashion, I bring you the prequel to the above: Anakin Skywalker doesn’t believe he will ever be freed from his bonds as slave to become a star-pilot and see every planet in every system of that galaxy far far away; try as he might, he just can’t find that darn locator chip buried somewhere inside him… he certainly doesn’t think he’ll ever get a girl so fine and sweet as ‘the angel’ Padme the Naboo Queen’s handmaiden. Anakin and his mother are doomed to be slaves to a CGI alien junk-dealer! It would take a Force of untold midichlorian-levels, and many-much-multiple grand and sweeping character contradictions, to propel little Anakin to the stars; to face The Phantom Menace of his own destiny; to go against his own internal workings after years spent fixing droids to fight with clones against droids during the Attack of the Clones; to discovering the true identity of the Evil Sith Lord as the ultimate betrayal and the Revenge of the Sith is complete. Somehow though, it all works out, and almost matches up with the sequels that were made 20 years earlier!! WOW! And WOW again!


These are but a few examples, some are obvious, some are probably quite weak, I admit. Still, not a bad effort, right?

Message Edited by crAZRick on 04-04-200708:13 PM

I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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