Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Heroes and Villians

Often times, a great Protagonist has a flaw that makes him seem more human, or that complicates his status as the hero. At the same time, a great Antagonist might have certain virtues that make him sympathetic, complicating our feelings toward him as the villain.

Who are some of your favorite heroes and villains from films, and what flaws and virtues do they possess that play against their function as “the good guy” and “the bad guy?” (Or girl, as it were!)
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Heroes and Villians

The Marines and the JAG lawyers from Rob Reiner's court-room classic A Few Good Men all have waltzing Flaws and Virtues as the pre-trial evidenciary proceedings progress into the court room. Although Navy Lieutenant and JAG officer Daniel Caffey acts as lead defense attorney/protagonist, it's really an ensemble piece, with lawyers and witnesses on both sides of the aisle demonstrating some hard-core flaws and virtues at the same time.

Caffey is cocky but lazy, having successfully plea-bargained a dozen cases, never having to go to trial, never having to really argue or fight for his clients rights, never having to make a case; he may be by-the-book, but he goes out of his way to rewrite a few chapters of that book, in order to expedite matters and avoid the tedium of trial-law. But, he is also haunted by the ghost of his father, a late, great trial attorney. Daniel has something to prove, to the judge, to his peers, to his clients, and most importantly, to himself.

There are the defendants, Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and PFC Loden Downey, charged with 1st-degree murder for assaulting and killing a Marine from their own platoon, who insist that they were 'just following orders'... but, orders to kill one of their own, granted a weaker and unfit, substandard one of their own?? Dawson and Downey's commanding officers, Platoon Commander Lieutenant John Kendrick, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Markinson, and Colonel Nathan Jessep each have that certain virtue of being 'American fighting men' stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, '[they] eat breakfast 300 yards from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill [them]...' so perhaps some latitude should be afforded their specific 'training rituals,' including the practice of 'Code Reds'. Latitude during training is one thing, but lying about it and staging a grand cover-up for the benefit and detrement of the JAG corps and the 2 helpless defendants is something else.

the head-to-head faceoff between Tom Cruise as Caffey and Jack Nicholson as Colonel Jessep is classic and powerful, and exposes all of the virtues and flaws of each character in a rapid-fire assault of dialogue and bravado.

**************************************************

How about Blade, Day-Walker, vampire/vampire-hunter? he's a Vampire alright, he has the cravings, the thirst for blood, but he fights it with the help of Whistler and some sort of serum, while he fights the rest of 'his kind' and defends humans against the things that go CHOMP! in the night.

The antagonists in Blade are real bad bloosuckers, no real redeeming qualities there.

**************************************************

U.S. Marshal Sam Girard is just doing his job, trying to track down and catch fugitives who have escaped custody after committing terrible crimes. He's set-up as the antagonist in The Fugitive and its sequel US Marshals but really, he's just damn good at his job catching bad guys, or even good-guys unjustly accused.

**************************************************

Jason Bourne was a trained assassin; all he knows is how to kill, and kill on command. When he loses his memory, loses his Bourne Identity after a mission-gone-wrong, Bourne is treated like an experiment-gone-wrong, to be eliminated by the same shady sorts who trained him in the first place. He's got all the flaws and virtues of those soldiers from A Few Good Men all rolled into one, Jason Bourne.

that's a good start, I guess...
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Heroes and Villians

oh, and Hannibal Lecter sorta the Anti-Protagonist, or the Pro-Antagonist nightmare.
He is absolutely brilliant, absolutely sociopathic and psychotic, and oh ya, sometimes, he eats people... but, other than that, he's a great good guy/bad guy!
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Hannibal Lector

[ Edited ]
Rick, thanks for your interesting posts. As an aside, Hannibal Lector, technically speaking, is not the antagonist of Silence of the Lambs. That honor belongs to Buffalo Bill, who is the focus of Clarice's goal, the primary obstacle. One of the things that makes SotL so brilliant is that Lector, oft cited as one of the greatest screen vilains of all time, is sort of a switch hitter, sometimes working with Clarice, sometimes getting in her way. But really the role he fulfills is more in line with that of the mentor, a la Obe Wan Kenobi. Challenging her to face her demons, to rise to the occasion, to find a deeper strength. And yet we fear him more than Bill himself! A truly original creation.

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-27-200712:32 PM

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-27-200712:33 PM

Ian
Frequent Contributor
Ian
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎03-15-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Heroes and Villians

My all-time favourite hero is Spider-man. This goes back to when I was a kid but it was a treat to see the story put to film. Peter Parker is a normal teenager who just happens to have superpowers. He's considered a geek and a loser who has trouble dealing with people (especially girls like Mary Jane). He blames himself for his uncle's death and carries that guilt around with him always. It looks like they're going to be exploring even more of Peter's flaws in the upcoming film - his lust for revenge.

Look at Spidey's list of villains and foes. Doctor Octavius (Doc Ock) is a brilliant scientist trying to solve the world's energy crisis but becomes possessed by his 'arms' when they take control of his mind. In the end we still see that he wants the best for mankind and refuses to die a villain. The Green Goblin is Norman Osborne, an industrialist that is always looking for new inventions, yet he falls victim to his own research and wants only revenge on those that oppose his way of thining. So, too, does his son, Harry, who is the new Green Goblin - the only thing on his mind is revenging his father's death, yet we know he is a good person by his actions towards his friends.

Matt Dillon's cop character in Crash is a great example of a seriously flawed hero. In one scene he practically rapes a woman and shows his true racist colours and then he risks his own life to save that same woman from certain death.

Good question. I'd love to what others think. I hope a few lurkers jump in.

Cheers,
Ian
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: (more) Heroes and Villians

I got another couple:

Narcotics Detective Alonzo Harris seems like a damn good fit for the job when rookie Detective Jake Hoyt transfers into Alonzo's unit for his Training Day. Hard core, dedicated, street-smart and slick, Jake is awed and honored to tag along, and soon comes to learn that Alonzo has friends (and enemies) all the way up the food change on both sides of the Law. Unfortunately, Alonzo and his unit are actually 'bad cops,' padding their retirement funds with large percentages of moneys found in search-and-seizure raids, killing 'friends/contacts' on the fringes of the drug-trade, and setting Jake up as the bad-cop at every twisted turn. The way the character is drawn, you get the feeling that Alonzo probably was that super-cop at one point, but got twisted along the way, long before his run-in with the Russian mafia-boss's family in Las Vegas...

Jake Hoyt's daisy-fresh rookie protagonist in Training Day reminds me of another of Ethan Hawke's roles as a police officer named Jake. In fact, in the remake of Assault of Precinct 13 it could just as well be the same Jake Hoyt, a few years wiser and more jaded, tranferred from the mean streets of LA to the cold streets of Detroit, and twisted ever-so-slightly toward his own inner-Alonozo-Harris after a drug sting operation cost the lives of his team. Jake Roenick is a functioning addict and a drinker, blames his addiction to pills and booze on recurring pains from wounds suffered in the broken-bust. Jake seems content to wallow behind a desk, even happy to be spending New Years Eve at the antiquated and nearly-abandoned 13th Precinct. This flick is jam-packed with good-cop/bad-cop schtick, as well as bad crooks/worse crooks, and a few damsels in nice dress, and most of the characters, including cop Roenick and cop-killer Marion Bishop, demonstrate virtues and flaws in varying degrees throughout the film.
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Training Day

[ Edited ]
I love Training Day. Pop quiz. Who's the protagonist and who's the antagonist? Why?

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-28-200706:39 PM

Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Training Day (more spoilers!!)

[ Edited ]

danielnoah wrote:
I love Training Day. Pop quiz. Who's the protagonist and who's the antagonist? Why?

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-28-200706:39 PM






Is this another one of those Mod-God trick questions??

On the surface, I would think it's obvious as the closing credits role, Jake is the Protagonist, Alonzo is the Antagonist. That seems to be too easy though.

In another way, it's Cops vs Robbers, so in that way, Jake, Alonzo and the Narc-unit are Protagonists, while Sandman, Roger, Snoop-Dog, those 2 rapists/junkies, and the East-Side Threses gang are Antagonists

of course, in Alonzo's world, he is God/Protagonist and the mad Russians as well as the suits in the higher-up positions in the force and in government, along with the junkies and scum from the streets, and even including rookie-punk wannabes like Jake, are against him, Antagonists all.


if you want me to break it down further, OK, I will, since this is another rarity:
a film I have actually seen!!






SPOILERS AHEAD, if you haven't seen Training Day (you really should see this flick!)











Of course, this is 'one of those films' where it's not exactly all black-and-white; Alonzo does get some pretty good results out there on the mean streets; he plays catch-and-release with the 'small fish' while trolling for the sharks. His motto is 'To protect the sheep, you have to catch the wolf. To catch the wolf, you have to become the wolf.' So, Alonzo makes a pretty good/flawed protagonist-type... right up to the point where he gets Jake high on PCP (at gunpoint), raids Sandman's home (illegally, with a To-Go menu as a warrant) to illegally acquire the funds to buy the warrant to raid Roger's house illegally (and kills Roger, illegally), to acquire the funds to pay off his personal debt to the mad Russians from Vegas.

Jake also shows a few near-fatal flaws by sticking with Alonzo throughout the course of this long training day; he is given several opportunities to quit, give up, go back to his desk in the valley or take a position as a beat cop, but Jake doesn't give up. He knows something ain't right with Alonzo's style almost from the get-go at the coffee-shop, where Alonzo calls Jake's virtue and honor into question upon hearing Jake's story of his night patrol with his Training Officer, Debbie. Then, Alonzo gets Jake high, and they get way extreme making a 'routine bust' of a few small-time college kids making a drug buy from one of Alonzo's street contacts. This is followed by Jake's confrontation with a couple of would-be rapist-junkies; Alonzo observes Jake taking a beating, and only steps in as back-up once Jake has managed to turn the tables using a (illegal) choke-hold to subdue one of the attackers. Then they bust Snoop-Dog, and it's Alonozo's turn to try some illegal tactics, to force Snoop to gag-up a few crack rocks, in order to get Snoop to roll over and give up his supplier, Sandman. Jake tries the righteous-cop routine after the Snoop-Dog and Sandman busts, but Alonzo won't hear it; by this point, Alonzo knows enough about Jake to know he can be coerced and molded into the perfect team-player for Alonzo's special unit. At the same time, Jake has learned almost enough about Alonzo's tactics to have serious reservations about his place in the unit. Still, Jake hangs out and hangs on Alonzo's every word and deed, which sorta brings a few shades of gray into Jake's character and role as Protagonist.

Of course, then it's off to Roger's house, after a quick meet-and-greet with the power-and-money men in the police department and government; Alonzo introduces Jake to the top-dog watch-dogs, then buys the warrant using the money he stole during the Sandman raid. When they raid Roger's place, the team steals $1-million of Roger's $4-million stash, and Alonzo orders Jake to kill Roger; Jake refuses, so Alonzo does the deed, but the crew cooks up the story that says Jake did the shooting, which pushes Jake over the edge; he has had enough. Alonzo talks Jake down, says that he has the right instincts, that he has shown himself worthy of taking Alonzo's place as leader of the unit some day, once Jake's street-cred gets a little more solid; all the while, Alonzo has secretly sealed Jake's fate, while they're moving on up, to the East side, to a ghetto apartment for Jake's final lesson in Life.

Jake makes another rookie mistake, allowing himself to be separated from his shady partner/mentor in what Jake already knows is very very hostile territory, and Alonzo leaves Jake to be dealt with by Smiley and the East Side Threses. Here's where Jake's being a 'good cop' pays off and saves his life; when Smiley learns that Jake saved his cousin from being raped in the alley earlier, Smiley spares Jake's life, and Jake goes gunning for Alonzo. Good cop Jake and bad cop Alonzo square off before Alonzo's fateful meeting with the mad-Russians. Jake wins (Protagonist wins, right??) and takes back the blood-money Alonzo stole, as well as taking Alonzo's detective badge, earning Jake himself some street-cred with the gang-bangers in the projects. Alonzo's bad-cop gets his pay-off as he tries to flee to LAX airport, and has a run-in with the mad-Russians who have been waiting for him to run...

the theatrical ending has Jake returning home to his lovely wife and newborne baby girl (Protagonist's Happy Ending); an alternate ending shows Jake meeting with the suits and handing over the money he had acquired from Alonzo (Gray Area Ending?); another alternate ending could have/should have been produced showing Jake hoarding those ill-gotten gains, completing his training and prepping him to take over the bad-cop/good-cop routine from Alonzo (Completely Shady Ending).

In the end, I'm gonna stand by my original assertion and assumption that Jake is the Protagonist and Alonzo is the Antagonist in this masterpiece of contemporary mythology. Although I did forget to cover the way that Alonzo is solid in his beliefs, and is training Jake, Obi-Wan-style, while Jake is resistant to the changes required to fully-accept Alonzo's training methods, which sorta makes Alonzo the Protagonist for having unwaivering values (corrupted though they may be) while Jake Antagonizes Alonzo at most every turn...

Message Edited by crAZRick on 04-28-200709:26 PM

I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Spider-man/Peter Parker

Ian, superheroes are fascinating archetypes, and Spider-man's one of the enduring greats. I have a question for you. How are Peter Parker and Spider-man differentiated in the films, if at all? In other words, are they treated as the same guy, with or without the costume, or are they sometimes at odds as though they were two different characters?
Ian
Frequent Contributor
Ian
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎03-15-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Spider-man/Peter Parker

Peter is constantly at odds with 'being' Spider-man. Look at the second film - one of the story lines was that Peter gave up being Spider-man to have a chance at a normal life. He kept missing out on the little things like seeing M.J. in her play. He believes if his enemies were ever to find out his identity (as Goblin did in the first film) then the only people to get hurt would be those he loves. So, he struggles with his powers.

This is all tempered with a great line written a long time ago by Stan Lee - "With great power comes great responsibility."

As for Superman, I'm stumped. I'm thinking it is something to do with all of the other heroes having to hide behind a costume as a hero where as Superman hides as a human. He's a true outsider; an alien. He was also born with his powers. Am I close?

Love these chats.

Cheers,
Ian
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Spider-man/Peter Parker


Ian wrote: As for Superman, I'm stumped. I'm thinking it is something to do with all of the other heroes having to hide behind a costume as a hero where as Superman hides as a human. He's a true outsider; an alien. He was also born with his powers. Am I close?



Yes! Most superheroes are regular people with powers who dress up as alter egos to fight crime. Superman is really superman; his alter ago is Clark Kent.

Not sure what this illuminates about drama. It's just interesting.

Actually, I do know. Heroes like Spider-man struggle to be themselves. As you pointed out in your post, Peter longs to just be Peter. But Superman must become someone else in order to be normal. It's a completely different dramatic dynamic.
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Spider-man/Peter Parker



Ian wrote:
As for Superman, I'm stumped. I'm thinking it is something to do with all of the other heroes having to hide behind a costume as a hero where as Superman hides as a human. He's a true outsider; an alien. He was also born with his powers. Am I close?



I would agree with that assessment as to what makes Superman unique amongst superheroes; that his 'costume' is as a human while all other superheroes wear costumes as their superhero alter-ego, to hide their human identities. Some movie or TV show mentioned that, but I forget which one...

Everything except Superman being born with his powers. When he was born, on Krypton, he had no special powers, did he? Our yellow sun gave him his powers when he crash-landed on Earth, right?? when he flies to other solar systems with different colored suns, his powers change, I think. I'm not a big comic book geek, and it's not covered so in-depth in the movies, but that's how I remember it being...

maybe I'm way off??
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Superman

Another superhero question for you. Of all the popular superheroes, what makes Superman unique?
Contributor
angus
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎03-22-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Superman



danielnoah wrote:
Another superhero question for you. Of all the popular superheroes, what makes Superman unique?




His aversion to Kryptonite?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Superman

[ Edited ]

angus wrote:

His aversion to Kryptonite?




Not quite what I was fishing for, but technically - yes!

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-29-200707:07 PM

Contributor
ThaddeusRMcGillicutty
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Heroes and Villians

My favorite all time hero in the movies is Rick Deckard in Blade Runner. He's supposed to be the good guy, taking down the evil replicants, but once you delve deeper, all is not what it seems. He is a heavy drinker, and in a cowardly act, shoots a replicant woman in the back as she runs away from him. He also isn't the most pleasant man in the World, but you root for him, flaws and all.

A villain I loved for some reason was Zorg in the Fifth Element. Sure, he's evil, but he is not badass evil. He's a coward who is doing the bidding of a giant evil so he doesn't get snuffed out. He lies, he cheats, he shoots anyone in his way. While there are villains you can root for (Darth Vader), Zorg is a villain who you detest for being such a wuss.
"It's a madhouse....A MAAAAAAAAAAAADHOUSE!"
-Planet of the Apes
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Dekkard

Welcome, Thaddeus. Dekkard is a great one, for sure. Not even a particularly brave hero, when you get down to it. He spends much of the movie trying to avoid getting his ass kicked by replicants. Cowardice is, in fact, the precise opposite of what we tend to root for in a hero. So why do we root for Dekkard?

Not a rhetorical question. What do you think?
Frequent Contributor
crAZRick
Posts: 489
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Dekkard

I root for characters like Dekkard and John McClane because they are decidely NOT the typical super-human hero ilk, and they don't want to be; average Joes caught-up in extraordinary situations and circumstances, just trying to survive, not thrive and be recognized for their feats.
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Frequent Contributor
danielnoah
Posts: 141
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Dekkard

McClane's archetype is that of the regular guy, but he's far from regular. He's pretty extraordinary, actually.

In case you didn't know, Bruce Willis has been hanging out and talking with fans over at Ain't It Cool News.
Contributor
ThaddeusRMcGillicutty
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-20-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Dekkard

[ Edited ]

danielnoah wrote:
Welcome, Thaddeus. Dekkard is a great one, for sure. Not even a particularly brave hero, when you get down to it. He spends much of the movie trying to avoid getting his ass kicked by replicants. Cowardice is, in fact, the precise opposite of what we tend to root for in a hero. So why do we root for Dekkard?

Not a rhetorical question. What do you think?




I believe we root for Deckard because he may have cowardly tendancies once in awhile, but he's a human being (unless you listen to Ridley Scott). He makes mistakes, but at the same time, he deals with what is dealt with him. He's forced to come back to the LAPD by his old boss. He has to go up against 5 very angry replicants by himself. Sure he tries to avoid them at the same time, but what would any of us do in that situation? We'd probably end up doing the same thing. That makes him easy to identify with.

Message Edited by ThaddeusRMcGillicutty on 05-12-200702:52 PM

"It's a madhouse....A MAAAAAAAAAAAADHOUSE!"
-Planet of the Apes