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Jun 27, 2007

A very special episode of Fletch's Favored Five

Warning: the post you are about to read is in poor taste at best, and possibly offensive at worst. Proceed with caution - and lighten up!

"Stupid is as stupid does." - Forrest Gump

"I like the way you talk, too." - Karl Childers

"Sometimes they're bald because their head is shiny and they don't have hair on it. So their head is just more of their face." - Sam Dawson

Listed above are some of the most famous quotes that the film world has ever seen (okay, maybe not the third one so much - that's from I Am Sam). Their common thread? The words were all uttered by characters that are, well, let's just say they're "special" in one way or another. A conversation the other day got me thinking - who are my favorite mentally challenged characters? I feel compelled to share with you...

Honorable Mentions

Sam Dawson, Sam I Am
Only the man that brought Jeff Spicoli to the national consciousness could have played Sam. Wait a sec, what am I saying? I never saw this, and neither did anyone else. But it sure as hell looks funny.

Steve Barker, The Ringer
Johnny Knoxville, the original Jackass, as a guy scamming his way into the Special Olympics? Brilliant. He and a host of other "non-special" actors (including a recognizable face from Galazy Quest and Supertroopers) do their best to appear as naturally "special" as they can, with varying degrees on success. So wrong, but pretty good at times.

Radio, Radio
Further proof that Cuba Gooding, Jr. - he of eternal promise following Jerry Maguire - will take any job in a feature film that he can possibly get. Snow Dogs? Sure. Norbit? Whatever. Playing Eddie Murphy in the gawdawful-looking sequel to Daddy Day Care (as if anyone cared about the first)? Sure!

And now...the Corky Awards:

5. "Brian," The Score
Okay, so technically, Ed Norton wasn't playing a "special" character for the duration of The Score. His "Brian" was just a role within his character's role needed to infiltrate a storage house as part of a con. But the few blessed minutes that "Brian" is onscreen are enough to make you wish he was there the whole time, especially for his scenes with Brando.

4. Karl Childers (Sling Blade)
If ever you don't think Billy Bob Thornton is a great actor, just watch this, Bad Santa, and Tombstone back-to-back-to-back. Despite never changing his looks all that much, the man is a fantastic chameleon, and this, his star-making performance, is funny, touching and scary all at once.

3. Carla Tate/Daniel McMann, The Other Sister
Truth be told, I've not seen this entire film, but I've seen enough to know that a) it's a terrible, terrible movie, directed by the Human Sap Machine, Mr. Garry Marshall (Beaches, Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries) and b) it's an awesome, amazing film, features some of the funniest performances of all time by Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi.

Unfortunately, it's not a comedy. Could've fooled me - and someone even went to the trouble to make a drinking game ought of it - brilliant.

2. Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump
He's pretty much the reigning Godfather of these types of roles, with the film having made some $300+ million (back in 1994) and spawning a cottage industry of merchandise, from boxes of chocolate to Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurants (not bad, by the way). Hanks spawned more catchphrases as Gump than he had in the rest of his career combined, I imagine. That said, in my heart, he still can't top...

1. Warren Jensen, There's Something About Mary
Have you seen his baseball? Oh, and a word to the wise...don't touch his ears.

5 people have chosen wisely: on "A very special episode of Fletch's Favored Five"

bixby said...

Excellent column. But one glaring omission: Where is Leonardo DiCaprio from What's Eating Gilbert Grape??? He was great as a tard! Remember when Johnny Depp left him in the tub and he didn't even know to get out? That was cinematic (special) gold.

And another character... "Tell me about the rabbits, George."

And I still think Edward Norton shouldn't count.

Still, kudos.

J.D. said...

I'm actually really, really offended.

bixby said...

The only thing I'm offended by is Leo not being included.

Fletch said...

I figured Leo had gotten more than enough publicity, and his inclusion isn't nearly as much fun as Warren's or The Other Sister folks. But he can have the Bixby Ding Fries Are Done Special Award if that makes you feel better.

I've read the book, but haven't seen the film version of "Of Mice and Men." Though, considering that Lenny's a rabid (yet gentle and seemingly innocent) murderer, he's no fun, either.

bixby said...

The best part about the most recent Of Mice and Men is that Lenny is played by John Malkovich, which led to the great line in Being John Malkovich, "Hey Malkovich, I loved you in that movie where you played the retard. My cousin's a retard!"