Heroes. Close your eyes and picture one. I imagine you’re picturing someone brave with a great chin, someone who is ice-cool when under pressure, someone who saves the day and gets the girl. Now close your eyes and picture a giant nerd.
You may have an image in your mind of some Beauty And The Geek reject or that kid you were in school with that was voted most likely to die a virgin. What you definitely won’t be picturing are any of the screen heroes featured on this list.
That’s because, via the magic of cinema and choice casting decisions, these giant nerds are transformed from the socially awkward, introverted nerdilingers they should be into calm as a coma, Nazi-killing, ghost busting, terrorist slapping heroes.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 10 screen heroes who should have been giant nerds.
10. Robert Neville – I Am Legend (2007)
Will Smith’s Robert Neville is the last man alive in a world overrun with infected man-eaters. As per standard Hollywood hero criteria he is proficient with an M16 machine gun, drives a flash motor and is built like the proverbial brick sh*t-house but the monsters in this film should be picking him out of their teeth long before he blows himself up.
Why? Because Robert Neville is a man who has supposedly dedicated his life to science and not sit-ups. This man has graced the cover of Time magazine as the world’s most eminent virologist. The man could probably cure the common cold before breakfast. This all means one thing. He’s been staring into a test tube for most of his life and probably can’t get a date. In other words…big nerd.
I am legend? I have asthma and a rash from my cords more like…
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Every movie has character and story, but sometimes what really makes a narrative move is what those characters want and why the story is even being told in the first place. This usually involves an item. A single item. Nothing more. It can be money or a diamond or a letter. It can be something that the characters will kill to get or kill to protect. An item can tell us everything we need to know about a character or story without anyone having to say it or it can morph a character into something completely different.
Story driving items in film can be the life and blood of a movie. Sometimes it can create an entire franchise. An item can be a reflection of the audience. It can represent our greed, lust, or ambition. It helps us relate with the characters and get more involved with the stories on screen. We may want the same item as bad as the protagonists or we understand why something would be so fantastic to have.
Here, I present a quick list of 10 iconic items from great films where I hope to touch on their presence in the film and why they are great as samples of items that push a film to great heights and why they have become iconic in image. I will avoid living beings, cars, and animated features, to focus the list.
So here is a top eight rundown of great film items that force themselves at the center of the film’s attention…
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When a company owns the rights to multiple franchises a few cheeky cameos are to be expected. Something for serious fans to watch out for or the foundation of greater expanded universe (the disaster that was AVP started out life as a brilliant little easter egg), it’s all a bit par for the course in an age where every piece of movie trivia ever is at our fingertips.
The odd cases (eight of which I’ll have a look at today) are where the cameos make absolutely no sense. Maybe the company didn’t own the rights to the character they were guest starring or these two worlds had no business colliding, but all of these are as ridiculous as they are brilliant.
Honourable Mention – Pixar
Unless it’s your first day on the Internet, it should come as no surprise to see Pixar appear on this list in some form. Since their very early short film days there was a crossover of designs (a mixture of saving time by reusing animation models and honouring their previous successes) and as time’s gone by it’s only got more prolific; beginning with the Pizza Planet Truck becoming a recurring joke and the chess player from short Geri’s Game popping up as a toy repairer in Toy Story 2, we’re now accustomed to upcoming characters making little cameos in the latest film.
Jessie and Nemo are in Boo’s room in Monsters, Inc., Dug scares Remy in Ratatouille, Merida’s family appear as vehicles in a tapestry in Cars 2; you get the idea. However, there’s such an intrinsic link between all these characters that it doesn’t really deserve its own entry, but I’m always up for giving such gleeful creativity a nod.
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