Round 4 is when you start to make or break your team in any draft. Fantasy football, WWII, your fourth tap beer–all of them are turning point picks. The goal in the first three rounds is not to screw your team up. There is no winning a draft in the first three rounds. There is only losing in the first three rounds. Like Shonn Greene or early evening tequila shots.
I got three solid picks in Gollum, the Joker, and Randy “The Ram” Robinson in my back pocket. Virtually all of them are the same type. Disfigured anti-heroes doing what they do, the only way they know how. All of them have their varying inner mantra as to why they keep putting it out there. At some point they’ve probably all been suicidal, but they do it all for the ring, the anarchy, and the fans.
I guess that says more about me than I care to admit, but I never really thought about the draft until I sat down to write this piece. During the draft I was at various places in various states making picks from a cheat sheet I wrote down in 15 minutes. Now that I look at it, I’ve taken fairly self-reflective characters. Obsessive, humorous, centers of attention that are driven by the need to be loved.
Here, I went for a reach but it was a guy who fit my team’s profile, Dean Ziegler. I was terrified that he wouldn’t be on my team. If you’ve never seen “Cedar Rapids,” I highly recommend it. There are plenty of movies out there like it, but “Cedar Rapids” is more genuine, realistic, and fucking hilarious. And at the heart of it is John C. Reilly at his best. Ziegler doesn’t sweat the small stuff and stays true to his goals. Whereas the first three guys I took don’t have a friend in the world, Deansy does. We probably are drawn to characters in movies that handle their business how we’d like to handle ours. This is that and it’s my favorite pick of the draft.
Your general managers
Fantastico, Fantasy Douche, Eddie Strait, Blake Hurtik, Deion Moskal, Kat Gotsick, Rumford Johnny, Ramon Ramirez, Robert Rich, Chris Marler, David Kallison, Ken Griggs, Josh Klein, Sigmund Bloom, Erin Payton, Courtney Cox
#49 Sigmund Bloom: Antoine Doinel, “The 400 Blows,” etc.
Doinel is worth a pick on the strength of his central place in a revolutionary film and his unique screen life that spans five films and 20 years in the life of the character (always played by the same actor, Jean-Pierre Léaud). What draws me to him even more is his role as the standard-bearer for the urge to reject the adult world in adolescence (and beyond). He is the Holden Caufield of the screen, rebelling against the establishment in all of its forms to be spewn forth into a life of autonomy at an early age. Children of Doinel’s age went on to lead a worldwide revolution.
#50 Erin Payton: Jonathan Mardukas, “Midnight Run”
I love anything Charles Grodin has done and I blame that spunky Beethoven for curtailing his acting career. Jonathan ‘The Duke’ Mardukas is the perfect example of Grodin’s brilliance. The Duke is at once charming, guileless, and cunning. He pulls off the ultimate long con on Robert DeNiro’s Jack Walsh, and yet at the end of the film, Walsh lets him go and they part friends, or at least with mutual respect. His one liners add the perfect amount of levity into what could have been just another odd couple type action film.
#51 Robert Rich: Ron Burgundy, “Anchorman”
I landed Burgundy! Everybody, come see how good my team looks! He’s a man’s man, a Ron Swanson type that just wants to write in his journal and eat burritos and learn Spanish from little Baxter. He reads the news, and he does it well. He makes ladies swoon with his jazz flute skills and jumps into GODDAMN BEAR PITS. Burgundy is the man you only wish you could be. And that voice. My god, that voice of an angel.
#52 Fantastico: Dean Ziegler, “Cedar Rapids”
Total Reach but I don’t fucking care. John C. Reilly plays a sympathetic asshole that you root for the whole time. Nearly impossible to do. Plus he plays him so well, I believe the Deansy actually exists. Everyone who does this type of role always goes way over the top, but not Johnny C. My favorite comedic actor doing my favorite role? A no brainer. Who wants shots? Down your hole, bitches.
#53 Courtney Cox: Sparky Polastri, “Bring it On” (auto-draft)
Sparky taught me what real jazz hands are and knocked the Toro cheerleaders down a notch (he walks through judging the girls: “You, you have weak ankles. One of your calves is bigger than the other. Too much makeup. Not enough makeup.”). While important for pushing the plot along, he serves as a minor character to the racial and economic lines drawn between the Toro and Clover squads battling for one of those cheerleading championships that air on ESPNU every year. He also used one of my favorite Jock Jams songs for the routine he sells to the Toros (and every other cheerleading squad in the area), asking the all important question, “Y’ALL READY FOR THIS?!?!”
#54 Deion Moskal: Dr. Richard Kimball, “The Fugitive”
Kimball would be nothing without U.S. Marshall Samuel Gerard. As great a year 1993 was for movies (“Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” “Philadelphia,” “Tombstone,” “Dazed and Confused”) there wasn’t a better exchange than the one shared between these two in the drainage tunnel.
#55 Blake Hurtik: Django, “Django Unchained”
People are hesitant to take characters from new movies because they haven’t had time or been told how to gauge their legacies. But whatever man. Ball don’t lie. Django is the Mike Trout of this draft. Jamie Foxx’s freed-from-chains bounty hunter is an instant all time great, hitting the cinematic equivalent of 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in his first season. Not only is Django a badass, he’s a lightning-rod of a character that has sparked all sorts of social commentary and debate. A co-worker of mine who has been following this draft criticized my team for being full of a bunch of pansy doughboys. No longer. We came to play.
#56 Fantasy Douche: Coach Norman Dale, “Hoosiers”
With guys like Neil McCauley and Will Munny on my team, I have my fair share of men of will. Coach Dale might be able to win a staring contest with either of them. That’s how much will he has. Faced with insubordination from one of his players followed by the fouling out of another player, Hickory had just four players on the court when Coach Dale delivers the line that sums up his character. “My team is on the floor.” What a colossal prick! Don’t get me wrong, I love “Hoosiers” and Gene Hackman was perfect for Coach Dale, but what a giant douchebag. This is a high school basketball game dickweed. These kids are 17 years old. Congratulations on teaching them a lesson. (Note: How effective is “Hoosiers” if the prevailing sentiment I have about Coach Dale after seeing the movie dozens of times is “grudging respect”? That’s how you’re supposed to feel about a good coach.)
#57 Rumford Johnny: The Bride, “Kill Bill” series
The Bride is the embodiment of the powerful woman. Not held down by circumstance, but literally and figuratively, kicking life in the nuts and snapping it’s neck.
#58 Ken Griggs: Howard Beale, “Network”
I felt comfortable waiting on Beale until now but there was no way I was taking the chance he would stick around another round. In what is the most realistic performance of an outlandish and pyschotic character ever, Peter Finch owned this movie. And with a cast that included William Holden, Faye Dunaway, and Bobby Duvall, that’s saying something. Anytime he’s on the screen there is a tension and heightened intensity. When I rewatch this film, I notice I situp and lean toward the television to hear him speak. There’s something wild and special about, the idea that maybe if people stopped believing all the bullshit and actually realized they were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore there’d be actual change. But, like the movie, we’d all probably do nothing after we realized everything is just mindless, vacuous entertainment. Pass the popcorn.
#59 Kat Gotsick: Otto, “A Fish Called Wanda”
Of all the delightfully wacky things happening onscreen in “A Fish Called Wanda,” somehow Otto manages to be twice as delightful and twice as wacky as any of them. There’s a purely joyful intensity in every single tiny thing he does in this movie–his wacky, endless orgasm, the little car dance he does after he is “… disapPOINTED!” to find his safe empty, his iconic “K-K-K-KEN! is coming to K-K-K-KILL me!!” bravado, even as he rolls underneath a steamroller, the string of vulgarities he spits at Archie Leach, followed immediately by an incredibly subtle yet deliberate lean back . . . he pauses perceptibly before he softly says “apologiiiiiize” and then hangs Archie out the window by his ankles. This character is full to the brim with the white hot passion of a thousand prancing idiot warriors. If only he had the slightest, tiniest amount of common sense, I’m sure he would have ruled the world.
Side story: I saw “A Fish Called Wanda” on a date. I enjoyed the movie far more than the date. In fact, I enjoyed the movie so much that my date sincerely thought I enjoyed him and went in for the kill way early 1 and I SOUNDLY rejected him. He was a friend of a friend who is still a friend so I see him occasionally. He kids me that when he dropped me off that night, I looked him straight in the eye and said “Good night . . . and goodbye.” I should probably work on that.
#60 Ramon Ramirez: Detective Alonzo Harris, “Training Day”
I interviewed Denzel Washington in college on this big conference call where multiple student journalists waited politely to ask a question. He gave me a one-sentence response so the thing was a giant waste of time. I should have talked Detective Harris. There’s villains that stand on their deeds and there’s villains that are so morally bankrupt and jarring, a one-on-one conversation with Ethan Hawke makes you squirm. Crooked cops are the worst. The police serves and protects and when individuals manipulate authority like Harris did, it creates a community of terrified pawns. Harris sold out long-time informants without blinking, and was only undone by his hubris. In terms of the movie, “Training Day” may as well be a one-man play with a stage and a bar stool. Director Antoine Fuqua has spent the last decade trying to recreate the magic he coaxed from Washington with leading men in tragic law enforcement roles working through shit (Bruce Willis, Mark Wahlberg, Don Cheadle) without coming close.
#61 Chris Marler: William Wallace, “Braveheart”
It’s strange now to think of Mel Gibson as anything but a drunk, Jew-hating whack job but you have to think that the crazy was always there, hidden with his Australian accent. There were flashes of it when he played Martin Riggs in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise but it came out in full force for his role as William Wallace. How else can you explain the audacity of taking a role where a guy wears a fucking kilt and paints his face while he defeats an entire country? I believe that must serve as some sort of inspiration for every basement dwelling mega-fan that pulls that same shit on Sundays to help his team win.
If you really break down the plot of “Braveheart” it comes down to a single man going on a rampage against England because his family was brutally murdered all in the name of freedom. So despite all of Gibson’s craziness, isn’t he just a freedom-loving, England-hating Patriot?
#62 Josh Klein: Phil Connors, “Groundhog Day”
I had a conversation with my girlfriend immediately before this pick about how I wanted to pick Jason Bourne here, but I could sense a Bill Murray run coming, and I wanted his second best character (Cinderella stories be damned!), with a hope that Bourne would last to me at the next turn. As you can see in two picks, he didn’t. But I needed Phil Connors. Connors is the key cog in the blackest comedy ever (not that kind of black comedy, “Coming To America,” you’re still the king), his mask of sanity slowly falling away and returning multiple times through his lifetimes of sweet vermouths on the rocks with twists. If you haven’t watched “Groundhog Day” in a while, go back and watch Murray’s nuanced performance, the scenes with the homeless father figure are haunting, the scenes with Ned and Nancy hilarious, and he gives a spectacular piece of advice that I still use to this day: Don’t drive angry. Don’t ever drive angry.
#63 David Kallison: Travis Bickle, “Taxi Driver”
Not a joke: I rocked a mohawk in 2006 because I had just watched “Taxi Driver.” That’s the sort of influence that flowed from Travis Bickle. He’s an icon of righteous fury with one of the most famous monologues in film history. “You talking to me?” he asks, trying to boost his ego, his confidence, his swag. De Niro turned a weird, unhinged, not-quite-hero into one of the most memorable characters to ever grace the screen. Bickle is a legend in his own mind, an angel of death to pimps, mafia bosses, and crooked politicians. Now he’s a legend in our minds, too, and while the morality of his actions can be debated endlessly, his coolness factor cannot.
#64 Eddie Strait: Ofelia, “Pan’s Labyrinth”
Ofelia is about as low-key (re: REACH) a choice as you’re going to see in this draft. As the reincarnation of a princess, Ofelia’s story is about fulfilling her destiny while having to protect her family from the maniacal Captain Vidal. She’s a character with the weight of – oh, who am I kidding? I took a kicker in the 4th round. Ofelia’s not an iconic character, but she’s as complex and well-developed as you’d want to see in a movie.
The Teams After Four of 10 Rounds
1. Marty McFly, “Back to the Future”
2. Woody, “Toy Story”
3. Derek Zoolander, “Zoolander”
4. Ofelia, “Pan’s Labyrinth”
1. Han Solo, “Star Wars” trilogy
2. Vito Corleone, “The Godfather” Trilogy
3. Ripley, The Aliens Saga
4. Travis Bickle, “Taxi Driver”
1. Keyser Soze, “Usual Suspects”
2. Batman, Multiple
3. Borat, “Borat”
4. Phil Connors, “Groundhog Day”
1. Forrest Gump, “Forrest Gump”
2. Dalton, “Road House”
3. Doc Holliday, “Tombstone”
4. William Wallace, “Braveheart”
1. Dr. Peter Venkman, “Ghostbusters”
2. James Bond, Multiple
3. Darth Vader, The Star Wars Saga
4. Detective Alonzo Harris, “Training Day”
1. Wooderson, “Dazed and Confused”
2. Lina Lamont, “Singin’ in the Rain”
3. Rooster Cogburn, “True Grit” / “Rooster Cogburn”
4. Otto, “A Fish Called Wanda”
1. The Dude/Jeffrey Lebowski, “The Big Lebowski”
2. Rick Blaine, “Casablanca”
3. Bill the Butcher, “Gangs of New York”
4. Howard Beale, “Network”
1. “Cool Hand” Luke, “Cool Hand Luke”
2. McMurphy, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
3. Jules Winnfield, “Pulp Fiction”
4. The Bride, “Kill Bill”
1. William Munny, “Unforgiven”
2. Neil McCauley, “Heat”
3. Roy Batty, “Blade Runner”
4. Coach Norman Dale, “Hoosiers”
1. Andy Dufresne, “Shawshank Redemption”
2. Ferris Bueller, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
3. Clark Griswold, The Vacation Series
4. Django, “Django Unchained”
1. John McClane, “Die Hard”
2. Special Agent Johnny Utah, “Point Break”
3. Patrick Bateman, “American Psycho”
4. Dr. Richard Kimball, “The Fugitive”
1. Atticus Finch, “To Kill A Mockingbird” (auto-draft)
2. Gale Weathers, “Scream” (auto-draft)
3. Hannibal Lecter, “Silence of the Lambs” (auto-draft)
4. Sparky Polastri, “Bring it On” (auto-draft)
1. Gollum, “Lord of the Rings”
2. The Joker, Multiple
3. Randy the Ram Robinson, “The Wrestler”
4. Dean Ziegler, “Cedar Rapids”
1. Tyler Durden, “Fight Club”
2. Jack Torrance, “The Shining”
3. Alex Delarge, “A Clockwork Orange”
4. Ron Burdundy, “Anchorman”
1. Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels, “Tootsie”
2. Indiana Jones, Multiple
3. Lisbeth Salander, The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy
4. Jonathan Mardukas, “Midnight Run”
1. Anton Chigurh, “No Country For Old Men”
2. Navin Johnson, “The Jerk”
3. Clementine Kruczynski, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
4. Antoine Doinel, “The 400 Blows”
- Not that I ever would have given him what he wanted no matter when he went in. ↩