Monthly Archives: October 2009

Wise Words #3: Annoying


On very rare occasions I utter something that like it could be wise, but may just be jibberish??

“Being annoying is an under-appreciated skill that takes years to master. In particular, only a few of us know how to balance the annoying to nice ratio to enable you to be annoying to the same person year after year after year.”

Jake McMillan


Are you a Drifter, a Sparky or a Normalton?


I met with a good pal of mine recently, SAPessi, who wanted to share with me his ill thought theory that some people are ‘drifters’ and they wander through life without aim or aspiration, following other people and moaning about their position. SAPessi really doesn’t like drifters and gave the example of a particular drifter he knows who is annoying and who we soon categorised as being a ‘cautious-drifter’.

Note: SAPessi is a serious blogger and so wanted me to publish his thoughts. I invited him to review this blog post and have included his comments below.

I remarked that coming up with the notion that some people are drifters is not that amazing or new. We discussed the concept further as he said that all non-drifters hate drifters and I didn’t think this was the case, that actually there were some people who didn’t mind drifters who were themselves not drifters.

SAPessi: That’s just not possible. We all hate drifters. They are miserable and annoying. To think that these people are just one species away from being human beings!

We further agreed there are 3 main categories of people (with many sub-divisions of each):

Drifters – As mentioned, these are people who wander aimlessly and annoy people like SAPessi. ‘Charming-drifters’ are the most annoying type of drifter.

SAPessi: that’s very misleading. True I hate drifters. But I hate everyone else equally.

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Sparkys– These are people who have lots of ideas all of the time, are easily distracted and find it hard to focus on one thing for any length of time. SAPessi is an ‘OCD-Sparky’ and I am a ‘Laid-back-Sparky. SAPessi hates the term ‘sparky’ but has not been able to come up with anything better.

SAPessi: We don’t go through life on fire! That’s the only possible outcome of a spark. We really need to come up with a better term.

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Normaltons – People who are not Drifters or Sparkys.

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There are sub-categories of people, e.g. Charmers, which can transcend across the three categories. Another type is ‘Dullards’ (very dull people) who can also be in each category. A dullard-drifter is probably the dullest of the dullards.

SAPessi: I really, really hate them

You also get in all 3 categories those who are ‘cautious’ and ‘cynical’.

SAPessi: [about cautious] you all know these people, health and safety officials in disguise whose only objective is to take the fun out of your life by being all sensible

So, which type and sub-category do you belong to? And do you think I need to get medical attention for SAPessi?


To LOL or not to LOL that is the question


Come on, how often do you actually laugh out loud in an IM chat? I know some are against the use of ‘lol’ completely, but I think it is okay to use if you are genuinely laughing, but what I hate is the liberal use of lol when no laughing has taken place at all.

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Many people use lol when someone has written something only mildly amusing and it’s just not right! Don’t even get me started on lmao (laughing my ass off) and the ridiculous rotfl (rolling on the floor laughing) … I mean, if you’re rolling on the floor laughing, how are you typing?!

The trouble has arisen because people are not aware of the alternatives that can be used instead of lol when you are not actually laughing out loud. If you’re not already aware, then this is what you should be using:

tsf – that’s so funny

tf – that’s funny

ss – slightly smiling

and their opposites:

nf – not funny

snf – so not funny

So please use them and only use lol when you are actually laughing otherwise the lol will become even more meaningless.

Jake McMillan


Top 10 Movie Characters of all Time


The list is finally complete. The deliberations are now over and the top ten list of the best movie characters of all time is finished. Boy, it’s been a lot tougher than I thought!

You end up having to make impossible choices between characters that are nothing alike, for example, how can you really compare Al Pacino’s Tony Montana from Scarface with Eddie Murphy’s Axl Foley in Beverly Hills Cop? Also, just because a character is in one of your favourite films of all time, doesn’t make necessarily them one of the best characters of all time.

Being somewhat of a movie buff I was surprised at how ‘mainstream’ my top ten movie characters were. However, I picked the characters that for me, and you are very welcome to disagree, have made the biggest impression and that still resonate with me.

No. 10 in my list begins here, but as a clue here are some of the characters that didn’t quite make the top 10:

Bruce Wayne

Hans Solo

Barbarella

Tony Montana

Butch Cassidy

Catherine Tremell (from Basic Instinct)

Keyser Soze

Darth Vader

Neo (from The Matrix)

The Good (from the Good, The Bad & the Ugly)

Ron Burgundy

Axl Foley

Michael Corleone

Dirty Harry

Hannibal Lector

Click here for the #10 best movie character of all time >>>


Top 10 Movie Characters – #1 James Bond


Here is my personal list, one at a time, of the top ten movie characters ever. However, feel free to agree or offer better choices and argument. SPOILER CAUTION! The content below may give away some of the plot of the film(s) concerned.

<<< No.2 – Indiana Jones

#1 – JAMES BOND

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The name’s Bond, James Bond

The ultimate movie character is, of course, the legend that is James Bond. What other character continues to enthral and fascinate nearly 50 years after his original showing (1962’s Dr. No) through an astonishing record-breaking 22 ‘official’ movies and with 6 different actors. We simply cannot get enough of Ian Fleming’s licensed to kill British secret agent, ‘007’, who risks his life for Queen and country to often save the whole world. Men want to be him; women want to be with him.

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No matter how big the problem, no matter how bad and powerful the villain, no matter how dangerous, James Bond is your man. He somehow manages to be suave, charming and sophisticated as well as being tough, cold and brutal. On the one hand he is an English gentleman who will happily discuss the sherry or wine he is drinking and meet you to play a round of golf, but will not even blink if he needs to put a bullet between your eyes.

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He is seemingly the classic ‘lone wolf’ character who does not seek out relationships but somehow makes meaningful but fleeting friendships wherever he goes. The only people we see him being friendly with consistently are people he knows through work, Moneypenny (played by Lois Maxwell initially and then by Samantha Bond) and CIA agent Felix Leiter (played by actors Jack Lord (Dr.No), Cec Linder (Goldfinger), Rick Van Nutter (Thunderball), John Terry (Living Daylights), David Hedison (Licence to Kill) and most recently Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace).

His profession, as England’s No.1 secret agent, suits being a loner but he very much maximises any opportunity to seduce a lady as he knows that he or she may not be alive for very much longer. Over the films we see that he has made a couple of attempts at meaningful relationships but they have always ended very badly indeed. In the recent Casino Royale (2006) we see a younger James Bond (Daniel Craig) who has just got his licence to kill and then proceeds to fall head over heels in love with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and even resigns so to be with her. However, she double crosses him and she ends up dying.

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In 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond (played by George Lazenby) not only falls in love again, but actually marries Tracy Di Cicenzo (Diana Rigg) only for her to be shot dead at the end of the movie. At the beginning of For Your Eyes Only (1981) we see him lay flowers at her grave. James Bond is so deeply hurt by the tragic end to these relationships that he has clearly decided that he is not going to allow himself to become emotionally attached like that again to anyone.

Natalya: How can you be so cold?

James Bond: It’s what keeps me alive

Natalya: No, it’s what keeps you alone

(1995’s Goldeneye)

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Vesper: You can switch off so easily, can’t you? It doesn’t bother you, killing those people?
Bond: Well, I wouldn’t be very good at my job if it did.

(2006’s Casino Royale)

Ironically, James Bond’s most interesting relationships tend to be with people who don’t seem to like him very much. His relationship with M (played originally by Bernard Lee and then by Robert Brown, and most recently by Judi Dench) has evolved over the years and began with M generally treating James Bond in the same manner a strict schoolmaster does with a naughty pupil, but by 2002’s Die Another Day we see the relationship has grown much stronger and there is genuine care and respect for each other. However, with Casino Royale going back to Bond’s beginning we are seeing an M who seems to really not like or trust Bond at all, not until he proves himself.

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His relationship with Q (originally called Major Boothroyd) is also very amusing and has developed over the 22 films. Played superbly by the much-loved Desmond Llewelyn (although Peter Burton was the original Major Boothroyd in Dr.No) their relationship is first revealed in Goldfinger where Q is clearly quite annoyed by the cavalier Bond who has no respect for the equipment he and his department spend long hours creating. By 1999’s The World is Not Enough (Desmond Llewelyn’s last film) Q is much more of a loving uncle figure to Bond.

Q: I’ve always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed.
James Bond: And the second?
Q: Always have an escape plan.

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Each Bond film sees 007 take on a new villain and they normally end up with some sort of encounter where the villain, although wanting to kill Bond, shows respect for what Bond has done. Dr.No has a mostly civilised dinner with James Bond and one gets the feeling he is trying to see if he can recruit him, but realises his unwavering loyalty to his mission and England.

Dr. No: [to Bond] Unfortunately I overestimated you, you are just a stupid police man…
(metal door opens and guards enter)
Dr. No: …whose luck has run out.

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However, Dr.No, like all the other villains that follow, actually underestimates James Bond who always manages to foil whatever world-domination plan they happen to have. He has several interesting encounters with Auric Goldfinger, with the most memorable one being the infamous scene with Bond strapped to a table with an industrial laser pointing right at him.

James Bond: You expect me to talk?

Goldfinger: No, I expect you to die

(1964’s Goldfinger)

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In 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond is admired and respected by the villain, the 3-titted expert hitman Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), who believes he and Bond are very similar in character. He lures James Bond to his secluded island in Phuket which has now proved so popular with tourists it is actually called James Bond Island. Scaramanga and Bond dine together as gentleman before they get down to their business.

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Francisco Scaramanga: You get as much pleasure out of killing as I do, so why don’t you admit it?
James Bond: I admit killing you would be a pleasure.
Francisco Scaramanga: Then you should have done that when you first saw me. On the other hand, the English don’t consider it sporting to kill in cold blood, do they?
James Bond: Don’t count on that.

As they eat, Scaramanga outlines a proposition for him.

Francisco Scaramanga: A duel between titans… my golden gun against your Walther PPK. 

James Bond: Pistols at dawn; it’s a little old-fashioned, isn’t it?
Francisco Scaramanga: That it is. But it remains the only true test for gentlemen.
James Bond: On that score, I doubt you qualify. However, I accept.

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James Bond always wins out in the end but not before frustrating his foe who keep failing in their attempts to kill him.

Mr.Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you”, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), Moonraker (1979)

Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?” Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), Goldeneye

James Bond also had a curious relationship with the most famous henchman of all the films, Jaws (played by Richard Kiel), who appeared in just two films and although Jaws is committed to his task of killing Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me they both give each other a nod of respect in Moonraker and when Jaws falls in love, he actually ends up helping Bond.

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James Bond’s world is a lonely one full of danger and he is someone who definitely has a dark side. However, our enjoyment of this character is the seemingly effortless and fearless way he conducts himself. In particular, his laconic and pithy remarks in the most lethal and precarious moments help define his approach to life.

(Bond has just been discovered in bed with KGB agent Anya Amasova in 1977’s Spy Who Loved Me)

M: Bond! What on earth do you think you’re doing?

James Bond: Keeping the British end up, sir

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Tracy: Suppose I were to kill you for a thrill?
Bond: I can think of something more sociable to do.

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Bond: I tend to notice little things like that–whether a girl is a blonde or a brunette…
Tiffany: And which do you prefer?
Bond: Well, as long as the collars and cuffs match

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Bond: [in bed with Jones] I was wrong about you.
Dr. Christmas Jones: Yeah, how so?
Bond: I thought Christmas only comes once a year.

There will always be the argument about who is the best Bond with Sean Connery most often winning as the original James Bond. George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton seem to be the least popular Bonds, whereas Daniel Craig’s reputation seems to be growing. I felt Pierce Brosnan was a most excellent and worthy 007, but my favourite has to be Roger Moore. He wasn’t as tough as Sean, but there is something about how he played him, the charm, and the humour and he was somehow more refined and matured than the early Bond.


laz_london

James Bond simply is the best movie character ever. Carly Simon seems to have found the perfect lyrics in her song from The Spy Who Loved Me:

Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you’re the best

U1506289

Related sites:

www.jamesbondwiki.com

www.007.com

Top 10 Definitive Bond Girls

Where have all Bond Villains gone?

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

<<< No.2 – Indiana Jones


Top 10 Movie Characters – #2 Indiana Jones


Here is my personal list, one at a time, of the top ten movie characters ever. However, feel free to agree or offer better choices and argument. SPOILER CAUTION! The content below may give away some of the plot of the film(s) concerned.

<<< No.3 – Maximus ——————————————————— No.1 – James Bond >>>

#2 – INDIANA JONES

indiana_jones_1

Indiana Jones is not just a superb movie character, he is an icon. He is the Professor of Archaeology who is also the hero who is forever in over his head, getting himself into and then out of tricky situations. In four films, we have followed Indy in his fedora hat, leather jacket and bull whip through his adventures to find or rescue some ancient artefact.

Dr. Jones is made larger than life by the amazing Harrison Ford, in a role he was born to play (it was very nearly played by Tom Selleck). From the opening sequence in the 1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark with the tarantulas, the booby traps, swapping the statue for a bag of sand and then finally escaping being crushed by the giant rock ball, only to be confronted by hundreds of arrows pointed at his head and having to give up the statue, you are completely drawn into the world of Indiana Jones and totally hooked.

Indiana-Jones-Raiders-Lost-Ark-1605

We don’t learn a lot about Indiana Jones in the first or second films, only that he is an archaeologist who cannot stay in the library and will risk his life to ensure dangerous and powerful objects, such as the Ark of the Covenant, do not fall into the hands of evil Nazis. He is obviously a hero and always on the side of good, a man of conviction but also know he has got on the wrong side of several people.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark:

(talking about Marion’s late father)
Marion: He said you were a bum.
Indiana: Aw, he’s being generous.
Marion: The most gifted bum he ever trained. You know, he loved you like a son. Took a hell of a lot for you to alienate him.
Indiana: Not much, just you.

raidersofthelostark1981

Belloq: How odd that it should end this way for us after so many stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?
Indiana: Try the local sewer.

In Temple of Doom (1984):

Chattar Lal: Dr Jones, wasn’t it the Sultan of Madagascar who threatened to cut off your head if you ever returned to his country?
Indiana Jones: No, it wasn’t my head.
Chattar Lal: Then your hands, perhaps?
Indiana Jones: No, it wasn’t my hands. It was my… (looks down at his groin)… my misunderstanding.

indiana-jones

The same qualities that alienate him from some, have also led to some close and loyal friendships who believe and trust in Indiana, friends such as Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) and Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan). We also learn he is not so keen on snakes.

Indiana: Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.

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We also learn from the first three films that he is attracted to intelligent and sassy women and the fact that none of them return in the film that follows, that he is not able to sustain a relationship. One woman, Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen) has been a significant other of Indiana three separate times in his life, once before Raiders of the Lost Ask, then during that film and then in 2008’s disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Marion: You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage

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It is in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) that we discover much more about Indy’s background and character. We see Indiana as a boy (River Phoenix) and learn that his name is actually Henry Jones Jr. and that Indiana was the name of their dog and he adopted this name as a rebellion against his father who simply refers to him as ‘Junior’.

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Sallah: Please, what does it always mean, this… this “Junior”?
Professor Henry Jones: That’s his name.  Henry Jones … Junior.
Indiana Jones: I like “Indiana.”
Professor Henry Jones: We named the *dog* Indiana.
Marcus Brody: May we go home now, please?
Sallah: The dog? (starts laughing)You are named after the dog? HA HA HA…!
Indiana Jones: I’ve got a lot of fond memories of that dog.

We also see the guy who Indiana has modelled himself on, in terms of look, and it is he who gives Indy his iconic fedora hat. We also learn where he gets his bull whip and how it causes the scar on Harrison Ford’s chin. The main character development is gained from his interactions with his father Henry Jones (Sean Connery) who he has been almost completely estranged from in 20 years by the time of the Last Crusade film.

lastcrusade

Professor Henry Jones: You don’t?! You think my son would be that stupid? That he would bring my diary all the way back here?
(pause)
Professor Henry Jones: You didn’t, did you?
(another pause)
Professor Henry Jones: You didn’t bring it, did you?
Indiana Jones: Well, uh…
Professor Henry Jones: You *did*?!
Indiana Jones: Look, can we discuss this later?
Professor Henry Jones: I should have mailed it to the Marx Brothers!
Indiana Jones: Will you take it easy?
Professor Henry Jones: Take it easy? Why do you think I sent it home in the first place? So it wouldn’t fall into their hands!
Indiana Jones: I came here to SAVE you!
Professor Henry Jones: Oh, yeah? And who’s gonna come to save you, JUNIOR?
Indiana Jones: (shouts) I *told* you… (grabs a gun and shoots all soldiers dead) …DON’T call me Junior!

As they share the adventure together, Indiana comments on them finally having a quiet drink together and the last time that had happened, he had had a milkshake.

last-crusade

Indiana Jones: It was just the two of us, dad. It was a lonely way to grow up. For you, too. If you had been an ordinary, average father like the other guys’ dads, you’d have understood that.
Professor Henry Jones: Actually, I was a wonderful father.
Indiana Jones: When?
Professor Henry Jones: Did I ever tell you to eat up? Go to bed? Wash your ears? Do your homework? No. I respected your privacy and I taught you self- reliance.
Indiana Jones: What you taught me was that I was less important to you than people who had been dead for five hundred years in another country. And I learned it so well that we’ve hardly spoken for twenty years.
Professor Henry Jones: You left just when you were becoming interesting.

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Although the film is about the search for the Holy Grail, it is really a search for the lost love of a father and son. As they journey along their quest, they regain their respect and admiration for each other.

Even though the fourth film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is not so good in terms of storyline and character development, it is enjoyable only because of the Indiana Jones character. We had all missed Indy and could not wait to see him don that hat again and embark on another amazing adventure.

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Indiana Jones is a movie character that will be enjoyed for generations to come. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark again for the first time in several years and had forgotten not only what a great film it was, but how great the Indiana Jones character truly is.


RLA_1

<<< No.3 – Maximus ——————————————————— No.1 – James Bond >>>


Top 10 Movie Characters – #3 Maximus


Here is my personal list, one at a time, of the top ten movie characters ever. However, feel free to agree or offer better choices and argument. SPOILER CAUTION! The content below may give away some of the plot of the film(s) concerned.

<<< No.4 – Juror #8 ————————————————- No.2 – Indiana Jones >>>

#3 – MAXIMUS DECIMUS MERIDIUS

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

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“What we do in life echoes in eternity … At my signal, unleash hell.”

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‘The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.’

A warrior, a leader and a man of honour, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) is the hero of Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator. A very successful General in the Roman Army and loyal servant and friend to the ageing emperor, Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), Maximus has his world destroyed when Aurelius is murdered by his own son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) who is upset that his father has chosen Maximus rather than he to succeed him. When Maximus refuses to pledge allegiance to Commodus, he is ordered to be executed along with his wife and child.

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He manages to escape, but not in time to save his family. Having lost everything, dehydrated and suffering from has an untreated wound to the arm, he passes out and is captured and sold as a slave to Proximo (Oliver Reed) to fight for his life as a gladiator. He has suffered as much as any man and so no longer values his life and refuses to partake in the gladiator training.

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All this changes when he enters the gladiator arena. Fighting allows him to unleash the anger inside but also gains the respect of his fellow gladiators and his boss and former gladiator himself, Proximo. He does not disclose who he is, just known as ‘the Spaniard’, but his leadership abilities cannot help but come to the fore. To win favour with the mob in Rome, the new emperor Commodus puts on gladiator shows and Proximo and his slaves are invited to participate.

Listen to me. Learn from me. I was not the best because I killed quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd and you will win your freedom”, Proximo

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He also knows that if he is a champion gladiator he may get the chance to come face to face with Commodus which may offer a chance for revenge, but he also knows if someone recognises him before then he may be killed.

Maximus’s own struggle is at time when many fear for the future of Rome under Commodus’s leadership. At the beginning of the film Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus of his vision for Rome, to be a republic again ruled by the senate, and that he wants Maximus to take over from him to see that it happens. Marcus believes that Maximus will be able to save Rome and restore it to its former glory.

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Marcus Aurelius: Won’t you accept this great honour that I have offered you?
Maximus: With all my heart, no.
Marcus Aurelius: Maximus, that is why it must be you.

Maximus does not think he is the right man for the job as he not a politician and misses his family, but that is exactly why Marcus thinks he is perfect for the job.

Marcus Aurelius: When was the last time you were home?
Maximus: Two years, two hundred and sixty-four days and this morning.

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Although Maximus wants to go home desperately, he knows Marcus would not ask and push him to do this if he did not think it was very important and so he reluctantly agrees. When Commodus hears from his father of this news he is distraught and suffocates him, claiming he died during his sleep. Maximus can see what has happened and wants nothing to do with Commodus and as a result his family is murdered.

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As the gladiator games begin, Maximus shows, using his abilities as a General, how if the other gladiators work with him when fighting in the coliseum, they have a much better chance of surviving. Wearing a mask that disguises his identity, he demonstrates this is to be true in their first fight and the other gladiators begin to believe in him. The reputation of ‘the Spaniard’ grows and Commodus wants to meet him in the arena. Although surrounded by guards, Maximus sees this as an opportunity to get revenge. Unfortunately, Commodus’s young nephew, Lucius (the son of former flame Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), Commodus’s sister) joins him and so he cannot risk the move.

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Commodus praises his skill in the arena and asks his name. He replies “My name is Gladiator” and he turns his back on the emperor, who is outraged, and is forced to reveal himself. Commodus is aghast and has the opportunity to kill or save him, showing his mercy by raising his thumb up or lowering it to condemn him. The whole coliseum is chanting to save Maximus and Commodus is forced to do as they wish to keep them on side. This event sets the politicking of Rome into overdrive, with republicans seeing an opportunity to replace Commodus.

Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome.” Lucilla

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Lucilla plots with Gracchus (Derek Jacobi) to free Maximus and help overthrow Commodus who is trying to find a way to kill Maximus without making a martyr of him. The plot fails and Maximus is captured and to try and re-establish his position Commodus sets up a fight with him in the coliseum. They meet before just entering the arena.

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Maximus: I knew a man once who said, “Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.”
Commodus: I wonder, did your friend smile at his own death?
Maximus: You must know. He was your father.
Commodus: You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn’t it? Smile for me now, brother.
[Commodus stabs Maximus]

Despite being mortally wounded and barely conscious, Maximus kills Commodus before collapsing on the ground and giving his final order. He can now join his family.

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“Quintus! Release my men. Senator Gracchus is to be reinstated. There was a dream that was Rome. It shall be realized. These are the wishes of Marcus Aurelius.”

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Maximus fully deserves his place here in my top ten as a courageous man full of honour and virtue. Every man walks a little taller after seeing the film. We all want to be as tough as Maximus.

<<< No.4 – Juror #8 ————————————————- No.2 – Indiana Jones >>>