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Eccentrics are an important part of cinema, and life. They're the type of people who make life and movies interesting. But what I was noticing in many of the films I watched in the collection is many of the characters in these films are those who stray from your typical human being and go miles past the line of normalcy. Maybe in a good way, but more than usually in a more foreign and always interesting way.
Also, leave a comment below if you felt I missed anything of if you know of any other Criterion films that fit this theme.
Robert Crumb has always been to me one of the most interesting people ever documented. He is quite a strange individual. His obsession with untraditional women, sex, comic books, incest, and many other things are just tip of the iceberg when it comes to his personality. He has many things that just set him apart from the human race, and he understands and embraces this. What's even more interesting about this film is that his two brothers are even more eccentric then he is!
The character of Ben in this film is a rather complex character. He is charismatic and funny, but also a sociopathic killer. Benoît Poelvoorde gives an excellent performance giving this guy very human qualities minus the soul.
Like Benoît Poelvoorde in Man Bites Dog, David Thewlis plays a very, very dark person with a whole lot fun and charisma to his personality. The performance just seems so authentic that it's almost painful to watch. Johnny is a very conflicting character because he does some questionable things, but in the end you're rooting and liking him to an extent at least.
Spalding Gray is one of the most neurotic and unique of all people.
A platter or buffet if you will of eccentric people in Austin, Texas. From the guy walking down the street telling conspiracy theories, a women repeating "You should never traumatize a woman sexually, I should know. I'm a medical doctor." over and over, to the woman with the Madonna pap smear you'll meet a lot of familiar types but learn an awful lot about the psyche of the strange.
A quote from this film suits this entire list better than anything I could possibly ever written. "Too strange to live, too rare to die."
A perfect example of an environment changing the very being of a person to their core. You see a completely normal man (or so we can assume) turn to a very disturbed individual. Which raises the question are these people on this list a product of their respected environments or are we just born this way so to speak?
"Mabel is not crazy, she's unusual. She's not crazy, so don't say she's crazy."
Both Harold & Maude are some of the most notoriously rememberable and interesting characters in American film.
Andre Gregory is one of the more subtle eccentrics on the list. The reason I felt he deserved a spot is I've just never seen a guy like him in a movie before. His mild mannered attitude, mixed with his awkward physique, and incredibly insightful intellect just makes him a joy to watch. He's really playing a variation of himself here, and I would just love to meet him in real life.