Gonzo The Great
The Film: Muppets From Space (1999)
The Weirdo: Everyone’s favourite trumpet-playing daredevil, Gonzo is the weirdo’s weirdo, a hook-nosed oddball with a bizarre attraction to chickens.
Although his origins had always sounded a bit unconventional (according to The Muppets Take Manhattan , he spent his early years living in a New York cement mixer), Muppets From Space finally explained where poor old Gonzo came from. He’s an alien you see! How does he communicate with his people? Um, through his breakfast cereal of course...
Oddest Quirk: His bizarre routines on The Muppet Show . Defusing a highly explosive bomb whilst reciting from the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley springs too mind.
The Film: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)
The Weirdo: Whilst Gene Wilder played Wonka as genial eccentric, Johnny Depp’s creepy confectioner is a far more sinister creation. Roald Dahl’s character is already unsettling enough on paper, a child-hating chocolate magnate whose shadowy factory is run by a legion of spandex-clad midgets.
Factor in a Depp performance channelling Michael Jackson at his strangest, and the border between fantasy and nightmare becomes blurred indeed.
Oddest Quirk: Reacts to industrial accidents with worrying satisfaction.
The Film: The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Weirdo: The strangest fish in a movie crammed full of oddballs, Quintana (or “The Jesus”, as he prefers to be known) is the obscenely competitive and sexually dubious bowling enthusiast who serves as nemesis to Jeff Bridges’ laid back Dude.
A suspected paedophile boasting an array of oddly sexual threats (“I would have fucked you in the ass Saturday. I fuck you in the ass next Wednesday instead. Woo, you got a date Wednesday baby!”), he would be terrifying but for that preposterous cod-Cuban accent. Dios mio, man!
Oddest Quirk: Fetish-like relationship with his bowling ball. Those holes are for your fingers Jesus…
The Film: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The Weirdo: Cobbled together in his late father’s lab from bits of old pig iron, Edward isn’t your common or garden teenager. After a lonely adolescence spent pottering around his old mansion, he’s got no social skills, common sense or the merest hint of a tan.
He’s more or less mute, dresses year-round in black and his only hobby is ice-sculpting. Weird enough for you? No? Well he’s also got metal blades for hands! There, we said it…
Oddest Quirk: That hairdo is a bit…no, alright, it’s the hands. Definitely the hands.
The Film: American Beauty (1999)
The Weirdo: Just who you want living next door, a social misfit with a video-camera. Wes Bentley’s creepy kid might turn out to be a fairly decent sort, but that hundred-yard stare is, well, a bit rapey. Plus, filming a plastic bag blowing in the wind isn’t enigmatic, it’s just strange.
“Sometimes,” says Ricky, “there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.” We hear you Rick, but put the gun down eh, there’s a good lad…
Oddest Quirk: Tries to impress his girlfriend by offering to kill her old man. Whatever happened to a nice bunch of flowers?
The Film: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
The Weirdo: Poor old Lars is a painfully shy recluse, living alone in his late father’s converted garage. Living alone that is, until new girlfriend Bianca comes to stay! Thing is, Bianca was made in Taiwan and arrived in a cardboard box.
She may be anatomically correct, but Lars isn’t interested in any man-on-plastic action, he just wants a bit of company. After all, “sometimes I get so lonely, I forget what day it is and how to spell my name.” Aaah, bless.
Oddest Quirk: Still wanders round with a baby blanket his mother knitted. And the whole doll thing is a bit unnerving, obviously…
The Film: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
The Weirdo: From the same stable of gibbering man-children as Mr. Bean, comes rubber-faced goon Pee-Wee, a supremely irritating half-wit obsessed with a missing bicycle. Loveable nincompoop, or giggling lunatic?
Witness him barking like a dog at his own reflection, toothpaste and spit dribbling down his chin…yeah, we’re going with giggling lunatic. One of the strangest characters to inhabit a Burton film, and that’s saying something.
Oddest Quirk: That bowtie. Combined with the wild eyes and the gaping grin…terrifying.
The Film: Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)
The Weirdo: The deranged brother of Cary Grant’s suave bachelor Mortimer, Teddy is a chronically deluded shut-in, labouring under the impression that he’s actually Theodore Roosevelt. In fairness to him, he’s not the only fruitcake in the family, living as he does with a pair of old aunts with a penchant for offing their gentleman callers.
Happily for them Teddy is a dab hand at burying the bodies, believing that he’s burying yellow-fever victims in the Panama canal. As you do.
Oddest Quirk: Yells “Charge” every time he climbs the stairs, a la Roosevelt at the San Juan Hill. One in every family, eh?
The Film: Rushmore (1998)
The Weirdo: When does “precocious” spill over into just plain weird? An extraordinarily keen participant in Rushmore Academy’s extracurricular activities (calligraphy club, debate team and beekeeping society, to name a few), Max is clearly a bit eccentric, if not quite certifiable.
It’s his obsession with teacher Olivia Williams that tips the scales however, ending up with his release of a swarm of bees into love-rival Bill Murray’s hotel room, not to mention cutting the breaks on his car.
Oddest Quirk: The plays he writes and directs for the Max Fischer Players. One is accompanied by a pair of safety goggles and some earplugs.
The Film: The Hangover (2009)
The Weirdo: You might think big baby Alan is too sweet-natured to be included on a list of big-screen fruit-loops. Then again, you might recall that he spikes his friends’ drinks with rohypnol. And that he’s legally barred from being within 200 yards of a school. And that this isn’t the first time he’s “found” a baby. And that he mentions plans to attend a Jonas Brothers concert.
He may be loveable but he’s a fully paid-up oddball of the first degree. Case closed.
Oddest Quirk: His childlike singing. All together now, “We’re the best three friends, that anyone could have!”