The Character: De Niro’s Midnight Run bounty hunter might fancy himself as a hardass, but when push comes to shove, he’s a big old softy. How else do you explain his final decision to turn loose Charles Grodin’s crook in the film’s final reel? He’s looking out for his buddy, at great personal expense. That’s friendship for you.
Most Endearing Moment: The final airport scene in which he tells Grodin he’s not bringing him in. Bromance alert!
The Character: When your life throws up as many embarrassing situations as Jim Levenstein’s seems to, it helps to have a father who understands what you’re going through. And despite his frequently embarrassing overshares, Jim’s Dad is always there to lend a sympathetic ear. Or more often, a lift to the hospital.
Most Endearing Moment: The ill-judged but well meaning rant in Jim’s defence in the hospital waiting room in the second film. At least he cares…
The Character: Once upon a time, Mad Mel Gibson used to sort of play the sort of roguish, wisecracking characters you’d really struggle to dislike. Bret Maverick is one such figure, a slippery, double-dealing con-artist with the kind of happy go lucky attitude that’d prompt you to forgive him anything. Handsome devil as well, isn’t he?
Most Endearing Moment: The fast-one he pulls on Alfred Molina’s villain, hiring a bunch of fall guys to eat his punches and make him look tough. Smart.
The Character: Quentin Tarantino doesn’t usually have much time for solidly dependable nice guys, but bail bondsman Max Cherry is all that and then some. Exuding a slightly melancholy air throughout, he’s a good guy who becomes embroiled in a grubby business, as he falls for Pam Grier’s middle-aged air hostess. It’s all for love, you see…
Most Endearing Moment: The sad but affectionate farewell he bids to Jackie before she skips the country.
The Character: The resident till-jockey at the local video store (and later, the local Moobys), Randal is your archetypal bored twentysomething, who despite his complaints that “this job would be great if it weren’t for the fucking customers”, is fully aware that his situation is the product of his own laziness. Reconciled with that fact, he happily passes the time insulting everyone who crosses his path. And who hasn’t wanted to do that every once in a while?
Most Endearing Moment: The porno video recital. Absolute gold.
The Character: A waste disposal robot charged with cleaning up the mess left on a post-apocalyptic Earth, Wall-E has managed to develop sentience, and shows a burgeoning interest in human culture as he goes about his daily work. Insanely loveable, despite only communicating through a series of bleeps and bloops, you’ll find yourself looking at your dustbin with a newfound fondness after watching this one.
Most Endearing Moment: The kiss from Eve that restores Wall-E to his sentient form is the kind of deliriously affecting ending that Pixar do so well.
Wayne & Garth
The Character: A couple of perma-gurning goof-offs, Wayne and Garth sail pretty close to the arena of the irritating, but neatly manage to skirt that unwanted label thanks to their sheer enthusiasm for rock, and / or roll. Party on dudes!
Most Endearing Moment: Wayne’s pained expression at his faux pas, after telling Cassandra that “everybody’s kung-fu fighting”.
The Character: Dobby, the self-lacerating house elf is a character who grows on you throughout the Potter series. Initially a squeaky-voiced irritant, he develops into an affectionately regarded mascot before progressing to full-blown hero status. Then when he finally snuffs it, you find yourself in bits. How did that happen?
Most Endearing Moment: His defiance of old mistress Bellatrix Lestrange with the immortal words, “Dobby is a free elf!”
The Character: The all-singing, all-dancing nanny is not only utterly wholesome, she’s great with kids, handy round the house and has more than one song and dance routine tucked up her petticoats. Sneer all you want, but who wouldn’t have wanted to grow up with her as their babysitter?
Most Endearing Moment: Her approach to hard graft: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap - the job's a game.” Can’t argue with that.
The Character: Anyone who spends their days slouching around in a dressing gown, quaffing white Russians and playing the odd game of bowling is alright by us. The Dude is just about the most laid-back, affable kind of guy you could ever hope to meet. He abides, don’t you know? Taking her easy for all us sinners…
Most Endearing Moment: “I am not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m The Dude!”