Humor writer M. Asher Cantrell’s new book is called The Book of Word Records: A Look at Some of the Strangest, Shortest, Longest, and Overall Most Remarkable Words in the English Language, and if that doesn’t set a word record of its own for longest book title, it’s only because he didn’t want to get involved too deep and lose his edge, like Steven Seagal did in Out for Justice with a maniacal crook or in Steven Seagal’s real life with Twinkies. And speaking of unrealistic ideas from Hollywood, he kindly shared a selection with us on the most inordinately common film character names.
It sure seems like movies are kind of samey these days. The blockbuster formula doesn’t allow many deviations from the norm, unfortunately. As if it weren’t enough that the actors and plots in movies were interchangeable, it turns out that the character names are as well. Some names just keep turning up in movies over and over again.
Does Hollywood not trust us with more unusual names, or are we just secretly more receptive to characters who are called familiar things and they know that? Whatever the reason, we might as well get used to seeing more and more characters with names like these.
The Numbers, a box office analysis website, took their database of 80,000 movie credits and picked out the most commonly recurring character names, which we’re going to compare to the popularity of real-life baby names over the last 100 years (as determined by the U.S. Social Security Administration), just to see how well Hollywood’s doing.
It’s been pretty well established that male characters make up the bulk of, well, basically everything in entertainment, despite only being 50 percent of the population. Four of the following five are more popular than any female name, which is kind of crazy.
We’ll put that whole debate to bed for right now, though. What’s more shocking is that none of these names are Frodo. That was a character’s name in at least four movies we can think of. Is… is that not a lot?