“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you? What was his name? Frank?”
“You just can’t forget him, can you?”
— Richard Griffiths and Priscilla Presley in “The Naked Gun 2: The Smell of Fear” (1991)
It’s that time of year again. My favorite time of year, I might add. Rock me, October!
We get the best sports and the best weather of the year for a whole calendar page as the NFL football season and Major League Baseball’s postseason overlap for more than a month. Late summer’s much-more-tolerable heat levels linger or moderate, while nights mellow out to a more autumnal cool, and within a week or so, leaves start to go Technicolor and set sail into the fall breezes. And the whole thing wraps up with one of the coolest, creepiest and funnest holidays of the year, Halloween.
What’s not to like about October?
Oh, yeah, and it happens to start off — as it has every year for the past 61 — with my birthday.
(Cue the full brass-section fanfare and a bomb-burst of confetti. Thank you, thank you very much.)
As is customary, at least for me, this almost auspicious occasion calls for a little time off from work and, consequently, a special edition of Frank’s Faves written in advance of my absence. Special how, exactly, you ask? Well, in this instance, as I’ve done at least once before, special in the sense of celebrating all things Frank in some of my favorite movies.
And if I’m being frank about it — which, of course, I must be — a disclaimer is in order. I feel compelled to address any and all of you reading this who might arrive at the same impression as my wife, that the following category only goes to show how full of himself the faves lister in question truly is. Just for the record — and just like last time — this really wasn’t my idea. It was actually suggested by a co-worker, who even suggested the first fave on this list and thus got the whole ball rolling. Again.
In fact, judging by the positively diverse range of favorite Franks presented, it seems Frank is a pretty popular name for a movie character. Quite possibly that’s because the literal definition of the name suggests honesty and forthrightness. Go figure.
Or perhaps it’s just because the name has a certain ring to it (think Will Ferrell’s “Frank the Tank” in the 2003 comedy “Old School”) or better yet, a hint of suavity (as in “Old Blue Eyes” himself, Frank Sinatra in darn near any film he gets to sing in).
Or just as possibly, none of the above. You be the judge as you check out this totally frank assessment of:
FIVE MORE OF MY FAVORITE FRANKS IN FILM
— As a smooth-talking con man: Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) in “Catch Me If You Can” (2002). Steven Spielberg directed DiCaprio in one of his best screen roles as real-life shyster Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars’ worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a surgeon and a prosecutor.
— As a rock-singing transvestite/mad scientist: Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry) in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975). It’s funny how “Frank” roles can provide so many different actors the pinnacle of their careers, but here’s another example. While Tim Curry made his biggest dramatic mark as Pennywise the killer clown in the original made-for-TV movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” he’s probably even better remembered for his over-the-top break-through performance as “a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania” in this campy cult classic.
— As a bumbling police detective: Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) in “The Naked Gun” trilogy (1988, 1991 & 1994). I’ve always loved the bumbling cop character — from Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clousseau to Peter Falks’ Lt. Columbo. But none carries the name of Frank to such slapstick depths, all in the name of law enforcement, as Nielsen’s inept investigator. Still, there’s one thing you have to say for Frank Drebin — in just three films, he dished out more punishment to O.J. Simpson than the NFL and the Nevada correctional system combined.
— As a memorably gruesome villain: Frank Cotton, aka Frank the Monster (Sean Chapman/Oliver Smith) in “Hellraiser” (1987). Yes, this Frank is a genuine monster, inside and out, but with Chapman as this horror classic’s criminally depraved antagonist in his original form, and Smith taking over once he becomes a skinless escapee from hell, this Frank is doubly hard to forget. Just try.
— As a vigilante assassin: Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) in “The Punisher” (2004). As superheroes go, the Punisher is definitely on the high end of the body-count scale and not so high on the super side (unless you count his superlative arsenal of firepower) — the kind of guy that most other superheroes want nothing to do with. Which only makes him more sympathetic in my book, especially as portrayed by Jane (better by far in the role than either Dolph Lundgren or Ray Stevenson). Both in markmanship and in acting chops, this Frank blows ‘em all away.
Have a question, suggestion or fave nomination for Frank? We’d love to hear from you. Please email it to email@example.com.