This Friday’s big new wide release is The Snowman, which boasts not only a ridiculous premise and the unintentionally-funniest trailer of the fall, but a lead character named, and I’m not making this up, “Harry Hole.” (Seriously! Check the IMDb page!) And sure, it’s based on a Norwegian book, and these things translate strangely, and so on. But are we really to believe that this thing went all the way through the development and production process at a major motion picture studio, and nobody – not star Michael Fassbender, not director Tomas Alfredson, no one at Universal, a script supervisor, nobody was like, “Hey, guys, um, Harry Hole? Really?”
Then again, there’s a long, rich history of movies making it to our screens featuring protagonists with monikers just as silly as “Harry Hole.” Maybe even more so!
Cole Trickle (Days of Thunder)
Tom Cruise starred in this 1990 Tony Scott film as the World’s Greatest Racecar Driver (hard on the heels of playing the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot, the World’s Greatest Billiards Player, and the World’s Great Bartender), but the name he cooked up with screenwriter Robert Towne – who penned Chinatown! – sounds more like a symptom of a venereal disease. “Hey doc, I’ve got hives and itching and a bad case of the cole trickle.”
Flipper Purify (Jungle Fever)
In the long tradition of on-the-nose naming, we can perhaps forgive the surname of Wesley Snipes’ leading character in Spike Lee’s 1991 interracial romance – after all, this husband and family man needs to be purified of his desire for his white co-worker. But Flipper? Flipper? Were his parents big fans of 1960s TV shows about dolphins? (His brother, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is named “Gator,” which goes to show that parents should learn from their naming mistakes.)
Cleveland Heep (Lady in the Water)
Sorry, I get them confused – which repulsive sexual position is the Cleveland Heep? Is that the one with the mirror and the ziplock bags?
Johnny Goodboy Tyler (Battlefield Earth)
Who’s a good boy? Barry Pepper’s character in John Travolta’s megaflop sci-fi Scientology agitprop is, that’s who! Yes he is! There’s a good boy!