Arts Strew
Arts Strew

11 Movie Characters Without Names

Arts Strew
Arts Strew

Namedropping is a popular pastime in Hollywood’s most important circles. Which makes the fact that some of the movie industry’s most bankable A-list stars have agreed to starring roles in films in which they have no name at all rather surprising. Here are 11 of them (technically more when we count the couples and all those 12 Angry Men).

1. MARILYN MONROE IN THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955)

It’s the film that made Marilyn Monroe an international sex symbol. The one in which the skirt of her iconic halter dress is blown upward by the air from a subway grate. The same dress that sold for $4.6 million at a 2011 auction of memorabilia belonging to fellow actress Debbie Reynolds. Yet for all its lasting legacy, her character is known only as “The Girl.”

2. RYAN GOSLING IN DRIVE (2011)

As immensely watchable as Nicolas Winding Refn’s uber-violent Drive is, at the end of its 100-minute running time, audiences are no closer to understanding who Ryan Gosling’s character is than they were during the neon-colored, 1980s-inspired opening credits. They know he works as a mechanic, stuntman, and getaway driver; that he can make a scorpion-embossed satin jacket look cool; and that he can woo Carey Mulligan and her kid even while remaining relatively mute. But they don’t know what to call him, other than “Driver.” 

3. CLINT EASTWOOD IN A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965), AND THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)

Considering that this trio of spaghetti westerns from Sergio Leone is often referred to as “The Man With No Name Trilogy,” this one’s sort of a gimme. However, it was distributor United Artists—not the director—who came up with the “No Name” concept in order to package the films as a trilogy. Leone clearly got on board with the idea; in 1973 he co-wrote and helped to direct My Name is Nobody, in which the protagonist is referred to as exactly that: Nobody! 

4. GLEN HANSARD and MARKÉTA IRGLOVÁ IN ONCE (2006)

In John Carney’s Oscar-winning indie, it’s the soundtrack that tells the short-lived love story of an Irish busker (“The Guy”) and a Czech immigrant (“The Girl”) who spend a week making sweet music together. 

5. DARREN MCGAVIN IN A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983)

You know Ralphie, Randy, Flick, Schwartz, Scut Farkus, Grover Dill, and even the Bumpus’ dogs. But we triple dog dare you to come up with a name for Ralphie and Randy’s dad other than “The Old Man.”

6. EDWARD NORTON IN FIGHT CLUB (1999)

The first rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is you do not talk about Fight Club with Edward Norton, if only for lack of a proper name with which to address him. Though credited as Narrator, his voiceover recitations of a series of Reader’s Digest articles in which various human organs are written about in first-person narratives have led some viewers to label him as “Jack” (“I am Jack’s raging bile duct”). In a pinch, Tyler Durden will do.

7. THE ANGRY MEN IN 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)

It’s not until the very end of Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-nominated courtroom drama that audiences come to know any of the dozen main characters by anything other than their juror numbers. And even then it's only two of the characters whose names are revealed—and only their last names. Which leaves us with 10 Angry Unnamed Men. (In the play on which the film is based, no names are ever mentioned.) 

8. DANIEL CRAIG IN LAYER CAKE (2004)

Taking into account the number of times he has had to utter “Bond, James Bond” over the past seven years, playing a coke dealer with no name—and listed as “XXXX” in the credits—must have been a relief for Daniel Craig. At the end of the film he breaks the fourth wall to state: “My name? If you knew that, you’d be as clever as me.”

9. ROBBY BENSON IN BEAUTY & THE BEAST (1991)

Despite turning back into a handsome prince in the end, Belle’s one true love in this classic Disney fairytale is still only ever referred to as The Beast. Which in a way defeats the film’s whole message. Though fans assert that The Beast’s name has been confirmed as “Adam,” super-fan Keith Lapinig did a thorough job of debunking this theory on his YouTube page.

10. VIGGO MORTENSEN IN THE ROAD (2009)

It’s not just Viggo Mortensen—credited as “Man”—who does not bear a forename in John Hillcoat’s post-apocalyptic drama; there’s also Kodi Smit-McPhee (Boy), Robert Duvall (Old Man), Charlize Theron (Woman), Guy Pearce (Veteran) and at least 20 others. Hillcoat told Moviefone that a lack of name is one of the elements that allowed the story to feel “really familiar and yet it was unspecific,” a tactic that he adapted from the source material: Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. 

11. WILLEM DAFOE and CHARLOTTE GAINSBOURG IN ANTICHRIST (2009)

In Lars von Trier’s provocative Antichrist, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg play “He” and “She,” a husband and wife who retreat to their remote cabin in the woods following the tragic death of their young son. That their cabin is referred to as “Eden” only strengthens the argument made by some critics, including Roger Ebert, that the film is an allegory for Adam and Eve, and that part of von Trier’s intention was to make it a universal story of men, women, and their falls from grace. Biblical as its origins might be, this movie is not for those who are easily made queasy.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
iStock
iStock

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
iStock
iStock

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios