Welcome to another edition of “Favorite Underappreciated Fictional Characters.” In this series, Gord and I will discuss fictional characters we loved in the 80s and 90s who, for whatever reason, didn’t get the cred they deserved for being awesome. Sometimes they were too obscure for the public eye, sometimes they were simply overshadowed by a fellow character, etc. Here at GordTep.com, we are happy and proud to give them the praise they deserve. This week, we have…
WARDEN DWIGHT MCCLUSKY
“He’s already dead, dickweed! You got — SHIET!”
Ah, Natural Born Killers. IMO, it’s the greatest cinematic love story in history (though Eternal Sunshine and Mulholland Dr give it a run for its money–again, IMO). So many great characters. Woody Harrelson’s Mickey gets all the credit, even though it’s really difficult to watch him and not think “it’s just Woody, he’s acting.” Juliette Lewis’ Mallory gets as much credit, and much more deservedly so–I’d never fuck with Juliette Lewis in real life out of fear she actually was Mallory Knox. Robert Downey Jr’s Wayne Gale perhaps deserves an entry into the series as well.
But today I’m here to give thanks to Tommy Lee Jones as The Warden, Dwight McClusky. Oliver Stone spends the first half of the movie praising anti-authority, so immediately he’s seen as an antagonist just waiting to be knocked off his perch. Yet, because Tommy Lee Jones is so fucking entertaining, you LOVE the Warden as the movie goes on. You laugh at his dialogue and accent. You sympathize with the horrific situation he’s in during the prison riot. And finally, you cheer when the prisoners put his head on a spike. Does that even make sense?!
Warden Dwight McClusky, I salute you.