Saint Veronica’s Feast Day is today, July the 12th. Who the hell is Saint Veronica? How could you be so blasphemous? Well Saint Veronica was a pious woman of Jerusalem. She saw Jesus struggling with his cross on the way to Golgotha and, when he stopped, she gave him a piece of cloth with which he could wipe his holy brow. Subsequently, an imprint of Jesus’ face appeared on the piece of fabric.
To celebrate this act of helpfulness, here is a list of the Top Five Accomplices to the Hero. Hero is a nebulous term – some people might argue that these helpers are heroes in their own right. That is for those people to think about on their own in a darkened room, because it is not interesting to anybody else. Here is the list.
Bond – Q
An accomplice only in that he assists from a distance, providing the requisite gadgets that our secret agent friend requires, he has nevertheless saved Bond’s taught hide on a number of occasions. Twenty, in fact. Funnier than M, he always provides light relief and a whole body of technical expertise. He’s a good guy, and he gets better with every film. Without Q, Bond would be just an expert fighter in a sharp suit.
Batman – Alfred
You thought it’d be Robin, didn’t you? Well, no. It’s Alfred. Think more Nolan than Burton and you’re on the right lines – that’s what people think when they imagine Batman anyway now, right? Alfred is like Q, but instead of providing technical goodies he provides homely advice, and the occasional grounding that Bruce Wayne needs from time to time. Without Alfred, Batman would be nothing. He’d be dead.
Pineapple Express – Saul
Saul is the heart to Pineapple Express. The kindly drug dealer helping out his best customer to get their hands on some primo weed before being sucked into a much bigger conspiracy, he provides humorous antics and occasional problems along the way. James Franco‘s performance as the perennially stoned wingman to Seth Rogan‘s Dale was perfectly judged, as he was high without ever being sleazy. Childish and naive without ever being stupid. The kind of drug dealer you could take to meet your nan.
Despicable Me – The Minions
Maybe they were only designed to be a toy. Maybe that’s the only reason why they’re in the film. Maybe. All pointless maybes, when they are as funny as the Minions clearly are. Tiny yellow men, with one or two eyes, they provide hilarity in their own made up language, and are a chaotic distraction that entertains parents as well as children. Without them the films would still be funny, but just not as entertaining. They don’t help much though.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Sundance
Sundance, of Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Gang, is one half of one of cinema’s most enduring partnerships – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One of the greatest films of all time, the film charts their friendship and criminal careers – one inextricably linked to the other – topped off by that impeccable finale that hasn’t ever been bettered. It’s a classic film, and the chemistry between Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy) and Robert Redford (Sundance) has never been equaled in cinematic history. Beautiful, touching, and tragic.
Best accomplices to the hero! There’s many more, but there’s a few. Time well spent.