Movie Character Hall of Fame: Quiz Kid Donnie Smith
Character defining lines:
"I have so much love to give, I just don't know how to place it."
"What am I doing? What the fuck am I doing?"
Magnolia is one of my favorite films of all time, and there's at least four characters of the film who would qualify in my Movie Character Hall of Fame. But, William H. Macy's Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (You can't just call him Donnie) is the one that sticks with me the most.
Quiz Kid Donnie Smith is one of the more pathetic characters in film. He's a former child game show champion still holding on to his glory for three decades ago, he's in debt, and he gets braces he doesn't need because he's in love with the muscular bartender with braces at the bar he inhabits. Late in the film, after his confession of love to the bartender doesn't go so well he accidentally breaks all his teeth and with a mouth full of blood, he tells John C. Reilly's cop, "I have so much love to give. I have so much love to give."
I think it's one of the most relatable scenes of all time. We've all done something stupid to make a fool out of ourselves and wished we could disappear. Life is full of tiny embarrassments that don't matter in the long run but can make you feel like a real idiot. Every time I respond "you too!" to a waitress who says "enjoy your lunch" ; when I push the down on an elevator going up, when I mentioned an interesting article about cancer to someone whose mother just passed away from it; I feel like the forty-six-year old former quiz kid with a mouth full of blood and empty of teeth. I didn't wear braces in a horribly misinformed attempt to convince a bartender to fall in love with me and make a real ass out of myself, but I know how he feels.
You may not be the most glamorous character in movies, Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, but you are the first character inducted in Bob's Movie Character HALL OF FAME!