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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Top 50 Film Villains

50.  John Tuturro as "Pino" in Do the Right Thing

In a movie chock full of great characters that had bad intentions as there was little "good" in this movie and definitely no hero, Pino's hatred towards black people transcended BugginOut's paranoia, Radio Raheem's boom box, the cops excessive force and Sal's baseball bat.  You hope in this world that people don't hate others just because the color of their skin (violin music probably needs to play here), but that's exactly who Pino was, someone who would carry out a hate crime, or stomp an ethnic’s teeth into a curb.  We never really got to see his hatred manifested, thankfully due to his brother and father. 

49.  Maurice Evans as "Dr. Zauis" in Planet of the Apes

Here's someone else who hated just because man was different than ape, well, that and the fact that the history of man taught him that man would most certainly destroy the planet as it had in the past.  Dr. Zauis seems like today's fundamentalist in that he will do whatever he can to repress truth in order to preserve God.  He was basically nothing but a damned dirty ape. 

48.  Paul Muni as "Tony Camonte" in Scarface

This character was one of the first to glorify the villain.  By today's standards, he's really not too unique anymore or even fun to root for, but I have to give him points for trailblazing. 

47.  Jeffrey Jones as "Ed Rooney" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This list can't be just criminals, or people consumed with hatred.  Ferris Bueller's nemesis is merely a poor principal that has to deal with a smart alecky punk rich kid with a tendency to ditch school a lot.  Come to think of it, next time I watch this movie, I may have to go for Ed, well, except for the whole child pornography thing … still have to side with Ferris in this rivalry. 

46.  J.E. Freeman as "Eddie Dane" in Miller's Crossing

Some bad guys are really good bad guys, like this one.  There's not one likable thing about this character.  In a movie where every character is tied to the mob, and one guy stands out as the evilest villain of them all, you have to respect that. 

45.  "Rednecks" in Deliverance 

Banjo music has never been the same since this movie.  Who wouldn't be terrified if they were in a small town and encountered some slack-jawed yokel playing the banjo?  I wonder if this movie hurt Georgia's tourism.  I certainly will do my best not to travel through there, of course, it’s pretty hard not too if you’re driving out of Florida.  

44.  "The Devil" or "Regan" in The Exorcist

Some of her performance is a little over the top which is needed for laughs to break up the horrifying display of vulgarity and whatever else spews from her mouth.  Above it all, the creepiest part of the movie is when she walks down the stairs on her hands backwards, like a crab or something.  That creeps me out too much.  If that ever happened at a dinner party I was hosting, I'd send the kid to asylum that very minute. 

43.  "Men" in Thelma and Louise

Almost every single man in this movie is an asshole.  Even a good one like Harvey Keitel, who may understand the ladies plight, is still dying to arrest them. 

Here's the Top 5 Worst Men In the Movie:

5.  Random Shirtless Guy Staring at Louise - There's nothing like exposing your chest hair and gawking at a woman at the same time.
4.  Dirt Truck Driver - That poor truck driver.  Find me one male truck driver that doesn't ogle women profanely?  It's in their job description. 
            3.  Darryl – Thelma's Husband - Shooter McGavin plays a great dickhead. 
2.  Brad Pitt the Thief - Of course the good looking young guy is going to rob you old cougar!  What did you think was going to happen, true love?
1.  Harlan the Rapist - The name says it all.  I'll never respect anyone I meet named Harlan again.   

42.  Ian McDiarmid as "The Emperor" in Return of the Jedi

This old man wasn't the most charming fellow, that's for sure.  Once the order to kill off the Jedi was completed, and he no longer had to hide behind the mask of being a Senator or Chancellor, it must have been quite a relief for him, yet he was still an uptight prick.  You control the Empire!  Chill out a little guy! 

41.  Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as "Mickey and Mallory" in Natural Born Killers

This movie hasn't aged too well, but just as the original Scarface may have been one of the first to glamorize the villain, this one was the first to have the serial killers as the heroes of the film.  Stone may have been a little too over the top with his quote unquote commentaries on society on this one.  I should probably include Rodney Dangerfield's role in this as a great villain too.  Let's call him 41-C. 

40.  Louise Fletcher as "Nurse Ratched" in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

She makes many critics "Best Villains" list but she's a little overrated.  She's not THAT evil, she's just trying to run the asylum the way she thinks best. 

39.  Gary Oldman as "Drexl" in True Romance

If you were making a movie with a heinous villain in the early 1990s, you had to consider Gary Oldman to play the role.  At one point, it seemed as if he was the villain in every single movie that came out.  Even though this role is quite limited say, compared to his role in The Professional, it's my fave.  Why not, how about Top 5 Gary Oldman Villain Roles:
            5.  Air Force One – Ivan Korshunov
            4.  Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Dracula
            3.  JFK – Lee Harvey Oswald
            2.  The Professional – Stansfield
            1.  True Romance – Drexl

When you get Lee Harvey Oswald and Dracula, you know your #1 on director’s “I need a villain” list. 

38.  Cillian Murphy as "Scarecrow" in Batman Begins

Something Christopher Nolan did quite well in his rendering of the Batman story is make the villains very dark creatures.  Whereas they were somewhat comical in the late 80s and 1990s films (and even more comical in the TV show), they are now psychotic people that need to be feared.  They don't grab a boom box and dance before they poison you, the just poison you.  

37.  Jack Nicholson as "Frank Costello" in The Departed

Some say he mailed this performance in but I disagree.  What made him so great for this role was that he was playing a gangster that was coming undone.  Though I do agree Nicholson, like DeNiro and Pacino, doesn't act nearly as good as he did in his prime, he did a great job here, minus the "This ain't reality TV!" line.  That one was pretty weak. 

36.  Samuel L. Jackson as "Ordell Roby" in Jackie Brown

Whatever fun loving gangatsbility SLJ earned in Pulp Fiction rapidly deteriorated here.  Not only does he kill Smokey, (I'll admit, hearing Chris Tucker yap until a bullet was put in him was a lifelong dream of this film fan), but he kills a fun stoner in Robert DeNiro, and really shouldn't have.  I don't like it when people kill Robert DeNiro in movies.  Never have, never will … in fact …

The Top 5 People I'm Most Upset With For Killing Robert DeNiro Characters:

5.  Gaylord Focker in Meet The Parents 4: Greg's Revenge (Okay, this didn't happen)
4.  Nick Nolte or "The Water" in Cape Fear (Cady had it coming though)
3.  Those Russian Dudes in 15 Minutes (I really hated that one even though the movie sucked)
2.  Ordell Roby in Jackie Brown
1.  Al Pacino shooting him in Heat (Just another example of the wrong ending). 

35.  Lee J. Cobb as "Johnny Friendly" in On the Waterfront

The best villain from the best pre-Godfather gangster movie is Lee J. Cobb.  Cobb was a villain trailblazer as his performance as the angriest juror in 12 Angry Men was almost as good.  It must be fun to go from film to film trying out for the role of "angry" guy. 

34.  Faye Dunaway as "Bonnie" in Bonnie and Clyde

She's sort of the first "hot girl" villain.  There have definitely been other misguided ladies (or ladies of the night) in film by this point, but no ladies misdeeds reach the levels of Ms. Parker.  Clyde was bad too, well worse even, but Bonnie is the reason to watch the film and cheer for the villain. 

33.  The Predator in … The Predator

Creatures, be they dinosaurs, aliens, or rabbits with really sharp teeth are all eligible for villainy.  The alien from this film was in like 23 more movies.  Granted, I didn't see any of them, but my memories from its first film are fond. 

32.  Ted Knight as "Judge Smails" in Caddyshack

A great villain is always the old uptight rich white guy at the country club.  Knight nailed this stereotype for this movie.  The role gives birth to the "token dissenting republican" character that you find in a lot of disaster films. 

31.  Bob Gunton as "Warden Norton" in The Shawshank Redemption

This movie had a quite a few unsavory characters.  Imagine having the power to "throw someone in the hole" if they did something you didn't agree with.  I'd probably abuse it too.  I had a conversation with a co-worker today about being wicked and having the ability to turn people into frogs.  What percentage would you turn into frogs?  I said 90.

30.  Viet Cong Guard in The Deer Hunter

The Russian Roulette scene when DeNiro and Walken overcome all the Viet Cong in that swamp is one of the best scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie.  It’s a couch jumper. 

29.  Matt Damon as "Sgt. Sullivan" in The Departed

Was I crazy to be rooting for him in the movie?  Seeing it's Scorsese, I knew he'd die after everyone else did, but I was a little disappointed when it happened (and even more disappointed with that whole rat scene following the death). 

28.  Alan Rickman as "Hans Gruber" in Die Hard

Another great villain type character, especially during the Cold War, was the Eastern European terrorist.  Rickman did a perfect job.  There are moments in film when you know the bad guy is merely going to threaten the hostage, but not Hans.  He was a killer. 

27.  John Malkovich as "Teddy KGB" in Rounders

Though we never get to see the full arm of his power, his accent was enough.  He's very high on that "fun to imitate" list, but I've never been very good at doing it. 

26.  Jack Nicholson as "Col. Jessup" in A Few Good Men

This says it all:

"Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

25.  The Shark Who Played "Jaws" in Jaws

People didn't swim in New England oceans (or maybe just the Atlantic) for about 10 years after this movie.  It's too bad sharks don't make noise before they eat their victims.  Lions have a good roar.  T-Rex's have their distinct kill sound and Samuel L. Jackson has his bible passage, but what do sharks get? 

24.  Mark Rolston as "Boggs" in The Shawshank Redemption

The only character that’s worse in Shawshank Prison than the Warden was Boggs.  I'd rather not talk about him too much. 

23.  Alan Ford as "Brick Top" in Snatch

Many characters on my list are part of a crime syndicate in one way or another.  Here's some representation from across the pond.  I'm no theologian.  I don't know what happens to the soul when you die, but I do know that my body being fed to pigs couldn't help the soul's possible afterlife in any way. 

22.  "Sauron" in Lord of the Rings

Gotta say this in a nerdlinger Napoleon Dynamite like voice …

He's only the leader of all of life's cruelty and malice and will destroy Middle Earth if he gets the one ring to rule them all … GAWSH! 

21.  David Carradine as "Bill" in Kill Bill Vol. 2

He's more of a "cool" villain than a scary one.  My only thing with him is that his "tragic" death will affect how his character ages.  It will be hard not to look at him and think about him being erotically tortured and a possible accidental suicide that ensued. 

20.  Christoph Waltz as "The Jew Hunter" in Inglorious Basterds

Nazi's are perhaps the greatest villains of them all due to them being real 'n all.  Waltz is so wonderfully evil in this movie that Hitler himself looks like a joker.  When I first saw this film, I was a little disappointed at the ending, how he sold himself out, but realized this was the smart thing for him to do, and of course in a villainesque way. 

19.  Some Computer as "HAL" in 2001: A Space Odyssey

HAL's sarcasm while playing chess is what makes it for me.  Sure, there's all that computers turning on humans stuff which is great, but it seems every time he talks, sarcasm reaches unprecedented levels.  Ooh, that computer guy, he's cool. 

18.  Marlon Brando as "Stanley Kowalski" in A Streetcar Named Desire

Seeing I don't consider Brando's "Godfather" a villain, this is perhaps the best villain role he's played, the wife beating drunk.  Still, you have to feel for a guy that's created his perfect niche in life, but then if forced to live with his wife's annoying sister.  No one wants that.

17.  Arnold Schwarzenegger as "The Terminator" in The Terminator

What's strange is growing up, Arnold always seemed like he was a villain.  Looking back at his movies, it was quite rare that he played the bad guy and even this role turned into "the hero" with further incarnations of the story. 

16.  Some guy as "Boba Fett" in Empire and Jedi. 

Growing up watching Star Wars, Boba was the coolest character of them all.  I was a little too young to appreciate the first film when it came out, but was old enough for Empire.  I for one definitely got caught up in Boba Fett mania and wept when he tragically got eaten by the Sarlac.  (Note:  I didn't research the name of the thing that ate him.  I almost hope I'm wrong, but something tells me I'm not and I've reached a new tier of Star Wars geekery. 

15.  Michael Madsen as "Mr. Blonde" in Reservoir Dogs

Are you gonna bark all day little doggie, or are you gonna bite?  Madsen was the Elvis cool psycho.  He was also responsible for my first ear dismemberment.  I've seen plenty since, some that have come historically before and some after, but none as memorable.

14.  Anthony Perkins as "Norman Bates" in Psycho

I'm sure he's much higher on most lists, as he's films first … well, psycho.  He's great, but aside from finding him very creepy, I didn't fear him at any point in my life, despite "the shower scene" making showers a dangerous proposition for days after watching the film when I was young, but at 17 I learned the truth. 

13.  Malcolm McDowell as "Alex" in A Clockwork Orange

The droog accent probably makes him look less psychotic than he is.  Sometimes you can tell a great villain if he's been dressed up as for Halloween.  I know at least two people that have dressed as him, Bart Simpson and moi, so he gets points for that.  Also, the droog garb has been re-created countless times to dress up gangs.  There's even a droog based gang in The Warriors, but that weasel villain from the movie doesn’t deserve to come close to this list. 

12.  William Zabka as "Johnny Lawrence" in The Karate Kid

One form of villain I haven't touched on yet is the high school bully.  There are plenty in 80's comedies, but Johnny and his Cobra Kais are little more mean spirited than say, Roy Stalin and his Better Off Dead ski team.  Seeing Daniel crane kick him as a kid was nearly as invigorating as it is watching Johnny beat the shit out of him now that I'm an adult.  Zabka really is a "best of both worlds" villain. 

11.  Joaquin Phoenix as "Commodus" in Gladiator

I hated him so much.  He basically had every horrible characteristic a villain could have and it led to me hating him as an actor.  Fortunately, I've learned that just because someone plays a horrible person well, doesn't make them a horrible actor.  Watching this movie recently I saw how great of a villain he was.  Nobody could possibly cheer for this guy in any walk of life.

10.  Kevin Spacey as "Keyser Soze" in The Usual Suspects

I didn't include Kevin's role in Se7en even though that serial killer role instills more fear in me than this one.  It's not all about instilling fear though, this isn't a FOX News special.  Everyone loves Keyser Soze, well, accept the characters he encounters in the film. 

9.  Daniel Day-Lewis as "Daniel Plainview" in There Will Be Blood

Some will probably look at me funny when I say that he's not a villain, and that Eli is the true villain in this film.  They're both basically backsliders and manipulating people so it's a tough call.  Backsliders is a great word by the way. 

8.  Al Pacino as "Tony Montana" in Scarface

His performance in this may be overdone a little (this is Al Pacino after all), but he's so much fun.  It's strange how Pacino went from being a great actor in the 70s, to someone who completely overacted in the 80s and 90s, to someone who doesn't even try to act at all nowadays.  Say what you want about Al, but at least he's covering all sides of the acting spectrum and not just interesting characters. 

7.  Jack Nicholson as "Jack Torrance" in The Shining

Recently around Father's Day I saw that Time magazine did a "Top 10 Worst Dads of All-Time" and "Here's Johnny" got a well deserved #1 on the list.  As bad as he was, you have to feel like if you were in that situation with a snooping kid, an Olive Oil wife, and no booze for several months you'd go crazy too.  Who wouldn't?  Best part about the Worst Dad list was that Homer Simpson wasn't even included.  My, how society has crumbled. 

6.  Robert DeNiro as "Max Cady" in Cape Fear

I'm not sure if he won an Oscar for this role and don't feel like looking because either way, this is DeNiro's last great performance.  I've always thought it was a lesser DeNiro movie but it has aged quite well, especially due to his performance. 

5.  Javier Bardem as "Anton Chighur" in No Country For Old Men

Every time he opens his mouth, something sanely crazy comes out.  My favorite part of his character was that he didn't kill the old lady at the trailer park as it was his way of saying to her that her life will be more miserable if he lets her live. 

4.  Anthony Hopkins as "Hannibal Lecter" in Silence of the Lambs

He's basically the critic’s darling of villainy.  Silence of the Lambs is a perfect film, and even though I enjoy the other parts of his story, they've taken away too much of his mystique to be #1. 

3.  Heath Ledger as "The Joker" in The Dark Knight

Every time he's onscreen this film reaches a level that very few ever attain.  He can say the biggest clich√© like "you complete me" and it still sounds original.  Every time he opens his mouth is captivating.  My only disappointment with him in this movie is he never kissed Maggie Gyllenhaal so Heath could've had the distinction of kissing both her and her brother Jake.  That'd have been great. 

2.  James Earl Jones as "Darth Vader" in the Star Wars trilogy

Perhaps the best rendition of thee ol' Man vs. Machine battle is Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker.  Darth Vader's mere appearance led me to immediate tears upon his arrival on the Rebel ship the first time I saw Star Wars. Of course, I was 5.  I begged and pleaded my mom to take me, promising her I wouldn’t cry, but this was fucking Darth Vader! 

1.  Daniel Day-Lewis as "Bill the Butcher" in Gangs of New York

Ultimately, he has the most personality, says the greatest things, and instills a great amount of fear.  If only it wouldn't cost so much to create that outfit for Halloween, I'd be him every year.   

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