Thursday, November 8, 2007

Underappreciated Movie Villains

A post on my brother-in-law's blog about his favorite movie villains inspired me to create my list (in no particular order) of the most underappreciated movie villains.

Annie Wilkes - Misery

Annie is an obsessive, vindictive, dangerous woman that believes God told her to help Paul write his new book. The sound of her hammer connecting with the wood block and destroying his ankles is burned into my memory forever, and then immediately after she says to Paul "God, I love you." That's messed up.

"Now the time has come. I put two bullets in my gun. One for me, and one for you. Oh darling, it will be so beautiful."
Khan - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Kahn is one of the baddest men in the universe. He is over 200 years old but still has huge pecs. He puts bugs in your ears that crawl into your brain and make you obey him. He will stop and nothing to get his revenge on Kirk. He was Anton Chigurh before Javier Bardem.

"I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried alive."
Hal 9000 - 2001: A Space Odyssey

Before Ahnold Schwarzenegger made machines with conciousness scary, the HAL 9000 was blazing a trail for machines gone bad. Hal slowly losing sanity, killing astronauts and locking Dave Bowman outside of the S.S. Discovery is a statement about mankind being beholden on machines and the danger that lurks in that dependence.

"I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."
Keyzer Soze - Usual Suspects, The
Watching Verbal limp out of the police station is still my favorite movie twist of all time. I remember watching it, with my jaw open in disbelief...that everything I had been watching the previous two hours was a lie.

"Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze." When people respect/fear you enough to make a quote like that, you are officially a bad, bad man.
Harry Lime - Third Man, The

Harry fakes his own death, pulls his childhood friend into the dark and dangerous underworld of the black market in post WWII Vienna. Charming, sophisticated and very, very dangerous.

"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly."
Amon Goeth - Schindler's List
Cold and methodical without a trace of soul. The scene where he touches his reflection in the mirror and whispers "I pardon you" still gives me the creeps. Fienne's best work by far, and I doubt he will ever top it. He is the scariest type of evil. Not a demon from Hell, or a monster from another world, or even a raving lunatic. He is the personification of the evil that man can produce without regret, pity or conscience.

"Today is history. Today will be remembered. Years from now the young will ask with wonder about this day. Today is history and you are part of it. Six hundred years ago when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great - so called - told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. With nothing they came and with nothing they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries will be a rumor. They never happened. Today is history."
Hillbillies - Deliverance
Start humming "Dueling Banjos" around any guy and watch us freak out. Enough said.

"Now let's you just drop them pants."
Booth (Mitch Leary) - In the Line of Fire

Booth's phone calls to Frank Horrigan have some of the best verbal sparring in a movie. You have amazing dialogue and two actors at the top of their game, and you get movie magic. There is a great scene where Frank pulls out his gun, and aims it at Booth, who is hanging from a building ledge, and Booth simply closes his mouth around the barrel, daring Frank to shoot him. It was improvised by Malkovich on the set, but it plays perfectly.

"What did happen to you that day? Only one agent reacted to the gunfire, and you were closer to Kennedy than he was. You must have looked up at the window of the Texas Book Depository, but you didn't react. Late at night, when the demons come, do you see the rifle coming out of that window, or do you see Kennedy's head being blown apart? If you'd reacted to that first shot, could you have gotten there in time to stop the big bullet? And if you had - that could've been your head being blown apart. Do you wish you'd succeeded, Frank? Or is life too precious?"
Mr. Blonde - Reservoir Dogs
After watching this film, you will never listen to the song "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel the same way again.

"Listen kid, I'm not gonna bull**** you, all right? I don't give a good **** what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get."
Bill Lumbergh - Office Space
Yeah...I'm going to have to have you move me up higher on this list of villains. Oh....and we had to let some people I am going to need you to come in and blog on Saturday....Ummmmmkay? That's greeeeaaaaat.

"So, Peter, what's happening? Aahh, now, are you going to go ahead and have those TPS reports for us this afternoon? "
Tracy Flick - Election

Tracy is the overly chipper, strong, dedicated, driven and smart girl that you can't help but hate. She's too sweet, too bubbly, too perfect. It turns out, she isn't as pure as you think.

"Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn't, as you well know. I realize that it was your divine hand that disqualified Tammy Metzler and now I'm asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put me in office where I belong so that I may carry out your will on earth as it is in heaven. Amen."
Teddy Gammell - Memento
Tricking a man with no short term memory to kill a guy for $200,000 makes you a very bad man. Staying with that man and continuing to manipulate him for your selfish reasons...that puts you on this list.

"No, that's who you were. Maybe it's time you started investigating yourself."
Dr. Christian Szell - Marathon Man

This man personally set back the cause of dentistry for decades.

"Is it safe?"
Marsellus Wallace - Pulp Fiction
Possibly the only man who is a bigger bad mother than Sam "The Man" Jackson. Sam's character Jules gets all the attention for having "BMF" on his wallet, and his famous "Say WHAT one more time! I dare you!" scene. However, there is another man in the film that is just a little badder. He's a man with a band-aid on the back of his neck. A man that may or may not have thrown a man out a window for giving his wife a "Foot Massage". A man that makes you want to hop on Zed's chopper and get out town when he tells you that you're cool, but to never come back.

"What now? Let me tell you what now. I'ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin' n******, who'll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'ma get medieval on your as**."
Bureaucracy and ductwork - Brazil

When a fly is killed on a government terrorist list by a typewritter, and alters the name Tuttle to Buttle, (a literal BUG in the system) an innocent shoe repairman is killed while the "terrorist" Tuttle roams free. (He's an illegal freelance Heating and Ductwork Engineer. His crime, working without government permission.) As a result, a shy and quiet man that likes to daydream is assigned by the government to investigate the error and ends up being branded a terrorist and hunted by the state. The fact that a certain character's death is literally caused by being buried and smothered under government forms and paperwork, makes it one of the greatest and most creative deaths in cinema history.

"Sorry, I'm a bit of a stickler for paperwork. Where would we be if we didn't follow the correct procedures? "
El Guapo - Three Amigos, The
If you don't know who El Guapo is, and don't know why he is on this list, then you are not allowed to read this blog again until you have corrected the situation.

"El Guapo only kills men. He does not kill crying women! "
Big Boy Caprice - Dick Tracy
Breaks his piano player's fingers, slaps Madonna's Breathless Mahoney in the face, commits crime, and has some of the funniest misquotes in movie history.

"There is what is, and what we would like it to be. - Lincoln!"
Emperor Zurg: Toy Story 2
The toy world's version of Darth Vader.

"No Buzz....I am your father!"


Anonymous said...

Wow... excellent list! I stand in awe. I really should have had many of these villains on my list, ya know? i mean, how could I leave out HAL? and Khan? Sheesh... I'm losing my touch.

anyway, nice jobe, dude.


Macotar said...

As always, I feel the need to add a couple of villains. My favorite unsung villain is probably Slugworth in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate factory (Gene Wilder Version) played by the irascible Gunter Meisner who mostly played german baddies like Hitler and other non-descript nazis