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Bloviating Zeppelin: Best Movie Bad Guys

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Best Movie Bad Guys

A few of my choices, in something of a semblance of an order:

Classic. Absolutely classic. From the Thomas Harris book, "Silence of the Lambs," the 1991 movie of the same name exhibits the quintessential Lecter. Anthony Hopkins deserved his Oscar and then some. He wasn't huge, he wasn't muscular, he wasn't physically ugly.
Hannibal Lecter: Now then, tell me. What did Miggs say to you? Multiple Miggs in the next cell. He hissed at you. What did he say?
Clarice Starling: He said, "I can smell your cunt."
Hannibal Lecter: I see. I myself cannot. You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today.

Sterling Hayden's ultimate role. From the 1964 black & white movie "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb." Directed by Stanley Kubrick in a semi-documentary style (and borrowing from the 1958 novel "Red Alert" by Peter George), Gen. Ripper sent his entire nuclear-armed B-52 wing beyond their fail-safe points and into Soviet airspace due to the pollution of our national precious bodily fluids.
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

From the 1994 film "The Professional," Stansfield is a drug-snorting, unkempt, over-the-top DEA operative responsible for numerous killings. Gary Oldman's portrayal is simply superb.
Mathilda: You killed my brother.
Stansfield: I'm sorry. And you want to join him?
Mathilda: No.
Stansfield: It's always the same thing. It's when you start to become really afraid of death that you learn to appreciate life. Do you like life, sweetheart?
Mathilda: Yes.
Stansfield: That's good, because I take no pleasure in taking life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it.

Joe Pesci takes the Small Man Complex to its penultimate step. From the 1990 film "Goodfellas," Pesci's classic lines:
Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill: Just... you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!
Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

Henry Silva's role as Score in 1981's "Sharky's Machine" just barely edges out his role of Kurt Zagon in the 1988 Steven Seagal movie "Above The Law." It would appear that Oldman used the drug-addled Score as the basis for his role as Stansfield. Henry Silva was and still is one of the world's finest bad guys. From "Above The Law":
Kurt Zagon: [prepares a syringe] You know, I use these things to extract useful information. But for the first time, I'm going to use them just for fun. [Kurt's guards hold Nico still and Kurt injects Nico in the leg with the syringe. Nico squirms even harder]
Kurt Zagon: Yeah. That's it! That's it. Race it through your system. [Nico stops squirming and slumps down in his chair]
Kurt Zagon: Toscani? Toscani! [Nico looks back up weakly]
Kurt Zagon: There you are, my friend. Man, you should have killed me when you had the chance to. You were too fucking dumb, you asshole!

Lee Marvin doubled in the 1965 film "Cat Ballou" as both Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn, he of the silver nosepiece -- and won an Oscar for same. Some things you didn't know about Marvin: He was a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and twice a descendant of male line relatives of George Washington. He was Spielberg's first choice for the role of Quint in Jaws (1975). He was named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who was his second cousin three times removed. Marvin also turned down the lead role of Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in Patton (1970).
My favorite Marvin quote:
Tequila. Straight. There's a real polite drink. You keep drinking until you finally take one more and it just won't go down. Then you know you've reached your limit.

Michael Madsen's portrayal of Mr. Blonde in 1992's "Reservoir Dogs" was grisly and yet stellar. You absolutely dreaded the scene with Blonde and the police officer. This was Quentin Tarantino's directorial and writing debut.
Mr. Blonde: Listen kid, I'm not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don't give a good fuck 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. [He removes his razor]
Mr. Blonde: You ever listen to K-Billy's "Super Sounds of the Seventies" weekend? It's my personal favorite.

The original crazy bitch stalker, Jessica Walter's portrayal of Evelyn in Clint Eastwood's 1971 film "Play Misty For Me" is the celluloid gold standard. Even 1987's "Fatal Attraction" with Glenn Close as Alex Forrest pales in comparison.
Evelyn: Don't you like me?
David 'Dave' Garver: You're a nice girl.
Evelyn: But who needs nice girls?
David 'Dave' Garver: I'm kind of hung up on one.
Evelyn: And you don't want to complicate yourself.
David 'Dave' Garver: That's exactly right.
Evelyn: Well neither do I, but that's no reason we shouldn't sleep together tonight if we feel like it.

The 2001 movie "Snatch" features Vinnie Jones as BTT and, as we all know, England's Jones makes a fabulous Bad Guy on any film at any time. A small bit of trivia: Jones is eternally banned from any flight on Virgin Atlantic Airlines for causing a fight on a flight to Tokyo. Another great "heavy" role: McStarley in 2007's release of "The Condemned."
Bullet Tooth Tony: So, you are obviously the big dick. The men on the side of ya are your balls. There are two types of balls. There are big brave balls, and there are little mincey faggot balls. Vinny: These are your last words, so make them a prayer.
Bullet Tooth Tony: Now, dicks have drive and clarity of vision, but they are not clever. They smell pussy and they want a piece of the action. And you thought you smelled some good old pussy, and have brought your two small mincey faggot balls along for a good old time. But you've got your parties mangled up. There's no pussy here, just a dose that'll make you wish you were born a woman. Like a prick, you are having second thoughts. You are shrinking, and your two little balls are shrinking with you. And the fact that you've got "Replica" written down the side of your gun... [Zoom in on the side of Sol's gun, which indeed has "REPLICA" etched on the side; zoom out, as they sneak peeks at the sides of their guns]
Bullet Tooth Tony: And the fact that I've got "Desert Eagle point five O"... [Withdraws his gun and puts it on the table]
Bullet Tooth Tony: Written down the side of mine... [They look, zoom in on the side of his gun, which indeed has "DESERT EAGLE .50" etched on the side]
Bullet Tooth Tony: Should precipitate your balls into shrinking, along with your presence. Now... Fuck off!

Sir Laurence Olivier simply excelled in the 1976 film "Marathon Man." I can recall watching this movie with my brother and absolutely cringing when the scene emerged displaying Dustin Hoffman sitting in the chair with Olivier hovering over him, dental tools in hand. The phrase "Is it safe?" still resonates in my brain housing group.
Christian Szell: Is it safe?... Is it safe?
Babe: You're talking to me?
Christian Szell: Is it safe?
Babe: Is what safe?
Christian Szell: Is it safe?
Babe: I don't know what you mean. I can't tell you something's safe or not, unless I know specifically what you're talking about.
Christian Szell: Is it safe?
Babe: Tell me what the "it" refers to.
Christian Szell: Is it safe?
Babe: Yes, it's safe, it's very safe, it's so safe you wouldn't believe it.
Christian Szell: Is it safe?
Babe: No. It's not safe, it's... very dangerous, be careful.

Massive Honorable Mention:

Kathy Bates in the movie "Misery" caused many an audience to cringe when she smacks and breaks both ankles of James Caan's Paul Sheldon with a sledgehammer! Every bit of air in the audience was sucked into multiple lungs with that sequence.
Annie Wilkes: Anything else I can get for you while I am in town? How about a tiny tape recorder, or how about a homemade pair of writing slippers?
Paul Sheldon: Annie, what's the matter?
Annie Wilkes: What's the matter? WHAT'S THE MATTER? I will tell you "what's the matter!" I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? "Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Anne, I can't write on this paper, Anne!" Well, I'll get your stupid paper but you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!

And so:

Who are your favorite celluloid bad guys?



Blogger Ranando said...

Why, BZ and TexasFred of course.


Sat Dec 01, 04:53:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Aw, gawrsh, thanks Ranando! I'm blushing!


Sat Dec 01, 07:09:00 AM PST  
Blogger Gayle said...

The only movie I watched on that list was "Misery". That's back when I liked Stephen King. Now that I know he's a moonbat I'm not buying any more of his books or watching any more of his movies. Not that it will make any difference to him, of course. I'm the only one it will make a difference to. That's more than enough. :)

Sat Dec 01, 09:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

One of the few benefits of playing RPGs is experiencing how 'villains' are cast... and heroes... and those in-between. The game used a view drawn from literature of Good and Evil on one axis and Law and Chaos on the other. From that comes a recreation of the Eight-Fold Way:

Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good

Lawful Neutral, Neutral, Chaotic Neutral

Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil

One's outlook not only cast the direction, but how one carried through also affected that. On the lovely Evil side of the house you had the LE's, typified by Satan/Baalzebub/Lucifer/Asmodeus etc. If you are LE you do adhere to the Law, but use it for Evil ends, thus you get the ambulance chasing lawyer looking to get money out of accidents to enrich a client and himself when it was, truly, an accident. These folks will stick strictly to the letter of their word, and not weasel out of it... just to the letter, mind you, not the intent. Typically, these make up most of H-wood fare of 'evil' businessmen and lawyers, and have become pure caricatures and have headed more towards NE than LE. One of the best for this was Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond films: he was utilizing his knowledge of the money system to destabilize it in his favor... it would harm the US, but his personal wealth would increase greatly.

JB: What? Do you expect me to talk?

AG: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.

The NE are slimy sorts, with views on Law and Chaos that amount to: so what? They are willing to utilize either (lawyers or moral crusaders) to get their way, and they really don't care how it is done. Having no fixed idea of why Law or Chaos is useful, save to ends, their practitioners are used equally to create evil times around them. In myth these are the minor gods of pain and suffering, bringing both to all for no good reason. They recognize the power of organization and disorganization and will utilize both at the same time. Con men, swindlers, and every Nigerian scamster fits here - just when they convince you they adhere to law or chaos in their ways, they turn on you. While not a perfect fit, Don Vito Coreleone fits here, as he understands the law and rules of criminal gangs, but murder, extortion, loan sharking, and assassination are all acceptable tools of the trade... he is lawful to the law, but if chaos comes to society, what of it?

Then there are the CE's: out for themselves, their beliefs and their ability to bring the evils against society to destroy society and return things to a state of nature red of claw and fang. They do not recognize Law as something to uphold and, indeed, counter it at every turn in all forms. We have the Lovecraftian mythos for the typification of this: Cthulhu, Hastur, Shub-Niggaroth, Yog-Sothoth. Insanity, pain and all of that brought to earth to bring all law to end and to reclaim it when they awake - we only deal with minions, not the things themselves. Here lies Hannibal Lector, Norman Bates and Rasputin (played by Christopher Lee), those who are beyond sanity and reason, rarely giving any thought to order or law to work their ends.

On the fringes are the LN and CN, perhaps the hardest for us to grasp as Good and Evil to them are balancing acts at best, and ignored at worse... on the LN side would be all lawyers who balance case loads between plaintiffs and defendants and do so scrupulously over their lives: the Law is the highest calling in its defense. They rightly don't care if you see them as Good or Evil, to them Law has no higher meaning. They stick by the Law as it is written and with the intentions behind it, no matter if those come to good or evil ends. Here is the realm of many Anti-Heroes: Dirty Harry Callahan, Max Rocketansky, Batman. They uphold the higher law to get good ends, but use dark means to get there so long as the Law is served.

Chaotic Neutral are the free spirits out for themselves and only themselves: they will help and heal, as well as bring ill and disdain. We have a whole political movement where individual rights trump society and law: this is their place in things. Anarchy incarnate that does have no direction beyond what individuals do and even banding together is given a harsh look. In Lovecraftian mythos this is the babbling center of the universe called Azathoth that will drive all things equally mad because that is the state of the universe. It is very, very hard to make anarchy a sympathetic cast in films, it is always in antagonism to the law. Strangely, we don't get many of these in fiction...

Flip E for G to get good, and that leaves the True Neutral in the center, where all things are equal. A bit of good a bit of chaos a bit of law a bit of evil, each in their due to keep the cosmic balance straight. This is the realm of moral relativism of those unable to take a stand on anything: its all good!

So there are some of the memorable and where they fit in the eight-fold way of D&D.

Sat Dec 01, 09:31:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: wow! A full and complete treatise! Spectacular!


Sat Dec 01, 01:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

We clearly have completely different tastes in movies.

The worst villains?

Col Tavington from The Patriot was easily the one that I had to hate.

From fantasy and Sci-fi of course Vader and Voldemort.

Sat Dec 01, 03:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

I'm with Gayle. I liked Misery the best, she was really wacked out.

Sat Dec 01, 06:23:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Shoprat: I purposely tried not to venture into Sci-Fi or fantasy -- those areas are almost too easily plumbed for Bad Guys.


Sat Dec 01, 07:08:00 PM PST  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Alanzo in Training Day.

Sat Dec 01, 10:19:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BWH: YES! Denzel Washington was VERY bad in that movie!


Sun Dec 02, 03:31:00 PM PST  

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