Thursday, May 26, 2011

7 Essential John Wayne Films to Celebrate The Duke's Birthday

On May 26, 1907 a future film legend was born when Marion Morrison was welcomed into the world.  Morrison would change his name to John Wayne and go on to become, without question, the biggest western cinematic icon of all time.  Celebrate The Duke's birthday by watching any of these essential greats...

The Searchers
1956


Director: John Ford


My personal favorite.  Wayne plays Ethan Edwards, an obviously anti-Indian Civil War veteran that dedicates years of his life to hunt down the pack of Indians that killed his family and abducted his young niece.  But are his priorities in order?




Stagecoach
1939


Director: John Ford


Wayne stars as The Ringo Kid, protecting a group of travelers on a stagecoach from the threat of Geronimo.






Rio Bravo
1959


Director:  Howard Hawks


Wayne stars as a small town sheriff who needs to hold the fort and keep some outlaws from breaking one of their own out of jail until the US Marshalls arrive.  He enlists the help of a drunk, a kid and a cripple as his deputies.





The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962


Director:  John Ford


A senator builds his reputation on killing a notorious outlaw, but what is the real story behind the death of Liberty Valance?




True Grit
1969


Director:  Henry Hathaway


A rowdy US Marshall and a Texas Ranger team up with a stubborn 13-year old girl to hunt down the man who killed her father.






The Quiet Man
1952


Director:  John Ford


A huge departure from his westerns, Wayne plays a retired American boxer who moves to Ireland to start a new life and eventually find love.




The Shootist
1976


Director:  Don Siegel


Wayne's last film, but probably the most poignant as he plays a dying gunfighter, trying to ensure his final days end with dignity.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top 20 "End of the World" Movies

So... the Rapture did not happen on May 21, 2011 like the crazy preacher Harold Camping predicted.  But that doesn't mean you can't get your fill of apocalyptic movies!  So we here at The Essential Films offer you the Top 20 End of the World Movies that you can enjoy in the post-non-Rapture days.

Many events can cause the end of the world, so they're all explored in this list... whether it's because robots, zombies, aliens or nuclear weapons, the worlds in these films features a human race that is on the brink of endangerment or is about to be wiped from existence.

BEWARE!! AHEAD THERE BE SPOILERS!

#20 - THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964)


Dr. Robert Morgan is the last man on earth (duh) after the entire world has turned into vampires.  Everyday he wakes up, gathers his weapons and goes hunting.  I Am Legend is a remake of this cult classic.







#19 - THE ROAD (2009)


This bleak vision of the future stars Viggo Mortensen as a father who, along with his son, tries to survive a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with cannibals.







#18 - WATCHMEN (2009)


In this deconstruction of the superhero mythology, the murder of a former crime-fighter sparks off an investigation that leads to the discovery of a world-ending conspiracy.




#17 - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953)


The original alien invasion film.  Martians invade Earth to take over and the humans can do little to fight back.  This film featured some ground-breaking special effects and heavily influenced the alien-invasion genre.






#16 - WARGAMES (1983)


A young computer genius hacks into a military defense program and accidentally sets of a nuclear scare that could lead towards World War III.





#15 - 28 DAYS LATER (2002)

A British man wakes up from a coma to find London completely deserted. He soon realizes that a deadly pandemic has gripped the world, turning its victims into mindless, raging cannibals (or zombies.)




#14 - ZOMBIELAND (2009)

The entire world has been ravaged by a zombie apocalypse.  A handful of rag-tag survivors take a road trip to the West Coast, hoping they'll find some shred of civilization.







#13 - 12 MONKEYS (1996)

A prisoner from a post-apocalyptic future keeps getting sent back in time to find out exactly how the world ended.  But is he really a time-traveler or his just insane?




#12 - PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

I can't go into too much detail without spoiling it... but let's just say this film has the greatest twist ending of all time.






#11 - FAIL-SAFE (1964)

A computer glitch causes U.S. bombers to accidentally drop a nuclear bomb on Soviet Moscow.  The President of the United States must now do everything he can to prevent all out atomic destruction.



#10 - AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2006)

Former Vice President Al Gore hosts this extremely controversial documentary about the dangers Global Warming present to the Earth.




#9 - SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)

This zombie film does an incredible job of blending comedy, romance and pathos and re-imagining the entire genre.










#8 - CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)


No zombies, bombs or robots... but it is the fact that there are no more children in the world that is threatening the entire human race.






#7 - THE MATRIX (1999)


Once artificial intelligence was created, machines became self-aware and decided they did not want to be subservient.  They rounded up every human on the planet, turned them into batteries, and plugged them into the Matrix: a software program to keep them docile.  A group of freedom fighters have freed themselves from The Matrix and literally fight system.





#6 - MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981)

It's the post-Apocalypse.  It's the Australian Outback.  Gasoline is scarce.  There's a roving band of marauders terrorizing survivors.  Only one man can stop them.


#5 - NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

The original zombie movie, and they don't get much better.  The dead inexplicably start coming back to life and a group of strangers must survive the oncoming onslaught.








#4 - THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

Forget the remake, watch the original.  An alien visits Earth and warns them to stop their constant warring... or face the consequences.  A nuclear-age  cautionary tale.







#3 - WALL-E (2008)


It's the far future and humanity has become so obssessed with consumerism, that they have created too much waste and Earth is no longer habitable.  WALL-E is an adorable little robot that stayed behind to clean up the mess.




#2 (and 2.5) - THE TERMINATOR (1984) and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991)

Skynet, the self-aware military defense system, wages war on the human race and gives rise to an army of Terminator robots.  The only threat to their dominance is John Connor, leader of the human resistance.  Skynet sends Terminators back in time to first kill John Connor's mother and then John Connor himself (as a child) to prevent the human uprising in the future.




#1 - DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)

The black comedy answer to Fail-Safe.  Nuclear tensions between The Soviet Union and The United States rise as a glitch accidentally causes a troop of U.S. soldiers to drop an atomic bomb on mother Russia.  A nuclear apocalypse (and the comedy) is imminent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

100 Greatest Movie Villains - Part 5: The Top 20!


20 - General Zod

PORTRAYED BY:
Terrence Stamp

AS SEEN IN:
Superman: The Movie (1978)
Superman II (1980)

Join us. You have been known to disagree with the Council before. Yours could become an important voice in the new order, second only to my own! I offer you a chance for greatness, Jor-El! Take it! Join us!... You *will* bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity, you *will* bow down before me! Both you, and then one day, your heirs! 

Krypton's most notorious criminal, Zod, was banished and sent to the mysterious Phantom Zone by Jor-El, Superman's birth father. As he was imprisoned he screamed that he would get his revenge on Jor-El and one day his heirs. Well, Jor-El blew up with the rest of Krypton, so when Zod finally escaped the Phantom Zone he had to settle for the Man of Steel himself. He and his thugs, Ursa and Non, came to earth and having the same Kryptonian DNA as Superman, were also gifted with the exact same super powers. Unfortunately, soon after they arrived on Earth, Superman had his powers removed so that he could live a normal life with Lois Lane. Unopposed, Zod quickly took control of the United States and even made The President kneel before him. Eventually Superman got his powers back and fought the three Kryptonian supercriminals in the first ever big screen super powered smackdown.


19 - Anton Chigurh

PORTRAYED BY:
Javier Bardem

AS SEEN IN:
No Country for Old Men (2007)

This is what I'll offer - you bring me the money and I'll let her go. Otherwise she's accountable, same as you. That's the best deal you're gonna get. I won't tell you you can save yourself, because you can't. 

Anton Chigurh is a hitman that is hired to recover some stolen drug money from a deal gone awry. That is just scratching the surface when it comes to Anton Chigurh. Chigurh is a cold, merciless, cunning, killing machine. When he is set to kill someone or accomplish a task... he will get it done. And God help you if you doubt him. Chigurh is a living and breathing personification of death itself. Everything you've done in life, eventually leads you to him. You will die, unless he decides otherwise. And the choice he leaves up to fate... by the flip of a coin.


18 - The Ring/Sauron

PORTRAYED BY:
Sala Baker (Sauron) 
Alan Howard (The Ring's "voice")

AS SEEN IN:
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

"One Ring to Rule Them All
One Ring To Find Them
One Ring To Bring Them All
And In The Darkness Bind Them."

Sauron created a set of rings which were given to the race of men, elves and dwarves, but also created one "master" ring to rule them all. He and his dark forces were eventually defeated by an alliance of men and elves, and Sauron's physical body was destroyed. However his dark spirit lived on in the lands of Mordor. The Ring of Power survived the death of Sauron and was at first intended to be destroyed, but the ring was so evil that it corrupted any living being that chose to wear it. It passed from owner to owner (including Villain list entry, Gollum), until it eventually landed in the hands of Frodo Baggins, at around the same time that Sauron's spirit was getting stronger. The spirit of Sauron and the evil of the Ring formed such a dark bond that a fellowship was created to take the ring to Mount Doom and have it destroyed. Sauron dispatched his evil forces to invade the lands of men and elves while at the same time trying to recover his Ring. While both Sauron and The Ring were eventually destroyed for good, there is no doubt that they belong on the lsit of the Greatest Villains Ever.


17 - Mrs. Elanor Shaw Iselin

PORTRAYED BY:
Angela Lansbury

AS SEEN IN:
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire? 

Elanor Iselin, wife of prominent anti-Communist US Senator John Iselin, is a power-hungry puppet master who uses her loved ones as pawns in her political chess game. Manipulating events so that her husband is literally a heartbeat away from a Presidential nomination, she also makes a deal with a shadowy Communist sect to brainwash her son, Korean war hero Raymond Shaw, into becoming a political assassin. Mrs. Iselin triggers her son’s murderous hypnotic state by suggesting a game of solitaire. When Raymond’s former commanding officer (played by Frank Sinatra) starts questioning the events that led to Shaw’s Medal of Honor, Iselin’s plans comes crashing down.


16 - Norman Bates

PORTRAYED BY:
Anthony Perkins

AS SEEN IN:

It's not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you? 

While seemingly a shy, quiet manager of an out of the way inn... Norman Bates has a darker side.  Bates, consumed with severe mommy-issues that have driven to the point of insanity.  The result is a string of bodies and a penchant for cross-dressing... acting out his violent crimes while believing he is his own dead mother.


15 - Mr. Blonde

PORTRAYED BY:
Michael Madsen

AS SEEN IN:
Reservoir Dogs (1992)

 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. 

Mr. Blonde, real name: Vic Vega. Whatever you call him, he's one sadistic bastard. Blonde is a recently released ex-con who immediately falls into his old ways and joins up with his old crime boss. The plan is, along with some other, err, "colorful" gangsters (and one undercover cop), to rob a jewelery store of some priceless diamonds. Things go wrong as the cops were waiting for them and Blonde takes one of them hostage. Instead of letting the cop go once he makes his getaway, Blonde stuffs him in a trunk and takes him to the rendezvous. He tells his partners he took him so he could question him as to why the cops knew about the heist, but in all reality he kidnapped to torture him... just for the hell of it. In one of the most disturbing scenes ever filmed, Blonde does a little dance to some 70s pop music while taking breaks from slicing, dicing and mutilating his victim.


14 - Nurse Ratched

PORTRAYED BY:
Louise Fletcher

AS SEEN IN:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don't think that he would like it. 

 Intimidation, manipulation... electro shock therapy. Nurse Ratched will do just about anything to display her power over her psych ward.  While on the surface it may appear she is concerned about the patients' welfare, it is clear her motives are much more sinister.


13 - The Wicked Witch of the West

PORTRAYED BY:
Margaret Hamilton

AS SEEN IN:
The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears! Thought you were pretty foxy, didn't you? Well! The last to go will see the first three go before her! And your mangy little dog, too! 

Of all the classic children's/family films... who is more terrifying than the Wicked Witch of the West? OK... to be fair... Dorothy did drop a house on her sister, killing her instantly. I guess I'd be pretty pissed too. But let's face it, The Wizard is a phony and Glinda the Good Witch doesn't do squat until the very end of the movie. (Oh, you mean all I had to do was tap my freaking shoes three times? Why didn't you tell me that at the beginning of the movie and not endanger my life to meet a phony wizard. Thanks a lot, bitch.) I digress. Anyway, with these two losers in the picture the Wicked Witch is the most powerful being in Oz... and furthermore she's got an army of evil freaking flying monkeys ready to kill you. And your dog.


12 - Mr. Potter

PORTRAYED BY:
Lionel Barrymore

AS SEEN IN:

 Look at you. You used to be so cocky. You were going to go out and conquer the world. You once called me "a warped, frustrated, old man!" What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help. No securities, no stocks, no bonds. Nothin' but a miserable little $500 equity in a life insurance policy.  You're worth more dead than alive! 

 It's a Wonderful Life's George Bailey is financially bankrupt but morally wealthy... so you contrast him with Mr. Potter, a warped, frustrated old man who is financially wealthy and morally bankrupt. Although his sins are usually greed-related, his most despicable act is driving George to consider suicide as way out of his family's considerable financial debt. All this... and he doesn't even get his in the end. Potter is the ultimate Christmas-time villain.



11 - Lord Voldemort

PORTRAYED BY:
Ralph Fiennes

AS SEEN IN:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

The Boy-Who-Lived. How lies have fed your legend, Harry! Do you want to know what really happened thirteen years ago? Shall I divulge how I truly lost my powers? It was love. You see, when dear sweet Lily Potter gave her life for her only son, it provided him with the ultimate protection, I could not touch him. It was old magic, something I should have foreseen. But no matter, no matter, things have changed. I CAN TOUCH YOU... NOW! Voldemort: Astounding what a few drops of your blood will do, eh, Harry?

The dark wizard so evil that those in the secret magic world of the Harry Potter series do not dare speak his name. After not forseeing that baby Harry Potter was protected by old magic, his death curse backfired on him and (seemingly) killed Lord Voldemort. But he came back, time and again, in various forms throughout the movie (and book) series. Finally, using Harry Potter's own blood in a black magic spell, he regained human form in Goblet of Fire. Lord Voldemort killed countless people, wizard and non-wizard alike. Voldemort has killed students, kept a basilisk as a pet, possessed teachers, drank unicorn's blood... the list goes on. Harry's beef with him: Voldemort murdered Harry's parents in cold blood before trying to murder him all to fulfill a mysterious prophecy.


10 - HAL 9000

PORTRAYED BY:  
Douglas Rains (Voice)

AS SEEN IN:
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye. 

The HAL 9000 was the on-board sentient computer system that controlled everything on the Space Station Discovery, which was a ship designed to take 5 astronauts to Jupiter. HAL acted as an unofficial "sixth" member of the flight crew going so far as to having conversations with other crew members and playing chess with them as well. HAL's Artificial Intelligence was so well designed, in fact, that he started exhibiting human qualities like pride, fear and anger. When Dave Bowman and Frank Poole question whether or not HAL made some critical analytical mistakes, he kills Frank while on a spacewalk by cutting his lifeline, and tries doing the same to Dave by not letting him back in the ship. HAL also kills the remaining crew members (who are in cryogenic sleep) by cutting their life support system. Think about that next time you smack your computer for giving you a "PC LOAD LETTER" error.


9 - Col. Hans Landa

PORTRAYED BY:
Christoph Waltz

AS SEEN IN:

What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none... And that Monsieur is what a Jew shares with a rat.

Let's face it. All Nazis are evil Nazis are the one remaining "group" of villains that no one will ever like. Ever. And that the audience will universally hate and want to see killed. Col. Hans Landa is no exception as the cunning "Jew Hunter." The difference being that while you, indeed, hate the character... there's a small part of you that admires him as well. Or at least, you admire how extraordinarily good he is at his job. He is a twisted, evil version of Sherlock Holmes. He knows who he needs to find, how to find them, where to find them and what to do with them once found. On top of all this, Hans Landa is also a traitor to his country. Yes, betraying Nazi Germany can't be a bad thing, right? Well... if you do it for altruistic reasons, it's noble. But Landa did it for money, pure and simple. Still, in the fictional alternate World War II reality of Basterds, you DO NOT want Hans Landa looking for you.


8 - The T-1000

PORTRAYED BY:
Robert Patrick

AS SEEN IN:
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Have you seen this boy?

Upgrade. Upgrade. Upgrade. Remember how unstoppable the Terminator was in the first film? Multiply that times 1000. Having failed to kill John Connor's mother before he was born, SkyNet sends a new Terminator assassin back in time to kill John Connor as a child. The rebellion knows of this plan and sends back a re-programmed T-800 to help protect John. Here's the problem. The T-1000 is better than the T-800 in every way. Faster. Stronger. Even more unstoppable. The T-1000 has the ability to turn into liquid metal and re-solidify in any form he wants. This allows him to create bad ass weapons as well as let solid objects (like fists, or bullets) pass right through him without doing any damage. He can also disguise himself better than the T-800 as he can take the form of anything he comes in contact with, including people. At one point the heroes actually BLOW HIM UP and he still is able re-assemble himself.


7 - Hans Gruber

PORTRAYED BY:
Alan Rickman

AS SEEN IN:

When they touch down, we'll blow the roof, they'll spend a month sifting through rubble, and by the time they figure out what went wrong, we'll be sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent.

An international thief with a gang of highly trained professional killers, Hans Gruber takes an entire corporate building hostage on Christmas Eve. The plan? Distract the cops and the FBI with ridiculous terrorist negotiation demands, all the while his agenda is to steal the corporate bonds stored in the building's vault. And if he has to kill some people in cold blood and blow up some cops in the process? So be it. The fly in the ointment is Detective John McClaine who by pure circumstance just happened to be in the building. While he eventually meets his fate at the hands of McClaine... he doesn't go down without a fight. By the end of the film, McClaine is a bloody and battered mess. Yippee-Kai-Yay.



6 - Michael Corleone

PORTRAYED BY:
Al Pacino

AS SEEN IN:

 I don't feel I have to wipe everybody out, Tom. Just my enemies. 

I know what you're thinking. Michael Corleone? But he's the protagonist! I don't care. He may be the protagonist but he's a villain through and through. But like all great villains, he didn't start out bad. In fact, Michael was a World War II war hero. His father was gunned down and he wanted to help his family out of a sense of duty and familial obligation. He had noble intentions. But slowly but surely, after trying to initially distance himself from his family's business he became just as much of a gangster as his father. Worse, actually. His father was an immigrant to the United States in a time when Italian Americans weren't embraced and "fell into the wrong crowd" (so-to-speak) and eventually rose the ranks. He had no other opportunities. Michael did. Michael's fall from grace started in the first film by taking over the family business, having his brother-in-law killed and blatantly lying to his wife's face that he was not a gangster. In the second film, he is put in front of Congress and manages to worm his way out of jail, but he beats his wife and kills his own brother. That's cold. I don't care if he is the protagonist... there are few villains worse than Michael Corleone. (Well, there are 5 anyway.)


5 - Freddy Krueger

PORTRAYED BY:
Robert Englund


AS SEEN IN:
The Nightmare on Elm Street Series (1984-2003)

One, two, Freddy's coming for you...
Three, four, better lock your door...
Five, six, grab your crucifix...
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late...
Nine, ten, never sleep again.

Freddy Krueger was a child-murdering psychopath. And that was BEFORE he became a supernatural monster. Krueger was burned alive by the parents of all the victims he killed... but while his physical body died, his evil soul lived on. He became a demon that appears in your nightmares, and what's more frightening is that he can kill you in your sleep. Krueger sought revenge on the future generations of the people who killed him, and by inhabiting the Dream World he became complete and total master of that realm. He kills people in inventive and disgusting ways or he just stabs you to death with his sick (and iconic) knives-for-fingers glove... either way, if you die in your dreams you die in real life. And he'll do all this by delivering terrible puns that are almost as bad as the deaths themselves. Almost. Freddy Krueger is the second-best horror movie villain of all time (more on number 1 in just a moment), and he is one of the few movie villains to become an international pop-culture icon.




4 - Regan MacNeil/The Demon

PORTRAYED BY:
Linda Blair

AS SEEN IN:
The Exorcist (1973)

What an excellent day for an exorcism.

 It's the freaking devil. THE DEVIL. He (or it) possesses a little girl by the name of Regan MacNeil. And soon a cute, l'il 12-year old girl turns into a head spinning, wall-crawling, obscenity spewing, pea soup vomiting demon. I am not a religious man, but when the demon manipulates Regan to take a crucifix and ram into her privates, even I said "Wow... that's messed up." Two priests are called in to exorcise the demon from the girl's soul and they have a hell of a time of it (no pun intended). The demon tells Father Karras (the younger priest) that his recently deceased mother, ahem, "sucks cocks in hell." Which led this grown man, a priest mind you, to start beating the crap out of a little girl. Yeah. That's the devil.


3 - Dr. Hannibal Lecter

PORTRAYED BY:
Anthony Hopkins

AS SEEN IN:
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. 

Are you kidding me? I shouldn't even have to explain this one. Everyone knows who "Hannibal The Cannibal" is. Regardless, for starters: he's a cannibal. Secondly, he's a serial killer. Third, he agrees to help FBI Agent Clarice Starling catch the OTHER serial killer, Buffalo Bill, only because he wants to psychoanalyze her and essentially fuck with her head. He may look like an old coot but the authorities take absolutely no chances with him... wrapping him up in a strait jacket and a face mask and the strapping him to a gurney to prevent him from hurting anyone. He is incredibly dangerous as at one point in the film he escapes from his captors by brutally beating the holy hell out of them with a nightstick, then takes a moment to enjoy the opera music he was playing, looking serenely... as blood paints his face in one of the films most iconic images. A murderous, flesh-eating psychiatrist. Yeah, that's scary.


2 - Darth Vader

PORTRAYED BY:
David Prowse (suit)
James Earl Jones (voice)
Hayden Christiansen (suit, prequel)

AS SEEN IN:
Star Wars (1977)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

- There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you... If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
- He told me enough! He told me YOU killed him!
- No. I am your father.

 Darth Vader is biggest, baddest motherf***er in the galaxy. This Half Man/Half Machine Dark Lord of the Sith is the Emperor's right hand man. A master of all the Jedi arts and has no equal. Darth Vader betrayed the Jedi Order to join the Dark Side, killed his master Obi-Wan Kenobi and works as an enforcer for an Empire so evil that it literally blows up planets. He is an unparalleled pilot and a master of the lightsabre. In a span of three films he: kidnaps Princess Leia, kills rebels, manages his employees by choking them if they fail him, chops his own son's hand off and then tries to recruit him, freezes Han Solo in carbonite and hands him over to Boba Fett, hands his son over to the Emperor and then watches as the Emperor, and threatens to turn his daughter to the Dark Side. That's quite the rap sheet. In the end he does redeem himself and defeats the Emperor, but he's still a complete bad ass to the end.15 years ago... he would have been #1 on this countdown. HOWEVER, those terrible Star Wars prequels work against him and the sheer awesomeness of the #1 pick bump him to #2.



1 - The Joker

PORTRAYED BY:
Heath Ledger 
Also, notably by Jack Nicholson, Mark Hammil (voice)

AS SEEN IN:
The Dark Knight (2008)
Other notable appearances:  Batman (1989), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

 Oh, you. You just couldn't let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren't you? Huh? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever. [...] You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push! 


 The greatest comic book movie ever produced gave birth to the greatest movie villain EVER. Yes, the Joker as portrayed by Jack Nicholson is iconic, and helps bump the character to Number 1. Nicholson's Joker is fantastic, yes. A slightly darker version of the old Caesar Romero Joker for the old "Batman" TV series. But Ledger's performance is ICONIC. There will never be a villainous performance to top this one. Not in comic book films, not anywhere. The Joker from Dark Knight almost trancends evil. He's not so much evil as he is a force of nature. He said it best... he's an agent of chaos, while Batman is an agent of order. Batman will always need the Joker as the Joker will always need Batman. Joker doesn't have plans... he just puts his mind to doing something... and just does it. He succeeded in ripping off the mob by robbing their banks. He succeeded in killing innocent people. He succeeded in destroying Harvey Dent. Dent may have fallen to his death, but he died long before that. Yes, The Joker is captured by the end of the film. But Batman doesn't "win." Commissioner Gordon doesn't "win." Harvey Dent certainly doesn't. The only one who "wins" is The Joker. He succeeded in what he set out to do. Because you can't stop chaos. You just can't.

Boo!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

100 Greatest Movie Villains - Part 4 (#40-21)


40 - The Shark

PORTRAYED BY:
A special effects team

AS SEEN IN:
Jaws (1975)

We're gonna need a bigger boat.


39 - Hans Beckert

PORTRAYED BY:
Peter Lorre

AS SEEN IN:
M (1931)

 But I... I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me, the fire, the voices, the torment! 


38 - Eve Harrington

PORTRAYED BY:
Anne Baxter

AS SEEN IN:
All About Eve (1950)

 If nothing else, there's applause... like waves of love pouring over the footlights. 


37 - The Alien(s)

PORTRAYED BY:
Various stunt men and puppeteers

AS SEEN IN:
Alien (1979)
Aliens (1986)

What do you mean, "*They* cut the power"? How could they cut the power, man? They're animals! 


36 - Roy Batty

PORTRAYED BY:
Rutger Hauer

AS SEEN IN:
Blade Runner (1982)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die. 


35 - Tyler Durden

PORTRAYED BY:
Brad Pitt

AS SEEN IN:
Fight Club (1999)

Fuck off with your sofa units and string green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may. 


34 - Harry Lime

PORTRAYED BY:
Orson Welles

AS SEEN IN:
The Third Man (1949)

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. 


33 - Noah Cross

PORTRAYED BY:
John Huston

AS SEEN IN:
Chinatown (1974)

I don't blame myself. You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING. 


32 - Frank

PORTRAYED BY:
Henry Fonda

AS SEEN IN:
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Keep your lovin' brother happy. 


31 - Amon Goeth

PORTRAYED BY:
Ralph Fiennes

AS SEEN IN:
Schindler's List (1993)

They cast a spell on you, you know, the Jews. When you work closely with them, like I do, you see this. They have this power. It's like a virus. Some of my men are infected with this virus. They should be pitied, not punished. They should receive treatment because this is as real as typhus. I see it all the time. 


30 - Detective Alonzo Harris

PORTRAYED BY:
Denzel Washington

AS SEEN IN:
Training Day (2001)

 I'm sorry I exposed you to it, but it is. It's ugly, but it's necessary... Sometimes you gotta have a little dirt on you for anybody to trust you. 


29 - Alex Forrest

PORTRAYED BY:
Glenn Close

AS SEEN IN: 
Fatal Attraction (1987)

 Well, what am I supposed to do? You won't answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan! 


28 - Gordon Gekko

PORTRAYED BY:
Michael Douglas

AS SEEN IN:
Wall Street (1987)

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good. Greed is right.  Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.



27 - Dr. Christian Szell

PORTRAYED BY:
Sir Laurence Olivier

AS SEEN IN:
Marathon Man (1976)

Oh, don't worry. I'm not going into that cavity. That nerve's already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. That is unless, of course, you can tell me that it's safe. 


26 - Alex DeLarge

PORTRAYED BY:
Malcolm McDowell

AS SEEN IN:
A Clockwork Orange (1972)

Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, ya eunuch jelly thou!



25 - Annie Wilkes

PORTRAYED BY:
Kathy Bates

AS SEEN IN:
Misery (1990)

 I am your number one fan. There is nothing to worry about. You are going to be just fine.


24 - Lex Luthor

PORTRAYED BY:
Gene Hackman

AS SEEN IN:
Superman II (1980)

 It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home. 


23 - Jack Torrance

PORTRAYED BY:
Jack Nicholson

AS SEEN IN:
The Shining (1980)

 I dreamed that I, that I killed you and Danny. But I didn't just kill ya. I cut you up in little pieces. Oh my God. I must be losing my mind. 


22 - Agent Smith

PORTRAYED BY:
Hugo Weaving

AS SEEN IN:
The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)

 I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure. 


21 - Phyllis Dietrichson

PORTRAYED BY:
Barbara Stanwick

AS SEEN IN:
Double Indemnity (1944)

We're both rotten.

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