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For when your thoughts are drifting to things not so movie, or if you're feeling trivially inclined.
591

Thou Art A Villain!
Topic by: Ursus
Posted: April 7, 2006 - 4:05 PM PDT
Last Reply: April 10, 2006 - 6:48 PM PDT

author topic: Thou Art A Villain!
Ursus
post #1  on April 7, 2006 - 4:05 PM PDT  
Sticks and Stones -I always say.

However, what is it about those characters clad in both the black and white hats who fall in that lauded or reviled position of villain?

We hate them. We love them. We love to hate them. We are damn near borderline about them: "I hate/love you, but don't you dare leave me!" Ahhh... I imagine there is a kind of "freedom of being" in being soooo deliciously evil or bad. From the "all-out-evil" to the "anti-hero," to those "beyond redemption," what is it about the villain? Is it our jealous longing for doing or being what we only dream of in the dark, hidden reaches our mind, but dare not do? What is it about the villain?

So, I pose these questions to you:

What is it about the villain that we love? Why?

What Cinema/TV villains (from live action to anime) do we, personally, enjoy or love the most?

Whom are our favorites? Why?
Is it the black widow/femme fatal or the mad-genius?

-Real-life Politicians and the Greedy need not apply-

My own personal favorite: C. Montgomery Burns. Only a radical liberal like Matt Greoning could make such an evil and black hearted scoundrel so damned enjoyable.

woozy
post #2  on April 7, 2006 - 10:28 PM PDT  
Well, at the risk of making my beloved Sonja Blue lose all of her remaining respect for me, I always rather liked Spike of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series.

I do like the femme fatale but I always figure some-one ought to shake her and tell her people would love her just as much if she showed a shred of human dignity. I guess I like the folks who think their strength is villainy but have a deep down sense of goodness (loyalty, virtue, maternity, something of that sort) but doesn't know it. I keep wanting to shout at them "Embrace the light side! Embrace the light side". I love Cordelia Chase in the Angel series when her maternal instincts boil to the surface against her conscious effort to be a superficial shallow narcicist.

*sigh* Well, there goes any opportunity to snuggle with my sweet blue lady any time in the near future... :(
SonjaBlue
post #3  on April 8, 2006 - 1:39 AM PDT  
Ursus wrote:

> What is it about the villain that we love? Why?<

It isn't a matter of enjoyment or love -- at least for me. For good or ill, it's all about balance. And being there for it.

> Whom are our favorites? Why?<

I'll give you a few out of respect to what each represents:

1) The Liberals in The Last Supper. They drank a toast "to life" and then dished out punishment (i.e. murder) to the deplorable throughout, but receive their just desserts by an antichrist figure in the end.

If what goes around comes around, should it matter where it comes from?

2) The title character in The Terminator. "[It doesn't feel pain, pity or remorse]. And it absolutely will not stop -- ever -- until you are dead."

Is persistence/perseverence a strickly human trait? Is it fair that other beings and things should be excluded from this seemingly desirable quality?

-----------------------
Bottom line:

If one should fear the concept of an eye for an eye (or, harsher still, a witch's karma), one deserves it. Then again, possessing no fear won't necessarily save one either.


> My own personal favorite: C. Montgomery Burns. Only a radical liberal like Matt Greoning could make such an evil and black hearted scoundrel so damned enjoyable.<

You shouldn't get off that easily, Ursus. You didn't answer the "Why?" to your own question(s). "Enjoyable" because...

woozy wrote:

> Well, at the risk of making my beloved Sonja Blue lose all of her remaining respect for me, I always rather liked Spike of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series.<

Wouldn't you agree that it is rather difficult to forget about things best left forgotten when others keep bringing them up? :|

In the context to that which created/shaped the character of Spike, I have no issue. However, while a product of such an environment might justify the means/methods of the past and present, that does not necessarily make a similar soul any lighter in the end.

The question almost dodged by Ursus is thrown at you as well, Woozy. (Why?)


> I do like the femme fatale but I always figure some-one ought to shake her and tell her people would love her just as much if she showed a shred of human dignity. I guess I like the folks who think their strength is villainy but have a deep down sense of goodness (loyalty, virtue, maternity, something of that sort) but doesn't know it. I keep wanting to shout at them "Embrace the light side! Embrace the light side". I love Cordelia Chase in the Angel series when her maternal instincts boil to the surface against her conscious effort to be a superficial shallow narcicist.<

Really, woozy. I haven't a clue what you are talking about. ;)

An interesting point that you've made regarding the concept of duality, though.


> *sigh* Well, there goes any opportunity to snuggle with my sweet blue lady any time in the near future... :(

For those that believe in a self-fulfilling prophesy, do you think Woozy will be surprised how his goes?
woozy
post #4  on April 8, 2006 - 12:29 PM PDT  
> woozy wrote:
>
> > Well, at the risk of making my beloved Sonja Blue lose all of her remaining respect for me, I always rather liked Spike of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer series.<
>
> Wouldn't you agree that it is rather difficult to forget about things best left forgotten when others keep bringing them up? :|

I'm not sure I understand. It is well-known you greatly dislike the Buffy series. This makes me sad as I love the seires and would love having it be something in common between us but, of course, that can never be when you hate it.
>
> In the context to that which created/shaped the character of Spike, I have no issue. However, while a product of such an environment might justify the means/methods of the past and present, that does not necessarily make a similar soul any lighter in the end.

I'm not sure I understand.
>
> The question almost dodged by Ursus is thrown at you as well, Woozy. (Why?)
>
Not sure. I guess because he is suave and irritated by the world around him and I empathize with that frustration.

> Really, woozy. I haven't a clue what you are talking about. ;)
>
> An interesting point that you've made regarding the concept of duality, though.

>
I guess deep down I'm an old softy and just love to see people realize they emotionally need each other and I love seeing such interplay. Cordelia was originally a comic relief character completely selfish and shallow and superficial. She was put in the spin-off, Angel, for comedic balance but she needed a reason to continue in the show and had to be more just the "vision girl" and her strength actually came out almost against her wishes as the emotional and maternal core of the show. Of course, this is the opposite of villainy.

> > *sigh* Well, there goes any opportunity to snuggle with my sweet blue lady any time in the near future... :(
>
> For those that believe in a self-fulfilling prophesy, do you think Woozy will be surprised how his goes?
> ---------------------------------

Well, it got you out of the woodwork, didn't it?

I suppose I could say what I think others/you would like to hear, or I suppose I could just keep quiet and not say what I think so as not to counter my game plan for a little blue-on-blue action, but, in general, I'm compelled to be more forthright.
Battie
post #5  on April 8, 2006 - 2:41 PM PDT  
Ahhh, a topic close to my heart. I love villains, good villains. I can't stand the ones that seem to be evil for no good reason. (Like the drug dealer who randomly kills people because he's evil. Frankly, I'm disinclined to think a drug dealer would off a cop's family in this day and age simply because the cop was investigating him--that'd probably bring MORE trouble down on his head, and such impracticality wouldn't have a man in business for long.)

Anyway...back to what I was saying. Villains are only as good as their motivations. I can accept greed, a need for power, and on the VERY rare occasion, madness. But rarely do those things make a good villain.

My favorite villain is from Space Marines, a movie y'all have probably never even heard of, much less seen. The actor (John Pyper-Ferguson) portraying him was spot on, and the screenplay was actually rather clever when it came to dialogue (sadly, it was still a B or C-rate sci-fi and one IMDB reviewer actually said Starship Troopers was a better movie, jeez--stupid Americans and their stupid obsession with tits, guns and special effects).

"Space pirates, led by diabolical Colonel Fraser, take over a cargo ship carrying anti-matter explosive and an important official. Space marines, led by Captain Gray, must stop their evil plans."

That pretty much sums it up, but leaves out Fraser's Confederate leanings (he was, apparently, a bit of a history buff!). Ferguson/Fraser was just funny. He enjoyed what he did out of simple sadism and, well, for the same reason I enjoy watching Disaster movies...the chaos of it all. He also had some of the funniest lines, though I can't remember them now. Haven't watched it in a few years, but I'll change that this week, lol. Seems at one point one of his minions points out that if he blows up the hostages, they'll be blown up, too. Ferguson/Fraser replies, "Yes, I know," with this grin on his face. He makes grand speeches about glory, but ultimately, he's just greedy and doing it for kicks. He never pretends to have a shred of honor...and I loved it. Plus, the creators never made him seem the least bit cowardly or insane (in the traditional sense), which is usually how they denigrate villains.

The Marquis de Sade from Quills was a good villain, too. I wanted to hate him, but it was hard not to see why Kate Winslet (whatever character she played) was attracted. He was pure evil, the kind of evil that was disgusting. But the charisma he had... *shudder* Makes ya wonder if the Devil really can talk you into Hell.

Anime...Bastard was a good one. The anti-hero. Never wanted to save anyone, but kept doing it anyway. More inclined to get laid and get his power back (not to mention his body) than play hero to the people who trapped him a little boy's body to begin with. Rotfl. He had a nice animated butt.

Pirates of the Caribbean...Depp's character (an anti-hero) was totally out for himself and showed it at every thing he did. But he still managed to be, erm, loveable.

John, the angel from Prophecy IV, is another favorite villain. He couldn't care less about humanity, they were simply a tool for him. He was mildly disdainful and very unconcerned with anything but his plans. It was sexy, I admit it. The lure of arrogance and confidence.

I think villains are unpretentious, for the most part. They are evil, they are greedy, and they never stoop to denying it. There's no political correctness, no honor, no insistence that they AREN'T just out for themselves. A lot of people won't admit that about themselves, much less let everything go and REALLY be out for themselves. I think most of us want to be base like that, but society insists we not be. Flinging off the restrictions of society, family, etc...That's another reason we like them. They do what we can't. :P
runawayjim
post #6  on April 9, 2006 - 12:49 AM PDT  
EXCELLENT!!!!

> On April 7, 2006 - 4:05 PM PDT Ursus wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
>
> My own personal favorite: C. Montgomery Burns. Only a radical liberal like Matt Greoning could make such an evil and black hearted scoundrel so damned enjoyable.
>
>
> ---------------------------------

underdog
post #7  on April 9, 2006 - 2:39 PM PDT  
> On April 8, 2006 - 2:41 PM PDT Battie wrote:
> ---------------------------------

> The Marquis de Sade from Quills was a good villain, too. I wanted to hate him, but it was hard not to see why Kate Winslet (whatever character she played) was attracted. He was pure evil, the kind of evil that was disgusting. But the charisma he had... *shudder* Makes ya wonder if the Devil really can talk you into Hell.
> >
> Pirates of the Caribbean...Depp's character (an anti-hero) was totally out for himself and showed it at every thing he did. But he still managed to be, erm, loveable.
>


Speaking of Geoffrey Rush, and Pirates, wouldn't you agree that his villain, the cursed pirate, was pretty damned memorable and that he managed to compete with Depp's amazing performance at all is a testament to his powers of charm. (And the script gave him some good lines) And you felt sorry for him, too.

I always liked Kirk Douglas in Out of the Past - charming, creepy, obsessive and just menacing...

Peter Stormare's murderous Grimsrud is pretty unforgettable. Humorous, and yet... terrifying.

Battie
post #8  on April 9, 2006 - 5:50 PM PDT  
> On April 9, 2006 - 2:39 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Speaking of Geoffrey Rush, and Pirates, wouldn't you agree that his villain, the cursed pirate, was pretty damned memorable and that he managed to compete with Depp's amazing performance at all is a testament to his powers of charm. (And the script gave him some good lines) And you felt sorry for him, too.
>
> I always liked Kirk Douglas in Out of the Past - charming, creepy, obsessive and just menacing...
>
> Peter Stormare's murderous Grimsrud is pretty unforgettable. Humorous, and yet... terrifying.
> ---------------------------------

Oh yes. I love Rush, he's been listed as one of my favorite actors for a long time. :P

Which brings to mind...Christopher Walken. C'mon! How many villains has he played, and how many times has he stolen the show? I'm half in love with him, rotfl.
Ursus
post #9  on April 10, 2006 - 12:05 PM PDT  
> > My own personal favorite: C. Montgomery Burns. Only a radical liberal like Matt Greoning could make such an evil and black hearted scoundrel so damned enjoyable.<
>
> You shouldn't get off that easily, Ursus. You didn't answer the "Why?" to your own question(s). "Enjoyable" because...

Well, Sonja, my favor for Mr. Burns doesn't extend into or build upon slavish devotion or sexual attraction like the poor Mr. Smithers. I find his ethics and conduct reprehensible and appalling; anti-thetical to my own self. Perhaps it is the context in which he is presented (animated comedy) or the manner in which he delivers his own brand of evil that makes him "enjoyable." To be honest, I would probably punch-out the guy in real-life. I wish that I could make tangible what it is (in his role of villain) that gets me every time.

I know this doesn't do justice to my own promptings for explaination in this thread, but I shall ponder this awhile and return with more.
ALittlefield
post #10  on April 10, 2006 - 6:48 PM PDT  
To me the best villians are the ones who have clear motivations(money, revenge) for their villany, unless the film tells us that they're outright insane.
That said, so many good villans, so little time...

Femme fatales: Barbara Stanwyck in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Peggy Cummings in GUN CRAZY, Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST, Joan Bennet in SCARLET STREET, Linda Fiorentino in THE LAST SEDUCTION, Lena Olin in ROMEO IS BLEEDING

Gangsters: James Cagney in THE PUBLIC ENEMY, ANGLES WITH DIRTY FACES, and WHITE HEAT, Edward G. Robinson in LITTLE CEASAR, Humphery Bogart in DEAD END, all of the Coreleones in THE GODFATHER I and II, John Polido in MILLER'S CROSSING, Wesley Snipes in NEW JACK CITY, Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci in GOODFELLAS

Psychos: Lon Chaney in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Boris Karloff in THE BODYSNATCHER, Robert Mitchum in THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER and CAPE FEAR, Vincent Price in THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, THE ABOMIDIBLE DR. PHIBES and THEATER OF BLOOD, Malcom Mcdowell in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Anthony Perkins in PSYCHO, Bette Davis in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, Anthony Hopkins in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Robert Deniro in CAPE FEAR, Kevin Spacey in SEVEN

Monsters: Bela Lugosi in DRACULA, Boris Karloff in FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Lon Chaney Jr. in THE WOLFMAN, The thing in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, the giant ants in THEM, the monster from the id in FORBIDDEN PLANET, the creatures in ALIEN and ALIENS

Cartoons: The wicked queen in SNOW WHITE, Cruella Deville in 101 DALMATIONS, Ursula the sea witch in THE LITTLE MERMAID, Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Spike in TOY STORY, Syndrome in THE INCREDIBLES

Bond villians: Goldfinger in GOLDFINGER, Stromberg in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, Bolfeld in too many to mention...

And, finally, a shout out to HAL from 2001.



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