Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 99

Good guys are chumps... villains are where the real action is! But some just seem like bad company. Seriously, Vader looks like a jerk... lack of faith disturbing my butt, and I can’t imagine Hannibal Lecter would make a nice dinner companion... not to mention the Blob.

What villain did you find most likable as a person?

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

This is probably a stretch, because the character is actually the protagonist of the film, so he is not a classic villain. However, Richard Farnsworth, in the 1982 film The Grey Fox does play a gentleman bandit who had been sent to prison for robbing stagecoaches.

After his release, he returns to what he knows how to do by heading to Canada to rob trains. As often happens in Hollywood, that same year, a very similar theme was on display in Harry Tracy starring Bruce Dern and Gordon Lightfoot. Tracy, a member of the wild bunch, is tracked by Lightfoot who was either a U.S. marshall or Pinkerton agent. The point is, the villain is romanticized and the law enforcement officer becomes the bad guy.

Panelist: ScottDS

Hands down, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard. Suave, well-read, well-dressed... you just want to sit down with him and talk about art or history or business. [smile]

Panelist: Floyd

Obadiah Stane from the first Iron Man. His nickname was Obie and he brought pizza! What's not to like? He went bad as opposed to being bad from the get-go. I guess Harvey Dent fits that description too.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Vincent Price! He was the creepiest villain/monster, but in interviews he was so charming and I hear he was a really great chef. Boris Karloff comes in a very close second. He could be so creepy, yet so endearing and so not scary in interviews.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

This one was surprisingly easy: Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint aka Kaiser Soze! Seriously, the guy is one hell of a story teller and I would love to hear more about what really happened in San Pedro. Good friend to have too.

Comments? Thoughts?


AndrewPrice said...

Ha ha! I win. :D Just kidding. They were all good choices.

Tennessee Jed said...

I like all of these choices with the following caveats:

Scott, I agree, but must admit when I first saw the film, I was extremely taken with the fact that Rickman was camping him up, he seemed rather unrealistic to me.

Floyd: I really liked the first iron Man, but for the life of me, I can't remember Obie. I must be getting senile.

Bev- Vincent and Boris were superb, but I interpreted the question more as the character being likable rather than the actor playing the character.

Andrew - As great an actor as Kevin Spacey is, and as great a character as Verbal/Soze is, my initial impression of Verbal was just as he intended, a pitiable cripple easy to overlook. So it isn't until after the big reveal at the end of the film that I appreciated just how clever he is. Even then, maybe my reaction is more respect than actually liking him.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Since we don't know much about the real Soze, yeah, he's probably not likable. But Verbal seems likable.

Gideon7 said...

Bill from Kill Bill seems like a nice affable guy, at least when he's not killing people.

tryanmax said...

Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2 is the hopelessly uncool second-best to Tony Stark, which is to say he could be incredibly cool in his own right if he weren't so busy trying to best Tony. It's sort of pathetically endearing.

Also, Phyllis Dietrichson from Double Indemnity.

Kenn Christenson said...

While not in the movies - Boyd Crowder is one of the more interesting villains to come along. You never quite know where he stands, as a character. Is he really trying to do the right thing, or is he putting you on. But what sets this villain apart is: when the chips are down - he's got the good guy's back.

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head I thought of Magneto, once you know his back story he becomes an extremely sympathetic character. Even though he goes to extreme he is always trying to look after his people and to avoid another holocaust of his people.

There are probably others but he was the first I thought of.


Anonymous said...

Actually re-reading the question Magneto seems more an understandable character, not a likeable one.

So I'd think maybe Det. Alonzo Harris from Training Day, he was evilly likeable, Alan Rickman as the Sheriff George of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, just great fun to watch. Jules from Pulp Fiction, he was a murder but saw the light and tried to be a better person, Loki from the Avengers was pretty cool and Leon from The Professional, another hit man but with a heart of gold (not sure how that would work in real life).

And #1 would have to be Riddick, the ultimate anti hero bad guy.

I would also add Omar Little from The Wire (even though it was a TV show), he was a bad guy but was really likeable, he had charm and wit and a code.


AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, So you're looking for insecure/nerd villains?

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, I'm a big fan of Goggins. I've liked him in everything I've seen him in.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Riddick would be great to meet... though odds are you'd end up dead somehow from the meeting. He really is a compelling character, especially given the limited dialog that he has.

Magneto might be nice. He seems to like having a good time.

Outlaw13 said...

Chet in Weird Science, simply because I think I know that guy.

Johnny Ringo in Tombstone, maybe not because he's really likeable but he's certainly interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

Chet, LOL! I haven't seen that in years. I should break that out again.

shawn said...

"The Operative" from "Serenity". Only uses violence when forced. Trying to make a better world for others and not just himself.

Londo Mollari from "Babylon 5". He just wanted to see his people return to their once greatness, and ended up getting in over his head. Seems to be very friendly and out-going and appreciates a good looking woman, some wine and good company.

Rustbelt said...

I know this is Sunday, but I'm going all Bond on this one.

-Dr. No: Refined guy. Just be sure to play up individual accomplishments. He only respects the strong and doesn't respond to flattery.

-Goldfinger: The opposite of the above. Flatter all you want and play to his ego. (This will keep you alive.) Touch on his insecurities and, you see Oddjob with the hat over there?

-Blodfeld: The Telly Savalas version from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Charles Gray was uppity and condescending. Donald Pleasence obviously arrived after someone called 1-800-BAD-GUYS. Savalas was refined, but also smart and powerful. A thinking man's bad guy who uses his fists, I'd almost call him an evil Indiana Jones. Treat him as you would Dr. No, but, fortunately, despite being a ruthless supervillain, he does have a sense of humor.

PikeBishop said...

Scott: Good one on Omar from The Wire: "Come on now, when have you ever known me to out my gun on someone thats not in the game?" You come at the king, you better not miss!

PikeBishop said...

Despite my handle and avatar, I think Ernest Borgnaine's Dutch Engstrom is the most likeable. He differentiates between what the outlaws do and what corrupt oppressive governments do to their people. "We don't hang nobody!" Also, he sees a difference in their former partner Deke Thornton pursuing them relentlessly because he "gave his word to a railroad."

Anonymous said...

Thanks PikeBishop, I love the Omar character he steals from the criminals and gives a tiny little (pun intended) to the poor. He kind of reminds me of an Australian criminal Chopper Read who died recently, he tortured and stole from drug dealers. The 2000 film Chopper staring Eric Bana was made about him, he would also be included as a likeable movie villain (even though he was also a real life person).


Tennessee Jed said...

Outlaw, I wanted to shoot Johnny Ringo through the eyr

T-Rav said...

How did I know Andrew would go with Keyser Soze? (Actually, I didn't, but it wouldn't have taken much imagination....)

Say what you will about his unfortunate habit of freezing wayward bounty hunters in carbonite, I think Jabba the Hutt would have been a hoot to hit the bars with. More recently, I think Tom Hiddleston's Loki in Thor and The Avengers comes off as a pretty understandable and even likable villain.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, what can I say? I'm an insecure nerd.

AndrewPrice said...

shawn, Fascinating character! A philosophical killer. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, In all honesty, I can't see any of them as people I'd want to get to know. I'd rather get to know Kananga from Live and Let Die... now he knows how to have a good time!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

After seeing Thor: The Dark World, I'd put Loki on the list as well. Untrustworthy as all get out, but still likeable.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, If we're talking westerns, then I would choose The Bad and the Ugly. Eli would be great to hang out with.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I didn't know that. I'll have to check that out.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It was a natural pick. :)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, So is most of the world. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I haven't seen it yet. I understand it's good though.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, I heavily considered Dr. Kananga. But I had an ulterior motive of finding a system to keep myself alive as well. Those other three have personality traits that can be exploited and thus increase my chances of survival.
Kananga doesn't seem to have such a pattern. His mood can change on a dime. Or, he'll just smile, serve you a drink, and then shoot you without changing his facial expression. I really don't a system for self-preservation there. Though, he may be great company in the little time I'd have left.

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, LOL! Yeah, staying alive is important. Though, you really are taking your life in your hands with any of these guys.

Anonymous said...

This is a hard one. The villain,by definition can't be too likeable or he diminishes the hero. Villains can be cunning,resourceful,colorful,etc, but they really can't be likeable. That being said,here goes.
For likeability,I'm going to go with Apollo Creed,even though he wasn't really a villain.Still,he was the foil for the hero in the first two Rocky movies.
One of the most sympathetic villains I've seen was Roy Batty.I even wonder if he actually was a villain. Yes, he was the opponent of the hero,and he was a killer. But his quest was perfectly reasonable. Deckard was actually more of an obstacle to Roy than Roy was to Deckard. The reason Roy confronted Tyrell was to find out how to extend his life. Roy didn't intend to enslave humankind or take over the earth. If Deckard hadn't confronted Batty,Deckard wouldn't have had a problem with him.
I always thought Gary Busey's character in Lethal Weapon was cool.He was evil,but he kept the code and he died well.
As Andrew pointed out in his review of The Highlander, Clancy Brown's Kurgen was "all kinds of awesome" but he wouldn't have been too much fun to hang out with.
I agree with Kenn above - Boyd Crowder is a villain,and he's damn likeable.
Here's an obscure one. The Captain of the Bishop's guard in LadyHawk. He spent the whole film trying to hunt down Michelle Pfeifer so the bishop could force himself on her, so he was a villain. But he died defending the bishop.And even though you could tell that he was intimidated by Rutger Hauer's Navarre,and the fight that killed him took place in a mass full of the bishop's supporters,he never turned to the crowd for help. He was a villain but he died by the code.
This thought has just come to me since I started writing - I guess if I had to pick,Pattrick Swayze's Bodhi from Point Break is probably the most likeable villain I can think of. He was a bank robber and his decisions got people killed , but those of us inching along in our metal coffins :) can understand why he did the things he did, and he died well.
My favorite villain is Gian Maria Volonte's Ramon Rohos from A Fistfull Of Dollars, but he wasn't likeable.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, Roy Batty would have been a fascinating guy to spend time with. And he does seem like a very likable character. He clearly cares about his friends and he ultimately does see the value in human life.

Yeah, Brown is awesome, but I don't want to meet the Kurgan!

Rob S. Rice said...

Anonymous's observation about the Captain of the Guard in Ladyhawke is a good one... He did have a certain horrible class, although shoving the guardsman who recognized Navarre onto Navarre's blade sealed his death warrant, and rightly. I have to admit a certain fondness for Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian... A man--or a snake--utterly in charge of himself, acting on his own impulses, his followers utterly subordinated to his will, and ALMOST able to talk to himself out decapitation at the end of the film... But I've got a winner.

In one of my very, very favorite movies (and surprise, o Denizens of Comment-a-rama, it's another Milious), that being, 'The Wind and the Lion,' an unnamed Prussian--Heidelberg scars at all--efficiently ambushes Raisouli, hangs him by his thumbs pending execution, and is utterly unflappable when the (again!) overlooked Americans present at the scene stage a jailbreak and release his captive. He rides out and sees Raisouli, urging his horse toward him as he unholsters the coolest pistol ever, a C96 Broomhandle. Raisouli sees him and raises his own weapon, a scimitar. THE PRUSSIAN HOLSTERS HIS PISTOL AND DRAWS HIS SABER. This is NOT about killing, this is about SETTLING IT. Raisouli wins, unhorsing the Prussian, then swinging down his blade and stopping an inch from the Prussian's throat before laughing, taking the Prussian's horse, and riding off. THAT is a villain. THAT is the one you remember. He wouldn't be fun to hang around with, but he would be... extremely fun... to fight.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anonymous is right, Pattrick Swayze's Bodhi from Point Break should be on the list.

And of course I have to say Johnny from the Karate Kid, in fact after watching this I don't think he is a villain at all.


Individualist said...

Likeable Villians...hmmmmmm

the Joker form Batman is always good for a laugh, especially if he is played by Jack Nicholsan

Post a Comment