Friday, December 24, 2010

18 Noteworthy Film Villains of 2010

A perennial sucker for year-end top ten lists, I will bombard you with a few of my own. First up: noteworthy film villains of 2010:

18. Dieter Von Cunth - "MacGruber" - Terrible name; hilarious send-up of 80s action baddies. How can you not like Val Kilmer?

17. Lotso - Don't let his looks fool you; the arch-villain of "Toy Story 3" is the most bloodcurdling of the series. The replaced and forgotten teddy bear's story is sad, his anger understandable. But his toy gulag is run without sympathy and any heart that he threatens to show is quickly snuffed. "Toy Story 3" contains one of the most tense and unforgiving scenes in any kid's movie.

15-16. Lorenzo/Sweet Tee - "Lottery Ticket" - Lorenzo's no Deebo, but he makes a good meathead bad-boy to Bow Wow's "lucky" scapegoat. But Sweet Tee's the guy that gave me chills - a too-slick fat-cat who keeps the projects under his thumb.


12-14. Boggis, Bunce and Bean - One short, one fat and one lean. Created by the brilliant Roald Dahl and adapted by Wes Anderson, this trio of villains aim to kill Mr. Fox. While Bunce and Bean come off as eejits, the sadistic Bean takes to wearing Mr. Fox's tail as a necktie. I didn't know what to expect of "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and loved it. It's gorgeous, hilarious and touching. I guess I'll admit I'm a Wes-ophile.

11. Whiplash - As much as I love The Dude, (can't wait to see True Grit) Mickey Rourke embodies a supervillain better. The vodka-swilling Russian scientist-turned laser-whip-wielding freakshow is written a bit broad, but the Formula One scene is one of the best in any superhero movie.

10. Father - The eerie, surreal plot of "Dogtooth" unfolds slowly. Disbelief turns into calm horror, like the dread that swarms through a Lynch drama. A man whose actions are conceivably noble in aim, the character known only as "Father" is a psychological puppet master. His twisted design is unforgettable. To reveal any more would be a disservice. "Dogtooth" is highly recommended.

3-9. The League of Evil Exes - When I was conjuring this list I was certain my favorite Evil Ex was the Saito twins, the monster-summoning DJs. The fact is, they're all amazing and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One of my favorite films of the year, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" features a septet of terrific villains, from the dancing pirate ("Pirates are in this year!") to J-Schwartz's smarmy record exec.

2. Winter - "Winter's Bone" is on nearly every top ten list of this year, so why not this one? And while the enigmatic Thump Newton is undoubtedly behind of the heinous acts in the film, the true nemesis is the stark landscape of the frozen rural Ozarks. It's grim enough, in subject matter, before the camera drapes a cold blanket of dread across the story. Even if winter does eventually throw our protagonist a bone, it's hard to shake the chill.

1. Dr. Ronald Chevalier - Smug doesn't begin to describe the manuscript-thieving sci-fi author in "Gentlemen Broncos." From his rebuke of a young girl's choice of names for her troll character, to his attempted character assassination of young Benjamin, Chevalier is a deliciously evil comedy villain. "Gentlemen Broncos" is unfairly maligned. It's not the best movie of the year, but it's a must-see.


Cyrus - "Cyrus" - Not so much a villain as an Oedipal cock-block, Cyrus is a major drag.

Lieutenant Terence McDonagh - "The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans" - He's too redemptive to be a villain but Nic Cage's madcap performance is awesome. Also in the much-maligned category.

Red Mist - "Kick-Ass" - The Red Mist's turn was tragic. Hopefully he lives up to his closing words in the upcoming "Kick-Ass 2."

Might have made this list if I had gotten around to seeing the films (it's been a busy semester):

Dr. Heiter - "The Human Centipede"

Bronson - "Bronson"

If I missed any, lemme know!