Work must intrude: Snarky’s Favorite Cinematic Villains
It’s probably a cliche to note that villains are infinitely more interesting than heroes, but I am not one to avoid a cliche. I’m writer. That’s just what we do. Though I am probably in the minority (again, can I get some affirmative action supports on this?) of people who actively root for villains in movies. I do. I hope they will finally thwart Bond or at least send John McClane to a sanitarium. Anyway, here are my favorite villains from movies.
Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) from the action movie classic Die Hard
While the default setting of Bond villains was megalomania cut with a side of snark, it seems like most villains in American films are entirely too unlikable. Light on charm or wit. There are some exceptions, but honestly, they can be a bit boring.
And then Hans Gruber blew into town with his merry band of terrorists, two of whom bear a striking resemblance to 80s pop stars (Huey Lewis and Sting). Despite being a rather distasteful human being, he was quite charming, articulate and didn’t really froth at the mouth except towards the end.
In real life, no Joe Schmoe cop would be able to outwit this guy, but eh, what can you do. Gruber laid the smack down in a reasonable manner and I liked how he drawled all his words as if taking hostages and taking over a building was the most boring thing on his to-do list that day.
Classic line: “Mr. Takagi, I could talk about industrialization and men’s fashion all day, but I’m afraid work must intrude, and my associate, Theo, has some questions for you. Sort of fill in the blanks questions, actually.”
Sir Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) from Bond movie Moonraker
Sir Hugo Drax has a simple, albeit diabolical, vision. Blast a bunch of hand selected genetically superior humans into an intergalactic hooptie he calls “Moonraker”. Moonraker was on loan to the UK, but Drax then got a back case of takerbackitis and hijacked the shuttle mid air! Like most Bond villains, he does of explaining of his values without regard to past history and ultimately this contributes to his downfall.
I like his mixture of refinement and ruthlessness. He utters one of his infamous lines while daintily sipping afternoon tea. I appreciate that commitment to ritual.
Classic Line: “Look after Mr. Bond and see that some harm come to him.”
Congressman Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman) from The Contender
Moral ambiguity is usually not the domain of villains, and Shelly Runyon is no exception. As a powerful and often times ruthless statesman, Runyon mows down anyone who stands in his way. His oily charm and unabashedly hateful disposition is a throwback to seventies villains. He sinks to impossible lows, introducing naughty pics to a congressional hearing while stating that such pictures have no place there.
Classic Line: “What I say the American people will believe. And do you know why? Because I will have a very big microphone in front of me.”
These are some of my favorite movie villains. Who are yours?