In general, most people are very complex and can exhibit different personality traits at different times. But one can also say that there tends to be two distinct groupings in societies’ power structures: Those who can be characterized as “normal,” and those who view the world through a prism heavily influenced by psychopathy and sociopathy.
My take (by trying to understand the world around me) is that the great majority of people operate under the “normal” approach, when it comes to power-plays and relationships. A very small minority could be characterized as high-functioning sociopaths and/or psychopaths.
And it’s not that the majority is “normal” as in not being afflicted by all kinds of personality, psychological, and psychiatric disorders… If you watch enough TV in the U.S., you’ll be bombarded with advertisement for all kinds of psychotropic drugs.
By “normal,” what I mean is that people tend to say and do things in accordance to their real thoughts, emotions, views, ideas, beliefs. In other words, in a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” mode.
By contrast, the high-functioning psychopath is “characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness.” And because of it, they tend to rule the world. They rise to the highest levels of power in politics, and business.
If you are ambitious and choose to get involved in power-plays, the first thing you need to recognize is that you have to leave your values, emotions, ideals, and most high-minded human traits, “at the door” (as it were), if you want to have a shot to become the “top dog.”
There is an angle to everything you say and do; to every relationship you choose to “nurture.” Like a chameleon, you adapt your message to your audience, to your environment; you are folksy with folksy folks, and you are high-brow and educated and a little snobbish when you are with the snobs.
You become so good at it, that in every circle people can’t stop pointing out what a “nice guy” you are, and how smart you are, and how you connect with people with such ease.
But to you, it’s all mechanical; a game. There are no emotions involved at all–God forbid.
In politics, I observe how this phenomena works so perfectly, both on the left and the right. On the right the useful idiots (the normal people) are the end-of-days religious fundamentalists, and the nativists, and the racists, and the nationalists. All acting out of their true beliefs and emotions, and being manipulated by the sociopathic ruling class.
On the left, they are those who earnestly go about trying to respond to every absurdity coming out of the loony right-wing. Refuting every stupid and absurd comment with facts, and studies, and statistics. And basking in the glory of being right about the issues, about the science, about the empirical evidence. All done in a mainly ineffective and powerless echo chamber. But ultimately, also being manipulated by the same sociopathic ruling class.
I’ve been in sales, marketing, consulting, advertising, and technology for years. I’ve been involved with business associations, chambers of commerce, community organization, non-profits.
I’ve seen one recurring thing in all those environments, when it comes to the naiveté of well-meaning people who have ambition to get ahead, or get promoted, or get a raise. I’ve had this conversation many times… I ask them “So you want to be promoted? And you think that because you are really good at what you do, and knowledgeable, and are never late to work, etc., that you should be noticed and that a promotion should be coming your way?”
They look at me perplexed, like saying “Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?” Obviously, they are a lost cause, but I try my best to leave them with something to think about: “If you want a promotion, and a position of leadership (and more responsibility) and a raise, then you have to play the ‘power-play,’ the ‘political game.’ Everything you do has to have an angle; every conversation; every project you take on; everything you volunteer to. Who knows about what you’re doing, about your successes, about your contribution? How are you going to ‘protect’ the organization, and above all, how your boss, your supervisor, the owner of the company, the president of the organization, is going to personally benefit by giving you a promotion?”
I’ve had similar conversations with lots of people, and invariably, sometimes they are appalled that it should come down to those considerations. They proudly say, “I don’t like to play those games… With me, it’s-what-you-see-is-what-you-get.” And so it will be. If you don’t understand the concept of how to acquire power, then you’ll never have it.
It has little to do with how right you are about anything.
With certain blog posts, I unintentionally cause some sort of an uproar. (And then I get inbox full of emails from angry people, then I make my staff go through it, then they complain, and its just not pretty) BUT, that being said, this post is meant to cause some discussions. My person top 10 movie villains, is a list made out of personal opinion, and a list that I hope people will give me suggestions on. I haven’t seen every movie, and if you think there’s a bad-ass that I’ve left off the list, please let me know. But before I get to it, I want to explain why I left one person off the list. ‘The Dark Knight‘s joker is one of the best most compelling villains I’ve ever seen. But there is too much speculation about Heath Ledgers death being the reason people loved his performance, or about how he went crazy while playing the role, yadda yadda. So although I took Joker off the list, I still had to put up one of my favorite scenes from The Dark Knight by one of the most iconic antagonists in modern American cinema. Click the pic to see the scene.
Click the pic to watch.
And now that we have THAT out of the way, let me go into a bit more detail about my hard thought list. There is always a very worthy antagonist for every good movie, but my selections weren’t based on the money the movie made, or how well it received by the general public. When I say best villains, I mean just that. I’ve picked the most devious, reckless, demented, mischievous rapscallions ever captured on film, and portrayed by great actors, but keep in mind this list is not in any specific order. This is just my personal top 10, not how they rank. I also did my best not to over-saturate the list with over played persona’s like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Essentially I tried to stay away from a whole list of “possessed crazed white people”, there’s an abundance of that in good movies (Ryan Reynolds in ‘Amityvillie Horror’, Katie from ‘Paranormal Activity’, and so on). The second category I stayed away from were the action movie bad guys, who are a normally a dime a dozen, and all either want money or have a personal vendetta with the good guy, which is why I tried my hardest to deviate from that as well. I’ll explain my reasons for picking each person on the list, but basically I wanted to stick to truly unique, one of a kind, malicious bad-assery (more like John Doe in ‘Seven’ which would have came 11th on the list) so I’m pretty sure I picked 10 winners. Check the method.
Patrick Bateman – (American Psycho)
What I consider a master of deception, Bateman is insane, and can keep it all in his pants when it matters most, but I think is the most unsettling thing about him is when his “crazy” slips out, like in the classic ‘business card’ scene from American Psycho. Interesting, intriguing, while still unsettling and disturbing, this simple scene doesn’t depict any of his murders, but it shows just how the mind of a person that deranged just might work.
Adrian Veidt – (Watchmen)
I consider Adrian an unparalleled monster, for the simple fact that in his movie, he did something no other villains tend to do… Succeed. He carried out his master-plan, killed a billion people, and had one of the sickest evil lines in ANY movie. “I’m not a comic book villain. Do you seriously think I would explain my master stroke to you if there were even the slightest possibility you could affect the outcome? I triggered it 35 minutes ago.“ Not to mention in his universe, he’s the smartest man alive. Check it out.
Hannibal Lecter – (Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising.)
When the original ‘Silence of the Lambs’ came out, I was far too young to appreciate it. All I remember thinking was that Buffalo Bill not having a d*ck was downright disturbing in every sense of the word. But years and years later, when the sequel ‘Hannibal’ came out, my sister sat me down and made me watch the original, and it warped my mind as to how brilliant and insidious the character of Hannibal Lecter really was. Check out a scene or two from one of my favorite evil genius’s. (B.T.W. if you haven’t seen any of the movies, he eats people.)
Blue – (Sucker Punch)
‘Sucker Punch’ is a relatively new movie, its an original, and most people are unfamiliar with its basic cast of characters. But all that being said, Blue, the movies main villain is ridiculously malicious, and carries out one of the most shocking acts in any movie I’ve seen in years. Seeing as how when this post was written, ‘Sucker Punch’ was still clocking dollars at the box office, I won’t put any spoilers into this post. But I do have to reiterate that Blue is a gentleman, a low down scheeming liar, a man of great emotional depth, a disturbed m*ther f*cker, and still one of the biggest pimps I’ve ever seen on screen. The scene below (has no spoilers) but is immediately before Blue shows his “true colors” and rockets himself into villain history. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens next.
Simon Phoenix – (Demolition Man)
I feel like if people were satisfied with my choices so far, they may not be after this. I know I tried to stray away from action movie villians, but if you’re a fan of the 1993 movie ‘Demolition Man’, you know exactly why Simon Phoenix breaks the action villain mold. He’s planning, methodical, and absolutely insane. Not only does he get pure joy from destruction, he carries out most of his acts in a world where people are innocent and crime doesn’t exist. He prays on the innocent not for any motive or reason, but simply because he just LOVES doing it. Which makes him a great villain. Check out exactly what I mean below.
Castor Troy – (Face Off)
Now when it comes to vile, demented, horrid, despicable, and utterly hilarious characters, no one can tell me that Castor Troy doesn’t deserve to be on this list. A great sense of humor is always something that makes an antagonist greater than the ‘evil-brooding-angry-man-sitting-in-a-chair-petting-a-cat’ stereotype that villains can have. But the mental disturbance level of Castor Troy throughout the entire movie “Face Off” is what I think gives Mr. Troy the chops to make it onto this list. Check out one of the opening scenes of ‘Face Off’ and you’ll see what I mean.
Alonzo Harris – (Training Day)
Yes… the photo above is of Denzel Washington playing Alonzo Harris in the 2001 hit ‘Training Day’… (AND yes he’s pointing a shotgun at a small boy) So now that we have an idea of how gutter the villain Alonzo Harris was, I have to say that what puts him on this list (for me) is the fact that when you watch this movie, you feel the character’s plight. You don’t care that he’s an evil, vindictive, deceitful, murderer, you just want him to succeed. And I’ll admit this whole-heartedly, when I’m alone, I can’t watch the end of ‘Training Day’. It just pushes a bad button to see Officer Harris go down the way he does. After all, he’s responsible for one of the most classic lines in current urban culture…. “King Kong ain’t got S*HT on ME!” (tell me you’ve never heard anyone say that in real life.)
Clyde Shelton – (Law Abiding Citizen)
Clyde Shelton is another relatively new bad guy, but never the less, he deserves to be on this list. I don’t know the percentage of people who have seen “Law Abiding Citizen” but if you haven’t, Shelton is one of the most brilliant bad-asses I’ve seen in a long time. He manages to keep the audience guessing as to his next move, while keeping the audience guessing as to how he’s doing it all, while keeping the audience saying “I don’t understand why your doing what your doing, but go on sir.” Perfect example is the courtroom scene below. Half the time your wondering what the hell is wrong with this man, but you can’t take your eyes of the screen. Dope.
Agent Smith – (The Matrix)
This list is all about the qualities that make antagonists extra evil, and counting those qualities. Agent Smith is unique because for the first time we have to disregard a few things. Lets just forget that the man has an army of HIMSELF. Lets forget the fact that he technically cannot die. Lets just forget the fact that he can kill you with one touch. Lets just focus on the little part where he doesn’t have one main enemy, Smith just hates the ENTIRE HUMAN SPECIES as a whole. Just for having that much hatred in your blood, you deserve a good spot on the list. Check out Smith’s explanation for his angry disposition below.
Alex – (A Clockwork Orange)
Click the pic to watch this final villain in action.
Due to restrictions put on me by the people who pay me, there is a certain bracket of content I can’t post directly onto this site. Alex from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ falls directly into that bracket like 27 times. And that’s one of the things that makes him one of the greatest Villains in movie history. Deranged beyond all comprehension, crazed, angry, disturbed, and any other synonym you can come up with, are all things to describe this character. If the “disturbing” level of ’2 Girl’s 1 Cup’ made you want to drop kick a baby stroller, then after watching the “Singing In The Rain” scene from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ you may just look like this when it’s over. The best part is, unlike ’2 Girls 1 Cup’, people actually ENJOY watching this movie, which is why Alex is one of the top ranking bad guys on my list. Enjoy.
So as I said in the beginning of this post, I’m very open to speculation, conversation, and mediation on this topic, and I’m really curious to hear other people’s opinions. If I’ve missed anyone I’d like to take them into consideration. So I’ve set up a vote in which you can vote on the list as to who your favorite is, or you can write your own answers in. Lets see what happens.
Now, many people know that I enjoy dressing like a gentleman, and doing my thing at the same time. Recently Empire magazine trotted the globe to deliver 27 of the planet’s biggest stars, recreating iconic performances from two decades in film, for a unique 20th birthday celebration. All parties involved are in classic poses from their respective films, but dressed to impressed with designer suits (‘cept for Tom Cruise and a few others), which puts a very unique spin on the entire concept. I’ve thrown a few of my personal favorites onto the blog for your enjoyment.