I have a problem. As a moviegoer, I'm always attracted to charisma over deed. More times than I can count, I find myself rooting for the bad guy and hoping that they bring the bland hero down. Of course, sometimes it's a fight between hero and villain for who has the most charisma, and sometimes the film wants us to love the villain, but whatever the case, the thorn is usually a lot more fun than the hero he's stuck onto. And this means that I'm often disappointed at the end, because the bad guy almost always dies.
Still, this is what's so great about film -- you can love the baddies without the real-world consequences. We've all heard about bad-guy lust, but this way, the baddie can do his bad thing for us to enjoy, without us getting all of the negative repercussions. We get the wild eye without the body count, the ripped muscles without the steroid set-up, and the twisted humor without the reality.
However, seeing that bad guys are my kryptonite, it's hard to pick just seven. While the following is, by no means, all-encompassing, it's a list of some of my favorite baddies. Some we're told to love, and others, well, they just steal the show.
Jason Dean -- Heathers
This is probably what started it all. When my friends and I gathered around the television to watch Christian Slater's new movie, we were immediately smitten. We didn't care that J.D. had a thing for doling out his own deadly justice. By the time he said: "Alright, so maybe I am killing everyone in the school... because nobody loves me!" We were exclaiming: "We love you!" J.D. had the drawling, Jack Nicholson voice, the sexy trench, and the need to row out to the middle of a lake somewhere with a bottle of tequila, his sax, and some Bach. He was very. Very very.
Captain Jack -- The Pirates of the Caribbean Series
Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow is not someone you really want to be involved with, mainly because he can't be trusted, but the one thing you can count on, and trust -- he's got more charisma in his tiny pinky nail than Will Turner had in his whole body. One stolen kiss with Jack should not be the lusty, romantic high point of the series, but it was. This was the biggest flaw of the films -- the epic love affair wasn't even close to epic, and a momentary look at Jack would hold more attraction than even a smooch-filled, romantic scene between Elizabeth and Will.
Arthur Burns -- The Proposition
Filmmakers get tricky when they start showing us the ultimate bad guy's morals and fervor. After a deadly, bloody beginning and a lot of dust and somber moments, Danny Huston burst into the film with Irish charm and character. Of course, he is the most notorious outlaw of the Outback, one with a heavy, violent hand, but the mirth in his eyes and love for his family added an irresistible humanity to the film. In a dishonorable lifestyle, Arthur Burns lives by a certain code of honor -- one that even follows through a drastic and deadly ending.
The Thin Man -- Charlie's Angels I & II
The Thin Man was the filthy tease of the Charlie's series. After starting off as the anonymous man with lots of fighting talents and a penchant for stealing and sniffing hair, Thin Man became a killer with a back story, and the best sort of bad guy for Drew Barrymore's Dylan Sanders to fall for. And then, well, the jerks behind the scenes got really jerky and did away with both hotties from #2. But still, Glover stole the show as Thin Man, and while I wouldn't have cared if Charlie had to find new angels because the others all met early deaths, what they did to Thin Man just wasn't right!
Patrick Bateman -- American Psycho
Yeah, the muscles are nice, but Patrick Bateman doesn't win this contest on looks. He does so with his taste in entertainment. It takes a special man to pull off: "Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercial and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far much more bitter, cynical sense of humor." Between that, his dancing, and his need to look at himself while having sex, I'd watch Christian Bale's American Psycho 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Vincenzo Coccotti -- True Romance
Really, this could be any Christopher Walken movie where he plays a bad guy. He's just that kind of tasty baddie. However, Coccotti is one of my favorites. It might be creepy to hear "I'm the Anti-Christ. you get me in a vendetta kind of mood, you will tell the angels in heaven that you had never seen pure evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you." But we're talking Walken, and he's a guy who can make cowbell fever sound cool, so he makes it work... And he makes it work irresistibly well, which is why I never mind a little Walken typecasting.
Ivan Korshunov -- Air Force One
This was originally a toss-up between this and Gary Oldman's Norman Stansfield (Leon). Why did I choose this? Well, this would be the first bad guy I cheered for that wasn't supposed to elicit cheers. He was a mean, cold-blooded killer, but Gary Oldman's performance just wiped the floor with Harrison Ford. It wasn't very patriotic of me to cheer on the bad guy, but Ivan was just so much better than President James Marshall. His intensity, charisma, Garyness. Just like Walken, he's just made to steal scenes.
Special, Most Honorable Mention: The Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- any bad guy who can fight while losing his important appendages is worth a nod.
There's my seven... What are yours? Are you a sucker for Michael Wincott? Hans Gruber? Voldemort? Sound off below.