I love villains. Tall villains, short villains, funny villains, twisted villains. I just love me some antagonist. When I was a teen and had movie-star crushes, all my crushes were either villains or protagonists who had been villains in their past and were now angst-puppies because of it. So here, in no particular order, are five antagonists I love to hate — all from movies because, let’s face it, I like to be able to look evil in the eye.
1) Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride. Humperdink is the best sort of villain in that he could’ve been a real catch (except for that hair) as he’s a prince and insanely good at tracking animals and people and crap (and who doesn’t love a man who’s good at sports?), except there’s except for the whole forcing Buttercup to marry him thing, lying about killing off her true love, an ambiguous relationship with the torture-chamber guy, and conspiring to turn Buttercup into a stiff thing. Best line?
minion: It won’t be easy.
Humperdinck: Try ruling the world some time.
2) Brick Top from Snatch. Aside from tormenting the audience with bad teeth and a Scottish accent so thick you have to chew it, he offers the protagonists advice on how to get rid of a dead body (cut it up and feed it to pigs, which he happens to have handy), burns Brad Pitt’s mum’s caravan in the middle of the night (with her in it) (while Brad Pitt watches, in his tightie-whities), and has more minions than you can shake a sawed-off arm at (a prerequisite for most villains).
3) Conklin from The Bourne Identity. This is one of those villains I love to hate because of his relationship to the protagonist. Dude, I know you’re trying to protect the U.S. government by covering up psychological experimentation and hot hit men running around the world offing America’s enemies, but cut Jason Bourne a break. He’s just an angst-puppy trying to figure out who he is, okay?
4) Ted Crawford from Fracture. Crawford gets instant bonus points by being played by Anthony Hopkins, who has this extremely insidious way of rolling words around in his mouth even when he’s playing a good guy (You guys didn’t think he made a slightly sinister Zorro? He’s kind of hot for an old guy). But I love to hate him in Fracture, not because he shot his wife in the head and was cool with that, but because he then leads the absolute bambikin cutie who is Ryan Gosling’s character on a crazy psychological frolic through criminal law and screws over said bambikin’s career. That’s villainous, baby.
5) And finally, Darwin and Minerva from Hudson Hawk. The entire movie is very over the top anyway, but this fiendish couple is the absolute crown. Wildly perverted, bristling with minions, deeply in love with each other and themselves, all they want is to take over the world. And plus, they have an evil fox terrier that attacks a nun in one of the final conflict scenes. That’s like a +5 level four minion there. I was sad to see them go.