Top Three Imposing Movie Villains

Villainy and villains.  Often we find them more compelling than the heroes of the story, even when we crave their defeat.  There are many kinds of villains and many great ones.  They can be tragic heroes or pure chaotic evil, so classifying villainy can be difficult.  James Rolfe did a great list of the “baddest bad guys” using the criteria of who was really the “baddest” not the best villain or most evil, just the one who was through and through…BAD.  He made a great list and it’s hard to disagree with his findings.

Following in his footsteps, and wrapping up the three-year anniversary month of threes, I thought I’d do my own criteria and give what I see as the most intimidating and imposing villains I can think of.  The criteria here are a little more difficult to ascertain, but intimidation is rarely strictly physical.  Once we leave the school yard the threat of “I’m big and gonna beat you up” doesn’t have the same weight as it once did.  This immediately discounts the Jason Vorheeses and Godzillas of the medium.  Similarly intimidation and having an imposing personality is usually just that, personality.  The fact that these villains are human and show their humanity makes their villainy more imposing.  It might seem a bit convoluted but hopefully the selections will help explain.  So starting off with number three:

The Hunger Games – President Snow (Donald Sutherland)

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“I like you…be careful…”

Before hipsters start to protest I ask everyone look the man himself.  He is, in the world of Panam, supremely powerful.  He has a family we see in his periphery and a public persona that is both calming and resolute.  Then you see him interact other characters, Seneca and Katniss were frozen like the prey of a cobra.   Plutarch, despite his confidence, maintained his composure by attempting to play Snow’s game his way to impress him with his own imposing declarations.  In the books we see more of him, hear from him more, and get to know him more.  His limited use in the films makes him even more intimidating.  Sutherland plays him in a manner as cold as the character’s namesake.  He speaks with a quiet voice, like thunder in the distance, so when he merely suggests it would be easier if parties agreed not to lie, explains it is not favorable to root for the underdog, or instructs you on the value of hope versus fear you listen.  Wide-eyed and terrified at nothing more than the power of his…words.  His intimidation is based entirely on his ability to tell you the truth in ice-cold realism with the absolute knowledge of what he can do.  He can make you vanish in silence, make you obsolete in front of a roaring crowd, and send you into hysterics with a flower delivery.  He’s that imposing.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)

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“Rest assured, if you attempt to bring destruction down upon me, I shall do the same to you. My respect for you, Mr. Holmes, is the only reason you are still alive.”

How can you gone wrong with the Napoleon of crime?  I’ve seen several versions of Dr. Moriarty and Jared Harris captured something that I found truly captivating.  His Moriarty has an extreme patience and remarkable Zen-like nature that makes him even more frightening than Hannibal Lector.  Moriarty’s intimidation is that, portrayed in the manner Harris played him, you feel he’s smarter than you.  It’s not a physical intimidation, because as I said above what does that mean to grown people?  It’s a feeling of helplessness that even Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock feels during parts of the movie.  You feel at his mercy, as though he holds every card and you hold nothing…even if you’re holding everything.  Anyone who has ever been in the presence of a real master knows this form of intimidation.  And we’ve seen the result of someone far below their league when they attempt to compete.  Moriarty is so wily he forces Holmes to chase a red herring at the opera just so he can watch him fail from a box seat.  He attempts to start World War I and simply shrugs when he doesn’t pull it off.  He can torture you singing opera in German…and just might be able to take you in a fist fight too.  I’m not sure I’ve seen a more impressive supervillain…certainly not one who was this cold, this brilliant, and this realistic.  Harris’ performance is wildly underrated and for me he’s the Moriarty to beat.

Apocalypto – Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo)

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“When I catch him I will peel his skin and have him watch me wear it”

I don’t believe I’ve seen a character on film in recent years quite as intimidating as Zero Wolf.  Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto received general indifference after its release.  It was in Mayan.  Directed by a man who had just gone through some serious personal issues.  It had questionable historical veracity.  But forgotten amidst all of that is what an incredible film it is.  The film revolves around fear (The Nolan Batman films could have learned something about real fear in this movie…), specifically fear instilled into a small village by warlike, desperate neighbors who seek human sacrifices.  The leader of these hunters: Zero Wolf.  Decked out in jaguar jaws, wolf skulls, and human bones he is a massive, brutal, cunning leader.  Since we spend most of the film in the captivity of these hunters or fleeing them, they had to represent a truly incredible threat and, though there are numerous hunters, they all fade into the jungle when in the presence of Wolf.  He gives commands silently (watch his directive to his men to spread out and attack), can intimidate with few words (“Are we doing what you say now?  Shall we try that?”), exudes power and menacing intent through extreme calm and stoicism, and is powerful enough to force that stone knife right through your sternum.  More than just a vicious hunter you see he is a person.  He has a son he cares about dearly and it’s both tragic and frightening when he is provided the motivation to relentlessly hunt Rudy Youngblood’s Jaguar Paw throughout the latter half of the film.  It’s this humanity that makes him such a cold customer.  He cares about his legacy and his offspring, but is simultaneously ruthless in the prosecution of his tasks.  He is a man hunter, and he treats it like a passionless day job, until it’s made personal.  Both his indifference and his cruel obsession cause tension in their own ways.  Zero Wolf is possibly one of the most effective villains in years and he is used with remarkable skill to drive the plot, dramatically increase tension, and intimidate the audience.  He’s intimidation personified and the most imposing villain I think I’ve ever seen. 

The Three Truths of Cats

I’ve been a cat owner essentially all my life.  We got my lil sister Sweetie Pie when I was three.  Jack-Jack was an adoption of a 12 year old boy who needed respite from his busy house.  Tony and Gino were adoptees from the Katrina disaster.  Razputin, my current baby, was an adoptee who wouldn’t let me leave without him.  I’ve had a full menagerie in my life, but I always come back to cats as the lil furry companions I relate the most to.
Over the years I’ve found some things that cat owners will completely understand.  In the spirit of our Third Anniversary I thought I’d mention the top three things cat owners understand.

3.) They are the pauper kings/queens of the residence:

Every cat rules his or her house.  At least they believe they do.  Strangely however they are all entirely reliant on their chosen hairless housemate for food, water, and entertainment.  It’s unusual to have a tiny little fur-face essentially tell you what to do (and you do it…at least you’d better) when you are, at least logically, the boss round the place.  As royalty they can also be adorably mentally abusive.  They will innocently use noise (mreoow…mreeeeow…MREEEOW) to get you up at 2am.  Then look at you like, “what? Oh did that wake you?  Sorry, but as long as you’re up…look at this toy!  Or these treats!  And pet me here!”  They can destroy your whole world [40k players understand how a furry monstrous creature, eternal warrior, with hatred (all models), and 12D6 attacks can wreck your gaming s**t].  Then look at you with a sweet kitty face and make you love them for it.  If that’s not the behavior of an insecure monarch I don’t know what is…

2.) They see many things…maybe even dead people…
They will stare.  Stare at things.  There’s nothing there…but there’s SOMETHING there.  Sweetie (miss my lil sis) stared mostly at ME.  It’s unnerving to be eyed by a predator.  Even a little cute one.  Jack-Jack (he was connected to me and we gave him the best last years of his life we could) was nearly blind but his hood-eyed scowl often drew attention.  Tony only stares to smash things and even as a senior cat now he still has that young man athleticism.  Gino (miss my lil crazy booboo) would just stare…at dust or fuzzies or microscopic particles only visible with an electron microscope.  Raz stares up walls and at ceilings.  But often…there’s nothing there.  At least nothing I can see.  Occasionally I’ll spot a tiny bug or a spot on the wall that has his attention.  But sometimes nothing.  He’s intently staring at the air.  And cats do that.  Just stare, fascinated by the various nematodes and bogeymen only visible to cat-kind.  I know this.  I’m not worried about it…but every now and then I’m drawn into the fantasy.  I get up to check what he’s staring at.   I think he does it to laugh at me…

1.) You mean NOTHING….but you mean everything…

Cats are the world’s greatest actors.  They make you feel tiny, usually from self-important cattitude, but in the end one slow blink, one head butt, or one nose touch lets you know that, even though they make you feel utterly beneath contempt…they’re as glad to have you as you are to have them.  I know my various babies liked to pretend I mean nothing to them…but for all the kitty bravado they all loved to have me there…even when all they wanted was for me to be in the same space as them.   And for us, we’re happy to be in their space too.

Look for Life with Raz Cat coming soon on RevPub!  A webcomic series featuring stories from life with a Mad Russian Blue!

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It’s good to be the king…

3 Tips for Staying Sane

The world buzzes around us. Traffic, chatting, digital media, and there’s always something that has to be done RIGHT NOW. If you’re single, you probably have a full-time job and an active social life. If you have a family, you’re usually busy working and dealing with family things. There’s very little downtime, and if you are lucky enough to have two hours to yourself, you either catch up on something or are too exhausted to enjoy it.

So, what can we do? How do we balance a busy lifestyle with inner peace and happiness?

Game organization

3. Stay Organized. Have you misplaced your phone or keys lately? What about left home without something important. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it. The trick is to stay organized and have a place for everything. If you have a purse or bag, place it in the same spot every day when you get home. Use hooks or baskets for keys, phones, wallets, etc. to ensure they are always where you left them. To help with memory and to-do lists, set calendar reminders, and send yourself emails and texts (my favorite).

Keeping things clean also helps more than you realize. I use chores as a way to stay active while working at the computer. For example, write for 45 minutes, then get up and vacuum. Proofread for 30 minutes, then do some laundry. I always straighten things up as part of my nightly routine, too. Waking up to chaos can ruin a potentially good day. Tip: If you have kids, encourage them to do the same. This helps them learn good habits and reduces your to-do list.

Ocean City, MD

2. Find ways to relax. Not everyone has time to regularly soak in a bubble bath or attend an hour-long yoga class. But you have to take a break. Hobbies are a great way to relax and do something you enjoy. However, they should not be stressful or feel like work. They should serve as a reprieve from the daily grind and make you happy. If you’re hobby starts to cause you stress, it may be time to try something else.

And to those who enjoy a drink or beer at the end of the week; there’s no shame in that (wink). Sometimes that’s the only thing you have the energy to do. Tip: Some things I do are: painting, reading, watching my favorite shows and movies, turning everything off and enjoying silence, and listening to music.

Nashville Comic Con 2014

1. Have fun. The most important tip I have, and I cannot stress it enough. We all need fun, and little things can give us great pleasure. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for fun.” Bull stuffings. You have an hour to not work or stroll through social media feeds for personal fun.

Some things I do include going to concerts and movies, taking little trips, visiting my favorite places around town, chatting with friends, running out in the rain, and trying new things. It’s a proven fact laughter reduces stress, releases endorphins, and works the abdominal muscles. Some doctors even say it’s equivalent to a mild workout!

Honorable mention (and often the hardest thing to do): Don’t be afraid to say No. If someone asks you to hang out, and you’re tired, take a rain check. If you want to spend an afternoon on the couch instead of visiting family, do it. We often worry too much what people will think, when at the end of the day, we have to answer to ourselves. They may be disappointed or irritated, but they’ll get over it. And if not, you’re probably better off without them.

Let us know how you stay sane in the comments section! We love to try new things too!

Please keep in mind what works for me may not work for you, but if you think about it, I’m sure you can find your own ways to stay sane.