When you talk about movie villains, the first ones that come to mind are the serial killers and madmen of thrillers and horror films, but there are plenty of comedies that rely on a great antagonist to push the story along. So this week, along with an added entry from Lynn, we will pick our favorite villains from the comedy genre.
Dan’s Pick – Ernie McCracken, Kingpin
The first time I ever saw Kingpin, I was just a little lad who had no idea about what any of the sexual innuendos meant or who most of the actors were in the movie, all save one…Bill Fuckin’ Murray. Even when he’s being a total douche he still comes off as the guy you want to win. Playing the antagonist to Woody Harrelson’s character Roy Munson, Murray steals every scene he’s in (which he has be known to do from time to time). The scene that gets me every time is the commercial he shoots for “Big Ern Sponsoring A Fatherless Family”, which was totally ad-libbed and is the greatest ad-libbing of all time according to a stat that I found in my head just now. It seems that no matter what type of role you give to Murray he pulls it off and makes it seem natural, and to that point it was the only time that I can remember Bill actually playing a villain. And that combover, dear God that combover.
Mark’s Pick –Spats Colombo, Some Like it Hot
When this category was assigned, my mind immediately went with the multitude of villains in recent comedies, but ultimately my choice was from a classic one (and one of my favorite movies of all-time): Spats Colombo from Some Like It Hot.
Spats is perhaps a little out of the box compared to the other villains mentioned here, but he is no less integral to the plot of the movie. The reason Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon’s characters escape from Chicago is because they are the only living witnesses to a hit authorized by the notorious gangster. He eventually runs into them again during the movie’s final act, and drives the plot to its climax.
In this way, Spats is much like Ernie McCracken in Kingpin — who was played beautifully by Bill Murray. He’s not in the majority of the film, but his presence both starts and ends the main character’s story arc. Where the two characters differ is that Ern becomes ridiculous — yet hilarious — as he unravels, while Spats dies (spoiler?) like gangsters of his era always seem to do. Also, how can it get better than the villain in one of the most critically acclaimed comedies of all-time?
Anthony’s Pick – Regina George, Mean Girls
When we think of villains, we think of the Joker coming up with crazy schemes to send Gotham City into chaos. We think of your friendly neighborhood cannibal that eats human liver with some good wine. But with all the preening and grandstanding super villains and psychos out there, nothing quite compares to the evilness of an over-privileged, American teen girl. If you run afoul of someone like Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men, chances are you won’t be alive much longer. Death is a lot easier than what you’re in for when you cross head of the Plastics, Regina George. She’ll only make your high school years a living hell, leading to mountains of psychiatric bills. There are people like this in real life and in a non-joke, the victims’ lives can end tragically by their own hand.
Regina George is the biggest c-word in the history of film. There is no argument. She’s conniving, manipulative, and just an outright bully. She’ll punch you in the face and you’ll think it’s the greatest moment of your life. And she does it with such a sweetness to her and always with a smile that makes you just want to strangle her… or run her over with a bus.
Lynn’s Pick – Ms. Trunchbull, Matilda
There are a lot of comedy villains that work in school administration, whether they be principals (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) or deans (Animal House), but do any of these people have the arm strength to hammer throw a girl over a 10 foot wall by her pigtails? Or how about the stones to lock a kid up in a Medieval torture device? No, which is why Ms. Trunchbull is one-of-a-kind.
Being a kid is scary, but it doesn’t get any easier if you’re principal is Ms. Trunchbull, who rules her school with an iron fist and a riding crop. She’s not above force-feeding a child his entire weight in chocolate cake and then, when he completes it, smashes the plate over his head. Matilda is an odd family movie, simply because child abuse and neglect run so rampant throughout the film and Ms. Trunchbull, with her baked bean-like teeth and evil sneer is the worst offender of it all.