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By: Deepu P.Thomas
Most heroes are brave and strong, just and fair, moral and stick to their principles...you know those just plain all around "good guys" that don't exist. They are figments of the imagination. There are some genuine heroes in the world, but most people aren't. Every now and then a film comes along with an anti-hero, a hero that defies the typical heroic qualities. They may not necessarily be better that heroes, but anti-heroes are more human. And though they don't fit our expectations of a hero, we still root for them to win. Here is our list of anti-heroes... (and we don't want to hear any crap about he exclusion of "Han Solo" from geeks or the abundance of male relevant characters from women, etc...This is who WE find to be the great anti-heroes, so you can have your own damn opinion)
10) Alexander deLarge - A Clockwork Orange
Played to perfection by Malcolm McDowell, Alexander is certainly an unusual hero. For one, he is a sick, twisted criminal. From beating up old people to assaulting someone with a giant phallice to murder, he is one sick person. However, after finally getting arrested he undergoes an experimental program in which is forced to watch violence. It eventually sickens him and he returns to the real world and no longer desires violent activities. But, then our hero has violence perpetrated against him because he can not escape his past. He is one odd hero.
9) Jack Sparrow - Pirates of the
Jack Sparrow is an interesting fellow. Modeled after Keith Richards (pirates are the equivalent of rock stars), Johnny Depp delivers another unique odd character, but this time that character is accepted into the mainstream. For a pirate, he is actually pretty heroic and he does help out the other characters. But he always has his own agenda and besides, he's an alcoholic and a man-slut. He's a rebel; he does what he wants and goes where he wants when he wants. He's not without passion or a code to follow, but he certainly doesn't set out with idealistic goals. He isn't afraid of using dirty tactics or taking hostages. And even though he has his badass moments, sometimes they are accidents, like when he's twirling around on a high post he is still not in control. His big reputation of escaping off a deserted island turns out to be sheer luck and bartering. And just the way he moves and talks, which won audiences over, just makes him stand out from typical heroes.
8) The Boondock Saints - Boondock
Though their mission to destroy the criminal world is hardly new or anti-heroic, the way they come the goal, the reasons each undertakes it, and the way they go about doing it is. Two are Irish Catholic boys who get into a run-in with the Russian mob and murder them out of self-defense, one is a fat aging numbers runner for the Italian mob who is realizing how they've screwed him over, another is an F.B.I. investigator who is tired of the "red tape" that gets in the way of his job, and the last is an old uber-hitman who ends up finding a bond with the young guys. They decide to just go wiping out criminals, as simply as that (thanks to Funnyman's mob connections). "We could kill everybody!" Some are turned on by it, while others seek justice and vengeance. They're tactics are not always smooth (falling through the ceiling by fighting with each other and then luckily hanging upside down to shoot the bad guys). Their goal is so simple and unoriginal, yet manages to be unique and provocative. Why don't we just go kill the criminals?
7) Taylor - Planet of the Apes Saga
Ahh...Charleton Heston. As an astronaut, it's expected that Taylor contain idealism and morality, which he does possess...but not in the expected way. He despised humanity, thinking of us as a selfdestructive race that has been consumed with various types and degrees of warfare (even on a personal, normal life level). So, he left Earth only to rediscover humanity on Earth as it is ruled by apes. He comes to care for humanity again as he sees his race enslaved by apes and the truth covered up. Still, he'll take hostages and play dirty. However, when he finally learns the truth, his faith in humanity is lost again as he realizes nuclear warfare was the cause of Earth's destruction. In the end, as he is hunted by apes the cycle of warfare beings again, Tayler says to hell with it all, and sets the nuclear device to obliterate Earth and the cycle of warfare with it. Is that anti-hero enough for ya?
6) Leon - Leon: The Professional
Leon is a professional hitman. Yes, this hero murders people for a living. As a young immigrant with little English, Leon got work for the Italitan mob in New York City. Unelightened in our capitalist ways, he has been taken care of and taken advantage of by his boss. He doesn't see a lot of money, nor does he desire
it. He's just doing his job and making a living, a scarred lover who has no love for anything but his plant. He saves a young girls life only to then try and throw her out on the street as he doesn't want the trouble. However, he is convinced to take her on as an apprentice, and an ambiguous relationship between them develops. He finds a form of love again, learns to embrace it and sacrifice himself for something.
5) Michael Corleone - The Godfather
Of all the gangsters from such films that could make this list, Michael Corleone beats them out simply because he never wanted to be in the Mafia. He was born into that family, and avoided it. He was a good man who even joined the military. Unfortunately for him, he was also intelligent and charismatic and chosen by his father. When his father is murdered, he is obligated to help his family get revenge. From there on out, he is in the Family and can't escape it. He slowly degenerates further and further into his life of organized crime. He kills his own brother among many others. However, when he gets older he finally begins to see the mistake he's made and tries to fight the life, but just can't ever escape it. Once again, misfortune reigns over his life as his ways lead to his daughter's death and his "death" to his wife and son. He is a sad character who evokes great sympathy.
4) Lester Burhnam - American Beauty
Lester is the average joe of the modern adult generation. His job sucks, his marriage stale and non-existent, his daughter is a loathful teenager. In fact, his life is so dull that the sexual allure of a high school girl is the only thing that excites him. Somehow, he reaches a catharsis and starts to say screw the world and all it's crap. He does what he wants, speaks his mind, tells his boss to piss off, etc. He escapes the trappings of modern life and frees himself to find happiness. He is not fixed on some moral quest or goal, he's just an average guy with a crummy life trying to give that life meaning. And hey, he doesn't stray too far; he still keeps sense, reason, and moral judgment without trying to be a saint. Kevin Spacey brought normal, middle-aged manhood to life with this role.
3) Benjamin Braddock - The Graduate
Benjamin really is a timeless anti-hero, even if some of the film is dependent on the 60's generation. He just graduated from college and has no clue what to
do with his life. He has no girlfriend, no job, no prospects...all he has is a degree. He decides to relax after graduation, but when he still can't figure out what to do with himself, he digresses into a bum and for excitement, lets himself get seduced into a love affair with his dad's friend's wife. By a wierd turn of situations, he is forced to go on a date with her daughter, finally finding something in his life. Real excitement. For once he feels alive and has found something worth putting himself into. Too bad he slept with her mom because that's gonna screw some stuff up.
2) Frodo Baggins - Lord of the Rings
On the surface, Frodo might appear like the typical small guy underdog hero. But, a closer examination will find that he is indeed an anti-hero. Sure, he takes the responsibility to destroy the Ring, but while that is heroic, part of his reasons stem from the power of the Ring calling to him. He is drawn into that power, and it slowly consumes him as it did Smeágol. In fact, Frodo starts to go down the same path, becoming just like Smeágol. He draws a sword on his best friend, and allows his corruption and paranoia to drive that best friend away. In the end, he succumbs to the evil of the Ring and his own inherent evil, failing his quest. But, the quest still succeeds and in a way so does Frodo. Through his pity he allowed Smeágol/Gollum to live and that became the mechanism for the Ring's destruction. He both utterly fails and succeeds, and after it is done, is never whole again. There are no superficial happy days for Frodo. His wounds, the war, and his failure have stained him forever, and he can not live content in the innocent land he almost destroyed himself to save.
1) Tyler Durden - Fight Club
Damn...where to start. The split personality of a horrendous, unhappy, dull loser looking to change himself and makes something out of himself, Tyler is the pissed off male voice of the modern world. Very few people are at the top of society, while most serve those few. We are lied to and fed false dreams and propaganda to keep us content and peaceful. And, we have no great purpose. Life is mundane: no wars, no religious or spiritual struggles, just guys 9 to 5. Well, Tyler says screw that and begins a quest to fight back at those elite bastards while giving meaning and purpose to fellow brothers in manhood. But most importantly, he embarks on a quest to free his other half from the oppressive socialization and programming of society, allowing him to become his own man and letting go of all the assumptions and propaganda he has been fed. He turns fat into soap, screws around (in many various ways), makes household explosives, steals, vandalizes, obliterates credit card records
and starts a club for men to beat the crap out of each other to peel off the layers and discover the true man. Tyler Durden is not only the most unique and unusual anti-hero, but he is the anti-hero that truly is that subdued inner voice of the modern man.
The Top Ten Crazy Mofo Villains
Warning! Some spoilers ahead! If you haven't seen the film of a particular villain, you might not want to read the description. By: Deepu P.Thomas
Every film has a villain, but few have genuine bastards, and those are the best kind. Not just evil people, but people that are also messed up in the head and complicated enough that you'd just love to dissect their brain and study them, or have a nice lovely dinner conversation with them. Okay, so not really. But here's the list of the top ten villains that are crazy mofo's and make our skin crawl.
10) Darth Vader: Star Wars Trilogy
First of all, we're talking about Darth Vader from the classic trilogy, not the whiny brat from the craptastic new trilogy. We refuse to count them as the same character! Moving on from there, Darth Vader was one mad guy; hell he was willing to destroy his own children...almost. Full of rage at the world around him, he let himself slip to the dark side and nearly destroyed himself in the process. Fortunately, he had enough good left in him to come back, which is what makes a villain better: the conflict between the good and evil within. However, since Lucas gave us no explanations in the classic trilogy to explain him, Vader barely squeezes in at number 10.
9) Thade: Planet of the Apes
Tim Roth's portrayal of Thade was one of the few good things about the Planet of the Apes "reimagination." Here was a true ass-kicking soldier wrapped up in paranoia and an insane obsession with the continuation of his society's power. And, one of the few other good things about this film, is that the apes moved and acted like apes this time around. Thade was a vicious violent crazed fellow, and could have come off real bad (like some of the other horribly acted characters), but
Tim Roth is a damn good actor and so Thade was quite believable. We almost don't mind watching the film again to see Thade.
8) HAL 9000: 2001: A Space Odyssey
That's right, an artificial intelligence as a villain. And it's not even a robot, it's just a computer. We're guessing you're scratching your head or raising your firsts at this, but the decision sticks. HAL 9000 is one crazy computer. An example of how human technology can go wrong, HAL decides he should kill the astronauts on board his space station. He also likes to sing a song about daisies upon "death." The best part is even though he's a machine, you have to remember he's a man-made machine...and an seriously insane one at that.
7) Marcus Crassus: Spartacus
Here is Sir Lawrence Olivier at his finest, and instead of being the hero, he is the calm villain. Though Crassus is calm on the surface, inside the Roman general rages a man of fear, afraid that the rebel slave Spartacus might threaten Rome. Sounds the same as Thade, doesn't it? Well, they're different. Crassus as I said, is calm and internal, collected and calculating, not letting others around him know about his impending insanity. Plus, Crassus goes further. He's a closet homosexual, and after he destroy's the rebels he takes Spartacus's wife as his, trying to destroy Spartacus in any way possible. He is insane, but so elegant at it.
6) John Doe: Se7en
The entire film builds up the climax to reveal who the crazes serial killer is, and Kevin Spacey delivers up a meaty dish. Though the script is a tad melodramatic, the character comes off as real...really insane. Sick of the violent, neglectful, and generally sinful world he lives in, John Doe decides to send a message to mankind, but in the process of doing so he commits his own terrible sins and drives a good and decent man to utter insanity with him. And he does it with such confidence and utter calmness; though he's insane he seems at peace with his own self.
5) Bill the Butcher: Gangs of New York
Despite whatever feelings you have for the film, you still probably thought Bill the Butcher was one messed up dude. As it was scripted, the character had so many
chances to go so wrong, but Daniel Day-Lewis is an amazing actor, and turned Bill into a true insane man with a lot of power. Bill had his own ideas of how America should be ran, and he would kill anybody or start any war to make his point. And yet he still insisted on being his own meat butcher. Really though, this guy was complicated and genuinely crazy and you never knew what he was gonna do. He might just let a guy live so that his shame and banishment is a greater punishment than death. But then again, he might just hang someone in a public square or openly murder the new Sheriff. Daniel Day-Lewis captures insanity quite well.
4) Hannibal Lecter: Silence of the Lambs,
Hannibal, and Red Dragon
Not only is a member of upper-class society, but the man has a doctorate degree, and was respected as a criminal psychologist. Fitting, since he himself was a delightfully insane serial killer himself. He took great pleasure tricking the world, until he was caught. But hey, it's all good cause he escaped and is out on the loose. From cutting a man's brain and serving it to him at the dinner table, serving brains to a child, hanging a man by his guts, killing an orchestra player for not being good enough...the man is insane, but is also such a polite, well-mannered upper-class society member. He's so lovable and so freaky at the same time.
3) Norman Bates: Psycho
Here is one totally just messed up man. Abused by his mother growing up, Bates just wanted her love. Well, she's dead now, but he was so traumatized by his childhood he brings her back to life by making her his alter ego. Still seeking to please her, he kills beautiful women because his mother wouldn't like him consorting and impurifying himself with them. Norman Bates was a nice, kind guy who comes out occasionally, but is also repressed and controlled by his mother. He's quite the sad little guy.
2) Salieri: Amadeus
Salieri is the everyman villain; the ambitious dreamer who strives toward success but is not the most loved and talented in his field...like most real people. As a child his father wouldn't let him play or compose, but when his father died the kid took up music and eventually made his way to the Emperor's court...until Mozart came along and was better. Driven by jealousy and wrath at God for denying him his
only wish, Salieri sets out to destroy Mozart, a good guy full of compassion, joy, and love. Salieri turns him into a cold, insane genius caught up in his never ending work...just like himself, without the genius part. Salieri is the poster-child of mediocrity. You just have to feel for the guy, because you could be him too.
1) Smeágol: Lord of
That's right, Smeágol, not Gollum, because it's Smeágol that is the tormented fellow, and that's who his story thread is about. So, what is there to say about him? Well, he's the most haunted and tortured villain...ever. He killed his best friend on his birthday for a ring of power that claimed ownership over him, and he let himself slip away lured by it's power. But, there had to be some evil within him to get taken by the ring, and the ring brought it out of him. Yet, here is still a good Smeágol there, and he comes to actually care and share a bond with Frodo. Jackson and company took the character so much farther than the novel and turned him into a really haunted guy that wasn't just simple and evil. He had to struggle never-endingly against himself throughout the films. Ultimately though, he is so far down his pit of crazed torment that Gollum wins the split personality struggle and Smeágol meets his pitiful end. There is no character as messed up and that evokes as much sympathy in the audience than Smeágol.
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