3Demolition Man -- Dr. Raymond Cocteau
Demolition Man is a perfect example of the "futuristic cop" film genre we seemed to love so much in the '90s. More specifically, the "includes both Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider" subcategory.
We were sure there were at least 16 more of these, including one with Estelle Getty.
Wesley Snipes plays the world's most notorious criminal who, decades earlier, was cryogenically frozen as part of some freezing-based reform system. Sylvester Stallone is the world's most badass cop, who also was frozen decades earlier. When Snipes is unfrozen and starts wreaking havoc, Stallone is unfrozen to catch him. Wow. We've actually never stopped to say that plot out loud.
Anyway, you probably remember Wesley Snipes' murderous character as the villain of the piece, but the guy behind everything was actually Dr. Raymond Cocteau, the leader of the pacifist utopia of San Angeles. He was the mastermind.
You can tell by his completely emotionless, robotic gaze.
The story goes that by the year 2032, San Angeles is a city free of crime and violence -- we're specifically told that there hasn't been a single murder for the past 16 years. Sure, some people oppose Cocteau's bans on trivial things like junk food, swearing and freedom of speech, but all that these rebels can do is a) spray graffiti that is instantly, automatically cleaned away before anyone sees it and b) knock over the occasional Taco Bell truck.
Also, the rebels don't seem so threatening when you remember that their leader was this guy:
"Everyone take cover, he's gonna say 'HEY ASSHOLE!'"
The Pointless Evil:
The entire reason the rebels are acting up is that they don't have any food. Rather than throwing them some scraps to shut them up, Cocteau decides it would be much easier to break out Wesley Snipes -- the most diabolical criminal in cryogenic prison -- and program him to kill Denis Leary. Not all the rebels. Just Leary.
Cocteau unleashed this psychotic killer on a city that had been a crime-free haven for nearly two decades (and therefore was completely unprepared to stop him). The fact that Snipes proceeded to immediately fuck things up for everyone -- killing a dozen cops, blowing shit up, getting into car chases, generally acting like a homicidal maniac -- came as no surprise to Cocteau. To make matters worse, Snipes was also trained with several violent skills while he slept. The man was a walking murder machine.
"Nope, still better than Denis Leary."
Sure, the other cops release Stallone to stop Snipes, but that wasn't part of Cocteau's plan. And that brings up another problem: Why not unfreeze Stallone in the first place, reinstate him as a police officer and order him to arrest Leary? Did he have to pick the biggest psycho in the bunch?
In the end, it all comes down to Cocteau being a huge dick. Think about it: When he inserted the orders to kill Leary in Snipes' brain, he could have just as easily added a line or two about perhaps not killing innocent people. We know this because that's exactly what he did -- but only to protect himself. The fact that he also provided Snipes with a posse of other violent criminals (with no mental programming at all) proves that he was either really stupid or he hated Denis Leary beyond all reason.
"I'll never forgive him for ripping off Bill Hicks. Never. Let me show you this YouTube clip ..."
So, to recap: Instead of giving some poor people food, Doc Cocteau decided to release a gang of murderous thugs onto a world that had no idea how to stop them, thereby ruining the paradise that he made.
2Good Morning, Vietnam -- Sergeant Major Dickerson
In any movie about a rebellious, hilarious wise-cracker who plays by his own rules and flouts authority, there has to be an unreasonable, stick-in-his-ass authority figure to oppose him. If the main character is a student, then the bad guy is usually the school's principal (see: The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off), and if the hero is in the military -- as in Good Morning, Vietnam -- then it's some mean commanding officer.
Now, we realize that it might be a little annoying to have to hear the comedic stylings of Robin Williams when you're busy trying to fight the Vietcong, so even though bad guy Sergeant Major Dickerson is, well, a dick, his motivations in Good Morning, Vietnam are understandable. After all, when the Army DJ continuously disrespects his superior officer, starts bar fights and reports classified information without clearance, someone has to take some sort of action.
But mainly it's the "having to hear the comedic stylings of Robin Williams" part.
Also, the guy has a controversial habit of playing some of that wildly offensive rock 'n' roll music (mainly the Beach Boys).
The Pointless Evil:
What doesn't seem so reasonable is the key plot point where Dickerson sends Williams to an almost certain death on a road he knows is infested with Vietcong combatants. Because he was a bad DJ. That's right, Robin Williams is so annoying that he single-handedly causes a perfectly normal army officer to turn into a war criminal.
"Let's see how wacky you are when I assign you to landmine-stomping duty."
Earlier in the movie, Dickerson does try to get his superior officer, Brigadier General Taylor, to kick Williams out, but Taylor sticks up for him. This is the moment in every '80s high school movie where a parent firmly tells a bully to back off, which usually has the exact opposite effect. The same thing happens here -- Dickerson, like a typical bully, hates Williams because he's the unconventional new guy who's causing a stir among the students and becoming close with the main cheerleader.
Played here by Forest Whitaker.
The difference is that instead of giving him swirlies or atomic wedgies, Dickerson's bullying consists of sending Williams and his friend on a deliberate suicide mission. It's like when the bully rats out the new guy to the principal and they send him to detention, except "detention" in this case means "five years drinking his own piss in a prison camp." These are all adults fighting a war against a common enemy, and you'd think there would be more pressing things than an interpersonal rivalry regarding the quality of the army's music.
And then there's also the fact that the soldiers (for whatever reason) absolutely love their new DJ -- even if Dickerson was physically incapable of laughing, he had to have realized the importance of troop morale.
"I've had it up to here with how effective you're making our soldiers!"
Obviously Williams survives (thanks to the help of some natives he had befriended), so what does Taylor do when he realizes that Dickerson is actually a dangerous psychopath? He transfers him to Guam, which is apparently the army equivalent of switching a priest to another parish if he gets fresh with the altar boys.