What do Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Jeff Goldblum all have in common? They've all played the devil at some point.
And why not? It's one of the juiciest roles in all of human culture. But when you look at some of the movies, TV shows and songs where Lucifer shows up, you realize that they kind of forget to make him evil. Oh, you're supposed to think he's evil, because he's the Devil. But if the exact same actions in the story had been taken by a genie or just some other dude with magical powers, you'd give him a pass.
For instance ...
5Daryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick
It seems odd that in Jack Nicholson's entire career he's only played the Devil once. Now that we think about it, The Bucket List missed a major opportunity to explore the world's biggest theological questions by not having it be about the Devil and God taking a vacation together. Maybe The Bucket List II will rectify things.
"I'd have to say #1 on my bucket list is seeing the sky boil and the oceans turn to blood."
In The Witches of Eastwick, Nicholson uses his Satanesque sharp teeth and pointy eyebrows to seduce three reasonably attractive, uptight New Englanders (he's not explicitly referred to as Satan, but it's pretty obviously him). He teaches the three women to unleash their inner powers through magic and silly amounts of sex. He then offers them a huge mansion, nice clothes, happiness and the courage to be sexually independent beings. He also teaches them to fly.
It's probably a metaphor or something.
The only catch is they can't talk about him behind his back ... which isn't so much a "catch" as it is a pretty standard understanding between friends.
Why He's the Good Guy:
Unlike most devils, Van Horne doesn't want to bring hell to earth or destroy humanity or even to take anyone's soul for eternity. The only thing this Devil wants is to party with some MILFs in a mansion without worrying about whether they're insulting him when he's not around. Companionship. That's it. That's what he wants.
Is the occasional foursome with beautiful movie stars really so much to ask?
Yes, by the end of the movie he's going all-out Devil on the girls, using magic and shit to harass them. But he was kind of pushed into it.
So what went wrong? A few things. When a nosy neighbor decides to talk smack about the Devil, he suggests the three women curse her with the misfortune of vomiting cherry pits. So, it's more of a prank than a curse. It's mildly gross at worst. Unfortunately, nobody involved had any idea that their victim's psychotic husband would freak the hell out over her illness and beat her to death with a fire poker. That's not the sort of thing you can predict, even when you can fly.
Pokers: For when your insurer refuses to cover mental health problems.
So the lady dies and our three witchy women break their deal with the Devil. They turn their backs on him. And if you think breaking up with your first high school love was harsh, try breaking up with Beelzebub, who takes it really, really hard. He doesn't just smirk and skip town for some bigger, sexier orgy elsewhere. He's heartbroken.
So, he takes supernatural revenge on them (messing with their heads, that is -- he causes no actual injuries). But listen to the guy, he sounds borderline suicidal.
"What do I want? Christ, what does every man want? A little affection. A little trust. Goddamnit, everything I did, I did for you."
Yet we're supposed to be cheering when, in the end, the witches curse the Devil to death. So, "murdered" is probably the better word here. Oh, and that's after he got each of them pregnant. So they murdered the father of their sons, who left them his mansion (which they happily live in once he's dead) and wealth. All in all, it's a pretty crappy way to treat a guy who only asked for a nice Pfeiffer/Sarandon/Cher four-way.