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A good villain can be the strongest character in the series. After all, the only thing better than rooting for the underdog is rooting for the overdog. It's clearly the better dog; you'd be a fool not to. However, you don't want to make the villain too good; that may flip the whole script on the story you're trying to tell. Bad guys becoming good guys, good guys becoming bad, cats and dogs, living together ...

5
Aladdin -- Jafar Was Already A Better Ruler Than The Sultan

Walt Disney Studios

The Asshole:

Jafar is the evil, power-hungry royal vizier who spends the whole movie trying to kill Aladdin so he can get his magical lamp, which Jafar plans to use to take over the kingdom of Agrabah. His other favorite pastime is manipulating the good-natured Sultan into doing his bidding.

Walt Disney Studios
Mostly by dazzling him with his large, rock-hard snake.

Surely, Agrabah would turn into a shithole of human misery if this man wound up in charge, right?

But Wait ...

Well, we already know what Agrabah would be like under Jafar, and it's ... pretty goddamn utopic, actually.

Walt Disney Studios
These streets are somehow cleaner than our city's despite being literally made of dirt.

When the movie starts, Jafar is already secretly running the city: He controls the Sultan through hypnosis, and the guards patrolling the streets specifically mention that they work for him. The result? Agrabah is virtually crime-free (if not for Aladdin), has a thriving economy, and is populated by happy, non-oppressed people. Jafar has turned it into one of the cleanest, most peaceful, most successful ancient civilizations ever portrayed.

And yet, Jafar is branded the bad guy when he understandably tries to stop the three greatest threats to Agrabah's freedom and security: 1) the Sultan, a bumbling idiot dictator who changes laws on a whim, 2) Aladdin, a dangerous thief/conman who is easily able to manipulate the Sultan, and 3) Jasmine, the spoiled, insubordinate princess so fed up with being rich that she runs away from home, at which point she thoughtlessly steals food from a merchant. She's so out of touch with reality, it's literally criminal.

Walt Disney Studios
"This child is mine now, too."

Jafar's hypnotic staff and quest for the lamp are merely a contingency to ensure his benevolent reign. Even his song was the best. Long may he rule.

4
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York -- The Concierge Was The Most Responsible Adult In The Movie

20th Century Fox

The Asshole:

Mr. Hector (played by Tim Curry) is the concierge at the Plaza Hotel, where 10-year-old Kevin McCallister rents a room after he boards the wrong plane during a family vacation and ends up in New York City. Hector is a suspicious dick to Kevin the whole time: He sneaks into the kid's room to spy on him, tries to arrest him for using a "stolen" credit card, and chases him out of the hotel so he gets, you know, Lost In New York.

20th Century Fox
You son of a bitch. You magnificent sexy son of a bitch. We can't stay mad at you.

But Wait ...

The concierge was merely acting like a decent human being. What type of monster sees a 10-year-old boy checking into a hotel all alone and doesn't think there's something fishy going on?

It's Mr. Hector's job to call the authorities when people use a credit card that's been reported stolen. It's also the sort of thing we should be rooting for, especially since, legally, Kevin is an underage, runaway credit card thief who fucking lures criminals into torture houses and tries to murder them for entertainment. Mr. Hector's only mistake was failing to hold Kevin for the proper authorities, but the kid had just tricked him into believing there was a shooter in the building (there's another, very serious crime right there), a situation that understandably demands more urgent attention than some delinquent brat.

20th Century Fox
Also no longer available as a quick storytelling tangent anymore.

And how does Kevin's mom repay this concern at the end of the movie? By slapping Mr. Hector on the face in front of all his employees, after he politely warned her that wandering New York City at night, alone, is dangerous for a woman. Man, guests were so much nicer back in Transsexual, Transylvania.

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3
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial -- The Government Agents Acted Like Goddamn Princes

Universal Pictures

The Assholes:

The government agents in E.T. invade young Elliott Taylor's home, place his family on house-arrest, and try to steal Elliott's alien pal E.T. for dissection. Later, they try to stop the kid from taking E.T. to the mothership so he can return to his planet. If you grew up in the '80s and distrust the government, it's probably due to equal parts E.T. and, well, just paying attention to the government.

But Wait ...

Honestly, these might be the most competent government workers ever seen on film. Let's start with the fact that they are incredibly prepared for a potentially hostile extraterrestrial touchdown and arrive there, like, three minutes after the aliens themselves. Then, not only do they avoid hurting anyone, they actually notice one of the aliens is missing, search diligently for it, and find it. It would have taken Fox Mulder eight seasons to do the same thing.

As for the scene where they invade Elliott's house: remember, both E.T. and the boy are sick at that point.

Universal Pictures
They even enter like polite Kool-Aid men.

The government does everything they can to save both their lives -- they even set up an ER in Elliott's living room so that the boy can be treated in his own home instead of being kidnapped to some top secret facility! That's what we call putting our tax dollars to work, baby.

Universal Pictures
Pictured: the Scandinavian dream.

Then, when E.T. (temporarily) dies, they share genuine sorrow with Elliott and plan to study the dead body for the education of everyone, because why wouldn't they? It's just donating a body to science at that point. When Elliott's brother steals their truck and important alien specimen (which was still just an ugly corpse, as far as the government knows), they showed incredible restraint by not blowing them to smithereens. In fact, they ultimately don't harm anyone, or stop E.T. from going home. The government boss guy, Keys, even offers support to Elliott's mom while she goes through the nerve-wracking experience of watching her kid hug it out with a talking shit emoji.

Universal Pictures
"There comes a time in every parent's life when they have to watch their child hug a crusty fetus mummy."

2
The Sound Of Music -- The Captain's Fiancee Reacted Pretty Well To A Hot Nun Stealing Her Man, All Things Considered

20th Century Fox

The Asshole:

Baroness Elsa Schraeder is the snobbish fiancee of Captain Georg von Trapp who wants to send his kids away to boarding school. When the cheerful Sister Maria arrives to serve as the kids' nanny/singing coach, the Captain and Maria develop feelings for each other, but Elsa ain't having it. She convinces Maria to go back to the nunnery before she causes more trouble, catchy songs be damned ...

20th Century Fox
Her hairstylist did a terrible job hiding those horns.

Of course, Maria ends up coming back, gets hitched with Georg, and they all escape from the Nazis together. Yay!

But Wait ...

Oh, right: This whole thing happens in Austria during Nazi times. Meaning that Elsa's plan of sending the kids off to a boarding school is actually a pretty good idea -- once there, they'll have both safety and a real education (as in, they'll learn about topics other than the glory of the master race).

20th Century Fox
Like hiking! Hiking is great and non-fascist!

Elsa actually handles the whole Maria situation admirably well. She politely takes Maria aside, in private, and mentions that Maria may be inadvertently developing feelings for her boss and stealing him away, which is kind of the opposite of being a nun. Maria herself suggests that she go to back the Abbey before she becomes a homewrecker, and Elsa calmly agrees. She asks if she can do anything to help Maria, respectfully keeps her silence about the whole thing so as not to disgrace her, and even wishes her luck. None of you have ever treated a potential partner-stealer so well.

Maria then returns against her own sound advice and Georg immediately dumps Elsa for this hot, young, soon-to-be-former nun (the Baroness plays it off like it's a mutual breakup, but it's obvious she's just trying to preserve her dignity). Elsa hasn't even had time to summon a car before her ex is making out with the nanny in the gazebo outside her window.

20th Century Fox
Kissing! Also non-fascist!

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1
Signs -- The "Alien Invaders" Were Never Seen Hurting Anyone, Were Probably Just Scared

Touchstone Pictures

The Assholes:

These evil bastards. We mean, just look at them ...

Touchstone Pictures
Eeeeeeeeevil. Right?

The aliens in Signs mess up Mel Gibson's crops, walk, like, really close to a Quinceanera, have hands that maybe shoot poison, and they're, uh ... invading us ... probably?

But Wait ...

We only "know" the aliens are evil invaders through the flimsiest of hearsay: A frightened survivor tells Joaquin Phoenix, via the radio, that a friend told him that they were probably here to kidnap us with their "poisonous" hand secretions, and that a lot of people had died. Somehow. Probably. However, let's remember who we're talking about here -- the aliens may look all freaky, but in practice they're actually just clumsy goofballs who get trapped in closets and can be killed by simply adding water.

Touchstone Pictures
"Oops. Should have thought of that before traveling to the only planet in this solar system with water."

The aliens' backstory could be anything from "space invaders" to "space teachers whose space bus crashed on a space field trip." They make their presence known, but are wary to get close to us. They don't carry weapons (or pants). They won't break your pantry door to save their life, even when you start chopping pieces off of them. We never see them harm anyone in the whole movie.

And about the radio guy's theory that their hand spores are deadly? Yeah, the only person we see get sprayed with it, Gibson's son, ends up just fine. Most significantly: Even though it's visible from outer space that the Earth is 71 percent covered with water, they landed here anyway. There's no way they saw that and still chose to invade. Either they stopped here out of sheer desperation, or their alien space bus was a bit shorter than the normal one.

Nathan is a Christian and says things like, "Thank you, God, for this breakfast!" He is also called Treegnome, and is the leading expert on how Force Awakens is the worst film ever!

For more bad guys that were anything but, check out 9 Famous Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along and 5 Movie Villains (Who Are Actually The Good Guys).

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