9 Famous Movie Villains Who Were Right All Along
Being a movie villain is not easy. Nobody respects your work, everyone loves your sworn enemy, and cheers if he straight up murders your ass.
Of course, the villains deserve it, right? Well, actually Hollywood is littered with supposedly evil characters that, when you take a step back and ignore the cackling laughter and yellow teeth, were clearly the ones getting screwed over. Here are the so called bad guys who got the rawest deals of all:
Edward Rooney (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)
Mr. Rooney was the mean old Dean of Students who spent the entire movie trying to prove that Ferris was skipping school while pretending to be sick. What a mistrustful tight-ass. Why the hell does he care so much if one student takes a day off?
Above: The eyes of an educator.
Hold on a minute there:
Let's get the obvious out of the way: this is his goddamned job. He is the Dean of Students, not the Dean of Not Giving A Damn. People are always all up the public schools system's digestive tract for not taking a more active interest in their students and that's exactly what Mr. Rooney was doing. It doesn't matter if, on a personal level, he's a dick or not -- he is literally paid with your tax money to make sure kids aren't doing exactly what Ferris did. The kid can go to a museum and drive a sports car on the weekend. During the week, he and the other kids are Rooney's responsibility so they can, you know, get an education.
The movie glosses over the fact that Ferris couldn't read
And you know what? He was right all along. Ferris was skipping school. Worse yet, he lied to his parents and friends about being sick and pretty much got the whole town involved in the farce. He lied, he stole, and he caused millions in property damage by destroying Cameron's dad's beautiful car. That's not adorable, that's just being an egocentric cock. It wouldn't have been a satisfying movie ending to see Rooney expose Bueller for his douchebaggery, but it would have been by far the more just outcome. What happens instead is that Rooney loses his wallet and almost has his nipples ripped off by a Rottweiler.
And we're asked to sit back and say, "serves him right for caring about the future of our country!"
Suddenly the recession makes sense.
Mutant Registration Side (X-Men)
Headed by Senator Robert Kelly in the first X-Men movie, the Mutant Registration Side are the speciecist.. spesist... racist ... the jerks who demand a legislative bill forcing every super-powered individual in the country to register with the government. Just like the Jews in Nazi Germany!
The Night of Broken Glasses would end differently.
Hold on a minute there:
The Nazi analogy would probably work a lot better if real-life Jews could shoot boiling acid out of their assholes or level entire cities by blinking, which our Jewish friends assure us only Mossad agents can do. The X-Men mutants on the other hand actually can conjure up hurricanes, stop time, and completely alter a person's mind until he really believes that Flavor Flav is a reasonable and intelligent media personality. It seems perfectly understandable that some folks might want to keep tabs on such individuals.
If they require licenses for concealed handguns, they should probably keep this guy on file too.
And what happens when he can't? As a human in the X-Men movies you constantly have to be on the lookout not only for the evil mutants who want to kill you, but also for the supposed "good guys" who are often in the process of accidentally killing you. In X-Men, Cyclops loses his protective goggles in a crowded train station and just starts straight fire-blasting with his Murder Vision uncontrollably, unable to handle his powers or discern between bad guys and random kids who happen to be in the same building. And he's the good guy! In X2, every human on the planet almost had their brains melted simultaneously by a mutant.
Obviously there is a thin line between cautious concern and downright mutant-prejudice but cut the civilians of the X-Men universe some slack. They live in constant fear, not knowing if the guy they just cut off on the freeway can explode their dick with his mind.
Let's just say you don't want a handjob from Gambit.
The Hyenas (The Lion King)
In one of Disney's finest rip-offs to date, The Lion King hyenas were the mangy lowlifes who tried to kill Simba, assisted in the assassination of Mufasa and utterly destroyed the Pride Lands after helping Scar take over as king. Jesus, what is those assholes' problem?
Hyenas, chief douchebags of the Serengeti.
Hold on a minute there:
They want something to eat. That's their problem, and it's only a problem because Mufasa banished them from the Pride Land and forced them to live in an elephant graveyard, which is no place to raise a child, hyena or otherwise. We never know why they were banished to the Pride Slums, leaving us to assume Mufasa's unedited explaination of the Circle of Life went something like this:
Mufasa: Everything you see exists together, in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance, and respect all the creatures-- from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba: But Dad, don't we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become grass. And the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
Simba: Wow... Say, Dad, where do the hyenas fit into the great Circle of Life?
Mufasa: Ugh, the hyenas. No, f#@k those guys.
Simba: Yeah, that's fair.
That's the only way to explain how Scar got an entire army of these animals behind him with such dissident slogans as "Stick with me, and you will never go hungry again!" Scar wasn't promising them unlimited power, just the ability to eat and function as members of society. The hyenas were pissed because the oppressive lion regime had reduced them to second-class citizens, hoarding all the pie for themselves.
Hooray for racism!
No wonder they followed Mufasa's brother. What Scar offered the hyenas was a revolution of the common man. He was more or less their four-legged Lenin.
Carl Anheuser (2012)
In Roland Emmerich's latest "planetary kablooey movie with a date in the title", 2012, Carl Anheuser is the asshole chief of staff-turned-president who in the film's climax closes the doors to the ships carrying the last surviving humans on Earth, allowing thousands outside to drown...
He certainly has the jowls of a mass-murderer.
Hold on a minute there:
...and securing the future of the human race.
So these giant arks...are they why our country is $13 trillion in debt?
Anheuser didn't simply wake up one day and think to himself "Today, I shall be a massive dickcheese for no good reason." When he closed the entrance to the arks, it was because a mile-long tsunami was coming their way, threatening to violently flush humanity's last hope down earth's crapper. It was either the few thousand people outside, or the few hundred thousand inside, and someone had to make that call. Luckily, Anheuser wasn't born with a burnt sack of crap where his brain should be.
We know it sucked for those who didn't get onboard, but the whole planet was about to go tits up and Carl had to make sure that the last human survivors on Earth... you know, survived. He didn't even let his own mother on the ships because she was like a million and, frankly, when you're picking survivors, you have to think long term, which means one thing: Repopulation.
By bringing his mother onto the ark, Anheuser would be implicitly stating "Yes, I want as many people as possible to have sex with my mom so we can repopulate the world. Everyone does their part, come on." The man had to make some very hard choices just so the arks' 400,000-something inhabitants could breed in peace in the future, but putting his mom out to stud was not one of them.
"We only have 30 slots left. Drop your pants and prepare to be swabbed."
The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz)
You're in a tough spot if "Wicked" is right there in your name, but WWW isn't exactly the most image conscious celebrity in Oz, either: She kidnapped Dorothy, threatened to drown her dog and tried to set The Scarecrow on fire, all to get her hands on the girl's ruby slippers. Foot fetish or not, that was some stone-cold villainy.
Nice teeth, though.
Hold on a minute there:
Remember that the Witch wasn't after Dorothy, and she wasn't trying to rule the world. All she ever wanted was those slippers. Say, how did Dorothy acquire those magical shoes in the first place? Why, by taking them off the blood-drenched feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. Who she just murdered. Who also happened to be the Wicked Witch of the West's sister.
These shoes used to be white...
Let's look at the whole "accident" from the West Witch's perspective:
The Witch sisters are hanging around Oz, minding their own business when some random teenager crushes a woman to death with a house, killing her instantly in an act of domiciliary manslaughter. Next, the teenager waltzes out and corpse-loots the victim's shoes (some sort of creepy kill-trophy, no doubt) which under every inheritance law in the universe damn well belong to the deceased's surviving family.
From where we stand, the Wicked Witch of the West had every right in the world to bludgeon Dorothy to death with a sock full of toxic batteries, but what did she do? Absolutely nothing. She just wanted her shoes back, and every action that she took was motivated by that want. Then, of course, Dorothy raises an army in the form of a giant, talking lion, a man made of metal and an unkillable scarecrow, steals the Witch's broomstick and kills the Witch, staging a nice little Witch sister reunion in the afterlife.
Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel (The Rock)
The actions of General Hummel (Ed Harris) in The Rock read almost like a How-To Guide for Villainous Assholes: 1.) Break into Alcatraz, take lots of hostages, 2.) Demand $100 million from the government, threaten to launch a WMD nerve agent over San Francisco if your demands are not met, 3.) Eat a puppy (probably).
"Braised puppy. You can't find good barbeque this far from Texas."
Hold on a minute there:
There certainly is a major villain in The Rock but it's not General Hummel. Ironically, it's the U.S. government, something you wouldn't expect in a movie by Michael "Star Spangled 'Splosion" Bay. Hummel was only doing this in the first place because the government used him and his troops for illegal clandestine missions all over the world. But Uncle Sam wouldn't spare a counterfeit wooden nickel for the families of soldiers who died during those missions. For some reason Hummel had a problem with that.
And he tried getting money and attention the legitimate ways. Hummel exhausted every official channel, trying to get the country to cough up some cash, before finally giving up and moving from strongly worded letters to the next logical thing: chemical warfare terrorism. Besides, he never wanted the 100 mill to be paid from the country's homeless kitten shelter budget or anything. Hummel specifically asks for the money to come from the Red Sea Trading Company... "a slush-fund where the Pentagon keeps proceeds from illegal arms deals."
But it's ours! We earned it fair and square by breaking international laws!
In the end, Hummel never hurt one innocent person and revealed that the nerve agent missiles he had prepared were all a bluff, making his whole operation something of a large scale charity performance, only with guns and WMDs instead of smugness. Elaborate and dangerous, sure, but his punishment, (that Nicolas Cage goes down as the hero of the movie he died in), should count as a war crime.
Look! Two atrocities posing for a picture together.
Captain Skroeder (Short Circuit)
In the theological-nightmare movie "Short Circuit" a military robot is granted a soul after being struck by a lightning bolt. Gaining sentience and running away, he is constantly pursued by the ruthless security-chief of the company that built him, Captain Skroeder-a man who will stop at nothing to destroy the so called "malfunctioning" machine.
Were ascots really ever standard Army issue?
Hold on a minute there:
Here's a riddle for you. What do you call a piece of electronics which stopped working the way it was supposed to? We'll give you a hint: it starts with an "m" and Eminem cuold make it rhyme with "mouth-puncturing." Johnny 5 was not only a malfunctioning piece of machinery for which Skroeder was responsible, he was a dangerous robot designed for killing and armed with one of the most powerful lasers in the world. If Skroeder could stop Johnny 5 and fix the broken, highly dangerous robot from wandering around a world full of life, the value of which he didn't understand, Skroeder would be a god damned hero.
But hey, it's not like laser cannons are dangerous or anything.
It's still unclear to us how, in a movie full of scientists and people not currently in mental institutions, it took Skroeder, a security officer, to disbelieve that souls can travel through lightning strikes. The funny thing is he sort of had a point there, because during the first days of Johnny's so called "sentience", he didn't even understand the concept of life and death. Do you understand the implications of that? A machine that can kill but doesn't know what killing means? We should have been rooting for someone to drop a bomb on this military murder-bot before it "disassembled" a bunch of toddlers.
In comparison, all Skroeder wanted was to quietly run the robot over with his truck. That's not so bad. But instead, Johnny got to go and live his life, and Skroeder loses, disgraced. A note to all of the special Captains of Robotics out there: Do not take any lessons from Short Circuit. If your brand new kill-bot gains sentience and wants to explore the world with its newfound emotions, do not let it.
"Hey Mitch, why did we install that 'kidnapping' protocol again?"
The Machines (The Matrix / Animatrix)
The Matrix bots freaking harvest people for energy, man! And use us as characters in their twisted robot versions of The Sims, where you know they amuse themselves by messing with our minds and reprogramming random people to do really stupid stuff, like make and watch additional Matrix movies.
"Don't forget our nefarious plan to convince people that Keanu Reeves is an actor."
Hold on a minute there:
Let's go back to the start. Some of this backstory is relayed in the films, some of it in The Animatrix, the series of shorts the creators released between films. Either way, this is canon in the Matrix universe.
In the beginning, the Machines were our slaves, used for every job imaginable -- and yes, someone probably was screwing them over -- before they got too smart for their own good and decided that serving us wasn't the most efficient use of their time. So we tried to mass-murder them. As a neat little compromise, the bots created a peaceful robot-utopia in the desert, which quickly became the world's leading economy. Our response was to mass-murder them some more (it was the future's hot new answer to all possible problems, including failing test scores among middle-schoolers).
Why is it wearing pants?
But suddenly, out of NOWHERE, a war broke out between us, and the machines won. They won and the humans lost, so after all of the years of being treated like slaves by the humans, it was time for the robots to get revenge. And what did the robots do to make us humans pay? They gave us a Paradise Virtual Reality. They realized that a world of both humans and robots could not exist peacefully, so they gave us a world where robots didn't exist and said "Live out your lives here, and we'll live out our lives in our world." Humans weren't living in the real world, but no one could tell the difference anyway, so it shouldn't have mattered.
"There's an orgy in our collective unconscious and everyone's invited!"
And to show our appreciation for one of the most even compromises in history, we began a campaign to murder every single last robot. That'll teach them to beat us in war and show mercy.
Sauron (The Lord of the Rings)
Oh, come on. Sauron is like the archetypal evil overlord. He's got massive armies of monsters. He has a flaming eyeball. He has a helmet made of spikes, people, come on. And, he did... you know, he did all of those... things. And...
Sauron, seen here evilly defending his home from an invading army.
Hold on a minute there:
And what exactly? Please tell us, because throughout the entire 2000-hour run of the Jackson trilogy, we couldn't find a single reason why everyone demonized Sauron like he was a debt-collecting pedophile. Yes, he was building an army to advance on Middle Earth. But who was in that army? What were they fighting for?
This was a world where Orcs were used as target practice among elvish communities. The elves loved that shit. Sauron put a stop to that by offering all the underprivileged creatures a place in his non-race-exclusive army (the only nonsegregated force in Middle Earth other than the Fellowship), with promises of their own country in the future. After what he did for the orcs and the goblins, Sauron was just some towering, mace-wielding folk hero.
"Let freedom ring! Also, let's eat some man-flesh."
Of course the humans and elves couldn't have that, because if orcs moved-in next door to them, their houses' property value would go down. After all, these creatures are dark and smelly and have weird voices. They must be murdered on sight.
We hear a lot about freedom, and the free peoples of Middle Earth standing up to Mordor. What do we mean by "free?" They're certainly not fighting for Democracy -- each kingdom is a monarchy where the people have no say over what the leader does as long as that leader possesses the right genes. And overwhelmingly it seems like what those leaders like to do is shit on the Orcs, and the countless other minorities who Sauron was able to recruit onto his side.
What you were seeing in these films was not an unprovoked act of aggression, undertaken just for the hell of it. You were seeing generations of pent-up frustration by oppressed minorities, harnessed by a leader they could get behind. What Sauron did was nothing more than try to cut out a piece of that Middle Earth dream for himself and his followers, and find land that doesn't require them to live under a continuously erupting volcano.
On the plus side, it isn't Oklahoma.
His methods were violent and there were excesses -- as you see in every revolution. But if Middle Earth doesn't take a moment to understand why Sauron was able to draw tens of thousands of disenfranchised individuals to his cause, then they're destined to fight the same war all over again, as soon as the next Sauron shows up.
Read Swaim's "Five Classic Cartoon Characters with Traumatic Childhoods" in our new book!
For more of your favorite movies you got wrong, check out 6 Movies That Didn't Realize They Let The Villain Win, or Why Back to the Future Is Secretly Horrifying.