100 Years, 66 Villains: #60 – #55
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on April 23, 2008
“Oh, dinner at eight, Harold. And do try and be a little more vivacious.”
Coach Bud Kilmer, Varsity Blues
Played By: Jon Voight
M.O.: The first, but definitely not the last, of the evil school sports coaches to make our list, Coach Bud Kilmer was sort of the anti-Coach Taylor, opting instead for the cold, underhanded, and spirit-crushing model of leadership. Of course, this was in the era where Jon Voight could seemingly play nothing but cold, underhanded and spirit-crushing professionals of various sorts, having a streak of villainy in film from ’96 – ’99 that is practically unrivalled in modern times (count ’em: Mission Impossible, Anaconda, The Rainmaker, Enemy of the State AND Varsity Blues–five of the biggest Cable Classics of the late 90s). Still, as far as his low point in that run, it’s hard to choose against his work here, spewing epiphets like “never show weakness, the only pain that matters is the pain you inflict” and finally spurring his team to mutiny when he opts to have Evil Surgery (or something) on one of his star players after he gets injured in the big game.
Partner-In-Villainy: Thomas F. Duffy as Sam “I raised you to be a winner, so dammit boy, win!” Moxon, the father of James Van Der Beek’s character. Not quite as much a force of nature in his devilishenss as Voight, but he is responsible for inspiring the trailer-classic quote that may end up being the film’s legacy. Sing it with me, now: “I….DON’T WANT….YOUR LIFE!!!”
Philip Stuckey, Pretty Woman
Played By: Jason Alexander
M.O.: If you ever questioned for a second that Jason Alexander’s role as George Costanza in Seinfeld was catching lightning in a bottle–a very, very small bottle at that–look no further than his work in Pretty Woman. Turns out, without the work of Larry David and Larry Charles behind him, Jason…not really so funny. He’s actually just a sad, warped, pathetic little man, seething in fury and jealousy as business partner Edward (Richard Gere) renounces his world of greed and pettiness for the love of prostitute Vivian (Julia Roberts). The nicest thing you can say about Philip in this movie is that he at least somehow possesses the strength to physically restrain Vivian while trying to rape her–how he manages that when she has about a nine-foot advantage on him is beyond me.
Sympathetic Reading: To be fair, Edward is kind of cavalier about the whole “I’m destroying our business because I had a revelation paying for sex with money” thing, totally leaving Philip out in the cold. You know, other people have to live in the world too, Richard Gere.
Mrs. Chasen, Harold and Maude
Played By: Vivian Pickles
M.O.: The insensitive mother was hardly a new role in film upon the release of Harold and Maude in 1971, but I’m not sure if there’d ever been a desensitized mother quite like Mrs. Chasen before–or again, for that matter. As Harold’s mother, who no longer acknowledges (or perhaps no longer even notices) her son’s repeated attempts to make it look like he has killed himself, Vivien Pickles embodies an extremely exaggerated version of the nightmare that we all have in our troubled times at youth–that eventually, our parents will just stop caring altogether. Worse, the fact that has stopped paying attention to Harold’s obviously unbalanced state of mind does not mean that she has stopped meddling in his life, setting him up on a series of doomed-from-the-start dates, with tragicomic results. Without Maude’s influence, it would’ve been Norman and Mrs. Bates within a year or two.
Modern-Day Analogue: The ultra-clueless and possibly insane parents in The Chumscrubber seem like descendants, although they lack the sort of willful ignorance and infinite patience of Mrs. Chasen.
Officer Coffey and Officer Graham, Boyz n The Hood
Played By: Jessie Lawrence Ferguson and Kirk Kinder
M.O.: John Singleton did more than anyone since Eric Wright to encourage the nationwide Not Loving of Police with the cops in Boyz n the Hood, who seem only marginally less evil than the gangbangers who
actually murder Morris Chesnutt for no particular reason. The black cops in Boyz are ironically racist, sure, but more pressingly, they’re just kind of huge assholes. Let’s take a soundbyte, shall we?
Scared now, ain’t you? I like that. That’s why I took this job. I hate little motherfuckers like you. Little niggers, you ain’t shit! I could blow your head off with this Smith & Wesson and you couldn’t do shit. Think you tough? What set you from? Look like one of them Crenshaw mafia motherfuckers.
Woof. No surprise it ends up resulting in Cuba Gooding, Jr. freaking out in one of cinema’s most memorable hissyfits, though it somehow results in sex with Nia Long.
Oliver Slocumb, Igby Goes Down
Played By: Ryan Philippe
M.O.: You know, for a while there, Ryan Philippe was sort of the Michael Douglas of the turn of the millennium–Philippe was practically peerless when it came to portraying cold, ruthless, ultra-upper class white dudes. Frankly, I’m not sure why he wasn’t able to run an entire career out of it, but it looks like Igby was the end of his imperial reign–though he’s quietly rebuilt his career on a steady diet of Oscar-bait movie since, it’s just not the same thing. Oliver is arguably Philippe’s apex–condescending, heartless, pointlessly manipulative, and of course, super super rich. I’m still not even really sure why he seduces Sookie, the Claire Danes character that Igby is in love with, except that he feels he has a reputation to uphold. “God, you’re pathetic,” he dismisses Igby as he pleads for Sookie back.
Not Without Precedent: Anyone ever see Inventing the Abbots? Billy Crudup, seducing younger bro Joaquin Phoenix’s lifelong love Liv Tyler, just to finish his complete set of Abbot girls? That was pretty rough.
Rick Spector, Magnolia
Played By: Michael Bowen
M.O.: Fathers don’t come off looking too well in Magnolia. Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) molested his daughter when she was younger, Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) abandoned his wife and son when she got sick, and Rick Spector (Bowen) is the showbiz dad that could’ve spawned a million E! Specials. Not particularly proud of or interested in his son’s astounding academic accomplishments, he is thrilled at the prospect of capitalizing on his prodigiousness, as son Stanley goes on a potentially historic game-show run on kids vs. adults trivia show What Do Kids Know? But when Stanley melts down one episode, literally pissing his pants on live TV (largely Rick’s own fault), he goes beserk, freaking out and breaking things in the waiting room, yelling “DON’T FUCKING DO THIS TO ME STANLEY!!!” Rick’s only redeeming factor is that when Stanely tells him that he needs to be nicer to his son at the end of the movie, he doesn’t seem to particularly disagree.
Impressive Resume: If you get that shivery feeling from one second of watching Bowen in Magnolia, it’s because it’s probably not the first time you’ve seen him in such a role–Bowen’s played scummers worthy of this list in Valley Girl, Less Than Zero and Kill Bill Vol. 1, as well as in a LOST mini-arc.