100 Years, 66 Villains: #54 – #49
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on April 27, 2008
Jeanine Pettibone, This is Spinal Tap
Played By: June Chadwick
M.O.: “Bands shouldn’t have girlfriends…you never saw Wham! with girlfriends.” Murray not might quite have had Jeanine’s particular skill set in mind when outlaying the destructive power of females to rock and roll to Bret and Jermaine, but she exemplifies the principle better than anyone else in film. Driving a wedge in between boyfriend David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean) and the rest of Spinal Tap, advising on matters she has no knowledge about whatsoever, and manipulating her way into the band’s inner circle, Jeanine is not only pretty much the worst case scenario about a friend’s girlfriend (the kind that at best you can tolerate on a second-to-second basis, but only barely) but also veritable poison to band chemsitry and the rock and roll process.
Sympathetic Reading: “You know how John Lennon was better than the rest of the Beatles but didn’t realize it until he met Yoko Ono? Well, I’m [David]’s Yoko.”
Larry Sokolov, The Cooler
Played By: Ron Livingston
M.O.: Considering that Livingston will forever be most associated with his lead role in the most beloved anti-work flick of the modern film era, it’s doubly horrific to see him in such a slimy big business role in The Cooler, as the suit brought in to help modernize the Shangri-La, the old-school casino operated by Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin). Not that Shelly was such a nice guy himself, but his purist admirations were at least ideologically admirable, if a bit misguided and naive. Larry, on the other hand, was straight-up inconscionable in his new-school tactics, selling the point hardcore with his (evil) three-point plan to (evilly) upgrade the Shangri-La: Make the wallpaper more depressing, hire waitresses with bigger tits, and play a CD over the PA of “music, to be sure. Pleasant, non-intrusive. But blended in at a subsonic level is a mantra–‘Lose…lose…lose…'”
Partner-In-Villainy: Shawn Hatosy as Mikey, Bernie Lootz’s son-on-the-run. With pregnant girlfriend in tow, Mikey re-connects with Bern, hits him up for money, propositions his girlfriend, and then tries to cheat his casino, costing Pa thousands in debt-by-proxy. Oh yeah, and the pregnant girlfriend was actually just stuffing a pillow under her shirt.
Muriel Lang, It Could Happen to You
Played By: Rosie Perez
M.O.: OK, so if my spouse (Nicholas Cage) gave away half of a four-million dollar winning lottery ticket as a tip for a waitress (Bridget Fonda), I’d be pretty pissed off, too–especially if they progressed to fall in love with each other. But considering how much good they go on to do with the money–handing out subway tokens, taking kids to baseball games and the like–it’s hard to feel too sympathetic for the distinctly Grinchy Muriel, whose only concerns are self-grooming and cheating on hubby Charlie with a fellow lottery-winner (Seymour Cassell, apparently). Muriel ices her position on this list when she lies in a lawsuit hearing about having a dream that inspired her to get Charlie to play different lottery numbers with that ticket, and in an impressive piece of commercial cinema balls, she actually wins all four mil in the suit (though she later loses it when Cassell turns out to be a con man).
Impressive Resume: Honestly, with that voice, is there any Rosie movie where she couldn’t be considered at least slightly villainous?
Zachary “Sack” Lodge, Wedding Crashers
Played By: Bradley Cooper
M.O.: Wedding Crashers needed to snow audiences a little bit to the fact that its central characters, John and Jeremy (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn) are kind of assholes, so they brought back the very 80s archetype of the 100% Jerk-Off boyfriend (think the jock beau in Teen Wolf, except a little less scowly). Zachary “Sack” Lodge cheats on girlfriend Claire (Rachel McAdams) repeatedly and brags about it to his friend, while also insisting that she’ll be no more than a housewife after they get married. Oh, and he shoots Vince Vaughn at one point. Oh, and he wears goldenrod sweaters. Compared to this guy, Owen Wilson is a flat-nosed Prince Charming.
Small-Screen Equivalent: My friend used to insist that Roy was the unsung hero of the U.S. Office, but due to his questionable third-season run of mellowing out a little (before the bar freakout, of course), I’ll always prefer the unchecked evil of Lee, Dawn’s fiancee in the UK original.
Bert Jones, The Hustler
Played By: George C. Scott
M.O.: George C. Scott just looks like he was born to play villains like this, doesn’t he? Even in his two other most famous roles, as General Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove and uh, General Patton in Patton, he plays characters that could be described as morally ambiguous at best, but it’s in The Hustler that he proves his excellents at playing just outright bad dudes. As the stake of “Fast” Eddie Felson (Newman), Bert breaks Eddie’s spirit, fucks with the head of his girlfriend (Piper Laurie) enough for her to kill herself, and even demands a 75/25 split of Eddie’s winnings–a full 15% higher than Eddie himself would demand of a hungry Tom Cruise in the flick’s sequel, The Color of Money.
Classic Villain Quote: Four words, pitch-perfect delivery: “YOU…OWE…ME…MONEY!!!!!”
Little Bill’s Wife, Boogie Nights
Played By: Nina Hartley
M.O.: Serial cheating on your husband is one thing. Doing it with a group of porn stars is another. Consistently doing it in locations as public as possible is enough to assure your position as one of the 66 biggest emotional villains in film. We first meet Little Bill’s wife as she’s getting slammed by some dude at one of Jack Horner’s parties…in the middle of the driveway…surrounded by a group of people. Macy tries to get her to stop, but he’s shooed away by both wife (“you’re embarrassing me”) and crowd (“yeah, Little Bill, shut up”), leading to one of the most uncomfortable scenes I’ve ever seen, where Ricky Jay’s character attempts to have a conversation with Bill about cinematography while he can still see and hear his wife going at it (which also gives us the classic line, “My fucking wife has an ass in her cock in the driveway, Kurt”). Bill does get his revenge when she cheats on him at Jack’s next party, spraying her and her new lover with bullets, but he doesn’t exactly stick around for long enough to really revel in his moral victory.
Impressive Resume: Did anyone else know that Nina Hartley is actually a real-life porn star/polygamist/sex guru? Not exactly villainous, per se, but I suppose most Christians aren’t exactly big fans.