Lately villains seem to be on the rise. Films like Despicable Me and Megamind are films where the bad guy is the one we root for and follow for the duration of the film. It’s not just kid’s films. There are also the musical sensations of Dr. Horrible and Wicked. I think people are actually rooting for Jigsaw in those Saw films. It didn’t used to be that way. They were supposed to stay behind and be evil and let the hero take care of the story. Hell, the movie Hook was still about Peter Pan.
So are there villains out there in older films, that could have the plot refocused to them? Of course there are or there wouldn’t be an article. So let’s check them out.
All the President’s Men – Richard Nixon
This actually just the movie Nixon starring Anthony Hopkins. Whoops.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Joe Lefors
This year people were conflicted about the George Clooney movie The American. Peronally I loved the pacing and the delicate nature but still wasn’t a big fan of the overall plot. Now imagine the character is searching for Butch Cassidy and Sundance instead of just delivering a gun. It can be argued whether or not Lefors is actually a villain, but anyone who wants to shoot down Paul Newman and Robert Redford earns the title for me.
Carrie – Billy Nolan
This is actually just the movie Grease starring John Travolta. Whoops.
Chinatown – Noah Cross
Absolutely! I would definitely watch Noah Cross for two hours. Just doing his evil chores and making sure everything is going okay. Huston’s performance is so dynamic and menacing that even when he’s filling out his corrupt paperwork, it would be cinematic. Sadly, Huston has passed away but if we can find an actor who could capture just 1/16th of what Huston brought to the table, this could be something special. Also making this film wouldn’t be blasphemous because The Two Jakes already took care of that.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – The Government
Okay take Independence Day but take out all of the silliness, add a bit of the intelligence from Contact and then mix in a lot of the paranoia from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Have there be a new guy in charge of America’s intergalactic department who just wants to keep America safe, but his ambition and patriotism has made him lose focus. It isn’t until he sees ET say goodbye to Elliot does he understand. That’s when he calls off the thousands of missiles aimed at the ship. Also they never had flashlights; they had guns.
Raising Arizona – The Lone Biker of the Apocalypse
This would be so cool if there was this parallel story where this version didn’t have any comedy or absurdism. It’s just this unstoppable killing machine with a theological mission. It would like be seeing both sides of The Coen Brothers. Oh wait, they already did this and won Best Picture for it.
Rear Window – Mr. Thorwald
Having the entire film from Jimmy Stewart’s perspective was a great idea. In fact this is probably Hitch’s best film. But don’t you see the opportunity for a black slapstick comedy. Mr. Thorwald murders his wife, but becomes increasingly paranoid that there is a group of people somewhere watching his every move. They’re even meeting to talk about it, to analyze it. Eventually he just snaps and wants to attack his stalkers. Then his reality is further questioned when he is defeated by a camera.
The Sound of Music – Nazis
The only way to pull this off is to reverse the emotions of the original movie. Have the first 2/3rds be very somber as some Nazis are rising up the ranks, trying to figure out what’s going on. Then just get silly by the end. We have to earn them not catching the Von Trapps at the end, despite the fact they clearly just performed in front of them. Oh, this will also be a musical as well.
Star Wars – Darth Vader
How awesome would it be to have a trilogy about his upbringing!?! I can’t even imagine it. I hope most of it will be about trade tariffs.
To Kill a Mockingbird – The Dog
Basically it’s just a period piece version of Cujo with subtle teaching of racism/tolerance with a more disturbing finale than Marley and Me because it’s Gregory Peck with a rifle.
So what other movies should have a villainous twist?