Despicable Me, starring the voice of Steve Carrell, tells the tale of someone who's very despicable. Truly despicable.
On the other hand, the character meets up with a couple of cute kids, and it's a cartoon, so we're guessing there's some redemption in the end.
There's no redemption for the following five despicable movie characters. To be truly despicable, of course, you have to be comically evil. The movies are filled with truly hateful people, but "despicable" requires true mustache-twirling, tying-the-heroine-to-the-railroad-tracks conniving.
These five fit the bill:
5. Judge Turpin, Sweeney Todd
Tim Burton gave Judge Turpin a terrific entrance scene not found in the Broadway musical -- having him hand down a harsh sentence, complete with a lecture that sounds like it's being given to Jack the Ripper, to a defendant who we eventually see is a scared, fresh-faced nine-year-old. Burton -- and Alan Rickman, bringing Snape-like sneering to astounding levels -- pours on the evil without cease.
Here, Sweeney's murderous plans get foiled by a meddling kid.
4. The Warden, Shawshank Redemption
Bob Gunton has mastered the art of playing humorless and -- yes -- despicable characters, whether it's someone trying to contain the "fun" of Robin Williams' Patch Adams, a renegade captain inStar Trek: The Next Generation
or Richard Nixon. But he's also a song-and-dance man with two Tony nominations and has played FDR a number of times. InShawshank
, he's just bad and weaselly.
3. Cal, Hockley Titanic
No one goes to James Cameron's movies for the subtle screenwriting. But a lot of people go to James Cameron movies, so he must be doing something right. In Titanic, Billy Zane pompously says Picasso will never amount to anything before he goes on to slap Kate Winslet, cravenly use a kid to plead his way on a lifeboat, and generally do everything but say "I can't wait to support Hitler in 20 years!!!" He gets his in the end, of course, preventing any possibility for the sequel Jack & Cal: The Grudge Will Go On.
2. Mom, The Manchurian Candidate
Angela Lansbury was only three years older than Laurence Harvey, yet played his mother convincingly. And what a mother!! Mindfucking her kid into becoming an assassin, treating her husband like dirt -- it's a heartfelt portrayal of despicableness. Of course, Harvey doesn't exactly seem like the biggest challenge when it comes to mindfucking, but you take what targets are given you.
1. Niedemeyer, Animal House
We think Flouder is still wiping off the spittle from this episode.
Want to see the latest in despicableness, before everyone else? Win passes for two to a preview screening of Despicable Me on June 29 by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "despicable" in the header. We've got 20 passes to give away, and we'll draw winners randomly.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.