Today’s article is about movie villains who happen to be very funny. However, the guys in today’s article were meant to be taken seriously. Sometimes a character or the performance itself is so over-the-top that it’s unintentionally comical, and everything the character says or does results in unwanted uproarious laughter. Take a look at seven movie villains that were meant to be dramatic but were instead unintentionally hilarious:
John Milton – The Devil’s Advocate
Right around the time Pacino won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Scent of a Woman, he must have decided that screaming his lines at the top of his lungs equated to a great performance. He was unbelievable when he was younger (Serpico, Scarface, The Godfather, etc.), but since then, he’s the biggest overactor in the world. So when Pacino played the lawyer/Devil John Milton opposite the reserved, calm Keanu Reeves in The Devil’s Advocate, you knew there’d be some ridiculous yelling throughout the movie. I haven’t been able to take Pacino seriously since Scent of a Woman, and John Milton’s speech to Kevin Lomax at the end of The Devil’s Advocate is high comedy and vintage Pacino. I don’t know how anyone can keep a straight face when he’s yelling at the top of his lungs, “He’s an absentee landlord!!!” No director on Earth has ever asked Pacino to do a scene with more energy; I promise you that. Thank you, Mr. Pacino, for making John Milton such a hilarious character.
The Octopus – The Spirit
If Pacino is the king of the overactors, then Samuel L. Jackson is the prince. Nothing in the crap fest that is The Spirit should be taken seriously, but Jackson as The Octopus stands out as particularly absurd. The Octopus would be funny enough if Frank Miller decided to shoot a normal looking movie, but with the obvious green screen behind Jackson in virtually ever scene, The Octopus’ lines are nothing short of hysterical. And when the Octopus claims to have “eight of everything,” did you giggle like I did? No? Don’t tell me the first thing that popped into your head wasn’t “eight dicks,” you liar.
General Zod – Superman II
Superman II is pretty campy (due to Richard Donner leaving the film midway through shooting), but it’s also a really good superhero movie strengthened by a great Mario Puzo script. Zod will stop at nothing to gain complete control over the world, and he is obsessed with the notion of others kneeling before him. Anyhow, Zod has hilarious lines throughout the movie and his exchange with the President of the United States is priceless. “I see you are practiced in worshipping things that fly. Good.” And when the President exclaims, “Oh, God,” Zod is quick to correct him: “Zod.”
Mason Verger – Hannibal
Verger’s constant smacking of his lips coupled with his bizarre speech make him too ludicrous to be taken seriously. A child molester who could get the little kids to “do anything for a candy bar,” Mason Verger, while drugged up, peeled off his face with a broken mirror and explains that it “seemed like a good idea at the time.” Yeah, Mason. Great idea. Simply put, Mason Verger is far too weird of a villain to be taken seriously, and his slurred quips throughout Hannibal don’t help his case much, either.
Castor Troy – Face/Off
Now, I realize that two actors played Castor Troy in Face/Off, but you should be able to figure out that Nic Cage’s version is far more unintentionally funny than Travolta’s. Castor Troy – which is a preposterous name to begin with – is constantly bugging out his eyes and shouting and generally making a total fool of himself in this unbelievably crappy movie. Or maybe it’s Nic Cage as Sean Archer pretending to be Castor Troy I’m thinking of. Either way, yes, this movie sucks, and the only thing funnier than Cage’s performance is how often the characters stroke each other’s faces. Total creepfest. And John Woo, enough with the pigeons. We get it.
Dino Velvet – 8mm
Peter Stormare is actually a terrific actor, and so the reason Dino Velvet is such an unintentionally funny villain isn’t really his fault. 8mm is supposed to be a shocking film, but the real shocker is that Nic Cage’s character is only the third funniest. Dino Velvet is a producer of snuff films and takes his “art” very seriously. When Tom Welles inquires about watching Dino work, Dino immediately becomes suspicious that Welles wants to learn his secrets and steal his special “hot sauce.” Yeah, I’m sure that’s it. Everyone is dying to know how you make such quality snuff films, Mr. Velvet. What’s your secret. The weird facial hair, the long fingernails, his, um, career choice, and how seriously he takes himself and his “work” earn Dino Velvet a spot in this article.
Machine – 8mm
Machine is a fat, balding loser who lives with his mother, only he gets his rocks off by wearing a leather mask with a zipper mouth and brutally murdering young girls on film. In real life? Pretty sick. In 8mm? Downright hilarious. The best/funniest part is when Machine is explaining to Welles why he does what he does.
So there you have ’em: seven movie villains who are supposed to be taken seriously but can do nothing for me but make me laugh hysterically. I’m guessing your views may differ quite a bit, so tell me some movie villains that aren’t supposed to be funny but that crack you up anyway!