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villainy, part 3: making the case for Gary Oldman

You've all made some very fine suggestions for the best villain ever.

However, I was going by my definition of villain, to wit:

My perfect villain is quiet. Mysterious. He has to be dastardly and underhanded, yet with a certain charm and sexiness about him that makes you want to take him home and ride him until morning (this does work for female villains as well). He should be sinister, but always with a method to his madness. None of this running around town hacking up hookers because he has a small penis. No, my villain fights for guts and glory. He doesn't want to conquer the world, he is much happier bringing the head of his boss's enemy back to him on a gilded stick, preferably on fire. His prize is usually money, but for him, every win against an enemy is a personal victory. He does not need scantily clad girls sent to him by his boss, because victory and the death of his opponent is enough for him. He is driven by demons of his past, several broken hearts and the memory of his beloved dog who was killed by his neighbor when he was young. And speaking of driving, his vehicle of choice is just as sleek, sexy and powerful as he is.

While Michael Meyers is indeed a great villain, I certainly do not want to ride him until morning.

I have written here many times that Gary Oldman is my favorite actor in the history of film. I've had debates over which role of his is the best. Even his small parts, like that in True Romance, resonate with any villain-loving film fan.

So, obviously, my new choice for best villain of old time is:

Gary Oldman.

True, Gary is a person, not a character. But if you were to combine all of the parts he's every played you would come up with the exact thing I was looking for in the above description. Let's take a little stroll the world of villains as seen through the career of Gary Oldman.

[all pop-up images below are courtesy of the fabulous website The Dark Side of Gary Oldman]

Let's start with Lost in Space because it is clearly the worst of all movies he made. Look at that face. Look at the eyes.

Next, we have Air Force One. Another semi-ok movie, but here, Oldman threatens Harrison Ford as the president. A villain holding a gun to Harrison Ford's head and making him squirm like a baby totally turns me on.

In Fifth Element, Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg played the over-the-top bad guy with panache. Look at my fingers: four stones, four crates. Zero stones? ZERO CRATES!

oldman4.jpgOldman's best role and one of the best villains ever created was as Agent Norman Stansfield in Léon aka The Professional. I fell in love with this character despite his obvious faults. I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass and you can hear the growin' and you can hear the insects. Do you like Beethoven? That's not even the best part. I get shivers down my spine every time I hear him say Death is....whimsical today.

Ahh, True Romance. This movie, which stands well enough on its own even without Oldman (it's in my list of top ten favorite movies of all time, and one of those I can pretty much recite), Oldman's bit part as Drexl Spivey ranks among the greatest pieces of cinema ever. If you've seen the movie, you know his now famous line: He must have thought it was white boy day. It ain't white boy day, is it?

Ok, you get the picture now. Gary Oldman's film career defines villainy. So, rather than pick and choose from Spivey or Stansfield or even his role as the ultimate backstabber, Pontius Pilate, I'll just go ahead and call Gary Oldman the greatest villain ever.


I loved it in the Fifth Element when he turns to the camera (whilst holding and demonstrating the ZF1) and says, "The flamethrower. My favourite." Over the top? Perhaps. Still tickled me.

Have you ever seen Criminal Law? He plays the Tortured Good Guy Representing Serial Killer. Serial killer is Kevin Bacon, who, if you ask me, makes a fantastic bad-guy--those eyes just creep you out!

well, if you're gonna count bad-guy actors, you should throw Max von Sydow in there... he played both Ming the Merciless and Brewmeister Smith!

I still think best villian was Orson Welles as Harry Lime from the movie The Third Man (which was on the AFI list). When his friend confonts him on how he killed sick children to make money, his answer is so perfect and creepy.

Unlike Jack Nicholson and others who play themselves over and over, Gary Oldman is a true actor.

I definitely agree that Oldman is an extraordinary talent.

I would say that he is just a great actor who has happened to play some exceptional villains along the way. He's definitely not limited to that side of the aisle.

I had forgotten that he played Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy - what a great movie...

ok - i know you don't mean THIS kind of villain - but what the heck....

Hillary Clinton and Sidney Blumenthal can't even seem to keep their lies straight anymore ...

... as Lloyd Grove points out in today's Washington Post.

As was made clear several years ago by David Maraniss, in his biography of Bill Clinton, First in His Class, Bill's womanizing has been a constant feature of his relationship with Hillary. Bill repeatedly cheated on Hillary before they were married (while they were dating) and after they were married. (Indeed, Hillary helped coordinate responses to the "bimbo erruptions" during Bill's campaign for President).

Yet, although Hillary knew about Bill's womanizing, this didn't concern her (or concern her enough to leave him) - because she wanted to ride Bill's coat-tails to power - which she did. See, e.g., The Hillary Trap, by Laura Ingraham.

The idea (now being peddled by Hillary), that she was shocked - SHOCKED! - by the Monica Lewinsky affair is laughable. Hillary, as usual, is not shy about getting solidly behind THE BIG LIE. If you'll recall, Hillary was the one who told us that the "vast right wing conspiracy" had dreamed up all this Monica business.

But it is odd that the Clintonista Spin Machine can't even seem to keep their lies straight anymore. (Memo to Hillary and Sid - self-aggrandizing re-interpretations of history are less effective if even your fellow travelers can't agree on the facts).

first, i have to say, i just looked at his page in imdb, and saw that he's playing sirius black in the prisoner of azkaban! pant pant pant

ahem. i was originally going to say that i'd completely forgotten that he was in 5th element and played sid vicious. and i'd love to see him as pontius pilate. is his hair red? and the professional. and romeo is bleeding.

but my favorite is really rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead. (even tho tim roth has all the best lines. they rock together.) good guy. sorry.

He was also the best Dracula EVER in my opinion!

Argh, Tanya - beat me to the punch! Oldman as Black - pant pant pant indeed.

Though I'm the pathetic one who had a crush on Sirius Black just reading about him in the books - prior to his arrival I was crushing on Snape pretty hard, but Sirius Black...oooeerrr!

In my estimation, Gary Oldman has never played a bad role. He's been in some stinker films but I cannot fault a single bit of his acting.

can't sing gary oldman's praises enough. 'immortal beloved' is one of my favorites and he was awesome playin' joe orton in 'prick up your ears'... now if i can only find 'nil by mouth'

Gary Oldman.......... RDDDDDDDDDRRR!
Just as yummy in the same vein, Christopher Walken...........
Sigh. Must have some alone time now.

Oh, and least we forget....he got Uma! Y. U. M.

It gets better, Michele: Gary Oldman is also one of Hollywood's precious few politically conservative actors. If he weren't a loyal subject of the British Crown, he'd be a staunch Republican.

I may be a straight man, but still, this guy's got "drinkin' buddy" written all over him.

Did I miss a reference in your post about him in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Gary Oldman does indeed rock, Michele.

He's gonna play Sirius Black? That is too friggin cool. I haven't read the fourth book yet, but Prisoner of Azkaban blew my mind!

He also played Beethoven, in "The Immortal Beloved"(?) He is a great actor.

A side note: riding someone with a small penis until the morning is a waste of time and energy, IMO.

I don't know. I didn't think Gary was that menacing in Diff'rent Strokes. He was too short...

Oh...OLDMAN, I thought you said Coleman.

In "Murder in the First" with Kevin Bacon, Gary
was excellently "evil" in the role of the warden.
Outstandingly chilling performances from both
gentlemen in that movie!

Yep... Every time I see him I think
"Man, I hate that S.O.B.!!"
"the professional" was my favorite

I have to say the contrast to the characters he plays are amazing. I mean, look at Zorg (whom I love by the way. Makes me laugh) and then you have Dracula--cool voice and the way he moves... ahh yeahh. And then the typical nut case bad guy Agent Norman Stansfield. I haven't seen "Rosencrants and Guildenstern are dead" yet but I'm looking forward to it if I can find it. There are just so many....So to wrap this up I have to say that Gary Oldman is wonderful to watch. He becomes the character so completely that I envy his ability. He is "My favorite". :0)

gary oldman is the best!! and not only in villain roles! he's the only one actor who is able to play in one second a sensitive person and the second after a true monster!
like said the director peter Medak"says action and gary is like a supersonic flight!"

Gary..is just too hot as the villian. Leon was perfect, he was so hot in that role as Stan.

Although I believe Dracula is not a villian, yet an innocent soul, he plays Dracula incredibly fine as well.

Gary Oldman, is no doubt, hot. Haha.