The Manchurian Candidate

Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds

Near the end of The Incredibles, Syndrome — who’s been hyperaware of the ruinous trope — is caught monologuing. It’s not his downfall, but he’s also not one of the smartest movie villains. He simply knows the usual hamartia. You might call it pride, you may laugh at it, but the monologue is an important part of understanding where a villain is coming from and revealing all the gory details of a complex plan. At the least, it’s almost a narrative necessity for a movie that focuses solely on the hero. The thing is, intelligence is not a pre-requisite for being a movie villain. It actually doesn’t even seem to be that important when you dig through all the  mustache-twirlers out there. Even menacing baddies like Voldemort aren’t particularly smart, just evil and nose-less. Is also isn’t all about getting away with it. That’s definitely a nice touch, but the key to an intelligent villain is creating a deeply involved plan that works (or would work) despite an impressive counter-force. Simply put, a smart villain demands a smart hero.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. This political thriller is so damned good that includes Frank Sinatra kung fu chopping, Janet Leigh wearing a giant playing card, and Angela Lansbury playing a total bitch. Seriously. They turn the sweetest woman on the planet into a manipulative asshole, and it’s brilliant. Plus, this trailer is classic in its invocation of the classic “Don’t miss the beginning of the film” command. Oddly enough, there’s zero dialogue here in the advertising, but it’s oddly effective. At least I want to go watch it right now. Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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