We’re going to make a circle here, you and I:
Furious 7, the latest edition of the Fast & Furious franchise, comes out on Friday. I saw it. It’s fun. Here is a review of it that contains precisely zero spoilers: There are people in it and there are cars in it and usually the people in it are riding in the cars or at least standing near cars. They do crazy things in and around the cars. Then it’s over. Malibooyah.
The primary bad guy in Furious 7 is played by Jason Statham. His character is Deckard Shaw, older brother to Owen Shaw, a person killed in an earlier Fast & Furious movie. The thing where one guy who’s a bad guy in a movie is kin to a different bad guy in a different movie in the same franchise isn’t a new thing. In fact, this exact same setup was used in the Die Hard movie series, when John McClane killed Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard in 1988 and then had to kill his older brother in Die Hard: With a Vengeance seven years later.
The Shaw brothers — conventional dastardly Englishmen — are not weird. The Gruber brothers, though, with their Germanic accents and fancy clothes and slithery looks — those guys were weird. And there it is. There’s our circle.
This is the Movie Bad Guys Weirdness Index. It’s very simple, though perhaps a little confusing. This is not a ranking of weird moments from bad guys in movies. For example: Alex DeLarge performing “Singin’ in the Rain” while doing terrible things in A Clockwork Orange was a weird moment. That specific scene isn’t what gets indexed, though. Alex is what gets indexed — rather, who gets indexed. This Weirdness Index charts characters who are “weird,” and that can range from Gross Weird to Uncomfortable Weird to Visibly Weird to Secretly Weird, and so on.
It rates from 1 percent — a little bit weird, like when you pick up your phone to text someone and that person texts you right at that moment — to 100 percent weird. The only real restriction: No bad guys from horror movies were eligible because basically all of them are weird, so this thing would’ve been somewhere near 40,000 words. That eliminates some obvious characters: the old guy from Poltergeist, the leprechaun from Leprechaun (who was weird because he was a leprechaun but also because he had a brief rap career), pretty much every inanimate object that comes to life and starts killing people (gingerbread men, dolls, condoms, etc.). It also eliminates some less obvious characters, like Michael Myers’s sister and Jason Voorhees’s mother.
The one guy not on here who most people will assume should be on here is Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, Gary Oldman’s character in The Fifth Element. Everyone thinks he’s weird. But he wasn’t weird at all. He had a very clear agenda and he lived by a code (remember that he spared the guy’s life who saved him from choking on a cherry even though he definitely should have killed him right at that moment), and was even resolutely non-prejudiced (remember that he told that super ugly alien he should never try to hide his face to make others more comfortable). His clothes were weird and his haircut was weird, but they’re only weird to us because we live 200 years prior to when the movie was set. Nobody in the movie thinks he’s weird, only evil, which means he wasn’t really weird at all.
And now, the Bad Guys Weirdness Index.
Vic, White Water Summer
Weirdness Rating: 7 percent
Vic, an aggressively eager nature guide who has very strong opinions about the right and wrong way to catch fish, is the bad guy here. That’s a little strange because mostly he just spends the whole movie trying to teach a small group of teenagers how to be good at camping, but it’s also not that strange because Vic is played by Kevin Bacon, and Kevin Bacon always seems like the bad guy in a movie even when he’s not.
Kevin Bacon Bad Guy Roles, Ranked:
- Hollow Man
- A Few Good Men
- The River Wild
Sidebar: The protagonist in WWS is played by Sean Astin, who almost certainly has the most impressive underdog record in all of Hollywood.
Sean Astin Underdog Roles, Ranked:
- The Goonies
- Toy Soldiers
- White Water Summer
- Encino Man
Raymond Calitri, Gone in Sixty Seconds
Weirdness Rating: 16 percent
Calitri is a sociopath who’s super into woodworking. Every weird person isn’t into woodworking, but every woodworker is a weird person — that’s how that works.
White Goodman, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Weirdness Rating: 21 percent
White Goodman is accidentally weird because he’s dumb, and that wouldn’t have been enough to get him up to a 21 percent weirdness rating alone, because lots and lots of people are dumb. But Goodman also kind of likes to have sex with food, so that’s how he gets up this high.
Weirdness Rating: 24 percent
Gotta respect Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell for being able to absorb the critical body blow this movie could have been and continue on as actors. Wow. What resiliency. What courage.
20th Century Fox
Weirdness Rating: 29 percent
A lonely 8-foot-tall space alien who enjoyed hunting humans and then dangling their corpses from the jungle treetops.
Note: This here is the inverse of the Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element scenario. Every single person who wasn’t the Predator in Predator thought he was weird (and also terrifying), but that’s only because the movie was set on Earth. Had it been set on his home planet, he wouldn’t have shown up here.
Another note: The Predator figured out how to travel across the galaxy but couldn’t figure out mud? Is this more or less offensive than how those aliens in Signs figured out how to travel across the galaxy but couldn’t figure out how to turn a doorknob?
Edward Rooney, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Weirdness Rating: 34 percent
He had a total hard-on for catching Ferris Bueller skipping class. I can’t co-sign that.
Catherine Tramell, Basic Instinct
Weirdness Rating: 39 percent
Only 39 percent on the Movie Bad Guy Weirdness Index but 100 percent on the Showing Your Private Parts to Police Officers Index.
Jesus Quintana, The Big Lebowski
Weirdness Rating: 41 percent
Quintana was a perfectly pitched sleazeball weirdo who gets hyper into a hobby — in this case, bowling — and just turns into a total nut.
Note: When I was in college, there was a guy on campus named Alan who had aspirations of becoming a professional bowler. He was actually very good. He was also actually insane. He used to wear his facial hair so that his left sideburn would go down to his jawline and then run along the jawline all the way to his other sideburn. It was always well maintained. Elaborate facial hair is a Top Three Weirdo Move. There was another guy named Steve who collected snakeskins. Alan was weirder than Snakeskin Steve.
General Zod, Superman II
Weirdness Rating: 48 percent
Best moment of my young life was when Zod was like, “Kneel before Zod” to Superman and Superman did it, and then Zod was like, “Take my hand” and Superman did it, but then Superman was like, “Psych, bitch,” and then he crushed all the bones in Zod’s hand and threw him down one of the canyons in the Fortress of Solitude. Outta here with your shiny suit shirt, Zod.
William Stranix, Under Siege
Weirdness Rating: 52 percent
He wore a black leather jacket with metal studs on it and those metal studs formed a giant eagle on his back. That’s not an accidental purchase. You don’t just happen across a jacket like that. You have to hunt that down. You have to search and search. That’s the sort of determination that can only manifest itself in greatness (like when Jonas Salk found the cure for polio) or weirdness (like when Stranix found his jacket).
20th Century Fox
Ivan Ooze, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
Weirdness Rating: 67 percent
Ivan Ooze leaned into his weirdness more than anyone else on this list. I respect that.
The Baseball Furies, The Warriors
Luther, The Warriors
Weirdness Ratings: 24 percent and 71 percent
Two picks here, because this is a good example of the difference between a group of people who were actively trying to be weird and a guy who just so happened to be weird, which is more disconcerting.
- The Baseball Furies were weird, but only because they were trying to be weird. They were a gang of baseball enthusiasts who wore actual baseball uniforms and painted their faces because who knows and who cares. I suppose as far as sports-themed gangs go, a baseball gang is the most efficient and practical. (I certainly don’t think it would have been nearly as intimidating had they, say, been carrying basketballs instead of bats as they chased people around.) Still, I don’t understand the face paint thing, and I also don’t understand why they were so bad at bat fights if they were literally supposed to be the best at bat fights. When they fought the Warriors in the park, the Baseball Furies landed exactly zero hits with bats. They were on some true Bill Bergen shit.1 Also, why didn’t any of the Warriors make some sort of baseball pun after they defeated the Baseball Furies (“Looks like you struck out, bitch”)? That’s an opportunity lost right there.
- Luther was legitimately weird. He had a weird face, a weird voice, a weird brain, a weird walk, a weird ideology, a weird everything. You could probably argue that Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker was really just the hyperbolic extension of Luther if you really felt like it (Luther explained shooting a man in the chest in front of 900 people as a thing he did because he just likes to do things like that). His “Warriors … come out and play” line is a Top Five Weird Guy movie moment. Another solid peak of crazy was when he squirmed and turned into a toddler when the Riffs figured out that he was the one who killed Cyrus. Luther. Luther’s that dude.
That’s an inside baseball joke for baseball nerds. (Bergen has the lowest batting average in the history of all of baseball.) I want you to know I had no idea who Bill Bergen was before this moment. Baseball is the worst.
Tony Montana, Scarface
Weirdness Rating: 74 percent
You wanna sleep with your sister? Automatic 74 percent weirdness rating.
Weirdness Rating: 74 percent
John Doe, Se7en
Weirdness Rating: 79 percent
Did you ever even consider that maybe he kept that guy tied to the bed for a year because he wanted a friend? How about that? Maybe don’t be so selfish next time and think of that.
Also: How weird were Christmases for poor John Doe? Was he just handing out heads in boxes to everyone? Was he at his office Christmas party in his bloodied-up jump suit holding a box, and across the room there was a group of people standing there and Terry from accounting was like, “Man, I hope John Doe didn’t pull my name for Secret Santa again. You know what he got me last year?” And then Susan from human resources was like, “Let me guess: a severed head?” And then Terry was like, “Every fucking year, man.” And then everyone laughed a little too loudly and John Doe knew they were talking about him again. Aw, dang. This is sad. R.I.P., John Doe. You were a real one.
Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange
Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men
The Mystery Man, Lost Highway
Weirdness Rating: 81 percent
Alex DeLarge, Anton Chigurh, and The Mystery Man walk into a bar. Get the fuck outta the bar.
Judge Doom, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Weirdness Rating: 83 percent
Had Judge Doom just stayed a human he’d have probably been something like maybe 35 percent weird, 40 tops. But when he transformed into a cartoon after getting run over by the steamroller, oh man, that’s when it got way heavier. HE HAD KNIVES FOR EYEBALLS AND AN ANVIL FOR A LEFT HAND. And that scream. I remember watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit with my dad one night while my mom was at work. I was a tiny guy, probably 8 years old — way too young to watch anything as mature as the movie turned out to be. We watched it, we watched that terrifying scene, and that was the moment I realized he didn’t know how to take care of a child.
Child Catcher, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Weirdness Rating: 86 percent
His name is “Child Catcher.” His whole job is to lure kids into a cage. Super weird.
Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Weirdness Rating: 86 percent
Willy Wonka: Hi, kids!
Willy: Congrats on winning a tour of the Chocolate Factory! Hope you’re ready to have some F-U-N fun!
Willy: [quickly] Alsohopeyou’rereadytodie. OK, let’s go! Yay!
I was the same amount of surprised when I realized Willy Wonka was a villain as I was when I realized Mario from Super Mario Bros. was actually a villain, and if you don’t think Mario was the villain in that movie I want you to think about how the only thing Mario has ever cared about has been killing King Koopa’s children and bedding the princess.
Buffalo Bill, The Silence of the Lambs
Weirdness Rating: 100 Percent
Weirdness Rating: 150,000 percent
Up until I saw this film, the most unsettling movie I’d ever seen was The Human Centipede and its even more disturbing sequel, which, if you haven’t seen it, please do not. But that franchise was mostly just gross weird. This one is a whole different thing. It’s disturbing weird, and disturbing weird is way worse. I can’t even think about it.
What happened was I kept seeing the name “Eraserhead” come up as I was reading about “weird movies” and “weird movie characters” and things like that.2 So I searched for it, read the Wikipedia page for it, thought, This sounds strange — and strange is fine and occasionally interesting, so I watched it, and then I spent, like, 64 hours throwing up everywhere.
David Lynch directed this. He also directed Lost Highway. David Lynch does not seem like a very chill person.
You know how when you read a book and you picture everything you’re reading happening in your head so it looks exactly like you want it to because it’s your brain that’s making the picture? OK, that’s the problem with reading the Wikipedia page for this movie. Your brain just can’t come up with anything nearly as disturbing as this movie, no matter how hard you try. It just can’t. Here’s an example from the Eraserhead Wiki, and it’s maybe the only example that matters:
“It tells the story of Henry Spencer, who is left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape.” You read “grossly deformed” and your brain either ignores it completely or comes up with a tame version of “grossly deformed.” Here’s the actual baby from the actual movie and … just … yeah, fair warning:
We have a winner.