A-LIST | 12 Times When People Have Cheered for the Bad Guy

For years, CBM fans have begged for Venom to make a comeback to the big screen. Present concerns aside, this is the ultimate anti-hero and nerds everywhere will cheer him on for being bad — because he is so good at it.

He slaughters people. We clap. He eats someone’s head. We cheer. He goes on a killing spree. We high-five our friends.

While this may seem a little off-base and make us question the darkness of our hearts, it’s not the first time movie goers have cheered on the bad guy. In fact, in cinematic lore, Americans have kinda made a habit of rooting for the villain in most hero-driven movies.

Here is another A-List for 12 more times the villain became our hero:

12. Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice

Say this dude’s name three times fast and like a genie in a bottle — *POOF* — out he comes wearing prison fatigues causing havoc on anyone within shouting distance. Michael Keaton was awesome as the “ghostest with the mostest.”

He worked his magnetic charm to haunt the Maitland’s house and won everyone over who watched him. And if you don’t believe me, watch the haunting rendition of Harry Belafonte’s ‘Banana Boat Song.’ Those kind of ghostly possession skills take practice. It’ll be your earworm for the day. You’re welcome.

11. Die Hard

hans gruber

Yes, this is the movie that put Bruce Willis on the map. However, we also got Hans Gruber played brilliantly by the late, great Alan Rickman (also known as Snape to the Potterheads out there).

Everyone knew Detective John McClane was going to eventually free the hostages in Nakatomi Tower, but who wasn’t a little heartbroken when Hans plummeted to this death and only had a free watch to show for it? Happy trails, indeed. We’ll always have L.A.

10. Catch Me If You Can

catch me

Most people with a tinge of bad seed in them wishes they had the stones and creativity of Frank Abagnale Jr., a true-life person and master of deception. He was a baby face but behind those dimples was a man who could forge and fraud his way into a family reunion, or to pilot a plane, or defend someone in court.

Abagnale could do it and did, by his 18th birthday! How much fun was it to watch this movie only to discover how the villain always stayed one step ahead of the FBI, specifically Special Agent Carl Hanratty (played so well by Tom Hanks). That, at its essence, is cheering on the bad guy.

9. Psycho

psycho.jpg

Hitchcock was at his absolute best pacing terror here. Janet Leigh’s scream is bone-chilling and iconic in this — arguably one of the most famous scenes in motion picture history. Yet, the reason many people still won’t shower in the dark is because of Norman Bates.

Anthony Perkins played two characters masterfully. Because of the way he captures the scars left scarred by the sardonic ways of his manipulative mother. She died and yet, she’s still there living in his mind. We loved and lauded him for it. Oh, there’s another reason to cheer him on — he helped future generations conserve water (quicker showers).

8. Goodfellas

ray liotta goodfellas laughing

This is a tour de force by Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, real-life gangster gone snitch. The movie was an instant hit, breaking the fourth wall, narrating life, and creating a bad guy persona that we all wanted to buy a beer and have a wildly infectious laugh.

From an abusive dad to growing up in the Mob, Henry Hill was a guy you wanted to encourage in his rags to riches (and back to rags) plight. It’s ironic with the movie title and the nod to the mafia because Ray Liotta convinces us all that Hill was a genuine good fellow who deserved a comeback story of his own. And we all love cheering on that guy.

7. The Silence of the Lambs

hannibal

When we first met Dr. Hannibal Lecter, our spines stiffened and our breath turned into an icy fog as we gasped for air. As we watched FBI nubile agent and profiler Clarice Starling learn more about him, Jame Gumb, and Buffalo Bill, we found ourselves wanting to know about more this character and learning what makes him who he is — and has become.

He was so convincing as “Hannibal the Cannibal” that Hopkins won the Oscar for Best Actor — and he did it with only 20 minutes of screen time. The guy escapes confinement and we are all convinced that Clarice will he his next buffet platter, only to go “have an old friend for dinner” in a foreign land. That amoral code of honor is something we loved about him. What’s that say about us?!

6. Thor

loki

For fans of the Asgardian god, we all know about Thor’s plight and dysfunctional family. And his younger, adopted brother Loki places the “fun” in dysfunctional. Whoever thought to cast Tom Hiddleston as Loki is a genius and someone who clearly loved Marvel canon. Loki can’t be anyone else.

Once we learn his story, we are touched with empathy and while his a murderous shape-shifter who will stop at anything to win the Odin’s throne, If you recall the Thor cycle and then on into Avengers, we literally cheered for Odin as his character seems to take the full cycle of a tragic hero. Villain-gone-good stories are difficult to make effective. Loki made it work with ease and we loved him for it.

5. The Dark Knight

heath joker

Heath Ledger’s quintessential role — The Joker. Fans of DC and Marvel alike were mesmerized by his agility and nimbleness within the role. It became a part of him and we were all along for the ride.

When The Joker took the screen on The Dark Knight, he took over. Yes, this film was about Batman, but this was Joker’s movie. So, why cheer a guy that blew up a hospital? Because it made it look so good. We applauded the effort, the control, and the skill to act like you are careless but take so much care in creating a master plan to kill half the city.

We cheer because Ledger was just that good, and today, people like Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix need transformative moments in time to even come close to the Clown Prince of Evil. And if they reach that level, we have to cheer them as well.

4. Scarface

scarfacenew.jpg

The pop-culture references. The allusions in rap music. And arguably the worst soundtrack in cinematic history. That was Scarface. The thought of remaking this triumphant film makes many movie goers sick.

Al Pacino made us cheer for this guy as he battled being a refugee from Cuba to a drug overlord in Miami. Sure, he secretly had a thing for his sister, but let’s blame that on the mountains of cocaine he had on his desk. His life was troubled from the moment he came to America, but despite all the bloodletting, you sit there hoping he is the victor to his own spoils of war. Spoiler Alert: He doesn’t and then we booed as a result.

3. Terminator 2

t2

Arguably, nothing has been closer to Venom in terms of a bad guy we have cheered as Terminator 2. Ah-nuld is the bad guy with a second lease on life. Of course, he has to prove his allegiance for half the movie, but when he does, you look past his brash and metallic endoskeleton to find a heart of gold (and random metal alloy and microchips).

While Venom may have understood his faults and Terminator was programmed differently, they both followed the same path — be yourself, understand yourself, be the new self. And that “new” self, he’s still all business and no pleasure but we grew to love him that way. Down to his last thumbs up.

2. The Usual Suspects

keyser soze

You want to know how much respect people have for this movie? It’s easily one of the top two or three plot twists in movies ever, and people still won’t spoil the ending without asking, “Have you seen this movie?” And this was made in 1995!

Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint is a mousey type of man. He’s meek. He’s overly cautious. And he may just be the smartest bad guy ever. He hides in plain sight and none of his clandestine affairs ever trace back to him. The entire movie is caught in a series of flashbacks while Kint is being interrogated about this enigmatic criminal mastermind, Keyser Soze.

His legend out lives him, although some people are convinced that he may not even be real. The entire movie is summarized in something Verbal says, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” He does, but not the way you think when you watch this masterpiece.

1. Revenge of the Sith

sith lord vader

No villain has ever been feared and cheered more than Darth Vader.

But before he dawned the black armor and developed a nasty breathing habit, he was little Anakin Skywalker who had something special about him. The Force was strong with this one, but there’s this fork in the road ahead of him.

And that’s why we cheer for him in the third offering, and without question, best of the prequels. We loved little Anakin. We adored his innocence. We watched him devolve into the jealous, dystopian man who would be Sith. That may be why we cheered for him here.

We know the entire path of Anakin and how he finally comes around to save his son, but the roller coaster of his emotions this movie brings us. The origin of the OG Sith Lord was a sight to behold, and Darth Vader will always get our applause.

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