Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Villains


This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all about the times where our protagonist is actually an antagonist. It's not easy to tell your story from the villain's POV, but here are three films that do it well.

1) American Psycho

I'm sure this one will be popular today, but how can you not go with Patrick Bateman? Sociopath extraordinaire and frequent fan of video tapes.

2) Pretty Persuasion

This one might be a bit obscure, but Evan Rachel Wood's Kimberly puts the Plastics to shame. What she does in this film is some high stakes teenage fuckery. 

3) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I love that Tim Burton went full gore with this musical. While it's easy to feel sympathy for Sweeney, the guy does murder a lot of people.


  1. Eek I've come a cropper again with your picks! I have heard of both the first and the last though.

    Just the clips I've seen from American Psycho scream that it is not a picture for me no matter how well acted it may be.

    I've seen the filmed version of the Broadway production of Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury as the original Mrs. Lovett and while it wasn't bad by any means I've never felt the least desire to watch another take on the material. As much as I love HBC I've heard her very negatively compared to Angela in this particular part.

    I thought this one was going to be tougher than it turned out to be, I even left a last minute thought off because I already had my three!

    The Shadow on the Wall (1950)-Businessman David Starrling (Zachary Scott) is knocked unconscious by a mysterious figure during a confrontation with his faithless wife Celia (Kristine Miller) and wakes to find Celia murdered. The couple’s young daughter Susan (Gigi Perreau), witnessed her mother's death but saw only a shadow on the wall and is unaware that the killer is Celia's evil sister, her Aunt Dell (Ann Sothern). Dell, now terrified of discovery must find a way to do away with her own niece before Susan realizes the truth. One of Ann Sothern’s rare villainess roles this includes future First Lady Nancy Reagan (billed as Nancy Davis) in a major supporting role.

    M (1931)-Moody, expressionist classic tells the tale of Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre), a serial killer who preys on children. When he becomes the focus of a massive Berlin police manhunt his crimes are so repellant that other criminals join the police in his pursuit. Lorre is brilliant in the lead.

    Sweet Smell of Success (1957)-Vicious New York columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) is a powerful man capable and willing to make or destroy Broadway careers in print. However he can’t seem to control is his younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) who he is abnormally fond of and who is in a relationship with jazzman Steve Dallas (Marty Milner) of which he strongly disapproves. To get his way Hunsecker recruits publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) who he describes as “A cookie full of arsenic” to find a way to split the couple, no matter how ruthless the method. Well-acted portrait of deeply rotten people.

    1. I've seen M! I enjoyed that one enough. I'm familiar with your 3rd pick too, but not the first one.

      I highly recommend Burton's version of Sweeney Todd if you like Burton's esthetic. I think it fits well. Depp and HBC may not be classically trained singers but they do just fine for what the movie was going for.

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  2. I still have to see Sweeney Todd which looks good even though I know it will be gory. I tried watching American Psycho but I was disgusted by it to be honest so I turned it off. That is rare for me to do. I don't even know the 2nd pick of yours but it sounds intriguing.

    1. I can see why American Psycho isn't for everyone, I struggled with reading the book because it was to tedious. It's easier to listen to Bateman vs reading him.

  3. We both match on Sweeney Todd! Such a violent movie! Awesome list!

  4. How come There Will Be Blood isn't on here? That's what immediately came to my mind when reading the concept of this mini-list, but maybe that's just me.

    1. I love that movie, and that would've been a good choice. I guess I don't think of Daniel starting the film as the villain where the rest of these ones clearly are. You should join in and make your own list!

  5. American Psycho... who doesn't love that movie? It's a classic. I thought Sweeney Todd was pretty good. Probably the last worthwhile film Tim Burton has ever made. Pretty Persuasion is pretty good yet ERW fucking kills it in that movie.

    Happy birthday Brittani... you share your b-day with Adam Driver. He's awesome. My top 5 Adam Driver performances:

    1. Marriage Story
    2. Patterson
    3. Blackkklansman
    4. Logan Lucky
    5. The Last Jedi/The Force Awakens

    I just saw that Quiznos commercial and that made me laugh as well.

    1. It's just my Twitter birthday which is equally as important because I can't believe I've spent 11 years on that platform lol.

      Great top 5! He's amazing in all of those.

  6. American Psycho is such a great movie--it really should have more than just cult status.

  7. American Psycho is my favourite villain movie ever but I didn't pick it because I knew it would be a popular choice. I wasn't a fan of Sweeney Todd but the character makes for a pretty good villain.

    1. For sure, I expected it to be popular. It was the first thing that came to mind.

  8. I can't remember much of Pretty Persuasion now, but I remember I liked it. I think it's up there with Heathers and Thoroughbreds in the bad teen girls dark comedy.


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