Nice guys really do finish last in the movies:
Either washed down the gutter as sandy sludge like Texan Thomas Haden Church as Sandman in "Spider-Man 3" (2007); or in a sudden, jaw-dropping car wreck a la Javier Bardem as psychotic hit man Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men" (also 2007) or even the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in the Batman saga "The Dark Knight" (2008).
Notice that we're talking about nice guys.
For some reason, and I've noticed this for a couple of decades, the really terrific men and women in real life always seem to play the most deeply disturbed villains on screen.
"The Dark Knight." I will never forget that grisly smeared bright red smile that ran up both sides of Ledger's face as Joker.
Yet when I had lunch with Ledger at the Four Season Hotel during the Toronto Film Festival in 2006, Ledger, who was a little edgy, was also gracious, generous with his time as he discussed his project at that time, the heroin-addiction romantic-drama "Candy."
When people ask me to name my favorite movie villain of all time, it is Anton Chigurh, the soft-spoken human killing machine portrayed by Bardem in "No Country for Old Men." Ledger's Joker is a very close second.
Armed with a deadly compressed-air weapon and sporting a Three Stooges haircut in "No Country for Old Men," though, Bardem's Chigurh sent chills up and down my spine. He still does, actually, when I think about it.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Bardem when the Spanish Oscar winner ("No Country for Old Men," but nominations also for "Before Night Falls" in 2000 and "Biutiful" in 2010) came through Dallas promoting the outstanding bio-drama "The Sea Inside" in 2004.
It was late afternoon -- sort of between lunch and dinner in restaurant time -- when the movie studio rep arrived with Bardem for our interview. While the movie rep made sure everything was prepared in the restaurant, I had some "alone time" with Bardem at the bar.
Charming and congenial, he joked with me about how silly it looks when fancy restaurants pour the usual single serving of wine into an over-sized glass that could easily serve as a multifamily fish bowl.
When these actors and others put on that "mask," though, they are able to transform themselves into evil personified ... then laugh all the way to the bank.
So, this question: Who's your favorite movie villain of all time? I'd love to hear your opinion, and the copilation of evil cinematic dudes and dudettes just below will jar your memory and, perhaps, make it a little more difficult to sleep tonight.
No need to thank me, just click the arrow below, share with your friends and let me know which ones send shivers up your spine.