10 Fictional Handicapped Characters

Our world is becoming increasingly more handicapped accessible, and more and more characters in popular culture are depicted as handicapped. Sometimes their disability is the focus of the story, and sometimes it isn’t even acknowledged. Either way, we are seeing more and more characters in fiction who are handicapped or disabled, and we welcome them alongside our other favorites. In no particular order.

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Two of South Park’s most memorable characters are also mentally and physically disabled. Many people (most of whom do not watch the show much) are offended by the depiction, referring to it as degrading amongst other things. Comedy Central was hesitant to allow the inclusion of Timmy at first, to which creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, said they wanted to include a character who is “happy to be [himself]” and wanted to represent him as “part of the gang and not as the subject of cruel schoolyard humor”. Fans of the show will certainly know them, and most likely love them, as many fans do. I think this excerpt from Wikipedia sums it up best:

“When praising the show for both its depiction of Jimmy and Timmy and its coverage of disability-related issues, The Seattle Times columnist Jeff Shannon, a quadriplegic, describes Jimmy and Timmy as ‘goodwill ambassadors’, while commenting that ‘Timmy appears, at first glance, to uphold the condescending disability stereotypes that are gradually fading from mainstream entertainment. But like everything else in ‘South Park,’ he’s actually challenging preconceptions, toppling taboos and weaving his singularity into the fabric of the show’.”

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The paraplegic founder of the X-Men is one of the most popular comic book heroes of all time. He is a telepathic mutant who is bound to his wheelchair, but still manages to run a school, provide refuge for other mutants, and run one of the most kick-ass gatherings of superheroes in comics history. The inspirations for his character are Martin Luther King Jr., St. Francis Xavier, and Yul Brynner.

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The iconic character has inspired many rip-offs and quotes (“You got your legs back, Lt. Dan!”) that will nauseate us as long as Forrest Gump is popular. But Gary Sinise’s portrayal of a disabled veteran was memorable, and maybe even a tad inspiring.

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The weirdly named kid is the star and title character of the show Pelswick, a short-lived cartoon on Nickelodeon in 2000-2002. The series followed Pelswick and his guardian angel (who distributed confusing advice), and emphasized Pelswick’s demand that he not be treated different. If you ask me though, I would have made fun of that kid relentlessly… Because of that name!

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The protagonist from the immensely popular movie Avatar is none other than Corporal Jake Sully. A crippled Marine on Earth, he is recruited to take over for his murdered scientist twin brother to operate an Avatar. On the moon of Pandora, the native inhabitants (Na’vi) are contacted through remote-controlled human-Na’vi hybrids, which Jake Sully pilots. He is able to overcome his wheel-chair bound life by spending more and more time in his Avatar body.

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Rhyme is an ex-forensic expert who was injured in an accident. But he doesn’t let this stop him from solving crimes, and he mostly acts through other people to get his job done. Many will know him from the series of books by Jeffrey Deaver, and many more will know him as Denzel Washington in the movie adaptation of The Bone Collector.

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The consistently vulgar, random, and hilarious cartoon series Family Guy is known for its odd and unsavory characters, but fans will definitely be familiar with the muscly cop Joe Swanson, who also happens to be paraplegic. In spite of his “handicap”, Joe manages to be the top cop on the Quahog police force, has intense anger management problems, and is married to a woman who seems to have been pregnant for 8 years, give or take.

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Portrayed best by Shia LaBeouf in Disturbia…. Aw, who am I kidding. That’s wrong in at least 3 ways. His name wasn’t Jeffries, he isn’t crippled, and it definitely wasn’t the best. That honor goes to James Stewart in Hitchcock’s original. The professional photographer suffers a broken leg on one of his more dangerous assignments, and is stuck in his apartment in a wheelchair. It is 1954, so he doesn’t have much to keep him entertained. So he starts watching his neighbors with binoculars, and very soon is embroiled in the life of his neighbor, Lars Thorwald, the friendly neighborhood serial killer.

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The Fuhrer… Er, pardon, the President of the United States, was hard-pressed to stay sane after he turned to the aptly named Dr. Strangelove for advice when several rogue bombers took to the sky to drop nukes on the Soviet Union. Between snapping off Nazi salutes, trying to strangle himself, and miraculously (or not) being able to walk just prior to the Earth’s destruction, Dr. Strangelove is quite possibly the most well-known, most iconic character on this list. And who can forget his famous line? “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!”

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One of the stars of the vastly popular TV show Lost, John Locke (named after the philosopher, and portrayed by Terry O’Quinn, who won an Emmy for his role) is the only main character who had a disability. After their flight, Oceanic 815, crashes on the mysterious Island, John Locke awakens amongst the wreckage staring at his feet. He immediately hops to his feet, and begins helping the other survivors steer clear of the still-rotating turbine, find water, hunt boars, and build shelter. So why is he on the list? It is revealed in later episodes that Locke had been confined to a wheelchair for the last 4 years of his life. After his con man father suckers him into giving him a kidney, and then vanishing, Locke is left alone, and confronts his father after a long search. Locke is subsequently hurled out a window in the ensuing fight, and spends four years in a wheelchair until he visits Australia for a walkabout. After being denied, he utters his now-famous phrase, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”, and leaves to go back to America. The rest is television history.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/05/29/10-fictional-handicapped-characters/

10 Bizarre Fates Suffered By Beloved Characters

It’s not easy ending the story of a popular character. You have to write them an exit that’s true to their story arc, and you have to do it in a way that won’t piss off the fans. It’s a tortuous, time-consuming art—which may explain why so many writers just give up and write the dumbest ending they can.

Note: Since this is a list of character fates, it should come as no surprise that spoilers lie ahead.

10Mork And Mindy Got Trapped On Prehistoric Earth

One of the most successful spinoffs ever created, Mork and Mindy grew out of a Happy Days guest spot for Robin Williams and then became a beloved sitcom of its own. Week after week, audiences tuned in to see the hapless Mork battle with contemporary human customs . . . until the final episode, when they tuned in to see him battle an evil space alien.

In the three-part episode “Gotta Run,” Mork accidentally makes contact with fellow alien Kalnik. Though he first thinks that he’s found a friend, Mork discovers that Kalnik is secretly plotting to overthrow Earth and enslave the human race. With no one else to save the day, Mork and Mindy battle Kalnik across time, finally killing him on prehistoric Earth. But this already bizarre ending wasn’t enough for the producers, who took the strange decision of leaving Mork and Mindy trapped forever in the distant past.

At the episode’s conclusion, we see our heroes falling helplessly through the time vortex. Before we can find out what happens to them, the camera cuts away to an ancient cave painting showing them side by side. The implication is that they lived out the rest of their lives trapped on prehistoric Earth, cut off from their friends and families for all eternity.

9Satan Made J.R. Shoot Himself

Although it was one of the biggest shows in the world back in the ’80s, Dallas is today mainly remembered for the mystery storyline “Who Shot J.R.?” Few people know that J.R. wound up getting shot a second time: by himself, after the devil convinced him to do it.

In the series finale, J.R. is visited by a supernatural being called “Adam,” who takes him on an It’s a Wonderful Life–style tour through his past. After being driven mad by the vision of a world that’s much nicer without him, J.R. finds himself being ordered by Adam to commit suicide. At this point, the script strongly hints that Adam is literally Satan, but before that twist has even sunk in, J.R. places a gun to his head. We cut away and hear a gunshot. J.R.’s brother Bobby rushes in, looks at the floor, and say “Oh my God!”

The writers eventually retconned this ending for the 1996 movie and the 2012 TV revival. But for a generation of Dallas fans, the image of J.R. being murdered by Satan was the ending that stuck.

8Quantum Leap’s Sam Beckett Never Got Home

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Quantum Leap was about a scientist who, thanks to an accident with a time machine, enters other people’s bodies throughout history, all the while trying to get back to his own time. As played by Scott Bakula, Sam Beckett was a kindhearted, tragic soul whom the audience spent five years rooting to eventually return to his previous life. Yet when the final episode aired in 1993, it abruptly ended with the above title card, reading, “Dr. Sam Becket (sic) never returned home.”

The network had canceled the show at the last minute, forcing a standard season finale to be reworked into the series finale. The implications were horrifying. As someone who spends his life literally inhabiting other people’s bodies, Sam Beckett has no corporeal form. This means he can’t age or die. If he never made it back home, he’s still trapped out there somewhere. He’ll spend the rest of eternity leaping from one body to another.

7Victor Meldrew Became A Lonely Ghost

An angry old curmudgeon who railed against stupidity, Victor Meldrew of One Foot in the Grave was the face of dark British comedy for 10 whole years. The show was so gleefully cynical that even when the writers killed Meldrew off in a traffic accident, nobody complained. But then they brought him back as a lonesome ghost.

A year after the series ended, the cast reunited for a one-off charity special. Known simply as “The Comic Relief Special,” the mini-episode features Meldrew and his wife visiting a dying relative in the hospital. At first glance, it seems to be set before the finale’s deadly traffic accident, but then things get weird.

As the episode plays on, it becomes apparent that no one can see or hear Meldrew. In the final few seconds, Meldrew finds a copy of The Sixth Sense, and everything falls into place. He is dead, and his wife has forgotten all about him. Literally the last thing audiences ever sees of this much-loved character is a slow zoom on his face as the horror of his predicament becomes clear.

6Jughead Wound Up A Depressed Single Dad

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Although it’s recently become weirdly hard-hitting, for most of its 70-year run, Archie was the squarest comic on Earth. Each issue featured its squeaky-clean characters getting into squeaky-clean fixes, with squeaky-clean resolutions that reflected the reality of teenage life to literally no one. If most of us were to imagine an ending to the characters’ eternal adolescence, it would probably involve them living happily in the suburbs and watching their kids go to school together.

In 1990, international production company DiC bought the movie adaptation rights to Archie. Their resulting effort, Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, saw the characters all grown up . . . and living hollow, miserable lives. Veronica has been in and out of marriages, while Betty is stuck with a boyfriend who mentally tortures her. But most terrifying of all is the fate awaiting Jughead. After 60-odd years as an optimistic, lovable goofball, we now see Archie’s best pal as depressed, with relationship problems and a bratty kid he can’t control. He’s now a psychoanalyst who projects his issues onto his patients.

Thanks to poor reviews, the film (aired as Return to Riverdale on NBC) quietly got shunted out of the Archie canon not long after it was made. Yet even this travesty wasn’t the worst of the fates awaiting Jughead. In 2013, Afterlife with Archie turned him into a flesh-eating zombie.

5Pinky And The Brain Were Enslaved

Pinky and the Brain featured the most lovable pair of megalomaniacal rodents to ever grace the screen. Every week, audiences tuned in to watch their plans for world domination fail miserably, safe in the knowledge that they’d never stop trying. Until, that is, they were forced to go on the lam and wound up with Elmyra from Tiny Toons.

In 1997, those in charge of Warner Cartoons tried to retool the show into a more traditional sitcom, downplaying the premise of mad conquest. They forced the writers of Pinky and the Brain to rework the show to include Elmyra from Tiny Toons, fewer attempts at world domination, and a musical number every single episode. It was such a truly awful decision that the writers even lampooned it in the new theme song, with lines like: “Now Pinky and the Brain/share a new domain/It’s what the network wants/Why bother to complain?”

Story-wise, it was even worse. To explain the new setup, the writers concocted a tale about a Christopher Walken look-alike wanting the mice dead, forcing them to go into hiding. Unfortunately, they choose to hide out in Elmyra’s room, and once she discovers them, she refuses to let them go. Since the series was canceled after only a handful of episodes, we can only assume the mousey duo were forced to spend the rest of their lives as her miserable rodent slaves.

4Dana Scully Became Immortal

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Not every bizarre character fate has been utterly depressing. Some have even been kind of awesome, such as the fate of The X-Files‘s Dana Scully. Originally written as the level-headed skeptic to David Duchovny’s believer, Scully began as a normal, everyday protagonist. Then the writers got bored and decided to make her immortal.

In the 1995 episode “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” Peter Boyle plays a character who can see exactly how everyone will die. In one of the series’s weirder moments, he uses his powers on Scully and discovers that she’ll live forever.

This plot thread was picked up again in 1999, when a photographer reveals that he’s nearly 150 years old and can’t die because he looked away when Death came for him. At the episode’s end, Death comes for Scully, but the photographer takes her place—implying that she’s now taken his as an immortal.

During the publicity junket for the second X-Files film, creator Chris Carter even responded to a question on the subject by saying, “It’s kind of true, if you think about it. I mean, she’ll never die.”

3Doctor Who’s Assistants All Had Terrible Things Happen to Them

Ever since it started way back in 1963, Doctor Who has been defined by its companions as much as the Doctor himself. For generations of kids, Rose Tyler, Sarah Jane Smith, and Amy Pond were the true stars of the show. So it seems strange that they nearly all suffered bizarre, hideous fates.

Since the 2005 revival, fans have seen Rose trapped in a parallel universe, Donna have her memory wiped, and Amy Pond get stuck for all eternity in the past. But the fates of original series characters are even worse. Popular ’80s companion Peri was disintegrated by Brian Blessed while under the control of an evil talking slug, and child companion Adric died in a spaceship crash that caused a planet-wide explosion. Megastar companion Jamie in the ’60s had his times with (and man-crush on) the Doctor erased, while the Doctor outright murdered Kamelion. Even Sarah Jane Smith, the most popular companion in the entire 50-year run of the series, wound up alone, unmarried, and broken due to the Doctor abandoning her.

For a show that’s all about finding goodness and wonder in the universe, Doctor Who certainly makes it all seem depressing.

2Gilligan Wound Up Playing For The Harlem Globetrotters

Before Lost came along, the most famous shipwrecked show in history was Gilligan’s Island. Over the course of 100 episodes, audiences watched the castaways—helped and hindered by lovable man-child Gilligan—struggle to return home. Just like Quantum Leap above, the series itself ended with them seemingly trapped for all eternity, although they were finally rescued in a 1979 TV movie. Then, in 1981, the writers decided this wasn’t closure enough. Instead, Gilligan’s ultimate fate would be to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.

In the TV movie The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the Globetrotters have to face off against an army of basketball-playing robots controlled by evil Martin Landau. In the penultimate scenes, two of the Globetrotters suffer untimely injuries. The only solution: quickly draft Gilligan into the Globetrotters so he can make the winning basket.

Insane as this is, it’s not the weirdest destiny fate had in store for Gilligan. In the non-canon animated series, he wound up stranded on another planet after the Skipper’s experimental spaceship crash-landed en route to Earth.

1The Brady Bunch Became Severely Messed Up

The original Brady Bunch is the most non-threatening sitcom ever devised. Over five seasons, the six Brady kids plus Mom and Dad got into all sorts of genial scrapes, overcoming their problems with love and togetherness. So when CBS revived the show with the original cast in 1990, viewers probably expected more of the same. What they almost certainly didn’t expect was a show about alcoholism, abuse, and unemployment.

Confident older sister Marcia is now a depressed alcoholic. Clumsy, adorable Peter is stuck in an abusive relationship. Little Bobby has been paralyzed in a racing accident. Meanwhile, peripheral characters like Wally have no job, and the entire extended family seems about one more bad decision from going nuts.

The show was canceled after six episodes, and no more attempts were made to continue the series with the original cast members. So this was it, after 20 years after half a dozen TV series and movies, the final fate of the kindhearted Bradys.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/11/11/10-bizarre-fates-suffered-by-beloved-characters/

10 Must-See Animated Short Films

No matter how old you are, I’m sure you’d love good animations and cartoons. I still remember spending my whole afternoons watching Cartoon Network when I was still a kid. But even more so than what’s available on your local cable channel, a lot of good animations are also available on Youtube! The short films are a special mention, as many of them come with a good story.



The list below has 10 popular short film animations (in no particular order) you must see on Youtube. I’ve enjoyed watching them, so I hope you do so as well! There are tons of other good animated short films on Youtube, so if you’ve ever seen one that’s not included in the list, feel free to share it with me in the comments!



Let’s start our list with a feel-good love story. Zero is a stop-motion animation directed by Christopher Kazelos. It has won the Best Animation award from LA Shorts Fest and the Rhode Island International Film Fest among other awards, and has been translated into more than 35 languages since its upload on Youtube.

More than a love story though, Zero also looks heavily into discrimination, as the story imagines a world where everyone’s status in society is determined by their number. And yep – you guessed it – our main character’s number is zero. Watch the video be inspired by this “rags to riches” adventure.




I can‘t tell if this one’s inspirational or if it’s actually sad – but one thing’s for sure, it hits that soft spot in your heart. Created by Doni Permedi as part of his Master’s Thesis Animation, Kiwi shows us the efforts of one small Kiwi bird who wants to know what it feels like to fly. [spoiler] We don’t know if he survives in the end. Some viewers like to think that he did – but I for one think it would have more impact if he didn’t. Please don’t judge me, I’m not that bad.




There are a lot of animations by Pixar on Youtube, and this is one of my favorites. It’s not exactly heartwarming – but it’s certainly funny, so that should be good enough. The animation is about an alien named Stu, who is having his “practical exam” on abduction as he tries to carry off a sleeping farmer. 

Lifted was also shown theatrically with Pixar’s Ratatouille in 2007, which could probably be a reason why our sleeping farmer in the animation has an undeniable resemblance to Linguini, the main character in Ratatouille.




Moving on from the funny and heartwarming videos, let’s have a dark one. Produced in 2009 by Rodrigo Blaas, an ex-Pixar animator, Alma tells us what happened to a small kid walking one fine day in the snowy streets of Barcelona. But don’t get fooled by the light music and the Christmas setting, as the story harbors a dark, chilly twist to it.



Oh and by the way, “Alma” means “soul” in Spanish. You’ll find out at the end of the film why this is relevant.




Let’s get back to the nicer stories, shall we? This one is another short story animation by Pixar. Combining 2D and 3D animation, Day and Night shows us…well, Day and Night competing against each other. But what started out as a stiff competition ends up in a good friendship as they eventually find out they can have fun with each other’s company. The animation and story actually reminds me of Looney Tunes, and the other cartoons I used to watch on Cartoon Network as a kid.



Day and Night won Best Short Film at the 38th Annie Awards and has been nominated as Best Animated Short Film at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.


I’m sure many people can relate to this short film – myself certainly included. Ever tried setting up your alarm at several times to make sure that you wake up on time? Our main character here takes it to different level as he sets up several alarm clocks instead. And not just in his bedroom, he’s got alarm clocks all over the house!



Created by Mesai, and independent animation team in Korea with director Moo-hyun Jang, watch the video to get an idea of how you look in the morning when you “fight” with your alarm clock. Well, it’s not really the waking up part that’s hard isn’t it? It’s getting up that we always struggle with.




Many of us are probably familiar with this one. I myself have been seeing this animation a lot when I go to the TV section in the Department Store. Geri, our main character in the film plays chess against himself one autumn day at the park. So how do you actually win in a game of chess against yourself? Watch to find out.
This short film won Best Animated Short film at the 1997 Academy Awards. And oh, a little trivia here: Geri appears on Toy Story 2 as the guy who fixed up Woody.




How far would you go for love? Oktapodi is a French short film that shows us how two octopuses overcome a series of comical events to stay with each other, and get away from the clutches of the restaurant delivery guy. Take a look at how true love can overcome the odds – especially when you’re also in danger of ending up as someone’s dinner.



Oktapodi started out as a Graduate Student Project. It has won several awards and a nomination for Best Animated Short Film in the Academy Awards.




This short film comes with a moral lesson – don’t judge a book by its cover. Created by Fabrice O. Jubert, an animator who used to work at DreamWorks, French Roast is about a high-class businessman who forgot his wallet while having coffee at a fancy coffee shop. To buy him time in finding a solution without getting embarrassed, he keeps on ordering coffee. As the day (and the coffee) goes on, our protagonist meets some characters in the film who eventually help him out of his predicament.

French Roast was also nominated for Best Animated Short Film in the 2009 Academy Awards.




Some of us have been told stories when we were kids, that babies were brought to their parents by storks with extra-strong beaks. But have you ever wondered where these babies come from? Watch the clip above to find out. Parents are going to have to tell a different story now, when it comes to the birds and the bees…or in this case, the clouds and the storks.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/12/16/10-must-see-animated-short-films/

Top 10 Sympathetic Supervillains

With names like Ra’s al Ghul and Victor Von Doom, many great comic book villains were probably born with their careers set on evil. And, boy, do they have a resume list to show for it. Comic book supervillains have committed all manner of crimes, heinous and despicable, from a crazed clown trying to drive the police commissioner mad by forcing him to watch his paralyzed daughter getting violated, to an intergalactic despot building an army of followers who draw their power from the yellow light of fear, to the overlord of the planet Apokolips who tries to find an equation to destroy free will itself. Yeah, supervillains are a nasty lot… most of the time any way. Just like how The Punisher found his way into the ranks of the superheroes, not every super-adversary is a power hungry megalomaniac. Some are people who are just trying to do what they think is right. Some are just helpless, abused, worn-down people who have nothing better to do. And, some people just had one bad day. These are villains who, once you get to know them, aren’t so villainous after all.

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Everyone knows the story of Batman: the boy who watched his parents gunned down by a low-life criminal, and declared his lifelong battle against the forces of crime, to make sure no one ever had to suffer through what he had. Prometheus is an inverted case. The son of two criminal hippies, Prometheus (we never learn his real name), traveled the country with his parents for years until law enforcement agents cornered the three of them, and shot his parents down in front of his eyes. Prometheus’s hair turned white due to the trauma, and declared that he would spend his life battling the forces of justice. While Prometheus doesn’t have the most prolific record in supervillain history (he did come close to defeating the JLA once, and then later appeared in the awful Cry for Justice mini-series), his story serves as a reflection of the “Why?” in super-hero stories. Prometheus views the forces of justice as an oppressor, who reign an iron fist down on people like his parents, who in his eyes, weren’t doing anything wrong. It is very much a case of nature vs. nurture, and perhaps in an alternate reality, Prometheus could have been a great hero.

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From the panels of Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel on the nature of the superhero itself, Adrian Veidt is a manipulator to put Svengali to shame. Once a member of the Watchmen, Veidt was known as Ozymandias, and was considered to be the smartest man in the world. The novel itself details Veidt’s retirement from ‘costumed-adventuring’ like the other members of the team, along with the revelation that the murders that have been occurring were directed by him. At the end of the book, Veidt nukes New York City, in order to unite the world (in the midst of a cold war) against a false alien menace. While Ozymandias may have more of a superiority complex then a desire to truly do good to the world (it’s a deep novel), he is nonetheless, believing that he is doing the right thing. Veidt desires not power, not wealth, but simply peace, and is willing to cross the line to obtain it. And, while his plan is certainly full of holes for someone who claims to the be world’s smartest man, Veidt is a reflection of what someone with that much power could do in the real world, all in the name of peace & justice. It’s difficult to explain, but read Watchmen and you’ll see that nothing is black and white.

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Dr. Curt Connors began as Peter Parker’s friend and fellow scientist, until experimenting with lizard DNA in an attempt to regrow his amputated arm had a horrible side effect. Connors became the Lizard, and repeated an endless pattern of trying to keep his alternate personality under control, losing it, and having Spider-Man develop a temporary cure. There is little room to indict on Connors predicament, as he is very much a victim of his own sensible ambitions. He is Spider-Man’s friend, and has helped him scientifically on numerous occasions, cursed with a violent altar-ego he can’t control. He’s lost his humanity, his career, his family, all over an attempt at regaining something he lost. The Joker once said that all it takes to drive a person insane is one bad day. Curt Connors has been living with the results of that day for his entire continuity.

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Don’t let Arnold’s performance as this great villain in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin” fool you; Mr. Freeze is a tragic villain if there ever was one. He began as a gimmick-based villain during the Silver Age of Comics. It wasn’t until Paul Dini, co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series imagined a new form for the character, that he truly got a chance to shine. In the episode “Heart of Ice” Batman faces Mr. Freeze for the first time, when Freeze launched ice-based attacks on divisions of a Gotham based company. Batman then discovered that Freeze began life as Dr. Victor Fries, a scientist who specialized in cryogenics. Fries’ wife, Nora, had contracted a terminal disease, and Fries, using money he had embezzled from a science experiment the company had hired him for, cryogenically froze her so that he could search for a cure while she waited. After going over-budget, the CEO discovers Fries’ embezzlement and pulls the plug on Nora, leaving her to die from her illness. When Fries tries to stop him, he gets knocked into a bunch of chemicals, which leave him in a state where his body cannot survive out of sub-zero temperatures, hence the freeze suit. “Heart of Ice” went on to win an Emmy and has had its story adapted into mainstream Batman continuity. Now, Mr. Freeze is the tragic villain in Batman’s rogues gallery, always working alone and wanting to spread cold and despair onto all those he encounters, especially the man who ruined his chance for revenge against those who killed his wife: Batman.

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Depending on who you’re talking to, Bizarro is either an imperfect clone of Superman, or a reversed version of Superman from another world. The one thing that is consistent is that Bizarro is the 10-year-old with issues in DC’s supervillain lineup. Bizarro’s intelligence is that of someone under ten, with all the powers of Superman, and spends his time either being used by other, smarter super-villains (Lex Luthor, The Joker, etc.) or just getting angry and fighting Superman. But, at heart, Bizarro just wants to be like Superman, albeit in his own, inverted way. He can’t control his powers, he’s too dumb to truly discern right from wrong, and uses his powers as an outlet for anger and frustration that he himself can’t fully understand. It’s almost like Bizarro was constructed as a massive manipulation tool for readers’ sympathies.

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Another character brought to us from Batman: The Animated Series, and created by Paul Dini. Dr. Harleen Quinzel was an intern at Arkham Asylum, who attempted to get inside the mind of the Joker so she could write a tell all book on the subject. What emerged was “Silence of the Lambs” if Jodie Foster hadn’t matched Hannibal in intelligence. By trying to get inside Joker’s mind, Joker got into the good doctors, and she ended up falling for him, and becoming his sidekick and girlfriend, Harley Quinn (get it?). She’s been adapted into the comics, where she’s become a fan favorite, and is always involved in some sort of on-again off-again relationship with The Joker. And, as you’d suspect, a psychotic killing clown prime of crime doesn’t make for the best person to have as your significant other. Harley has become someone of an icon for abusive relationships, as Joker is constantly cruel to her, always telling her she “isn’t getting the joke” and pushing her out of windows. Sadly, Harley finds it hard to go back, and just ends up crawling back to Mr. J, convinced of her own worthlessness, and blaming herself for upsetting him. And I thought Bizarro was sad.

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This thousand year old arch-nemesis of Captain Marvel (who’s actually a DC creation despite the name), has only recently shown himself to be as sympathetic as this list qualifies him for. Adam hails from ancient Egypt, and draws his powers from the gods of their pantheon. After removing the ruthless dictator of his country from power, Adam took control and ended up failing in the long run, largely due to the deaths of his family members. After launching a World War, Adam takes his status as a corrupted anti-hero, who simply wants to protect what he loves in the world, namely his home and his people, but is driven to villainous means due to his personality and desperation. Black Adam’s story is one of a failed hero, who is eventually replaced by the boy scout Captain Marvel, and his constant anger and need to have things the way he believes they should be. Adam has even sided with heroes from time to time, including nearly sacrificing himself to repel the forces of Darkseid. We can only hope that he doesn’t get corrupted any further.

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While Miss Selina Kyle probably has the most sympathetic back story of any character on this list, she’s become so far from villainy and is actually so tame when it comes to her crimes, she ranks higher as an anti-hero than a straightforward villain. Beginning her story as a prostitute in Gotham’s seedy underbelly, Selina learned to survive by being as tough as nails, and as flexible as a cat, going on to don the famous costume when times hit especially hard. She has been a jewel thief for most of her career in crime, and is always on the look out for herself and her surrogate sister Holly Robinson. Selina never asked to be a criminal, she just did what she had to do to survive, and just got used to it over time. She’s also assertive as hell, always looking out for number one, and can side with anyone who can benefit her needs, which is usually Batman. The relationship between herself and Batman has become one of the enduring dualities in comic book history, as Batman rarely battles her in her criminal doings, and the two have even been romantically involved at several points, leading to her discovering Batman’s secret identity. With a troubled past, a hard-times-call-for-such-measures approach to life, and actually managing to get to Bruce Wayne’s soft side, Catwoman is so layered, that she barely even qualifies as a supervillain.

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Harvey Dent is Batman’s greatest failure, and a constant reminder of how much someone call fall from grace. Once the bold and crime-fighting district attorney who was on the verge of cleaning up Gotham for good, Dent’s own personal demons arose at just the wrong time. A childhood full of abuse and hardship lead to Dent’s revelation of a split-personality that he could barely control. Again keeping with the Joker’s idea of one bad day, Dent was finally pushed over the edge when a gangster threw acid in his face during a trial, which lead to the left side of his face hideously melted away. The psychological and physical trauma overwhelmed Dent, leading to self-doubt, self-loathing, and the violent altar-ego influencing his other half. Dent eventually became Two-Face, a villain at odds with his own duality, and so tortured that he couldn’t even tell right from wrong, and left all of his decisions to the fair flip of a coin. To this day, Two-Face not only is a victim as much as he is a tortured soul, but he represents Batman’s biggest failure in losing someone as good as Harvey Dent. Many are familiar with this story due to The Dark Knight, which perfectly summed up what Two-Face is: confused, angry, unsatisfied, and tortured. A man who lost control of himself, and thus, surrenders all in his life to chance.

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Whether he is Max Eisenhardt, Magnus, or Erik Lehnsherr. Whether he is Sir Ian McKellan or Michael Fassbender. Whether he wears a stupid looking bucket on his head, or bathes himself in purple, Magneto is everything a supervillain needs to be. He is ruthless, incredibly powerful, has done horrible things, and can justify all of it. Magneto is a survivor of the Holocaust, but not without losing his family and his home, and witnessing first hand what truly horrible things human beings can do each other. After discovering his mutant power to control magnetic fields and calling himself Magnus, he clashes with his close friend Charles Xavier over the hypothetical existence of a new race of humanity (which are revealed to be mutants). Xavier believes in peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans, but Magnus’ fear and first hand accounts of the Holocaust drive him to believe in inevitable war between the species. After discovering that Xavier is a mutant, Magnus becomes Magneto, and leaves his friend to found the X-Men. Originally portrayed as a megalomaniac, Magneto has become the Malcolm X to Xavier’s Martin Luther King. Magneto believes in protecting mutant kind from humanity that hates them, and is willing to use whatever means necessary (sound familiar?) to achieve that. Magneto stands as the self-imposed realist to Xavier’s dream, using his vast power to help keep mutant-kind safe from decimation and persecution, a fear he has every reason to believe given his backstory. He has even joined his enemies, the X-Men, to carry on his friend Xavier’s dream after Xavier supposedly died. He’s the Malcolm X of mutants, and given the story of Malcolm X, only close-minded people wouldn’t find either case sympathetic, and even valid.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/04/06/top-10-sympathetic-super-villains/

Top 10 Interesting Facts About Psycho

It was in 1960 that Alfred Hitchcock, master of suspense, released Psycho – based on the popular novel by Robert Bloch. All over the world it frightened the heck out of people, and subsequently went on to be considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Naturally, a film of such caliber does not go through production without some interesting stories to tell. Here are some of the best. (Beware of spoilers.)

William Castle

Not many know, but it was mostly the low-budget, gimmick-ridden films of William Castle that influenced Psycho. As a matter of fact, the film was sort of a game for Hitchcock, seeing whether a well-respected director such as himself could make an inexpensive film that would still do well at the box office, and it did. Hitchcock went to great lengths sometimes to keep the film cheap, such as deliberately filming in black and white (he has also stated that the film would have looked too gory in color), and using the crew from his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

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Back in 1955, Hitchcock tried incredibly hard to acquire the rights to the French novel Celle qui n’était plus, before being beaten to it by director Henri-Georges Clouzot by a matter of hours, who made it as Les Diaboliques. Some commonly believe that Psycho is Hitchcock’s unofficial version, and the two are quite similar, although it is also stated that Psycho came about when his plans for a film starring Audrey Hepburn called No Bail for the Judge failed.

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Everybody can recognize this scene the minute they see it, accompanied by Bernard Herrmann’s aptly named track “Screaming Violins”. It is a common story that Hitchcock had the water turn ice cold so that Janet Leigh could scream, but this is false. The scene took seven days to complete so the production went to great lengths to keep the water warm for her comfort. Hitchcock also wanted the scene to be accompanied by a deathly silence, but Herrmann went ahead and composed a score anyway. Thankfully, Hitchcock liked it and put it in. In the end, the scene contains 70 cuts and lasts just 45 seconds.

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Just thank the lord that only trace elements of infamous serial killer Ed Gein’s story was used as a mold for Norman Bates, otherwise Psycho would have been a much darker film. Bates is sort of a model of Gein, who is one of the most famous psychopaths in history, and elements of his psychological attachment to his mother were surely kept in the film. But remember what was left out – things like stealing corpses, decorating his house with body parts and creating a suit made of skin. Gein would later come alive in another serial killer, Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs.

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Also known as Horror Hotel, this Christopher Lee film is known as one heck of a coincidence. Other than being released in the same year, both start with the film following a young blonde, who we think will stay with us throughout the story. Midway through the film, they check in to a secluded hotel/motel, before being stabbed to death. Despite the similarities, people have said that due to the woman in City of the Dead being a minor star, it would never have had an effect on them like that of major starlet Janet Leigh being viciously murdered.

Saul Bass

As with many of Hitchcock’s previous films, Saul Bass designed the title sequence. In this film, Hitchcock managed to give him a larger role, allowing him to storyboard Det. Arborgast’s death scene – for which he got a “pictorial consultant” credit. His ideas for the sequence did not go so well though, and Hitch said that it set the audience to expect an inevitable murder. Years later, Bass claimed that he also story-boarded and directed the famous shower sequence, although many of the crew, including Janet Leigh, disregard his claims as false.

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Anthony Perkins was cast against a wave of protest from Paramount, due to his youth and his being unrecognizable to audiences. Janet Leigh was cast so that the film would have some star quality. Vera Miles was brought on because she dropped out of Hitchcock’s earlier film, Vertigo, due to pregnancy. One of the only casting choices that Hitch was against was John Gavin, whose performance he regarded as “stiff”. And as usual, he gave his daughter Patricia a small role as well.

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In the book, Norma Bates was fat, stubby and terribly unlikeable, but Hitchcock always figured that the best film villains must be nice and attractive. One of the other noticeable differences is the fact that Norman’s murderous behavior is not the result of psycho-physical damage, but blackouts brought on by heavy drinking. Some other small facts include the name of Mary Crane changed to Marion, the action taken from Fort Worth, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona, and Marion’s head being severed in the shower.

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In those times, audiences were shocked to see a toilet being flushed and this was the first film to show such an act. The toilet in the film was actually flushing paper, but nevertheless, the fact that a toilet was shown in close up being flushed was regarded as filthy. However, there were two cartoons made in the 1930s that also depicted toilets being flushed in clear view.

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Possibly to ensure the “authenticity” of a true low-budget film, Hitchcock came up with several famous gimmicks to raise awareness of the film, the most famous being that no one would be admitted after the film started. At a time when audiences came and went to films, Hitchcock required each cinema to ensure that every audience saw the film right from the start. Many were laden with life size cut-outs of Hitch pointing to his watch, ensuring audiences that they must see Psycho from the start, or else they would not see it at all.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/09/22/top-10-interesting-facts-about-psycho/

5 Common Medical Errors in Movies

I like being a volunteer paramedic but one rather small side effect is that I always notice how horribly wrong most movies and TV shows handle medical stuff of any kind. Sometimes there are only minor errors, sometimes rather big flaws happen. Of course some movies are more accurate than others, so I tried to find points that apply for most of them.

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Applying a tourniquet above or below a wound is something you see in movies almost every time someone has a bleeding that is more than a little scratch. In reality, this procedure is highly controversial among experts since it does not only damage the affected limb severely, but when a body part is cut off from blood supply, toxic substances begin to form quickly and when the blood flow is restored, these substances can be life threatening. Because of that, health authorities in many countries already decided to ban the appliance of tourniquets from the list of measurements taught at first-aid classes and advise paramedics and emergency doctors to use it in extreme cases only.

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Whenever someone loses a finger (or a toe or something else) in a movie, putting the severed part on ice is the first thing they do before rushing to the hospital. While it is advisable to keep the object in question cool (and germ free), actually freezing it would cause irreparable cell damage, especially in cases of direct contact to the ice.

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While giving birth is without a doubt a very painful experience, it is in most cases not as dangerous and torturous as most movies illustrate it to be. In industrial countries with a modern medicine system, approximately 95% of all births go down without any complications and 4 out of the remaining 5% only feature minor problems.

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The fact that only doctors are allowed to officially declare someone dead is widely known, still almost every movie chooses to ignore it. But even when we graciously overlook that, the methods used to assess a patients condition range from trying to feel the pulse (which is a procedure that is not used anymore to determine whether someone is dead or not) to poking the person or even just looking at him/her (not a joke, I just saw that a week ago). And if the characters come to the conclusion that the patient is dead, in many cases they do not try to reanimate him/her for no apparent reason – which is not only stupid and morally wrong but also criminal. By the way, this leads directly to my last point.

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Reanimation scenes in movies are probably not only the most frequent medical scenes but also the ones with the most errors. Most movies feature so many mistakes that you could probably write a second list about them. Common mistakes include the following subjects:

Speed – most movie-CPRs are way too slow, the correct speed is 100 bpm, which is coincidentally the speed of the Bee Gees “Stayin’ alive” ( or Queens “Another one bites the dust”, which has a slightly more morbid double meaning).

Ratio – The correct ratio between chest compression and ventilation is 30:2 for an adult, not 3:1 or 3:2 as seen in many movies.

Defibrillation – The main application for defibrillators is ventricular fibrillation, meaning the muscle fibers of the heart are contracting completely uncoordinated resulting in a lack of blood flow. In the case of asystole (no heart activity at all, the famous “flatline”), a defibrillator is useless until CPR restores some kind of heart activity.

Duration – Most reanimation scenes in movies only take a few minutes before the patient is declared dead. In reality, reanimations take at least 45 minutes and can be expanded to several hours.

Another interesting fact not directly connected to movies is that with every single minute without CPR, the chances of reviving a patient with cardiac arrest drop between 5 and 10 percent. So always update your knowledge about first aid, because one day it might prove useful to you.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/04/25/5-common-medical-errors-in-movies/

Top 9 Ongoing Cult TV Shows

Over the past decades, Televisionland has been blessed with shows that have garnered faithful multitudes of fans, and have influenced entire generations with their originality, compelling stories, and intricate universes. The fanatical commitment to these shows may at times be such, that fans are inspired to enthusiastically embrace these fictional worlds and create an entire culture around and beyond the shows themselves. These fans become a cult following of a show, and elevate such a show to cult status.

While there have been undeniable cult shows throughout the years (Star Trek, X-Files, Buffy, just to mention a few), they sometimes overshadow more recent and modern shows that enjoy cult status today. Here are the Top 9 cult shows currently running today.

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Jericho tells the story of a small town after a nuclear attack on major cities in the US. The plot involves political intrigue as seen from the perspective of the sealed-off town of Jericho, and a deep mystery regarding the state of the country in the aftermath of the attacks.

Jericho was cancelled by CBS after its first season run due too low ratings, but thanks to an intense campaign undertaken by the fans of the show, CBS was compelled to produce a second season. Sadly, the second season suffered from poor ratings as well, and it was cancelled yet again two months ago. Despite the intention of the fans to try bringing Jericho back once more, it’s very unlikely that Jericho will be returning to TV except in reruns.

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Who doesn’t know who The Simpsons are nowadays? The most famous nuclear family of all time has spent almost two decades lampooning American life and becoming an inseparable part of post-modern pop culture. Smart parodies of everything, a myriad of quirky characters, and often-hilarious situations have elevated the Simpsons into global super-stardom.

While some may argue that the Simpsons are not as funny as they once were, the series is still going strong, Simpsons quotes and jokes still abound in the minds of zealous fans, and many are still obsessed about where the heck Springfield is supposed to be at.

Futurama

Futurama comes from the same creators of The Simpsons, telling the adventures of Phillip J. Fry, who has traveled 1,000 years into a future filled with sci-fi and pop culture parodies. With the same great humor as seen in the Simpsons, Futurama tells hilarious stories set in a ridiculous universe where anything can and does happen.

Another case of life after cancellation thanks to the fans, Futurama is coming back to life with a new series of movies for DVD.

Southpark

South Park is a Comedy Central animated “no-holds barred, anything-goes” satire, definitely not suitable for children or the weak of heart. Four children from the town of South Park, Colorado have to face the most politically incorrect situations found on TV, while satirizing current world events. This show deals with issues of racism, politics, religion, drugs, violence, war, and sex without even flinching.

But behind the scatological humor and shock value that South Park provides, may sometimes hide an unapologetic critique of modern society, so all the craziness and relentless insult from this show, as its loyal fanbase may know, should not be taken at face value. Still, you don’t need to overthink it in order to enjoy the (usually) uncensored antics of the residents of South Park.

Battlestar Galactica

The new Battlestar Galactica TV series is known as a “re-imagining” of the original 1978 version. It tells the story of the last remnants of humanity as they journey across the stars aboard a fleet of ships led by the Battlestar Galactica ship, fleeing from the threat of the Cylons, and in search of the legendary lost colony known as Earth.

This modernized version enjoyed so much success as a mini-series that it became a full-fledged TV series in 2004 and is currently on its fourth season. The show became even more popular thanks to word of mouth and exposure on the Internet and elsewhere. Today it’s the subject of discussion and worship of many fans from all over the world.

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Family Guy is an animated series in the satiric vein of the Simpsons, with a dysfunctional family from Quahog, Rhode Island. The series currently consists of surreal stories often interrupted by ‘cutaway gags’, short sketches parodying celebrities, scenes from movies, and much more.

This series has miraculously been brought back from cancellation not once but two separate times, all thanks to the devotion and loyalty of its fans who kept good ratings on reruns and DVD sales. Both criticized and loved by many, Family Guy proves that cult followings have a very strong influence on TV.

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Heroes is a sci-fi drama series focusing on the lives of a group of people who begin to develop superhuman abilities, and must learn to adapt to them as they deal with their otherwise common lives, all while getting inevitably involved in a desperate race to save the world.

This series resembles in many ways comic book stories, not only theme-wise but also in its storytelling structure, and even in very lovely nods to comic book enthusiasts. The series has fleshed out a mythology of recurring themes and mysteries that provides an intricate and enthralling story, which many fans (even those who are not into comic books) have become obsessed with.

Dr-Who

Dr. Who tells the story of a being only known as “The Doctor” who travels through time and space aboard the TARDIS along with his trusty companions, helping those in need, saving entire worlds time and again, and fighting many evil threats to the universe such as the dangerous Daleks and the nasty Cybermen.

The longest-running science fiction series in the world recently experienced a modern revival which has sky-rocketed its popularity in Great Britain and all over the world. The series has expanded its existence through numerous episodes, movies, spin-offs, and much more in a span of over four decades. And as it did so, a strong cult of loyal fans has evolved, rejoicing in the many adventures of The Doctor. Long debates as to who’s the best Doctor of all time are becoming much longer as you read this.

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LOST, a drama/thriller series created by Damon Lindelof, J. J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber is… well, terribly difficult to describe. It started pretty simple: after crash-landing on an island in the Pacific, the survivors of Oceanic flight 815 must strive to keep alive while tackling the many mysteries and cryptic dangers that the island is hiding. But, as the series progressed, viewers discovered that the rabbit hole in this gem was much deeper than anyone imagined. Every character (of which there are many) has a troubled past and sins to hide, as depicted by the flashbacks that accompany each episode; mysterious ‘Others’ began to appear who threatened their lives and hid a much grander mystery about the Island; and much, much more. The mysteries and plot twists get more intricate and surprising as the show progresses, and will certainly make your brain hurt if you don’t pay attention. Most of this description, in fact, may have been rendered obsolete by recent episodes. Yup, it’s that crazy and amazing.

While some may argue that this show is too popular to be considered cult, you can discern the cult following of this show as those people who are obsessed with the complex mythology the show has created: theories about where and what the Island is, what the “the monster” is, what’s the deal with that DHARMA Initiative; and even be able to recite The Numbers from memory. I’m glad to say that describes me pretty well.

Contributor: Kreachure

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/05/31/top-9-ongoing-cult-tv-shows/

Top 10 Star Vehicles That Were Black Holes

Ah, the Star Vehicle for musicians-turned-actors. Eager to cash in on fan goodwill, a red hot rep, or simply fifteen fleeting minutes of fame, record industry weasels convince musicians they can act— all for a quick buck. Some, like David Bowie and Frank Sinatra cross over effortlessly, with consistently interesting results. Others just have results.

Star Vehicle: Cool As Ice

This is the only movie I know of whose title actually predicted its box office reception. How did this even make it past the 100-word pitch session? Life lesson, Ice: Nobody is Marlon Brando from “The Wild One”, not even James Dean. And he was JAMES FRIGGEN DEAN. What chance did you think a white-bread rapper from Plano, TX was gonna have? Go the Baskin Robbins where your agent now works and deliver a sound beating. Save a little for yourself. Note: Ice now resides in the netherworld of reality television, where he throws drum kits and chairs at porn star Ron Jeremy. And people say there’s no justice…

Star Vehicle: Buster

80’s radio was Phil Collins’ bitch, be it as frontman for Genesis or in his ubiquitous, white-hot solo career. You simply couldn’t escape the man. I’m sure this harmless little film by a rather likable harmless little guy (he looks more and more like Charlie Brown with each day), was probably just Phil looking for new worlds to conquer. But when Buster grossed a whopping $540,000, it seems the market finally had enough and banished him to Disney soundtracks for the next decade or so.

Star Vehicle: Tougher Than Leather

In 1988, rap music had finally blown up. BIG. And nobody was bigger at the time than Run-DMC. “Tougher Than Leather” was to accompany an album of the same name as a follow-up to the triple platinum “Raising Hell”. These three guys were poised to own America and kick you out, but “Leather’s” plot was wafer thin and the budget would buy you a Happy Meal if you didn’t supersize. This was just enough to slow Run-DMC’s momentum from world-conquerors to the guys you see at the beginning of Ken Burns-ish montages of rap history (usually in black and white, with their music played softly behind the narrator’s copy points). Leonard Maltin said it best–“Run D Other Way”.

Star Vehicle: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

A Beatles musical? Um… no. Wait thirty years, use Abba instead, and understand it will still only play to women over forty and men who are either married or gay. This abomination (and a gay-ish satin jumpsuit Billy Squier would avoid) stopped all the “Frampton Comes Alive!” hoopla dead. Not just Hollywood dead, but Dead Dead. But I am grateful for the harm that “Pepper” did to the Bee Gees, however, and that explains “Pepper’s” lower placement on this list.

Star Vehicle: Glitter

Glitter reeked of Mariah Carey’s desperation to stretch her decade-long career Just. A. Little. Longer. But this bomb was so embarrassing Sony bought up Carey’s contract rather than let her make another album, movie, infomercial, psychic hotline ad, or voicemail greeting with the Sony name. That’s one very costly GTFO, but yes, “Glitter” was that bad. Carey subsequently had a nervous breakdown, and met many of her fans in therapy (who blamed her movie for their own breakdowns).

Star Vehicle: Under the Cherry Moon

Yeah, His Royal Badness was great playing himself in “Purple Rain”, but this 40’s-style snoozer was so bad he limited his next film appearance to concert footage only (the excellent “Sign O’ The Times”). “Moon” won four Golden Raspberry awards for Worst Director (Prince), Worst Supporting Actor (Jerome Benton), Worst Picture and Worst Actor (Prince). It was also nominated for Worst Screenplay and Worst Supporting Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas). This was a very rare misstep from an artist who had the golden (or should I say purple?) touch. Maybe he was distracted because he was sleeping with…

Star Vehicle: The Allnighter

Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs was, is, and will always be a talented singer and terminally cute, to boot. I’d take a run at her when she’s ninety and I’m eighty-two and we’re both too old to remember what to do anymore. This film was supposed to launch Susannah beyond her “Walk Like An Egyptian” fame, but enduring it is like watching someone else’s paint dry. Correction- it’s like watching paint dry in a laundry room of someone you don’t even know.

Star Vehicle: Get Rich or Die Tryin’

This is the only movie I know of that actually threatens its own audience in the title: as in, “I will get rich from this movie or you will die while I’m tryin’ “. Thinking that if a scrawny Detroit whiteboy can get PAYD in movies, rapper and multiple gunshot volunteer 50 Cent thought he could, too. But Eminem brought an urgency and vulnerability to his biopic, and there is simply no vulnerable part of 50 Cent. The film died trying to recover the $40 million it cost to make. (Note: If Fiddy ever reads this, remember, Listverse member “lawandorder” wrote it. Everybody got that?)

Star Vehicle: Shanghai Surprise

“Desperately Seeking Susan” made $27 million and showed that Madonna had some genuine screen charisma. But the studios were really banking on “Shanghai Surprise” to bring the major payday. Not so much: the film was intergalactically panned, and a string of bad films failed trying to capitalize on her fanbase before Madonna finally hit paydirt with “Evita”. Sadly, Madonna decided to reprise “Shangha Surprise” with “Swept Away”, which earned seven Golden Raspberry awards, including Worst Actress.

Star Vehicle: Love Me Tender or Any of 30 Other Films

Look on his works, ye mighty, and despair: the King’s film output was so mediocre and so prolific he actually inspired his own film genre. Don’t believe me? If I say “Val Kilmer’s “Top Secret” is really an Elvis movie”, you know exactly what I’m talking about. A supremely talented singer done in by his own fame and fortune, Elvis turned to Hollywood on the advice of his manager Colonel Tom Parker. Sure, he made money, but his rep didn’t fully recover until the famed ’68 comeback. Note: Never take career advice from someone who sounds like they would feed you from a bucket. Before KFC, only hogs ate from a bucket.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/05/06/top-10-star-vehicles-that-were-black-holes/

10 Great Cheesy Action Movies of the ’90s

There are plenty of action movies that are just bad; plain and simple. Bad acting, script, editing, effects, you name it. This is not a list of those movies. Sure, they may have aspects of all the above mentioned, but they still manage to work. Some movies are so gratuitously cheesy that you can’t help but fall in love with them. They are so bad, they are good. They are the guilty pleasures of the film world. The nineties brought a wave of these popcorn selling blockbusters, and in many ways revolutionized modern action movies.

Think Nicolas Cage (gracing our list 3 times) performing useless somersaults amidst a gunfight with John Travolta in a church, as a dozen doves inexplicably migrate through the room. Think Charlie Sheen having relations with Kristy Swanson while engaged in a high speed pursuit with policeman played by Henry Rollins. Think Keanu Reeves wrestling with a laid-back California surfer accent, and Patrick Swayze with his inexplicable karate moves. These movies are perfectly awesome, dripping cheese sandwiches.

Armageddon

This movie is filled with a gratuitous amount of corny one-liners. This is an example of a perfect “F” movie; so bad it is good. The plot follows Bruce Willis, a master oil driller, and his team of predictable misfits. The team of misfits is the last line of defense against an asteroid “twice the size of Texas” (why is Texas always used as the standard for measuring asteroids in movies?) heading straight for Earth. The team is charged with the task of boomeranging around the moon to generate enough speed to land on the asteroid. Once on the asteroid they are supposed to drill into its core and blow it in half with a nuke. No problem.

Cheesiest Moment Award: Before heading into space, A.J. (Ben Affleck) and Grace (Liv Tyler) share a painfully cliché scene. As they are holding each other, and getting all mushy gushy, Liv Tyler says, “Baby, do you think it’s possible that anyone else in the world is doing this very same thing at this very same moment?” To which A.J. replies, “I hope so, otherwise what the hell are we trying to save?”

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The secret sauce to a successful John Woo movie: explosions, somersaults and John Travolta. John Woo leads the pack in physics-defying explosions. Woo’s explosions have conquered the air, land, and sea, whether it be a helicopter, train, motorcycle, or boat. Thank goodness we don’t live in a Wu-Physics world otherwise bicycles, skateboards, pogo sticks, and horses would be exploding all the time.

Cheesiest moment award: Christian Slater, Delroy Lindo, and Frank Whaley come to the conclusion that Vic Deakins (John Travolta) has duped them, and that he is in fact heading in the opposite direction of where whey they originally thought. After pleading with Lindo to chase down the bad guys, Lindo responds with, “Captain Hale, do you know what rules are?” Hale replies, “Yes.” Lindo declares, “Good… Because I’m about to break them.” [Cue testosterone inducing action music.]

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This one walks a fine line between being very cheesy and absolutely terrible. Even L. Ron Hubbard would have been offended by John Travolta’s atrocious acting in this beauty of a film. The movie shamelessly wastes 118 minutes of your life that you will never get back, save for one glorious scene in which John Travolta delivers the most poorly written and acted line in the history of film.

Cheesiest Moment Award: In an all-time classic cheesy scene, Travolta complains about his new role with the bad guys, “I can assure you, that I was not groomed since birth to have some cushy job that even a moron like you could perform! While you were still learning to spell your name [emphatic]… I was being trained to conquer galaxies!”

Demolition-Man

115 glorious minutes of John Spartan (Stallone) and Simon Phoenix (Snipes) running, yelling, diving, and dropping unforgettable one-liners. The concept of the movie revolves around Stallone who was cryogenically frozen because he was too violent as a police officer, and accidentally, you know, killed some people. Apparently if you do your job too well, they will throw you in a giant block of ice and freeze you for thirty-something years. They thaw him out in 2032 to capture his arch-nemesis Simon Phoenix, who for some reason has a bleached blonde half Afro. And how about the character names John Spartan and Simon Phoenix? Only in an action movie can you get away with names like that.

Cheesiest Moment Award: Throughout the entire movie Simon Phoenix refers to himself in the third person, often saying “Simon Says…[insert cheesy command].” At one point of the movie, Phoenix declares, “Simon says… Die!” It was an unintentional hilarity.

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Days of Thunder is the oldest movie on the list, barely making the cutoff. But thank goodness it did. What list would be complete without Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise) spending 110 minutes trying to convince us that he is a the best Nascar driver in the world, after only haven driven a couple months? The cheese is spread on thick the entire movie, ranging from Harry Hogge’s (Robert Duvall) monologue with a car, Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) desperately trying to be a tough bad guy, a destruction derby race on the beach, and a romance between Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman) and Cruise.

Cheesiest Moment Award: The romance between Cole and Claire starts with Cole grabbing Claire’s hand and placing it on his groin declaring, “I think this is what you are looking for.” Earlier in the movie Harry Hogge surprises Cole with a stripper disguised as a police officer. As a result, apparently Cruise’s character thinks every woman is a stripper.

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Dennis Quaid is entertainingly unbelievable, in everything he does. Dragonheart is shamelessly fun to watch, despite Quaid’s inability to act his way out of a paper bag. The movie picks up years after Draco, a dragon with the voice of Sean Connery, gives half his heart to save a young prince. Bowen (Quaid) is a dragon slayer hell-bent on a mission to kill the dragon responsible for corrupting the heart of a ruthless king. The film is a classic “buddy movie” as the two supposed enemies team up and befriend one another against a common enemy. As cheesy as this movie is, it stills seems to pull at your heartstrings at the end, courtesy of Randy Edelman’s great score.

Cheesiest Moment Award: While on dragon hunting business, Bowen corners Draco into his home, a small cave under a waterfall. Bowen approaches Draco for the kill with swashbuckling pride. Draco declares, “Since you seek a profit, we might as well begin.” To which Bowen replies in as gravelly and gleeful a voice as he can manage “Oh don’t flatter yourself, it’s not the profit, it’s the pleasure!”

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Who doesn’t believe the sincerity in Nicolas Cage’s voice when he says “Put the buunnnaay back in the box” or “Tie a ribbon ‘round the old oak tree, cause this boy’s comin’ home” in his best Southern drawl? Where he managed to dig up that atrocious accent, I don’t know, but I can’t get enough of it. The movie follows Cameron Poe (Cage) who was imprisoned for accidentally killing a man who was trying to rape his fiancé. The judge sentenced Poe to prison declaring, “You are a deadly weapon and are not subject to the same laws as other people that are provoked.” Which laws? Who made these “special laws”? I think everyone watched that scene and thought, “Ummm, huh?”

Cheesiest moment award: One of the cons aboard the “flying prison” double crosses Cyrus “The Virus” (John Malkovitch) by fleeing without him on a small Cessna airplane. John Cusack causes the con to wreck the plane before it can take off, causing it to spew jet fuel everywhere. As the con stumbles from the wrecked plane – completely covered in jet fuel – he says to Cyrus, “Cyrus we were coming to get you! Cy-” Cyrus cuts him off, “-anara” and throws a lit cigarette on him, blowing him up.

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This entire movie is a bubbling, drippy, cheese sandwich. The story revolves around Jack “The Red-Nosed Robber” (Charlie Sheen). The premise of the movie being Jack has escaped from prison after being wrongly accused of being the Red Nosed Robber, a serial bank robber who dresses as a clown. The story picks up with Jack robbing a gas station using a candy bar as a fake gun, and kidnapping Natalie (Kristy Swanson).

Cheesiest Moment Award: At the very end of the movie Jack is surrounded by hundreds of police officers. He has no way out. After he gives himself up, Kristy Swanson hijacks a helicopter – yes, a helicopter. The two fly off to Mexico, have kids and live happily ever. Deliciously cheesy, indeed.

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Where to start with this awfully great movie? As an actor, Keanu Reeves is a flaming dumpster fire. While he may have the personality of a roof shingle, his movies never cease to entertain. The movie follows a budding young detective Johnny Utah (Reeves) and his laughably stereotypical jaded mentor Pappas (Gary Busey). Reeves goes undercover posing as a surfer to find a gang of surfers thought to be robbing local banks, cue: Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Bodhi is the local surfing legend, and inexplicable karate and Zen master.

Cheesiest Moment Award: Tie: While chasing Bodhi from a bank robbery, Johnny Utah lands on his bad knee and hurts himself so badly he can’t run. Knowing Bodhi is going to escape, he aims his gun at him. Bodhi turns around and gives him a genuine “puppy dog” look as the camera zooms in on his dreamy blue eyes. So dreamy, in fact, that Johhny Utah can’t pull the trigger. He instead decides to aim the gun straight up in the air screaming “Aaaahhhhhh!!” unloading the entire clip.
In another scene Johnny Utah almost has his face shoved into a running lawnmower by a bad guy (Warchild). Pappas comes to the rescue, shooting the lawnmower (instead of, you know, the bad guy) which promptly shuts off. Pappas points the gun into Warchild’s face and says, “Speak into the microphone, squid brain.”

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In action films, there is a fine line between cheesy and sophisticated. John Woo shamelessly poured cheese all over that line, and Face/Off is the result. This is not to suggest that Woo poured recklessly, and that the result was a complete mess, on the contrary it was done quite artistically. The film is tightly edited and the gunplay is filmed to present over-the-top action in all its glamor.

Cheesiest moment award: As Sean Archer and Caster Troy battle each other on the land, sea, and in the air for the entirety of the 2 hour 18 minute film, they eventually end up fighting for the steering wheel of a speeding boat while simultaneously attempting to kill each other with fists, anchors, propellers, and spear guns. They briefly stop fighting in order to brace themselves for the imminent impact of their boat with a dock before a small beach shore. The next moment has what you might describe as one of two different things: an operatic quality or so cheesy you can’t take it all in at once and must avert your eyes. The moment the boat impacts the dock, it goes flipping into the air in glorious slow-mo with Archer and Troy flying through the air in front of it. The boat explodes as they land safely on the beach.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/10/19/10-great-cheesy-action-movies-of-the-90s/

Top 10 Satires of Horror

Horror is an odd genre of film. It’s a staple of cinema, but at the same time, it’s arguably the stalest and most worn-out genre. Think back to the last great horror film that was full of surprises, genuine tension, and actual scares. Not many come to mind. Instead, what’s grown popular is the lampooning of horror. Noticing this, I’ve listed the ten best spoofs (old and new) of the horror genre. I should say, though, that I’m a huge horror fan. I may have some negative things to say in this article, but that’s only because I wish the best for one of my favorite genres. Enjoy.

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The first actual, full-on spoof of the stale genre was 1981′s Student Bodies. A very strange film, it centers around ‘The Breather’ (called so because of his heavy breathing), a serial killer targeting students over the phone. While spoofing the various cliches and tropes found in Friday the 13th, Prom Night and Halloween, the film also delivered several very strange but original moments, including an infamous janitor named Stick and a body count meter in the bottom corner. Ending with several twists stacked onto each other, the film is beloved as a cult hit and ushered in the age of ‘self-realization,’ with those horror franchises named before accepting their goofiness and ham, briefly giving them a shot to the heart.

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Much like Student Bodies, 2000′s Scary Movie was a response to the stagnate horror genre, taking to town many films, the most prominent being Scream and I know What You Did Last Summer, with many potshots also had at various horror films like The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project. Despite being released almost 20 years later than Student Bodies, a lot of the things it parodies (slutty cheerleaders, ignorant locals, the hackneyed twist ending) were true in the ’70s and ’80s, further showing just how predictable the genre can be. The film is mainly a take on Scream (which was actually satire too), with a parody of the killer from that film, Ghostface, terrorizing a small town and its youth. It also launched it’s own franchise, with a fifth installment coming some time in 2013.

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While not as obvious a spoof as the last two films, James Gunn’s Slither is still satire, albeit light, as it’s also a tribute. What it’s both mocking and celebrating are the gory, splatstick B-movies of the ’80s, like Class of Nuke ‘Em High and Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Films like those inspired Gunn to work in Hollywood, and he pays them respect while also tongue-in-cheek making fun of the small, backwoods town and cliches, including the town’s many characters. Largely similar to Night of the Creeps, another B-movie, the film’s about a local southern place in the middle of nowhere targeted by aliens who wish to enslave everybody. Filled with over the top gore and a mix of slapstick and legit horror, it’s become one of the newest editions in the cult film pantheon.

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This low-budget, independent film is really only satire in its deconstruction of the tropes found in horror films. Largely, it’s more a love-letter to the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises, with the main character, Leslie Vernon, being just like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. Filmed in the mockumentary style, this 2006 sleeper hit follows Vernon, who by day hires a film crew (much like Man Eats Dog) to explain the various whats and whys of being a psycho, ritualistic murderer, and who by night set ups those very rituals and scenarios, such as picking the virgin, getting her friends to go to the abandoned woods, etc., all so he can brutally murder them. Its tearing down of the stereotypes found in campy, scary movies is both smart and subtle, with a dosage of black humor. A sequel is currently being written.

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Mel Brooks, known for many hilarious satires, from the old west in Blazing Saddles to Broadway in The Producers, sets his eyes on the horror icon itself, Frankenstein’s monster, in 1974. It’s a complete reworking of the Frankenstein saga, only done in classic Brook’s fashion, with plenty of slapstick and meta-humor. Some of the humor is subtle (Igor’s hump switching locations), much of it is broad (‘Puttin’ On the Ritz’), but it’s all very funny and very smart, successfully paying tribute to the classic tale and also lampooning its many cliches. Brooks would later try to replicate this formula with Dracula: Dead and Loving It to less success.

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Released in 2010, this recent spoof targets the ‘back-woods murderous redneck’ trope, found in many films including Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Unlike those films though, the main characters in this film are the rednecks, who aren’t murderous at all. Instead, they’re both incredibly nice, warm people but due to a series of misunderstandings and pure bad luck, are mistaken for those very stereotypes by a group of teenagers vacationing in an old cabin in the woods, who begin to attack the poor guys. It’s a complete reworking of the original cliche, and it works brilliantly, giving rednecks a rare, fair credit.

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Another take on the Frankenstein tale, this one comes from the legendary comedy pair of Abbot and Costello, who were known for many kooky adventures. Despite the title, this is more of a ‘monster movie’ spoof than a specific Frankenstein spoof, with both Dracula and The Wolfman being included. In the film, the helpless duo end up unleashing Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster unto the world, and along the way come across the Wolfman too. Like their previous films, it’s zany and full of slapstick, but is still both funny and relevant. Like Young Frankenstein later, the many cliches of Frankenstein are poked fun at, only this time, two more monsters get the treatment.

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Directed by the master of horror himself, Wes Craven, Scream manages to be both a complete deconstruction of slasher films and at the same, a great horror movie. Instead of being goofy and silly like other parodies before it, it uses those tropes for it’s advantage, with the murderer of the film, Ghostface, terrorizing a group of students using the various rules of horror movies, like not having sex and not doing drugs. The film openly acknowledges the tropes associated with this type of film, which makes the film stronger and unique. Even the twist ending is fresh. Smart, humorous, and edgy, it was followed by three sequels.

Shaun Of The Dead

Zombies, a staple of horror since the very beginning, had managed to get through the years without a lot of mockery or grief. That changed in 2004 though, with Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, a hilarious rundown of zombie cliches and tropes. It’s centered around the titular Shaun, a workaholic with a fratboy best friend and a failed relationship, who’s thrust into the zombie apocalypse. Filled with as much heart as it has laughs, it’s become one of the most popular zombie films of all time, despite making fun of the entire idea throughout. It’s also part of Edgar Wrights ‘The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy,’ with Hot Fuzz (a parody of action films) and The World’s End (a parody of sci-fi).

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The most recent of these films (just released in April, 2012), The Cabin in the Woods is an ambitious, brave take on pretty much everything horror. A group of youths travel to an old, abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere, and what follows is exactly what you would imagine: sex, drugs, and murder. The thing is though, (and this isn’t a spoiler, honest), it’s all being controlled by some organization. From drugging the kids so they become dumber to blocking all the exits, they make the teenagers their puppets. The film only gets weirder and crazier as it goes along though, but every cliche and stereotype and monster all get a turn at being spoofed. It’s violent, funny, sexy, and most of all, original. It’s exactly what the horror genre needed, and hopefully it inspires more creativity.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/04/16/top-10-satires-of-horror/