55 Academy Award Achievements

With the Oscars right around the corner I thought it would be fun to put together an Academy Award list. Because there are so many Oscar lists out there I wanted to do a unique list in a hopefully fun and entertaining format. This bottom to top list (10 to 1 with a bonus of 0) will have the number representing the number of achievements and lists those achievements accordingly. So I guess you could say it’s a list within a list. All accomplishments on this list are prior to the results of the 82nd Academy Awards scheduled for March 7, 2010.

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Achievement: Ten Oscar Winners that Have Appeared in 3 Oscar Winning Best Picture Films

1. Donald Crisp Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) , The Life of Emile Zola (1937) and How Green Was My Valley (1941)

2. Clark Gable, It Happened One Night (1934) , Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Gone With the Wind (1939)

3. John Gielgud Around the World in 80 Days (1956) , Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982)

4. Hugh Griffith, Ben-Hur (1959) , Tom Jones (1963) and Oliver! (1968)

5. Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy (1969) , Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Rain Man (1988)

6. Diane Keaton The Godfather (1972) , The Godfather Part II (1974) and Annie Hall (1977)

7. Shirley MacLaine, Around the World in 80 Days (1956) , The Apartment (1960) and Terms of Endearment (1983)

8. Meryl Streep, The Deer Hunter (1978) , Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Out of Africa (1985)

9. Morgan Freeman, Driving Miss Daisy (1989) , Unforgiven (1992) , Million Dollar Baby (2004)

10. Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) , Terms of Endearment (1983) , The Departed

Interesting Fact: In the film Million Dollar Baby Morgan Freeman was originally approached to play the lead role of Frankie Dunn. But even before Clint Eastwood took on the directing and starring role he decided to take the part of Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris.

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Achievement: Nine Actors to Win a Tony Award and an Oscar for the Same Role

1. José Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac (1947/1950)

2. Shirley Booth in Come Back, Little Sheba (1950/1953)

3. Yul Brynner in The King and I (1952/1956)

4. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1957/1964)

5. Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker (1960/1962)

6. Paul Scofield in A Man for All Seasons (1962/1966)

7. Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1965/1968)

8. Joel Grey in Cabaret (1967/1973)

9. Lila Kedrova, and did it the other way around. She won an Oscar for Zorba the Greek, in 1964 and 20 years later won a Tony for the same role in Zorba in 1984.

Interesting Fact: In the film The King and I, three musical numbers were filmed and then deleted from the movie. They were: “My Lord and Master” (a ballad sung by Tuptim shortly after her arrival in the palace) – “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” (a soliloquy for Anna, in which she comically expresses her anger towards the King) – “I Have Dreamed” (another duet for Tuptim and Lun Tha) – It was felt that “My Lord and Master” and “I Have Dreamed” didn’t do much to advance the plot, and the number “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” would make Anna sound too whiny and nagging.

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Achievement: Eight Times Actors Have Been Nominated Posthumously

1. Jeanne Eagels, The Letter (Nominated Best for Actress) 1928/9

2. James Dean, East of Eden (Nominated for Best Actor) 1955

3. James Dean, Giant (Nominated for Best Actor) 1956

4. Spencer Tracy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Nominated Best Actor) 1967

5. Peter Finch, Network (Won for Best Actor) 1976

6. Ralph Richardson, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (Nominated for Supporting Actor) 1984

7. Massimo Troisi, Il Postino (Nominated for Best Actor) 1995

8. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (Won for Supporting Actor) 2008

Interesting Fact: In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a hotel room for about six weeks. Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. Ledger’s interpretation of The Joker’s appearance was primarily based off of the look of punk rocker Sid Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell’s character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange.

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Achievement: Seven Oscar Nominations for a Non-Speaking Role

1. Jane Wyman, Johnny Belinda (Won for Best Actress) (1948)

2. Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker (Won for Best Supporting Actress) (1962)

3. John Mills, Ryan’s Daughter (Won for Best Supporting Actor) (1970)

4. Marlee Matlin, Children of A Lesser God (Won for Best Actress) (1986)

5. Holly Hunter The Piano (Won for Best Actress) (1993)

6. Samantha Morton, Sweet and Lowdown (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress) (1999)

7. Rinko Kikuchi, Babel (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress) (2006)

Interesting Fact: In the film The Miracle Worker, for the dining room scene, Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke wore padding beneath their clothes to prevent serious bruising during the intense physical skirmish. The nine-minute sequence required three cameras and took five days to film. You can watch the scene here.

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Achievement: Six Winning Oscars for Performing in a Spoken Language Other Than English

1. Sophia Loren, Two Women (Italian) 1960

2. Robert DeNiro, The Godfather Part II (Italian) 1974

3. Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful (Italian) 1997

4. Benicio del Toro, Traffic, (Spanish) 2000

5. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose (French) 2007

6. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spanish) 2008

Interesting Fact: With Penelope Cruz winning an Oscar for her role as Maria Elena in the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona it continues a trend of young actresses winning Best Supporting Actress Oscars in Woody Allen films. Previous winners were Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite (1995) and Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994) .

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Achievement: Five Actors Winning Back to Back Oscars

1. Luise Rainer: Best Actress for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and Best Actress for The Good Earth (1937)

2. Spencer Tracy: Best Actor for Captains Courageous (1937) and Best Actor for Boys Town (1938)

3. Katharine Hepburn: Best Actress for Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner (1967) and Best Actress for A Lion in Winter (1968)

4. Jason Robards: Best Supporting Actor for All the President’s Men (1976) and Best Supporting Actor for Julia (1977)

5. Tom Hanks: Best Actor, Philadelphia (1993) and Best Actor for Forrest Gump (1994)

Interesting Fact: Not only is Luise Rainer (Pictured above) the first woman to win two Academy Awards and the first person to win them back to back she is also the oldest living Oscar winner. Rainer was born of Jewish parents in Dusseldorf, Germany and made three German movies. Because of the rise of the Nazis in her home country, she accepted a contract from M-G-M in 1935and departed with her parents to Hollywood. She now lives in London and on January 12, 2010 she celebrated her 100th birthday. You can watch a 100 year birthday tribute here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVCWkOh_KHY

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Achievement: Four Woman Nominated for Best Director

I found this hard to believe because there have been so many talented woman directors over the years. No woman has won an Oscar for Best Director and only four have been nominated.

1. Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties (1976)

2. Jane Campion for The Piano (1993)

3. Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003)

4. Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)

Note: The Hurt Locker was first released theatrically in Italy in 2008. It was then released in the United States in 2009 and will be eligible for the upcoming Academy Awards. So Kathryn Bigelow could be the first woman to win an Oscar for Directing.

Interesting Fact: Lina Wertmüller’s films are highly reflective of her own political commitments, with the main characters either dedicated anarchists, communists, feminists (or all) .

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Achievement: Three films winning for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Writing

In the Biz this is known as “The Big Five” or the “Oscar Grand Slam”.

1. It Happened One Night (1934) Director: Frank Capra Actor: Clark Gable Actress: Claudette Colbert Writing Adaptation: Robert Riskin

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Director: Miloš Forman Actor: Jack Nicholson Actress: Louise Fletcher Writing Adapted Screenplay: Laurence Hauben and Bo Goldman

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Director: Jonathan Demme, Actor: Anthony Hopkins Actress: Jodie Foster, Writing Adapted Screenplay: Ted Tally

Interesting Fact: Clark Gable gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night to a child who admired it, telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark’s death in 1960.

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Achievement: Two Directors that Directed Themselves to an Acting Oscar

1. Laurence Olivier, Director of and Best Actor for Hamlet (1948)

2. Roberto Benigni, Director of and Best Actor for Life Is Beautiful (1998)

Neither Olivier or Benigni were awarded the Oscar for Best Director

Interesting Fact: In the film Hamlet, Olivier played the voice of Hamlet’s father’s ghost himself by recording the dialog and playing it back at a reduced speed, giving it a macabre quality. You can hear the voice at 2 minutes and 49 second into this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu46pOY0itc

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Achievement: One Actor Winning 4 Oscars

Katharine Hepburn holds the current record for the most acting Academy Awards won by an individual. The movies are: Morning Glory (1933) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) The Lion in Winter (1968) On Golden Pond (1981) All 4 Oscars are for best actress. You can see all four of her Oscars here.

Interesting Fact: Another one and only achievement is the only actor to win an Oscar for playing a real-life actor who has received an Oscar. Ironically it is Cate Blanchett for winning Best Supporting actress in the 2004 film The Aviator, in which she played Katharine Hepburn.

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Achievement: Zero Science Fiction Films Winning Best Picture

Sci-fi movies have never been a big favorite for the Academy. District 9 and Avatar are both up for best Picture for this year’s academy awards and a win from one of the two would mark the first best picture Oscar for a science fiction film. There have only been a few nominated science-fiction films for best picture in the past, including A Clockwork Orange (1971) , Star Wars (1977) and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) .

Interesting Fact: There are several legends attributed to the “Oscar” nickname. Betty Davis claimed to have dubbed the statue with the name because its backside reminded her of Harmon Oscar Nelson, her husband. Another story claims the Academy’s first librarian, Margaret Herrick, named the award because it reminded her of her uncle Oscar. Columnist Sidney Skolsky lays claims to making a vaudeville reference when he coined the name in the press. The Academy began officially calling the award Oscar in 1939.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/02/24/55-academy-award-achievements/

Top 10 Record Setting Programs On American TV

Television has become a staple part of life for the majority of people and in some countries television is now regarded as an essential human right (ridiculous in my opinion). Through the years, many shows have come and gone, but some have stuck around and become world record setters. This list looks at 10 of those programs.

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Record: Longest running cooking show.

Originally airing in October 1989, and continuing to the present, “Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito” has been running on public television stations coast to coast in the US and also worldwide for 20 years. Host Mary Ann is responsible for all the content on the program, and she has to avoid certain recipes that wouldn’t hold up well under the hot lights of a television studio. She has also published 10 cookbooks covering Italian cuisine and focusing on Sicilian and Neapolitan favorites.

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Record: Longest running scripted drama.

“Gunsmoke” was an American television staple for 20 years between September, 1955 and September, 1975. The show, set in Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870’s, was an extension of a highly popular radio program of the same name, but the TV show featured a different cast. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) was faced every week by western despots who had no respect for the law or his friends, Chester, Festus, Doc, and Miss Kitty.

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Record: Longest running scripted comedy.

Animator Matt Groening originally created “The Simpsons” as a series of short clips to be featured on The Tracey Ullman Show in the late 1980’s. The show became one of the first ratings hits for the fledgling Fox Network when it was expanded into a weekly half-hour primetime show in December, 1989. “The Simpsons” initially focused on juvenile rascal Bart, but eventually switched to the lovable Homer as the star of the show. In 2007, “The Simpsons” was released as a full-length feature film, and the television show is currently still going strong in its 20th season.

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Record: Longest running game show.

Although “The Price is Right” originally aired in 1956 with host Bill Cullen, it was discontinued in 1965. When it returned in September, 1972 with new host Bob Barker (coming over from “Truth or Consequences”), the new version found unprecedented longevity. “The Price is Right” changed hosts with the retirement of Bob Barker in 2007, but it has continued to outlast a changing television landscape for 37 years, and has survived to the present, largely due to a resurgence of the show’s popularity on college campuses.

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Record: Longest running children’s program.

The Children’s Television Workshop and muppet creator Jim Henson combined to create a powerful children’s show in 1969 that featured education and entertainment. The show originally aired in November, 1969 and has continued to the present for an amazing 40 years. Many of the “jokes” in the programming are intentionally aimed at adult viewers, and “Sesame Street” has the unique ability to attract both toddlers and their parents.

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Record: Longest running program filmed in Hollywood.

Although it is set in Port Charles, New York, daytime drama “General Hospital” is the longest West Coast production on American television. The show debuted in April, 1963 as a half-hour program, and expanded to a full hour in 1978 to remain a constant fixture on ABC for 46 years. The show’s highest point was achieved in the early 1980’s with the marriage of Luke and Laura (the highest viewership of any daytime drama for a single episode), and a wacky plot involving secret agents, world domination, and a mysterious object known as The Ice Princess. When popular Laura (Genie Francis) left the show briefly, she was replaced as Luke’s love interest by a young and savage Demi Moore.

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Record: Longest running sports program.

This event originally aired in 1962, and was an extension of the Professional Bowlers Association. The “Pro Bowlers Tour” was highly responsible for the popularity of bowling in America during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the championship game regularly drew many more viewers than did college football. When ABC ended its yearly run with the “Pro Bowlers Tour” in 1997, it was briefly picked up by CBS and then the Fox Sports Network through 2000. Finally, ESPN gave it a permanent home in 2001, where the “Pro Bowlers Tour” has been able to continue enjoying its uninterrupted run for 47 years.

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Record: Longest running daytime drama.

Soap opera “Guiding Light” made the jump from NBC radio to CBS television in June, 1952 and is scheduled to air its final episode in September, 2009, giving it a run of 57 years. The show has survived and rolled with many marketing swings (color television, African American characters, expansion from half-hour to full-hour, etc.), but was finally axed on April 1, 2009 by CBS. Although the last official episode will air on September 19, host Proctor & Gamble is still in negotiation to move the program to another venue and perhaps keep the series alive at a new home.

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Record: Longest running network newscast.

Originally airing in August, 1948 with anchor Douglas Edwards, the “CBS Evening News” has been the flagship program for the CBS network for 61 years. The anchor desk is extremely stable, and has featured only six news anchors during its entire run. The venerable Walter Cronkite followed Douglas Edwards, and Cronkite was eventually succeeded by Dan Rather. Following a brief pairing of Dan Rather with Connie Chung in the mid-90’s, Rather continued as the sole anchor until a scandal forced him to resign in 2005. He was briefly replaced by Bob Schieffer, and the current anchor desk is held by Katie Couric.

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Record: Longest running show in worldwide broadcast history.

“Meet the Press” is a Sunday morning talk show that began in November, 1947, and features a moderator and topical guests discussing everything from politics to the economy to foreign affairs. Eleven moderators have graced “Meet the Press,” including original moderator Martha Rountree, Roger Mudd, Chris Wallace, and its longest-serving moderator of 16 years Tim Russert. When the ever-popular Tim Russert died unexpectedly in 2008, he was briefly replaced by a retired Tom Brokaw, and finally by David Gregory, which all adds up to an amazing 62 years of continuous television broadcasting.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/05/05/top-10-record-setting-programs-on-american-tv/

10 Frighteningly Disturbing Movie Scenes

Listverse offers a host of lists that refer to “most disturbing movies,” but this list is dedicated for specific scenes that viewed in and of themselves are disturbing to watch. This list does not claim to highlight the most gory or disgusting scenes (e.g. scatological terrors from 120 Days of Sodom), but rather, scenes that due to their content or taboo subject matter are the most psychologically disturbing. Not all films would be traditionally labeled “horror.” Though some directors have a host of disturbing movie moments, I have limited the list to only one film per director. Films are arranged in no particular order.

Please note:

1. The following list contains spoilers. Do not read if you do not wish to know plot details of these films.
2. Incase it wasn’t already obvious, video clips depict disturbing content, so watch with caution.
3. Movie lists are always subjective, so bear in mind that I claim no definitiveness to this list. Feel free to comment with your own selections.

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Describing the plot of a David Lynch film is always a challenge, but loosely, Mulholland Drive follows the troubled romantic relationship of two actresses. In the final scene, Diane (Naomi Watts) is chased into her bedroom where she subsequently commits suicide by a menacing old couple for no apparent reason. The husband and wife, were introduced early in the movie as a happy and benevolent couple. The scene is disturbing for a variety of reasons. One: the old people enter her apartment as miniaturized versions climbing underneath her front door. They are clearly figments of her imagination, but are terrifying nonetheless. Two: the exaggerated expressions of the old people. They smile ghoulishly, reaching their arms out in a stereotypically menacing form and subsequently scare the shit out of Diane. Anyone who is familiar with David Lynch knows that his movies are full of weird-ass stuff, but this scene takes the cake. If you peruse the internet you will find a multitude of websites dedicated to analyzing his art, but regardless of any interpretations, it’s a freaky scene. The full scene is not currently available online.

In this class film by critically acclaimed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, the character of Karin (Harriett Andersen) suffers from schizophrenia that leads her to believe that people are talking to her through the wall of her attic. She claims the people are awaiting the coming of God, who will enter through a closet door. The film gives hints as to the seriousness of Karin’s delusions, but it is not until this scene that the audience is able to see the full extent of her madness. In the jarring scene, Karin rushes upstairs to speak with the “voices,” who inform her that the time has come and that God is coming. As she waits, the vibrations of a nearby helicopter coming to the island to take her back to the mental hospital inadvertently causes the closet door to slowly swing open, seemingly of its own accord. Seen as a tangible confirmation of her beliefs, Karin waits with elation, but upon seeing what lies behind the door experiences a complete schizophrenic breakdown. What she sees or believes she sees is not revealed until later, but the realistic portrayal of schizophrenia, paired with Andersen’s stellar acting ability, make it a rather disturbing scene. The full clip is available above, but readers are encouraged to watch this fabulous film!

The Last House on the Left was recently (2009) remade, fitting with the current “torture porn” trend in Hollywood horror films. Yet this is one of the rare instances in which the original film by Wes Craven was actually more disturbing than the remake. The film follows two young women who are captured and tortured by a group of four criminals led by a sociopath named Krug (David Hess) who has recently broken out of prison. Banned at the time in several countries, the film is filled with blood and guts, including close-up shots of a disembowelment, but the scene I have chosen is the one I found the most psychologically disturbing. While the rest of his group holds her down, Krug carves his name into Mari’s (Sandra Cassel) chest, and then brutally rapes her. Following the rape, the group allows Mari to get up and put her clothes back on. Obviously traumatized and almost dysfunctional, Mari wanders despondently into a nearby river, where Krug shoots her in the head. There have been numerous films that have depicted rape scenes, but what makes this scene particularly disturbing is the attitudes of the group once the rape is completed. The audience observes in Krug a look of regret over his actions, suggesting that he is ashamed of his behavior but powerless to stop it. The only female in the group, a woman named Sadie, looks almost bored, and mechanically goes about trying to clean up after the rape. This is paired with a beautifully morose soundtrack sung by David A. Hess (who plays Krug himself), that seems wildly inappropriate given the context of what has just happened. The full film is available on YouTube at the above link, but this disturbing scene occurs around the 49 minute mark.

In this classic science fiction/horror film, Edward Jessup (William Hurt) is a university professor of abnormal psychology who is obsessed with other states of consciousness. Jessup travels to Mexico to participate in an indigenous psychedelic ceremony, and after tripping on an unknown substance takes a large amount back with him to the states for “formal research.” This scene is the second of Jessup’s “extreme trip” sequences, which occur while he tests the drug inside of a water oxygen-deprivation chamber. An attempt to describe this scene in detail would be pointless, but let’s just say there is a brief crucifixion sequence where a man’s head is replaced with that of a ram’s. Full scene above.

Casino, a classic film by an acclaimed director with a star-studded cast, is often mentioned in movie lists. Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is a Jewish-American top gambling handicapper who is called by the mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas. The mob also sends Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) to ensure that money from the Tangiers is skimmed off the top to profit the mob. Santoro proves over time to be a huge liability both to Rothstein and to the mob itself, and in typical Las Vegas fashion, Santoro and his brother are eventually taken to the desert and killed by mob bosses. Two things make this scene disturbing. One: up to this point Santoro had narrated the majority of the film, yet his narration is cut off mid-sentence when he is hit from behind with a shovel and then viciously beaten. This is surprising to the audience, as it contradicts the old-age assumption that any narrator, whether in movies or in print, must survive the story. The second reason it is a disturbing scene is the method used to kill Santoro and his brother. After being brutally beaten to the point of complete helplessness, the mob dumps their still living bodies to be buried alive in the Nevada desert. Though Pesci’s character was a nuisance, it is a tragic and violent end to a character who provided some comic relief for the film. Full scene above.

Creepshow, directed by George A. Romero, the famous director of the “Night of the Living Dead” films, collaborated with Stephen King on this anthology film, who even has a small (but comical!) role himself in the second sequence. The film presents five horror stories in a “comic book” type fashion, and though it is intentionally campy and melodramatic at times, it nevertheless contains some true horror. The (arguably) creepiest scene of the film is “Something to Tide You Over,” based on a short story written specifically for the film by King. In this sequence, Richard Vickers (Leslie Nielson) exacts a cold and calculated revenge against a man named Harry Wentworth (Ted Danson), who has been carrying on an affair with Richard’s wife. Richard drives Harry to a nearby beach, claiming that he has captured Becky (Richard’s wife) and that she is in serious danger. Once they arrive, there is no sign of Becky, but Richard goads Harry into burying himself up to the neck in the sand with the promise that once he does this he will get to see Becky. True to his word, once Harry is completely trapped, Richard reveals to him a live-streaming video screen, with which Harry sees that Becky is also buried up to her neck in sand and is able to watch him on a similar video screen. Trapped and total immobile, Richard calmly informs Harry that the rising tide will soon drown him, and then leaves.

For any viewer (like myself) who is in the habit of imagining themselves subject to the experiences of the people in films, this was a particularly horrifying scene to watch, as the slow reveal of the plan makes it that much more frightening. It is also disturbing to see Leslie Nielson, a man famous for his comedy performances (e.g. Airplane, Naked Gun) take on a role as a sadistic killer. I first saw this film about ten years ago and this scene has stuck with me since then as a particularly unfortunate way to die. Though the full scene is not available, you can watch a short clip from the sequence above.

Though the notorious film, The Human Centipede, is perhaps lacking in the artistic quality of the other film’s on this list, it would seem a gross miscarriage of justice to not give it a mention, as “disturbing” is pretty much the only way to describe it. Directed by Tom Six with the deliberate intention of creating a film so over-the-top and grotesquely shocking, the film succeeds with its premise alone. For anyone not familiar with the plot, an insane German doctor develops an obsession with the idea of creating a “human centipede,” by literally stitching humans together, asshole to mouth, which he successfully achieves after kidnapping three incredibly unlucky victims. The implications of this surgery in terms of the digestive tract are obvious but are too gross to detail here, so I will leave it up to your imaginations. Surprisingly, but perhaps due to its already profoundly disturbing content, viewers have noted that the film itself is not particularly gory or bloody (the same could not be said for the abomination that is The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence), but rather uses camera tricks and subtleties to show the “centipede” post-op. In light of this, I have chosen as the most “disturbing scene” from this film as the one where the doctor slowly and methodically explains to the three victims what he is about to do to them, complete with visual diagrams and a professional presentation. Needless to say, the victims are not excited. Trailer above.

I hesitated to include Clockwork in this list simply because it is so obvious a choice, but in truly thinking about it, it has earned its reputation. A Clockwork Orange depicts a futuristic London where youth gangs run rampant and law and order have come to a virtual halt. The film focuses on a youth named Alex De Large, who is the leader of a gang of four whose regular nightly activity consists of terrorizing the public as much as possible. The scene most often referenced, which I give credence to here, involves Alex and his gang breaking into the house of a middle-aged couple, for no reason but to cause general mayhem. Alex severely beats the man while singing and dancing to the classic “Singin’ in the Rain,” and then brutally rapes the man’s wife while he watches, which later results in her death. The scene is remembered for it’s over the top violence, and its use of what had been to that point a classic, innocent song that has been steeped in more sinister connotations ever since. What is most disturbing about this scene is the utter joy with which Alex and his friends go about their task, and the contrast of this joy with the abject terror of their victims. Despite the large numbers of “criminals,” we have in our modern prisons, as a whole as a society we generally draw the line between crimes that are done for necessity (robbery) and those that are done purely for the joy of it. It is for this reason that this scene is so jarring – the horrifying violence and rape are just seen by Alex and his group as a typical nightly outing.

In the academic world, Deliverance is often viewed as a subtle critique of the introduction of unwanted industrialization to the rural South, yet for the majority of men, it is remembered for an entirely different reason. The plot follows four Atlanta businessmen who decide to take a leisurely canoe trip into the remote Georgia wilderness. Expecting fun and adventure, they are instead met with hostile, inbred hillbillies who do not welcome the invasion of their territory and do not appreciate the men’s condescension towards them. In an infamous scene that qualified the film for this list, a hillbilly forces Bobby (Ned Beatty) to strip in the woods, then humiliates and brutally sodomizes while instructing him to “squeal like a pig.” Though female rape has been depicted countless times in film, the inclusion of a male rape scene was far more shocking and a more “taboo” subject, as male rape and homosexuality in general have long held an even greater societal stigma. Thus, this is a scene that has made males squirm ever since the film first came out, and is one of the main reasons why the film is remembered today. The scene is also memorable for John Voight’s rather blasé reaction to the rape, which adds an element of comic relief.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with its countless sequels, prequels, and remakes, is a well-known staple of the horror genre, yet most films never top their original. The modern TCM movies generally revolve around blood and guts, and while the original had some of that too (but to a lesser extent), the first “kill” is a classic example of how subtlety can be more effective than gore. Kirk, one of five hapless teenagers whose car breaks down on a road trip, is the first one to be killed by the infamous “Leatherface.” Wandering into the home in search of help or a phone, he notices an open door at the end of a hall that reveals a red wall studded with what appear to be bones and other ritualistic objects. Kirk, overcome with curiosity, continues through the hallway, where suddenly Leatherface appears, slamming him in the side of the head with a mallet. Kirk is reduced to a quivering/twitching mass on the floor, and he is dragged into the red room by Leatherface, who slams the door abruptly behind him. We never see Kirk again.

This scene works on a psychological level. First of all, its suddenness catches the viewer off guard. While anyone watching a movie called the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” of course realizes there will be violence, Leatherface’s entrance is so abrupt it is truly frightening. Secondly, the scene works because it doesn’t show us exactly what happens, leaving our minds to do the rest of the work. Unimaginable horrors lie behind the locked door, and we are easily convinced that Kirk’s fate is pretty much the worst thing that could ever happen to you from walking into a stranger’s house. These features as a whole make it a memorable scene. Full video above.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/10/01/10-frighteningly-disturbing-movie-scenes/

Top 10 Best And Worst Shark Films

The date was June 20th, 1975, when milestone film Jaws made a splash in the entertainment business. Steven Spielberg’s larger than life movie dragged audiences from their seats into the depths of the ocean for the thrill ride of their lives. The movie profoundly affected our desire to stay away from beaches, and revolutionized Hollywood films, by producing the first ever blockbuster hit. Today’s list is dedicated to the legacy Jaws spawned. We’re honoring the best, and worst, shark movies in different categories.

It should be no surprise that the most expensive film on this list had the greatest special effects. The mako sharks looked authentic thanks to director Renny Harlin’s intelligent use of both animatronics and CGI. Their proportions weren’t too exaggerated, their movements were fluid and their skin had a rubbery, realistic appearance. Additionally, the action sequences were choreographed smoothly, so the explosions, the flooding of the lab (which will scar claustrophobics) and the encounters with the sharks were each epic and distinct, without being repetitive and overtly cliche. Deep Blue Sea was a surprise hit for shark fans and stands as the second best shark movie out there.

Interesting Fact: Makos are one of the few shark species in which cases of embryophagy has been recorded. This means that, in the womb, the strongest embryo will consume its brothers and sisters. This form of cannibalism is meant to give the reigning embryo enough food and nutrients needed until it’s born. Yikes.

The promise of 3-D is good, right? Wrong! Jaws 3-D decided to revisit the classic tale, and beat the dead horse even more, or in this case, the dead shark. Our favorite giant killer was reduced to cheap, formulaic shots, giving the impression that very little effort was put into its creation. He’s left looking like a submarine (even more so than the actual submarine in the film), eliminating all chances for it to look realistic; it’s a three foot robotic tank that glides. Furthermore, the film was comprised of many opening and closing mouth clips, plumes of red water and countless tired, mechanical movements. The production crew behind this film relied far too much on the superficial satisfaction of 3-D graphics, thus further blemishing the good name of Jaws. This movie were insulting to audiences and sharks alike.

Honorable Mention: Megalodon. Almost the entire movie is CGI and it’s far from any worthwhile special effects.

This is cheating but hear me out first. 12 Days of Terror was a docudrama, released by the Discovery Channel, which focused on the true events that happened along the New Jersey shore in 1916. People were subjected to twelve days of (you guessed it) terror, as there appeared to be a man-eating shark in the river. Four swimmers were mauled to death and a fifth was seriously injured, reaching national headlines by the third week and capturing the attention of audiences everywhere with this unfounded news. That leaves 12 Days of Terror with the best plot. It’s simple, it’s real and it had a chilling mystery (the species of the killer[s] was never scientifically verified).

Interesting Fact: Such an event was unheard of up to this incident. People began to fear sharks as dangerous man-eaters, creating a panic that resulted in full-scale shark hunting parties. This event also inspired Peter Benchley to write the novel aptly titled Jaws.

Two alien spaceships collide with one another, causing a generator aboard one of the ships to fall into the Bermuda Triangle. The device was powered by space crystals, which produce a negative effect on the sharks, awakening their killer instincts and driving them mad. The sharks attack an underwater research lab, cutting out the power and oxygen. The Navy sends specialists to rescue the people trapped inside, only to discover a black-ops team within the lab that have their own secret agenda.

Did that confuse you as soon as the aliens were mentioned? Raging Shark’s plot was contrived, cheesy, predictable, awkward and just plain ridiculous.

Honorable Mention: Blood Surf – athletes, looking for the latest extreme sport, cut themselves before surfing in shark infested waters to entice the vicious creatures to chase them. Little do they realize the real killer in the water is a man-eating crocodile. You’re promised sharks and get a reptile instead. Total bummer, dude.

Jaws 2 didn’t surpass the quality and suspense of its predecessor, but in comparison with other shark sequels, it’s the best. Director Jeannot Szwarc returned with the original film’s protagonist, Martin Brody, to further explore the waters of Amity Island. There’s blood, there’s brutal deaths and plenty of shark footage to boot. Certainly not as well rated, Jaws 2 didn’t meet the expectations of audiences, but provided enough of a mediocre thrill that it was moderately satisfying.

Interesting Fact: If confronted with a shark, remember these tips. Do not to flail around; instead swim rhythmically. Keep them in your sight and pretend you’re ready to fight (most sharks will avoid prey that appear as if they’re able to attack). Be sure to stay calm. Panicking will frighten the shark and make you look vulnerable, a combination that would be fatal. And if it does attack, fight back. Use any object with you and aim for its eyes and gills.

Jaws 4: The Revenge is the worst shark sequel for three reasons. The first pertains to the “revenge” this movie is named after. Protagonist Ellen Brody, now a widow, believes the great white in the water has a vendetta against her family. This point she’s certain of when she leaves Amity Island and travels to the Bahamas, only to find the shark has followed her. Now correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the shark die in the first, second and third films? So what vendetta would this shark have against the Brody family?

The second reason is the climatic ending. Ellen is out on a boat, ready to confront the beast. As the shark swims toward her, she begins to have flashbacks of the iconic scene from the original film when her husband valiantly shot the tank in the shark’s mouth and saved the day. She remembers this vividly, even though she wasn’t there when it happened. The beauty of the scene, however, is the moment the Jaws 4 shark jumps out of the water, only to be harpooned and then explodes… for no reason. No tank of gas. No explosives. No electrical wiring. The shark explodes because it was stabbed.

The final reason is perhaps the most simple of details but a big one nonetheless. The shark roars with a T-Rex-like growl but sharks don’t have vocal cords. You do the math. This was a terrible film and an even more awful ending to the Jaws legacy.

Honorable Mention: Shark Attack 2 – the sharks growl like lions. Enough said.

Two people, out with a scuba diving group, are left behind when the crew fails to do a proper headcount. The couple is stranded out in the ocean with no signs of land in any direction. They soon realize that they aren’t alone. Surrounding them, both jellyfish and sharks inhabit the area. They are left with few options as they struggle to survive the harsh open waters.

In real life, the people in charge of scuba diving trips and tours are very careful, taking every precaution to prevent situations as the one described above from happening. That being said, being stranded in the middle of the ocean is not unheard of, and it is speculated that this movie is based on the real life disappearance of Tom and Eileen Longergan, in similar circumstances, while diving the Great Barrier Reef. Out of all the shark movies, this circumstance has the highest probability, unless aliens start dropping crystals in the Bermuda Triangle or sharks explode randomly.

Interesting Fact: Tiger and bull sharks are ranked as the most dangerous predators. Both species have indiscriminate tastes and are known to hunt along the surface and shores. Not to mention both these sharks are naturally curious about all moving objects.

A megalodon and giant octopus find themselves frozen in the midst of an colossal battle, back when the Earth was still young. The two giants remain frozen until the present age, when the results of global warming thaw them out and unleash them back into the waters. The megalodon and giant octopus wreak havoc across the globe, attacking bridges, drilling platforms and even jets. Scientists decide the only way to defeat these beasts is by pitting them against each other, in one final epic battle.

Debunking this movie is simple: sharks back out of fights if their opponent appears capable of defending itself and octopodes avoid fights altogether by use of camouflage. Sorry, folks. We’ll never see a battle of this monstrous proportion in real life.

Honorable Mention: Hammerhead – a devastated scientist implants hammerhead shark DNA into his son to keep him alive after he’s diagnosed with cancer. The DNA turns him into a horrible beast that attacks- actually, there’s no need to go on because that tells you enough already.

What other shark movie had you lifting your feet off the ground in the movie theater? Which one made you nervous to take a shower? What film changed the audience viewing experience forever? Jaws is, and always will be, the best shark story ever told. This classic had it all: the cast were each three-dimensional, the effects were impressive, the plot was original, it was scary, heartbreaking, thrilling and eye-opening all at once. Jaws accomplished what no other shark film has been able to do since its debut.

Interesting Fact: The famous animatronic shark was named Bruce, after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer. It was also referred to as the Great White Turd and Flaws, for the many times it broke down. Bruce now tours museums, while Bruce II can be found at Universal theme parks, in the backlot tram ride.

Think of everything that was great from Jaws and then picture the exact opposite, all compiled into one movie; that’s Shark Attack 3 in a nutshell. The acting was horrendous, leaving characters bland and unrealistic. The effects were lazy, resulting in laughable footage, rather than bone-chilling and iconic moments. And the plot has been seen hundreds of times before. There’s nothing new, exciting or worthwhile in this film. Why it was even made is the biggest concern you’d be left with after viewing this mocking shark movie.

Honorable Mention: Sharks in Venice. Think of it as Snakes on a Plane, except with sharks and in Venice.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/06/28/top-10-best-and-worst-shark-films/

10 Male Supporting Actors who Deserved Oscars

Once again the Oscars are nearly upon us. It is always an interesting time for film buffs and even us regular people who like to see comparisons of our favorite actors. We have previously published two lists on the oscars and, in preparation for this year’s event, we are now publishing our third – courtesy of FlameHorse.

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Let’s start with a funny one, shall we? If you haven’t seen it, you should, because it was unjustly panned by the critics (they don’t know good movies, especially comedy), so you know it’s good! Leibman plays the alcalde (mayor) of a small Mexican town, and he’s ruthless beyond belief.

Everything he does, from masked balls to torturing the innocent “pipples” is sent up hilariously over the top, and he’s an absolute riot with every line. He screams about half of them at the top of his lungs, almost singing opera. It’s like watching a cartoon character. He’s the Daffy Duck to George Hamilton’s Bugs Bunny.

Hamilton’s great, too, of course, in dual roles, one of them sidesplittingly gay, but as usual, the villain steals the show. The scene in the second masked ball where Leibman comes walking down the opulent staircase dressed as Henry VIII will kill you every time.

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Another outstanding work of comic art, from one of the Renaissance men of deadpan acting. Jones is to acting as Steven Wright is to stand-up comedy, and yet, he threw it all aside just this once, for one romp on the merry-go-round, as one of the four-man Daedalus team, old-school astronauts who come out of retirement to show the rookies how to do it.

It’s especially great to see Kelly and Oddball (from Kelly’s Heroes) team up for old time’s sake, and Garner is a joy as always, but it’s Jones’s effortless charisma that steals the show for him. The scene in the centrifuge with him and Eastwood is a lot of fun:

“First one to pass out buys the beer tonight.”

“You’re on.”

“Say, fellers, is y’all’s equipment broke down in there?”

It’s the ease with which he says the lines, and makes them come out with life and color. Like when Eastwood goes to see him for the first time after 12 years, and breaks the ice like so:

“You know what the worst day of my life was?”

“No.”

“The day Armstrong set foot on the moon. Guess I was the only man on Earth who felt like committing suicide that day.”

“Well THANKS FOR THAT, FRANK! We hadn’t talked in 12 years, and that’s pretty much been the big question on my mind. What would make you commit suicide.”

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Shakespeare makes or breaks the actor. Spencer Tracy, one of the greatest in history, has a rather glaring absence of Shakespearean roles on his resume. Laurence Olivier is to date the only actor to have won an Oscar for a Shakespearean performance, and it was the most difficult of all, Hamlet.

But Branagh should at least have been nominated for his fiendish, gleefully sadistic turn as Iago, the villain of villains (as noted elsewhere on Listverse). Laurence Fishburne is powerful as Othello, but it’s Branagh who sticks in the viewer’s mind most indelibly. He makes you hate him. You want to kill him, to jump into the screen and cut his throat to watch him gasp and gurgle his last breath. That’s the mark of an actor portraying a villain.

They could have passed over James Cromwell in “Babe” (the one about the pig), in favor of Branagh.

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And yet, Levine trumps him by portraying a completely different sort of villain, someone disgusting and repugnant and thoroughly horrifying, “Buffalo Bill.”

Bill is a composite of several real killers, primarily Ed Gein, who really did make a woman suit out of women’s skin. But he was retarded. Levine’s portrayal is that of a man without mental handicap, who just isn’t in his right mind. He wants to be a woman, but can’t get the surgery. So he goes for the next best thing, and Levine’s portrayal is brilliant primarily for the fact that he does not appear to understand that women are people also.

He refers to them as “it,” not “she.” In the scene in which he tricks a woman into getting into his van to help him with some furniture, he doesn’t ask her to get in. He says, “Uh, get in the truck. I wanna push it all the way in.” A command issued as politely as he can manage to keep the subterfuge going, but still a firm command, not a request. It was scripted as a request. Levine argued his case and the director agreed.

He speaks in a really weird, garbled bass voice, as if he’s not entirely on planet Earth. And who can forget him mocking the woman in the pit, when he yells, at first like a creaky door opening, then maniacally, pulling his shirt out to simulate breasts? He’s studying the woman, like you’d study a chimpanzee to learn what it’s thinking.

He may have been snubbed because of the misfortune to be in a movie with an unbelievably more frightening, repugnant, riveting performance of a psychopath. Once you get a taste of that, you tend to forget all else.

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One of the most gleefully malicious villains in film, and Hopper gives it irresistible verve. He feels betrayed by the police force he’s worked for for so long, having lost a thumb, and received a tiny pension and a cheap gold watch. Time for some payback, to the tune of $3,000,000.

He’s lost his mind, that’s for sure and for certain, because he’s prepared to go all the way and kill people. He’s not an empty threat. He blows up one bus with driver just to show he isn’t bluffing.

He intends to blow up the second, full of passengers, and as he’s about to do so, he says with a shrug and a smile, “Too bad, Jack, you could’a made a good cop.” He’s enjoying it. No one else in the movie is as commanding.

But his best line is a quick ad lib as he escapes Keanu Reeves, with Sandra Bullock wired to blow. The script read, “Goodbye, Jack.” Hopper changed it to “Goodbye, Jack. Punk!”

Bonus: it’s Keanu Reeves’s best performance so far (which isn’t saying much) since he actually puts some emotion into the role.

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Nobody, but nobody, has ever cussed more colorfully on screen than Gleason as the redneck SHERIFF BUFORD T. JUSTICE, OF TEXAS!!!

He’s chasing the Bandit from Texarkana, TX, 600 miles to Georgia, and he is PISSED the whole way! Gleason is not over the top in this performance. He just lets his blistering frustration speak for itself, and he’s right, because it’s hilarious watching someone else who’s angry, when you’re not involved.

His son’s bride has run away and joined the Bandit. Justice ain’t happy.

“Nobody, NOBODY makes Sheriff Buford T. Justice look like a possum’s pecker!”

“Except for tha–”

“Shut yo’ ass…”

But his best line is, in this lister’s opinion, when he orders food, definitely to go, at a diner.

“Lemmee have a…diablo sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, and make it fast, I’m in a goddamn hurry!”

He suggested the entire scene in the diner. It wasn’t in the script. Everything he says makes you laugh until your ribs hurt. He also ad libbed his famous communism speech:

“Nobody runs out on a pretty wedding I set up! She insulted my town…she insulted my son…SHUT UP! She insulted my authority! And that ain’t nothin but pure and simple, old-fashioned communism! Happens every time one of those dancers starts poontangin around with those SHOWFOLK FAGS!”

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He made the AFI’s list of greatest movie villains, and yet didn’t even get nominated for an Oscar. Whereas, two villains ranked below him, Verbal Kint and Alonzo Harris, weren’t just nominated, but won Oscars. Does that make sense? (FYI: the Oscars are political)

Rickman is suave, classy in his London suit and tie, his multiple languages, but in no time, you find that he is one ruthless barbarian. He blows away Takagi, a father of five, personally, point-blank, right in the face. “Okay. We’ll do it the hard way. Theo, see if can you dispose of that.”

He’s sociopathic. He’s a career thief, but a special breed, who has no problem killing to get to the money. Rickman is terrifying and atrocious at the same time, with that marvelous, metallic voice creeping you out the whole way.

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To date, the only accurate portrayal of Doc Holliday. Kilmer’s a sight better than Victor Mature or Kirk Douglas, who look about as tubercular as Secretariat. Kilmer steals every scene he’s in, as the likably eccentric dentist who had to give up his practice and go out west to dryer climes, because he was coughing tuberculosis in his patients’ faces.

He is, therefore, unfalteringly fearless, and necessarily scares the life out of every bad guy who crosses his path. You can see it in their faces. The Cowboys will pick fights with the Earps, or anyone else, but not Holliday. Holliday is always ready to go down in a blaze of glory, because he’s doomed to die before his 40th birthday anyway.

Kilmer nails all this. He plays Doc as a man who has nothing left but the will to destroy himself for fun. He lands the Georgian accent perfectly (as opposed to the other two mentioned). As a result, the audience feels the need to back away from him whenever he shows up on screen. Give him a wide berth. But also to hide behind him when he’s around the Cowboys.

His ridicule of Johnny Ringo’s pistol twirling is dead-on. His drunken poker game with Ike Clanton et al. is uproarious, as he wins hand after hand, takes pile after pile of their cash, and then gleefully infuriates Ike to his face, “Maybe poker’s just not your game, Ike. I know…let’s have a SPELLING CONTEST!” Then he starts laughing heartily as they drag Ike away from him.

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Although Gleason has the distinction of being the most colorful cusser in film, Ermey has got to take 1st Prize for the most violently foul-mouthed performance in history. The first 40 minutes or so of the film are all about him, and he’s so awe-inspiringly commanding that the actual war scenes afterward don’t have any punch to them.

Add to this the fact that Director Stanley Kubrick allowed him to ad lib about 50% of his lines, which Kubrick only allowed for one other actor in history, Peter Sellers. Kubrick was notorious for being a tyrant on set when things didn’t go his way. But Ermey put him in place at one point, by barking ATTENTION! at him, whereupon Kubrick jumped up straight before he realized what was happening.

Ermey was an honest-to-God drill instructor for the Vietnam War, and served a tour in Vietnam, then two tours in Okinawa, and was medically retired for wounds sustained. He knows what war is, and how to train men for it, and that’s why this will probably remain, forever and ever amen, the most accurate portrayal of a Marine Corps DI, and basic training, in all of motion pictures.

The tough DI is a stereotype in war films, and before Ermey there were several good ones, notably Jack Webb in “The D. I.” But after Full Metal jacket, up to now, every DI character has been modeled on Ermey’s performance.

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Sellers portrayed bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau with such slapstick perfection that Blake Edwards reworked the entire Pink Panther series of films to highlight Sellers’s character, not David Niven’s, the debonair diamond thief.

It was intended to be a vehicle for Niven, but Sellers so convincingly stole the whole show that he’s the only thing remembered from any of the movies. It may be that the Academy overlooked his performance because it was so focused on another of his around the same time, a triple role in Dr. Strangelove, which came out the next year.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/01/28/10-male-supporting-actors-who-deserved-oscars/

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/