Welcome back to a new podcast episode! This week is another 80s crossover event from the 80s League! This month’s topic is 80s Movie Villains. Robert and Paul go through some of their favorite/most hated 80s movie villains. Paul also broke down and watched last year’s Ghostbusters movie. Come hear the exclusive review in this show. There is a new Play This, Not That, featuring Survivor. We had a Remember That Song winner, so there is a new one this week.
We would love to hear who some of your favorite 80s villains are. Please comment below, or email us at email@example.com.
Opening Segment of this 80s Crossover Event
Check out these sites that are participating this month:
Welcome to the latest 80s Crossover Event! This month, The 80s League is tackling 80s Movie Villains. Look for a Return to the 80s podcast episode on this topic, coming soon. There are so many awesome villains to choose from, so I would highly recommend these other blogs and podcasts, and see who they choose.
And in addition to our podcast, Robert wrote this article on his favorite ’80s movie villains. We would love to hear who yours are. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear from you. Now, make like a tree and get out of here, and check out Robert’s awesome article.
In my high school English classes we read a ton. In different grades, different texts are read including short stories, plays, poems, and novels. While all of these have different difficulty and interest levels, they have one important element in common: conflict. A story does not exist without conflict. Take this for instance: Two friends are sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch. Friend A has a baloney sandwich and is munching away. Friend B has a ham and cheese sandwich and is also silently munching away. No conflict, no story. Let’s try this: now Friend A, who is silently eating that baloney sandwich, looks down at that sandwich and sees way too much mustard on it. Friend A slowly peels the sandwich apart, stands, and smacks Friend B in the face with it. Now we have conflict – and a story.
Clearly, conflict is a necessary element in every story and one of the simplest conflicts to manufacture is good vs. evil. So many movies from the ‘80s used this conflict to intrigue us, manipulate us, enrage us. Think back to all those “bad guys” from those classic ‘80s films. That is just what I am doing here. I have decided to present my list of most hated ‘80s villains, all terrestrial – no aliens or monsters – just humans, dastardly, ugly, conniving, horrible humans.
William Zabka and Martin Kove – Johnny Lawrence and John Kreece from The Karate Kid
I first saw The Karate Kid upon it’s release in 1984. The only actor I recognized was Pat Morita who played Daniel LaRusso’s karate instructor Mr. Miyagi. The protagonist, LaRusso is new to California and goes to a new high school where he knows no one. He is the natural underdog who becomes an easy target for the Cobra Kai, a local karate dojo. Two members of the Cobra Kai, instructor John Kreece and his star pupil, Johnny Lawrence, take it upon themselves to make a living hell for poor Daniel. Johnny and his boys continually jump a helpless LaRusso who receives no sympathy from dojo leader Kreece. Johnny continually beats the tar out of Daniel with the full support of Kreece who does not believe in any sort of mercy for anyone. Kreece’s ultimate nastiness shines through during the finals of the All Valley Karate Championship, LaRusso picks up an injury to his knee in the semifinals (another Cobra Kai member delivers an illegal blow, at the behest of Kreece). During the final round LaRusso is pitted against Johnny. He is clearly bothered by the knee injury and Johnny can see his weakness. After dropping a few points, LaRusso is able to claw back a bit and get a point himself. Johnny gets a bloody nose and, during the time out, talks to Kreece. It is during this talk the Kreece delivers his horrible line, “Sweep the leg. . . You have a problem with that? No mercy.” Of course, Johnny does it. Even though he knew it was wrong, he does it. Both are nasty to the core.
Thomas Wilson – Biff Tannen from Back to the Future
A year later I saw Back to the Future in theaters and and other pretty nasty character reared his ugly head – Biff Tannen. Biff is a sarcastic bully who is used to getting what he wants all of the time. He picks on the hero Marty McFly, accosts Lorraine, and makes George McFly do his homework. He verbally abuses everyone around him. From calling George an “Irish bug” to labeling Marty a “butthead” (in the same scene), Biff is an insufferable jerk. Perhaps his ultimate barbarous nature comes out during the film’s climax. Biff spots Lorraine in a car by herself. Biff takes it upon himself to attack Lorraine, saying that she knows she wants it. There is not one redeeming quality of Biff in the entire film. How happy were we all when George punched his lights out?
Anne Ramsey, Robert Davi, and Joe Pantoliano – The Fratellis from The Goonies
Same year (1985), different bad guy, or bad guys. In The Goonies, the evil doers were a sweet, loving family – the Fratellis. The Fratellis are a family of criminals who are hiding out in an abandoned restaurant. Unfortunately, the young, adventurous kids, looking for a way to financially save their home, encounter this nasty clan. From housing a dead guy in the freezer to threatening Chunk with putting his hand into a blender, the Fratellis know no boundaries. They let their greed get the best of them and follow the Goonies as they trace One Eyed Willy’s lost treasure. Perhaps one of the worst things this detestable family does is chain one of their very own in the basement, brother Sloth. Sloth is sweet, loving, albeit physically deformed man who is left alone in the basement, chained to his chair with a TV all that keeps him company. Thefts, murder, lies, and abject cruelty is all this family knows. Horrible.
Alan Rickman – Hans Gruber from Die Hard
One of my good college buddies was a foreign student from Chile. He loved 1988’s release Die Hard – this is not unusual. What is strange, though, is that he loved Hans Gruber, the bad guy! Whenever he saw me, he would look at me and utter in (in a Spanish influenced German accent, “We must not alter the plan.” It always made me crack up, but I could have absolutely no sympathy for this nasty terrorist. Gruber and his minions attack and take over a high rise building in Nakotomi Plaza. While Gruber feigns the attack as a protest against the company president, Joseph Takagi, his real motivation is greed. Gruber wants to $640 million in bonds that are kept in the building’s vault. So much for ideals. Gruber does his best to, not only steal this money, but knock off a few innocent workers and make life extremely difficult for hero, John McClane. A scene that perfectly shows Gruber calm maniacal nature takes place with company president Takagi sitting right in front of him. With a gun on the table, Gruber insidiously says, “I’m going to count to three. . . One. . .Two”. . . [Takagi pleads ignorance] Three [Gruber calmly puts a bullet through Takagi’s head].” Yes, Hans Gruber is calm and always in control; he is intelligent and quick witted, as well. Unfortunately, he uses these talents in a malicious manner for self serving reasons. His self righteous confidence is nearly as bad as his villainous actions.
Steven Berkoff – Victor Maitland from Beverly Hills Cop
As I ran through ‘80s movies and tried to think of all the bad guys, I thought my list was complete. Then, while I was listening to an American Top 40 countdown from 1985, Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” came on. Hearing this song brought me back to the hilarious movie and it’s nasty denizen, Victor Maitland. Maitland is a high end art dealer in Beverly Hills who has had his men assassinate hero Axel Foley’s best friend Mikey Tandino. Foley wants to solve his friend’s brutal murder and traces the bonds Mikey stole to Beverly Hills and Victor Maitland. Maitland is another one of those calm villains who has his henchmen do most of his dirty work. He is sneaky and gets past most laws through bribery, threats, and outright intimidation. His calm passivity is just a mask for his true ruthless nature. He is an honest to goodness devilish character who most should not mess with.
All five of these character are horrible, dirty, lowdown, despicable, diabolical, heinous (the synonyms could go on for a while) people. They have no redeeming qualities and we are all happy when they lose. Oh yes, they do lose. In true archetypal fashion, in the conflict between good and evil – good wins, always. After all of these movies we are left with true relief as Daniel LaRusso beats Johnny at his own game; as George McFly lays out Biff; as the Fratellis are outwitted by the Goonies; as John McClane watches Gruber fall from the top of Nakotomi Plaza; and as Axel Foley blows Victor Maitland away. Our heroes always defeat these villains, reassuring us that, although the world can be a harsh, chaotic place, there is room for good to prosper.
Today is Corey Feldman’s 44th birthday. I couldn’t pick just one quote. So, here are several Felsdman quotes from several classic ’80s movies:
The Fox and the Hound
Young Tod: What are you smelling? Young Copper: I’m on the trail of something. Young Tod: Trail of… what? Young Copper: I don’t know yet.
[sniffs Tod] Young Copper: Why it’s… it’s you.
[howls] Young Tod: What’d you do that for? Young Copper: We’re supposed to do that when we find what we’ve been tracking. Young Tod: I’m a fox. My name’s Tod. What’s your name kid? Young Copper: Mine’s Copper. I’m a hound dog.
Irene Walsh: Pants and shirts go in the… oh, forget about it. Just throw everything into cardboard boxes. Clark, can you really translate all that? Mouth: For sure, Mrs. Walsh.
Stand By Me
Vern: Come on you guys. Let’s get moving. Teddy: Yeah, by the time we get there, the kid won’t even be dead anymore.
The Lost Boys
Max: It was all going to be so perfect, Lucy. Just like one big, happy family. Your boys… and my boys. Edgar Frog: Great! The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch!
License to Drive
Dean: Could you take the car out of neutral? We just got passed by a street sweeper.
Ricky Butler: Hey, Mrs. Rumsfield, no tan lines. Looks nice. Mark Rumsfield: That kid next door’s a meatball.
Dream a Little Dream
Bobby Keller: Why do we have to take something so far that it can’t be taken back? I’ll tell you why – because we’re young, and when you’re young, every little thing seems so big.
If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you may know that I had the pleasure of attending a 30th anniversary screening of The Goonies this past Saturday (June 27, 2015). What made it even more special was that the star of the movie, Sean Astin, was there and he did a Q&A session after the movie.
I didn’t even know about the event until earlier in the week when I happened to catch a Tweet about it by my friend Ken Reid of the TV Guidance Counselor Podcast. He announced that he was hosting the screening and Q&A in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is only about an hour from my house. I actually did not have anything scheduled that night, so I just had to be there.
It was a great time. I had never watched a movie in a venue like that. This event was at Mechanics Hall, which I believe is a place where you watch symphonies. It was a big open room with individual chairs lined up next to each other. The padding on them was really good, so it was a couple of steps above metal folding chairs. The screen was hanging from the ceiling, and the blu-ray version of the movie was projected on the screen.
It was so much fun watching a classic movie like this with so many people that are into it as much as you are! The only down side of this experience was that the sound was not very good. It was loud, but I couldn’t understand most of the dialog. But, that was not much of a problem since I already know the movie pretty well. The movie ended with thunderous applause. The only time I remember an applause at a movie was when Star Wars was re-released in the theaters in the ’90s, and when “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” appeared on the screen at the beginning of The Phantom Menace.
The Q&A was outstanding too. Ken did a great job with the interview, and Sean was a lot of fun. There a few fun facts I took away from the interview. He did not appreciate the fat jokes at Jeff “Chunk” Cohen’s expense. He doesn’t blast people for liking it, but he just did not like those jokes. And I agree 1,000%. I thought the Truffle Shuffle was stupid and there was no reason for it, other than to make a fool out of Chunk. It also reminds me of the fat jokes that were made on Growing Pains about Carol (Tracey Gold) – who was NOT EVEN FAT – and led to her having an eating disorder. Anyway, after filming ended for The Goonies, director Richard Donner got Jeff Cohen a nutritionist, and made sure he would be ok. Jeff is now an entertainment lawyer, and is in great shape.
Sean was a little starstruck when he met Ke Huy Quan (Data), as he had just been in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom a year earlier. All the kids became good friends.
I am definitely going to have to watch the movie again soon. Sean mentioned that it a woman did his stunts. When they are going down the slide, and when you see him flipping over, and you can’t see his face, that was the stunt woman that you see. And there are some scenes where you only see his hands. Well, Sean said that his hands were prettier in those scenes, hinting that it was a stunt woman doing that.
In the DVD version of the movie that I own, there is an octopus in the climactic scene. I believe this was also on the television version. Well, it was not in the original theatrical release, and was not in this version that we just watched. Sean was not a big fan of filming that scene.
Sean left right after this event. I did catch up with Ken Reid, and he told me that Sean was running in a half marathon the next morning. This race was in my hometown! The weather was really horrible, so I was not motivated to go down and watch. I just think that is so cool that he is so down-to-earth.
Ken was telling me that there had been a screening like this for Blade Runner followed by a Q&A with Joanna Cassidy, but there was hardly anybody there. I’ll keep my eye out for more of these, and report back to you guys. And Mechanics Hall better step up and promote this stuff better!
Check out Ken Reid’s TV Guidance Counselor podcast. There are a lot of episodes that cover a week in the ’80s, and early ’90s. He always has great guests, and is a very good interviewer.
And for the record, The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough for me!
Francis Fratelli: Tell us everything! Everything! Chunk: Everything. OK! I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog… when my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then they served lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out… but the worst thing I ever done – I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa – and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life. Jake Fratelli: [amused] I’m beginning to like this kid, Ma! Mama Fratelli: [tired of Chunk’s stalling] Hit puree!