80s Villain Championship 4.15.13

It's Monday. And Mondays are days for tournament championships. Without further ado, I bring you the poll that will decide it all...

80s Villain Championship:
Biff Tannen vs Hans Gruber

The end is finally in sight and what a journey it was. All the 1 seeds have bowed out. Just like in the All Valley Karate Championship, Johnny Lawrence didn't have the stones to go all the way. Once again, he showed mercy and it cost him.

Therefore, we have a couple of 2 seeds going head to head for the title of Greatest 80s Villain. Biff Tannen has been a revelation in this tournament and shocked the world by taking down perennial all-star villain, Darth Vader. Now he steps up to see if he can finish off this storybook run. Whereas every #1 seed showed some heart at one point or another in their respective movies/tv show, Biff and Hans stayed villainous all the way til the end. These guys don't let up.

It's up to you to decide which of these guys is the best of the 80s, so vote it up and spread the word.

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

Ebert's News and Notes 4.8.13

Thursday, April 4th, we lost Roger Ebert to the cumulative effects of a horrible disease. He put up an incredible fight against cancer for a decade, writing more reviews in his last year of life than any year before it.

I owe part of my wonderment and awe of cinema to Roger Ebert as I think many of us do. And there is no one whose opinion I trusted more. The man was as knowledgeable as anyone about the history and complexities of film as an art form, yet his reviews were completely accessible. Somehow, he always found a way to describe the indescribable and to do it so eloquently, it captured the magic we'd all felt and put it onto paper.

I can't imagine anyone loved movies more. Robert Redford called Mr. Ebert "...one of the great champions of freedom of artistic expression." I don't know how you could say it better than that. The man was fair and, above all, completely open minded. I felt like every time he took his seat in a theater, he managed to do so with no preconceived notions about the film he was about to see. That's how a man who loved the conventional classics like Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai and The Bicycle Thief, could fall in love with Pulp Fiction the first time he saw it, before others even knew what they were looking at. And, how he could see the beauty and meandering intent in The Big Lebowski while other critics completely missed the mark. To Ebert, a great movie was a great movie was a great movie.

Ebert continued writing until the very end. In his last blog entry on April 2nd, he wrote:
"So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness."
That is the power of film and precisely why I will never stop loving movies or dreaming of making one of my own that moves people in similar ways.
And his last line of the blog was as follows...
"So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

80s Villain Final Four

Behold! We are down to the Final Four. (Click to embiggen.)

Johnny Lawrence.  Hans Gruber.  Darth Vader.  Biff Tannen.

The one thing all these have in common? A dominant performance in their Regional Final. All four come in with major momentum. Personally I can't to see what happens in the Vader / Biff match-up. Darth Vader is the all-time champ in villain discussions, but Biff has been absolutely untouchable so far and I think he is truly a fan favorite.

Check back in later today to vote on the Final Four!

80s Villain Tourney: Regional Finals

(1) Johnny Lawrence vs (3) Fratelli Gang

Johnny Lawrence continues his March to the Final Four. The Fratelli Gang has squeaked through and pulled off some major upsets to get here.
No mercy?

(1) Boss Hogg vs (2) Hans Gruber

I had to go to bat for Boss Hogg to get him into the Elite 8 with this diatribe about his worth as a major villain and a 1 seed. Hans Gruber, on the other hand, has had little trouble moving through his half of the bracket to reach this Regional Final. We'll see if this showdown ends better for him than Die Hard did.

(2) Biff Tannen vs (4) Predator

The Predator is our first competitor to take down a 1 seed, ousting Iceman. But, did he just leave the door wide open for a Biff Tannen title run? Biff has been a juggernaut in this tournament and his margins of victory are eye-opening. Can it continue against an iconic alien murderer?

(1) Darth Vader vs (2) Ivan Drago

Darth Vader vs Ivan Drago: it's a battle I'd love to see. Maybe just ban choking people with the force. It would appear Darth Vader's dismal appearance in the prequels of the 00's hasn't hurt the perception of him from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Drago now finds himself in the unfamiliar role of underdog. Maybe he can use it as motivation.

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

80s Villain Tourney: Sweet 16 (Second Session)

(1) Iceman vs (4) Predator

Two species of killer aliens in a row? Does Iceman have it in him?

(2) Biff Tannen vs (3) The Joker

(1) Darth Vader vs (4) Shredder

Shredder crushed our dreams of a Cinderella run to the title by Ming. Judging by Vader's performance in the last round, I have a feeling it may be Shredder's turn for a crushing.

(2) Ivan Drago vs (3) Gozer the Gozerian

As of now, the Big Three of 80s blonde villainy are still in the competition. Can Stay Puft take one down? Drago killed Apollo Creed with his own roided up fists while Zool did most of Gozer's dirty work. But Gozer did show up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and that image alone is going to make him extremely hard to beat. Stay Puft has to be one of the biggest icons of the 80s.

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

Boss Hogg > The Terminator

How can you not vote for that face?

Jefferson Davis Hogg needs help right now. I think its clear that no one is giving Boss the credit he deserves, but I'm not certain why. Are the voters too young? Does no one remember Dukes of Hazzard; the #1 show in the country in 1981, with almost 22 million viewers every week? Boss Hogg was likely the biggest personality on that show and a villain for the ages. The schemes that he would concoct were grandiose! J.D. Hogg didn't allow being based in the small southern town of Hazzard, limit his thinking or goals. Think about the genius of rigging gas pumps to cheat customers, placing fake fire hydrants next to parked cars, using hair dryers as "radar guns," hidden stop signs... The guy is an innovator! And I didn't even mention the speed trap Boss Hogg used to force superstar celebrities to perform at his honkytonk bar, The Boar's Nest. I have no idea why they all passed through the dirt roads of Hazzard, but The Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Orbison, Buck Owens, Johnny Paycheck, Mell Tillis, and even Freddie Fender all got reeled in by Boss. Plus, the man has an eye for talent. How about the Sheriff and deputies he put on the payroll to enact his crooked schemes: Rosco Purvis Coltrane, Enus Strate, and Cletus Hogg. Meanwhile, through all of it, keeping his lovely wife Lulu happy at home.

Boss is pitted against the Terminator for a shot at the Elite 8. The Terminator? The Terminator is a robot. No personality, no creativity, no hopes or dreams or schemes of his own...  Kill Sarah Conner. That's it. Kill Sarah Conner and anyone else that gets in the way. I mean, the T-800 isn't even evil. He's a robot! Following his programming. Look at the sequel! The same model of robot is a hero that "now knows why we cry."

Come on people!!

(1) Boss Hogg vs (4) Terminator

You can vote on the other match-ups HERE.

80s Villain Tourney: Sweet 16

(1) Johnny Lawrence vs (4) The Kurgan

(2) Khan Noonien Singh vs (3) Fratelli Gang

(1) Boss Hogg vs (4) Terminator

(2) Hans Gruber vs (3) Spike

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

Villain Tourney: Second Round - Iceman Region

(1) Iceman vs (8) Alien

The Alien is crafty and there were a whole mess load of them in Aliens. But Iceman knows the Alien is everyone's problem. It's unsafe. "I don't like you because you're dangerous!"
There is a reason Iceman is a 1 seed. He brought cocky smarm to a whole new level in Top Gun. Tell me that moment he chomped his teeth at Maverick isn't burned into your brain.

(4) Predator vs (5) Judge Smails

Predator:  Bodycount - 11. Including Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Sonny Landham.

Judge Smails:  Elitist with anger problems who tried to keep Rodney Dangerfield out of his country club. A cheater who will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Hates his grandson. "Spalding!"

(3) General Zod vs (6) The Joker

Two of the DC Comics/Warner Bros. representatives go head to head. Nicholson's Joker won him an Oscar and was extremely well regarded for twenty years. Heath Ledger's recent depiction of the character seemed to steal attention from the '89 version and made him seem outdated. Time to see how the voters feel.

(2) Biff Tannen vs (10) Michael Myers

Biff had an impressive performance against Lex Luthor. You have two of the most recognized participants going at it here. Can the popularity of Biff Tannen take down a legendary mass murderer?

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

Villain Tournament: Second Round - Boss Hogg Region

(1) Boss Hogg vs (8) Clubber Lang

I appreciate Clubber's effort. He talked a lot of trash and killed Micky (sort of). But, this is Boss Hogg we're talking about.

(4) Terminator vs (12) David

David from The Lost Boys has been racking up the votes thus far and I think he may have a chance against the villainous version of Arnold's T-800 from the first Terminator film.

(3) Spike vs (6) Lieutenant Harris

Maybe one of our odder match-ups so far.

(2) Hans Gruber vs (10) Jack Torrance

Hans Gruber was a fan favorite going in, with several suggestions from the masses. And according to reactions, Jack Torrance may have been under-seeded. So we have quite a battle lined up in the second round.

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.

Villain Tournament: Second Round - Vader Region

(1) Darth Vader vs (9) Jason Voorhees

Uh oh, Jason. Looks like trouble for you, my friend.
But, let's see if the second Star Wars trilogy has hurt Vader's dominance in the minds of the voters.

(4) Shredder vs (12) Ming the Merciless

Ming pulled off the unthinkable when he took down Ed Rooney. Is there any way he can knock out Shredder to keep his dream alive and move into the Sweet 16?

(3) Gozer the Gozerian vs (6) Dr. René Belloq

These guys met a very similar end if you think about it, but only one can advance in this tournament.

(2) Ivan Drago vs (7) Chet

This one is going to be interesting. Drago could have easily been a 1 seed. Few villains stick in our collective consciousness more than the Soviet superman that killed Apollo Creed. But he barely spoke, whereas Chet from Weird Science never stopped. Everything Chet did was both as hilarious and douchey as humanly possible.

Follow all the Tournament action so far right HERE. Matchup results, brackets and more.