When bad people do good in the movies

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

(From syracusenewtimes.com)

In “Run All Night,” I found myself rooting for the guy played by Liam Neeson.

When, in the back story set in front of us, his character was every bit a bad a guy as the man played by co-lead Ed Harris.

You can read my review of “Run All Night” as my weekly Movie Review Blog on the Syracuse New Times site by clicking the link below.


When I left with the smattering of other folk from the Friday matinΓ©e at the Regal Cinemas chain at Syracuse mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex Destiny USA, I wondered how put out I should feel about this time-honored movie tradition of making the film-goer not only identify with somebody you’d never want to meet in real life, but openly root for them to succeed in every which way.

You know what I mean. If a mobster and hit man like Jimmy Conlon entered your real life in any manner, you’d not only cross the street in a dash, you’d hide behind the garbage cans, shake like a leaf, and hope he didn’t get a glimpse of you. Meanwhile, in the dark of a movie theater, you’re pulling for his schemes to work against other nefarious characters. Shades of bad, I guess. Pick your poison.

Who are your favorite movie bad folks, and why? Do you feel manipulated for pulling for bad-acting characters to prevail? Can you find the heart of gold under the layers of misdeeds in real life?

20 thoughts on “When bad people do good in the movies

  1. I can’t think of any baddies I ended up rooting for, which worries me a little, do I only watch movies about fluffy bunnies and the like. I have on occasion rooted for a bad guy to survive as they were extremely easy on the eye πŸ˜‰


  2. Every time I watch GONE WITH THE WIND, I root for the scheming Scarlett. She lied, tried to commit adultery with her sister-in-law’s husband, murdered, married men she didn’t love for either salvaged vanity or for money, considered becoming one man’s mistress, was a poor, disinterested mother, and never understood herself or those that loved her.

    I loved that woman! πŸ˜†


  3. This is what I would like to say happens to me, every time my brothers want to choose an action movie. I root for the one I like as an actor. But, as in the case of the movie, “Gone Girl,” I felt that Ben Affleck’s character wasn’t as ‘bad’ as his wife’s but I didn’t really like him, either. So, I can relate to watching Liam Neeson and rooting for him, Mark! I also feel this way about Denzel W. but he doesn’t always play ‘good’ characters…


  4. Sometimes I like the bad guys, but not often. However, I almost never care for Liam Neeson movies. It seems like they always have an awesome premise, then they go just a little too far to be realistic anymore. A little goes a long way when it comes to subterfuge and retaliation. And coming back from the (almost) dead and still being strong enough to kick ass.


  5. Hmmm, depends a lot on the movie – I too rooted for Scarlett, Surviving as a woman in that place and that time period was a matter of pulling out all the stops. I like submarine movies – even though there aren’t many – and often will root for the “bad” guy. WW2 moves, the German U-boat commanders were amazing to me. Ha! I was watching one documentary and they had found some surviving U-boat commanders to interview. One captain was describing being depth-charged by Allied forces and the pure terror of never knowing if you would die a painful death the next second. His crew was young and he and his XO were the oldest – in their 30’s – on the sub. As the depth charges pounded around them and leaks kept spurting into existence and his young crew were panicking. In an effort to try and calm them by example, he picks up a book as he is sitting in the command chair and pretends to read. After a few minutes his XO leans over the captain’s shoulder and whispers in his ear (between depth charges): ” Sir, your book is upside down.”

    Anyway, I do sometimes root for the bad guy. You know he/she will not come to a good end.

    Fun post Mark – I was missing your posts for a while and thought I was accidently deleting them. It turns out that when you did the make over, somehow I got left off the list of followers. I discovered that yesterday and refollowed. You can’t get rid of me that easy! Ha!


    • I was worrying that you were feeling under the weather, Paul. I’m glad that it was just a WordPress glitch.

      Do you like the makeover? Yes, I hope it streamlines things for everybody. You said it puts me in the 90 percent fast instead of 10 percent, so that’s a good thing. But how about the look for you? More attractive or worse? I’m playing around with smaller photos sometimes, photo galleries. You being such a wide reader of a cross section of blogs, do you like this? I know I can’t get rid of you, and I value your sharp eye and opinion, villain-lover. πŸ™‚


      • The web-page format is honestly simple and bare. My guess is that you have to chose that if you want a fast load. The addition of more pics to your posts really makes the reading easier and more fun. The content (adding pics) and presentation of your content is much more pleasing to the eye(my opinion). Your prose is as great as always.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.