DID YOU READ

Five of the greatest Christmas movie villains of all time

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Christmas movies are usually about the celebration of a time of year when everyone comes together to share gifts, affection and good will towards all. The plots range from grounded stories about families trying to survive the holidays, to adventures about mythical beings like Santa Claus and his elves working to ensure that every child wakes up on Christmas morning to an extravaganza of toys beneath their tree.

With all that in mind, what fun would these stories be without the antagonists that do everything in their power to derail everyone’s good time? Here’s our list of the best of the worst who tried to steal Christmas.


1. Mr. Oogie Boogie from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Tim Burton’s villains typically have a flair for the dramatic, but Oogie Boogie takes things to an entirely other level. He’s a magical, evil sack filled to the brim with every manner of creepy crawly. He lives in a place that is essentially one giant death-trap with a decorating scheme that reveals a crippling addiction to gambling.

This guy is so evil that he does a musical number about how awful he is while torturing Santa Claus, which is really as metal as a Christmas movie should get.


2. Scut Farkas from “A Christmas Story”

Part of what makes Sut such an effective villain in “A Christmas Story” is how relevant he is to childhoods in general. If you managed to make it entirely through grade school without being menaced by a bully, you were either a martial arts master OR, y’know…a bully yourself.

The other thing that makes Scut great is the two-dimensional simplicity of his nature. He hangs out cackling behind the fence every day, springing upon smaller children with his coon-skin cap and jaundiced eyes, pounding on the weak with his stout accomplice at his side. And then he lets them go. He’s the perfect antagonist for a film where the real enemy is a BB gun.


3. Stripe from “Gremlins”

Where villains like Scut Farkas are just evil enough to keep things fun for the whole family, Stripe is purely sinister monster with a homicidal thirst that won’t be satiated until the world is overrun with his water-generated offspring. There’s nothing even remotely tragic about him, he engineered everything from his transformation from mogwai to gremlin, to the onslaught that turned Chistmas Eve in Kingston Falls in to a full blown massacre.

Plus he tried to kill Gizmo. And seriously, how can you hate Gizmo?


4. Hans Gruber from “Die Hard”

It’s one thing to try to steal Christmas, it’s entirely another to try and steal Christmas along with $640 million dollars in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Corporation during the holiday party while also posing as international terrorists. Hans is so eloquently over the top that Alan Rickman’s portrayal became the industry standard for what an international super-criminal should be.

I would pay money to see what this guy asked Santa for when he was a kid.


5. Old Man Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

If they did a remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life” today, there would be an entire “Occupy Bedford Falls” protest outside of Potter’s office throughout the course of the movie. Instead, it’s really up to poor George Bailey, who finds out from an angel that if he didn’t abandon his dreams and stay in the same place for his entire life, Potter would have run the entire city in to the ground and turned the entire population in to criminals, thugs and head-cases.

Potter is so evil that after picking up the crucial deposit Bailey’s absent-minded uncle dropped in the bank, he pockets it and then watches Bailey’s life unravel. When George throws himself at Potter’s mercy on Christmas Eve, broken, suicidal and about to lose everything, Potter’s reaction is call the police on Bailey for not having the stolen money the old man has in his own possession. And the one thing that makes Potter worse than any of the other villains on our list? He gets away with it. The film takes the high road and celebrates the gift of family and community, while Potter counts his money. It’s for that very reason that instead of a clip from the actual film, we leave you with the the classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch about the director’s cut ending to the film, where Potter finally gets what’s coming to him.

Who are some of your favorite Christmas movie villains? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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