"The Weekend Rent" offers quick-hit suggestions of what to watch at home to get psyched for new releases in theaters, on Fridays.
If you're planning on seeing Django Unchained this weekend, prepare yourself to hate on Leonardo DiCaprio. The former Titanic heartthrob plays a character named Calvin Candie—a loathsome, filthy-rich plantation owner who forces slaves to fight to the death for sport, has dogs rip apart slaves who disappoint him, and casually drops the N-bomb about every other sentence. Calvin is easily the nastiest character DiCaprio has ever played on-screen, and it got us thinking about other movie villains we love to hate.
Commodus in Gladiator: Are you able to watch Ridley Scott's 2000 Roman epic and not want to reach through the screen and strangle Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix? First he murders his father, the respected Marcus Aurelius, and seizes the throne. Commodus is so jealous of his father's love and respect for Maximus (Russell Crowe) that Commodus has Maximus' wife and son slaughtered and schemes to have Maximus killed in the Coliseum when the emperor is not busy trying to seduce his own sister. His ick factor is off the charts.
The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz: "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too," screams the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The green-skinned bitch on a broom with the shrieking evil cackle goes on to set the sweet-natured Scarecrow on fire and commands an army of scary flying monkeys as she tries to kill Dorothy to get her magical ruby slippers. When Dorothy accidentally splashes the witch with water and causes her to melt, you'll want to sing "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" with the rest of the denizens of Oz.
Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Louise Fletcher deservedly won an Oscar for her portrayal of the calmly evil Nurse Ratched—a woman who employs questionable medical treatments like electroconvulsive therapy and subtle humiliation to keep her patients in line at the mental institution where she works. She quickly locks horns with new patient McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), who attempts to loosen Ratched's iron grip on his fellow inmates. After McMurphy physically attacks Ratched, she has him lobotomized so she can continue subjugating the patients. Of all the villains on this list, she might be the most hated.
Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter Series: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is so sinister, so evil in the Harry Potter universe that people don't speak his name and refer to him as "You Know Who" or "He Who Must Not Be Named." As the leader of the Death Eaters, the Dark Lord aims to rule over Muggles and wizards alike. There's just one problem: a prophecy that says Harry Potter has the power to vanquish Voldemort. This means Voldemort must off the boy wizard first, which he tries to do until their final battle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars Series: Darth Vader is Star Wars' most iconic villain, but you don't really hate him because he's such a perfect embodiment of evil and, honestly, cool to watch on-screen. It is the manipulative Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who you want to throw down a long shaft (like Vader eventually does in Return of the Jedi) for being such a smug, galaxy-ruining ass. Palpatine was a seemingly innocuous politician of the Republic who was secretly a Sith Lord that had the peacekeeping Jedi Knights slaughtered so that he could become the emperor of the new Galactic Empire. The emperor is the one who lured Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side of the Force, twisting our hero into the monster with the black helmet in Star Wars: Episode III—The Revenge of the Sith. Considering how much death and destruction Palpatine unleashes on the galaxy over six Star Wars movies, no punishment is great enough.
All of the movies featuring the villains we love to hate are available on DVD, Blu-ray and various VOD services. Which movie villain makes you so angry that you just want to punch your TV screen?