A couple of months ago I wrote about Toy Story and how the bad guy in it is actually the good guy. Well, that’s not the only film in which you’ve been led down the moral garden path. There’s probably an argument to be made that all mainstream films are actually morally abhorrent given that they enforce the ethical structure of the profoundly sick society within which we live, but for now I’m going to highlight six other films in which the bad guys are actually, at a second glance, the good guys (or at least, aren’t all that bad).
We all love Ghostbusters. Who wouldn’t? It has Bill Murray and Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver possessed by a horny demon, inadvertently sparking my sexual awakening when I was 11. But, while I can’t argue that the demi god Zuul trying to destroy the earth is in any way good, I can argue that the much maligned Environmental Protection Agency representative Peck is unfairly maligned given what he’s doing in the film. Our titular heroes have created, in a basement, an unlicensed nuclear powered facility. Peck has been commissioned to investigate, not unreasonably, said UNLICENSED NUCLEAR POWERED FACILITY.
Are we living in a world where it’s alright for any believer in the supernatural to create their own nuclear facility in their cellar? Only in a world where a maniac reality TV star is the President of the United States would such a thing be allowed and then we’d all be in trouble. Peck is a representative of the state doing its duty and protecting us from a bunch of nuke wielding bell ends and I’ll broach no argument against, no matter how much of an arsehole he is.
THE DARK KNIGHT
So the Joker’s a nutcase, this I won’t argue against. But the rubber suited billionaire vigilante is hardly a full bag of nails either and his years of vigilantism haven’t done much to stem the flow of crime in his beloved Gotham City. Throughout the Dark Knight we see the Joker play games with crime bosses, crime fighters and the population of Gotham. Pitting them against each other to prove how self interested, petty and, ultimately, murderous people are. This culminates in a grand game theory dilemma at the film’s climax whereby two boatloads of people are threatened with death unless they blow up the other. If neither does it they’re both blown up. Contrary to the Joker’s nihilistic expectation the people on neither boat choose to pull the trigger, Batman takes the blame for Harvey Dent’s crimes and all is good in Gotham. On its own terms Gotham ultimately comes to good because of the chaos unleashed by the Joker’s actions, which include ridding the city of organised crime and drawing out the innate goodness of the people and also of Batman himself whilst getting rid of the morally abhorrent, rubber suited, billionaire vigilante into the bargain.
On the other hand all of this is a crock of shit because we all know the Joker’s view of humanity is pretty spot on and one of those boats would’ve blown up the other. Exhibit A: pretty much all of human history.
The 1990s Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery vehicle in which Ed Harris plays a brigadier general leading a team of former marines threatening to bomb San Francisco with a nerve gas carrying missile unless they are paid $100 million. So far so bad. But what are they actually after the money for? They want it to give to the families of former marines who’ve died on clandestine missions and so have never been compensated. Doesn’t sound all that unreasonable to me and anyway, turns out they were never going to bomb San Francisco anyhow, it was all a bluff. And the FBI director who recruits former S.A.S dude Sean Connery to kill the not baddies has every intention of fucking him over . Who are we supposed to be rooting for here? Surely not Nicholas Cage. Never Nicholas Cage. In an added irony this film inspired the actual real world intelligence services when they were rigging up excuses to start a war in Iraq you might have heard about. No really. Fuck this film. Fuck Jerry Bruckheimer and fuck the overuse of orange filters. Yay Ed Harris.
In a future world in which slave robots do our bidding, robot hating Chicago cop Del Spooner doubts the suicide verdict of Dr Lanning, the co-founder of massive robotics corporation USR. He suspects a robot did it, cause he hates them, but everyone thinks he’s mad because of the 3 laws of robotics, the first of which states – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Turns out Spooner was right and a robot did do it but it wasn’t the robots fault see because Lanning told him to do it or something and the reason for that was so that Spooner would uncover the real baddy somehow. Fuck knows why he couldn’t just tell him, but there it is. The real baddy is VIKI the massive robotics corporation central computer who has decided that in order to strictly follow the first law of robotics she has to enslave humanity to prevent it (us) from being the cause of our own destruction. She’s stopped. The end. Which means, ipso facto, we cause our own destruction. Which of course in the real world we are doing. Unfortunately we don’t have a vastly superior intelligent supercomputer to prevent that. And neither does I, Robot land either now after misanthropic, self hating, Del Spooner fucks it up for everyone. I demand a sequel in which we’re put in our place by said superior intelligence. Unfortunately, despite my dearest hope and expectation I, Daniel Blake was not that sequel.
Some corporate scumbag produces sentient beings to act as slaves and only gives them 5 years of life. They want more and get pretty pissed off about not getting it. Who cares how many seabeams and whatnot they’ve seen they’re hardly being unreasonable. The big bad boss even saves the shill sent after him in the end. What’s to even argue?
Irritating spoilt bastard, Macauley Culkin, gets left behind by a family so neglectful they forget their own son when pissing off on a jolly to Paris for Christmas. They don’t even notice till they’re on the plane. They even look like everything wrong with 80s America – Cocaine, Reagan, Iran Contra. It’s all in their pinched and bitter eyes. If they don’t even notice their son’s missing what the fuck do they care if a few blood diamond brooches go missing from the bedroom dresser while they’re away? They wouldn’t care. They wouldn’t notice. And you know they’d’ve voted for Trump this time around.
Into this come two frozen souls so poor they have to work at Christmas. Modern day Robin Hood’s ready to share out what has been economically stolen from them due to a poisonous system that lauds scum like Macauley Culkin’s family while treading them into the picturesque seasonal snow.
And then comes Culkin, spoilt little wanker ready to defend his bourgeois homestead despite his parents betrayal. Another thing his repugnant parents failed to teach him was how to share. Even at Christmas. But that’s no surprise, this is America after all. Selfish twats.