impetuous, impregnable, ferocious, praise be to Allah!

i’m afraid i’m going to have to violate my personally-enforced, pre-planned topic schedule and talk about [1] the topic i was going to talk about next week because our hero janklow will be on an adventure across America [2] starting tomorrow, and i figured i’d probably talk about THAT next week, or pled exhaustion then and just rehash something fun (celebrities are stupid, O’Malley angers me, etc).

anyhow, THAT topic was going to be “boxing, and the awesome dudes of boxing” because November 3rd will be bringing us the sweet unification fight between Joe Calzaghe (our hero) and Mikkel Kessler (our enemy; if he wasn’t Danish i might be able to claim he had a Nazi name or something). and what better way to celebrate an occasion such as this than with a list?


Ali, Boom Boom, Dempsey, Tunney, Kid Dynamite, the Hit Man
i suppose it’s appropriate that Ali seems to be gazing at the boxers to his right with watchful loathing, though Boom Boom doesn’t seem to mind

13. Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)
to be frank, i really am not a huge fan of Cassius Clay: he celebrated too much when Malcolm X was killed, (despite his later conversion to Sunni Islam), he talked a little too much shit about Joe Frazier, and his life inadvertently gave Will Smith yet another film role. still, it’s hard to deny that he was an excellent boxer and a charming guy, unless you’re Joe Frazier and you desire to throw him into a fire. however, i remain disappointed that he ditched a name like “Cassius Clay” for the super-original Muhammad stuff. come on, man, Cassius is an awesome name!

12. Ray Mancini (Boom Boom)
rumor has it that “Boom Boom” Mancini was an excellent boxer with an eye-catching whirlwind style who just happened to be one of those guys who inadvertently killed another boxer (although technically not in the ring in this case), a feat that’s pretty hard to achieve when you consider that Mike Tyson and George Foreman were punching machines that couldn’t do it (and Foreman really, really DID want to kill someone in the ring). but i have to admit that Mancini’s really on the list because of that Warren Zevon song, which was pretty good stuff.

11-10. Jack Dempsey/Gene Tunney
these two guys are being included – and included as one awesome, unified team – as a tribute to the ancient era of boxing when men were men and boxing matches lasted hundreds of rounds, these two being twof our most beloved icons from that era. plus, Tunney served with the Marines in WWI, which i choose to interpret as “Tunney stalked and killed proto-Nazis with an America flag during the early part of the 20th century.” now let’s have a moment of silence in honor of my fictionalized history.

09. Mike Tyson (Iron Mike; Kid Dynamite)
honestly, while i love to criticize the hell out of Tyson for not knocking out many people of consequence (if any) during his storied run to the top, it’s worth noting that not only was it fun as hell to watch him knock out those possibly mediocre fighters in seconds, but he also helped bring us Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (which i never actually owned as a child) and the character of M.Bison/Balrog in those Street Fighter games. and then there’s the whole matter of the man’s notable quotables (with the added benefit of his distinctive voice): “my style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and i’m just ferocious. i want your heart. i want to eat his children. praise be to Allah!” i really can’t make that kind of thing up.

08. Thomas Hearns (the Hit Man; the Motor City Cobra)
if nothing else, Hearns taught me the value of a good nickname: i was well aware of him and his most excellent nickname long before i knew anything about his boxing skills and flicker jab and getting scammed by Sugar Ray and so on. i’m not going to say that there aren’t any better nicknames, but if you want to top the Hit Man, well, you’d better be ready to dazzle me.

Rocky, Raging Bull, Big George, the Executioner, Smokin' Joe, the Pride Of Wales
watch out, Marciano, that guy on the far right’s trying to break that 49-0 record…

07. Rocky Marciano
not satisfied with his “only heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire without a defeat or a draw in his professional career” status, Rocky Marciano decided to live on beyond his death as fuel for racial-divisive debates about the greatest heavyweight of all time. apparently, the white folks are very fond of Rocky. he also knocked out Muhammad Ali in fictional computerized form in that whole “Super Fight” deal (and in the lucky 13th round, no less), and that’s good enough for me.

06. Jake LaMotta (the Bronx Bull; the Raging Bull)
much like Boom Boom’s inclusion, i admit that this is sort of less about his excellent boxing career (only knocked down once in 106 fights) or crazy Mafia connections (taking a dive for Billy Fox and then ADMITTING it later) and more about the fact that his life and times are responsible for the excellent film known as Raging Bull. again, yeah, sort of shallow, but tell me that wasn’t a great film.

05. George Foreman (Big George)
the image of George Foreman that stands out most to me is from before his days as a loveable pitchman of grills and Meineke, back when he was a terrifying punching machine, just pounding heavy bags almost in half before Ali would practice on them in Zaire (shown nicely in the documentary When We Were Kings) … and then sitting around in that wacky floppy hat of his. seriously, that hat scares me more than anything else about frightening Foreman from back in the day.

04. Bernard Hopkins (the Executioner)
much like Hearns, Hopkins is blessed with an awesome nickname, backed up with some impressive boxing (12 years of boxing unbeaten, unifying four different titles, beating up De La Hoya, 20 title defenses) and a sincere rags-to-riches story. what would really make this complete, though, is if i could find a link to this SI article wherein Hopkins legitimately dispenses penny-pinching advice (as is his way in real life); it’s hilarious but, again, totally sincere.

03. Joe Frazier (Smokin’ Joe)
strong, talented, sound fighter who was “merely” the undisputed champ for three years in an era he shared with Ali and Foreman and Norton; nice guy who looked out for Ali only to have Ali throw it in his face (if only for show), leading to the reason Frazier sort of takes credit for Ali’s Parkinson’s. however, his fight in 1975 against Ali (the “Thrilla In Manila,” and their third fight) easily gets him a place on this list: having a left eye blinded by a cataract and a right eye almost closed by Ali’s punches, Frazier demanded to continue to fight him for another round essentially BLIND, still refused to be knocked out by Ali, and after trying to fight a 15th round, had his coach throw in the towel. this is seriously on the level of some unbelieveable stuff. and if that’s not good enough for you, he was also on the Simpsons.

02. Joe Calzaghe (the Pride of Wales; the Italian Dragon)
as seen by the Welsh flag the walls of my headquarters flies, i may have a soft spot for the nation of Wales, and this includes the half-Welsh Calzaghe, he of the 43-0 record, 10-year reign as title holder, and fragile left hand that seems utterly ridiculous in a left-handed boxer. it’s my sincere hope that he’ll beat Kessler (pushing his streak to 21 title defenses) and maybe keep going long enough to get to 50-0 and top Marciano’s record as a champion boxer, but i don’t know if the people and teams i root for are that lucky.

this is the kind of thing that happens when you’re pulling up random photos on the internet, but i think the “god bless” is a nice touch

01. Ken Norton
he beat Muhammad Ali in a fight where he literally broke the man’s jaw; i think this is the closest anyone’s come to shutting Muhammad Ali up. in an era where (once again) Frazier, Ali and Foreman were walking the earth and trying to killing Norton in the ring in the process, i’m going to tout this jaw-breaking, championship-achievement as something very special.

i admit my list skews towards “not always heavyweights” and “people who hated Muhammad Ali,” but that’s how these things go in the world of boxing. or something like that. anyway, come November 3rd, go go go Calzaghe!

[1] yeah, yeah, everyone who has read at least two (2) of my posts at this point knows that “talk about” is fancy internet slang for “make a list of 13 items regarding.” so it goes.

[2] and by “across America,” i of course mean “to Ohio and back.”

don’t get killed for a lack of shooting back

it is a generally remarked-upon fact that janklow is, basically, an 80-year-old man trapped in the youthful, vigorous body of janklow. i don’t like this young generation and their loud outfits, i declare that people are always giving me “sassafras,” and i’m pretty sure i killed some Confederates at Fort Pillow during the Civil War. i recall this distinctly. another thing that fits in with all this is the love of the Western films that i have, something only shared by film nerds and old people, as far as i can tell. i mean, people that i know declined to watch Deadwood, despite its glorious profanity and liberal helpings of nudity and violence, because “it’s a Western, right?” of course it’s a Western, you morons – Westerns are awesome! anyway, without further ado:

(in some sort of order and more about “this is a cool film” than a serious cinematic discussion)

but before we get into all this, time for a little DISHONORABLE MENTION:

the flames represent the passion of Jason Priestley.
this movie is MUCH less cool than it appears from the average photo of Sam Elliott striding through flames in it

so, i really dislike this film, and here’s the thesis for as to why i hate it: it takes a Western film (which i enjoy as a concept) and adds three things that are pretty awesome: Val Kilmer in one of his maybe three legitimately excellent roles (i think the other two were in Heat and… uh… Willow, i guess), Sam Elliott at his mustachioed finest, and a collection of great little actors to support the leads (Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Michael Rooker and Charlton FUCKING Heston, to name the cream of the crop). and THEN it wastes all this on a bullshit romantic romp that goes from a decent attempt at realism (the OK Corral shootout and the Earps as capitalist opportunists) to a ridiculous shoot-out ending sequence, pausing in between so that Jason Priestley can have an unrequited man-crush on Billy Zane. does everyone understand that i shouldn’t have written the remark about “pausing in between so that Jason Priestley can have an unrequited man-crush on Billy Zane” in a description of a Western?

anyway… the list.

Rio Bravo, Shane, Once Upon A Time In The West, High Plains Drifter, the Outlaw Josey Wales, High Noon
yes, yes, the newest film picture above was made 31 years ago in 1976, so what?

13. Rio Bravo (1959)
okay, Howard Hawks is a solid director who, like John Ford, many people seem completely unaware of in this day and age and who did some nice work here that those same people don’t care about. and it’s always nice to get a Western icon (John Wayne) on the list. however, i must admit that the major reason i include this film, above and beyond all that, is that Dean Martin (possibly the coolest guy ever) is featured in it and sings an awesome tune for the soundtrack. yeah, i’m talking about “My Rifle, My Pony & Me.” i’m an old man at heart. deal with it.

12. Shane (1953)
it would have been more awesome with William Holden, but we’ve got Jack Palance as an evil gunslinger, so the awesomeness factor is pretty much guaranteed regardless. we also get a sweet ambiguous ending and the basis for at least one of Bill Hicks excellent jokes, one in which gingham is mocked for comedic effect, and there is much rejoicing. so awesome.

11. Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
a little while back, i basically made the case for this film by pointing out that it features man-of-the-people Henry Fonda as a cold-blooded killer, so let me just remind of you THAT little reason to go nuts for this film. if, you know, Sergio Leone’s direction and some sweet Charles Bronson getting justice (albeit in the West, not in NYC) aren’t already enough for you.

09-10. High Plains Drifter (1973)/the Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
let’s just get this out of the way: this list could basically be called “why Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood are awesome,” because they’ll end up the directors of 4 and 3 films on the list, respectively, and Eastwood acts in about … well … 7 of them. but whatever, Eastwood made these two excellent films in the 1970s, and now their on the list. in the former, we have a possibly supernatural (though i guess, if you’re in the know, not really) stranger riding in from out of town to gun down men in the name of justice. in the latter, we’ve got a nice Western anti-hero working with Indians and slaughtering evil US Cavalry. now, everyone knows i love the union, but i also like salty Western anti-heros. and for the record, the OJW is better than HPD, so the latter’s #10 and the former’s #9. just in case, you know, you care.

08. High Noon (1952)
so we should have an iconic Gary Cooper film on this list – after all, Gary Cooper’s the model for Tony Soprano’s model American, and who doesn’t love Tony Soprano – and it doesn’t get more iconic than High Noon: for crying out loud, Solidarity in Poland made posters and gave elaborate explanations in regards to High Noon being a symbol of freedom, or something like that. i admit this discussion of important, serious Eastern European politics has bogged down the mood here somewhat, so just know this: bad guys get shot, and Gary Cooper does (some of) the shooting. there you go.

the Magnificent Seven, the Wild Bunch, A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, the Searchers
Clint Eastwood flexes his muscle and dominates half of the above picture

07. the Magnificent Seven (1960)
key reason why this film is awesome: Akira Kurosawa made one of the greatest films of all time (Seven Samurai) wanting to make a Western (he loved Westerns and John Ford), but thinking he couldn’t because of the cultural disconnect (with him being Japanese)… and then they went and made a Western based on his work. AND they packed it with some excellent dudes like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson (again avoiding NYC), James Coburn and Eli Wallach. also, someone tell Tony Kornheiser than Eli Wallach IS a fucking better Eli than Eli Manning, okay?

06. the Wild Bunch (1969)
Sam Peckinpah makes some pretty fun movies, and this one here’s the interesting idea of setting these old-school Western outlaws against the modernizing world, what with its Mexican armies and modern weaponry and everything else, only in a way that works and finally gets me some sweet William-Holden-in-a-Western action to boot. if you ever want to see a movie where Ernest Borgnine is freaking out while a machine gun is blazing away the conclusion of a dramatic Western battle scene … well, here you go.

03-05. A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)/For A Few Dollars More (1965)/the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
the classic trilogy of Westerns, and as such, they must be kept together as one awesome unit. as you may expect, they star Eastwood and feature Leone’s direction, and it’s not like it hurts that the first of this series borrows heavily from Kurosawa (Yojimbo) and thus from Dashiell Hammett (Red Harvest) as well. we also get the screen-stealing nose of Lee Van Cleef in the latter two films and, in the last, some excellent Eli Wallach. no less impressive is the fact that these three films, all very strong in their own right, were cranked out with a few years of each other.

02. the Searchers (1956)
starring our most iconic Western star (John Wayne). directed by one of our most iconic American directors (John Ford). filled with both lush, beautiful shots and serious themes of the American southwest (and, i guess, America in general). contains both fighting and a melancholy ending (and everyone loves a melancholy ending). and, hell, a major inspiration for the film we all agree is the best ever, Taxi Driver. i refer to this film every single time someone tells me they hate John Wayne movies. that’s all i’m saying.

no, the MOVIE Unforgiven, not that fucking bullshit music from Metallica

01. Unforgiven (1992)
yeah, yeah, i know, it’s great because it’s MODERN. except that the script was floating around for years and the film got made by the same guy who made those revisionist 1970s Westerns. and, hell, let’s come full circle and say that the scriptwriter (Peoples) says Taxi Driver inspired THIS film. i’ll forgive Eastwood and Gene Hackman trying to be a little anti-gun here because this is thus a film with Eastwood AND Hackman AND Morgan Freeman AND Richard Harris as part of the cast. a very nice film with memorable lines (“i just don’t wanna get killed for lack of shooting back”) and bleak characters (“that’s right, i’ve killed women and children; i’ve killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another”). i would watch it if i were you.

and, you know, this all makes me think: maybe Dirty Harry is ALSO a Western. after all, he prowls the West with a six-shooter dispensing rough justice, right?

tales from the stands of FedEx Field II: redundancy theater

okay, so i’m coming back to the tired topic of “things i’ve noticed about fans at football games” after a mere two weeks, i admit, but i just went to this Redskins/Lions game and there’s some things we should talk about. including larger social issues!


Mike Sellers is still no Zack Crockett
luckily, Kennedy’s body was thrown clear on impact, so he would survive this accident

here’s the thing: if you win a game, by a lot, you’re supposed to be, you know, magnanimous in victory. this means that you’re NOT supposed to drink 20 beers and then scream in Lions fans faces attempting to make them fight you, and this means it’s not necessary to throw bottles at them. and if you DO think it’s necessary to throw bottles at them, don’t, because here’s the results of the two bottle incidents i personally saw:

01. bottle thrown at white trash Lions fan, result: bottle hits random middle-aged Redskins fan 10 feet away in the head;
02. bottle thrown at Lions fan’s car, result: bottle smashes all over and dents Redskins fan’s burgundy SUV.

you guys clearly can’t handle the “be turbo-assholes that throw shit” thing the way the Eagles fans can, so just stop it now, okay? and really, of all the fans to pick on, Lions fans? they of one of the worst owning families (the Fords) in all sports, they of Matt Millen and Charles Rogers? seriously, these were the saddest fans i have ever seen in my life BEFORE the game. they couldn’t even get excited when they felt they might have a chance to win! take it easy on them.

i recognize that it’s maybe asking a lot of a group of people who i’ve identified in the past as including the missing link between “humans” and “whatever you call inbred people from the Appalachians,” but seriously, guys, at least make an effort.


well, at least Detroit is a vibrant, thriving metropolis!
seriously, do these look like the kinds of fans you really need to “put in their place” on the RARE occasion that you see their team lose a game?

well, you know, like i said, the Lions fans were well-behaved. the worst ones fell victim to the classic moves of “cheering loudly at your offense because you’re mad at the crowd making noise to distract your offense” and “getting drunk and cheering that your team made the opponent punt when you’re down by three touchdowns.” this list should really read like this:

01. have hope for the future, ever;
02. see #1.

sorry, dudes. i know it’s not any consolation that Matt Millen was a good linebacker back in the day.


i am also including “buy this record” and “wear those sunglasses” on my “things not to do ever” list

you know when you’re at a game, or ANYWHERE, with your girlfriend or fiancee or wife or whatever you call the woman you don’t want to cut your penis off while you’re asleep and throw it out the window of a moving car, and you see a good-looking woman in the area? okay. what you should NOT do in this scenario is lean in front of your GR/F/W/”don’t cut my dick off, lady” in order to blatantly stare and remark things like “damn” or “whooo” or whatever, you drunk redneck.

also, white people, write this shit down: stop dancing ridiculously to Soulja Boy’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” to begin with, it’s a terrible song and no one should be dancing to it, period, so maybe i shouldn’t be singling out the white folks. still, there’s few things in life sadder than watching some 35-to-40-year-old man trying to “Superman that hoe.” i’m going to start wailing on people with a cricket bat when i catch them doing this shit.

say goodnight to the bad guy (or even 13 of them)

what with America’s obsession with rebels and gangsters and the like, i suppose it’s not uncommon to find us rooting for the bad guys in films; at this point, my concern is “are we really rooting for the best quality bad guys?” i mean, Tony Montana remains very popular, but it’s not as if the whole thing ended well for him. but more to the point, we’ve talking about Tony and Scarface and everything like 13000 times; we can afford to mix it up a little bit, right? or, say, at least pay attention to 13 of them who haven’t gotten the love that Nicky Santoro has? so let’s do that.

French, Blue, Humungus, Stansfield, Little and McCauley
French beats men senselessly, Blue works his pistol for robbery, Humungus masks it up, Stansfield’s chillin’, Little’s plotting something, and McCauley’s plotting someone’s death.

13. Mr. French (the Departed; played by Ray Winstone)
granted, he doesn’t chew up the scenery like Jack Nicholson or anything (not that Frank Costello isn’t a pretty crazy, bloody bad guy in his own right in this film), but what he DOES do is cruise around killing the hell out of people, beating the hell out of people, killing the hell out of HIMSELF to save time, and, most of all, making a name like “Mr. French” work in terms of “not making us think of surrender and military defeat.” he’s one in ten million, or so i hear.
best line: “she got reliable.”

12. Bernard “Mr. Blue” Ryder (the Taking Of Pelham One Two Three; played by Robert Shaw)
okay, okay, i admit it: this is an obscure choice. i doubt most people have seen the film (which is a very cool heist film from 1974 involving a subway hijacking and a younger Jerry Stiller) or even know who the hell Robert Shaw is (Quint in Jaws). but here, he’s a cold, calculating gangster, though i admit that, spoiling things slightly, things could have gone better for him.
best line: “pity.” (eh, maybe you need the context)

11. Lord Humungus (the Road Warrior; played by Kjell Nilsson)
so, the two questions you’re asking immediately are “how the fuck did this nearly-naked hockey-mask-wearing mutant get on the list?” and “why not Master Blaster?” well, the latter wasn’t really evil enough for this list – i mean, hell, Master ends up exchanging his outfit for a suit and ruining off with the good guys – and as to the former, well, he crucifies innocents in his quest for gasoline and he has a ridiculous legion of creepy bikers. but mainly, the man gets called “the Ayatollah of Rock-And-Rollah!” and there’s few things in the world more respectable than THAT.
best line: “be still, my dog of war! i understand your pain. we’ve all lost someone we love. but we do it my way! we do it my way. fear is our ally. the gasoline will be ours. then you shall have your revenge. ”

10. Norman Stansfield (Léon; played by Gary Oldman)
now, i will grant the following: Stansfield isn’t the most balanced guy on this list. still, it’s not like being fucking crazy was ever a penalty for Santoro or Montana or anyone else, and Stansfield still gets to cruise around the streets of NYC in dirty cop form (which is always popular) selling drugs and shooting children and generally promoting Beethoven and behaving in such a recklessly crazy fashion that you have to either love it or try to shoot him in a bathroom with a paper bag filled with pistols. if nothing else, i’m sure things were going much better before he got wrapped up with that whole Léon thing.
best line: “death is… whimsical… today.”

09. Rodney Little (Clockers; played by Delroy Lindo)
sometimes i get the impression that i’m the one human being who watched this movie, because if i’m ever to talk about fine performances in it or Spike Lee’s quality direction or anything else, apparently, no one even has a negative opinion because NO ONE SAW CLOCKERS, EVER. it’s very frustrating. in this case, we’re promoting the harsh regime of Rodney Little, who directs criminal activities, threatens subordinates with pistols, and unleashes nefarious hitmen, only to cap off his role in this film by attacking the hell out of Mekhi Phifer’s car and wrecking the shit out of it. it’s awesome.
best line: “if god created anything better than crack cocaine, he kept that shit for hisself.”

08. Neil McCauley (Heat; played by Robert De Niro)
there’s a degree of wavering here, it would seem, because McCauley seems to melt a little in this film in order to spend some quality sexing-up time with Amy Brenneman, but in the end we see he’s willing to ditch her in order to escape, so it’s cool for him to be here on this list. otherwise, he runs around perpetrating intricately planned heists netting millions of dollars, gunning it out with the LAPD on a RIDICULOUS scale, and dealing out harsh (but deserved) justice to backstabbing members of the criminal underworld, be they money launderer or guns for hire.
best line: “’cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fuckin’ line.”

Frank, Cutting, Jarrett, Vondas, Lampone and Conway
Frank thinks of harmonicas, Cutting thinks of top hats, Jarrett also thinks of top hats, Vondas thinks of floppy hats, Lampone enjoys himself one last time and Conway is up to no good.

07. Frank (Once Upon A Time In The West; played by Henry Fonda)
now, i may be veering in the direction of Westerns here, but i think it’s acceptable given the fact that we have the beloved Henry Fonda running around in the Southwest gunning down and torturing men and children (and probably women) like there’s no tomorrow. he’s sort of like William Munny from Unforgiven, but without the parts where he feels bad about all the killing and tries to go straight, or something like that. in any case, all i am saying is this: RUTHLESS.
best line: “people scare better when they’re dying.”

06. Bill “the Butcher” Cutting (Gangs of New York; played by Daniel Day-Lewis)
despite the fact that this film was, you know, a little uneven (i’m looking at YOU, Cameron Diaz, and to a lesser extent, Leonardo DiCaprio), we still ended up with the knife-loving Bill the Butcher, who secures his place on this list by giving DiCaprio a crazed lecture while wrapped in the American flag and tapping on his glass eye with a knife. and he kills people. and sponsors massive fights wherein approximately 13000 top hats are thrown into the air! i would have considered making his film about nothing but Cutting if i was Scorsese, but, you know, i’m not.
best line: “you know how i stayed alive this long? fear. fearsome acts. a man steals from me, i cut off his hand. if he offends me, i cut out his tongue. if he stands up against me, i cut off his head, stick it on a pike and lift it up for all to see. a spectacle of fearsome acts. that’s what maintains the order of things. fear. ”

05. Arthur “Cody” Jarrett (White Heat; played by James Cagney)
we can’t really have an overlooked bad guys list without something from Cagney; especially when you consider that this modern generation and their spawn are likely to let those nasty black-and-white films “what ain’t got no color” fade out of their consciousness soon enough. so let’s stick with Cody Jarrett: he robs and kills and shoots it out with everyone in creation. and he gets exploded, which easily one-ups merely getting shot 13000 times like Tony Montana. amateur!
best line: “top of the world, ma!”

04. Spiros “Vondas” Vondopoulos (“the Wire”; played by Paul Ben-Victor)
with the Wire at least getting a LITTLE attention, we’ve got our pick of gangsters and such that we could choose to emulate, as long as we don’t mind a degree of conflict. many probably wouldn’t be wild about running with Omar for obvious reasons, and guys like Barksdale and Bell and Prop Joe are too much “kingpin” to be a fair pick. there’s a lot of quality character in guys like Wee-Bay and Bodie as well, but there’s also conflict, so let’s cut right to the iciest henchman in the series: Vondas. he slits throats, he deals in drugs and whores and smuggled goods and murders, and he makes that ridiculous floppy hat work.
best line: “he knows my name, but my name is not my name.” (okay, so the man doesn’t have lots of time for chatting.)

03. Rocco Lampone (the Godfather & the Godfather II; played by Tom Rosqui)
the Godfather series – or at least the good entries in it – are dominated by the large characters of the Corleones, and the bit characters that tend to get the attention are the flashier guys like Al Neri. Rosqui didn’t even get credit in the original film for one of the key button man roles of the film. still, when the chips are down and someone needs to take out Hyman Roth and Neri’s hedging his bets … well, the more excellent of the two bad guys is going to be the one that steps up and gets it done, right?
best line: “difficult… but not impossible.”

02. James “Jimmy the Gent” Conway (Goodfellas; played by Robert De Niro)
i don’t mean to turn this into some kind of “i demand you show love to De Niro” station, but this is a weird one to be neglected largely because for all the references to Mafia figures in popular culture, be they the fictional characters of Joe Pesci or the Gottis and Gambinos of the world, no one seems to talk about Jimmy the Gent. and he was LITERALLY described as “the kind of guy that rooted for bad guys in the movies!” and the whole film is basically a recitation of why he’s an awesome gangster with bodies galore under his belt and money to burn. i mean, seriously, the best montage ever – set to the coda from “Layla” – is basically a testament to him being cold as fuck. where is the love?
best line: okay, this is sort of cheating and everything, but there’s a part in Pileggi’s Wise Guy where he’s talking about the real-life inspiration for Conway (Jimmy Burke), and how Burke found out his best friend (Remo) set up one of his hijackings to get busted, killed him with help from Pesci’s real-life inspiration (Tommy DeSimone) and a piano wire, buried him under a bocce ball court at one of their hangouts, and would greet him every time they played: “hi, Remo, how ya doing?”

Alejandro Sosa!
“this man here, Alejandro Sosa, a very interesting character. a wealthy land-owner, educated in England, very good family. but this man is the business brain and drug overlord of an empire that stretches across the Andes. he’s not your ordinary drug dealer.”

01. Alejandro Sosa (Scarface; played by Paul Shenar)
everyone loves Tony Montana, this we all know; even Tony knows it, and he makes sure that restaurant patrons know it as well. but at the end of the film, he’s floating dead in a pool of blood and some water, having taken a lot of friends and family with him. whereas Sosa? still in Bolivia, still living the good life (albeit with some international heat), still making that money hand over fist and still able to swarm southern Florida with enough crazed gunmen to kill even those enemies you have to shoot hundreds of times. or, to put it another way, in the words of Malice: “i ain’t coming at you quote unquote “famous rapper”/who turned positive, try to tell you how to live/but this information i must pass to the homies/if hustling is a must, be Sosa, not Tony.” i rest my case.
best line: “i only tell you once. don’t fuck me … don’t you ever try to fuck me.”

maybe next time we’ll celebrate the beloved bad guys with more human sides. i have a feeling that would call for a lot of Al Pacino. but we’ll see what happens!