Hateful Eight: 8 Movie Characters Who “Broke Bad”
Before he morphed into the ruthless drug kingpin known as Heisenberg, BREAKING BAD‘s Walter White (impeccably portrayed by Bryan Cranston) was just a humble high school teacher with mounting medical bills and a desperate desire to insure his family’s future. While the show may have popularized the term “breaking bad” to describe his transformation from “Mr. Chips to Scarface” (as series creator Vince Gilligan once put it), he’s not the only unforgettable character to abandon his morals for a life of crime (or at least corruption). Here are 10 cinematic icons also known for breaking bad.
1. Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), Fatal Attraction
Cheaters everywhere are apt to think twice about engaging in infidelity after Alex reacts to the end of her fling with attorney Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) by casing his house, kidnapping his daughter (Ellen Hamilton Latzen) and boiling the family’s pet bunny. C’mon, Alex, whatever happened to just having a little harmless fun?
2. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), Misery
The ex-nurse and onetime serial killer seems to have her past homicidal tendencies under control as she lives a quiet life in the Colorado mountains. That all changes when she happens upon her favorite author, Paul Sheldon (James Caan), after he’s severely injured in a car accident. Paul must ultimately fend for his life after Annie goes off the deep end and threatens to kill them both. As Annie might say, now that’s an oogie mess.
3. Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), Mean Girls
After growing up in a remote part of Africa, cute-but-nerdy Cady is recruited into a super-exclusive clique called The Plastics at her new high school on the outskirts of Chicago. Proving that nobody is immune to the alluring prospect of popularity, Cady transforms from a sweet naif to a conniving you-know-what under the tutelage of lead Plastic Regina George (Rachel McAdams). That’s so not fetch, Cady.
4. Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), Star Wars
When it comes to breaking bad, Darth Vader is such an icon that he’s even got his own vernacular to describe his evil transformation. (It’s “turn to the dark side,” thank you very much.) And he really commits to the switch whole-hog, even changing his name from the much sunnier-sounding Anakin Skywalker and ultimately trying to kill his own son, Luke (Mark Hamill). The Force is strong with this one, indeed.
5. Regan McNeil (Linda Blair), The Exorcist
Some characters break bad in subtle, underhanded ways. Then there’s Regan, who lets her evil freak flag fly by exuding otherworldly noises, exhibiting superhuman strength, and doing a 360 with her skull. But hey, it’s not her fault she got possessed by a demon after playing with a Ouija board!
6. Sean Archer (John Travolta), Face/Off
This FBI special agent deserves an employee-of-the-month award after he endures an experimental face transplant to go undercover as psycho terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage) so he can find out the location of a bomb that’s set to detonate Los Angeles. Talk about taking your work home with you!
7. Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), Bad Santa
Hey, if you had a name as fit to be mocked as Thurman Merman, you’d break bad, too! In this black-as-coal comedy, small-time crook Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) befriends the pudgy kid after realizing he’s been the subject of ruthless taunts and bullying from his classmates. Despite working as a mall Santa, Willie obviously doesn’t abide by the Bible’s belief in turning the other cheek, as he inspires Thurman to kick his tormentor in the crotch.
8. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), Taxi Driver
Honorably discharged Vietnam War veteran Travis Bickle can’t help but break bad after he starts working the graveyard shift as a New York City cabbie; what with all the addicts, thieves and pimps he shuttles around the Big Apple, it’s only natural that he’d sink into a schizophrenic depression. Luckily for Travis, when he finally cracks and goes on a shooting spree at a brothel, his actions are interpreted as heroic, rather than a desperate plea to win over 12-year-old prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster) after developing an unhealthy obsession toward her.