All the Marvel Big Bads, Ranked By Badness

Black Panther Trailer

This past weekend saw the release of Marvel’s Black Panther and the debut of Michael B. Jordan’s striking new villain. So you know what that means: it’s time to update our Marvel villain ranking.

If you’re still reading, there are two things to keep in mind regarding this particularly ranking of Marvel’s bad guys. One, I’m judging them all based on Personality and Plan Points. How magnetic are they? How stupid is their plan for world domination (or whatever else they’re seeking)?

Two, Thanos isn’t on it because he doesn’t count. He’s not a villain; he’s a Postmates customer with the munchies. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to Infinity War, when he can legitimately join this list.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch with ‘Black Panther’

Movies to Watch with Black Panther

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Black Panther.)

When Gone with the Wind premiered in 1939 in Atlanta, one of its stars wasn’t allowed to attend because Georgia law at the time prevented black people from entering whites-only movie theaters. Two months after being barred from seeing the launch of her own movie, Hattie McDaniel became the first black Oscar winner, accepting the award in a whites-only hotel in Los Angeles, allowed in the building only because David O. Selznick was powerful enough to ask a favor.

Gone with the Wind is the highest-grossing movie of all time adjusted for inflation. By every definition it is a blockbuster. Its depictions, its compromises of its own artists, and its legacy are all important background to consider now that, a little over 78 years later, Black Panther is about to roar onto screens.

No, Black Panther isn’t the first black superhero movie. No, it’s not the first blockbuster with a black director. But the sheer scope of its cast (including multiple Oscar winners who thankfully didn’t need favors to get into the room where they hoisted their statues) and the massive, mainstream cultural cache that comes with any Marvel movie make Black Panther an event on another level.

78 years between the two. Something to think about while we consider some other movies to double feature alongside T’Challa’s first solo adventure.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch with ‘Winchester’

Movies to Watch with Winchester

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Winchester.)

When you live in the Bay Area, you’re bombarded by flashy signs (and bumper stickers, oh, the bumper stickers) advertising the Winchester Mystery House. It’s a super strange house in San Jose, California, with bizarre architecture that features stairs to nowhere and doors that open to two-story drops. Now, there’s a movie about it.

Or, really, there’s a movie that places it and former owner, Sarah Winchester, in the middle of a ghost story. Winchester, the real-life heiress to her husband’s rifle fortune, used her massive wealth to continue construction on the mansion every day for 38 years, with (unsubstantiated) rumors circulating that she was doing so at the behest of a Boston medium who told her she was being haunted by the souls of Winchester rifle victims.

It’s that rumor that writer/directors the Spierig Brothers and screenwriter Tom Vaughan have used as the basis for Winchester, a tale about a psychologist named Eric Price (Jason Clarke) meeting with Winchester (Helen Mirren) to determine her sanity when, you guessed it, the ghosts she’s trying to keep at bay get angry.

Let’s look at some movies to watch with Mirren’s ghost mob.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch After You See ‘Coco’

Movies to Watch With Coco

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Coco.)

You probably noticed on store shelves this Autumn that Dia de los Muertos (or Dia de Muertos if you want to be exact) is having a cultural moment beyond Mexico, so it’s my sincere hope that Pixar’s Coco will help the uninitiated gain an appreciation of the holiday focused on dead family members and ancestors. The Day of the Dead is a vibrant celebration of remembrance and life.

The film, written by Adrian Molina & Matthew Aldrich and co-directed by Molina and Lee Unkrich, follows 12-year-old aspiring guitarist Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) on a quest through the afterlife.

/Film’s Josh Spiegel called it one of the most beautiful Pixar movies yet, so let’s see what other beautiful adventure films we can find to pair with it.

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Movies to Watch With Murder on the Orient Express

The 149th adaptation of Agatha Christie’s work hits theaters this Friday. Murder on the Orient Express is the fifth attempt to bring this particular novel to life on the screen (big or small), which means there’s a good chance you’re already well-acquainted with the classic tale from the unrivaled master of mystery.

For the uninitiated, the plot focuses on Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot (played this time by director Kenneth Branagh) who fatefully gets trapped on the Orient Express during an avalanche when a passenger ends up stabbed to death. With the train stacked full of interesting suspects, Poirot has to uncover an old family secret and solve the murder most foul before the snow melts.

Obviously there are hundreds of movies with connections to this one, so let’s whittle the list down to some of the best, most interesting, and most appropriate for Noir-vember.

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Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies to Watch With ‘Jigsaw’

Jigsaw clip

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Jigsaw.)

There’s almost nothing like the Saw movies in cinema. Launching 7 movies in 7 years without going the direct-to-video route was an amazing achievement launched by an innovative, thrilling piece of indie horror. It’s easy to forget that, considering how silly and cartoonish and convoluted the films have gotten. Peel away all those messy, pus-covered layers, and there’s something bone-sharp and angry beneath.

The franchise is an astonishing sprint, but squeezing blood from a stone gets tricky when you kill your killer off and then make a lot more movies.

Which brings us to Jigsaw. After a 7-year hiatus and the last film literally being called The Final Chapter, the Rube Goldberg of slashers returns to try to get a few more drops of O-positive out of the screen.

A list of movies to watch with it should just be the first 6 Saw movies and a Wikipedia recap of Saw: The Final Chapter, right? Let’s try to delve a little deeper.

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Movies to Watch With Happy Death Day

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Happy Death Day.)

Happy Death Day is all set to shove tongues into cheeks on Friday with its twee name and bloody riff on Groundhog Day. The film stars Jessica Rothe as Tree Gelbman (yersh), a self-absorbed college girl who gets murdered at her birthday party, wakes up the next morning, and has to relive the day until she can solve the crime.

It looks to hit the sweet spot of self-aware horror that delivers gore with a slice of irony and a wink toward the ancient age of the slasher genre. It’s also far from the first film to mess around with time loops (not even the first horror film), which makes finding companion movies a fun trek through a sci-fi subgenre that’s got a surprising number of wins.

Let’s bargain with Dormammu and relive some movies that try to break the cycle.

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Battle of the Sexes Trailer

There is no quintessential tennis movie. Baseball has The Natural. Football has Friday Night Lights. Soccer has the Goal! trilogy. But tennis is woefully underrepresented on the big screen. Are there more golf movies than tennis movies? Maybe. Regardless, the landscape — whether clay or grass — isn’t pretty.

But now we’ve got a slew of them cropping up like fuzzy ball-based Armageddons and Deep Impacts. There’s Battle of the Sexes, which in wide release this weekend, Borg/McEnroe, and the documentary Love Means Zero. We’re about to be awash in tennis, and if Battle of the Sexes delivers the kind of Oscar hope it’s hyped to, it might kick off an even bigger trend.

So finding more tennis movies to play doubles with, let alone quality ones, was a challenge, but it’s exactly the kind of high stakes, do-or-die challenge I live for.

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superman all american

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: how a recent Superman comic is bringing out the worst side of America…and revealing what this country is supposed to stand for.)

In Action Comics #987, Superman faces a simultaneous barrage of small and large-scale calamities that see him harried, flying faster than a speeding bullet from crisis to crisis. One of them is an AR-15-wielding white guy sporting an American flag bandanna who opens fire on a group of Spanish-speaking factory workers. At the very last microsecond, Supes flies in front of the workers, shielding them from the bullets. He then berates the gunman for attempted murder (can you imagine!) and when the would-be killer bleats out that the workers stole his job and ruined him, Superman spits back that he should take responsibility for his own life.

With an ungodly to-do list, Superman then jets off to stop a spiteful activist from burning down a mansion to give the 1% what for, leaving the gunman and the workers in the hands of the local police. Yes, Superman is both against the mass murder of innocent people and against the destruction of private property. Yet his sense of fairness doesn’t work for Fox contributor Todd Starnes, who has twisted the issue to make it seem like Superman protecting innocent people is a new, liberal conspiracy meant to give pro-immigration forces a powerful ally. In Starnes’ take, Superman should have flown all the of the Spanish-speaking workers back across the border to Mexico. Since he didn’t, Starnes’ rhetorically asks, “Remember when Superman stood for truth, justice, and the American way?”

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movies to watch with mother

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what mother! is about. I watched a trailer, I’ve read reviews, and it all looks like Darren Aronofsky will dose every audience member with ayahuasca before conducting Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Esperanto.

This response seems to be standard:

So, let’s figure out some movies to watch this wild animal.

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