The A-Z of movie maniacs

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As 'X Men Origins: Wolverine' is released in cinemas, Time Out takes a look back at cinema's zaniest crazies

A through to M | N through to Z

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A – Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) – ‘Fatal Attraction’

The original Single White Female just wouldn’t take no for an answer in Adrian Lyne’s Yuppie-guilt classic. Close went so off the rails that she spawned a whole new femme-mentalist subcategory – the ‘bunny boiler’.Read original Time Out review here

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B – Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski) – ‘Fitzcarraldo’

Kinski’s opera-mad rubber baron attempts nothing saner than winching a steamboat over a mountain in Werner Herzog’s fraught essay on mania, colonialism and, as ever, man’s occasional and uncontrollable urge for flipping two fingers to The Man Upstairs.Read original Time Out review here

C – ‘Critical’ Bill (Treat Williams) – ‘Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead’

A piss-swigging freak and all-round berserker, Bill is the summary of every one-note boiling-point psychotic that perennial nearly-man Treat Williams has ever played. His ferociously skewed world view is neatly summed up in his snappy signature line; ‘I am Godzilla; you are Japan!’Read original Time Out review here 

D – David Banner (Nick Nolte) – ‘Hulk’

Nick Nolte’s never far away from going utterly Tonto, but Ang Lee’s strange and beautiful gamma-ray opera finds him on especially kooky form as Eric Bana’s worryingly ‘hands on’ scientist dad.Read original Time Out review here

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E – Ed Avery (James Mason) – ‘Bigger Than Life’

The drugs most definitely do not work in Nic Ray’s masterly assessment of ‘50s bourgeois ennui and conformity, as James Mason’s docile patriarch starts popping cortisone to ease his tingling back problem. Before you know it, he’s locked up his wife and kid and grandiosely dispensing biblical verse as his precedent.Read original Time Out review here

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F – Capt Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) – ‘Crimson Tide’

Has Gene Hackman’s nuclear sub commander lost the plot or is he merely taking his innate curmudgeonliness to its apocalyptic conclusion? That Captain Ramsey’s ungovernable ego almost sparks WWIII is all that counts on this list!Read original Time Out review here

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G – Gonzo the Great (A Puppet) – ‘The Great Muppet Caper’

'I shall now eat a rubber tire to the music of The Flight of the Bumblebee... Music, maestro!' Avant-garde performance artist, cock-eyed optimist and unrepentant chicken fancier, Gonzo the Great (aka Austin O’Brien) bestrides those Muppet movies like an insane blue colossus, repeatedly stooping to save them from the schmaltz into which they routinely threaten to descend.Read original Time Out review here

H – The Hanson Brothers (David Hanson, Jeff and Steve Carlson) – ‘Slap Shot’

Team sports’ equivalent of Agent Orange, these three gangly homunculi are the engine room of the Charleston Chiefs in George Roy Hill’s wry ice hockey romp. Specialising in bonecrushing violence and rabid patriotism, they exemplify all that is good in American sport.Read original Time Out review here

I – Itchy (Dan Castellaneta) ‘The Simpsons Movie’

Although undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s most inspired instigators, Itchy’s motivations remain tantalizingly unclear. Springfield’s big-screen folly sees him blow up the moon to cover up a murder and is a prime example of his anarchist credentials and unrivalled brinksmanship.Read original Time Out review here

J – Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) – ‘12 Monkeys’

Pitt never quite recaptured the breathless comic energy of his performance as the delusional Jeffrey Goines in Gilliam’s tricksy time-travelling tale, but with his boggling eyes, home-made buzzcut and tatty velour tracksuit, he had the ‘bugged-out casualty’ look down cold.Read original Time Out review here

K – The Kurgan (Clancy Brown) – ‘Highlander’

It comes to something when you’ve got a film that’s built on such odd foundations, that the over-sized, body-armoured, katana-wielding, time-travelling, Sean Connery-slaying maniac at the end of it actually seems the most level-headed aspect of the film. Accent/casting issues aside, don’t forget that this film opens on a scene of Christophe Lambert reminiscing about his days in the Scottish Highlands from Row Z at Wrestlemania.Read original Time Out review here

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L – Lt Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) – ‘The Abyss’

Biehn’s Navy SEAL can’t handle the pressure in ‘Steamboat’ Jim Cameron’s ethereal deep-sea actioner. It could be the nuclear weapons he’s dismantling or the nitrogen in his bloodstream, but something’s got him worked up into a state of paranoia from which there’s just no coming back…Read original Time Out review here

M – ‘Mountain Man’ (Bill McKinney) – ‘Deliverance’

An obvious choice, perhaps, but we were too just damned scared to leave him out. McKinney cornered the market in this sort of role for the rest of his career (‘The Gauntlet’, ‘First Blood’), but never outran the long shadow of the truly dismaying scene in which he plays piggy in the middle with poor Ned Beatty.
Read original Time Out review here


A through to M | N through to Z

Author: Adam Lee Davies, David Jenkins



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