Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The bitch is back

Yes, Georgina returned on last night's Gossip Girl. Unfortunately, her presence basically amounted to a cameo-- looks like the real Sparks will fly (see what I did there??) next week. It was still a good episode, though, with the kind of brewing craziness you just know will pay big dividends in the final episodes. The hour opened amusingly with Blair horrified by the prospect of actually having to use the subway. Nate suggests it'll be the quickest way for them to see each other in the fall, when he's at Columbia and she's at NYU. Gotta love Queen B, who declares, "This is why God invented car service." She's kind of like Daphne Zuniga in "Space Balls," when she's told she should only take what she needs to survive and protests, "I *need* my Imperial Hair Dryer to survive!" They also chose well by having the Bleeker St stop be the one in question, since its facade lists an alphabet soup of trains: 6DF. It's enough to give a girl a migraine. Even for these characters, though, it seemed a little much that they actually described a commute between the upper west and lower east side as "like being in a long distance relationship." C'mon, people, it's not like we're talking about *Brooklyn* here! Then again, Blair's line about "Nate may as well be going to school in Guam" seemed knowingly ridiculous. It's enough to scare Nate into securing an apartment in Murray Hill. (So wait, where is the money for this coming from again? His dad's in federal prison and he burned bridges with Grandpa so... um, how? Splainy.) He and Chuck discuss the issue while playing basketball (who knew these guys played sports or did anything besides drink and date?). Chuck says they can still discuss Blair, man-to-man, despite his own infamous past with her. But when C and B run into each other that night and Nate hears about it, he gets jealous and Chuck gets snide. Chuck suggests his friend is only getting the apartment to keep a close eye on his girlfriend. And Nate's subsequent decision to ask Blair to move in is even more transparent. (And again, I know this isn't a particularly realistic show but-- who lets their teenage kids shack up together for freshman year? I'm willing to accept teens getting into clubs and drinking whenever they like but that seems like another stretch!) The run-in occurs when Blair decides to go snooping after Serena's new squeeze, handsome playboy Gabriel. Serena's complaining about his flakiness and this immediately raises Blair's suspicions. When Chuck spots her staked out outside of Gabriel's place, he immediately knows what's up: "You're wearing your beret." (Too funny. An earlier Blair line about Dorota being "handy with surveillance equipment" was also amusing.) They see Gabriel getting into a cab with Poppie, his supposed ex, and report this to Serena. When she confronts him, he says that he's been forced to stay with her so that her investors won't pull funding from his Ponzi scheme-- I mean, charity investment. (Something about helping underprivileged African youth. Or something.) He swears he'll break it off with her in a week, and Serena's satisfied. Blair is understandably skeptical, and I couldn't help wondering why Serena is always willing to give loser-y guys second, third, and fourth chances. (The only decent guy we've seen her date is Dan, and even he's kind of a douche sometimes.) I wanted to shake her and say, "Serena, I'm queerer than a three dollar bill and *I* would make out with you. You're hot! You can do better than these jerks!" (I know, I know, I get so emotional when I'm talking about Serena's love life. She's just a good kid, and I worry about her.) Chuck and Blair orchestrate a meeting between Gabriel and Poppie in which he declares his love for Serena and shrugs off Poppie's threat to pull all her investors. Serena is convinced and even offers to help Gabriel find new backers among her mother and her high society pals. But Chuck and Blair aren't so easily swayed and remain determined to get to the bottom of the whole thing, especially when they learn that Butter, where Serena and Georgina supposedly ran into Gabriel in the first place, was closed on the night in question. Significantly, Blair chooses a trip to see Georgina with Chuck over spending the night with Nate at his apartment. They've decided that our favorite little Hellspawn is the only one who can put the issue to rest, so they drive out to some Jesus Camp where Georgina's been living to ask her. After spending the night in a limo waiting for it to open-- Chuck can't resist referencing the pair's first sexual encounter, natch-- Chuck says it's best if he talks to Blair's old enemy alone. Blair realizes that he only brought her along to get her away from Nate, but Chuck insists it was her decision. "I'm doing this for my best friend," Blair protests. But the tension between the two as their faces hover inches apart says it all. Of course, as promised in the previews, Georgina greets Chuck with a bear hug and shrieks, "Have you been saved?" He tells her it has to be an act aimed at escaping boot camp, though Georgina insists it's not and she's truly found Jesus. Meanwhile, Serena's waking up with Gabriel and decides to put him to the test, asking him about the alleged night at Butter. Does he remember her friend Georgina's "flaming red hair"? "Oh, I remember that," Gabriel replies. Busted! After Serena leaves, Poppie shows up and she and Gabriel are frantic that S might suspect the truth about what they're doing. It's become apparent that they are trying to ensnare the Van Der Woodsens and their wealthy friends in a bogus investment. Funniest bit, when Gabriel rails about not being given enough information about how he supposedly met S: "What the hell is Butter?!" A knock at the door arouses their suspicion that Serena's back, but it's actually Rufus, come to give Gabriel his check in person. Yep, he's investing, too, in a fool-hardy bid to fund Dan's college education. Ruh-roh! Meanwhile Serena calls Chuck, who confirms that Georgina doesn't remember the cad, either. (Funnily, Georgina says she's "prayed many times" over drugging S that night.) Chuck tells her he'll be home soon, but Blair's already taken off in the limo. She apologizes to Nate for abandoning him the previous night, but also wants to know if he just asked her to move in to keep a leash on her. He placates her for the moment, but the love triangle has officially been set in motion, and we all know who Blair is *really* destined to be with. Back in Humphrey land, the fairly un-involving we-need-money storyline-- is Rufus buying a ring to propose to Lily? what will he do now that the gallery isn't selling?-- bored me enough to focus only on stuff like Lily's latest obvious pregnancy-hiding clothes and the fact that Jenny has those awful bangs again. (I was also annoyed by her token reference to Eric's being "out of town." Doing what, exactly? Why don't you just pretend he doesn't exist like in the other frequent Eric-free episodes? I hope he was in P-town at a foam party or something.) There was a brief exchange between Rufus and Vanessa (who, without a gallery to serve coffee at, is probably questioning the meaning of life itself) that left me wondering, again, if those two will ever engage in any sort of massively inappropriate nookie. Why not? It could be fun, and I'm kinda bored of Lily and Rufus these days-- a teenage affair would stir things up. (Haven't they learned anything from Chuck and Blair? It's always more fun when you throw curves at your Core Couples.) Then there was the drunken confab between Vanessa and Dan in which she confessed to having slept with Chuck, twice. She also let it slip that Rufus is short on cash for Yale. I did wonder about the likelihood of a teenage girl being let in to freely drink beers with her teen friend-- guess this was my week to question the reality of Gossip Girl. (If I want hardcore realism, I probably shouldn't be watching this show in the first place.) But it was sort of funny to see Dan's reactions to his ex hooking up with the notorious bad boy, and referencing all the "STD tests" she was forced to undergo. But Vanessa is still boring, even when drunk, which only proves that she should try and seduce Rufus for one last stab at relevance. (I mean, seriously. The girl's now hawking Dove soap during the commercial breaks. She's the character equivalent of watching paint dry.) The end of the episode was promising, if predictable; Chuck mentions Blair and Georgina perks up at that and decides to accompany him back to Manhattan. Gossip Girl says something clever about the devil in disguise, and we're left wondering: was she faking the whole religious conversion, or was it only a matter of time before a trigger sent her back into Linda Blairsville? We'll find out next week.

Friday, April 24, 2009

8 Summer Movies I'm Psyched For

It seems like every year the "summer movie previews" arrive earlier and earlier, now that the entire month of May is considered fair game for big movies. I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring with a look at eight movies that I'm personally excited about. It looks to be a diverse season for the discriminating moviegoer: sure, there are plenty of sequels and spin-offs (some of which made this list), but there are also comedies, dramas, and a couple of horror flicks that look especially creepy. Here they are in order of release.
Terminator: Salvation-- The film shoot that launched a thousand internet views-- and even a dance remix-- wasn't just about Christian Bale's fiery temper. It was about reviving one of the signature action franchises of the 90s with a look at the story fans have been dying for: the War Against the Machines. I'm not a huge fan of McG's movies, but Bale is a terrific actor who should excel as the heroic John Connor, and this looks to be one of the summer's real stunners. (May 21)
Drag Me to Hell-- Horror legend Sam Raimi returns to the genre (after a vacation spent making a little series called Spider-man) with this flashy and fun looking yarn. A hapless real estate clerk (Alison Lohman) denies a gypsy a mortgage extension (timely much?) and falls victim to a horrifying curse. Demons, a seance, and plenty of gonzo gross-outs ensue, with Raimi up to his old Evil Dead-era tricks. Sign me up! (May 29)
Bruno-- Sacha Baron Cohen is at it again with a punk-happy "reality" followup to his smash hit "Borat." Cohen is a truly brilliant comedian and I can't wait to see what sorts of irreverent, idiot exposing shenanigans he gets up to this time. (Especially with all the gayness of Cohen's last film amped up for the super queer Bruno character.) One highlight from the trailer: Bruno shows off his newly adopted African baby, which he's naming "OJ," to a horrified black talk show audience. (July 10)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince-- Finally! After being denied it last winter, Potter geeks can finally watch the latest spectacular installment, which delves even deeper into the origins of the sinister Lord Voldemort (played by Ralph Fiennes' nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin). Expect action, hormonal intrigue (Hermione gets a little too jealous of Ron's new girlfriend) and-- spoiler alert!-- a big death. Take that, Twilight. (July 17)
Julie & Julia-- The next Devil Wears Prada? That might be a stretch, but this classy looking comedy from Nora Ephron does feature the Mighty Meryl-- as cooking legend Julia Child-- and the always vibrant Amy Adams as the frustrated secretary attempting to make all 524 recipes in Child's seminal "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." A frazzled young professional gasping to keep up with an old pro? Sounds a lot less bitchy than Prada, but potentially just as much fun. (August 7)
Taking Woodstock-- How is it that a Chinese director has managed time and again to dramatize such powerfully American stories? From 1970s Connecticut to 1960s Wyoming, the Oscar winning auteur has consistently captured the private dramas of ordinary Americans-- and now he sets his sites on the concert that defined a generation. The movie focuses on a closeted gay man who inadvertently organizes the titular music festival. Along for the ride are the always reliable Eugene Levy (as farmer Max Yasgur) and Emile Hirsch (who some of you may know is my long term boyfriend. Seriously). (August 14)
Inglourious Basterds-- After directing the "Deathproof" half of the criminally under-seen "Grindhouse," Quentin Tarantino returns with this bloody, adrenaline charged WWII tale about a band of Jewish soldiers charged with terrorizing and scalping Nazis. With Brad Pitt as a crazed Southern general and torture porn auteur Eli Roth as a fellow scalper, this should be an entertaining antidote to the usual Oscar-begging war epics. (August 21)
H2-- Rob Zombie once again heralds the end of summer with the sequel to his grisly 2007 remake of Halloween. This time, the splat pack savant has free reign to take the story in outlandish new directions, with Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) descending into madness and horror host Uncle Seymour (Bill Mosely) hosting a Halloween festival that's about to be visited by the still murderous Michael Myers (Tyler Mane). Plus there's Margot Kidder as a shrink and Weird Al(!) as himself for good measure! This sure-to-be-brutal followup should ease the transition from summer to fall... again. (August 28)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The girls can't help it

After another (mercifully shorter) hiatus, Gossip Girl came back with the sort of whimsical, fun little episode that made us like this show in the first place. Not spectacular, but certainly promising as we move into May Sweeps and the final episodes of the season. (Side note: is it just me, or does this season feel like it's been on for two years? Not that I'm complaining, but Labor Day feels like a loooong time ago!) For one thing, Wallace Shawn came back! I thought maybe they'd been holding back on Cyrus because they wrote his icky son Aaron off the face of the earth, but I guess they figure it's been long enough that no one will question his own son not being at the Passover Seder the characters all attend in this episode. (Or we won't ask questions as long as we never have to think about Aaron again-- sorry, all, for bringing back painful memories.) The hour opens with one of those Blair fantasies that used to be sort of cute but are mostly just tiresome. (We get that she likes Audrey Hepburn, but that really only leaves two iconic movies to play with-- maybe Blair needs to start idolizing Joan Crawford or something.) She's still smarting from the Yale fiasco, and then a possible answer arrives in the form of Nate's grandfather, who offers to get her in the wedding party for Nate's cousin Trip if she'll convince Nate to go to Yale instead of Columbia. Nate wants to go to Columbia because the producers want to keep the kids in New York-- er, because he got in under his own steam (whereas Yale was a gimme thanks to the family name). Blair can't resist trying to influence him for her own high society gain, but then Nate stuns the engagement party by declaring a biting "toast" to his grandfather, who Trip told him had ratted his disgraced dad out to the Feds. So much for that plan. What's more, when Grandpa explains to Nate that he gave the Captain the chance to turn himself in but had no choice but to turn him in for the good of him and his family, Nate thanks him for his honesty and then his grandfather says, "In the spirit of honesty, there's something you should know..." and reveals his deal with Blair! I'm sorry, but isn't that a little hypocritical? How is it not bad that Grandpa bribed Nate's girlfriend in the first place!? Blair can certainly be a scheming bitch, but I honestly sympathized with her here. Thankfully a talk with Chuck, of all people, convinces Nate to forgive Blair and by ep's end the two are hugging and kissing all over again. Her earlier claim that she no longer cared about college and just wanted to go socialite wasn't too convincing, but did produce this priceless zinger (after Cyrus offered to get Blair an NYU interview): "I have no desire go to a non-Ivy league school, read Beloved eight times and then experiment with lesbianism!" Meanwhile, Serena was dealing with the consequences of her impromptu trip to Spain with high society pal Poppy in the last episode. Lily is royally pissed and declares "the old Serena is back, and I don't like seeing her." But Serena hasn't even revealed her biggest gaffe: she apparently married hunky Gabriel in a drunken haze overseas, and essentially came running back to escape! She seeks Cyrus's legal advice, since Blair is tied up in wedding preparations on the night of the big family Seder and thus conveniently out of the way. He urges her to tell her mom; after all, "she's your *mother.*" This exchange is overheard by Dan, who's taken on a catering job to supplement his college fund and has wound up at chez Waldorf. He moves easily into morally superior mode: "How does one not *know* if one is married?" (I don't know, Humphrey: how does *anyone* not know if one is married? Such is life.) Eventually Lily and Rufus arrive for dinner, followed by Gabriel, who's tracked Serena down, and the evening descends into a farce. Dan has to pretend to be Serena's on-again boyfriend and date for the Seder for Gabriel, Rufus, and Lily, while also fulfilling his role as "cater waiter" (which btw is my new favorite profession) for Eleanor, prompting all sorts of silliness. Meanwhile poor Cyrus is trying to actually, you know, have a religious dinner, while Eleanor just wants to know when they eat. "She never mentioned you," Gabriel says, to which Dan replies, "I must have come up once or twice..." Meanwhile, Eleanor's mandate that Dan "make himself more presentable" strikes Rufus as rude, but Dan declares, "I'm just gonna go with it." And Lily can't believe Serena and Dan are back on yet again. Eventually, of course, the whole thing comes crashing down and Dan cops to his role in the affair, at least. When Serena realizes Gabriel's gone, she follows him, and he tells her they weren't married in Spain, after all, but he really likes her. They kiss, and just then a distraught Blair shows up (before Nate makes nice with her at episode's end). The two share some cathartic girl talk, reminding us that their tempestuous friendship is often at the core of the show. (I knew teenage girls who were friends in high school and alternately adored and despised each other-- that love/hate dynamic seems to be par for the course sometimes.) Serena leaves Gabriel a sweet voice mail, while Blair has a touching moment with Cyrus-- taking him up on the NYU offer-- right before Nate comes to see her. She says "I'm so sorry" and runs into his arms. Serena's just found out she got into Brown, but her burgeoning love seems less auspicious; cut to Gabriel and Poppy having a vague but clearly scheming conversation. Last but certainly not least, this episode featured some interesting bits for Chuck and Jenny; the latter appears to be taking baby steps towards having a life of her own. She's got a cute, soft-spoken new love interest named Elliot (even if they do lame things like play Monopoly at home) and she stands up to Chuck in a rare ballsy moment. After he realizes his paramour of the night is someone he's already slept with, he kicks her out and randomly insults Jenny. ("Big shock; the girl from Brooklyn is a renter," he quips.) Jenny tells him off, saying that just because he's bored doesn't mean he should try to crap on other people's lives; besides, hers and Lily's families constitute "the only people in your life you don't have to pay to be there" and reminds him that in light of his attempt to force himself on her last year, she could probably get him thrown out of the apartment if she wanted to. Chuck later comes back to her and acknowledges her point, while also apologizing for last year's incident (which actually happened way back in the series premiere). He vows that if the Humphreys do end up moving in, he'll move out. It was a very interesting and unexpected scene, with two characters whose paths have rarely crossed-- at least directly-- since that fateful premiere. I suppose it's also worth mentioning that Rufus randomly announced he's selling the gallery, both to raise college money and because he's not enjoying art anymore. Dan asks what he'll do now, and he says he's not sure, but my money's on a revived music career. Meanwhile, this may have been the most blatant Kelly-Rutherford-is-hugely-pregnant episode yet, with all manner of conspicuously flowing dresses and coats on display. I can't wait till she pops that baby out so the producers can finally stop playing Hide the Bump. My favorite moment of all, though, wasn't in the episode itself, but at the end of the promo for next week: a breathless Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) hugs Chuck and blares, "Have you been saved???" Only time will tell if the bitch has gone fundy (or if it's all just an act), but the clip made me laugh out loud and I am dying for next week already.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An early look at H2

So as a Halloween fan, I had mixed feelings about Dimension's "H2"-- until it was announced that Rob Zombie would be returning to direct. Free from the constraints of an existing movie-- sorry for those who were hoping for a remake of the dimly lit hospital opus "Halloween II" (1981)-- Zombie looks like he's really going crazy in his usual manner. Early reports and pics from the set have included elaborate Halloween decorations (i.e. a giant jack-'o-lantern house) and quirky characters like Zombie stalwart Bill Mosely as TV horror host "Uncle Seymour Coffins." Now, the director's posted an image of the adorable Scout Taylor Compton on set as Laurie Strode. Laurie's said to be wilder and more damaged in this film-- think good girl gone waaay bad-- and this sexy, compelling pic hammers that home. (Note the Alice Cooper poster in the background-- yep, we're in Rob Zombie territory alright!) Looks promising; the movie opens August 29th.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chillin' Like a Villain

Entertainment Weekly just did a very entertaining issue featuring their picks for the greatest heroes and villains of all time. A lot of them matched what mine would be (and those that didn't were covered by Stephen King's own editorial on great baddies in literature), but I still thought it would be fun to do my own list of ten favorite villains. In no particular order, here's my own rogues gallery...
The Joker & Two-Face. As a lifelong Batman fan, I couldn't do this list without at least a couple of the Dark Knight's awesomely colorful foes. The Riddler, Catwoman, the Penguin, Clayface... the list goes on and on. But tops goes to the fiendishly demented Joker, who's appeared successfully in so many different incarnations he practically rivals Dracula. There's the original comic creation (initially dark, then goofier in the 50s, then scary again in the 80s-on); the amusing Cesar Romero take from the camp classic "Batman" TV series; the iconic Jack Nicholson portrayal in 1989's "Batman"; and the wonderfully vibrant version from "Batman: The Animated Series" voiced by Mark Hamill. Of course, last year saw Heath Ledger set a brand new standard for onscreen Jokers with his compellingly twisted, Oscar-winning interpretation. While the Joker is a classic maniac, Two-Face is a more multi-layered affair. He's a tragic figure whose darkness is underscored by the fact that he was once a district attorney crusading for justice. But an unfortunate courtroom incident (acid in the face didn't help the Phantom of the Opera, either) warped both his mind and his mug. Now, the split-personality baddie is out for revenge on Batman and anyone else who wronged him with elaborate gimmicks and his ever present coin toss. I loved the "Animated Series" version of his story, which was a surprisingly heartfelt meditation on mental illness for a weekday show ostensibly aimed at kids; last summer's "Dark Knight" didn't get enough credit for how well it handled its *other* big villain, as marvelously portrayed by Aaron Eckhart. The filmmakers and actor pulled off the tricky feet of making Harvey/Two-Face both sympathetic and frightening, which goes to the core of this unique character.
Dracula is the first great horror villain, and like the Joker he's been portrayed countless times in ways ranging from the serious (Bela Lugosi's classic "Dracula") to the silly (Leslie Nielsen in "Dracula: Dead and Loving It"). The Gothic and immortal count is another tragic figure whose villainy is an understandable side effect of his wretched luck. Dracula is a great villain because he's as seductive and appealing as he is loathsome. My personal favorite Drac? Gary Oldman's brilliant turn in the visually dazzling "Bram Stoker's Dracula."
The Wicked Witch of the West & the Grand High Witch. As a kid my teachers were concerned that I was too fixated on witches and monsters. Maybe they were right. I was a sucker for anything involving a witch, from "Snow White" (the first movie I saw at the theaters) to the bizarre animated special "Witch's Night Out." Of course, the greatest of all witches is Margret Hamilton's immortal Wicked Witch, who terrorizes Oz with her horrible powers and limitless cruelty. (An early version of the film, with the green-skinned hag intoning "You can't even *imagine* the things I'm gonna do to you," had children in tears at test screenings.) Other kids were traumatized by this aspect of "The Wizard of Oz," but me, I lived for anything involving this stunning sorceress and her broomstick. Plus, Winged Monkeys? Best. Henchmen. Ever. Meanwhile, Roald Dahl's equally menacing Grand High Witch leaped from the page to the screen in Nicolas Roeg's 1990 adaptation of "The Witches." Anjelica Huston did a phenomenal job imbuing the child-hating leader of a murderous coven with personality and wit. But it was Jim Henson's Creature Shop that completed the transformation with eye-popping makeup effects. It doesn't hurt that the Grand High Witch can shoot fatal laser beams from her eyes.
Norman Bates, Michael Myers & Freddy Krueger. As a die hard horror fan, I had to give a shout out to this troika of iconic slashers. Of course, Tony Perkin's indelible Norman Bates is the grand daddy of them all; as at least one critic noted, many of the films released in "Psycho's" wake played like extended versions of the shower scene. But no other horror villain was as complex or sympathetic as Bates, a shy "boy next door" hiding a deadly secret. (Mean Mom is, of course, all in his head.) While Bates functions as "Psycho's" villain in some respects, his likability and struggles simultaneously establish him as a folk hero. Nearly two decades later, John Carpenter used Hitchcock's masterpiece as the template for his own horror classic, the relentless "Halloween." His ultimate bogeyman Michael Myers was like Norman without the personality, another tortured man child who'd lost all sense of personality or heart. Instead, he became a masked murderer whose idea of playing is stalking and killing babysitters. After seven sequels and a remake (with another sequel on the way), Myers has become one of the genre's most enduring stars. But no follow-up or rip-off can match the power of the slow, silent killer from the original film. The success of "Halloween" inspired countless knock-offs as well as a few films that put their own unique stamp on the stalk and slash formula. One of these was "A Nightmare on Elm Street," which introduced the world to reality-bending child killer (and probable pedophile) Fred Krueger. As played by Robert Englund, Krueger was another largely-silent stalker who had the added advantage of an unforgettable weapon-- a glove with knives for fingers-- and control over the dream worlds of his hapless teen victims. Further films in the series continued to explore surreal possibilities while also imbuing "Freddy" with a wise cracking sense of humor. By the time of 1994's "New Nightmare" Freddy had become something of a joke, but original creator Wes Craven proved there was still life in the character by remaking him as an evil demon let loose on the "real" world.
Ursula. Entertainment Weekly credits the Wicked Queen for setting the pattern for Disney villains, but my favorite is still "The Little Mermaid's" hilariously vicious Ursula the Sea Witch. This portly, flashy mix of woman and octopus slithered her way into the hearts of millions with her catty sense of humor and wicked magic. Besides, what gay man could resist a villainess modeled on Divine?
The Cigarette Smoking Man. "The X Files" was both a signature 90s series and a sci-fi landmark. Its one episode monsters were often highly memorable-- the Fluke Man, Eugene Tooms, that creepy limbless woman on the gurney in "Home"-- but its greatest villain was the shadowy Cigarette Smoking Man. As gruffly portrayed by William B. Davis, "CSM" was a sinister presence whose mystery only deepened as we learned the full extent of his role in the vast Conspiracy. Over the years Davis' character evolved from a mostly background presence to a personality so compelling he starred in his own episode, the history-spanning "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man." Cementing his status as a great villain? Quite possibly-- spoiler alert!-- the greatest death of all time: turning up in a cave after being thought dead (again), a long haired, leering CSM is hit by a missile-- and we watch his skeleton incinerate before our eyes. A fitting end for a truly "black lunged son of a bitch."