So hot, they drive us crazy.
This Friday, Zach Galifianakis returns to the silver screen in It's Kind of a Funny Story to play a charmingly bearded inmate at a mental institution. It got me thinking about crazy people — they can be so nice and so wise. Sometimes, they can also be sexy as all hell.
Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs
There is something undeniably sexy about the creepy, commanding sensuality of Hannibal Lecter. The first time Clarice confronts him, you’re pretty sure you've got the power dynamic down. Clarice: outside of the cell. Hannibal: inside of the cell. But within ten minutes, Hannibal flips the relationship on its head, drawing Clarice eerily close to the glass with some good old-fashioned mind-fuckery — and a great pair of blue eyes. Yeah, the guy’s sick in the head, but how many of your old flames could sketch the Duomo from memory, true-to-scale? Also, he gets points for being a doctor. (License revoked, but whatever.)
Don Juan, Don Juan DeMarco
In Don Juan DeMarco, Depp plays a man who believes he's the actual Don Juan. Which might be a little difficult to explain to your friends — “So I’m seeing this really hot, really charming guy who keeps trying to fight all of my ex-boyfriends. I don’t know what to do! He’s great at sex.” — but thankfully, his brand of crazy makes him emulate great lovers of Spanish history and not, say, Ed Gein. Extra points for having Marlon Brando as your own personal confidante.
Teddy Daniels, in Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Shutter Island is a man so good, so caring, so devoted to his family that when he loses his family, he doesn’t even know who he is anymore. And yeah, he goes a bit crazy. But so what if his mission in the movie was not actually a mission, but a little chaperoned project overseen by his crazy doctors? So what if he's totally nuts? He's sweet; he's a family man; and he's totally gorgeous. Even during fits of paranoid fantasia, this guy conjures up entire people just to help them.
Lisa Rowe, Girl, Interrupted
It’s easy to dote on Winona Ryder’s character in this film. She’s the soft-spoken, doe-eyed foil to Jolie’s arm-flailing rage. And yet, Jolie is the one we can't stop watching. Sure, she’s damaged in a way that might make her dangerous to be around, but how many people can play sociopaths with total disregard for others and still seem attractive? Chalk it up to good casting — Jolie can make any role sexy.
Ricky, Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down
Some would say that a pathological obsession with sex is not sexy, and you'd probably agree. But usually the sex addict you're imagining is not Antonio Banderas. And the sex you're thinking of doesn't involve kidnapping a sexy lady, holding her hostage (nicely!), and playing those fucked-up power games that secretly turn you on. (You sick monster). This movie throws the dark parts of sex onto the screen (violence, dependence, Stockholm Syndrome) and apologizes for none of it.
Deanie Loomis, Splendor in the Grass
In this story of teenage heartbreak and repression, an achingly beautiful Natalie Wood plays a gorgeous young woman rejected by her boyfriend after refusing to sleep with him (though it seems like she really wants to). Blame it on the times. The ensuing scenes in a mental institution are as sad as any in film history, and by the end, you can't help but wish the character was born in a time when girls weren't told that sex was something you had to let your husbands do to you. Woods is stunning and unforgettable in this role.
John Nash, A Beautiful Mind
Russell Crowe’s career feels like one long foray into "dominant-male" cliches. He played a ruthless cop in L.A. Confidential, an axe-swinging “Spaniard” in Gladiator, and a boxer in Cinderella Man. But, personally, I prefer it when he’s poring over crossword puzzles with the intensity of a crazy person. We all know the man can grow a beard, bench press two-hundred pounds, and yell really loud. But what we’re less likely to see from Crowe are tears, weakness, and a mastery of physics. It's all the things you want from a guy! — intelligence, sensitivity, and the assurance that he’s too unstable to ever leave you.