Don't let the name fool you. It is nowhere near as superficial as its name suggest. Although from a superhero fan standpoint, it would be interesting to see a movie of nothing but villains going at it, much in the vein of the Marvel Civil War series. Instead, this movie deals with the much more realistic nature of villains and what is at the root of their being: greed.
Out of all my previous vault picks, this flick is probably one that many of my readers have never heard of. Therefore, let me provide a quick synopsis to enlighten you. It is the tale of two rival comic book shop owners. One is doing it for the genuine love of the comics, Raymond McGillicudy (Donal Logue). The other is a married couple in it strictly for the money, Norman and Judy Link (Michael Rapaport and Natasha Lyonne). All of this told primarily from the point of view of comic collector Archie (DJ Qualls).
The two competing stores could have gone on about their happy existence hating each other until the unimaginable happens. Rumor gets out that a massive collection of perfectly-preserved comics could possibly be available since the owner has died. All that remains is finding a way to get his elderly mother, Mrs. Cresswell (Eileen Brennan), to let them go. By any means necessary.
"Comic Book Villains" was another one of those flicks I stumbled upon entirely by accident. I had been perusing the movie channels one night and saw the title. Of course I didn't think it could be an actual superhero movie or it would have meant it came out with no pub at all. The description intrigued me so I checked it out. It was one of those hidden gems that turned out to be a surprisingly good find.
What we end up getting here is a film that is contained of actors and actresses that have all been scene-stealers in previous movies. Rapaport from "Higher Learning"...Lyonne from "American Pie"...even an elderly Brennan from "Private Benjamin". This ensemble cast comes together to round out an extremely well-written script.
The name of the movie is to be taken very literally. The discovery of the priceless comic book collection causes all interested parties to show the darkest parts of their souls. What happens in the meantime is Logue becomes the stand-out performer in this sordid story. We see the evolution from him being a connoisseur in it for the love of the game to a borderline deranged individual. The thing is that his already oddball appearance lends itself to that type of transformation.
Allegedly, "Comic Book Villains" had its theatrical release in January of 2002. I do not recall seeing anything about it. It must have went to a couple of theaters on the west coast and a few on the east coast then avoided the midwest altogether. It's too bad because the low-budget films like these are just what Hollywood needs to be spending more time on instead of half the big-budget releases that end up being pure junk.