Javier Bardem's Oscar-winning portrayal of Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men's unstoppable killer, was one of the most chilling and memorable villains ever portrayed on film. Cunning, heartless and yet possessing an unwavering but twisted sense of morality, he is at once a forceful personality and an archetype of death. Only America's greatest living writer, No Country author Cormac McCarthy, could have created him. And though it may seem incredible to filmgoers, Chigurh isn't even McCarthy's greatest villain. No, that honor belongs to Judge Holden from Blood Meridian, a horrifically violent historical novel about a gang of scalp-hunting mercenaries-turned-outlaws. The Judge is a hairless, charming giant who is boundlessly knowledgeable about science, philosophy, history and the law, delights in child-murder and music and conjures gunpowder from the earth like some alchemist from hell. If you thought Chigurh was the ultimate badass, acquaint yourself with his superior analogue in McCarthy's masterpiece. But don't take my word for it: Texas Woman's University English professor Dr. Russell Greer leads a Writers' Block discussion on the works of McCarthy 1 p.m. Sunday at Paperbacks Plus, 6115 La Vista Drive. Call 214-827-4860 or visit writersgarret.org for more information.
Sun., April 13, 1 p.m., 2008