“And Charlie … you fuck with me, I’ll blind the kid and shoot out her knees.”
— Timothy, The Long Kiss Goodnight
I mean, I could pretty much leave it at that and be done with it. Once you start threatening children, you’re automatically ranked up to grade-A douche status, no questions asked. But seeing that there’s even more that could be said about the truly despicable Timothy from Renny Harlin’s 1997 actioner The Long Kiss Goodnight, please allow me to continue.
Played by Craig Bierko (Scary Movie 4, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) with equal parts smarm and dead-eyed, uh, deadliness, Timothy fits snugly into the category of “villain you love to hate” — a straight up dickbag. Most Shane Black-penned films have a main henchman that ends up serving as the main baddie, even if they’re technically a lackey. Think of Gary Busey as Mr. Joshua in Lethal Weapon or Taylor Negron in The Last Boy Scout. Timothy is yet another, but he may actually be the worst of the bunch.
When we’re first introduced to Timothy, he comes off as polite and conversational. Never mind that the guy he’s talking to in the scene is shirtless and strung up by the wrists. Never mind that the conversation doesn’t end well for the guy hanging there after he catches a very fancy-looking knife to the gut. The scene serves several purposes. For one, it makes clear that Timothy is the type of guy kind enough to offer you a choice on how you can buy the farm, typically by gun or knife. It also shows that Timothy is unfazed by any kind of begging or negotiating that one might make in such a situation, which sets the stage for some high-level assholery on his part later on.
There are more than enough moments supplied to us by the man to make us hate him with pure enjoyment. That smarminess of his permeates everything about him, from his smart-ass tone to that uber-douche five o’clock shadow he sports. He’s almost like the guy at the department store that assumes you really can’t afford what he’s ringing you up for. Timothy’s sense of humor is set to round-the-clock sarcasm, and even his underlings don’t get any sympathy from him. At one point, one of them radios in that they may be dying. Timothy’s classic response: “Continue dying. Out.”
Setting all of that aside, what really makes the guy a heartless, stone-cold, son-of-a-dirty, VD-infested bitch — and also does the job of cementing his slot in the Hall of Fame — is what happens during a revelatory moment near the end of the film’s second act. Timothy has bad-ass heroine Charlie Baltimore (Geena Davis) and her daughter locked up and ready to die inside a walk-in deep freezer when it’s revealed to him that he’s actually the father of Charlie’s little girl. It’s a crazy fucking scene to begin with, but it’s even more disturbing when you see him look into his kid’s eyes, accept the truth of the matter … and he STILL goes ahead with his plan to take them both out. There’s a hint of a human being lodged deep in Timothy’s eyes when he takes a look back at mother and daughter from the freezer entrance, but it’s only there for all of two seconds before flickering out as he leaves. This is a man with no sense of compassion, a man for whom the job comes first for no matter who gets in his way, be it man, woman or child. And he actually threatens several children over the course of the film! Like with knives to the throat! This guy manages to make even the worst absentee dad look like Fred MacMurray.
And so on the strength of Black’s superb writing and Bierko’s menacing performance, we induct Timothy as the newest member of the Cult Spark Movie Villain Hall of Fame. Now die screaming, motherfucker.