It's that time again. Time to scour through some of the best movies from yesteryear in search of the finest examples of assholishness. We're talking about the kind of assholes who set the bar so extremely high that future generations of assholes will forever look upon them with awe and admiration. Now, if you haven't already read Part 1 of the My Favorite Movie Assholes series, make sure you do so you're caught up on all of the assholeage that I've already covered. And don't forget to check out the special "My Favorite Christmas Movie Assholes" installment as well for whenever you need to have your holiday cheer shot down. Ok, with all that out of the way, let's begin with the second installment in this ongoing series of my favorite movie assholes.
Hardy Jenns in "Some Kind Of Wonderful"
For whatever reason, Some Kind Of Wonderful is one of those classic John Hughes films from the 80's that people seem to forget whenever they talk about his body of work. I'll never forget it because not only does it feature Eric Stoltz in a role that makes him seem to be teetering on the edge between "nice guy" and "stalker", but it also has one of the best movie assholes to come out of that decade. Naturally, I'm speaking of Hardy Jenns (played by Craig Sheffer).
First off, he's the most popular guy in school and he's dating the hottest, most popular girl in school, Amanda (played by Lea Thompson). You can tell he's an asshole from the very first moment you see him. His big poofy hairdo gives him a couple extra inches of height, he constantly wears sport jackets in a sad attempt to look cool like the guys on Miami Vice (or worse, he'll wear a ridiculously wide-open v-neck sweater), and most importantly, he has one of the most smug smiles that just screams "punch me as if you were reenacting a scene from Raging Bull." He's also filthy rich because his parents obviously spoil him with just about anything he wants.
Obviously, looks and attire alone don't make you an asshole, so let's talk about some of the things he does that make him an asshole. For starters, even though he's dating the hottest girl in school, he's constantly cheating on her and even when she catches him in the act, he brushes it off as if nothing had happened with that fucking smug smile of his. What's worse, is she falls for it almost every time. He also has no problem walking into the girl's locker room to argue with her when she finally decides to break up with him. After threatening to end her social life if she breaks up with him, he's then accosted by the gym teacher who he calls a "bitch" for making him leave. He's a class act that Hardy.
On top of all that, he tries to setup the completely harmless Eric Stoltz when he goes on a date with Amanda after they broke up. Hardy invites Eric to come to a little house party that he's throwing, but his intentions aren't genuine at all. Instead he plans to embarrass them and have his friends kick the shit out of Eric. Hardy even goes so far as to refer to Amanda as his "property" of all things... amazing. Fortunately, Eric has some tricks up his sleeve at the end of the film and the tables are turned on Hardy the asshole.
On a side note, Sheffer also played "Mick" in the Cartoon Adventures of Teen Wolf, and as you probably recall, Mick was included in Part 1 of my favorite movie assholes list. Clearly, he's a guy who knows how to play an asshole. Go with what you know, right?
Francis Buxton in "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure"
With a last name like "Buxton" (as in "tons of bux"), you know this guy is loaded. Francis Buxton is as spoiled as they come. He lives in a mansion with a father that gives him just about everything he wants. At one point we find out that he's "taking a bath", which would naturally lead you to believe he's in a normal sized tub. Au contraire mon frere! His bathtub is actually a giant indoor swimming pool! And as he takes his "bath" we see him pretending to be a giant godzilla like creature, eating the plastic figures on his toy boats.
What really makes him an asshole is that he is the one responsible for the theft of Pee-Wee Herman's bicycle. Francis may have all the money in the world at his disposal, but no matter how much he begs and pleads, Pee-Wee refuses to sell it. Their back and forth insult battle is one of the greatest parts of the entire movie and resulted in some of the more famous lines including, "I know you are but what am I?", "That's my name, don't wear it out." and "I don't make monkeys, I just train 'em!" So what does Francis do when Pee-Wee won't sell him that amazing bike? He hires some thug to steal it for him. Then, when Pee-Wee proves to be psychotically persistent about finding his bike, Francis gets nervous and tells the thug to get rid of it.
It's because of Francis that Pee-Wee goes on his big adventure, so I guess we should be thankful to some extent. At the end of the film, Francis has a group of reporters following him around and has apparently been bragging that he was one of Pee-Wee's closest friends and was responsible for the entire adventure. Pee-Wee responds by triggering a secret ejector seat function on his bike which jettisons Francis into the stratosphere. Guess he'll have to put all of daddy's money towards one hell of a hospital bill now.
Richard Vernon in "The Breakfast Club"
Ah yes... Richard Vernon. Here's a guy that's probably on everybody's favorite movie assholes list. He's the quintessential guy who takes his shit job too seriously and does whatever he can exercise his authority over the few people who have less power than him - namely the students in Saturday detention. Few movie assholes have given us as many memorable lines as Richard Vernon did over the course of that one day. Let's take a look at just a few of them:
-"You think he's funny? You think this is cute? You think he's "bitchin," is that it? Let me tell you something. Look at him - he's a bum. You want to see something funny? You go visit John Bender in five years. You'll see how goddamned funny he is."
-"Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns."
-"Hey! What's goin' on in there? Damn pricks."
-"You think about this: when you get old, these kids - when I get old - they're going to be running the country. Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That when I get older, these kids are going to take care of me."
-"The next time I have to come in here I'm crackin' skulls."
-"I make $31,000 a year and I have a home and I'm not about to throw it all away on some punk like you. But someday when you're outta here and you've forgotten all about this place and they've forgotten all about you, and you're wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I'm gonna be there. That's right. And I'm gonna kick the living shit out of you. I'm gonna knock your dick in the dirt. What are you gonna do about it? You think anyone's gonna believe you? You think anyone is gonna take your word over mine? I'm a man of respect around here. They love me around here. I'm a swell guy. You're a lying sack of shit and everybody knows it. Oh, you're a tough guy. Hey c'mon. Get on your feet pal. Let's find out how tough you are. I wanna know right now how tough you are."
Quite an impressive verbal resume, eh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg that is Vernon. When he's not acting like a complete asshole towards the kids, he's sneaking into the confidential employee files to get some dirt on his co-workers that he can use against them. Kinda makes you wonder why they don't have detention for adults, doesn't it? Oh wait, they do... it's called prison. Damn.
Dr. Seaton in "Poltergeist III"
I'm sure any of you who've seen the original three Poltergeist films will agree that the third one is easily the worst of 'em. After all, it's hard to go anywhere but downhill when the second film featured dad puking up an incredibly disgusting giant mutant zombie worm that he accidentally swallowed after downing a bottle of tequila. Despite all its faults, Poltergeist III does have some merit. It has some solid special effects, including a scene that will make you think twice about ever going near a puddle in a parking garage, but more importantly, it has the next asshole on my list: Dr. Seaton.
Carol Anne is now living with her aunt and uncle, and they have this psychologist trying to figure out what's causing all of her problems. Being the pedant that he is, Dr. Seaton believes there's a perfectly logical explanation for what she's going through. He's so sure about his logic that he dismisses all of the insanity taking place as Carol Anne being both delusional and having a special ability to create mass hysteria. At one point, he looks into the mirror and sees a zombie hand pick up a coffee mug and throw it towards the mirror, which then smashes. He brushes the broken glass off and then explains to his associates, "A little demonstration in mass hypnosis. She (Carol Anne) made me believe I saw a coffee mug fly off my desk into the mirror while giving you a suggestion to smash it." Even when he sees good ol' Tangina turned into a corpse and then one of the other kids pop out of her body, he's convinced it's all some kind of freakish hypnosis.
He's the kind of guy who believes that whatever he says must be true, and therefore, anything anybody else says to contradict it must be false. The calm, dismissive tone that he uses to describe all of these events will surely enrage you, but it makes his inevitable death at the hands of the ghosts he's been writing off as delusions throughout the film all the more satisfying. I'm sure even as he was falling down that elevator shaft, the asshole figured it was a "posthypnotic suggestion" or something along those lines.
Aside from Poltergeist III, he only has a few other acting credits, and it's a damn shame, because I could easily see him playing pompous assholes in any number of films. That's not to say he hasn't done other interesting things though. Believe it or not, this is the same guy who wrote Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Biff Tanner in "Back To The Future"
Biff Tannen. Quite possibly the most infamous of all silver screen bully assholes, and with good reason. His character (played by Tom Wilson) is so obnoxiously over the top that he's always a blast to watch no matter what trouble he's causing. There's simply no denying that watching him pick on the hapless George McFly (Crispin Glover). His constant taunting of everyone's favorite nerd have become part of our vernacular. You can't sit there and tell me you've never said, "What are you looking at butthead?", "Why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?" or "Think, McFly, think!" If you do, you're a liar and a racist. Well, I can't prove that you're a racist, but it wouldn't surprise me if you were. I mean, you're already a liar, so how am I supposed to trust you if you say you're not a racist? You lying racist.
Other notable moments in Biff's career as an asshole would include his crashing of George McFly's car and then telling George he needs to pay for his laundry bill. Why? Because Biff spilled beer all over himself when he crashed George's car, that's why. Did I mention that he also attempted to engage in some date-rape with Marty McFly's mom, Lorraine, or that he actually murdered George McFly in a twisted alternate future? Talk about an asshole!
What's most impressive is that his assholishness is so monumental that it's the driving force behind not one, but all three of the classic Back to the Future films. Yep, even Biff's great grandfather, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, was a total asshole, as is his future grandson, Griff Tannen. That's right, the Tannens actually have asshole in their bloodline! Quite an amazing feat that few assholes can match.
Fortunately, this classic asshole gets what's coming to him in all three of the movies. Yes, everybody loves seeing George McFly finally build up enough courage to knock Biff out... it's a classic movie moment. But there's no denying that the running joke of Biff getting buried in manure at some point in each film is absolutely satisfying. After all, who wouldn't want to see every asshole out there buried up to his eyes in manure?
Ernie McCracken in "Kingpin"
You know, chances are anybody nicknamed "Big Ern" is gonna turn out to either be a really big guy named Ernie, or a guy named Ernie who's a big asshole. Ernie McCracken is definitely the latter of the two. This is easily one of my favorite performances by Bill Murray because he really takes this character from Kingpin above and beyond the call of typical assholishness. Plus he ad-libbed his dialogue, which makes it all the more fantastic.
First off, after losing to Roy Munson in a bowling tournament, it's because of Ernie that Roy loses his right hand and now has a hook in its place. This practically ended Roy's bowling career and caused him to become an alcoholic for many years. He even has sex with his geriatric landlord just to pay the rent. Only a real asshole could drive somebody to such a rock bottom point in their lives.
McCracken, meanwhile, has become the biggest name in bowling and clearly thinks he's god's gift to mankind. He's easily one of the cockiest characters you'll ever see on the screen, not even his ridiculous comb-over has diminished his confidence. And man oh man, he has the ultimate comb-over which is evidenced when his hair gets more insanely frazzled as the final bowling match at the end of the film progresses. And speaking of the bowling match, did I mention he had a custom bowling ball made for himself - a transparent ball with a rose in the center. He pretends to be a class act, but his disingenuous ways are just as transparent as his bowling ball.
Just look at the dialogue from this commercial he filmed:
Ernie McCracken: "I'm Ernie McCracken. When I found out that little Billy here was growing up without a daddy, I had to do something."
Unified Fund Mom: "When Big Ern saw our picture in the paper, he called the Unified Fund and got involved."
Ernie McCracken: "I had to. I couldn't help myself. But little Billy's not the only one. There's also little Jason here. Once again this year, I'll be sponsoring a fatherless family in every city I bowl in."
Kid: "Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, Mr. McCracken's already there."
Ernie McCracken: "Jonathan, run a fly pattern all the way to the goal line. (He snaps up the mom's skirt.) Tennessee! Kentucky! Find the meat! Uh, deeper, Jonathan. It's a tough world. These kids nearly got Munsoned, but they're back now. Through the Unified Fund, I found out that if you give a little, you can get back a whole lot more."
Yep, as if making the guy lose his bowling career wasn't bad enough, he coined the term "Munsonsed" which everybody now uses and is a constant reminder to Roy Munson about what a bastard McCracken is. And he obviously a womanizer as well. Even when they're bowling in their final match, Big Ern can't contain himself from screwing with Roy's head:
-"It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst."
What makes him an even more unbelievably huge asshole is that we never see him lose in the film. Yep, he wins the big match and the prize money worth one million bux. It's simple proof that the world isn't a fair place and many bad guys never get their comeuppance. You know what we call a person like that? An asshole.
Tatsu in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
Out of all the assholes I've covered so far, Tatsu from the original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film may very well be the most unsung of them all. It's easy to see why. He's in a movie filled with four mutant turtles, a mutant rat, a psycho with hockey sticks, and his boss, The Shredder. So yeah, I guess it's not too surprising that Tatsu would get lost in the mix, but make no mistake, he is 100% pure asshole... and a violent one at that. Let's look at the facts here.
Tatsu is an angry man. No, strike that. Tatsu is a furious man. He has so much pent-up anger that he can't help but unleash it on whoever happens to be near him at the time. Usually this means his young students in the Foot Clan. He doesn't teach them lessons verbally, he kicks the crap out of them. When one student bows to him to show respect, he kicks said student in the face. "Never lower your eyes to an enemy!" Lesson learned, Tatsu.
Later in the film, when the Shredder is annoyed with him, Tatsu takes his anger out on his students. He storms into their locker room and starts beating the hell out of them. One of them he beats so badly, the other students are surprised the poor guy is still alive.
Another great thing about him is that he doesn't even communicate with words. He just growls and grunts like an animal at all times. I guess Raphael said it best when he told Tatsu, "You know, if I had a face like yours, I'd try to make up for it with some sort of personality!"
Ed Rooney in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
Oh Ed Rooney... if you weren't such an asshole, we might've actually felt sorry for you as Ferris Bueller made your life a living hell. As principal of the local high school, Ed considers himself to be in a highly respected position, with only one student getting in his way. "I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind." Sure Ed... sure. Ed's obviously one of those self-important guys who takes his job far too seriously and thinks of everybody beneath him as inferior and stupid.
Rooney decides that if the students at his school are going to respect him, he's going to have to make an example of the one who constantly defies him: Ferris Bueller. He's absolutely sure that Bueller has been abusing the school system and is cutting school, so Ed dedicates his entire day to catching Ferris in the act.
Like many movie assholes I've already mentioned, Ed isn't the brightest bulb and gets himself into more trouble than he can handle. During the course of the film he's tricked into letting Bueller's girlfriend out of school, spit on, had his car towed, kicked in the face and knocked unconscious by Bueller's sister, and mauled by the family dog among other things. And why? Because he won't give up on the idea that he can catch Ferris in the act.
Ed: "Last thing I need at this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls. He jeopardizes my ability to effectively govern this student body."
Grace: "Well, makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed."
Well said. I couldn't have put it better myself, Grace.
At the end of the film, when Ed's clearly been beaten, he's offered a ride by a school bus driver who notices he's had a rough day. One nerdy student offers him a gummy bear which he tosses aside with disdain. An asshole to the bitter end, eh Ed? Maybe next time you can try going out with a little dignity and grace... or as you would put it, "GRACE!"
Aguilla Beckersted in "One Crazy Summer"
Imagine for a minute, a retirement home on an island. A nice home. The only place that the elderly folks in the area can call home. Now imagine an evil family who wants to increase their financial gains by tearing down the elderly home and replacing it with a chain restaurant. That's something only an asshole would do, right? Well, that's exactly what Aguilla Beckersted (Mark Metcalf) sets out to do in One Crazy Summer. With a name like Aguilla, which is much akin to "Attila" (of the Hun variety), it's not surprising that this guy is absolutely ruthless when it comes to the feelings of anybody other than himself.
As another shining display of his unrelenting assholishness, Beckersted shows us just how he enjoys eating his lobsters. First, he has his servants bring him a boiling pot of water. Then he puts on a stethoscope and drops the hearing end into the the boiling water. Finally, he grabs a lobster with a pair of tongs and slowly lowers it into the boiling water. That's right, Aguilla actually loves to listen to the lobsters scream as he boils them alive. For whatever reason, he loves torturing the hell out of those lil' suckers, and during the movie he also uses them for target practice. I guess it's no surprise that he wants to build a lobster restaurant where that retirement home stands. The man loves what he does. And if there aren't any lobsters around, that's no problem either. Aguilla doesn't discriminate when it comes to hurting helpless animals as you'll quickly discover when you see him kick a dog without giving it a second thought.
I'm sure there's a special place in hell reserved for Aguilla... big boiling cauldron most likely, and this time Satan will be the one wearing the stethoscope.
Jimmy in "Road House"
Oh Jimmy. If you're surprised that he's on my favorite movie assholes list, you clearly need to watch Road House again. In fact, you need to watch it for 24 hours straight, just so every bit of its inherent ridiculousness is forever tattooed in your cranium. For those of you who have seen Road House, you already know that Jimmy's boss, Brad Wesley, is a huge asshole in his own right... but out of all the bad guys in the film, Jimmy really takes the cake.
You see, Wesley terrorizes the small town Jasper, Missouri and makes the local businesses pay him for his protection. Protection from his own hoodlums that is. So what happens when Wesley's usual band of thick-witted thugs can't get the job done? He sends in Jimmy.
Now just stop and look into his eyes for a second. You can't tell me those aren't the eyes of an asshole. What's makes things worse is that Jimmy can back up his cocky stare (and the fact that he calls everyone "boy") with his fists. Yep, Jimmy is a martial arts expert and only Jack Dalton has the skills to take him down. But that's not to say Jimmy isn't gonna give Jack the fight of his life.
In one of the most memorable movie fight scenes you'll ever see, Jimmy starts to win the fight, and rather than continuing to dish out the pain, he pauses for a minute to deliver a line that manages to still amaze audiences to this very day. He grabs Dalton from behind and shouts into his ear, "I used to fuck guys like you in prison!" Amazing.! It's no wonder Dalton tells Jimmy, "You are such an asshole!"
Town terrorist, sadistic prison rapist... Jimmy is clearly an asshole in his own league. He even has one of the most villainous laughs you'll ever hear. But hey, check out the earring. It's good to know he found Jesus before he had his throat torn out by Jack Dalton at the end of their epic fight. Hmm... do you think Jesus will think Jimmy is an asshole just like we do too?
And there you have some more of my all-time favorite movie assholes. Let me know what you guys think of all the assholes I've covered so far. Again, this is still an ongoing series of articles here on I-Mockery, so if I didn't get to cover some of your favorite movie assholes yet, please feel free to post any of your suggestions in the comments area below. Who knows, I just might include your suggestions in the next article. Then again, maybe I'm an asshole too and won't even bother to read your comments. Roll the dice and take your chances, sucka!
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If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
Gny. Sgt. Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) Full Metal Jacket
Daryl Jenks (Eriq La Salle) Coming to America
I have another for you guys. Bill Lumberg from Office Space. He's the typical passive aggressive asshole boss who is allways hassling Peter about his TPS reports. What really makes him an even bigger asshole is that he fires poor Milton yet never tells him about it, then takes away his favorite stapler because he can, then moves his desk all the way in the dank smelly dark rat infested basement, even eats cake in front of his face and makes him spray for rodents. Funy thing is, the name of my boss here at my job is Bill.
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