The movie universe of the 1980’s was a dangerous place to be if you were even the slightest bit different. If you were poor, artistic, creative, intelligent, sensitive, weighed less than 175 lbs., or wore anything besides letterman jackets and acid washed jeans, you immediately became the target of ridicule and abuse from guys with mirrored sunglasses, perfectly feathered blonde hair, Lacoste polo shirts with popped collars, Porsche convertibles, and ludicrous trust funds. The bullies of 1980’s teen cinema were sadistic karate masters, intolerant rednecks, and drunk fraternity clods out to make life a living hell for innocent movie protagonists just looking to find acceptance in a new town or win a woman’s heart. Here then, is LaserCola’s look at ten of the biggest pricks in 80’s movie history. Assholes, we salute you!
10.) Mick McAllister – Teen Wolf (1985)
Played by: Mark Arnold
We begin the list with one of the all-time great movie jerks. Mick McAllister is your prototypical 80’s antagonist, complete with chiseled looks, athletic ability, the girl of our hero’s dreams on his arm, and a relentless drive to be the biggest douchebag on Planet Earth. Mark Arnold was 28 years old during the filming of Teen Wolf, so he looked extra intimidating during his reign of terror on the basketball court for the Dragons against poor little Michael J. Fox’s Beavers. Mick’s crimes against humanity in Teen Wolf include drawing 179 brutal flagrant fouls over the course of two basketball games; repeatedly calling Scott a freak, nerd, dweeb, geek, etc.; referring to poor, sweet Boof as a “tramp”; and being allowed to stand in the lane directly under the basket to stare down an opposing player attempting two foul shots, in clear violation of the rules of basketball. Total Dick move.
9.) Chuck Cranston – Footloose (1984)
Played by: Jim Youngs
Chuck is an especially violent example of a 1980’s movie bully. This Texas redneck jerkwad had the unmitigated gall to not only beat the living snot out of the film’s female lead Lori Singer, but he was also out to completely mess up the most perfect head of hair in movie history! Thankfully, Kevin Bacon’s Ren was able to bring back the power of dance to the town of Basin, and kick Chuck’s misogynistic ass in the process. Let’s hear it for the boy!
8.) Teddy Beckersted – One Crazy Summer (1986)
Played by: Matt Mulhern
In Teddy Beckersted, director/writer Savage Steve Holland created a cartoonish parody of the standard 80’s preppie tormentor that met all the criteria and then some. Blonde hair? Check. Filthy rich? Check. Mean? Check. Violent? Check. Hot girlfriend? Check. Gang of sycophantic asshole friends (including a particularly douchey and balding Jeremy Piven)? Check. Teddy loved doing laps in the pool, wearing sweaters tied around his neck, eating animal crackers, and beating the ever-lovin’ crap out of anyone who even so much as breathed near his Ferrari. (Apologies for the lame YouTube clip…apprently no one bothered to upload clips of Teddy bloodying up the Stork twins or playing a sadistic game of H.O.R.S.E. using poor Ack-Ack as a human basketball hoop).
7.) Steff McKee – Pretty in Pink (1986)
Played by: James Spader
Steff McKee broke away from traditional bully tropes in 1986. Since the protagonist in Pretty in Pink was a female, Spader couldn’t beat her up or give her an atomic wedgie in the locker room. He had to rely on classism and psychological warfare instead, using his wealth, status, and razor-sharp tongue to make Molly Ringwald and everyone around her feel like inferior pieces of shit. He also looked like a 36 year-old stockbroker hanging out in a high school parking lot. Spader deserves a ton of kudos for managing to look threatening while rocking loafers with no socks, an all-white linen suit, and a silk turquoise shirt unbuttoned to his navel.
6.) Hardy Jenns – Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Played by: Craig Sheffer
Another smug jerkwad in the John Hughes mold, Hardy Jenns added a physical menace to the Steff McKee template of upper-class superiority and psychological torment. This charmer had a Corvette, a power mullet that would rival Richard Marx’s, and he treated a young, blazingly hot Lea Thompson like a prized piece of beef until Elias Koteas showed up at his parents’ house with a group of 40-year old metalheads. Soon as that happened, Jenns reverted to the meek, pampered pussy boy he truly was.
It’s often said that a hero can only attain greatness if he has a great nemesis; an enemy that challenges his strength, morals, and intelligence – a darkness to counter the light . That’s why it’s crucial for superhero movie adaptations to choose characters that have compelling villains, so that the audience is both entertained, and senses the true threat the villain poses to the hero. It’s also important to properly translate that evil-doer to the screen, carrying over their motivations for doing the evil things that they do. Many films have succeeded in this regard, with outstanding performances by Jack Nicolson and Heath Ledger as the Joker, Ian Mckellan as Magneto in the X-Men Films, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and Willem DaFoe as the Green Goblin, to name but a few. Sadly, there are just as many horrible mis-fires as there are iconic portrayals of evil in superhero films. Here are ten of the absolute lamest.
10.) Gamma Irradiated Poodle – Hulk (2003)
Played by: Crappy CGI effects.
Hoo-boy…well, we launch the list with one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen on the movie screen. Ang Lee’s Hulk film was a very slow and cerebral approach to the jolly green behemoth, and featured a lot of weird psychological Father/Son dynamics between Bruce Banner his psychotic Daddy, played by a creepy-looking Nick Nolte. At one point in the film, Nolte, who also experiments with Gamma radiation, decides to sick some gamma-irradiated dogs on his son. As if this concept wasn’t already completely insane, one of the dogs was a giant, mutated…fluffy white Westminster-ready show poodle. Yes, really. One can only hope the Avengers won’t have to face this terrifying creature next Summer.
9.) Laurel Hedare – Catwoman (2004)
Played by: Sharon Stone
I’m not going to pretend that I actually watched Catwoman, but even though I have never laid eyes upon this bowl-curling turd, it’s still safe to assume that ol’ Sharon here has easily earned a spot on the lamest villains list for her portrayal of iconic Catwoman nemesis “Laurel Hedare”. And by “iconic”, I mean a terrible character that no one had ever heard of before. So what makes Ms. Hedare here ultra-lame? Well, apparently she was the co-owner of a cosmetics company who wanted to market a beauty cream that promised to make people’s skin as “smooth as marble”, but it really just melted their faces off. Hedare used the cream and her skin actually became as hard and impervious to pain as marble, but not to Catwoman’s magical claws because they scratched right through it and — Oh, for fuck’s sake… WHO IN THE NAME OF GOD WROTE THIS SHIT???
8.) Bane, Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze – Batman & Robin (1997)
Played by: Jeep Swenson, Uma Thurman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Yes folks, it’s a trifecta of lameness here from the legendarily God-awful Batman & Robin. Where do I even begin? First off, look at that picture of Bane. Just fucking look at it. The Bane of the comics was a fiendishly clever mastermind who was born in a South American prison, became addicted to a super-steroid called Venom, then came up with a plan to completely destroy Batman and actually succeeded. In this cinematic dungbomb however, he was portrayed as a brainless, grunting oaf by a no-name wrestler in a costume with fake veins and muscles airbrushed over a nude nylon bodysuit. Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy wasn’t all that terrible as far as costuming goes, but she was clearly chanelling some campy, over-the-top acting style from the 1930’s, and was pretty much just there to fuel the flames of homoeroticsm between Clooney and O’Donnel.
And to complete the triple-shot of suck, we have Arnold Schwarzenegger (right around the time he was banging his housekeeper) in the most mis-cast role of all-time. Joel Schumacher and company transformed a very nuanced, tormented character into walking neon Mardi Gras float spouting terrible cold-related puns like, “Hey Batman, Chill!”, “Cool Party!”, “Ice to see you!”, and “You’re not sending ME to the COOLER!” Any scene from Batman & Robin is painful to sit through, but I’m pretty sure the sequence where Arnie forces his idiot henchmen to sing Christmas songs while wearing a blue polar bear robe and giant fuzzy polar bear slippers was used to force that terrorist courier into disclosing Osama Bin Laden’s location.
7.) Blackheart – Ghost Rider (2006)
Played by: Wes Bentley
You know, I really can’t decide which is lamer here – Blackheart himself, or the Nickelback cover band standing around him. Putting villains in leather trenchcoats is a lame practice that unimaginiative costume designers have been using for years now, and it’s never effective. It just turns characters like this into bland, stock bad guys from an episode of Baywatch Nights.
Wes Bentley, last seen filming a “beautiful” plastic bag (and getting a handful of Thora Birch’s tits for his efforts), in American Beauty, plays Blackheart in this abysmal Nicolas Cage vehicle. Blackheart is the son of Mephisto (Marvel’s version of Satan), and is a terrifying creature that looks like this:
In Ghost Rider though, he looks like a douchey rich kid who decided to paint his fingernails black and buy some Dashboard Confessional CD’s in order to bang emo high school chicks.
6.) The Red Skull – Captain America (1990)
Played by: Scott Paulin
This is a photo of Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull from the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger. As you can see, it’s a near-perfect translation of the character from comic book page to movie screen. However, in the cheesey, low-budget, direct-to-video 1990 Captain America film, The Red Skull looked like this:
Laughable, right? Couldn’t get any worse, right? Wrong. It gets worse. The film begins in World War II, but leaps ahead into the present day when Cap gets thawed out of an iceberg in Alaska. The Red Skull is also still alive in the present day, but he got some plastic surgery and ended up looking like this:
It’s BIZARRO RONALD REAGAN! Did I mention that he was also Italian and not German in this colossal piece of shit? I think I’ve said enough here…
At least until the Fall hit – 2010 was NOT a good year for movies. In fact, it was a shitstorm of epic proportions and narrowing the worst of the worst down to a mere ten was an exercise in futility. I did it, but couldn’t resist putting a long list of dishonorable mentions as well.
Superhero films have become huge cash cows for the movie studios over the last 20 years or so. Some of them have been very faithful to the source material, while some have suffered from directors, producers, and studio execs whipping out their junk and pissing all over them (in a metaphorical sense, of course). One of the biggest problems with making comic book films is translating the ornate, brightly-colored, and sometimes gaudy costumes the heroes wear to the silver screen in a way that won’t shatter the dreaded “suspension of belief” for the audience. In some cases, the changes made to the costumes make sense and still do justice to the character, but every so often, you end up with complete abomionations that look utterly ludicrous. Here then, are my Top Ten Worst Superhero Movie Costumes of All-Time: