April 16, 2014

10 Movies Nearly Ruined by a Single Character

This is not a list of bad performances which have undermined good movies. If that were the case, Kristen Stewart & Adam Sandler would dominate it. Most of the actors here are actually pretty good, simply doing their best with the material handed to them.

This is a list of god-awful characters who are overly-stupid, obnoxious or insultingly generic. In fact, you could remove some of them from the story entirely and they wouldn't be missed. In any case, these characters exist to the detriment of the films they appear in. Some of them are so badly-realized that the viewer might be tempted to skip the scenes they appear in altogether.

1. The Fifth Element (Ruby Rhod)
Played by scrawny, helium-voiced Chris Tucker, this manic character ceases to be remotely funny two minutes after he appears on screen, yet he tags along for the rest of the movie, even though he is completely unnecessary and does nothing to advance the story. Listening to him is like someone scraping a fork across a bone china plate for 45 straight minutes.
2. Jaws 2 (Mayor Vaughn)
This character was dumb enough in the original. Here, he's in such denial of another shark problem (despite overwhelming evidence) that he makes Mitt Romney look like he understands the plight of the working class.
3. Die Hard 2 (Capt. Carmine Lorenzo)
Deadly shoot-outs; planes being hijacked; an evil mastermind who's taken control of the entire airport. Still, this genius simply exists to berate McClane for his continued heroism. He makes the police chief in the original Die Hardlook like Serpico. How'd this asshole get his job, anyway?
4. Passenger 57 (Charles Rane)
The most generic 'criminal mastermind' of all the Die Hard clones. Every lingering screen shot, and every line he utters, just smacks of "Look how deliciously eeeevil I am." Even the most over-confident bad guys in other movies have moments when they appear at least briefly concerned their plans may be foiled. Not here...even after all his henchmen are dead, his hijacking plans are foiled and escape is impossible, this guy still acts like he's winning, right up to the second he plummets to his death.
5. Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Madea)
Tyler Perry's obnoxious creation not only totally sinks this movie, she is given a disproportionately huge amount of screen time, even though she has nothing to do with the plot. Enduring this is like watching The Godfather, with Francis Ford Coppola stopping the film every fifteen minutes to throw in a Jerry Lewis routine.
6. Spaceballs (Dot Matrix)
And you thought C-3PO was annoying. Even as a robot, Joan Rivers is obnoxious and 100% not funny. On the plus side, at least we don't have to see her face, which was Hollywood's worst plastic surgery nightmare until Kenny Rogers went under the knife.
7. Falling Down (Mrs. Prendergast)
This movie is a lot of guilty fun, except for the scenes when lead detective Prendergast repeatedly stops mid-case to calm his neurotic and phenomenally-annoying wife over the phone. These scenes have nothing to do with the plot and bring the movie to a grinding halt several times. If this was my wife, I'd have gone out of my way to die in the line of duty.
8. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Jar Jar Binks)
Come on...you knew he was gonna be on the list.
9. Dante's Peak (Ruth)
This snarky old woman puts everyone in harm's way because she's too stupid to evacuate her home, even after the mountain explodes. She's a clueless ass right up until the moment before her death, at which time we're suddenly expected to shift emotional gears. Fat chance.
10. The Last Boy Scout (Darian Hallenbeck)
As Detective Hallenbeck's estranged preteen daughter, Darian is mean, foul-mouthed and completely unlikable. Of course, the character only exists to be put in harm's way later on, but she's such a little snot that one could understand if Dad stopped giving a shit whether she lived or died.

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