ByNicholas Staniforth, writer at
Spewing film-related flim-flam and poppycock when necessary. Follow me @nickstaniforth
Nicholas Staniforth

There are characters in films that you love to hate, and there are those that ignite a fire in your stomach to warm a thousand suns. They don’t even have to be villains, or antagonists of the particular watch, they’re just flat out d*cks. Smirking, sniggering good-for-nothings that leave you yelling at the screen, “JUST DIE!”, and if you’re lucky - your wish gets granted. Here’s a list of characters that mastered the art of toolishness and may very well have swayed you to tackle those that play them in the street, if you ever got the chance.

1. Percy Wetmore - The Green Mile

There’s characters you hate, and then there’s Percy Wetmore.
There’s characters you hate, and then there’s Percy Wetmore.

Any prison drama is bound to have some power-hungry guard that dishes out a beating on the inmates whenever he feels like it. It’s textbook. But it was in the stunning adaptation of Stephen King’s The Green Mile from Frank Darabont, that said book was thrown out and rewritten by truncheon swinging bum-nugget, Percy Wetmore.

In what is the most notable performance in Doug Hutchinson’s career, his portrayal of Percy Wetmore is something all future bullies should aspire to. In a cell block full of rapists and murderers, it’s one of the men stood on the outside of the bars in uniform that attracts the most hatred. An animal-killing, prisoner-bullying scumbag, Hutchinson does a worryingly impressive job of playing a sociopath with a shield, making his punishment from John Coffey all the more rewarding.

2. Carter Burke - Aliens

That moment you realise the loving Dad in Whiplash tried to kill Newt.
That moment you realise the loving Dad in Whiplash tried to kill Newt.

If James Cameron’s supercharged sequel proved anything, it’s that no matter how far into the future we are, corporate suit wearing goons should never be trusted. Case and point being Carter Burke, a civilian surrounded by tough-nut squaddies that should have done him in as soon as they took off to LV-426.

‘Bad Call’ Burke seems nice to begin with. Making Ripley comfortable having been asleep for some 50 years, advising her on attending the doomed mission - and then lying to her over the video phone when it comes to the ‘companies’ plan for the newly discovered Xenomorph. Suddenly Ripley’s concerns of the new android she’s having to work with are minor, once Burke sticks her and little orphan Newt with two released facehuggers. Thankfully, hopes for getting a percentage goes to pot when the alarm sounds and the aliens take one member of the group we’re not too fussed about. No offense.

3. David - Shaun of the Dead

You can see in his eyes how many f*cks he gives.
You can see in his eyes how many f*cks he gives.

In the various zombie-apocalyptic times we’ve seen and survived, there’s always one bellend that causes bother for the group that would be better off without them. For Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead it was Dylan Moran’s less than optimistic lecturer, David. Armed only with an umbrella and a hatred for our hero, David is fly in the ointment, the salt in the wound, and the biggest tit ever to grace Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy.

Moran portrays the character brilliantly, etching ahead in the hate race past Pete Serafinowicz’ miserable housemate. Keeping his nose firmly turned upwards at any suggestion our hero makes, he really takes the cake when he threatens to bust a cap in Shaun’s mother (we’re not using the ‘z’ word). Karma quickly strikes down upon the four-eyed foe when the Winchester gets uninvited guests, and David gets torn to pieces. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

4. Harry Ellis - Die Hard

When John McClane tells you to shut your mouth, you seal that thing closed until told otherwise. That’s a lesson learned by big shot Nokatomi Plaza lech, Harry Ellis in Die Hard, who is about as welcome as a foot full of broken glass.

That cock-sure attitude, that grin of a thousand teeth. He’s a snake in a high-class suit and one that not only fails at playing hero, but also slows the film down briefly from its action-packed pace we were beginning to enjoy. Leave the negotiations to the professionals Mr. Ellis, and leave the wisecracks to the man in the blood-stained vest.

5. Commodus - Gladiator

You’ve got red on you.
You’ve got red on you.

Of all the entries on this list, Commodus is one of the few that acts as the main villain in the story he’s part of. Wonderfully portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, which got him an Oscar nomination for the role, Commodus is the failed son with major Daddy issues and a worrying attraction to his sister, who goes to great lengths to change the world to his suiting. He’s not your typical antagonist, there are no witty one-liners or moments that will have you secretly cheering for him, this is an evil emperor through and through, which makes Maximus’ small victories against him all the more rewarding.

A particular highlight that sees Commodus crumble is when the new gladiator reveals himself to be the thought-to-be dead General Maximus. Sure, the Spaniard’s speech is always quoted, but it’s the look on his enemy’s face that really makes it perfect. Trying to kill the hero really will get you nowhere Commodus, and neither will wanting to bang your sister.

6. Shooter McGavin - Happy Gilmore

You can’t have a good sports film (comedy or not) without a worthy opposition, and Christopher McDonald’s Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore is just such a competitor. Wielding an excellent set of clubs and a smug grin to match, he made audiences' blood boil every time he drew his hand-gun. BANG-BANG!

Stirred by the wild and whacky antics of the hockey player turned golfer, Shooter does his very best to make our hero as un-Happy as possible. Messing with his game, trying to get in on his potential girlfriend, and going as far as buying Grandma Gilmore's house with plans of where he’ll put his trophies. Shooter is an easy entry into Cinematic Hall of Shame.

7. Nurse Ratched - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

“Black a dolls eyes."
“Black a dolls eyes."

One of the few females to make a mark on this list of good-for-nothing’s, Louise Fletcher’s turn as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Starring alongside Jack Nicholson, the film also won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, because sometimes being an evil wench is worth crediting.

Ruling the mental institution with an iron fist and a glare that could burn holes in the wall, Ratched’s calm and ever so calculated attributes are what set her apart from many villains on this list. Controlling the patients out of fear and humiliation to keep her world in order, all that comes to a brief half when Nicholson’s McMurphy goes against the crowd, and eventually leading the crowd to come with him. There’s a battle of authority like no other, particularly because, for once, the hero wins only a moral victory. The final act sees Ratched’s power take a huge effect on her patients, forcing McMurphy to break, and suffer the consequences because of it.

8. Draco Malfoy - Harry Potter

Eight films and not punched nearly enough.
Eight films and not punched nearly enough.

Besides being on the forefront of the battle of good and evil, Harry Potter has to deal with every other normal occurrence for a young boy his age, and that includes school bullies. Filling this spot was Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, who mastered the art of being everyone’s most hated Hogwarts attendee for the entire franchise.

Slytherin poster boy, and son of a Voldemort sympathizer, everything about this snooty gob screamed ‘wrong’ as soon as he appeared at that first broomstick lesson. It’s bad enough he’s filling every criteria for a grade-A school bully (rich parents, pea-brained muscle to back him up), but J.K. Rowling had to stick a magic wand in his hand, too? Some heroes just can’t catch a break. Naturally, karma did kick in on several occasions through the film series, including bottling it at the final battle at Hogwarts and being punched in the face by Hermione Granger. Result.

9. Chris Hargensen - Carrie

Turns out Lewis from Robocop was a bitch in a high school.
Turns out Lewis from Robocop was a bitch in a high school.

If film history has proven anything, it’s that American high schools are a damn sight worse than English ones. Sorry, but I’m just going on the thorough research of both Saved by the Bell and John Hughes films. Still, it was Brian De Palma’s Carrie that demonstrated just how mean girls can be when it comes to bonafide bitch, Chris Hargensen.

Opening on a life-altering moment in our troubled anti-heroines life, Chris is on the frontline of the emotional scarring for our prom-queen-to-be, right up until she drops the bucket on our titular teenager in the film's final act. She’s sick, she’s twisted, and she's like every other person involved in the laughter when Carrie loses her telekinetic sh*t. She also deserved everything that followed by way of a failed getaway. Drive safe.

10. Miranda Priestly - The Devil Wears Prada

"At Runway, we’re better than you - and we know it."
"At Runway, we’re better than you - and we know it."

There are times in Meryl Streep’s Oscar nominated performance as Miranda Priestly, that you love to hate the Hell-born magazine boss to Anne Hathaway’s determined assistant. However, these occasions are few and far between thanks to some of the near impossible tasks she throws at Andy, which she’s clearly doing for shits and gigs.

She turns playing a bitch into an art form, as you’d expect - it’s Meryl bloody Streep. Casting a wave of terror in every room she enters, this is a woman who uses fear in the workplace to unspeakable levels, and leaving neither friend or foe walking away unscathed. If you ever feel like your boss is hammering you hard, think of it this way: It could be Miranda Priestly.


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