Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
So, there I was, minding my own business, when… You’ve already heard it?
Yeah, well, once again that geezer, Ben Willoughby, asked me to name ten more Movie/TV characters.
This time I need to name and shame my worst screen characters. A harder task by far. You see, when you try thinking of a favourite, your mind gets crammed with characters all jumping up and down, waving their hands (or other appendages), crying, “Pick me! Pick me!”
When you start thinking about the very worst, well, it’s an entirely different story altogether. Immediately, you’ve got characters pulling blinds, phoning in sick, or just slinking into the background. It’s not easy. Also, I tend to forget bad characters very quickly.
I usually go into films with a reasonably open mind. I give a TV show three episodes to get going. Of course, there are those special cases where a film or TV series is just so bad that I begin clawing at my eyes to try and unsee what I have just seen.
So, here are ten screen characters that I loathe. That is not to say that I hate the character per se, just their on-screen portrayal(s). Once again, they’re not in any particular order. I hate each with equal vehemence.
Here you go…
– Willy Wonka –
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005)
I like most of Tim Burton’s films. I also like some of Johnny Depp’s work. I hate his portrayal of Willy Wonka (or did he mistakenly think he was playing Michael Jackson?). A poor retelling of a classic. Can you honestly say you didn’t want to reach into the screen and just punch him really hard? Fortunately, this version was named differently from the classic 1971 film starring Gene Wilder.
– Anakin Skywalker –
“Star Wars” (I-III)
I like “Star Wars”. Not so fond of the prequels. Much of that is down to Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. The constant, nonstop, eternal… whining! A terrible frankenstein performance during the ‘birth’ of Darth Vader. I truly believe that if you can watch Star Wars 1 through 3 without once trying to ‘force choke’ this bastard then you are truly worthy of being a Jedi. Sadly, I surrendered to the dark side within minutes of hearing Anakin speak.
– Carl Grimes –
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)
I have been a fan of “The Walking Dead” from back when I started reading the B&W comic book. There are so any reasons to dislike this character. In the beginning it was just the whining (I have a theme going here), but now it’s the attitude as well. A boring character with limited scope on mainstream TV. To be fair, I don’t like the character in the comic book either (even more so with recent issues). I wasn’t overly fond of his mother, Lori Grimes, either. Ah well, one down, one to go…
– Damien Thorn –
“Omen III: The Final Conflict” (1981)
While I did enjoy “Omen” and, to a lesser extent, “Omen II”, this older version of Damien Thorn was truly awful. You can just see it: one Sunday down in Hell, all the damned sat around the “Bake and Grill” playing cards and sipping beers; having a chat about their sons and daughters while showing photos and telling stories. Then it comes to Lucifer’s turn. The room grows quiet. There’s a cough and a sympathetic shoulder pat followed by a shrug, “Whatcha gonna do, eh?”
– Edward Cullen –
Come on. You knew it had to be one or the other. Is there anything that needs to be said here? Hmm. In this case, the character was flawed even before it got off the page let alone the screen. Sure, Bella Swan is possibly worse as a character. Did anyone else hope that the film was going to end early when Bella Swan-dived off the cliff? I know I had my jacket on (the pains one has to endure when dating – thank goodness for backlit e-readers). Anyway, Edward was a whiner and I picked him because he does it a lot. What’s more, he took vampires kicking and screaming out of the dark and turned them all into hipsters. To be fair though, let’s not forget that Dracula also walked around during the day. Of course, he didn’t sparkle, possessed a much better accent, and had a better taste in women…
– John Constantine –
I followed the “Hellblazer” comics from very early on. I used to read them on the train when I was travelling to college in Liverpool back in the day. Anyway, John Constantine is the dog’s bollocks. Sure, if you’ve never read the comics then you probably have no idea who he is. Unfortunately, this was probably the case for those that thought Keanu Reeves would be a good fit for the character. No scouse accent and not a blonde hair on his head. FFS!
– Nick Fury –
“The Avengers” (2012-)
Yeah, some people love this character. Well I don’t. I don’t care that Marvel are using the ‘Ultimate’ version of Nick Fury over the original Nick Fury. It’s not the whole black/white issue. The truth of the matter is: this character is just filler. Nothing more. There is absolutely nothing of substance here. This isn’t helped by the fact that Samuel L. Jackson plays the character in much the same way as he does in nearly every role. Boring.
– Nikki & Paulo –
“Lost” (Season 3)
Quite a few of the characters from this TV series could fill this list. Anyway, the obvious choice here has to be Nikki and Paulo. Thoroughly annoying characters that should have set alarm bells ringing well before the show reached its ‘end’. Yeah, I know that’s two characters again, but like I said before, you can’t have one without the other. Besides, they were written (and I use that term loosely) into the show together… and fortunately they went out together.
– Bane –
“The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)
This might raise a few eyebrows. Well, it shouldn’t. This character was appalling. If you intended to use Bane as the final nemesis for Batman then you should have made references to him in the earlier films. Bane was a great character in the comics because he was built up over the course of many, many months. This was a bad attempt to take a character with great potential and shove him into the space of a few hours. Don’t get me started on the whole back-breaking/bruising scene either.
– Robin Hood –
“Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991)
I do like Robin Hood. The character that is. This, however, was the worst of a bad lot. Forget the irritating song for a moment and just look at the character here. The lack of research was lamentable as was Kevin Costner’s shoddy performance and lack of an English accent. The character, as portrayed here, lacked any depth and chose to ignore the myth and folklore surrounding the legend. For anyone out there that has never seen a decent Robin Hood then I urge you pick up your coat now and go buy the classic “Robin of Sherwood” Series 1 and 2 (forget Series 3). You won’t regret it.
And there you go. I find it interesting that while I was listing my 10 favourite screen characters I was not only thinking about their portrayal, but also the character themselves. In this case, I have had to pick a few characters that I do actually like, but not always on the screen.
For instance, I like John Constantine from “Hellblazer”, but I loathe the Keanu Reeves version. The new TV series is closer to what it should be, but is somewhat flawed by the apparent need to appeal to the dominant U.S. audience.
One of the characters that I really wanted to list here was Batman. The character just hasn’t been handled very well on the big or small screen. “Batman Begins” wasn’t awful by any means, but neither was it great. A few good scenes do not a character make. So little has been done with Bruce Wayne.
Without doubt, the terrible Val Kilmer and George Clooney portrayals fully deserve a few turns in the meat grinder. Personally, the tightest version of Batman on the screen has to be the animated series.
Finally, the two runner’s up worthy of a mention would have to be: Snow White (from “Snow White and the Huntsmen”) played by Kristen Stewart and the early ‘career’ of the 7th Doctor (“Doctor Who”) played by Sylvester McCoy.
Anyway, I’ll let someone else have a go. I’ll tag you via Twitter as always. Good luck.