Greatest Movie Douchbags

By: Heather Seebach

What makes a great cinematic douchebag? More than just a bully or an asshole, he exhibits some combination of smugness, cowardice, and/or selfishness. He talks tough but in reality is pathetic and ineffectual. He is far more confident than he has any right to be. And while he may not necessarily be the film’s villain, he sure does not help matters for the good guys. In short, he will make you want to punch him in the face - really badly. Here is a tribute to ten of my favorite movie douchebags:

Harry Ellis (Hart Bochner), Die Hard 

Harry Ellis is Holly Gennero’s cocky, cocaine-fueled Nakatomi co-worker who thinks he can bullshit his way out of a hostage situation. He approaches German uber-villain Hans Gruber as if he were pitching a business deal - with a shit-eating grin and witty repartee like “Sprechen ze talk?” He proceeds to claim he is best pals with hero John McClane, thinking it will give him the upper hand. On the contrary, Ellis becomes a bargaining chip – and then a corpse (despite McClane’s best efforts to save the idiot). This truly is douchebaggery at its finest.

Douchebag Rating: 10/10

Douche-iest Moment: Looking a dangerous, brilliant terrorist in the face and actually saying the words, “Hans, bubby, I’m your white knight!”

Walter Peck (William Atherton), Ghostbusters

Atherton has a real knack for playing douchebags. His role as EPA agent Walter “Dickless” Peck is rivaled only by his scumbag TV reporter Richard Thornburg in Die Hard. While Thornburg may have delivered McClane’s wife right into the hands of murdering Germans, Mr. Peck gets the Ghostbusters arrested and consequently thrusts New York City into a paranormal crisis. And then he tries to blame them for it! Peck claims he was trying to protect the city from potential hazardous materials, but we know he really just has it in for Peter Venkman. Those EPA suits are so uptight!

Douchebag Rating: 9/10

Douche-iest Moment: Shutting down the Ghostbusters’ protection grid and thus releasing hundreds of ghosts into New York City streets.

Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), Office Space

Mmm, yeeeeaaaahhh. Every cubicle jockey can relate to having a boss like Bill Lumbergh. The monotone Initech VP has a way of getting under your skin. Maybe it’s the suspenders, or the coffee mug he never seems to put down, but Bill is the bane of all who work under him. Despite driving a Porsche (with a douchey vanity plate that reads “MY PRSHE”), his job consists only of nagging his workers for TPS reports and making them come in on Sundays. Lumbergh is a poster-boy for the soul-crushing corporate world, which is exactly why he is so damn funny.

Douchebag Rating: 6/10

Douche-iest Moment: Stealing Milton Waddams’ beloved stapler and moving his desk into the basement.

Carter Burke (Paul Reiser), Aliens

Here is the quintessential 1980s sleaze ball – self-serving liar, weenie, and corporate whore. At the command of his Weyland-Yutani employers, Burke convinces Ellen Ripley to go back to moon LV-426 and confront the aliens that once killed her entire crew. Burke, knowing full well that the colonists they are going to rescue have already been killed by aliens, plans to acquire an alien specimen for biological weapons development. He literally puts the entire human race at risk in exchange for a paycheck. That is pretty low, especially for Mr. Mad About You. I bet Paul Reiser would let a xenomorph face-fuck Helen Hunt if it turned a profit.

Douchebag Rating: 10/10

Douche-iest Moment: When Ripley realizes what Burke is up to, he unleashes a pair of face-huggers on her and eight-year-old Newt in an attempt to make them embryo mules.

Ian ‘Ray’ Raymond (Tim Robbins), High Fidelity

In the movies, the man who steals the protagonist’s love interest must be - out of necessity for the plot - a douchebag. If he was a cool stand-up guy, how could we root for our flawed hero Rob Gordon to get the girl? But Ian (aka Ray) takes douchebag to new heights as a sensitive New Age hippie with a ponytail, hooped earrings, and a beeper on his hip. He smells of patchouli, listens to trendy world music, and wears Lennon sunglasses indoors. As movie douchebags go, he is fairly harmless (hence the lower douchebag rating) but he is also incredibly annoying. We are right there with Rob when he fantasizes about smashing Ian’s face in with an A/C unit.

Douchebag Rating: 7/10

Douche-iest Moment: Using the words, “Know what I’m saying, G?” when telling Rob to stop seeing his ex.

Shannon Hamilton (Ben Affleck), Mallrats

Yes, Ben Affleck playing a douchebag – shocker, right? In Mallrats, he portrayed the obligatory ass who steals the protagonist’s girl – in this case, Jason Lee’s girlfriend, Renee. Shannon is a manager at Fashionable Male, an upscale men’s clothing store. When he’s not hawking overpriced khakis, he preys on vulnerable women recently out of broken relationships. And for some sick reason, he likes talking about New Kids on the Block during anal sex. Don’t ask. Out of spite for Lee’s mallrat character Brody, Hamilton steals his girlfriend just so he can treat her like shit. As Brody so aptly put it: “The guy looks like a date rapist!”

Douchebag Rating: 8/10

Douche-iest Moment: After beating Brody up, Shannon reveals his nefarious intentions to screw Renee in a very uncomfortable place - and he doesn’t mean the back of a Volkswagen.

Simon (Bill Paxton), True Lies

Here we have the epitome of douchebag. This mustached weenie seduces women by telling them he is a secret agent and needs their help for a covert mission. In reality, he is a pervy used car salesman. Simon gets into deep shit when he dupes the wife of real spy Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) into coming home with him. He then makes the mistake of bragging to Harry about seducing Mrs. Tasker and what he intends to do to her. Consequently, masked men from helicopters raid Simon’s house and kidnap the pair for interrogation. And what is Simon’s chivalrous response to this? “Take her! Take her!” Epic douche.

Douchebag Rating: 10/10

Douche-iest Moment: Urinating on himself upon being interrogated, then - cowering and sobbing - pleads to his captors, “Would a spy piss himself?!”

Rodney Farva (Kevin Heffernan), Super Troopers

Simply put, Farva is the guy you dread showing up at your party. He is loud, crude, obnoxious, and completely oblivious to those facts. He’ll be the one getting way too drunk and vomiting on your shoes. The guy tries his damnedest to have fun with the other troopers, but as Thorny put it: "his shenanigans are cruel and tragic." His idea of a hilarious prank is putting a bar of soap in your coffee, or screaming “chicken fucker!” at elderly civilians. He picks fights with fast food clerks and school children alike. Farva just doesn’t know the meaning of taking things too far.

Douchebag Rating: 6/10

Douche-iest Moment: Ordering a liter of cola at a burger joint.

Francis Buxton (Mark Holton), Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure 

In the realm of cinematic spoiled brats, Francis Buxton ranks pretty high, even above that British brat in Willy Wonka. This man-child in a monogrammed jumpsuit and neckerchief is always crying to his rich daddy to get everything he wants, including Pee-Wee Herman’s beloved bicycle. Even though Francis is wealthy, has a bathtub the size of a swimming pool, and a butler who looks like Oddjob, no kid watching this movie ever wanted to be like Francis Buxton. He is a fat, spoiled douchebag who screams like a girl and lost in a fight to Pee-Wee Herman for Christ’s sake!

Douchebag Rating: 9/10

Douche-iest Moment: At the premiere of Pee-Wee’s biographical movie, Francis tries to take credit for inspiring P.W.’s adventures.

Bonus: Salacious Crumb, Return of the Jedi 

Okay, so maybe this does not fall within the true definition of a douchebag but I couldn’t help myself – this little muppet deserves a fist to his beaked face. How low must you be on the totem pole of life that you are Jabba the Hutt’s pet? Classified as a Kowakian monkey-lizard, Crumb’s duty is to sit on his master’s fat and cackle hysterically. While I should probably pity him for being as much a slave to Jabba as Leia was, I can only find him annoying and ugly - those stupid ears, his pot belly, and that worthless ring of hair around his shoulders. Ugh!

Douchebag Rating: 7/10

Douche-iest Moment: Plucking out C-3PO’s eye. Vicious little bastard.

Tell me, who are your favorite movie douchebags??

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