7. Steve Stifler – American Pie movies – Played by Seann William Scott
This one is one of those “Catch-22” characters. If you’re watching the “American Pie” movies, it’s quite possible that Stifler is less annoying than he is your hero. He’s pretty much everything the movie wants you to absorb.
This is the guy you and everyone you knew hated in high school, and yet somehow wound up being popular with almost everyone. He’s the guy that graduated (barely) to move on to even more obnoxious things in college in a fraternity. He annoys almost instinctually, because almost everyone knew this guy in high school (and college). Although Stifler does reinforce an important lesson for viewers of almost any age: drunken, obnoxious, rude behavior is only fun when you’re the one who’s drunk.
6. Fat Bastard – Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me & Austin Powers and Goldmember – Mike Myers
He’s hugely, morbidly obese, rude, brags about eating babies, finishes his monologues with flatulence jokes, sounds like Shrek on ‘roid rage, and has, as his catchphrase: “Come on, get in my belly!”. Meet the Fat Bastard. Irritating on so many levels, this guy was a one-joke wonder that kept rolling downhill faster than a Rob Schneider SNL character.
While exactly no one was expecting (or even hoping) the Austin Powers movies to be Agatha Christie, there were subplots that included placing a homing device in Fat Bastard’s rectum. This guy is just one big (pun painfully intended) fart joke, and while the first Austin Powers movie was pretty entertaining, especially in light of the actual parody of ‘60’s secret agent movies, from this guy’s entrance in movie number two on, it was straight to hell in a really really big handbasket.
5. Wendy Torrance – The Shining – Played by Shelley Duvall
How often is it that you watch a horror movie where you keep hoping the killer would hurry up and bury his axe in the wife of the lead character? That’s our #6 annoyer, Wendy Torrance. She’s shrill, she’s dense, she becomes more and more unbalanced (and not in the infinitely more interesting ways that Jack Nicholson does with his Jack Torrance character). You also don’t often run into a character that is both over and underplayed.
Again, may we introduce Wendy Torrance as presented (“played” doesn’t seem entirely accurate) by Shelley Duvall. She nags, she harps, she pesters, she desperately tries to keep up with the legendary scenery-chewer that is Nicholson. Finally, all that we’re left with is the hope that she’ll be hacked to bits. Soon.
4. Glinda the Good Witch – The Wizard of Oz – Played by Billy Burke
The annoyance factor with this character was mostly the fault of the author of the original story, or at least the adapted screenplay.
First of all, she’s bubbly bright, condescending to newcomer Dorothy, as well as to the Munchkins, offers no help even though we find out (spoiler alert to the three people on the planet who might not know this) she could have saved Dorothy all kinds of angst by telling her to click her heels together and she could have gotten home. Her lame excuse for not telling her this from day one? “She wouldn’t have believed me.”
Is there anyone that actually believes that the panicked Dorothy, especially after having the bejeezus scared out of her by the Wicked Witch wouldn’t have tried to click her heels together and say “there’s no place like home?” Sorry, you sadistic bubble-riding self-centered blonde bimbo, you just wanted to see if the quiet girl from Kansas would bump off the Wicked Witch before getting killed.
3. Ruby Rhod – The 5th Element – Played by Chris Tucker
Well, we’ve found out where Dakota Fanning learned to perfect her scream/screech/banshee wail for her role as Rachel Farrier in The War of the Worlds. Ruby Rhod is a shock-jock mobile DJ in the not-too-distant future of the film “The Fifth Element.” He basically doesn’t do much in his “action-buddy” scenes with Bruce Willis besides shriek a lot, but man is it major-league shrieking.
And if a grown man shrieking at full voice in falsetto wasn’t quite annoying enough, some of the time he does it into the future-version of a Mr. Microphone, blasting it across our poor unprotected ears. When he does it the first time, you half-scowl, half-congratulate him for surprising us. By the time the 3rd or 4th screech occurs you contemplate throwing a brick at your TV screen.
2. Jar Jar Binks – Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace – Voiced by Ahmed Best
Wow. How annoying do you have to be to almost single-handedly derail one of, if not the best-loved story-lines in movie history? Historians, sociologists, and cultural anthropologists lined up right next to film critics to extol the mythic qualities of the first three Star Wars movies (in fact they were the middle three of a proposed nine episode saga).
In hindsight, it’s pretty obvious that Jar Jar wasn’t the sole reason for the crash and burn of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace. It just wasn’t in the same league as its predecessors. But this character is still considered so bad, at so many levels, he’s become the poster boy for annoyance at all levels.
Much like everything else George Lucas had done in the last three decades of the 20th century, even his failures were gargantuan. Jar Jar’s annoying voice, not to mention diction wound up being so over the top it was practically an ethnic slur for everyone from the Caribbean to Jamaica.
Fans who had once had no qualms about dressing up in Ewok costumes at conventions (and sometimes not at conventions) made fun of Jar Jar. Ten years after Jar Jar, even shows like The Big Bang Theory had type-cast geek icon Will Wheaton making fun of him.
1. Leo Getz – Lethal Weapon 2, 3, 4 – Played by Joe Pesci
It is true that a) Leo Getz was written to be every bit as annoying as he turned out to be; b) Joe Pesci is a solid veteran actor across comedy, action, and drama; and c) It might be sacrilegious to have anyone but the fabled Jar Jar in this spot on an all-annoying list. Nonetheless, if you’ve ever seen Lethal Weapon 2 (Getz’s most annoying and most visible turn), this character probably would have made you crazier even than Galactic Senator Binks.
This guy had a catchphrase (“okokokokokok”), and he had his own personal branded slogan (“Whatever you need, Leo Getz”). In this case, Pesci’s talent as an actor might be what made this character so annoying. Leo (through Pesci) is spot-on perfect in his interrupt-laden timing.
The downside of course to perfecting an annoying character, is that you’re in the Hall of Fame of annoying characters. And you never get used to it. In fact, the longer he’s on the screen, the more you want Riggs and Murtaugh to shoot him.
Author Bio: Larry is an Educational Consultant, tutor, freelance writer whose work can be seen in markets as diverse as PLY Magazine, Yahoo, and now Taste of Cinema. He is also a lifelong movie addict who’s just as likely to be seen in line at a Kurasawa festival as a midnight showing of Rocky Horror.