The 10 Douchiest Movie Characters

Some movie characters beg us to hate them, even as they play a vital role in the service of a story. These smarmy creeps often possess a delicate combination of smugness, authority, power and carefully disguised self interest. Sometimes they're cold jerks. Other times, they're transparent male chauvinists. Either way, before the credits role, these douchebags have tested our patience. They may exist to teach the main character a valuable lesson, or to hurl the plot forward, but by their very presence, they make you want to hurl things at the screen.

Ultimately, I both love and hate these characters because their douchiness is so essential to the story at hand. It makes their most frustrating qualities also their most essential, and so while we want to refuse them, we (as viewers) simply cannot. It takes skill to play a convincing jerk or bully, and while these actors range from unknown to legendary, all of their memorable performances linger.

10. Jack Favell - Rebecca

Maxim de Winter, the anti-hero of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca, may be cold, dismissive and unforgiving with almost everyone around him, but he throws out enough charm and tortured romanticism to cast a spell on his shy, mousy bride. It is the confident, sly and lecherous snake Jack Favell, however, strangely in cahoots with creepy servant Mrs. Danvers, who sends a chill up your spine. He literally pops in through the window one day, while the master of the house is out, making vague, threatening insinuations toward Mrs. de Winter. He makes makes himself quite at home in Manderlay, twirling his cigarette and gazing lecherously at her. At the movie's mysterious plot unfolds, Jack's sinister motives are revealed, and he goes from 'mysterious, creepy douche' to 'uber-douche.'

9. Dr. John Markway - The Haunting

The good doctor's false joviality masking an almost pathological selfishness to 'peer into the unknown.' He strings the fragile Eleanor Lance along with random compliments that don't seem genuine, only mere ploys devised to keep her a part of his experiment. To him, Eleanor is a plaything, and arguably, his treatment of her seals her fate more than the haunted house. Dr. Markways's casual chauvinism is awful, but he carries himself like a gentleman, which makes his douchiness that much more nasty.

8. Victor Komarovsky - Dr. Zhivago

He's a corrupt, double-dealing lawyer with power, and just enough real affection for Julie Christie's Lara to help her in times of need. He's also a violent, boozing misogynistic predator with a cruel streak. During the violent sweep of the Russian Revolution, Komarovsky has contacts on both sides, making him largely immune to the worst horrors. This way, for characters like Lara, he is often the only exit, but it's an exit that comes with a high price.

7. Eugene "The Plague" Belford - Hackers

We know that the genius villian hacker "The Plague," is a douche the moment we see him riding his skateboard through the offices of the firm he consults for (and later scams). This sniveling, rat-like computer genius displays contempt for everyone he considers inferior (i.e. everybody). He's one step ahead of the game through most of the movie, and for good measure, he trashes a perfectly good boombox with a baseball bat for no good reason other than that he can.

6. Freddie Miles - The Talented Mr. Ripley

Even though Tom Ripley, the oily chameleon at the heart of this story, is an unlikeable creep (and a murderer), it takes a douchebag like Freddie Miles to make us actually feel sorry for Tom. Throughout the movie, Freddie's digs at Tom are cruel, observant asides that needle away at Tom's desire to fit in. Freddie catches on to Tom's ruse far before anybody else does, but he does it in such an unlikeable and cruel way that it's hard to feel for him when he finally gets what's coming to him. In a way, Freddie is a college aged version of George Willis, Jr., Philip Seymour Hoffman's other prep snob character from Scent of a Woman.

5. Terry Silver - The Karate Kid, Part 3

Some might argue that John Kreese, the beefy Cobra Kai instructor from the first Karate Kid, is the most awful villain in the series. I disagree. His Vietnam war buddy, Terry Silver, the villain from the third movie, is more sniveling, more cruel, more limber and ultimately, more evil. Where Kreese is a pathetic blunt instrument, Silver is a hyper-intelligent manipulator. Undeserved wealth and authority? Check. Power and control? Smugness and cruelty? Check and check. This high cheek boned, ponytailed jerk sums up his own douchiness when he sits in his hot tub, with glass of champagne, and says to Kreese, his former war buddy, "They made you suffer, so I'm gonna make them suffer... and suffer and suffer and when I think they've suffered enough, then I start with the pain."

4. Frank T.J. Mackey (and his audience) - Magnolia

Frank Mackey is a monstrous example of self help gone awry. Frank instructs his audience of boorish ex-jocks and insecure man-children to weave cruel webs of harm and manipulation toward the female population. He tells his audience how to set up 'jealousy traps,' how to keep calendars that prevent cheaters from getting caught. Worst of all, Frank's frightening admission to the female reporter come to interview her "It's not safe for you here" reveals an undercurrent of menace, not only to everything he espouses, but to those desperate men who hang on every word he says.

3. Clark "The Ponytail Guy" - Good Will Hunting

Reasons he's a douche: Clark is really the worst sort of intellectual - insecure, rehearsed, and pumped up with the power and prestige that comes with being a sweater vested ski bum at an elite University. He tries to embarrass Affleck's working class lunk by throwing some textbook knowledge at him, and (in what is possibly the best scene in the movie) he gets the tables turned on him by Will Hunting. Most guys that we know, like Clark, take pleasure in embarrassing and confronting people who know less than them about a topic, but unlike the fantasies afforded by Hollywood, Will Hunting is rarely around to cut them down to size.

2. Sean Parker - The Social Network

Reasons he's a douche: Justin Timberlake's portrayal of real-life tech entrepreneur Sean Parker is so infused with douchiness that I have to marvel a little bit at the performance. His condescending, smug stares, whispers and asides toward everyone in his way are maddening to watch. He snaps his fingers at waitresses, snorts drugs off underage girls, and proceeds to infiltrate Facebook by sheer power of his ego. Worst off, Parker's advice is right most of the time. It's just the way he dishes it out - and pretends to be above the fray when deep down, he is a self-interested little poseur - that puts him very high on my list.

1. The Emperor - Return of the Jedi 

The Emperor, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, radiates gleeful malevolence in every one of the Star Wars pictures, including the prequels, but for my money, it's his treatment of Luke in Return of the Jedi that awards him first prize for not only douchiest Sith Lord behavior, but douchiest behavior in a movie. It's not just the smug, creepy way he instructs the budding young Jedi to feel the anger flowing through him. It's not just the amused way he says everything. He looks on the edge of a bored yawn throughout, even though he and his protege are responsible for the complete subjugation of the galaxy. Even at the end, when he tells Luke that the Death Star is operational and that his friends will most surely die, the Emperor even takes a moment to affect a sad, mournful look on his ruined face, as if he is suddenly truly sorry, then at the last second breaks out into a mischievous grin. What a douchebag.


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