Jan 15 2010

Five Absolutely Useless Characters in Otherwise Great Movies

Published by at 10:00 am under Movies

Fabrizio

When you watch a crappy movie there’s always some character that pisses you off and you realize that you’d rather not see them at all.  But it’s rare when you watch a great film that the same thing happens.  Generally a great movie means you like most if not all things about the film.

But on occasion, even a great movie will throw some stinkers your way.  I had a tough time coming up with this list but it was fun to come up with some of these calls.

Here are five absolutely useless characters in otherwise great movies

Diane Keaton in the Godfather Movies

Godfather

Keaton plays Michael’s wife Kay.  Her original name was Kay Adams.  It’s sad because Godfather I and II are clearly two of the best movies in the history of movies and in general movies of that quality are 100% successful in terms of the characters and acting.  But let’s face it.  It doesn’t get more dull, plain, and irritating as Keaton’s character Kay.  While I can certainly understand how that character fits in perfectly to the movie, I’m pretty sure every single scene that involves her (except when Michael slaps her in the face) is a scene I just don’t need to watch.  And that’s the sign of a truly useless character.  Every time she’s in the film I think to myself “shut up already.”

Maria De Madeiros in Pulp Fiction

Fabienne

She played Bruce Willis’s love interest Fabienne.  I’m pretty sure every time she mentions pancakes, food, or just about anything it makes me want to regurgitate a week’s worth of meals.  Good God Fabienne.  Shut the hell up.  You’re not even remotely attractive and you’re talking about pie and oral pleasure?  God she’s gross.  I’m pretty sure every time I’ve seen that movie with a friend, whenever Fabienne comes on it gets fast forwarded.  Although I do love when Willis yells at her.  Otherwise Pulp Fiction as we all know is a phenomenal movie.

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Dark Knight

Joker

I just think this is an example of really bad casting.  You can’t have an average or below average looking woman playing the role of an incredibly hot woman.  It’s nothing against Gyllenhaal because she’s a very good actress and played the role well.   However, when you have these guys looking at her as if she’s the jewel of the nile then it just doesn’t click.  If it were established that her character wasn’t supposed to be hot then I’d be fine with it but face it, “Hello Beautiful!” coming from the Joker made me think “who the hell is he talking about?”  And when Bruce Wayne is walking around with Playmates but only has eyes for her?  Come on people.

Jane Brucker in Dirty Dancing

Brucker

She played Lisa, Baby’s sister.   The only thing useful about this character was her large boobs when she was practicing that stupid coconut song.  Other than that we really didn’t need to see her at all.

Danny Nucci in Titanic

Fabrizio

He played Fabrizio.  What in the hell is with his retarded Italian accent?  Funny because Nucci is Italian but really can’t do an Italian accent.  Of all the characters in this movie did we really need a stupid simple minded sidekick who felt like king of the world too?  No, not at all.

*Bonus and debatable:  Jar Jar Binks in Phantom Menace

As the entire world knows, Jar Jar Binks is one of the worst movie characters in the history of cinema.  The issue is that I’m not sure Phantom Menace qualifies as a great movie.  On the flip side, had Binks not been in the movie would it have been great?  I’ll let you guys chew on that for a while.





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43 responses so far

  • ComfortableMadness

    I agree 100% on all of these especially the Dark Night one. Swap Gyllenhaal out for Beckinsale and then you’re in business.

  • Nattyb

    Man Beckinsale would have been PERFECT.

  • Kákalaki Akka

    > And when Bruce Wayne is walking around with Playmates but only has eyes for her?

    Gyllenhaal is not the hottest woman I’ve ever seen, but actually looks way better than any Playmate. I’m totally with Wayne! ;)

  • Gill

    I’d take Maggie Gyllenhaal over Katie Holmes any day.

  • Nattyb

    Wow, these are some weird people we’ve got here. You do realize we’re talking Maggie Gyllenhaal right?

  • Leviathan

    I dont really agree with you on Diane Keaton’s character. She may have been dull, but shes the one that kinda reminds the audience that what Michael is doing is wrong.

  • Lagrange

    I thought the exact same thing with batman. I really like Maggie Gyllenhaal as an actress but she is not hot. I don’t really like Katie holmes but I guess I don’t consider her a bad actress and she looks way better. Gyllenhaal has some sex appeal I guess, but not because of her looks.
    Beckinsale is boring and doesn’t look good, imho.
    I never had a problem with Maria De Madeiros and some of the other characters I don’t even remember. (like an Italian in Titanic?)

  • ComfortableMadness

    @NattyB

    Did I miss something? Is it April 1st already? Gyllenhaal hotter than playmates? And this:

    “Beckinsale is boring and doesn’t look good”

    What in the hell?!!

    I think I need a drink.

  • Pepe Veraz

    i agree with you in fact when i watched dark night for the first time at cinema and i saw her i thought WTF!!! :S and thought exactly what you’ve said.

  • http://manofest.com paul

    “If it were established that her character wasn’t supposed to be hot then I’d be fine with it” good god your ugly, now lets go finish this trial. unrealitymag is filled with horrible writers. ESTABLISH that shes not hot?

  • Madison

    I think Maggie’s a pretty good actress (check out Secretary), but yeah, she was miscast.

  • Mason

    I don’t have a problem with Maggie Gyllenhaal being in the Dark Knight and portraying the average-looking girl who Bruce Wayne loves, but I do have a problem when other characters say things to imply she’s a total babe. She’s a very normal person. She has above-average looks. But she is not someone you’d describe as hot.

  • http://www.thewolfshack.com Steve R

    I love the blatant sexism in the critiques of Maggie Gyllenhaal. At least you’re open about it, but I suggest that you consider growing up and acting like an adult.

  • MacGyver1138

    I’m with you on all of these that I’ve seen. (I haven’t and never will see Titanic.) I always get annoyed at the chick in Pulp Fiction.

    I’m with most of the people here in saying that Gyllenhaal is a good actress, and not ugly, but was miscast. She’s better than Katie Holmes, but it would have been nice to have her in the series from the start. Also, having the other characters talk about her like she is a babe was annoying. It was better to know that Wayne (and Dent) loved her for reasons other than her looks, and pointing out that she was “hot” went against that.

    And who the hell said Beckinsale doesn’t look good? That woman is INSANELY beautiful.

  • ilcapoditutti

    this is just a misunderstanding between people with very different beauty standards. There are guys who think that playmates, megan fox and that kind of girls with giant boobs and 7 feet tall are the best. And there are guys who totally dislike that and prefer something more human. Like, i don’t know… Penny from TBBT. Or why not, Maggie Gyllenhaal.

    they will never agree on this one

  • http://moessexymovieblogofthunder.blogspot.com/ moe

    Gyllenhaal > holmes

    However

    beckinsale uber alles

  • http://twitter.com/cobrabr Cobra

    Right on the money with all of them. It’s very sad when you see a movie that’s great but has one of these “WTF?” characters in them. The movie goes from “it was great!” to “it was cool, but that …”. One actually tends to end up liking the movie a little less because of them.

    And just to increase the voice of reason, someone that thinks Kate Beckinsale is not hot must be utterly and irreversibly blind (I’d add “utterly and irreversibly gay” as well, but she’s so fucking hot that even women and gay men who possess even the smallest amount of eyesight left will still agree she’s amazing).

    Cheers,
    Cobra.

  • http://twitter.com/cobrabr Cobra

    “It was cool but that …” = “It was cool but that [insert useless character name here]…”. :P

    It was between , and apparently, the blog’s comment code thought it was HTML. Fail. :(

  • seeinidawg

    The problem with your including Maggie Gyllenhaal in this list is that no matter what you may think of her looks, the character helps to drive the plot. I wouldn’t describe her as an “absolutely useless character” just because the Joker calls her “beautiful” or that Dent and Wayne love her. In addition, I seriously doubt that if any one of you were to go home today only to find Maggie Gylenhaal naked on your bed asking you to put some pounding to her, you would tell her to put some clothes on because she is not attractive. I don’t buy it. Nattyb you failed in writing an article again.

  • Ashweee

    @ Seeinidawg

    I agree with you 100%, Gyllenhaal might not be that hot, but her hotness doesn’t determine her uselessness, she is one of the biggest plot devices in the Dark Knight, thus NOT making her useless.

    I’d also like to add to everyone that I don’t see how y’all all think Kate Beckinsale is any hotter than Maggie Gyllenhaal. I’d have to say the opposite.

    Having said all that, I can agree with the list except for Rachel Dawes.

  • luigi

    NattyB, have you seen Secretary?

  • Lauren

    Gyllenhaal is incredibly sexy in Secretary, but that was a very different role from the Dark Knight. I’m with @NattyB, Batman’s girlfriend should be more accessibly hot. Gyllenhal is like the thinking man’s Zooey Daschenal. The Dark Knight needed a thinking man’s Maxim girl for the role.

    And I’m with @Seeinadawg – Gyllenhal belongs on a list of miscast roles, not useless characters.

  • Lauren

    Oh, and Kate Beckinsale is super hot. Stop trying to act cool.

  • Eric

    I second Maggie over Katie.

  • Pawlit

    The point you made with Jar Jar may be a good start to another list: “[X] movie characters that ruined what could be a great film”.

  • http://heylady-blog.blogspot.com/ Hey Lady!

    It’s all a matter of opinion and really, you can’t argue one is better then the other.

    On the Maggie Gyllenhal being miscast because she is not “traditionally” hot, good or you NattyB for not worrying about offending people and just giving your opinion. I think in general we’re WAY to obsessed with being politically correct. Just say what you think, this is a America (at least for now) we have the right to say what we think.

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  • http://twitter.com/cobrabr Cobra

    I hate to repeat myself, but in this case I will: anyone who honestly thinks Maggie Gyllenhaal is hotter than Kate Beckinsale needs an urgent trip to the nearest eye doctor.

    I say “honestly” because most of the coments I’ve seen here in this regard look to me as typical cases of what I like to call the “Underground Syndrome”: people that *need* to be against the “mainstream”, that need to contradict the what majority says or thinks, regardless of what it is or how they felt (or said they felt) about it in the very near past.

    These are the people that say “I hate [insert previously unknown/underground band name here]! They’re just a bunch of untalented mercenaries!” — when not one month before they would claim they loved said band — just because they started being successful and gaining a more mainstream following. The same goes for “loving” an actor or (more commonly) a director that only did small-budget cult/independent movies, only to profess their utter disgust at them for having “sold themselves” the minute they start enjoying a bit more exposure.

    To these people, I say this: grow the fuck up, and try to develop some guts while you’re on it. Like or dislike something because that’s how you feel about it, not because of how other people will perceive you for doing it. Don’t pretend to stop liking something just because everyone else and their dog do, too. It doesn’t make you seem cool, unique or “different from the rest”. It just makes you look like an asshat.

    Cheers,
    Cobra.

  • Alyx

    Maggie is a good actress and I agree that she was a better cast than Katie, but seriously…She’s too Plain Jane for that part. As a matter of fact I couldn’t stand looking at her throughout the movie…every time I looked at her I stared at her nose-it’s irritatingly piggish if you ask me.

  • Ashweee

    @Cobra, I don’t like Kate Beckinsale, period. She’s not ugly, but I don’t find her attractive, that’s my opinion, not because I feel like being cool, I didn’t rush out to see any of the Underworld movies and frankly I don’t care to. I just don’t care for her. I like Maggie. That’s all there is to it.

  • http://twitter.com/cobrabr Cobra

    @Ashweee, like I said in my previous comment, you should go see an eye doctor… :D

    All joking aside, there’s no accounting for taste. As long as you’re not lying about liking or disliking something (especially to yourself), it’s all good.

    I suppose we can’t all have good taste in women… *somebody* has to take the ugly ones home, right? ;)

    Cheers,
    Cobra.

  • Ashweee

    @Cobra

    lol, well I do have terrible eyesight, and as a female, I am straight, so I don’t take the women home, sorry to disappoint you that I left the uglies out there. ;-)

  • Joe T.

    Jar Jar ruined the entire pre-trilogy from the first moment he was on screen. And i refuse to believe that Lucas planned from the beginning to make him an integral character when he helps give Palpatine war powers. That was Lucas scrambling desperately to redeem a useless character. As for whether any of the movies would have been better without him? No. Useless actors filled the role of Anakin Skywalker, destroying the biggest, meanest bad guy in sci-fi. It’s one thing to show Darth Vader’s human origins, it’s another to fill the role with blocks of wood.

  • Glenn V

    the God Father 1,2 and 3

    Were all true stories.

    but i agree i hate that character so much it makes me sick.

    on the other side thats what makes her a good actress.

    thanks

  • Zorak

    List fails by claiming that Titanic is a great movie.

  • Saz

    As a female I was very ‘WTF’ when Maggie Gyllenhal starred in Dark night, I agree that the series would’ve been much better if she’d starred in them from the start, if only because she played the character in a very different way, I don’t have anything against Katie Holmes and enjoyed her portrayall but feel for this it would’ve been better to either have the same person play in the sequel or have closely matched the play style.
    (But I agree in looks I prefer Katie, & liked her in the role but thats only because I enjoyed the first movie, no doubt if Maggie had’ve played first I’d say that she was better!!)

    The change of female lead in the Hulk for example was much better, as for me it wasnt untill about halfway through the second move that it suddenly hit me that OMG – that isn’t the same chick as in the last one – how the hell did I not notice that!!
    I mean Jennifer Connelly Vs Liv Tyler! How the hell I didn’t notice I’ve no idea, but Liv slipped into the role in my opinion nicely.

    And yes – I’d have Kate Beckinsale too!! I find her very beautiful

  • Paul

    sometimes the purpose of a character gets lost in the cutting room…
    especially productions with a large budget sometimes will film excess scenes that will not make it into the movie, because they wouldn’t fit into the masterpiece as originally intended. they can’t completely scratch the character because of scenes with the main-character, that ware important for the plot…or the director didn’t want to disappoint a upcoming actor by completely scratching his performance ;)
    These characters make it into the book/script sometimes because the writer did feel the need to have a character there to serve a purpose or support the main character or plot…later realizing that the plot supports itself/is supported by another hcaracter or group of characters…
    another example is the colored GI at the american embassy in the movie “the saint”

    thanks for the list enjoyed it

  • Nani

    So youre saying, because maggie isnt hot enough, shes useless for the movie? thats just plain stupid, her character was necessary for what happend to harvey dent, and i dont agree with her being ugly, she isnt beautiful but she isnt ugly, and she looked best in the warehouse scene in dark knight, also in donnie darko she doesnt look bad either

  • Christian

    Kirsten Dunst in spiderman .

    fuck that scratch that , both blow

  • AshtonCinder

    I think Kirsten Dunst is fine in Spider-man both in performance and looks.

    Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy (who is supposed to be super hot) is the same mistake as Maggie G. Both are exceptional actresses but should NOT be cast as the Hottie. A great performer can still be miscast.

    Another suggestion, going waaaay back, is Natalie Wood in West Side Story.

    To those who are too good to watch Titanic (which is indeed a great film with flaws in the dialogue which has always been a stumbling block for Cameron), it is both silly and immature to hate a movie simply because it is successful. But haters gotta hate, right?

  • Dayton

    If we’re going to debate Phantom Menace’s greatness, I’d like to call Dirty Dancing into question as well.

  • Cayden

    I would have to say that Maggie G. didn’t even do a good job in the acting department in The Dark Knight. Looks aside I felt she did a poor job acting as well. Rewatch some of the scenes in the movie she was in and tell me I’m wrong. She tries to play cute in scenes where she should have been strong one scene she twist back and forth while supposedly having a serious conversation, I mean come on.

  • chuck

    Disagree strongly with all the Gyllenhaal stuff in comments. Katie Holmes should have reprised her role from the first movie. That is all. The people criticizing her are only doing it because she was overexposed after marrying Tom Cruise. She’s a decent actress and much prettier than Maggie G. Now this talk of Beckinsale is REALLY bugging me. Technically, she is pretty but by the standards of the average working actress in Hollywood, she’s average at best. The tight black rubber bondage gear distracts people from her innate blandness.

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