There's been a lot of talk about bullies lately. The suicides of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi and Hamilton Middle School's Asher Brown have prompted renewed calls for bullying prevention, leading to things like the It Gets Better Project, which tries to convince LGBT youth that high school is, at most, a temporary hell. Videos by Dan Savage and Tim Gunn have proven especially affecting.
Not to be outdone, People magazine has sought out bullying testimonials from other celebrities. Some, like Glee's Chris Colfer and
[Jessica] Simpson, too, was a victim of a different kind of taunting. "[People] would throw toilet paper at my house or throw eggs at my door," she once said.
Was this before or after your cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'?"
Seriously I don't know what kind of third world hellhole Simpson grew up in (oh right, Richardson), but where I come from TP in the trees and a few eggs on the door made for a pretty standard weekend.
Anyway, all this talk of bullying has naturally cast my mind back to my own childhood. More specifically, the movie bullies of my youth. I wonder how Jessica Simpson would have fared against them...
Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) The Karate Kid (1984) Offenses: Boombox larceny, aggravated circle kicks.
To be fair, Johnny's attacks on Daniel were mostly restricted to when the New York interloper was trying to steal his girlfriend or soak him with a hose at a party (dirty pool, Daniel-san). And it was this conflict that would eventually lead to the East Coast-West Coast rap battles of the 1990s. What The Future Held: Nothing I could come up with would beat Patton Oswalt's theory (about how Johnny ended up as the Gimp in Pulp Fiction), which has now strangely disappeared from the interwebs. Trust me, it was hilarious.
Stan Gable (Ted McGinley) Revenge of the Nerds (1984) Offenses: Nerd oppression, flaunting NCAA regulations about player age, comparing girlfriend to goat.
Stan was the last of a dying breed. The mere physical bully would henceforth be no match for the electronically-enabled nerd legions of the future. What The Future Held: Drafted in the first round by the Oakland Raiders in 1985, Gable was dragged into the bleachers and murdered by his own fans after throwing four interceptions in a loss to Denver.
Nellie Oleson (Alison Arngrim) Little House on the Prairie Offenses: First degree hypochondria, horse abuse.
Having watched only the manliest of TV programming as a child, I had to be educated by various female friends in the subject of Nellie's exploits. Sure, getting a beating here and there sucks, but I'd hate to have been fooled into doing nice things by someone faking paralysis. That's a whole new low in cruelty...congratulations, ladies. What The Future Held: Divorced Percival Dalton, returned to Minnesota, lost way in snow and devoured by wolverines.
Scut Farkas (Zack Ward) A Christmas Story (1983) Offenses:General schoolyard terrorism, non-ironic wearing of fur hat.
Scut and his stooge, Grover Dill, always reminded me of Spike and Chester from those old Looney Tunes cartoons. Ralphie, unfortunately, couldn't rely on an escaped panther to do his dirty work. What The Future Held: Scut's rep never recovered from the beating he received at the hands of that four-eyed twerp. Unable to deal with the shame, he accepted schoolmate Flick's invitation to appear in some..."special" movies.
Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) Back to the Future (1985) Offenses: Muffing idioms, reckless driving, attempted rape.
While -- in my opinion -- the BttF franchise lost a lot of steam in the second and third installments, Biff's asshole quotient only increased, which is kind of comforting when you think about it. What The Future Held: Beats the hell out of me. I've watched Back to the Future 2 a couple times and I'm still not sure what happened.
Buddy Revell (Richard Tyson) Three O'Clock High (1987) Offenses: Issues with personal space, scaring the shit out of everyone he meets.
Buddy was the Terminator of bullies, in that he felt no pity or remorse. The guy knocked out a couple of teachers, for crying out loud. Not even Biff would go there. What The Future Held: Still trying to get Charlie to accept his Facebook friend request.
Melvin Moody (Matt Dillon) My Bodyguard (1980) Offenses: Clifford-specific assholery, that jacket.
Melvin was more sinister than your run-of-the-mill bully, for some reason. I spent most of the final fight scene in MB afraid he was just going to say "the hell with it" and stab Ricky in the throat. Happily, all that happened was that he got his clock cleaned by a smaller kid with terrible hair. What The Future Held: Co-founder of Girls Gone Wild.
Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) Heathers (1989) Offenses: Gratuitous poll-taking, getting Martha Dumptruck's hopes up.
Lost among Heather #1's more grievous crimes was her demanding some sort of credit for getting Veronica into a Remington party. Because frat guys are really particular about who (maybe) consents to have sex with them. What The Future Held: Uh...have you not seen the movie?
Fred O'Bannion (Ben Affleck) Dazed and Confused (1993) Offenses: Corporal punishment of children not related to him, poor woodworking skills.
Richard Linklater must have gotten a daily stomping in high school, because an asshole as fully realized as O'Bannion could only have sprung from the mind of someone who suffered regularly at the hands of someone just like him. What The Future Held: High school footall coach, the kind who also teaches economics.
Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier) Better Off Dead (1985) Offenses: Sliming his way through Greendale HS, making annoying fucking pig noises.
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Skiing the K-12 is a huge deal, apparently, because Roy was in no way cuter than Lane Meyer. It was pretty funny when he referred to him as Beth's "main weiner man," though. What The Future Held: Bode Miller's Olympic coach
And before anyone complains, here are a few that didn't make the cut.
Chet (Bill Paxton) -- Weird Science: Older brothers don't count as bullies...they're just plain assholes (ask any of my three younger siblings). Ace (Kiefer Sutherland) -- Stand By Me: Ace was a scary fucker, to be sure, but you have to be in the same age cohort to be a bully. Kent (Robert Prescott) -- Real Genius: A good bully shouldn't be as easily manipulated as the hapless Kent...or drive a Citroen.