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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The worst movie roles

Sometimes, when I'm watching a movie, I zoom out and start thinking about the actors playing the roles. Especially the small roles -- not quite extras, but not exactly stars, either. People whose role will be listed in the credits as a description instead of a name. "Guy in bar." "Girl on street." 

I imagine that they're hardworking people desperately trying to get their big break, and if it's a big-budget big-name movie I'm watching, then I imagine they're really excited to have a part in it. Even a small part.

Even a part like ...

Racial Slur guy

I first became painfully aware of this guy while watching the movie Red Tails, which was about the Tuskegee Airmen. If you're unfamiliar, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the US Armed Forces. They fought in WWII and did some pretty fancy shit.

So in this movie, at one point the Tuskegee Airmen are stationed somewhere in Europe that I can't remember. And they have some time off, so they decide to go to a bar in town. So off to the bar they go ... but when they enter, somebody in there immediately yells out something like "get out of here, n*****!" One of the Airmen then punches him in the face.

Proud moment for this fella.

Just think about that actor for a minute. Imagine he's been in soap commercial after soap commercial, struggling to get enough work just to keep his SAG health insurance. And then finally he gets his big break -- a speaking role in a big budget movie starring tons of big names! Terrence Howard! Cuba Gooding motherf***ing Junior! George Lucas poured a bunch of money into the project, too! GEORGE LUCAS FROM STAR WARS, Y'ALL!!!


This guy must be so excited!!! And then he gets his copy of the script, and sees that his speaking role consists of calling someone the n-word and then getting punched in the face.

Wamp womp.

There are so many movies with this character in them. Some nobody who has three seconds of screen time, but those three seconds are spent shouting the worst things imaginable at the plucky underdog protagonist of the movie. You're not even a villain at that point -- you're just a piece of shit. For two seconds, and then you're gone.

And of course this poor actor/actress will invite their whole family over for a viewing party, where they'll all sit around the TV with popcorn. Our star will pause the movie before her line, making sure everyone has refilled their drinks and been to the bathroom. Once everyone's full attention is on the screen, the star gleefully hits "play" again so that everyone can hear her scream "YOU WORTHLESS F***ING JEW!" and then spit into someone's face.

Her aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends will then all clap her on the back and tell her what a great job she did. "I've never heard anyone call someone a 'worthless Jew' with more disgust and anger than you did. It was a beautiful performance. The way you hit the hard J in 'Jew' just warmed my heart. So convincing! You deserve an award for the performance, truly."

It's especially fun when "racial slur guy" is a young child. Solid parenting for sure right there.

Unnecessary naked person

Nudity absolutely has a place in movies. Don't go thinking I'm some prude who doesn't enjoy seeing boobs every once in a while. Even boobs that aren't strictly necessary to the plot can be fun sometimes. Like Halle Berry's boobs in Swordfish -- was there any reason for her to be topless in that scene? Nope! But it's cool, man.

But there's a big difference between having a main character do a nude scene that actually makes sense with the plot of the movie, and ... just randomly being nude for no reason, briefly, as your only role in the movie.

The kind of nudity that makes your name show up in the credits of the movie as "Naked Woman #4."

That's rough.

Once again, I imagine the viewing party you have to celebrate your role in the newest big budget gangster movie. Your grandparents are there. Your father is brimming with pride.

Your scene is coming up, so everyone stops talking and focuses their gaze on the screen just in time for the camera to pan through the strip club where the main characters are meeting and focus momentarily on you, naked, grinding some old dude's face while he shoves dollars into your garter.

You are not a porn star. You are not a stripper. You are an actress, in a real movie that a lot of people are actually going to see. And all you do in that movie is grind your naked ass in someone's face briefly, for no reason whatsoever except to beef up that R rating.

But at least you have that health insurance, right? So you've got that to be proud of, Naked Woman #4.

Embarrassing failure guy

This guy shows up in a lot of movies too. His three seconds of screen time are spent doing something super embarrassing -- either trying to throw a ball and winging it way off target, or getting thrown up on, or hit in the face with something, or falling off the back of the Titanic and hitting the propellers with your legs on the way down ...

Ha ha remember this guy?

And from that point forward, your only claim to fame is to say "I was in Titanic! Yeah, I was the guy who couldn't even fall off the ship properly. Broke my legs."

"Hey look, everybody -- there I am! And here comes ... okay right now ... THERE! The main character just vomited into my mouth! An Academy Award nominated actor just threw up in my mouth in a major motion picture. Isn't that incredible?!?"

At least you weren't naked when it happened, though?

Except for the times when embarrassing things happen to naked people and that's their entire role in the movie: to get hit in the face with a bag of dog poo while naked.

At least they weren't shouting racial slurs at the time, though?

Except that's probably happened too.

I'm glad I'm not an actress. These are likely the only roles I would get.

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