Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 85

Children should be see and not heard and in some cases they shouldn't even be seen.

Most obnoxious kid on film?

Panelist: T-Rav

Definitely Ralphie in A Christmas Story. I don’t know what exactly it is about that kid that annoys me so, but I don’t think that by halfway through, I was supposed to be rooting for the BB gun against the protagonist.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Well, he is not a kid anymore, but Shia LeBeouf was about as obnoxious as it gets when he was a kid.

Panelist: ScottDS

I would say the kid in Problem Child but I've actually never seen those movies. I'm also tempted to say Jaden Smith just on principle. Instead, I will say the pint-sized drug dealer in RoboCop 2: Hob, played by Gabriel Damon. I know he gets his comeuppance in the end but he's so annoying! You just want to see RoboCop cuff him and haul him away in the first scene!

Panelist: AndrewPrice

Jed wins this one right out of the gates, but I won't copy him. So I will go with the whole fricken cast of Goonies. So many bad cliches. Does the fat kid need to stuff his face constantly? Does the Asian kid need to speak pidgin English? Seriously, Spielberg... you, Sir, are an ass.

Comments? Thoughts?


Dave Olson said...

Let me be the first of many to suggest Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker. The only thing worse than JarJar in Episode One.

tryanmax said...

Yay! A fellow Goonies hater! I'm not alone in this world. ScottDS, rest assured, the kid in Problem Child is awful! But for my money, no kid is worse than Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. (The grown up Anakin wasn't much better.)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

The kid in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much. I think I'd have left him kidnapped. Que sera sera kid.

Anonymous said...

Edward Furlong in 'Terminator 2.' I'm probably one of the few people who holds the original film higher than the sequel, but I do. Scratch off the stunts and special effects, and all you have is rehash mixed with filler. I knew the atmosphere and mood of the original was gone and something was very wrong when 'Bad to the Bone' played. But then it just got worse...

The whiney, high-pitched whiner (our savior, ladies and gentlemen!), who utters insufferable phrases and emasculates the badass killer robot while stealing from innocent people, breaking and entering, and destroying property. But it's okay. According to the Cameronverse, as long as he doesn't kill anyone, he can still act as poorly as DiCaprio and remain the hero. (I guess that means other 'hero' characters can also maim, lie, steal, destroy, threaten, adulterize, etc. and still remain the good guys- as long as they don't take a life, of course.)

Am I the only one who was declaring loyalty to the machines and rooting for the T-1000 to win?


Anonymous said...

I can see the arguments for Anakin Skywalker and the kid from Robocop 2, but I'm going to blame Anakin on GL and the kid in Robocop was just written to be an evil little shit and got what he deserved.

So for me the most obnoxious kid on film is the annoying brat from the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still. Early on while I wasn't sure the movie sucked I knew that I hated that kid. He wasn't written evil or screwed over by GL he was meant to be a normal kid, but goddam half the reason I continued watching the movie was in the hope something bad happened to him.

I looked it up to see who it was and found out that it was Jaden Smith, so the fact that he most likely got the job because of who his parents are makes it that little bit worse.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm . . . I almost want to say Anakin, except that I think I might just be reading the obnoxiousness of his older self and his association with Jar Jar Binks back on him.

I think the younger brother in A Christmas Story (most overrated movie ever) is even more obnoxious than Ralphie.

But I think I'm going to have to go with the Home Alone kid. Because don't you just want to slap him?

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - I think disliking the kid in Ralphie is a function of overexposure. After seeing him for the eleven billionth time, he had long since worn out his welcome; much like the poor relations who comes and won't leave.

Sott - I don't know some of those characters, but sure the kid in Robo 2 or 3 was pretty damned annoying.

Goonies seemed to be fairly low hanging fruit for this particular category .... AND I didn't even see the film (l.o.l.) Ws this the same kid from Indue: Temple of Doom by chance?

Tennessee Jed said...

McCauley Culkin was originally cute for 15 minutes .... after that he is as good a choice as any for this award

Dave Olson said...

I never saw "The Goonies" because it looked like they put every annoying brat in Hollywood together in one craptacular movie. Especially THAT one; I forget his name and I refuse to look it up on IMDB. You know the one, the unforgivably hateable one from "Temple of Doom", whose character I refer to as the Proto-JarJar.

--Scott: The kid from the original "Day the Earth Stood Still" wasn't any less annoying. I felt sympathy for him for maybe 5 seconds when he visited his dad's grave at Arlington, but most of the time I kept hoping that Michael Rennie or Patricia Neal would smack him upside the head.

AndrewPrice said...

I just wanted everyone to know that I'm not ignoring you, but I've got company this weekend, so it will take me a while before I can respond. But I will respond. :)

T-Rav said...

Thank God, I'm not the only person who couldn't stand The Goonies. Do you have any idea how many people I had to listen to in college who were all, "Oh, this movie is such a classic!" No, it's kitsch, and pretty tacky kitsch at that.

T-Rav said...

Jed, I had to have someone else confirm it for me, but yes, that Asian kid in The Goonies was the same one from Temple of Doom.

I guess to be fair, I don't hate Ralphie any more than I do everything else from A Christmas Story. It's just that he won't shut up about that @#$% BB gun! And he's just insufferably annoying in general. Why that movie deserves its own 24-hour marathon Christmas Day is beyond me.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, short answer, nobody liked A Christmas Story so Turner bought it up cheap. Since nobody was watching TNT on Christmas anyway, somebody decided to run the pile 12 consecutive times on that date. Thus, a steaming, stinking tradition was born. Now everybody convinces themselves that they really like that show to justify having it on in the background so they can laugh at the only two parts that are funny. Incidentally, I don't know what those parts are, but purportedly, there are two of them.

K said...

T-Rav:I'm not the only person who couldn't stand The Goonies.

The movie lost me at the toilet scene revealing that the obnoxious rich stuck up douche bag kid also loved reading gun magazines - HINT! HINT!!. Another in a long series of Richard Donner political placement ads.

"Obnoxious" kid actors. I never liked Billy Mumy from the Lost in Space TV show, and I always suspected the little "too good to be true" Ron Howard would grow up to be a leftist message film maker.

Ty in TX said...

My nominee for the most obnoxious kid in the movies goes to Freddie Boath who played Alex O'Connell, Rick and Evie's son in The Mummy Returns. He was smart-mouthed, annoying, obnoxious and eventually I found myself routing for the bad guys in the hope they'd kill him. Even found myself wishing Imohtep would get a chance to suck him dry. Bad connotation be damned.

Backthrow said...

Most obnoxious? It'd be hard to top Happy Derman, the original choice to play 'Eddie' on THE MUNSTERS. Thankfully, he failed and was immediately replaced by Butch Patrick.

I liked Culkin in UNCLE BUCK and the first HOME ALONE, Ralphie in A CHRISTMAS STORY (though 24-hour marathons of any movie will kill any love you've had for it, and/or will ramp up the hate), and Billy Mumy in various 1960s shows.

I hated the kids in PROBLEM CHILD, THE GOONIES and the equally-loud-and-annoying MONSTER SQUAD. Oh yeah, and that kid in the old Richard Pryor flick, THE TOY. Edward Furlong should annoy me in TERMINATOR 2, but somehow doesn't. Maybe the robot action distracted me.

I've actively avoided any movies with Jaden Smith in them, other than PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (watched once), where he wasn't the total focus of the story. There, he was generic instead of annoying... could've been any young kid.

Jake Lloyd in PHANTOM MENACE didn't bother me much, only because of all the equally-annoying things surrounding him dulled any specific pain he may have generated. As thankless a task as singling out a lone grain of sand for criticism, in an overall-abrasive stretch of beach.

Mycroft said...

In fairness to the fairer sex, I nominate Juliette Lewis in Scorcese's remake of Cape Fear.
I HATED that character!
In fact, it made it difficult to enjoy Christmas Vacation as a result.

tryanmax said...

Mycroft, I've never seen Cape Fear but it it must've been pretty bad, b/c I think Lewis was great in Christmas Vacation, as have been all the kids in all the Vacation movies.

Abigail Breslin in Signs on the other hand... Just finish a damned glass of water, why don't you? It doesn't have "dust" on it! Leaving glasses of water all over the place shouldn't be central to any plot, plus it leaves rings on all the furniture!

I'm noticing a pattern, though: the most annoying kids seem to be in the most poorly scripted films.

Anonymous said...

Instead of addressing individual commenters, I'm going to address specific actors. :-)

Re: Jake Lloyd - I agree with Backthrow… he's no better or worse than any other single element in the movie. He may have done a better job with better direction and/or better writing. Or Lucas simply should've started the story with Anakin a few years older.

Anonymous said...

Re: The Goonies - I saw it for the first time in college and enjoyed the hell out of it. I own the Blu-Ray but it's not something I watch all the time, or even more than once a year. It's just harmless fun. Spielberg (in producer mode), Donner, and Chris Columbus (who wrote it) firing on all cylinders.

BUT I can see how it might grate on some folks. :-)

Anonymous said...

Re: Eddie Furlong - he's okay but some of his dialogue is, shall we say, a bit awkward and dated. I've both praised and bashed James Cameron's writing skills over the years and I guess this just proves a good actor can make something out of it... while an average-to-bad actor can't.

"If it ain't on the page..."

Anonymous said...

Re: A Christmas Story - I also saw this one for the first time in college - the very definition of a cult classic. Again, I can see how it would annoy some people, and the 24-hour marathon does NOT help in that regard. (I'll keep it on as white noise.)

But again, just harmless fun. And worth it for "the Old Man." :-)

Anonymous said...

Re: Ron Howard - to be fair - his personal life notwithstanding - he's doesn't appear to be a "message filmmaker." The Da Vinci Code movies are just bad movies... but he's done a few conservative films as well, including Apollo 13 and the underrated Cinderella Man.

And he helped bring Arrested Development into the world, so that makes him immortal. :-)

Anonymous said...

Re: Macaulay Culkin - eh, he was good in the John Hughes movies and a couple others. I remember it was a big deal when he starred in The Good Son. I've resisted watching that movie all these years... something tells me I'd find it an annoying experience. :-)

Jason said...

I’ve never understood why so many find Jake Lloyd annoying. I thought he was pretty good, actually. The part as written was just so clich├ęd and sometimes he suffered from poor direction-but we know whose fault that is. :)

I actually liked Macaulay Culkin in the Home Alone flicks. I’d actually go for a Home Alone clone, namely “Blank Check,” for a more annoying kid. Brian Bonsall’s Preston was easily one of the more unlikable kids I’ve seen in pictures (He manages to have a grown woman kiss him at the end…I’m not kidding). Bonsall also played Alexander on Star Trek: The Next Generation, so he’s two for two there.

Someone mentioned Billy Mumy from Lost in Space. I’d say Jack Johnson from the 1997 movie was worse. He was *very* stilted and unconvincing, and this is from someone who actually likes that movie!

I’d probably add Mario Yedida’s character from Warriors of Virtue, mostly because his signature trait in that movie was to get abducted by the bad guys and be pretty useless.

tryanmax said...

I'll admit, it's hard to be objective about The Goonies or A Christmas Story with both being so overexposed.

Story, we all know why. Goonies might be directly related to my birth year. Through the later half of the 80s, it was standard birthday/sleep-over fare, so from ages 6-9 I must've seen it well over 200 times. That's about once a week for four years, which seems about right. (Redeeming quality: Cyndi Lauper on the soundtrack. "Goonies 'R' Good Enough!")

Culkin, I liked as a child actor. As an adult, he just seems creepy, though that might be the roles he chooses. Home Alone is annual viewing for me, though not in marathon form. Home Alone 2 was rather needless.

I'm gonna stand by my pick of Jake Lloyd b/c I'm convinced that if you were to digitally remove Jar Jar Binks from Phantom he would be left as the worst part of the film. Okay, maybe you'd have to remove Watto, too.

Dwizzum said...

Since Jake Lloyd is already been mentioned I'll go with the daughter from "The Last Boy Scout". I find it an under rated movie, but that brat needed to die in a terrible way.

Also, I agree with Rustbelt. I much prefer T1 over T2. T1 is a tighter, fresher movie. T2 is a rehash, with better FX and introduces to many time travel paradoxes.

K said...

ScottDS: Ron Howard not a message director?

I have to disagree. Google "Da Vinci Code" and you get counter articles by the dozens. Throw in Frost/Nixon and Apollo 13 (government goes it better) and that's a pretty fair body of message work.

In any case, as Al Capp once wrote, no cartoonist (or movie maker) ever drew a dog next to a fire hydrant without making a comment on the state of dogs. :)

Anonymous said...

You're right - I did forget about Frost/Nixon (though I did enjoy it).

And I did mention that the Da Vinci Code films were total and utter crap, and that's coming from a Jew/agnostic! :-)

As for Apollo 13, respectfully, the general consensus is that it's a celebration of American vision and ingenuity (regardless of the source). There's no greater scene that illustrates that than the "We need to put this into this using nothing but that" scene.

In other words, it's possible to praise one (NASA, a government agency) without denigrating the other (the private sector).

And as Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

And Howard might have his politics but he ain't Oliver Stone either. (It's a sliding scale.) :-D

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dwizzum. It's great to know I'm not alone when it comes to opinions on T2.

By the way, speaking of Ron Howard and 'Apollo 13,' I'm pretty much going to side with Scott on this flick. Granted, I'm biased because I'm quite the NASA/space exploration fan. It does celebrate what Americans can do when we put our minds to it. And, as a bonus, it stars Gary Sinise.

That being said, making the Grumman Corporation engineer look like a total idiot/buffoon wasn't necessary. (Grumman designed the lunar module.) I'm pretty sure those guys knew what their ship was capable of.


shawn said...

Danny from Last Action Hero. I liked the movie, but the kid was annoying as all get out. On the plus side, Charles Dance is awesome in it.

K said...

In other words, it's possible to praise one (NASA, a government agency) without denigrating the other (the private sector).

One would think so. Except the "private sector" - the people who actually designed, developed and tested hardware in an incredibly short amount of time - was represented in toto by a smarmy character who was more worried about contractual issues and avoiding blame than saving the crew. That was a cheap shot. Particularly when the film concentrated on the one that went wrong and not the ones that went right.

That being said, I didn't care about it - as you say - a cigar may just be a cigar - until after Da Vinci + Frost/Nixon. Three times = enemy action.

Voz said...

Any kid that Cameron Bright played...this poor kid got type cast and whenever I see a movie with him in it, I groan...look him up and you'll know who I'm talking about.

AndrewPrice said...

Voz, He was Orlin in Stargate SG-1 and that was kind of creepy with him quasi-romancing Samantha Carter.

rlaWTX said...

way late, but:
other people who hate A Christmas Story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, It sounds like we could form a club! :D

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