Characters that Ruined Movie Experiences for Me

Film Thoughts

4 Characters that ruined movie experiences for me

While not often, there are times when I can’t take a movie seriously or even enjoy it because of one element. With some movies the focus is all it takes to make an otherwise good movie off for me. But a movie with bad focus only strikes me as unfortunate. It’s when the big problem is a single character that it just drives me up the wall with the way they act or treat others in the movie. While I could probably fill a page with annoying villains in movies, I’m looking at 4 characters that pissed me off with their needlessly aggravating nature to the point that I saw the movie considerably differently.

 

#4 Gene, Wreck-it-Ralph

gene 1It’s funny how many little annoyances I had with this movie that I overall loved. I wasn’t even so upset that it lost the Oscar for Best Animation to the subpar Brave (a movie I have much more problems with) because it was fairly unanimous online that it shouldn’t have won evident by the common phrase “Brave, you have something that belongs to Wreck-it-Ralph” being passed around. Though, my vote was for Rise of the Guardians which unfortunately got snubbed.

Mayor Gene is the movie’s initiating antagonist, not to be confused with the threat (the cybugs) and main antagonist (won’t spoil it). Mayor Gene heads the lynch mob, optimistically called the Nicelanders, against poor Ralph. While the other apartment members only seem to fear Ralph as it seems they never stopped to talk to him to realize he’s not like the character he portrays, Gene out-right hates him and isn’t afraid to let his would-be subtext come to voice when he talks to Ralph.

And it is here that all the trouble in Fix-it Felix universe begins. You can trace it back to Gene being a jerk that get’s upset any time Ralph comes out of his dump of a home.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The late night apartment scene

Everything about Gene in this scene has him acting like the entitled victim here, as if the game getting shut down was all part of Ralph’s grand scheme, talking about how he’s “a man of his word” by giving Ralph the biggest slap in the face by letting him stay in the apartment now.

gene-4Like giving him the keys to the corvette after totaling it

When Ralph is forced to state the obvious “This isn’t what I wanted to happen.” Gene has the gaul to accusingly ask “Then what did you want?” Dick, you know what he wanted. He wanted to be treated nicely and not be excluded by you and your snobbish attitude. But since all Ralph says is “I just didn’t want to be alone in the dump.” Gene says “Well, now you can be alone in the penthouse.”

UGGGGGHHHHHH!

Granted by the end of the movie he and the Nicelanders do come around but we never get a clear reason why they had the well-needed change of heart. Did they all get together and decide they’d been too harsh on Ralph? When he didn’t come back did they realize that the villain does a lot for the game with no appreciation? Did Felix tell them how he risked his life to save a little girl? In the end we don’t know. It came out of nowhere. They just treat him well when he comes back which begs the question “Why didn’t Gene and the Nicelanders just treat him well to begin with?”

And really, for me anyways, that is the satisfying ending to me; Ralph being accepted by his own game. As cute as the wave scene between him and Vanellope is I wouldn’t be as content with the ending if the only thing Ralph had to be happy about was Vanellope being happy. But that’s partly because….

vanelope-1

Any other characters?
Vanellope Von Schweetz

Yeah Vanellope is annoying. I get that she’s supposed to be that way and yet I can’t help but feel Sarah Silverman might have done a little extra annoying ad-libbing in the studio that pushed her over the edge. Her personality just doesn’t seem to mesh well when you consider how she’s supposed to be Ralph’s emotional center, the one he’s striving and risking everything he has to save.

Even just little things like when Ralph ask why she doesn’t leave her game for a better place. She informs him that Glitch’s can’t leave their own game but

she has to open with “You really don’t know anything do you?” It’s not said in an overly mean manner but really? Do you really need spin it that way? Why not just “You don’t know much about glitches do you?” She and Ralph are supposed to have this connection because they are both looked down upon by their fellow game characters. But whereas Ralph is a genuinely nice guy completely un-justifying his treatment, I can’t really imagine the other characters liking her annoying personality even if she wasn’t a glitch. 

Oh wait, she's a Disney princess?

Oh wait, she’s a Disney princess? We like her then!

#3 Bonzo Enders Game

bonzo 1While I will say the overall thing that disappointed me with this movie was the rushed story line, I can overlook that because I couldn’t help but think “this is what the rushed exposition of The Last Airbender film would be like if it was done a bit better.” Plus, the underlying motive of a rushed story is so we, the audience, don’t have to spend 3 hours in a theater. There’s some love there. But Bonzo stands out to me in the much more in-your-face bad way.

While I didn’t read the book which I’ve had recommended to me a few times, I have read online that many fans of the book found that casting someone smaller than Ender as his rival who he’s supposed to overcome by using his intelligence to beat their shear brawn made their eventual showdown rather laughable. Sure the actor obviously beefed up a bit in the same way that Topher Grace did for Spiderman 3. But just like with that movie, while the effort is appreciated it still falls short by a lot and it brings to question why other much more appropriate actors were passed up.

Moises Arias is an actor that has followed me from my early days of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Hannah Montana to Enders Game. And every time he plays the same character that I can’t stand; A small smug insufferable jerk who has much more influence and power than he should.

The role itself is antagonistic and meant to be unlikeable but gosh darnnit does it have to played by a guy who amplifies it with such unabashed haughtiness that boasts “I have the authority and I know it. Suck it.” His irritating performance takes a character I should love to hate in the same vein as Draco Malfoy, but it just make me hate the character with no enjoyment in the hate.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
Any scene where I had to look at his face-scrunched, nostril-flared, lips pushed forward, scowl. 

bonzo-faces

So pretty much every scene he’s in.

Any other characters?
Ender
asa-butterfield-enders-game

Asa Butterfield impressed me in The Boy in Striped Pajamas but I found his performance lacking and supremely annoying in Hugo. But since I saw the films in reverse order I decided to give him a chance with this film. That’s my skewed film logic. While he did annoy me I couldn’t really blame his performance specifically this time. I found his acting to be adequate to how the character was written.

Ender in the movie is something of a Mary Sue (Gary Stu as he’s male) character, always knowing what to do, passive aggressive tone, his complacent statement of facts, and getting a laugh out of how others perceive gravity, because thats what passes for humor in a smart person’s mind right? 

Look who thinks a tomato is a vegetable, snicker snicker

Look who thinks a tomato is a vegetable, snicker snicker

I never really got to point that I cared for him. But as he didn’t care for Bonzo either, I suppose we can share that similarity. Plus he did get rid of him half way through the movie, another plus.

#2 Costa Project X

costa 2I did NOT enjoy this movie. I mean I know that high schoolers can be loud, vulgar and obnoxious but….. ok I’m not sure I can entirely blame the movie there. But I do wonder if I would have liked it if Costa had been changed or removed entirely. I see a lot of criticisms online commenting on the loathsomeness of the main characterS when to me it really all comes down to Costa. The two other main guys seem alright to me. Any time they took part in typical douchebaggery you could tell it was completely influenced by Costa. The entire time I watched this movie I kept wanting to scream at the two other guys “Why are you friends with this dick?! Ditch him!”

From telling his friend he’s a “pussy” because he doesn’t want to throw a gigantic party, to advertising said party on Craigslist and the radio, to his constant talk about how great Queens is, Costa is probably the most blatant and over-the-top example of “dirtbag friend.” 

Because nothing says "I'm a pimp!" like that sweater vest

Because nothing says “I’m a pimp!” like that sweater vest

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The scene that didn’t happen; His lack of a demise.

At the end of the movie we find out that the party that Costa started has Thomas convicted for disturbing the peace, contributing to the delinquency of minors, and inciting a riot and that his parents are using his college fund to pay for the damages. Basically his life is crap now. And Costa? He got off scott-free and he is not charged with anything because his parents have a good lawyer.

BUT he is awaiting the results of 3 paternity test from that one night. So thats karma right? Nope, Not good enough. I want him in jail rooming with the bulkiest, meanest inmate who’s going to take him and…. beat him to a pulp. Get your mind out of the gutters, people.

On a side note, those poor three girls.

Any other characters?
Angry Little Person

I didn't expect to be treated this badly at such a high class party!

I didn’t expect to be treated this badly at such a high class party!

What the heck was this dudes problem? He starts by punching someone early on which has him shoved into an oven (not turned on just fyi). When the three main party goers find this out they go to let him out and he thanks them by punching each one of them in the nuts. And then he retaliates more (because he felt the need to?) by hijacking the homeowner’s dad’s mercedes and driving it through the crowd of party goers (more than likely running a few of them over) and into the swimming pool. Why? What did Thomas do?

He climbs out of the pool declaring “Fuck your car” before squeezing in one last nut-punch to a random bystander.

….Douche…. just….douche

#1 Vi Rose Joyful Noise

Please hold all "Say WHAT!?"s until afterwards.

Please hold all “Say WHAT!?”s until afterwards.

What a strangely put together film this was. The songs were incredible, I even bought the soundtrack. But all over, this movie was very muddled with it’s tone that it wasn’t quite clear what kind of movie this was supposed to be. It was nice to see Keke Palmer again having not seen her since my younger days on Disney’s Jump In. And I enjoyed Dolly Parton’s role as well.  But Queen Latifah as Vi Rose, REALLY strikes a bad cord with me. And I find when talking about this movie with other people I can’t not bring up how much I despise her character. The role has actually made it hard for me to look at Queen Latifah the same way again, which surprises me since (unlike Moises Arias) she’s previously played a lot of fun characters I’ve enjoyed in Hairspray and Chicago (also musical films) among others.

Much like the film, her character is very jumbled. There are times when I feel the movie really intends for us to dislike Vi Rose. Scenes where G.G. (Parton), Olivia (Palmer) and Randy talk about her disagreeable behavior seem pretty dead-on with how she’s acting. Then they throw in this scene where Vi rose is having to remove a bed pan from a hospital patient which I guess is supposed to be an attempt at humor mixed with sympathy for her character, but all I can think is “Wait, she’s a nurse? When did that happen?” One second she’s this self-righteous pious woman seeing the faults in others, next she’s doing things that I’m pretty sure her other half wouldn’t like. Stuff like this has been done purposefully before, notably in the character of Frollo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame where the hypocrisy divides a very complex character. But that is not the case with Vi Rose. I can’t even call her an undefined character. She’s more like two defined characters that act vindicated in their impossible coexistence.

Ok so how she perceives herself is completely off, but hows her perception of other people? Pretty bad too. I think one prime example is her car conversation with her daughter where she denounces her father who is a soldier stationed far away. She repeats the phrase “He left us. HE LEFT US.” Ok, good, Vi, you have the first three words down. Now finish the sentence; “He left us to support us.” See what a big difference that makes? I’m not gonna act like your spouse being gone for so long doesn’t come with its own kind of stress but you can’t treat it like the same stress you would have as if he abandoned the family for his own selfish reasons. The animosity towards him seems to fit something a rebellious teenage girl would feel, not unlike Miley Cyrus’ character, Ronnie, in The Last Song. In fact, this whole scene sounded switched around. Shouldn’t Olivia be the angry teenager mad at her dad for leaving them and Vi Rose be the one to explain his deeper reasonings as an adult/parent should know. No, that wouldn’t work. Olivia has already shown she has much more sense than her mother. What’s Vi Rose gonna do next, stamp her foot and say she quits the choir when she doesn’t get her way?

 

vi-rose-2

Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me.

Scene that broke the Camel’s Back:
The hotel/elevator fight scene.

This had to be one of the most misguided scenes in film I’ve ever seen. I can just barely tell what they were going for here. The only way I feel I can thoroughly show how terrible/awkward this scene is is little by little.

The two of them are getting some rest in a hotel room on there way to the choir competition. At least, Olivia is trying to but Vi Rose is snoring. She pokes her mom to let her know this and Vi Rose tells her to go back to sleep. Simple enough I so far.

But then Olivia puts on her shoes  and plans to go downstairs where she takes a pictuesque walk by herself thinking through all her problems and looking to God for guidance-

Oh that doesn’t happen? Why?
Because as she begins to leave the room Vi Rose is gonna have none of that …. for some reason, and goes down the hall after her.

VI ROSE: If you make me come after you it will be the last thing you do
Seriously, what’s with the sudden viciousness?

VI ROSE: Can you actually believe I’m gonna let you wander the streets alone?
Who said she’s going to wander the streets? She could be going for a walk by the pool, down to the lobby, or to one of the rooms that any one of their many other choir members are staying in.

VI ROSE: Nobody ends up with the boy they liked when they were 16. You’ll get over him.
A typical “100% fact” that turns teenagers off parental advice.

Olivia then informs her mother that her anger has nothing to do with Randy. I told him I didn’t wanna see him anymore because you made me! This is about me! It’s here that I once again sympathize with Olivia. She rejected the boy she liked per her mothers demands. She’s already shown she can listen, though she does lose me a bit with her next line that her mother hates her because she’s pretty. Not sure how that comes into play

OLIVIA: Don’t bug your eyes out at me! You hate that I’m pretty ’cause you don’t feel pretty! I defended you to Randy, but now I’m just trying to cut through the bullsh*t once and for all! You know how sad that is for you to feel that way about yourself? What’s interesting is there isn’t much animosity  in the feelings behind the idea that her mother hates her. It’s more like she pities her mother, like she’s trying to allow her mother to have a reasonable explanation for hating her. LAlmost like she’s trying to make her mother the complex villain I mentioned earlier.

OLIVIA: You are the only one you hate more than me, and no matter how much you sing that old-time church music, God doesn’t seem interested in helping you out with that!

Then there’s the turning point, Vi Rose slaps Olivia. Was this necessary? And I’m not even trying to bring up the whole “is spanking/hitting your children wrong” point but I mean was this situation really calling for a slap?

Because

….because then He’ll have no time for MY  ugly, petty, adolescent bullsh*t!

 

VI ROSE: Don’t bring God into your ugly, petty, adolescent bullsh*t!
Where did THAT come from? Vi Rose, not only is there no other character in this movie that is more petty, adolescent and full of bullshit as you are but if this is a misunderstanding that your daughter is having don’t you think you ought to try to set it straight, kinda like what you did with your son with Aspergers earlier in the film when he asked “Mom, how can you love God when he made me like this?” Or looking back does the slap seem more of the way to approach it.

 

aqju3

Olivia doesn’t get the chance to speak much after this because Vi doesn’t give her the chance. She goes on a (big shock) rant that’s as misguided as the scene leading up to it.

VI ROSE: I am an incandescent, board-certified supermodel, baby. I happen not to flaunt it because I’m a married woman, and I would never disrespect my husband the way that you just disrespected me.
Ok, I have to laugh at that. Vi Rose, you made a very obvious and blatant denouncing of your husband not 30 minutes earlier in the film. Did the writers think we just forgot about that part?,

VI ROSE: I put [a mirror] on the refrigerator just to watch myself eat all of them calories, and if I got a heart attack from all that food, I’d just give myself CPR, because I’m a nurse. That’s right, I’ve saved lives, and that is definitely not bullsh*t!
Saving lives? no. But giving yourself mouth-to-mouth is about as Bullshit as it comes. Even trained doctors can’t do that, Vi. If you believed such a thing is possible I wouldn’t believe you’re a trained nurse. I guess this line was the only reason for that scene at the hospital since they are literally the only times the movie mentions her being a nurse.

VI ROSE: Now, look, I’m done talking to you for the foreseeable future….
This line just seems unnecessarily mean-spirited, and once again would sound more appropriate coming from a child i.e. “I’m not speaking to you for the rest of the night”.

VI ROSE: ….so my advice to you right now would be to get your behind back in that room, get back in bed, and you treat my snoring as if it were a Marvin Gaye love song! That’s right, you respect my snoring, because it comes from exhaustion, okay? It comes from working hard to put food in you and your brother’s stomachs and every stitch of clothes on y’all’s backs! Get in that room!
Vi Rose, My mom loves my dad but when he snores really bad some nights, knowing that he works hard for the family doesn’t suddenly make it bearable. She still goes into the guest room to sleep.

Olivia rushes back to the room looking scared as we can only assume she is now terrified of her mother’s lunacies.

And for all her teenage-isms, Olivia proves to be the more mature character. She actually shows she’s capable of learning something and is willing and able to make changes. What changes Vi Rose makes to herself are only assumed or not very evident. The movie unfortunately leaves a lot of unresolved conflicts swept under several rugs like “Yeah, we won the contest! Guess that means everything else is good too.”

As such, there is no real resolution, at least not one equal to what this problem called for. The film’s idea of one is just before the tournament, Vi Rose guilts Olivia into a hug. I am not satisfied with a hug. And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE hugs.

Now I can't tell anyone that without them thinking that I'm just copying this adorable guy

Now I can’t tell anyone that without them thinking that I’m just copying this adorable guy

Olivia apologizes but Vi Rose’s only attempt at resolve is her admitting that Olivia’s life as a 16 year old is “no day at the beach” indicating she otherwise feels everything she’s done to her daughter up until this point was totally justified. We later see her letting her talk to Randy again but she gives us no indication why she changed her opinion. Much like Gene and the Nicelanders, why didn’t she do this from the beginning. We never get an “I was wrong” or an “I’m sorry too” because frankly that would be too sensible for her character.

Any other characters?
Nope, just Vi Rose.

And I think I’ve talked about her enough.

Yes, this is really the face she made when she slapped her daughter

Yes, this is really the face she made when she slapped her daughter

Any characters you couldn’t stand to the point the movie wasn’t as good to you? Leave your comments

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