The movie universe of the 1980s was a dangerous place to be if you were even the slightest bit different. If you were poor, artistic, creative, intelligent, sensitive, weighed less than 175 lbs., or wore anything besides letterman jackets and acid washed jeans, you immediately became the target of ridicule and abuse from guys with mirrored sunglasses, perfectly feathered blonde hair, Lacoste polo shirts with popped collars, Porsche convertibles, and ludicrous trust funds. The bullies of 1980s teen cinema were sadistic karate masters, intolerant rednecks, and drunk fraternity clods out to make life a living hell for innocent movie protagonists just looking to find acceptance in a new town or win a woman’s heart. Here then, is a look at ten of the biggest pricks in ’80s movie history. Assholes, we salute you!
10.) Mick McAllister – Teen Wolf (1985)
Played by: Mark Arnold
We begin the list with one of the all-time great movie jerks. Mick McAllister is your prototypical 80’s antagonist, complete with chiseled looks, athletic ability, the girl of our hero’s dreams on his arm, and a relentless drive to be the biggest douchebag on Planet Earth. Mark Arnold was 28 years old during the filming of Teen Wolf, so he looked extra intimidating during his reign of terror on the basketball court for the Dragons against poor little Michael J. Fox’s Beavers. Mick’s crimes against humanity in Teen Wolf include drawing 179 brutal flagrant fouls over the course of two basketball games; repeatedly calling Scott a freak, nerd, dweeb, geek, etc.; referring to poor, sweet Boof as a “tramp”; and being allowed to stand in the lane directly under the basket to stare down an opposing player attempting two foul shots, in clear violation of the rules of basketball. Total Dick move.
9.) Chuck Cranston – Footloose (1984)
Played by: Jim Youngs
Chuck is an especially violent example of a 1980’s movie bully. This Texas redneck jerkwad had the unmitigated gall to not only beat the living snot out of the film’s female lead Lori Singer, but he was also out to completely mess up the most perfect head of hair in movie history! Thankfully, Kevin Bacon’s Ren was able to bring back the power of dance to the town of Basin, and kick Chuck’s misogynistic ass in the process. Let’s hear it for the boy!
8.) Teddy Beckersted – One Crazy Summer (1986)
Played by: Matt Mulhern
In Teddy Beckersted, director/writer Savage Steve Holland created a cartoonish parody of the standard 80’s preppie tormentor that met all the criteria and then some. Blonde hair? Check. Filthy rich? Check. Mean? Check. Violent? Check. Hot girlfriend? Check. Gang of sycophantic asshole friends (including a particularly douchey and balding Jeremy Piven)? Check. Teddy loved doing laps in the pool, wearing sweaters tied around his neck, eating animal crackers, and beating the ever-lovin’ crap out of anyone who even so much as breathed near his Ferrari. (Apologies for the lame YouTube clip…apprently no one bothered to upload clips of Teddy bloodying up the Stork twins or playing a sadistic game of H.O.R.S.E. using poor Ack-Ack as a human basketball hoop.)
7.) Steff McKee – Pretty in Pink (1986)
Played by: James Spader
Steff McKee broke away from traditional bully tropes in 1986. Since the protagonist in Pretty in Pink was a female, Spader couldn’t beat her up or give her an atomic wedgie in the locker room. He had to rely on classism and psychological warfare instead, using his wealth, status, and razor-sharp tongue to make Molly Ringwald and everyone around her feel like inferior pieces of shit. He also looked like a 36 year-old stockbroker hanging out in a high school parking lot. Spader deserves a ton of kudos for managing to look threatening while rocking loafers with no socks, an all-white linen suit, and a silk turquoise shirt unbuttoned to his navel.
6.) Hardy Jenns – Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Played by: Craig Sheffer
Another smug jerkwad in the John Hughes mold, Hardy Jenns added a physical menace to the Steff McKee template of upper-class superiority and psychological torment. This charmer had a Corvette, a power mullet that would rival Richard Marx’s, and he treated a young, blazingly hot Lea Thompson like a prized piece of beef until Elias Koteas showed up at his parents’ house with a group of 40-year old metalheads. Soon as that happened, Jenns reverted to the meek, pampered pussy boy he truly was.