Famous Movie Bullies Then and Now
Over the years, Hollywood has had the ability to channel some of our most dreaded fears. But among them all one lies closest to our hearts, because, unlike a wet little girl crawling out of a television to murder you, it is real: the Bully.
From adolescence to adulthood, the bully has remained one of the most popular film archetypes that we love to hate. To pay tribute to these jerks, let’s take a look at some of the famous film bullies of our past, and see where they are now.
William Zabka, Johnny Lawrence
Then: We all remember Zabka in ‘Karate Kid,’ the guy who was one of the top students of the Cobra Kai dojo — not to mention a top creep as well. And while it was only Zabka’s second film credit, he was incredibly believable. In fact, he would become famous for his villainous roles.
Now: His career after ‘Karate Kid’ would hold numerous successes, but perhaps none as high as in 2004 when he was nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing and producing the film ‘Most.’ Sure, he didn’t win, but being nominated is nothing to laugh at.
Donald Gibb, Fred ‘The Ogre’ Palowakski
Then: Acting as the undeniable dimwitted bully, Gibb went on to reprise his Ogre role in the film’s sequel. His demeanor and house-like build were the perfect frame for his ‘Nerds’ character. In fact, before venturing into acting, Gibb briefly played for the San Diego Chargers.
Now: After being known as ‘The Ogre,’ Gibb would have a string of roles in martial arts pictures, such as ‘Bloodsport’ and its sequel. His last film credit was ‘Hancock’ in 2008. He was also one of the vikings in those Capital One credit card commercials.
Devin Ratray, Buzz
Then: Devin Ratray played one of the most loathed brothers in film-history. Buzz would stand as rude and ignorant, especially towards his younger brother Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin). Before earning his title of jerk in ‘Home Alone,’ Ratray had been appearing in both television and film since 1986.
Now: Today, Ratray looks a little different. Most recently, he appeared in the Jude Law / Rooney Mara-driven ‘Side Effects,’ as well as ‘Surrogates,’ starring Bruce Willis. He was also seen on ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’
Peter Facinelli, Mike Dexter
Then: Playing the high school quarterback who also happened to be an enormous bully, Peter Facinell was Mike Dexter in ‘Can’t Hardly Wait.’ The film held an impressive cast of now-recognizable talent, and still proves to be a good time.
Now: Today, Facinelli holds a resume that nearly any actor would die for. With successes such as the ‘Twilight’ films, ‘Six Feet Under,’ and most recently, ‘Nurse Jackie,’ Facinelli is one busy guy — who we doubt is an actual bully. At least, we hope he’s not.
Bill Paxton, Chet Donnelly
Then: Many of us forget that Bill Paxton played the older, bully brother in 1985’s ‘Weird Science.’ Playing Chet Donnelly, Paxton delivered some of the most famous bully lines in cinematic history, lines such as ‘You’re stewed, buttwad,’ ‘It’s time to pay the fiddler,’ and a few others that are a little NSFW. Regardless of the dimwit he portrayed, Paxton would soon go on to find quite a bit of success. A lot, actually.
Now: ‘Twister.’ ‘Big Love.’ ‘True Lies.’ ‘Aliens.’ ‘Tombstone’ ‘Apollo 13.’ Do we have to say anything else? Oh yeah, ‘Titanic.’
Ben Affleck, Fred O’Bannion
Then: It’s interesting to catch a glimpse of Ben Affleck pre-‘Good Will Hunting,’ but sure enough, he was once a struggling actor. Affleck played Fred O’Bannion, the high school senior who kept on the look out for any opportunity to give the incoming freshman some hell in, ‘Dazed and Confused.’
Now: After winning an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay alongside Matt Damon in 1997, Affleck woudn’t return to that stage until 2013. No, not for ‘Gigli,’ but for ‘Argo,’ his third directorial effort which took Best Picture. Affleck had some trouble churning out a hit post-‘Good Will Hunting,’ but once he started directing, things quickly turned for him. Today, he’s receiving some immense praise — rightfully so. The guy’s movies do rock.
Christopher McDonald, Shooter McGavin
Then: We can all agree that Shooter McGavin was an absolute jerk, correct? Behind that jerk stood actor Christopher McDonald. Before his famous role in ‘Happy Gilmore,’ McDonald held supporting roles in an long list of films and television shows.
Now: Just as he had been a successful actor prior to his role as Shooter McGavin, McDonald’s career afterwards would be even better. He most recently played Harry Daugherty in HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and appeared in the David Chase film, ‘Not Fade Away.’
Tom Felton, Draco Malfoy
Then: Perhaps the only thing worse than a bully is one with magical powers. Such is Tom Felton’s character Draco Malfoy in the ‘Harry Potter‘ films. Felton was just another child actor when he was cast in the role (apparently, he harnessed that inner-jerk perfectly!) Regardless, he was the perfect pick and fans all across the globe adored watching him torment the “chosen one” over eight films.
Now: Today, Felton is moving out of his Malfoy shadow and venturing into other films such as ‘Night Wolf,’ ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ and his most recent, ‘Grace and Danger.’
Thomas F. Wilson, Biff Tannen
Then: Biff Tannen (‘Back To The Future‘) became one of the most famous bullies in the 80s, known mostly for his calling people “butt head” and always finding himself covered in manure. Played by Tom Wilson, Biff had it in for Marty McFly and his father, George.
Now: Today, Wilson is a road comic, traveling the country and performing comedy. He also continues to be a successful character actor, appearing in ‘Franklin & Bash,’ ‘Rio’ and the newest ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film.
Rachel McAdams, Regina George
Then: Perhaps it took a somewhat unknown person to channel the cruelness that was Regina George. Thankfully, Rachel McAdams was given the part and succeed wholeheartedly in making us all hate her while. Before this film, McAdams had done just a few appearances in TV and film, but it was her role in ‘Mean Girls’ that would skyrocket her career.
Now: The list of successful films that McAdams has appeared in is surely a lengthy one, including ‘The Notebook,’ ‘Wedding Crashers,’ ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ and ‘Midnight in Paris.’ And while some of her characters might be somewhat bully-ish, none can match the one she played in ‘Mean Girls.’