John Hughes made some of the greatest films for teenagers ever. While the main characters such as Buck, Ferris, and Kevin are the ones who people remember the most, this post isn’t about them. It’s about the guys that made these characters so enjoyable – it’s about the bad guys. One is a drunk, one is a megalomaniac, and the other is a clever, petty thief. Two of them come very close to outwitting our heroes in the films but it in the end, to quote Kevin McCallister, just don’t have the balls (or brains) for it.
You can vote for your favourite of the three below, or nominate your own.
Ed Rooney – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986, d. John Hughes)
Rooney has some of the great scenes in Ferris – when he’s running down the corridor and slows down as he’s passing classroom doors; the mess the mud and sprinkler makes of his shoe in the garden; or the scene where he flicks the shades up on his glasses. All great but the one below is perhaps the most memorable. It’s so memorable that I find I still repeat it whenever I get the opportunity.
Pooter the Clown – Uncle Buck (1983, d. John Hughes)
There are some top scenes in Uncle Buck: where he gives the headmistress what for; where he shows Bug a ‘little 5 wood’; the flipping of the giant pancakes with the snow shovel. But for me, my favourite is when Buck punches out Pooter the Clown. Not only is the dialogue between the two characters top-notch, this is one of the top five all time screen punches.
Pooter the Clown may be a little unexpected in this top 3, but he plays a key part in helping the audience know that Uncle Buck is a decent man at heart. According to IMDB, the original scene contained more swearing and was much longer and is a scene I’d like to see. Did you also know that the character was played by Mike Starr (it’s hard to tell under all that make-up), who has been in so many films that you forget who he is.
Harry Wet Bandit – Home Alone (1990, d. Chris Columbus)
Mean as a snake and with no sign of a heart, Harry is the psychotic brains of the Wet Bandits. After robbing every house on the street, they come up against Kevin. After treading on nails, having their hair burnt off, being smashed in the face by paint tins, Harry finally gets his hands on Kevin, only to be thwarted by an old man with a snow shovel (the snow shovel seems to be a recurring theme in John Hughes’ films).