20 Film Characters Who Were Unfairly Treated Like Jerks — Do You Agree?

Are there any fictional characters that are treated like jerks in films that you feel don’t deserve the hate? You’re not alone. After someone asked an online entertainment forum for their best examples, here is what they had to say. Do you agree?

1. Jerry From Liar Liar

Jerry Liar Liar
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Cary Elwes’s character, Jerry, from the film Liar Liar, is unfairly ostracized. A filmgoer explains: “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s basically just a goofy dad type.

He doesn’t do anything wrong throughout the whole movie (unless you count doing ‘the claw’ poorly). But he still gets unceremoniously left by the wife in order to go back to her historically negligent ex-husband. He deserved better. Justice for Jerry!”

2. Mayor Larry Vaughn From Jaws

Jaws Mayor Vaughn
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Several agree that Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) is falsely villainized, suggesting that his decision to ignore the shark problem and hope it’ll disappear is a good plan because sharks are nomadic creatures that rarely stick around one place for a long time.

“Amity is a tourist town that barely makes enough money during the summer to last the rest of the year,” one explains. “The loss of revenue from closing the beaches for the biggest holiday weekend of the season would cause every single business on the island to go bankrupt.”

3. Erik Killmonger From Black Panther

Black Panther Killmonger
Image Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios.

OK. I need you all to remember that somebody else said this, haha. “Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in Black Panther, at least for being the rightful heir to the throne after defeating T’Challa in the trial of combat to become King and the Black Panther. He won. He should have been able to lead as he saw fit based on the rules for succession by winning the trial of combat for the throne.

By their rules and customs, T’Challa and his supporters were treasonous. Regardless if they disagreed with Killmonger’s plans, he earned their loyalty by winning and was their King, yet most immediately rejected him.”

4. Dr. Ian Malcolm From Jurassic Park and The Lost World

Jurassic Park Dr. Ian Malcolm
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) was semi-villainized in Jurassic Park and The Lost World. However, his character proved to be right both times. Some argue that other characters agreed with him, so he was a total villain, but he was dismissed nonetheless.

5. Jake Houseman From Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing Jerry Orbach
Image Credit: Vestron Pictures.

Several people agree with one who states: “The Dad (Jerry Orbach) in Dirty Dancing. The guy didn’t want his teenage daughter dating some guy who looked forty and just knocked up another woman. Seems like a great Dad to me.”

This is a little harsh. While I agree that any good father wouldn’t want his underage daughter (17) dating an older man (25), he did not look 40. Furthermore, he was wrong about Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Robbie is the one who got Penny pregnant.

6. Dr. Leo Marvin From What About Bob

Dr. Leo Marvin What About Bob
Image Credit: Tombstone Pictures.

Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfus) in What About Bob? A moviegoer writes: “His whole family encourages him to think of twisted stalker Bob (Bill Murray) as harmless… less than harmless, as they welcome him into the family. Only Dr. Martin seems to see the reality.” Agree! I love the movie, but in reality, it would not be safe or tolerable.

7. Rosalie Hale From The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Twilight New Moon Rosalie
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Edward’s blonde sister in New Moon, Rosalie Hale (Nikki Reed), is considered unfairly villainized. “Everyone is on board with Bella Swan’s turning into a vampire and marrying Edward, but she tells Bella that she is throwing her life away and pretty much ignoring her father’s will.”

8. Eric Gordon From Billy Madison

Billy Madison Eric Gordon
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

“The corporate guy Eric (Bradley Whitford) in Billy Madison,” writes a film fan. “Madison Hotels has 60,000 employees, and the CEO is going to hand over all their futures to his moron, alcoholic kid with no business experience? Eric was absolutely right in fighting for the job against the entitled, out-of-touch Billy. Veronica Vaughn is also a huge gold-digger in that one.”

9. The Wicked Witch of the West From The Wizard of Oz

Wicked Witch Wizard of Oz
Image Credit: Warner Home Video.

Everyone is in agreement that The Wicked Witch of the West just wanted her sister’s shoes back from Dorothy, the girl who killed her. Somebody confesses, “Even as a kid, I never understood why they didn’t let her have them. In any other circumstances, items of deceased would have gone to the living relative.”

10. Walter Sobchak From The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski 1998
Image Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

Numerous people agree with one who states, “Walter (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski. He was a jerk, but everything he said was right. She kidnapped herself. That wasn’t her toe. Keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for, you know, domestic… within the city… that ain’t legal either.”

11. Iceman From Top Gun

Top Gun Iceman
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Tom Kazansky, also known as Iceman (Val Kilmer) in the original Top Gun, didn’t deserve all the hate he received from initial viewers. Many critics admit that Maverick was dangerous, didn’t follow the rules, and showboated around. 

12. King Triton From The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios.

Someone suggests, “Ariel’s dad in The Little Mermaid. He wasn’t trying to crush her dreams. He knew that moving to the surface would be dangerous. Also, he clearly used to be very close with Ursula and was rightfully afraid of Ariel getting entangled with her.”

This is true. Plus, in the sequel, we discover that humans killed her mother. So it’s understandable why he would feel so strongly about this and want her to be safe. 

13. Todd and Margo From National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation Todd and Margo
Image Credit: Hughes Entertainment.

Todd and Margo (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation receive a lot of love in the forum. Many agree, “It would be an absolute nightmare having Clark Griswold as a neighbor.”

It’s funny because seeing their names triggered the conversation, “And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?!” “I don’t know, Margo!” And others in the thread are quoting that scene as well. Such a classic. I watch it every year. 

14. Miranda and Stuart From Mrs. Doubtfire

Miranda and Stuart Mrs. Doubtfire
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Several people stand up for Pierce Bronson and Sally Field’s characters in Mrs. Doubtfire. “As a kid, she was a boring jerk, and I blamed her for their divorce. As an adult, I see where she’s coming from. She needs a partner who can grow with her, but Robin Williams fails miserably.

Pierce, I hate him as a kid in the movie, but he’s a stand-up guy who loves her and her kids. Robin Williams is the psycho.” I loved this movie so much as a kid, but I am seeing some truth in this. Still, “It was a run by fruiting!”

15. Captain Jerome McKay From The Enforcer

The Enforcer 1976
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

“Dirty Harry’s captain (Bradford Dillman) in The Enforcer, the third Dirty Harry film. He’s right — you can’t have a cop go off book and harass suspects, intimidate them in the street with a gun, tell someone on a ledge to jump, and ignore departmental procedure.”

16.  Walter Hobbs From Elf

Elf movie
Image Credit: New Line Productions.

I don’t entirely agree with this one because Walter Hobbs (James Caan) was terrible to his son and was shady at his job too. However, I’m outnumbered by people who claim, “If someone like Buddy came from seemingly out of nowhere and acted like that, I probably wouldn’t be in that good of a mood either.”

17. Mr. Cooper From Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead
Image Credit: Continental Distributing.

“He keeps telling them to barricade themselves in the basement and wait for help,” one notes. “Instead, they listen to Ben. They board up the windows and doors, and the sound of hammering draws zombies to the house.

They try to gas up the truck, which kills two of them. Eventually, the zombies break through the barricades, and everyone else dies except Ben. And what does he do? Goes into the basement. Cooper was right all along, and Ben gets them all killed!”

18. Walter Peck From Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters William Peck
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The EPA guy, Walter Peck (William Atherton) from the original Ghostbusters, was treated as a jerk but was right. One notes, “Like, legit, most of the stuff they had in that garage was legitimately dangerous and unlicensed. Someone should probably have oversight to make sure they don’t accidentally start a zombie apocalypse, irradiate half a city block, or something else like that.”

19. Howard Hamlin From Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul Patrick Fabian
Image Credit: AMC.

One Better Call Saul fan suggests, “Howard (Patrick Fabian) was right all along that it was Jimmy doing everything. It’s just that it was so outlandish Howard sounded crazy, but he was spot on the whole time.” Another admits, “I think Howard is the only good (main) character in the whole Breaking Bad universe. If you break bad, you will pull down everyone.”

20. Mr. Vernon From The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club Mr. Vernon
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Many people agree with one who says, “Mr. Vernon from The Breakfast Club. Man gives up his Saturday to show teens that their crummy actions have consequences and then loses his coffee AND his lunch in the deal when his thermos top comes off.”

However, some argue that he does threaten to physically abuse a teenager and brags that he’d get away with it because nobody would believe the kid (a juvenile delinquent) over him (a respected educator).

50 Greatest Ensemble Casts in Cinematic History — Do You Agree?

The Outsiders 1983 cast
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Movies with star-studded casts are some of my favorites. From mysteries to dramas, comedies, and war films, these are some of cinematic history’s most extraordinary ensemble casts. Do you agree?

The 26 Greatest Film Trilogies of All Time — Do You Agree?

The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring 2001
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

In the vast world of movies, a few film trilogies stand out from the rest and have become part of cinematic history. People have been captivated by how well these trilogies tell stories, how memorable their characters are, and how far-reaching their visual effects are. From Star Wars and its adventures across the galaxy to Toy Story and The Matrix, with its mind-bending puzzles, these trilogies have left an indelible mark on the world of movies.

26 Comedy Films That Cancel Culture Forbids You From Laughing at Today

The Jerk 1979
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Has cancel culture come for your favorite films? Several classic comedies were once considered hilarious that are deemed offensive today. Here are twenty-six of them.

25 Nostalgic Movies Everyone Needs to See at Least Once in Their Lifetime

Stand by Me 1986
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Take a trip down memory lane with this hand-picked list of classic films that have forever changed the face of cinema. These movies represent the spirit of different times and genres, from inspiring stories of friendship and adventure to terrifying suspense and beautiful romance.

12 Plot Points That Popular Movies Didn’t Bother Resolving for Audiences

The Karate Kid 1984 Daniel and Ali
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Do any of your favorite films have plot holes that were never resolved? You’re not alone. An entertainment community poster asked for examples of said plot holes. Here is what the forum volunteered. Did you notice?

Featured Image Credit: Top Gun – Paramount Pictures. The Twilight Sage: Eclipse – Summit Entertainment. Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Universal Pictures. 

Source: Reddit.


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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.