Top Five Best and Worst Movie Sidekicks
They can be the Goose to your Maverick or the Short Round to your Dr. Jones. You’d better believe that is there a HUGE difference. The movie sidekick has a long and somewhat noble history. Here are the best and worst sidekicks in recent film memory…
5.) Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol) – Flash Gordon:
Here’s a sidekick who is supposed to be a scientific genius, but in actuality can’t talk himself out of a paper bag. For a guy who can build a functioning spaceship that travels across galaxies, he knows nothing about human-alien relations, preferring to comment on the social dynamics of the rainbow tribes of Mongo instead of grabbing a gun and going to town on the evil minions of Ming the Merciless.
4.) Will Scarlett (Christian Slater) – Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves:
Perhaps Slater was trying so hard to master his psuedo-Brit accent that he forgot to infuse anything interesting into his one-note character. Traditionally Robin Hood’s loyal bard, in this movie Will Scarlett is a snarling hood rat with daddy issues. I’m assuming I wasn’t supposed to cheer when the dude gets an ARROW through his HAND. The strange subplot about Will being Robin’s long- lost half-brother was one of MANY weird scripting choices in a movie that is so bad it almost verges on brilliant.
3.) Mutt Williams (Shia Le Beouf) – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
Speilberg and writer David Koepp should have dumped the Indy’s son subplot and showcased Mutt’s mother, Marion, instead. Le Beouf’s not a terrible actor, but he doesn’t have much to work with in this thankless role as the foil to Ford’s aging hero. As Mutt, a hipster with a motorcycle who is obsessed with his 50s greaser haircut, he’s meant to emphasize the generation gap, but the jokes land with a thud. Meanwhile, Karen Allen’s Marion steals every scene she’s in, reminding the audience how the chemistry between her and Ford in the original film was one of its best assets.
2.) Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) – Lethal Weapon 2:
Never mess with a great partnership. In a franchise where the two leads are already polar opposites, why saddle them with a grating wise guy whose main purpose is to complain about the quality of the drive thru while in the midst of action sequences? It’s a grating character in an otherwise entertaining franchise.
1.) Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) – Star Wars Episodes 1-3
Most people can’t even mention this character without squirming. Episode One is a mess of bad acting and bad writing, but its most grievous error lies in trying to pander to the kiddie set by introducing a sidekick with neither the intelligence of C3PO nor the silent charm of Chewbacca. Jar Jar is a misstep on many levels, but his stumbles are made all the more cringe-worthy in the dialogue that walks a fine line between harmless parody and racial stereotyping.
5.) Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
In my personal opinion, Cameron and Sloane are probably married by now and about to send their kids off to college. You know she didn’t end up with Ferris, folks. Cameron’s the guy that makes the perfect best friend and the perfect comedic foil. Someone has to be the voice of reason, especially when your best friend wants to ditch school, steal your dad’s car and impersonate Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. Alan Ruck’s sly but believable performance anchors the film in reality, all the while showing that even the biggest stick in the mud can let loose when given the chance.
4.) Barry (Jack Black) – High Fidelity:
Everyone needs a friend that is nice enough to tell you when you are wearing a “Cosby sweater”. Barry is one of those ubiquitous guys who seems to always appear when he is the least needed. He is loud, obnoxious, and utterly hilarious. Plus, Barry harbors some hidden talents. After spending much of the movie trying to put together a band (favorite potential band name: Kathleen Turner Overdrive), Barry busts out a shockingly incredible voice in the final scene as he belts out “Let’s Get It On” to a stunned (but impressed) audience.
3.) Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) –Harry Potter series
Hermione grows up dramatically, throughout the series, going from a frizzy-haired know it all to the smartest and most confident babe at Hogwarts. Along the way, she is the friend Harry can always count on to know the answers to life’s myriad of questions, whether it be about how to destroy a horcrux or the best way to transform into a chubby Slytherin student. The final two films showcase how the platonic partnership between Miss H and Harry becomes part of the emotional bedrock of the series. I’m still thrilled that J.K. Rowling never made a messy love triangle out of that perfect triumvirate of friends who got to grow up battling evil for a living. Hermione is one of the greatest gal pals a guy wizard could ever have on his side.
2.) Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) – The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Fantasy’s greatest bromance blooms under the shadow of the classic battle of good vs. evil, but its many nuances and strengths are bolstered by the steadfast and loyal Samwise Gamgee. Sam puts up with all of Frodo’s quirks and bad decisions right up until the end, and the final climactic scene in Mordor proves just how worthy a sidekick he truly has become, as he brings Frodo literally back from the edge of madness. His reward is what he wanted all along: the girl of his dreams and a Happy Ever After safe in The Shire.
1.) Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Sure, she’s also the love interest, but Marion is a gal who can more than hold her own against the challenging charms of Dr. Indiana Jones. Literally the “one that got away”, Marion is a hard-living realist who can hang with the guys and most likely drink all of them under the table. She’s not a tomboy, though, and her feminine wiles charm even the smarmy Belloq into submission. Although occasionally appearing to be the damsel in distress, most of the time Marion rescues herself just fine. The banter between her and Indy gives the film a human touch, and Marion’s presence would be greatly missed in the next two films in the series.