Crafting every element of a movie to make sure it adds to the story being told is a complicated process. You have to consider the music, locations, dialogue, and, most of all, the characters.
If you want to elevate a person on screen from an extra walking by to a character, there needs to be a valid reason. You need to make sure they have something interesting to say or do. If you don’t they could become the laughingstock of your fans for years to come.
Keep watching to learn about the worst movie characters who were useless to the plot.
Madolyn (The Departed)
Vera Farmiga plays Madolyn in The Departed. She’s another entry into Martin Scorsese’s list of masculine casts with a few, unnecessary women.
Madolyn feels like nothing more than eye candy even though she’s both the psychiatrist of Leonardo Dicaprio’s Billy Costigan and the girlfriend of Matt Damon’s Colin Sullivan. She’s also not as charming as similar characters in other Martin Scorsese films such as Casino and Taxi Driver, or even Wolf of Wall Street.
Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
This character achieved the feat of being one of the most memorable and most despised in the entire Star Wars franchise. This was impressive because he never did anything that contributed to the plot.
One of the significant factors that makes him stand out is his annoying voice and speech patterns. Ahmed Best made him a character whose voice is instantly recognizable.
C-3PO (Star Wars: A New Hope)
A New Hope is a later and more fondly remembered Star Wars movie. Its most useless character is slightly more likable than Jar-Jar, but he’s still useless at the end of the day.
All he does is suggest what other characters should do, and it’s often the wrong choice. He doesn’t help the more capable R2-D2 deliver his important message, help while the heroes are on the Death Star, or aid in the final battle. He’s only responsible for negative events such as them nearly getting devoured by Ewoks.
Paris is a despicable historical figure, and Orlando Bloom didn’t do much to make the audience root for him. The role turned out to be one of his least likable because he made the character weak, brash, and idiotic.
That would be forgivable if he did anything to advance the plot, but all he does is send an arrow through the ankle of Brad Pitt’s Achilles. That was only put in for historical accuracy. It would have been better if a more complete character delivered the blow.
Rachel (The Dark Knight)
Batman’s love interests often matter in the plots of his movies only because of their connection to the superhero. This was the case for Rachel in the Dark Knight trilogy. It was difficult for anyone to stand out against Heath Ledger’s performance, but Maggie Gyllenhall’s was so forgettable you almost don’t remember she was in the movie at all.
Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin (Batman Forever)
It’s not only Batman’s love interests that tend to fall flat in his films. Robin, the other half of the dynamic duo, was a bust in Batman Forever.
Tim Burton wanted to go back to the wackiness of the original Batman TV show, and his original attempts had succeeded. The Robin in this one failed, coming off as annoying without any of the original charm.
Titus Telesco (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer)
This 1998 sequel to the horror hit I Know What You Did Last Summer had plenty of flaws, and this character was only one of them. Jack Black’s performance was even forgettable enough to go uncredited.
Giving everyone equal screen time in a superhero team isn’t easy, but Storm got the short end of the stick in the X-Men films. She does so little that most fans of the films that haven’t read the comics won’t even remember her or even what her power is.
What makes it worse is that the scenes she does appear in are terrible. The dialogue is poorly written, and the delivery is some of the worst in Halle Berry’s Academy-Award-Winning career.
Willie Scott (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
The problem isn’t that Willie is a damsel in distress. The problem is that she doesn’t achieve certain rules and conventions that make that type of character interesting (or even necessary).
She’s annoying to listen to instead of lovable, so we don’t root for her to be saved. She’s not believable in the role because she doesn’t seem like the type of woman Indiana Jones would fall for. Kate Capshaw and Harrison Ford didn’t have any chemistry with each other either. It almost seems as if her only purpose was to be used as a sacrifice by the villain at the end.
Corporal Upham (Saving Private Ryan)
Saving Private Ryan is an intense war movie with plenty of life-or-death action scenes. Why would such a film have a character who does almost nothing while it all happens?
Corporal Upham has a few scenes where he advances the plot and makes it to the end, but there’s one moment that makes him worthy of being called useless. He watches a Nazi put a knife into the chest of his fellow soldier, almost as if he were on their side.
Fabienne (Pulp Fiction)
Most of the dialogue in Pulp Fiction is a favorite of movie lovers, and it’s full of quotable lines. None of them come out of the mouth of Butch Coolidge’s girlfriend Fabienne.
The scenes where the two speak with each other are horrible and fail in their attempts to be erotic. They don’t do anything important when they’re onscreen together either. Fast forwarding past these unnecessary moments is the best option.
Mitch (Dan in Real Life)
Dane Cook was a successful standup comedian, but he couldn’t translate that success into many film roles. Playing Dan’s brother Mitch in this dull film was one of the worst. He fails to add any life to it or feel necessary at all.
Dick Hallorann (The Shining)
Certain horror movies have characters that seem to only exist to up the body count. That was the case for poor Dick Hallorann.
He did have the ability to warn poor Danny about the horrors at the hotel through telepathy, but he was too far away physically to change anything. It took him 47 hours to get there, and he was immediately killed with an axe.
Cheddar Bob (8 Mile)
This film inspired by the life of rapper Eminem is full of clever lines, most of them delivered in rap battles. None of them came from Cheddar Bob.
He says and does nothing that feels worth putting in the film. It almost feels as if he was added just because his name was fun to say.
Kay (The Godfather Saga)
One terrible character can’t ruin a franchise, but it can hurt it. Diane Keaton did so playing Michael’s wife Kay.
Her dialogue and acting prove to be dull. The only scene involving her that has any sort of impact is the one where her husband slaps her.
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Lisa (Dirty Dancing)
Giving the main character family members helps establish them as a human being. Jane Brucker plays Lisa and proves that sometimes, while it’s fine to have them, they should stay in the background. She does nothing interesting except dance in the forgettable coconut song scene.
Night Owl (Watchmen)
Night Owl is the most poorly treated hero in Zack Synder’s adaptation of the Watchmen franchise. Others get to have an impact, such as when Silk Specter convinces Dr. Manhattan to return to Earth or Rosrscahc’s diary is discovered.
Night Owl’s only memorable moment is a terrible love scene that’s better left out. It almost seems like he was Zack Snyder’s least favorite member of the team.
Eddie (Rocky Horror Pictor Show)
We’re not dunking on the late Meat Loaf, but he is useless in this film. He only shows up for one musical number and then gets murdered. The incident does motivate the more plot-centric character, Dr. Scott, to show up, but there must have been a better way to do it.
When they’re not the lead, females in action movies have a hard time. They’re often relegated to background roles such as the damsel in distress.
That was the fate of Cindy in the 1985 film Commando. She starts by telling the villains where to go, causing a massacre at a megamall. Once she changes sides, she does little more than scream and run in panic.
Private Hudson (Aliens)
Private Hudson accompanies Ripley to prevent a Xenomorph invasion. It seems like he may be a capable soldier, but he gets so terrified that all he can manage is swearing and shouting about how everyone on the ship is going to die.
He may not have had any impact on the plot, but he did affect the film’s tone. It may have been a bit too intense without the comic relief he provided. That’s why he remains a fan favorite who even looks terrified in his action figures.
Herman Ferguson (Judge Dredd)
This character and the one before him at least make it seem like filmmakers aren’t only using women as the ones who run around in terror and do nothing to help. Decide for yourself if that’s a form of progress.
Herman is an ex-hacker who joins Dredd, but he doesn’t show off his skills in any meaningful way. He spends almost all of his time ducking in and out of cover, doing nothing to help anyone around him. His cowardice is annoying instead of charming but is only one of the many problems in this film.
Jimmy Sanderson (Any Given Sunday)
Even likable characters can be useless. Jimmy Sanderson was LL Cool J’s running partner, but he was also nothing but a stereotype.
The movie’s cast was already stacked with Jamie Foxx, Larence Taylor, and Terell Ownes. They didn’t need Bill Bellamy to come in.
A fake Italian accent from Danny Nucci was the first nail in this character’s coffin. The other was that he tried to be a sidekick to the villain but failed in a way that wasn’t entertaining; it just made his character feel unnecessary.
Skids and Mudflap (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen)
The Transformers franchise isn’t known for having deep, nuanced characters, but these two feel like nothing but racial stereotypes. Their down-home speech feels offensive and annoying, and the film would have at least been a bit better without them.
Is there a character you would remove from a film if you could? Let us know in the comments below.