I’m a lady, and sometimes I have trouble figuring out how I should be treated in relationships. Luckily, movies give me a lot of options. Am I a friend that you realize you’re in love with after being dumped? Am I an ice princess waiting for you to melt my heart? Am I a manic pixie dream girl, reawakening your spirit? Am I the supportive, martyr-y girl who stays with you during your trials and tribulations? I have so many tropes to choose from…unlike men, who have just a few: Affable loser with a heart of gold, angry loser with a heart of gold, and asshole boyfriend.
So today we’re going to salute the biggest asshole boyfriends in all of semi-recent cinema. Sometimes they’re the reason our heroine has to move on, sometimes they’re just the obstacle in the way for our hero to obtain his true love, but they’re all one-note and they’re all instantly recognizable to everyone except their girlfriends. So clearly, they deserve a countdown.
10. Troy Perkins in The Goonies
Evidence of assholery: He’s dating Andi and does not treat her as well as Brand could, he makes Brand wreck his bike and thinks it’s hilarious, his Dad is demolishing everyone’s houses, and last but not least, and he yells at Andi and calls her a “Goonie.” (Which she was at that point, spiritually, but he didn’t know that.)
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Troy’s got amazing hair, which goes a long way, and a bitchin’ car. Plus he’s probably loaded. Women love that.
How to make him yours: All you would need is an upcoming track and field (or whatever he lettered in) event — that would stress Troy out so that he’d snap at you and then break down and cry and apologize. At that point, just stay really sweet and supportive, and when he wins, he’s yours.
9. Andy (aka Paul Rudd) in Wet Hot American Summer
Evidence of assholery: Yeah, smarties, I know it’s a parody, but he’s so perfect at treating women like shit — he cheats on Katie openly, pretends to be a sensitive guy to get laid, and calls Katie a dyke when she calls him out on cheating. Bonus: he’s a terrible camp counselor.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: He knows exactly when to turn on the charm to defuse an angry girl, he’s dreamy, and as Katie so eloquently states in the movie, “He has this beautiful face and this incredible body, and I genuinely don’t care that he’s kinda lame. I don’t even care that he cheats on me.”
How to make him yours: Get pregnant. It’s the only way. It’ll make a man out of him…a resentful, increasingly drunken man.
8. John Bennett (aka Mark Wahlberg) in Ted
Evidence of assholery: This guy is a gentle asshole, but seriously, imagine the situation from his girlfriend’s perspective: She’s unhappy with how the relationship is going as well as her boyfriend’s lack of motivation and shitty roommate, he promises her he’ll change, those promises make him almost lose his talking stuffed bear, and everyone’s so excited that the bear didn’t die that they just go back to the way things were at the beginning of the movie. Hooray, love!
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Well, he does look like Mark Wahlberg, he does have a magical stuffed bear, and “He has a good heart, I swear.” <-- Anyone who dates John says this to her girlfriends twice a week. How to make him yours: It won’t be that hard. Give him the idea of taking the bear on tour, Charlie Sheen “tiger blood” style, and he’ll get rich. The pressures of being rich and having a business to run will make him stop smoking pot and hate Ted, and into your arms he’ll run.
7. Jim (aka Anthony Michael Hall) in Edward Scissorhands
Evidence of assholery: Where do we start?! Beefy jock Jim (already terrifying to those of us who loved him scrawny and nerdy in ’80s movies) is so threatened by his girlfriend’s new houseguest that he ridicules and hurls accusations at him at every turn, then convinces Kim to recruit Mr. Scissorhands to aid and abet in a robbery. Why are high schoolers robbing things? Is this asshole not rich? These questions will never be answered, because Jim is dead now.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: I guess because he’s a muscular jock? He didn’t seem to have a ton of redeeming qualities otherwise.
How to make him yours: Well he’s dead, so I guess you should stick with the scissorhand guy, even though he’s a questionable catch in the real world…What’s that? He had to flee because he murdered Jim? Now he just makes snow to show his love? Oh. Well, I guess we’re all shit out of luck then.
6. Zach “Sack” Lodge (aka Bradley Cooper) in Wedding Crashers
Evidence of assholery: This preppy dick makes you think that Rachel McAdams’ character must have some slight head trauma to stay with him for so long. He makes bad jokes, he’s controlling, he shoots strangers in the ass with arrows, and he hires private investigators on strangers he shoots in the ass. He’s the worst.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Confidence goes a long way. He seems to have a supportive network of friends, and he looks good in plaid. Plus, when you’re rich, people arrange you to marry other rich people and you just kinda go along with it.
How to make him yours: I keep imagining Sack as the lead in a Trading Places-style movie, where he is forced to switch lives with a homeless con man, and they end up being friends and learning lessons and becoming better people and all. Be the Jamie Lee Curtis character in that movie.
5. Doctor Manhattan (Billy Crudup) in Watchmen
Evidence of assholery: Let’s just put aside the fact that he gave his ex cancer — he’s completely guilty of doing that faux-intellectualizing thing that dudes do where you’re like “Why don’t you want to have sex?” and they’re all “What is sex, as a concept?” Sure, you’re kinda magical now, and there’s a lot of pressure on you, but that doesn’t make it okay to you yourself to have sex and whisk me to another dimension for a chat.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Easy — he’s naked all the time, his body is sick (and blue), and he’s all-powerful. Plus it’s easy to be seduced by faux-intellectualism. And interdimensional travel.
How to make him yours: Just nod in agreement to all of his thoughts on reality, and violence, and war, and humanity. Don’t stop nodding!
4. William Zabka in Everything in the ’80s
Evidence of assholery: In Karate Kid, he’s mean and controlling to girlfriend Ali and beats up on a scrawny new kid that she shows interest in. In Just One of the Guys, he’s a school bully who is mean and controlling to his girlfriend Deborah and beats up on a scrawny nerd that she shows interest in. In National Lampoon’s European Vacation, he breaks up with Audrey while she’s on a family vacation, and in Back to School, he is mean and controlling to his girlfriend Valerie and beats up on a son of Rodney Dangerfield that she shows interest in. Starting to see a pattern?
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Beats me. William Zabka is used as evidence that women want to be treated like shit, and that’s a shame. His feathered hair isn’t even that great, and I don’t think he’s rich, either.
How to make him yours: To land a Zabka, you need to be popular, spineless, pretty, and wear a lot of hair accessories. Practice saying “Rick/Chas/Johnny, just leave him alone!”
3. Edward Cullen (aka Robert Pattinson) in the Twilight Movies
Evidence of assholery: What a condescending, controlling piece of shit this guy is. He’s a stalker, he treats the girl he cares about terribly because he “doesn’t want to hurt her,” and he does the classic abusive boyfriend thing of making her feel like no one else will find her special except for him and isolating her from her friends and family. And I don’t know enough about him sexing her so hard that the bed and her back breaks, but I don’t even need to know.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Because of all the people in the world, someone as magical as a vampire finds little ole’ me tempting? I’m the thing he wants to put himself in danger for? Awww, no, it couldn’t be! I’m just a nobody! Also, he’s sparkly!
How to make him yours: Think of a wallflower, and then dumb it down by a thousand. Bite your lip, be moody, and move somewhere damp and random. The vampires will come running.
2. Cal (aka Billy Zane) in Titanic
Evidence of assholery: Rose can’t even be near this psychopath without cringing, and yet she’s supposed to marry him. He’s just generally a jerk of a man, and it’s enough to drive you into the arms of a poor, charming scalawag with a girl face. When Cal finds out about Rose’s affair, (oh, and also that the ship is going down), he handcuffs Jack to one of the lower floors of the ship, then tries to shoot him ON A SHIP THAT IS SINKING.
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Billy Zane is very handsome, and makes that slicked back hair thing work. He’s also rich, and as previously determined, being rich helps.
How to make him yours: Be racist, be rich and crusty, have good cleavage.
1. Bruce Wayne (aka Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney/Christian Bale) in the Batman Movies
Evidence of assholery: Every woman Bruce gets involved with ends up being in terrible danger, and sure, it’s not technically his fault, but when you’re a secret superhero you have a responsibility to not date around. He secretive, he’s got a chip on his shoulder because his parents are dead, and no girlfriends seem to last longer than the span of a movie. Bonus: A lot of his girlfriends die, and it just makes him somehow more tragic and handsome. Seriously, imagine any Batman movie from the perspective of the love interest. “We hung out a few times, he seemed cool but he would stand me up and not return my texts for days at a time, I got kidnapped by a monster, Batman saved me, then Bruce stopped calling.”
Why do ladies find him irresistible?: Bruce Wayne is rich, handsome, and has secrets. Duh.
How to make him yours: To land a Bruce Wayne, it’s best to have an interesting job that is somewhat connected to crime- photojournalist, district attorney, Catwoman. Then make yourself vulnerable, have Batman rescue you, and the next time you see Bruce, whisper “I know your secret.” (Fighting shadows image via Shutterstock.)