Friday, 28 October 2011

TV Review - The Future State Of Welfare - BBC2 9pm

Dole scroungers are a contentious issue these days now the recession has forced everyone to buy value beans from Aldi and wrap themselves in kitchen foil instead of turning the heating on. The Government is seeking to slash its spending on the welfare system and those on benefits are rapidly discovering we are not all in this together.

From the outset it was clear that John Humphreys, despite his best attempts at neutrality, was struggling to hide his distaste for career claimants behind a fixed smile and a slightly patronizing tone of questioning.

First of all Humphreys takes a trip down memory lane to his old stomping ground of Splott, Cardiff, and appropriate onomatopoeic description of a shit-hole if every I heard one. He chats to old neighbour about the good old days where the guy on the corner was treated "like a pariah" because he never held a job. He wistfully laments that the stigma of unemployment has been relegated to the dustbin of history and benefits are a viable alternative for today's generation.

Next stop Middlesborough where 1 in 8 people are unemployed, Humphreys scours the streets looking for layabouts to interview like some latter day SS commander. Understandably the people milling about with their shirts off by the corner shop are reluctant to chat about how much they sponge off the system but Humphreys finally gets the scoop from a couple with three kids who get £1600 a month in benefits.

Back at their tastefully decorated residence he tells Humphreys that it doesn't pay to work 40 hours a week for a few quid more then the state offer and that he'd prefer to stay at home so he could see more of the kids. Let's just say he likes his work-life balance as 100% to 0%. I have to say I can't fault the guy's logic but it is a wake-up call to those foolish enough to still think the current system encourages people to work. It seems to do the exact opposite.

We have come a long way since economist William Beveridge introduced his Social Insurance and Allied Services report in a ravaged post WWII Britain with the aim of banishing the five evils of Want, Ignorance, Squalor, Disease and Idleness. Purely as a safety net the Welfare State is a great concept for a civilized society. You pay into a pot and when you lose your job you are given a helping hand. Problem is that the idleness the bill was supposed to eradicate is now a driving force behind many of the claimants it sought to protect. You can forget about paying in as well as there are many examples of two or even three generations of a single family who spend their entire lives on benefits and never pay in a penny.

Despite its flaws the public still has an appetite for the welfare state and in a specially commissioned Ipsos/Mori poll 92% of those asked believed in the safety net but only 23% thought it was working properly.

But what are the alternatives? Humphreys takes a trip to New York to see the Workfare system which makes a mockery of our laissez fare approach to finding work. Claimants have to work, either in the community or in entry level jobs before they are eligible for "top up" benefits. It is supposed to break the cycle of poverty and the "something for nothing" culture building confidence and skills for people to work their way up the ladder. It sounds great in principle and initially reaped rewards but the recession has meant that the amount of jobs has dried up and the top up isn't enough to live on. Humphreys documents the proliferation of soup kitchens and food banks that even the ranks of middle class unemployed have been forced to use. Workfare is not the "magic bullet".

Back in the posh London suburb of Islington, Humphreys visits an Ecuadorian family who has migrated here via Spain and is claiming £2300 housing benefit a month to live in millionaires’ row. We are told there is a lack of sustainable housing means unscrupulous landlords are charging the going rate to council tenants and tax-payers are footing the bill. They greet Humphreys dressed for the opera and are undoubtedly hard workers but the patriarch’s lack of English means he can only perform menial jobs and relies on a subsidy. Should the tax-payer fund these extortionate rents or should those on benefits live in cheaper areas? It's a tough call. Who will clean the banker's luxury apartments if all the plebs leave for Sunderland?

Surely we have to be looking at a system that rewards work rather then encouraging the status quo. I think it has to be a combination of carrot and stick. Perhaps we could have a free childcare for all single mothers willing to go back to work? How about increasing the minimum wage and decreasing benefits so works starts to pay? How about limiting unemployment benefit to 2 years?

We need change and we need it quick as there is a growing resentment from the working population forced to fund a ballooning £5.5 billion welfare bill for a section of society which has no intention of working and prefers a life of no obligations and an ingrained sense of entitlement. This has dovetailed neatly into the Coalitions need to cut expenditure and means that times are about to change for those on benefits.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Noah and The Whale - Live - Brighton Dome 18th October 2011

It's a testament to the growing popularity of Noah and The Whale that tonight's gig is not only a sell out but the audience ranges from screaming teenagers to pensioners who would normally have their feet up in front of Eastenders at this time of night.

Noah and the Whale circa 2011 are a different beast from the finger in the ear twee folk of debut single Five Years Time. From the fuller sound (think Springsteen meets The Killers filtered through the voice of David Byrne)to the adult themes of their newest album Last Night on Earth right through to their sartorial choices, they are keen to show they are big boys now. In fact with their suits, braces and waistcoats the band come out look like a cross between Gordon Gecko and characters from a 80's wedding.

"I bought this tie for £5"

exclaims singer Charlie Fink in a bizarre accent which on record used to sound West Country yet over the years has lost itself somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. The extensive touring they have been doing in the States has had an effect on more than just the music.

It must be awful to constantly be reminded about former girlfriends but I guess you only have yourself to blame if you write a break-up album involving an ex who used to be in your band (Laura Marling) as Fink did on First Days Of Spring.

The first half of the gig contains quite a few tracks off that album such as Love of an Orchestra, the plaintive Blue Skies and the sparse, mournful Our Window. Sample lyric:

"Well it's four in the morning,.
Things are getting heavy,
and we both know that it's over,
but we both are not ready.

Fink describes this as the "romantic" section of the show. I'm no Julio Inglesias but Valentine's Day must be a riot round his house if this bleak definition of romance qualifies. That said, the five-deep throng of enraptured girls in the front row are oblivious to his doomed take on love as they scream like banshees at every break in the music.

Its in the "good time" part of the show that NATW really come into their own and their new direction reaps rewards. They have always had a fine ear for melody but have now put more horsepower behind their tunes.

The fist pumping Tonight’s the Kind of Night could easily be a track off Springsteen's Born To Run with its driving chorus and lyrics of youthful escape.

You don't see enough violin at rock gigs and its nice to see NOAW haven't ditched their folk leanings completely. Tom Hobden's fiddle offers a lovely counterpoint to the synths and drum machines especially on the thumping current single Waiting For A Chance To Come

Five Years Time gets an outing this time shorn of banjo and played with electric guitar it gets the crowd going even though this version, whilst great, lacks the naive charm of the original.

Before they depart for the obligatory encore the crowd is treated to L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N, a tale of down and out characters living their lives for the good times. It is ever bit as radio friendly as anything they have ever done without sacrificing their soul. If they had a bit more confidence as performers they could have engineered a pretty monumental sing-along but cut the track short as the crowd get into their stride.

By the time we hear a beautiful version of Old Joy and a bombastic First Days Of Spring the crowd, young and old, leave safe in the knowledge that the night is always darkest just before the dawn...and the dawn can be a wondrous thing.

Friday, 14 October 2011

The Greatest Movie Assholes In The World ...Ever Part 3

Film: Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior
Character : Wesley "Wez" Zonault
Actor: Vernon Wells

Way before Mel Gibson became a anti-Semitic alcoholic he actually made some decent films. Mad Max 2 was the low budget dystopian actioner set in the Australian outback where marauding gangs roamed the lawless desert looking for innocents to plunder. You know who the good guys are because they wear white/cream. The marauding gangs on the other hand look like a post-apocalyptic version of the Village People.

Second in command Wez is a rare example of homosexual asshole. Dressed in studded leather, shoulder pads and a red Mohican director George Miller really rams home the gay angle. The only thing missing is a droopy moustache.

With his lover Golden Youth in tow Wez enjoys nothing more then watching people suffer and chasing his victims around like he is on safari. Not that Wez is a big fan of soap but if he asked you to pick it up you probably would.

A creature of instinct Wez is an unhinged nutcase and doesn't qualify as an asshole due to his withering put-downs but because he looks like a complete tit and will happily rip out your heart for a tank of gasoline.

Favourite Quote:

(after someone is killed) *No!* *No more talk!* We go in! We kill! Kill! We kill 'em! They kill us, we kill them! Kill 'em! Kill 'em! Kill! Kill!

Asshole Rating: (out of 10) 5

Film: Weird Science
Character - Chet Donnely
Actor: Bill Paxton

John Hughes loves his assholes and no one can be a bigger jerk than an older brother (believe me, I know). Paxton does a great job as the sibling from hell in this classic 80's teen comedy where two losers create their ideal woman and bring her to life using their ZX Spectrum and a blow up doll. Sadly for the pervs among you Kelly LeBrock does not have any nude scenes in this film (Tip: you need to watch Woman in Red for that. In fact, I'm a nice guy so I will save you the hassle)

Fresh out of military-school and complete with buzz-cut and camo gear Chet blackmails his geeky brother Wyatt in return for silence after he comes home drunk with his fellow nerd Gary after a night out with their computer-generated ideal woman Lisa (LeBrock). Paxton generally bullies, abuses and makes fun of his younger brother and acts like a total dick throughout the film (a role he would later reprise as Private "Game Over Man! It's fucking game over" Hudson in Aliens.

Hughes really ups the ante for Chet's eventually comeuppance getting the magical Lisa to turn him into a giant shit-beast as punishment for bullying his younger brother and being an all round grade A-hole.

Favourite Quote:

"You two doggie dicks couldn't get laid in a morgue."

Asshole Rating: 8

Film: Falling Down
Character: Nick the Nazi
Actor: Frederic Forrest

You know the feeling when you have had a bad day, you lose your job, abandon your car on the motorway, smash up a shop, beat up some gang members with a baseball bat, kill a store owner and ultimately take your estranged wife and children hostage on a pier? No? Michael Douglas does in this classic crime-drama by Joel Schumacher where he rails against life's petty rules and ultimately loses the plot big time.

Douglas does all the things we wished we could do when told at 11:03 that the breakfast menu is no longer being served or being refused change by a shop-owner unless he buys something.

On his cross town implosion, Douglas falls into an Army surplus store owned by one of the most memorable assholes in cinema history. Dressed in military fatigues and with some strange vocal tics, Nick not only is homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic Nazi but he has in own stash on World War II memorabilia in his back room. After abusing a couple of "pumpkins" in his store he offers Douglas a rocket launcher from his weapons hoard after hearing about him for shooting up "a bunch of niggers" at the Whammy Burger.

When Douglas rejects joining forces Nick he gets irate and tries to handcuff him and shop him to the police.

"You' re going to jail, motherfucker! How's that for freedom? Freedom to get fucked up the ass by some big buck nigger."

Douglas has other ideas and manages to free himself, stab and then shoot him. Frederic Forrest scenes are sadly much too short as he is the best character in the film but as they say a flame that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.

I'm not the only one with whom Nick has made an impression. There are quite a few website offering soundboards of his perceived wisdom

Favourite Quote:

Well, well. Hiking boots, huh? Let's see what we got. These are the top of the line. Scientifically engineered and all that crap. Guaranteed by some Sierra Club asshole not to hurt a chipmunk if you step on it. Personally, I think they're for pussies and faggots! Now these are Vietnam jungle boots. Cost half as much, last twice as long and are great for stomping queers!

Asshole rating: 8

Film: American Psycho
Character: Patrick Bateman
Actor- Christian Bale

Movie law dictates that assholes can never be leading men. They are almost always minor supporting characters injected into the script to add a bit of flavour or moments of comic levity. In American Psycho those rules are well and truly broken as we get a joyous douchey performance for the entire duration of the film.

Bale plays Patrick Bateman and anally retentive, pretentious, narcissistic scumbag living the pampered life of a wealthy commodities trader and the secret life of a serial killer. Eighties Yuppies make the best assholes, especially ones that find deep hidden meanings in Huey Lewis records.

Bateman literally has no redeeming qualities. There is the cheating on his fiancée, the obsessing about moisturiser or the quality of his business cards, the backstabbing of his friends (who are all assholes as well)and of course the killing. He is an absolute joy to watch.

Also as an added bonus unlike most films containing an asshole, Bateman does not get his long await comeuppance and seemingly gets away with all the carnage as even his lawyer does not take his confession seriously such is the vacuous world they all inhabit.

If you want to have an instant taste of Bateman's insanity click here

Favourite Quote:

"Take the lyrics to "Land of Confusion". In this song, Phil Collins addresses the problems of abusive political authority. "In Too Deep" is the most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. Their lyrics are as positive and affirmative as, uh, anything I've heard in rock. Christy, get down on your knees so Sabrina can see your asshole."

Asshole Rating: 9

Film: Aliens
Character: Carter Burke
Actor: Paul Reiser

There is nothing that says asshole more then a corporate whore willing to forgo morals in favour of a promotion. Carter Burke is the ultimate company man putting profits above people and sliming his way into persuading Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) to return to doomed planet LV426, a planet he purposely had colonized knowing its inhabitants would be wiped out, on a promise that any aliens found there would be destroyed.

Of course this is bullshit and Burke's only really interested is capturing another alien alive for its bio-weapon making potential. In his eyes the team is "expendable" providing it will give him a boost up the career ladder.

Reiser plays the role with all the slick despicability of a duplicitous politician; saying one thing and doing the opposite. When the marines get marooned and shut down his plans to capture an alien alive he covertly releases a face hugger into the Medi-lab with the hope of impregnating one of group in order to make it easier to transport a hidden specimen back through quarantine.

When that plan gets rumbled and the aliens attack Burke selfishly locks the group in with killers as he makes his escape on his own. Reiser plays the asshole with such skill that the audience is overjoyed when he gets his much deserved comeuppance at the hands of a hungry alien.

Favourite Quote:

Look, Ripley, this is a multi-million dollar installation. He can't make that kind of decision. He's just a grunt!

Asshole Rating: 8

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Greatest Movie Assholes in the World... Ever - Part 2

Continuing our celebration of movie assholes we must remember that being an asshole is not about being the bad guy or the villain. There is little skill in that. Being an asshole is something more. There has to be underhandedness and a self importance for which there can be no redemption or change of heart. An asshole wears his colours with pride and his dickery runs through him (or her) like a stick of rock.

Film: The Breakfast Club
Character: Richard "Dick" Vernon
Actor: Paul Gleason

John Hughes' teen comedy never gets old and Gleason plays vice-principal Vernon who is well and truly pissed off at having to give up his Saturday to baby sit a bunch of reprobates given detention. He has a particular hard-on for John Bender (Judd Nelson) the teen rebel who rubs him up the wrong way. There are some unedifying scenes of Vernon threatening Bender with violence and locking him in a cupboard. I don't know what the National Union of Teachers would make of that one.

I probably would be annoyed about having to come into work on a Saturday but Vernon's behaviour is unprofessional and inappropriate for a teacher. He is supposed to set an example.

Another rent-an-dick, Gleason seemed to always play the perennial asshole mainly because he was so good at it. You might also remember Gleason in such memorable jerkery as scumbag private investigator Calerence Beeks in Trading Places and douchebag police deputy Dwayne T Robinson in Die Hard. Gleason sadly died in 2006 and the asshole loving community collectively mourned.

Favourite Quote:

"That's the last time, Bender. That the last time you ever make me look bad in front of those kids, you hear me? I make $31,000 a year and I have a home and I'm not about to throw it all away on some punk like you. But someday when you're outta here and you've forgotten all about this place and they've forgotten all about you, and you're wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I'm gonna be there. That's right. And I'm gonna kick the living shit out of you. I'm gonna knock your dick in the dirt."

Asshole Rating (Out of 10) 3

Film: Ferris Beulers Day Off
Character: Ed Rooney
Actor: Jeffrey Jones

Another John Hughes classic and another puffed up teacher losing his cool with the kids, in this case serial manipulator, truant, "righteous dude" and Christ-like figure Ferris Beuller, a kid who so Teflon-coated he could take a dump in the principals office and get away with it.

Rooney is obsessed with catching Beuller bunking off believing he is on "a first class ticket to nowhere" and a bad influence to the rest of the pupils who look up to him. He's tries increasingly desperate and elaborate methods to catch him out but always falls one step short.

A superb comeuppance is in store for Rooney as he gets attacked by the Beuller family dog when he tries to break in to their home to cathc Ferris in the act. As the credits roll a dishevelled Rooney, who by this time has mentally and physically collapsed, tries to hitch a ride back on the school bus to the mirth of his pupils and his embarrassment is complete.

Slightly souring actor Jeffrey Jones' good work are his recent convictions for child pornography. Not sure if he would be cast as a teacher who breaks into pupils houses these days. Come to think of it he does look a bit like a paedophile with his ginger 'tache.

Favourite Quote:

"Tell you what dipshit, you don't like my policies you can just come on down and smooch my big ol' white butt! Pucker up buttercup!"

Asshole rating: 5

Film: The Warriors
Character: Luther
Actor: David Patrick Kelly

This cheap, grimy, high concept film about rival gangs fighting it out in a dystopian New York really made an impression on me as a kid. Unlike the A-Team or The Dukes of Hazzard it still holds up well now even with the afros, jive-talking and retro fashions.

Luther is the leader of The Rogues and he frames The Warriors for the murder of one their rival gang leaders. The Warriors then have to make it back across NYC avoiding all the fantastically dressed rival gangs like the Baseball Furies and The Boppers who want to get medieval on their asses.

This guy looks and behaves like a complete asshole. He has typical Napoleon syndrome and Kelly portrays him as a completely unhinged bastard who enjoys violence just for the sake of it. Ultimately he is a coward and that is why he qualifies as an asshole. Who can forget his taunting of the Warriors with the clinking glass bottles on his fingers (improvised on the spot) at the fair ground near Coney Island.

Favourite Quote:

(Whiny high pitched voice) "Waaaarriors come out to plaaaay!"

Asshole Rating: 6

Film: Full Metal Jacket
Character: Gunnery Sergeant Hartman
Actor: R.Lee Ermey

Wow, assholes don't get much bigger then Sergeant Hartman. Stanley Kubrick musings on the horrors of war starts with a bang when Ermey delivering a ripping masterpiece of a monologue that sets the tone for the beasting the recruits are about to get.

R.Lee Ermey wasn't some Broadway thespian who did a few weeks research; he was a bona fide drill instructor during Vietnam and improvised much of the dialogue for most of his scenes. Kubrick even had to ask him what a "reach around" was after one scene.

Ermey originally was only a technical advisor on the film but when the director saw a video of him bawling out a recruit for 15 minutes straight without repeating himself, whilst being pelted by tennis balls, Kubrick had found his man.

The problem is can Hartman genuinely be regarded as an asshole in the truest sense as he has a purpose behind the insults? He is there to break down the recruits and build them up from scratch so they follow orders and cope with pressure in hostile situations. He might be an absolute bastard but there is method to his madness.

Favourite Quote (Pretty much everything he says is gold):

"If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training, you will be a weapon. You will be a minister of death praying for war. But until that day you are pukes. You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human, fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabasstic pieces of amphibian shit! You will not like me. But the more you hate me the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?"

Asshole rating: 6

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Greatest Movie Assholes in the World...Ever Part 1

Forget your Shakespeares, your merchant ivory performances, your biopics of Nelson Mandela every great actor should aspire to play the role of one truly great asshole in their career.

There is no role that movie audiences will remember with such fondness and clarity as that of an obnoxious asshole. They get to chew up the screen, always have the best lines and they are always the characters that audiences love to hate.

The role of the movie asshole reached its peak in the 80's where pretty much every film had some prick causing mischief. I fear in such politically correct times, the days of the asshole are numbered.

I've picked out a few performances that have stayed with me for their sheer asshole quotient. Feel free to add your own

Film: Die Hard
Character: Harry Ellis
Actor: Hart Bochner

If you have not seen Die Hard you must either be blind or have never owned a TV such is the film's dirty vested ubiquity. It is rare to have a film stuffed full of so many memorable characters, from Alan Rickman's fabulously preening piece of "Eurotrash" (Hans Gruber) to Alexander Gudunov's cold eyed killer Karl, the casting director Jackie Birch should be given a medal.

Despite the stellar cast one man rises above it all. That man is Harry Ellis, the coked-up slimeball who attempts to smirk his way out of trouble by betraying John McClane who is causing the terrorists untold trouble with his Yippeekayaying and what not. He is the distillation of everything that was bad/good about the 80's condensed into one bearded, Rolex-wearing, suit-with-the-sleeves-rolled-up yuppie asshole. He calls people "babe" and says "capisci". He is truly brilliant. Along with Gordon Gecko he is probably the pin-up par-excellence that most City bankers still jerk off to.

Favourite Quote:

"Hey, I read the papers, I watch 60 minutes, I say to myself, these guys are professionals, they’re motivated, they’re happening. They want something. Now, personally, I don’t care about your politics. Maybe you’re pissed at the camel Jockeys, maybe it’s the Hebes, Northern Ireland, that’s none of my business. I figure, you’re here to negotiate, am I right?"

Asshole Rating (Out of 10) 9

Film: The Karate Kid
Character: Terry Silver
Actor: Thomas Ian Griffith

A stone cold classic, the Karate Kid series is awash with assholes (I refuse to include The Next Karate Kid in the this as the Hilary Swank vehicle was a complete abomination and a celluloid travesty). Daniel Larusso had to battle past a succession of the finest assholes in cinematic history from Martin Kove's sadistic John "Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it!" Kreese, to preppy Johnny Lawrence (Billy Zabka), nutcase "Bad Boy" Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), psychopathic Chozen (Yuji Okumoto,) and author of the immortal line "Put him in a body bag Johnny, yeah! " Cobra Kai weasel Tommy (Rob Garrison).

However leader of the pack is Terry Silver the corrupt ponytailed millionaire of Dynatox industries(he dumps nuclear waste, what an asshole right?) and martial arts expert who appears in Karate Kid 3 to help out his old army buddy Kreese when he goes bankrupt. To get revenge on Larusso he puts him through a series of sadistic training regimes with the aim to put him out of commission before the All Valley Tournament. He takes particular delight in making Larusso's knuckles bleed.

Thomas Ian Griffith does a great line in arrogant smirks and over the top evil laughs. You want your assholes to be OTT and boy does Griffith deliver.

Favourite Quote:

"All right, all right, I've heard enough. I've made up my mind. This slope, what's his name - Miyagi - and that punk kid - I'm gonna get them for what they did to you. They made you suffer, so I'm gonna make them suffer... and suffer and suffer and when I think they've suffered enough, then I start with the pain."

Asshole rating: 8

Film: Ghostbusters
Character: Walter Peck
Actor: William Atherton

If there's something strange in your neighbourhood its probably because this asshole as turned off the power grid to the containment unit. Peck is a pen pushing EPA agent who does things by the book and doesn't believe in the supernatural. He is directly responsible for the paranormal catastrophe that engulfs New York after throwing his toys out of the pram when refused a tour of Ghostbusters HQ by Peter Venkman.

Actor William Atherton was born to play the asshole as he also portrays shitbag reporter Richard Thornburg in Die Hard and slimy Professor Hathaway in Real Genius.

As is the rule with assholes in 80's films he gets his comeuppance in the end

Favourite Quote:

Dr Ray Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!
Mayor: Is this true?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it's true.
Dr. Peter Venkman: This man has no dick.

Asshole Rating: 6

Film: Back To Future
Character: Biff Tannen
Actor: Thomas F Wilson

Nemesis of Marty McFly and stereotypical bully, Tannen is the archetypal meat-headed prick with a coterie of hangers-on, who is just as much an asshole in the first film as his great grandfather "Mad Dog" Tannen is in the last.

He routinely picks on George McFly and abuses Marty's mum Lorraine during their sham of a marriage and to be honest he is more of a pest than a serious asshole as he lacks both the charisma and the verbal dexterity to move him to the highest echelons of the asshole world.

A bit of an idiot Tannen pretty much relies on his size to compensate for his inadequacies in the brain department. Even when it all goes his way and he makes millions through the Sports Almanac he still can't satisfy Marty's mother who only gets with him because she needs the money.

Of course he gets a traditional covering of manure in all three films to bring him back down to earth.

Favourite Quote:

Biff: Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly! Think! Your old man, Mr. Loser?
Marty McFly: What?
Biff: That's right. Loser with a capital "L".
Marty McFly: Look, I happen to know that George McFly is not a loser...
Biff: [interrupts] I'm not talkin' about George McFly. I'm talkin' about his kid! Your old man, Marty McFly Sr.? The man who took his life and flushed it completely down the toilet.

Asshole rating: 4

Film: Dawn of the Dead
Character: Steve
Actor: Ty Burrell

Ty Burrell does a bang on job making Steve as obnoxious as possible as one of the rag-tag group of survivors hunkering down in a faceless mall from the zombie hoards desperate for their flesh in Zack Snyder's superior remake.

Steve is the sort of guy who ties his jumper round his neck and wears sunglasses indoors. He does as little as possible to help his fellow survivors and has a sarcastic remark for everything. When it comes down to it he is a stone cold coward and only out for himself. Perfect. I have come to the conclusion that the best assholes are Yuppie assholes. Their nihilism, smugness and sense of self-worth make you want to punch them in the face and pat them on the back at the same time.

To top it off Steve is seen cavorting with some nubile blondes on his yacht on some old camcorder footage seen at the end of the film but you know the rules, he quickly comes a cropper and is bitten by zombies as the gang make their escape. Shame.

Still its nice to see assholes are not just confined to the 80's

Favourite Quote:

Michael: Look, there's no point in arguing about this, all right? We need a solution. We need... we need to get some food over there.
Steve: Yeah, OK, I have an idea. We draw straws and the loser runs across the lot with a ham sandwich.
Ana: Could you be a bigger prick?
Steve: You know, I think I could, but that's irrelevant. My question to you is, what's your plan?

Asshole Rating: 7