When I was in sixth grade, there was this pituitary freak one year older than me who took a unique interest in my academic career. Between every class, he’d track me down and knock the pyramid of books out of my hands without breaking stride. Part Beavis, part Dudley Dursley, he’d then chortle on his way to Phonics class, leaving me to gather up my books and fantasize about schoolyard vengeance. Of course, I never worked up the nerve, so you can imagine how movies like Back to the Future and The Karate Kid, and even geek-versus-geek trash like Real Genius, resonated with me. Twentysome years later, I still get a charge watching George McFly KO Biff and Daniel LaRusso crane-kick Johnny.
So I couldn’t help but smile when the 1980’s most notorious teen bullies resurfaced on YouTube. Tom Wilson, who played Biff in all three Back to the Future films, makes light of his fleeting fame in his stand-up musical act, and Billy Zabka (pictured, in center) directed and stars in a Karate Kid-inspired music video appropriately titled “Sweep the Leg.” Zabka has described it as Raising Arizona-meets-The Matrix, but he’s being modest. It’s craptastic. But part of me resents these two actors actually being decent guys with a good sense of humor in real life. It’s okay for me to revel in Johnny rotting away in a trailer park, but how dare Zabka try and hijack my schadenfreude? At least Robert Prescott, who played conniving Kent in Real Genius and WASP-y Cole in Bachelor Party, has the common decency to maintain his dastardly belligerence in the upcoming Michael Clayton. He plays a nasty security expert who stalks George Clooney’s reluctant hero. It’s just another thing George and I have in common.
Who is your favorite Hollywood bully, and do you have a hard time believing him or her in likable roles?
addCredit(“The Karate Kid: Everett Collection”)