Nobody wants to have a horrible boss. But everybody loves to watch a horrible boss. Inside everyone lives a tiny little sadist. Anyone who has ever laughed at a person stepping on a rake and hitting himself in the face, or giggled at a woman trying (and failing) to walk through a sliding glass door has a little part in his or her soul that enjoys watching other people get hurt. Watching someone suffer through a horrible boss is a different lyric in the same song. With Horrible Bosses hitting theaters, MovieMaker takes a look back at the head honchos that make us cry with laughter.
President Skroob (Mel Brooks) in Spaceballs (1987)
directed by Mel Brooks
“I can’t make decisions. I’m a president!” Truer words have never been spoken. All comedy fans hold a special place in their hearts for the president of Planet Spaceball, who is the physical embodiment of every quality a president shouldn’t have. President Skroob is neurotic, selfish and clumsy and commands a complete and utter lack of respect. He insists on being beamed between rooms, can’t even ensure the safety of his own belongings (his luggage combination is 1-2-3-4-5) and flies around the galaxy in a ship that turns into a giant maid, complete with vacuum cleaner.
Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) in the Austin Powers trilogy (1997, 1999, 2002)
directed by Jay Roach
It would be impossible to complete this list without including the good doctor himself. Arguably the most lovable super villain, Dr. Evil may threaten mass destruction, but he really just wants his employees to think he’s cool. In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr. Evil traveled back in time to the 1960s to try to take over the world, sure, but wasn’t that just a front so that he could wow his minions with ’90s pop culture references? Unfortunately, “Show me the money” and “You ain’t all that and a bag of chips” only confused his henchmen, and he was forced to dominate the world instead.
J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) in the Spider-Man trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007)
directed by Sam Raimi
Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-man, can swing from rooftops, fight crime and save New York City, so it must drive him up the wall (pun intended) to have to take crap from J. Jonah Jameson, blowhard editor of The Daily Bugle. Unflappable in his hatred of anything that is good, Jameson is at the forefront of the anti-Spider-man campaign, despite having been saved by the aforementioned webslinger on several occasions. Jameson imagines up a vast conspiracy theory wherein Spider-man is the cause of all of the catastrophes that he’s actually saving people from. But from Jameson’s perspective, it’s not that difficult to see Spider-man as a harbinger of doom. Spider-man makes the city safer. And a safe city is a boring city. And a boring city is kryptonite to newsmen.
Gilbert Huph (Wallace Shawn) in The Incredibles (2004)
directed by Brad Bird
Gilbert Huph, the diminutive demon of Insuricare, doesn’t receive much screen time in The Incredibles, but the few minutes he has on-screen are simply glorious. It’s easy to imagine that, as a child, little Gilbert Huph dreamed of working for an insurance company, bossing around an army of cubicle-dwelling, zombified employees and twisting his mustache in an evil manner while watching little old ladies stumble out of the door, drying their tears with one hand and clutching rejected insurance claims with the other. Huph never did grow the mustache, but he still managed to develop a Napoleon complex that even brings a former superhero to heel… until said superhero throws Huph through a couple of walls.
Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
directed by David Frankel
Ah, the world of fashion, as terrifying as it is glamorous. Based on the true tale of an employee for Vogue, in The Devil Wears Prada Brown University graduate Andrea Sachs goes to work for the esteemed fashion magazine, Runway… but who cares about that? The best part of the movie is her boss, Miranda Priestly, queen of the fashion world and winner of the lifetime achievement award from the Spawn of Satan Academy. If the army ever enlisted her as a drill sergeant, soldiers would begin quitting en masse due to sheer loss of self-confidence. Priestly can scrap a designer’s dreams with a pursing of her lips and, with one word, can royally ruin any employee’s weekend… if she ever let them have one.
Did we miss your favorite horrible boss? Let us know in the comments.