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Classic Ten – Best of the Big-Screen Brats


Wide-eyed moppets have tugged at moviegoers’ heartstrings ever since Jackie Coogan teamed up with Charlie Chaplin in The Kid in 1921. But let’s face it, for every cute little kid there’s a big-screen brat. These bullies and mouthy little know-it-alls remind us that some children were meant to be seen but not heard. Check out these ten loathsome movie tots most in need of a time out.

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10. Tanner Boyle, The Bad News Bears (1976)
In
a team full of bad sports, Tanner Boyle is in a (little) league of his
own. The foul-mouthed, scrawny shortstop torments the other misfits on
the Bears, calls everybody and everything “cruds,” and spews racist
slurs like they were going out of style. But Tanner lands in tenth place because while he may be a little punk, he’s one with a sense of justice. He joins the Bears because he hates Roy
Turner, the underhanded coach of rival team the Yankees.

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9. Amanda Buckman, Addams Family Values (1993)
Even in the creepy, kooky world of the Addams family, Amanda Buckman totally comes off as a brat. When Amanda meets black-clad Wednesday at summer camp, the irritatingly perky blonde asks why she’s dressed like someone died. Then, when doting counselors cast Amanda as the lead in a Thanksgiving-themed pageant, she keeps lording it over Wednesday. It’s no wonder come performance time, Wednesday’s Indian squaw ditches the script and tells Amanda she’s going to scalp her.

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8. Francis Buxton, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Francis
Buxton is a big baby, literally. Spoiled Francis lives in a mansion,
has a butler, and bathes in an Olympic-sized
bathtub, but he doesn’t understand that money can’t buy happiness. For his birthday what the
overindulged infant wants most is Pee-Wee’s shiny red bicycle. That it’s not for sale doesn’t stop Francis from taking it. But since the theft also sets off Pee-Wee’s adventure, Francis’ selfishness does have a silver lining, so he settles in eighth on the list.

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7. Glen and Dot’s kids, Raising Arizona (1987)
Talk
about an argument for childlessness. Mom of many Dot regales poor
Edwina with the importance of getting her new baby dip-tet shots; dad
Glen tells tasteless Polish jokes and suggests to husband H.I. that the
couples should, you know, swing. Meanwhile, their five maniac brats
wreak havoc on the new parents’ home. Glen absent-mindedly says only,
“Mind you don’t cut yourself, Mordecai,” as his snot-nosed kids jump on
the furniture, break H.I. and Edwina’s stuff, take their diapers off,
and write “FART” on the wall.

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6. Walker and Texas Ranger, Talladega Nights (2006)
Ricky
Bobby may pray to the Baby Jesus to thank him for his sons Walker and
Texas Ranger, but the boys are veritable hellspawn — like the brood in
Raising Arizona, only these boys are old enough to know better.
Walker throws their grandfather’s war medals off a bridge; Texas pees
in his pants then doesn’t change them. Jacked up on Mountain Dew, the
foul-mouthed boys gleefully backtalk their granddad, with Texas Ranger
warning him, “Old man, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!”
When their grandmother finally lays down the law, it’s good news for
everybody.

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5. Veruca Salt, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Of
all the kids walking through Willy Wonka’s candy fantasia, Veruca Salt
is the worst. An over-privileged whiner, the list of things she wants
includes a golden ticket, a pony, a trained squirrel, and a great glass
elevator, but she’s not the least bit grateful when she does receive
anything. She’s also thoughtless, suggesting to the stricken Mrs.
Beauregarde she enter her blueberry-shaped daughter Violet in a county
fair. If she didn’t have to share her spotlight with three other brats,
Veruca would have registered higher.

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4. Briony Tallis, Atonement (2007)
An
art-house flick might seem like an odd place to find a brat, until you
meet young Briony Tallis. The wide-eyed wannabe writer skulks around
the edges of the movie, spying on her sister Celilia’s flirtation with
hot gardener Robbie. When another woman is raped nearby, jealous Briony
accuses Robbie of the crime and her testimony helps convict him. Not
every tattle-tale has the power to land a guy in prison and then in the
British army during WWII, but that’s why Briony outranks Veruca.

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3. Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
The
entire Slytherin house at Hogwarts is simply overrun with spoiled brats
and bullies, but son of Death-Eaters Draco Malfoy is in a class by
himself. He was a snobby little prig when the series started, and he’s
only gotten worse with age. Cowardly and manipulative, Draco is
motivated by his jealousy of Harry Potter and his bigotry against those
he calls Mudbloods. In Phoenix, he sucks up to the evil new Head of School, Dolores Umbridge, and exposes Harry and the members of Dumbledore’s Army.

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2. Dennis Mitchell, Dennis the Menace (1993)
We’re
siding with Mr. Wilson on this one: Dennis is a menace. Instead of
delighting in the tyke’s mischievous antics, we just want Mr. Wilson to
drop kick the cloying comic-strip kid back over the white picket fence.
The slapstick pranks the budding sociopath pulls on his elderly
neighbor are nothing short of sadistic: Dennis breaks the old man’s
dentures, puts Pine-Sol in his mouthwash, and hits him in the nuts not
once, but twice. Even when armed with a wand, whey-faced Draco never
caused that much pain.

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1. Kevin McCallister, Home Alone (1990)
Harry
and Marv aren’t the brightest bulbs as far as burglars go, but even
they don’t deserve to be subjected to Macaulay Culkin’s endless
mugging. (You know that you’re dealing with the ultimate brat when
you’re sympathizing with robbers.) The 8-year-old booby-traps his house
with cruel contraptions Rube Goldberg would have envied. He burns the
crooks’ hands on a red-hot doorknob and shoots them in the crotch and
head with a BB gun. Little wonder his parents “forgot” him at home.

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