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Classic Ten – Crazy Doctors in the Movies


Even in the modern age, doctors are revered for their god-like powers to save human lives. If your doctor tells you to take two pills and call him in the morning, you unquestioningly do just that because, well, he made it through four years of fancy-pants medical school and you didn’t. Enter Hollywood, which has no problem up-ending our blind faith in medicine and its practitioners by supplying us with an endless stream of board-certified kooks — like the ones messing with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau in Couples Therapy. Which iconic doc is most whacked-out? Read on!

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10. Eddie Murphy as Dr. Dolittle in Dr. Dolittle (1998)
There’s a reason everyone — including his wife — thinks this family physician (Eddie Murphy) is nuts: He bonks his head and the next thing you know he’s giving a rat CPR, sobering up a drunk monkey, and saving a suicidal tiger. Can you imagine if you found out that’s how your doctor was spending his nights? For his ridiculous hijinks, Dr. Doolittle squeaks into the bottom spot on this list.

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9. Billy Crystal as Miracle Max in The Princess Bride (1987)
Without wacky Miracle Max’s medical expertise, Wesley would have been left for fully dead, when in fact he was merely “mostly dead.” A crucial distinction! Miracle Max’s accurate diagnosis saves the swashbuckler, and proves that saving a life can sometimes have less to do with good medicine than it does with the revenge fantasies of a disgruntled former employee (“Humperdink! Humperdink! Humperdink!”).

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8. Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Mierzwiak in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) can erase bad memories in a procedure no more painful than a bad hangover. Naturally, things go awry. For the successful marketing of voluntary brain damage (which explains both Kate Winslet’s character’s amnesia and her rainbow-colored hair), Dr. Mierzwiak is certainly some kind of crazy, but at least he’s not as bad as…

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7. Robin Williams as Dr. Adams in  Patch Adams (1998)
Dr. Adams is crazy, alright: Crazy annoying. Nine out of ten patients prefer their physicians to have completed residency in a hospital, not a clown college. Enter Robin Williams, playing himself as a gag-loving nut job, and the result is a doctor sure to set your teeth on edge. Two parts manic physical comedy plus one part maudlin speeches makes him the seventh craziest doc on our list.

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6. Alfred Molina as Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Talk about commitment to a cause! In exchange for indomitable power, Alfred Molina’s gleefully villainous doctor takes full advantage of his experiment gone awry, despite having sacrificed any hope of ever again sharing a bed with a woman. Doc Ock isn’t a medical doctor per se, but for his innovative work in the field of insane prosthetics, he easily deserves recognition here at number six.

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5. Miguel Lunardi as Dr. Zamora in Turistas (2006)
Evil Brazilian physician Zamora (Miguel Lunardi) acts as Rio’s Robin Hood of black market kidney
transplants in this 2006 horror flick, in which the plot falls neatly at the intersection of organ harvesting and adventure travel. Lunardi delivers a sweaty, hollow-eyed performance so creepy that co-star Josh Duhamel was moved to publicly apologize for the movie’s portrayal of Brazilians.

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4. Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello in Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Orin Scrivello, DDS (Steve Martin) is the only dentist to make the Top Ten, and this list’s finest example of prescription pad abuse. The sadistic Scrivello huffs into fourth place with his penchant for pain administration and soft spot for self-administered nitrous. Time to take a couple of Motrin, as it only gets more painful from here, starting with…

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3. Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Would you entrust your life to a man who suffers from alien-hand syndrome? Peter Seller’s Dr. Strangelove is a former Nazi committed to an agressive breeding technique involving 100 years living in the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft. Eugenics aside, that gloved hand with a violent mind of its own spazzes Sellers into third place.

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2. Jeremy Irons as the Drs. Mantle in Dead Ringers (1988)
Ladies, this one’s for you. Brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle share a gynecological practice, a girlfriend… and a serious mental illness. Need another reason to cross your legs? They also make their own custom surgical tools that look more like condor talons than speculums. What could be worse than a pair of schizophrenic twin doctors? Brace yourself for the top spot on the list…

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1. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior (1994)
When Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dr. Hesse, invents a pioneering new fertility drug, what does he do? He uses it on himself, of course! And then he gives birth, which no sane man would ever consent to. For the sheer repulsive pleasure of watching a future political leader Lamaze his way through labor, Arnold claims his title as the wackiest of the Hollywood quacks.


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