The Offender: Furious T. Styles (Laurence Fishburne), Boyz n the Hood
The Crime: Self-righteousness bordering on parody; assorted blacker-than-thou obscenities; hypocrisy; raising a son who might survive the day-to-day grimness of ghetto life, but will be armed with a Volkswagen-sized chip on his shoulder, leading to numerous confrontations with teachers, employers, and the po-lice.
The Facts: Beginning with his minor, though decidedly annoying transgressions, Furious interrogates his son, just having come from a family barbecue, “You didn’t bring me no swine, did ya?” We can assume this ridiculous line of inquiry is related to his Muslim leanings, but as he smokes like a fucking chimney in direct violation of Islam’s ban on tobacco, it’s just as likely his way of being as big a prick as possible whenever the mood strikes. Also, in a throwaway line that comes completely out of nowhere — but helps to reinforce director John Singleton’s hopelessly simplistic view of race in America — he reminds his son, “The SAT is culturally biased….the only universal subjects are science and math.” In other words, your boy shouldn’t know “white” vocabulary or have any familiarity with Western civilization because they won’t help him dodge bullets in Compton. Apparently, ebonics was hatched by Henry Ford and other racist titans to ensure an inferiority complex among blacks for decades to come. Worst of all, though, is the scene where Furious takes his boy to a street corner and lectures him about the devilish white man’s plan to kill all black people with alcohol and drugs. “We don’t own any planes,” he cries, as if, along with his humility, he forgot the simple rules of supply and demand. He points to the dozens of liquor stores in the area as a sinister plot by agents of death, seemingly unaware of the black people who willingly and openly keeping them in business. If we are to believe the World According to Furious, the only thing keeping museums and libraries out of South Central is a smoke-filled room of cracker con-men, all of whom want to keep a brother down because they fear his sexual and intellectual prowess.
The Sentence: Dismissal from his job as loan officer, and immediate assignment to the worst possible high school in the Los Angeles area. Two weeks in such an environment can’t help but cure Furious of his defensive, conspiratorial posturing. Or worse yet, saddle him with a ridiculous Jamaican accent and even deadlier dialogue in Higher Learning.
The Offender: Michaela Odone (Susan Sarandon), Lorenzo’s Oil
The Crime: Obnoxious tenacity in the face of sheer hopelessness; raising Super Mom to new heights of silliness and smug arrogance; treating her son like an angelic beauty favored by the lights of heaven, despite being deaf, blind, and in a fucking coma.
The Facts: Beware a mother with a cause, and Mrs. Odone is one of the worst yet, spending every waking moment badgering the scientific community for an impossible cure to her son’s condition. That such a cure was eventually found does not in any way erase her evil climb to the top. What’s more, the “cure” only stopped the progression of the disease; the boy — even to this day — is still a vegetable without a lick of sight to his name. Still, she wants everything right fucking now, and is willing to badger, harass, threaten, and cajole, even if that means the world entire must come to a stop. Despite her lack of any real knowledge, she spits venom in the face of doctors, scientists, and research teams alike, all because they must devote their every waking moment to her precious child. Ah, but she saves her nastiest turn for the in-house nurse, a young woman who’s not exactly thrilled about using her years of training to read stories to a block of balsa wood. Because she’s less than enthusiastic about the task, and doesn’t see much point in reading to someone who has no awareness of his surroundings, let alone the ability to follow a story, Mama Michaela flies into a shit-faced rage and drives the stunned girl into the cold. Quite reasonably, she then turns to an African shaman for advice.
The Sentence: As she’s locked into a marriage with the crudest Italian stereotype in movie history (played by Nick Nolte, as if having taken his cue from Super Mario Brothers), it can’t get much worse.
The Offender: Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman), The Hours
The Crime: Pathological narcissism that all but redefines the term; enrollment in the Gertrude Stein School of Humorless Lesbianism; artistic vanity and cartoonish ambition; committing suicide in as dramatic a fashion as possible to ensure the greatest amount of post-burial conversation.
The Facts: If endless whining about wanting to live in the city is your idea of good company, seek out Ms. Woolf, the sort of woman who is so burdened by life’s slings and arrows that mere universal acclaim for her works, to say nothing of great fortune, isn’t enough to get her the fuck off the couch. When she’s not bitching, she’s complaining; when she’s not sad, she’s miserable; and when she’s not insisting on being oppressed in a fashion unseen in the annals of history, she’s plotting her self-slaughter with all the subtlety of a performance artist seeking a grant. And if so inclined to explore the joys of same-sex diversion, might she throw off the frumpy outfits and show a little leg? Maybe add a splash of makeup and embrace sexy for a change? Instead, she hammers home the tired notion that lesbians carry the weight of a hateful world on their shoulders, and loathe life because they cannot love as they so choose. Never before has literary talent been coupled with such crippling depression, begging the question as to why these people commit suicide at such an alarming rate, but no-talent buffoons insist so readily on sticking around until the bitter end. Rocks in your pockets, Virginia? Come now. Why not simply take out an ad in the Times and sell tickets?
The Sentence: Resurrect her, return her to her own time, and force her to live out her days as an old woman. Having not contributed a single word to the world in decades, she’ll fade away on a country morning, a once proud talent now obscure and alone. No infamy, no love, and no fake noses outrageously winning Oscars.
The Offender: Ed Masry (Albert Finney), Erin Brockovich
The Crime: There is but one — allowing a chronically unemployed, uneducated, shrill, irresponsible cunt of Biblical proportions to waltz into your established law practice, make demands, and stomp all over your shriveled cock with her acid-soaked stilettos, all because you’re a dirty old man who likes to look at big tits while sipping his morning coffee.
The Facts: Most grown men not easily distracted by tight skirts and pleather tube tops would have thrown Erin into the street for demanding a job without the necessary qualifications, tact, or professionalism, but Ed was a lonely sort, and despite decades of pouring his heart and soul into his profession, he sees nothing wrong in giving a position to a woman who, within minutes of showing up for an interview, insults other employees, screams obscenities, and all but insinuates that her physical beauty allows her to do whatever the fuck she wants. And although nothing onscreen proves the case conclusively, it’s obvious that Ed is getting blowjobs after hours, and likely tapping her taut ass in the break room so she can continue humiliating him in front of the entire staff. Ed’s arguably worse than Erin herself, for while she takes a sense of entitlement to new heights, not once does he put a stop to her behavior. And when she disappears for three fucking days, not once checking in to let her bossknow how she’s spending company time, he shuffles his feet, hems and haws, and retreats to his office for yet another bout of unhinged masturbation. And when he once again makes an appearance, pants zipped and shirt tucked, he’s ready to hand her a car, a cell phone, a massive cashier’s check, whatever it takes. Just don’t leave me, Erin.
The Sentence: A broken condom during one of his late-night fuck fests over Chinese takeout and smudged tax records, forcing the old fart to become a father and thereby realizing that hummers are one thing, but actually spending time with this monumental bitch is as close to a fiery hell as mortal man can get.
The Offender: Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine), My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The Crime: While being a swarthy Greek is more than enough for an indictment, he’s also nosy, pushy, and hateful to boot; possesses a view of women last heard in the 17th century; values tradition, family, and provincial bigotry above all else; and instead of a developed personality, is reduced to a “quirky trait” — in this case, the belief that Windex is to Greeks what Robitussin is to blacks.
The Facts: While he’s meant to be a huggable Archie Bunker type (albeit one with dark, coarse hair all over his pudgy frame) he’s instead an intolerable ass; the sort of man who has an opinion on everything, despite lacking a formal education and any “fact” not handed down by generations of loud-mouthed creeps. He’s insulted that his ugly-ducking daughter wants to pursue night classes instead of waiting tables for no pay in the family restaurant, and nearly pushed to heart failure over the idea that she’d fall in love with a man not related to the clan, even distantly. He hates the modern world, feminism, and America itself, except that it affords him the opportunity to make money with ethnic business enterprises like a travel agency that deals exclusively with flights to Athens. Apparently, this is an untapped market of unlimited potential. No one is even allowed to move out of his sight, as proven by the film’s depressing conclusion, where daughter Toula (along with her husband Ian, the biggest pussy in the history of cinematic spouses) has agreed to live next door, largely because dad bought the fucking house for this very purpose. He’s professionally Greek, always on stage, and ultimately, fails to realize that his death will at last open things up and let people breathe again. In his diseased mind, what the new world means to him is transferring over the old country root and branch, refusing all growth, assimilation, or acceptance of other ways. Oh, and he’s Greek.
The Sentence: Exile to Turkey, with forced daily paeans to Ataturk.