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Adam Driver
Adam Driver-up-the-wall in Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young”via

And the most irritating movie character of 2015 is…

Meet the most irksome, teeth-gnawing, slappable contenders who annoyed us right out of our seats this year

I used to think the most horrific form of torture would be having needles inserted into my eyeballs, like the infamous scene from Audition. But now I think it would be being strapped to a chair, Clockwork Orange-style, and placed in front of a screen showing a looped montage of all the irksome characters that beamed into cinemas this year. That would be the worst torture imaginable. It’s as if the filmmakers intentionally sprinkled pins over theatre seats knowing full well the ire they were about to elicit from moviegoers. To even recollect these flesh-crawlingly irritating characters churns my stomach.


Choice annoying quote: “I’ve never done Facebook – it’s not my thing.”

Adam Driver’s Jamie is the worst kind of Brooklyn hipster. The kind that prefers typewriters to laptops, old-fashioned bicycles to practical bicycles, books to Kindles, vinyl to mp3s. He’s got the look down, too: brogues, skinny jeans and a god-awful fedora. You know his kind. Sartorial no-nos aside, he also hates Facebook. And there’s a whiff of condescension when he explains why: “It’s not my thing.” He’s a smug, supercilious character in a film that flirts with clichés about couple dynamics. He even managed to make Ben Stiller seem less grating.


Choice annoying quote: “Think positive!!”

Joy, the little yellow-faced, blue-haired emotion from Pixar’s Inside Out, is utterly slappable. She’s the kind of character whose every sentence sounds like it ends with at least two exclamation marks. She’s militantly cheerful and aggressively upbeat. With an ear-to-ear smile and a screechy voice courtesy of Amy Poehler, Joy feels more like a character from a low-rent horror film – Chucky’s cousin, perhaps. Just imagine her with a butcher’s knife and you can see that she was born (or is it drawn?) to be a killer. The ultimate irony is, of course, Joy will leave you joyless. The bossy little emotion will suck it right out of you.


Choice annoying quote: “Fun is when you forget a girl’s name while you’re fucking her.”

It’s hard to choose the most egregious line from Entourage – or indeed the most egregious character – but Kevin Dillon’s “Fun is when you forget a girl’s name while you’re fucking her” line is definitely one that made me sit up and say, did he actually just say that? Oddly, the line doesn’t even feel out of place in this odious HBO adaptation about bros who drive round LA eye-groping “chicks” and saying things like, “Everything we do is to get laid.” In other words, the whole film is painted with the same broad brush of offence. And to top it all off, there’s a cameo from Piers Morgan. Give yourself a clap if you made it to the end credits. I didn’t. 


Choice annoying quote: “You spill the secret family recipe today, maybe you spill about me tomorrow.”

I’m guessing the person who did Johnny Depp’s make-up in this film was swiftly booted out of Tinseltown following the premiere. It’s so bad that it actually makes the film hard to watch. And it makes Depp’s performance as James “Whitey” Bulger all the more cartoonish, like something you’d see in an SNL parody of the “funny how?” scene from Goodfellas with the Joe Pesci character literally made up to look like a clown. Speaking of which, when is Depp going to stop clowning around and do a decent movie?


Choice annoying quote: “Hey. What’s the meaning of life?”

The main guy from Love is a cast-iron contender for the Most Irritating Movie Character Of The Year. Sandwiched between two beautiful naked girls in Gaspar Noé’s 3D sex romp, he spouts pseudo-profound babble about love and cinema. But let’s face it, there’s nothing earth-shatteringly profound about answering the question, “What’s the meaning of life?” with “Love”, is there? The character is basically a conduit for Noé, his favourite movies – 2001, Salo – plastered to his bedroom wall and his penchant for graphic sex on screen. Seeing this hapless character in 3D was all the more galling.


Choice annoying quote: “Good morning, plant; good morning, sink.”

I enjoyed Room. I thought it was a great movie. But that kid’s whiny voice really got under my skin. It felt like someone was poking me squarely in the stomach for 118 minutes. Or, perhaps more accurately, like a shrill mosquito that kept coming back despite my frantic attempts to flap it away. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate all kids’ voices. Just this kid’s. And that’s partly because he says things like, “Good morning, sink.” Unfortunately this kid’s voice, as those of you who’ve read the book will know, narrates the entire movie.


Choice annoying quote: “What’s NWA stand for anyway? ‘No whites allowed’, something like that?”

Most people will agree that Paul Giamatti is a great actor. Most of the time. That being said, his recent turn in Straight Outta Compton wasn’t exactly peak Giamatti. In fact, it was rather grating. It’s probably because his character, based on NWA’s real-life manager, is always playing dad, always telling them what they can and can’t do. You want to say: Oh go home, dad; sort your wig out, dad. Every scene he’s in seems wildly over the top, too, his character so incongruous. Sure, he was based on a real person, but I think they cranked up the drama one notch too many with this guy. And again there’s the dodgy wig, so there’s that.


Choice annoying quote: “Must we document ourselves all the time? Must we?”

Frances Ha proved that Greta Gerwig specialises in ditzy. That zany free spirit role seems to fit her like a glove. And yet there was always that niggling fear that she was tiptoeing towards the most tiresome trope of all: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She’s not exactly one in Mistress America, but her character – a “self-made” interior designer who lives in Times Square – is every bit as obnoxious as Zoe Kazan’s Ruby Sparks. Call me humourless but I didn’t lol once at her sniffy dialogue about selfies or the way she digresses mid-conversation. It just made me grind my teeth down to stumps.


Choice annoying quote: “Some scumbag killed my wife.”

Southpaw was one of the biggest let-downs of the year, wasn’t it? This was supposed to be Gyllenhaal’s Raging Bull moment. He was playing a burly boxer in a drama “from the director of Training Day”. He was supposed to win all the awards. Alas, that didn’t happen. And that probably has more to do with the character of Billy Hope being a flimsy cardboard cut-out of a boxer rather than Gyllenhaal’s believability in the ring as a Light Heavyweight. It’s all one note. It’s all tough-guy-face and clenched fists. “That’s all you got, huh?” he says in the ring. Which is exactly what we’re left asking ourselves as the credits roll.


Choice annoying quote: “He looked right at me! He looked me straight in the eye!”

Watching Nicholas Hoult as Nux in the recent Mad Max film, I was reminded of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Like Gollum – or is it Smeagol? – Nux is extremely snakey, with piercing eyes like those of Uncle Fester from The Addams Family. Of course he’s not meant to be likable, at least not in the first half. But he’s just so full on – he’s pumped himself full of “high-octane crazy blood” – you feel sorry for Tom Hardy’s Max. You sense Max’s impatience and you hope – you pray – his thirst for Nux’s blood will come to something. Just toss him off the side of the truck already! He’s the kind of character that will make your hangover 100 per cent worse.