If you know me, then you know I'm always saying that children are our future. (Ahem). Hopefully not these children though. I don't necessarily believe that a single (child) character can ruin a movie. Nonetheless, watching each of these movies I found myself cringing whenever said characters would come onscreen. It's not so much the actor's fault as the director and screenwriter's.....Nah - actor's fault too.
Honorable Mention: Junior, Problem Child's 1 & 2To be honest, I haven't seen either of these movies in quite a while. And when I was a kid, I did like them more or less. I mean, the first one has Michael Richards as a serial killer - WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE? While I do get that the point of these movies is to have a less than likable titular character, perhaps the filmmakers were a bit too successful. One of the reasons I haven't gone back to watch these movies is that, as an adult, I think I'd hate Junior. If you think you're against corporal punishment, just watch these movies.
5). The Boy, The Road
So in the movie, the Boy is meant to be some kind of manifestation of purity and goodness in a world overwrought with despair and ugliness. And he is that. However, given that he's been surviving in the post-apocalyptic world for his entire life, I'd expect him to be a little worse for wear....and tougher. Each time something bad happens it's like he didn't know it was possible. Really? I'd imagine things like cannibalism to be the 2nd lesson you'd learn growing up here. Right after, "Don't talk to strangers." OK, so he had a messed up childhood. But what's with all the crying? Oy!
4). Michael Hawks, Over the Top
How annoying can a character be? Imagine growing up and knowing this kid. He's incredibly uptight and prissy. And he won't stop complaining about his dad. His dad is a). Sylvester Stallone, b). a trucker, and c). an arm wrestling champion. So what if you come from a broken home? So does everyone else in the world! In fact, most kids would try to get their parents to divorce just on the off-chance that their mom might marry this kid's dad. Well, maybe not. But probably. I thought he was supposed to be in military school? Quit crying and buck up!
3). Joshua Waits, Troll 2
Troll 2 has any number of issues which have been documented many other places (Nilbog? Vegetarian goblins? POPCORN!?). However, the thing that grated me the most was this child's inability to do anything remotely productive. You're being tormented by "goblins" whom all seem to be shorter and slower than you. What do you do? CONTINUALLY CRY OUT FOR THE GHOST OF YOUR DEAD GRANDFATHER TO COME SAVE YOU?!?! WHAT!? While it is kind of cool that this works a few times, how about walking into your room and picking up your little league bat. Then you walk outside and break open some goblin skulls. Then you show a dead goblin to your family so that they can help you. Duh.
2). Anakin Skywalker, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
So I imagine for many people this role would be #1 on their own lists. And I fully understand that choice. People had been waiting for years to see the formative years of the most feared man in the galaxy, and they get....this. Of all the characters on this list, here I most overtly question the casting. Jake Lloyd should never have been given this role. I'm sorry. It's not his fault. Most adult actors have trouble reading scripts written by George Lucas, so a vaguely inexperienced child actor would not do. Actually, I'm not sure any child actor would do for this role. Lucas probably should have had Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, or some other high caliber actor digitally transformed into the physical appearance of a child for the role. Maybe they'd be able to pull of at least a workable performance. Maybe.
1). Francis Robinson, Swiss Family Robinson
Phew. To level ourselves out after all that, I think we'd better watch this video: