How far can one person be pushed to better themselves?
It is a piece of raw cinema that deserves to be seen. Quite rightly, JK Simmons recently snagged a Golden Globe for his snarling performance at the recent awards - but his character isn't the first on-screen mentor to wildly cross the line with a film's protagonist. Far from it.
For better or worse, but mainly for worse, we've assembled the most memorable movie mentors who we hate ourselves for liking.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman – Full Metal Jacket
If any character in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket was suffering from a "major malfunction", it's thus one. Acerbically tongued, rapidly spoken, and played so convincingly by former Marine Corp drill instructor Ronald Lee Ermey, it was hard to gauge exactly how far the boundaries between realism and fiction stood as this guru of grunts misused his power and leadership to a blood-curdling degree.
John Milton - The Devil’s Advocate
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled? Convincing the world Keanu Reeves was a decent actor. Yes, what a film, with Al Pacino on top ‘Hoo Hah' form as the shouty Prince of Darkness heading up a New York law firm. He’s everything Reeves's upcoming lawyer wants in a boss: powerful, magnetic, fatherly, encouraging. Though when that encouragement verges on asking his son to copulate with his demon half-sister and spawn the Antichrist which will eventually pit the world into eternal damnation, it warrants a HR complaint at the very least.
George Simmons – Funny People
Sloan – Wanted
Mr Silver – Karate Kid III
Avery Tola – The Firm
Crooked Lawyers? You’d have thunk it? Funnily enough not Tom Cruise’s hotshot Harvard law graduate, who’s only too eager to look past any suspiciousness by his MASSIVELY shady new employers if it means having a big TV and a fast car. The man helping fast-track him to greatness is Gene Hackman’s Avery Tola, a cocktails-at-lunch-sort of fella whose boozy afternoons makes it nigh on impossible for anyone to get any work done. Regardless, his financing of mob activity makes him an all-round bad egg in spite of his sage advice.
A few years before he found his USP punching kidnappers in the vocal chords, Liam Neeson played another sort of tough guy: Ra’s al Ghul, a warrior with a skewed sense of justice who helps a wayward Bruce Wayne embrace his inner bat. Given the pair's passionate bromance early on, dare we say one which fills a void in the fatherless Wayne’s life, it’s a bittersweet finish when the pair end up slugging it out for the fate of Gotham. Though let’s be honest, al Ghul was a maniac wasn't he?
If you can look past the fact it’s possible for a couple of bodacious dudes to travel back in time using a battered phone box, you’ll wonder why the hell Rufus was ever entrusted in getting these Californian slackers to avoid changing the course of history. It’s exactly his doddering and mismanagement in showing the pair how it works – yeah, why don’t we travel back to a historical battlefield and irk Napoleon himself? - that leads to some of the hairiest moments. Save for doing his job terribly, the casting of the always funny George Carlin was a masterstroke.