Every hero or villain or anyone in between needs that one best friend that they can outshine on a constant basis. The pathetic best friend character is someone you need to look out for, someone that’s not necessarily hopeless but seems to skirt the line on a continual basis and needs to be reeled in now and again. Without these individuals the hero’s life might be a little too easy and the villain might never have that crisis of conscience that keeps them from being too evil. The pathetic best friend is like a life line for each side that keeps them honest and in some ways balanced.
Here are a few examples of the pathetic best friends that aren’t always useful but do have their moments.
Ace Levy – Starship Troopers
Ace has shown up on another friends list in the past, but maybe that’s why he’s so great. He’s versatile as a funny best friend and a pathetic best friend in equal measures. He has that cocksure attitude that only goes so far until he realizes that his mouth gets him into more trouble than he can deal with. Thankfully Rico took a liking to him, otherwise he might have been bug food sooner or later.
Randy – Scream
It might be safe to say that we’ve all had at least one friend in our lives like Randy. He’s loud, he knows a great deal about things that no one else cares about, and he has a very high opinion of himself that is somehow balanced by his realization that in the grand scheme of things he’s kind of stuck being a nerd. What’s cool is that he embraces it even though he realizes that it means he’ll never get the girl of his dreams.
Morgan – Good Will Hunting
He’s the whipping boy of the group. But really, when a guy humps a baseball glove he kind of puts himself in that category. Plus Morgan is a bit of a whiner right up until it’s time to make his presence known. Give him this much, when it came time to get out of the car and come to Will’s defense Morgan was at least there.
Jimmy – Pulp Fiction
Jimmy is pathetic simply because he likes to overreact. Now in all honesty Jules and Vincent did happen to bring a dead body to his garage and did walk into his house looking like they just came from the set of the Chainsaw Massacre. But flipping out like he did seems a little pathetic considering that he’s talking to two well-known hit men that probably wouldn’t mind adding another body to their count so long as they had the okay.
Heywood – The Shawshank Redemption
You know those guys that are all talk and little to no show? Heywood fits that description very well. He’s the tough guy when he opens his mouth but when it comes to anything else he’s just kind of, meh. Plus, the scene with the horse apple, a dried up old piece of horse dung, is just too much. If you’ve seen the film you probably rolled your eyes at Heywood just like I did.
The pathetic best friend is there for comic relief sometimes and just to be made fun of. But they do add a healthy balance to the film and provide a different character to enjoy as well.