by Stefan Pape
Michelle Darnell in The Boss
In Ben Falcone's The Boss, Melissa McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, an egotistical, cold-hearted, terror-inducing CEO who gets stung for insider trading. Upon her release, Darnell needs the support and assistance of her former colleagues to start again, but they're a little reluctant to lend a hand to somebody they despise so greatly. Who can blame them?
Though enjoying an eclectic, accomplished career in the industry, Gary Cole will forever be known to many as the worst boss in cinematic history, with his turn in the cult-favourite comedy Office Space. The character was first exposed in the Milton animated shorts, and was so immensely popular/unlikeable, he was reborn in the Mike Judge endeavour. He's even been reprised in an episode of Family Guy. We'll never escape Lumbergh.
Meryl Streep turns ugly as the villainous Miranda Priestly, breathing ferociously down the neck of Anne Hathaway's naive Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. Of course a tyrannical editor of this nature is the exception and not the rule. Editors are just great people who put so much hard work and diligence into their craft, to ensure a writer's copy is always of a certain, high standard. Ahem.
Mr. Burns is a terrible boss. He kills dogs to make new coats, he revokes dental plans, he doesn't give his employees Christmas bonuses, he has a shameless disregard for the environment – and worst of all, he never remembers anybody's name. Excellent? We think not.
Considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, helmed by the renowned filmmaker Billy Wilder, The Apartment survives predominantly from the empathetic nature of the protagonist C.C. Baxter, played by Jack Lemmon. Such is our investment in the character, anybody who attempts to exploit his good nature is not someone you have much time for. Step forward Sheldrake, played by Fred MacMurray.
“That's Henry F. Potter, the richest and meanest man in the country” is our first introduction to Lionel Barrymore's infamous character in everybody's favourite festive tearjerker, It's a Wonderful Life. Constantly locking horns with James Stewart's George Bailey, by the close of play, “the meanest man in the country” seems like something of an understatement where this acrimonious businessman is concerned.
This final entry is shared amongst three truly horrendous pieces of work, played by Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell, respectively, in a franchise formed entirely from the notion of having a boss you can't stand to work under. Though a film obsessed with the idea of murder, it's presented in an endearingly irreverent manner. After all, for all of the bitterness many feel, there are some bosses who are downright charming and a pleasure to work with. Just don't ever accept their friend request on Facebook.