8 Movie Mentors Who Really Shouldn't Be Trusted
The relationship between a youngster and their movie mentor is a classic cinema staple. How we'd love to be Good Will Hunting-ed by Robin Williams, or join Professor Xavier's school for gifted youngsters. But older doesn't always mean wiser.
These are the mentors who at first glance look like tip-top role models, but scratch the surface and their advice and teachings are just terrible. Don't listen to a word they say.
1| Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society
Oh Captain, My Captain! Lovely Mr Keating is the sensitive and artistic teacher in an elite boys' school who helps to nurture a love of poetry and literature in his previously buttoned-down students. And they love him for it.
Unfortunately the effect of riling up a bunch of posh adolescents, teaching them to flout authority and "seize the day" results in one emotional chap taking his own life because his father says he's not allowed to appear in the school play. Keating gets fired, and quite right too.
2| Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars
Obi-Wan Kenobi made a career out of dropping the ball. As Anakin Skywalker's master, he stood blithely by as his student embraced the dark side and killed all the Jedi (and, when he finally confronted him, didn't even stick around to make sure he was dead).
Given the chance to make up for his mistakes with Luke, he lies to him a bunch and then quickly enacts death-by-Vader. Obi-Wan, if your Force ghost had a tangible face, we would punch it.
3| Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid
Miyagi has Seen Things, and never pretends to be a saint. But does that mean he gets a free pass to exploit a child for odd jobs (car-waxing, fence-painting, et cetera)?
Then in return for the odd jobs, he teaches Daniel how to beat up the lads at his new school who he doesn't like and secure victory by kicking a kid in the face. He should wax the hell off.
4| Glinda in The Wizard of Oz
Sure, she's the "Good Witch", but, arguably, she's not that bloody good. No sooner has poor old Dorothy Gale arrived in Oz, squishing the Wicked Witch of the East and nicking her shoes into the bargain, than Glinda sends her off on a mission down the Yellow Brick Road to find the wizard, who she says might be able to help her get home.
One massive ordeal later, involving flying monkeys, a haunted forest, and the attempted burning of Dorothy's new mate the Scarecrow, and Dorothy discovers that the wizard is a fraud. How will she get home? By clicking her heels together, that's how, as revealed by none other than Glinda, who gave her the ruby slippers in the first place. Information that would have been useful RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING.
5| Dumbledore in The Harry Potter Series
He's a troubled man with a lot on his plate. And he's also the WORST mentor for Harry Potter. "The boy who lived" almost becomes "the boy who lived for a bit and then got killed during an unnecessarily dangerous wizard equivalent of sports day" when Albus agrees to host the Triwizard Tournament.
Not to mention the fact that his school is built next to an incredibly dangerous forest, has a violent tree on the grounds, and a three-headed dog on the third floor.
Also, Dumbledore seems to be wilfully vague, untruthful, and unavailable to Harry, withholding much pertinent information and instead grooming a band of child warriors to do his bidding.
The end doesn't justify the means, Professor Beardface.
6| Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films
Why don't the Eagles just fly the ring to Mount Doom? Why doesn't Gandalf use his magicky staff a bit more often?
Even if you reckon you can talk the bearded one out of that, we're still not convinced he's a good mentor, sending off Bilbo on an extremely dangerous mission he's not in any way qualified for, and then later, after Bilbo gets back against all the odds, doing the same thing to his nephew Frodo.
Was there literally no-one else you could ask, Gandalf? Or do you just really not like the Bagginses?
7| M in Bond
Seriously, M as played by Judi Dench is the worst possible "mother" figure for Daniel Craig's damaged Bond. Despite being well aware that he's a ticking timebomb who buries his emotions, she gives this man-child a license to kill and repeatedly sends him into hugely stressful situations—like a high-stakes poker game with a terrorist.
Even worse, she then complains every time he kills anybody.
This was all well and good when it was uber-confident Brosnan that M was sending out to save the world, but Craig's 007 always looks to be having an utterly miserable time. In Skyfall, he literally fails a whole series of physical and psychological tests and she still puts him back out in the field.
Even after she's killed by Javier Bardem's Raoul Silva—another former agent she'd screwed over and who totally had her number—the late M sends Bond one last mission from beyond the grave. Can't the guy just kick back and enjoy a dry Martini already?
8| God in Bruce Almighty
Morgan Freeman seems to be a wise and benevolent God (and that's true in the film too BOOM BOOM), who teaches Jim Carrey's mid-level reporter Bruce to stop being so selfish and appreciate the little things in life. Aww.
Only hang on, not "aww"—the only reason God gives Bruce near omnipotence is because he's peed off that Bruce has suggested God is doing a bad job.
It's the classic "try walking a mile in my shoes!" story, only where one of the two is an All-Powerful Deity who should be a bit above that. It seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to in order to prove a point. Isn't God meant to be a bit bigger than that?
And we're not sure of the morality of allowing Bruce to make a monkey come out of a bloke's butt, either (for the man or the monkey). That's some bad Old Testament stuff right there.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.