5 Other Horrible Company Owners from 80’s & 90’s Comedy Movies!

PhilHaney by PhilHaney on Apr. 29, 2014
Here’s a life tip: you might be a racist if you see a picture of your girlfriend standing with NBA legend Magic Johnson and think to yourself “man, I wish she would stop bringing all these black people to my basketball game.” I bet even rancher and pro slavery advocate Cliven Bundy was shaking his head at some of these comments.

The second life tip we learned this week is that if you are that rich, old racist you should never anger your gold digging mistress. That’s what Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling found out this week when TMZ leaked audio of him instructing his girlfriend to remove Instagram photos of her with African Americans from her account in addition to not bringing them to games. Ironically a lot of Sterling’s problems could be illustrated through lyrics from rap and hip hop music. The NBA has responded to his statements by banning Sterling for life from all NBA activities and fining him 2.5 million dollars. In real life, sometimes the bad guy does get justice;  Just like the evil company owners from the classic comedy films of the 80’s and 90’s. You know the ones that are always tearing down orphanages to build condos, kicking old people out of the retirement home and rebuilding combination orphanage –retirement homes on top of Indian burial grounds.  If all goes to plan an evil corporate villain in a comedy film will be forced to exit faster than a Clippers team sponsor. Hopefully it will soon all work out for the Clippers players and their fans, but for now let us revel in other evil company owners from the movies!   

The Duke Brothers in Trading Places (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche)

Trading Places is a classic 1983 comedy in which Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy play men at the opposite ends of society, before both actors were at the opposite side of being funny. While Akroyd plays a respected managing director, Murphy plays a street hustler. If Donald Sterling were a movie critic he would give the racial overtones two thumbs up.

What They Did:  Akyroyd’s employers, Randolph and Mortimer Duke own a brokerage firm and decide to create a social experiment to win a debate on nature versus nurture.  To do so they switch the rich guy’s life with that of the street hustler all for the wager of one dollar. These crazy old rich guys know how to entertain themselves and they don’t even have to throw a naked porn star off a roof.

Evil Rating: Burn Down The Orphanage For The Insurance Money

Playing with people’s lives is pretty evil.  Murphy as “Billy Ray Valentine” moves in and takes over Akyroyd’s job while “Louis Winthorpe III” is left to board up with a prostitute and slowly goes inane. This was before the days of The Wolf of Wall Street when playing with people’s lives and bagging prostitutes was considered mandatory for financial institutions.  Murphy overhears the Duke Brothers discussing their dollar bet and that they plan to return him to the street because they don’t want someone of his race in control of the company. Again, Donald Sterling watching this is shoveling popcorn down his gullet while he routes for the Duke Brothers. To top it off the evil brothers plan on getting inside trading on the orange juice market, which is quickly thwarted and they end up broke. Sterling is sad.

Ray Zalinksi in Tommy Boy (Dan Akroyd)  

Looking back, the plot of 1995’s Tommy Boy was more of an excuse for Chris Farley and David Spade to make fat jokes than to tell an amazing story. This, coming from someone who had a Tommy Boy poster hanging in their bedroom for many years.  The thin plot they decided to go with is a fun throwback to the classic “underdogs vs big evil corporation” trope.  

What He Did:  Yes it is true, Chris Farley always dreamed of his signature movie being about auto parts.  Not even cool cars or racing; auto parts sales.  Dan Akroyd plays the cutthroat Ray Zalinksy; a rival auto parts manufacturer who plans to buy out Tommy’s Callahan Auto and fire all the workers. While portraying a nice guy on his TV commercial, Zalinksi secretly will do anything to dominate the industry. Luckily for him Tommy’s new step mom Beverly and step brother Paul are con artists out to sell the company after Tommy’s father Big Tom passed away. Just like David Sterling’s girlfriend, Beverly slept with an old rich guy for financial gain.  Or as it’s known in the business world, “closing the deal.”

While portraying a nice guy on his TV commercial, he secretly will do anything to dominate the auto parts industry. Luckily for him Tommy’s new step mom Beverly and step brother Paul are con artists out to sell the company after Tommy’s father Big Tom passed away. Just like David Sterling’s girlfriend, Beverly slept with an old rich guy for financial gain; this is also known in the business world as “closing the deal.”

Evil Rating: Pushing Orphan

Tommy forces Zalinsky to make the right decision by strapping a bomb to his chest and having a news crew follow him into a board meeting where Zalinsky was about to purchase Callahan Auto from Beverly and Paul.  Since she was still married to Paul, her marriage to Big Tom was void, thus Tommy is the rightful heir to the company and she can’t sell it. Can I point out that Big Tom is kind of a dick for not letting Tommy inherit the company in the first place? No? OK.  Zalisnky ends up buying auto parts from Tommy to save the day, and Tommy doesn’t have to worry about being held responsible for the fake bomb scare he created since it’s just a movie!

R.J Fletcher in UHF (Kevin Mccarthy)

UHF stars Weird Al Yankovic as the programming director for a low budget TV station broadcasting on UHF. Before the Internet, UHF was sort of like having a YouTube series broadcast on a local TV station. There would be some crazy programming, but they hadn’t yet invented getting kicked in the balls and falling off a skateboard with a cat strapped to your head for entertainment.

What He Did: Angered that the local UHF station is starting to compete with their programming, rival big budget station owner R.J. Fletcher offers to purchase it from its struggling owner, at which point he would “turn it into a parking lot.” This whole crushing the competition through buying out competitors thing is a fairly standard business practice. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.

While offering to buy a rival company to squash it is not really that evil, things get a little more twisted when Weird Al’s character attempts to “save” the UHF station with a telethon only to be thwarted by Fletcher’s henchman. Telethons to raise money for programming were like public television’s version of Kickstarter, only way more annoying!

EVIL RATING: Blowing Away The Orphanage to Make Way for a Parking Lot

To stop the UHF guys from badgering the public for money the evil Feltcher sends some thugs who lock up the station’s star performer, Stanley so he can’t help raise money for the effort. Which was probably a good thing. Television was so terrible in the 80’s that people were willing to give money to a local TV station to produce some low budget talk shows.  In the end, in a move that would make the Clippers’ Donald Sterling wince, Fletcher is secretly recorded and rebroadcast discussing how much he hates his own viewers and the fact that he hasn’t renewed his own station’s FCC license. Thus everyone turns against him, he loses his station and the UHF channel is saved!

Dick Jones in RoboCop (Ronny Cox)

OK, so RoboCop isn’t a wacky comedy, but it is a social satire, and when you think of terrible heads of large companies trying to screw the little guy, nothing quite compares to Omni Consumer Products’ Senior President Dick Jones.

What He Did:  Normally the bad guy just wants to bulldoze the orphanage. Jones and his company have plans to plow down entire parts of crime ravaged Detroit, and rebuild it with high rise condos, take over and privatize the police department and city, thus forcing citizens to buy stock in the newly formed Delta City if they want to be protected by the police. At this point I believe watching RoboCop gives Donald Sterling a huge erection.

EVIL RATING: Blowing Up The Orphanage Just For Fun With the Orphans Still Inside

When police officer Alex Murphy is gunned down, OCP falsely tells his family he is dead. This way they can use him so that he can be turned into a cyborg – half human – half robot crime fighter. Murphy’s memories are erased and he only knows that he is RoboCop with fluttering memories of his former life popping though.  This alone could get OCP brought up on crimes against humanity.

We all love RoboCop, but if this happened in real life can you imagine how pissed people would be? Obama has a few remote control airplanes and everyone loses their shit. Dick Jones’ company put a dying police officer in fucking robot- without his permission.  To top it off Jones is using a gang to cause havoc in the city and secretly plans to sell more of his advanced military style robots to the city government in order to replace the entire police force. Donald Sterling definitely doesn’t want Dick Jones to come to his basketball game.

Sherman Krader in Ernest Goes To Camp (Richard Verson)

Before Larry The Cable Guy there was Ernest. The Ernest movies were pretty much built on the premise of evil company owners doing terrible things to the little guy. That’s why whenever Ernest “goes” somewhere he needs to be really careful and watch out for rich guys who want to take stuff over.  In Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest is camp counselor who must try and help fight off an evil mining company headed by “Sherman Krader.” Think of it as the plot of Avatar, but a lot smarter.

What He Did: Krader tricks the Native Americans land into selling their ancestral homeland on which the camp for wayward children is built. Once he has control of the land, he plans to destroy the camp and turn it into a mine for a mineral called petrocite. Why are old folks homes and camps always built where valuable minerals are?! They really need to start doing a land survey constructing these things.

EVIL RATING: Blowing Up The Orphanage To Make A Quick Buck

You would think with a lot of these comedy plots that they couldn’t happen in real life. How do you trick someone into selling their land and not end up in court first? However there are a lot of legal precedents for this with eminent domain cases taking land from honest working folks. Ernest leads a group of campers and camp councilors to stop the mining company’s demolition process with improvised weapons, teaching the children how to be domestic terrorists.  In turn Krader stands his ground, shows up with a hunting rifle and starts shooting at Ernest. If you think about it, this was his right since they attacked his property first. Wow, this movie sounds a lot darker than I remember when it’s described. In the end Ernest shoves his finger in the gun and the police show up to arrest Krader, because they just know he’s the bad guy and don’t worry about how the campers attacked the construction workers first, it’s only a movie.

What's your favorite evil corporate villain from a 80's or 90's comedy?

Follow Phil Haney @PhilHaney

eldystar User

A jewish man is racist.  News at 11.   His upper crust buddies feel all people of any color who do not earn 700 million a year are garbage and disposable news at 12.   Keep em coming.

bigdogbovy User

Yep ban sterling fior life.  then Ban every owner, coach, player, assistant, etc who has ever said, tweeted etc. the words "Cracker" CornFlake", "Whitebread" etc.

COHockey User

Cmon enough already. 

America is painfully aware of the double-standard and hypocrisy regarding racial issues.

It is ok to dish on white people openly and without fear of reprisal ala Jay-Z, Ice Cube, Al, Jesse, 0bama, Chappelle, any rapper, etc etc etc etc etc etc.... but get caught being a racist white in a private, set-up conversation and the liberal press calls for your execution. 

I am SORRY people with the same pigment as me did horrible things before I was born... but do I now have less rights as an American for this reason? According to the liberals, YES. 

Racism and bigotry is WRONG, PERIOD. Until we stop making excuses for EITHER SIDE, we will continue down the road of tit for tat, divided as a people and unable to unite to defeat the REAL enemy..... the corporate dictatorship.