Two movies are out on DVD today that have one thing in common: truly unsympathetic protagonists, people you would not want to spend more than five minutes with if you ran into them in real life. Surprisingly, however, I liked both of these movies very much: Greenberg, in which Ben Stiller is one of the most consistently off-putting characters ever onscreen; and Harmony and Me, in which Justin Rice's whiny, melodramatic title character practically leaks self-pity wherever he goes.
There's something to be said for a great movie with a grating character you want to strangle, who just plain drives you nuts. For one thing, it's a refreshing change from the supposedly unlikeable character who ends up just being a big old softy by the end of the film, and gets all sentimental or changes his/her ways. It's a challenge to have a horrible character that an audience can still somehow sympathize with, and although it's risky I find it quite rewarding to watch.
So here are seven characters that might be fascinating to watch, but that you could not possibly stand to spend any time with, and may not even be able to stand watching onscreen. Nonetheless, they appear in seven movies that are widely considered good (even if I don't like a couple of them myself).