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  1. Aliens (1986)

    Sidekick:
    Private William Hudson (Bill Paxton)

    Who?
    Hudson is a lowly foot soldier in the interplanetary Marine squadron that accompanies Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) back to a remote planet in search of alien specimens. He distinguishes himself on the battlefield by shouting “fuck!” a lot, and not dying right away like most of his comrades in arms.

    Why so useless?
    Let’s get this straight: Everyone loves Hudson, and with good reason—with his foul mouth and we’re-all-gonna-die attitude, he’s the most entertaining grunt in the bunch. But what does he actually achieve, beyond a handful of pithy one-liners and a spectacular, tentacular death?

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  2. The Harry Potter series (2001–2011)

    Sidekick:
    Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)

    Who?
    The cheeky young carrot-topped schoolboy scamp who becomes an integral part of Harry Potter’s inner circle, thanks to his unflappable good humor and sterling array of ’70s chunky-knit sweaters

    Why so useless?
    Lovable as Ron undoubtedly is, he’s not much use in a tight situation, preferring to stand on the sidelines bellowing old-fashioned curse words (“bloody hell!”) and waving his wand around like a befuddled orchestra conductor.

  3. Commando (1985)

    Sidekick:
    Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong)

    Who?
    Not so much a sidekick as a kidnap victim with benefits, flight attendant Cindy is having a perfectly decent day until she finds a tooled-up Austrian nutjob hiding in the back of her car. Luckily, it’s only special-forces colonel Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the hunt for his missing daughter.

    Why so useless?
    We’ll let it go that she tips off the bad guys, leading to a massacre at the megamall. But even after she gets wise to Arnie’s lovable nature, she still seems to spend most of her time flapping her arms and panicking.

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  4. Cast Away (2000)

    Sidekick:
    Wilson

    Who?
    The volleyball smeared with a bloody handprint that becomes the only companion and sounding board for Tom Hanks’s increasingly frayed and frenzied modern-day Robinson Crusoe

    Why so useless?
    It’s not Wilson’s fault—he’s an inanimate object, and therefore not much help in fire-lighting, shelter-building and fish-catching activities. Perhaps his only consolation is that, however lonely they get on those long tropical nights, Tom never attempts to take their relationship to the next level.

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  5. Top Gun (1986)

    Sidekick:
    Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards)

    Who?
    Goose is wingman to hotshot flying ace Maverick (Tom Cruise) and husband to a good li’l all-American wife (Meg Ryan). But he’s just not cut out for the high-speed dog-eat-dog world of top-rank naval aviation.

    Why so useless?
    Maverick! Iceman! Viper! Goose… With a nickname like that, it’s really no wonder poor Nick gets overshadowed by his flashier, pithier, considerably better-looking colleagues. Even his tragic death is pretty pathetic, cracking his head on the flight canopy in an embarrassing case of premature ejector-seat activation.

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  6. Clash of the Titans (1981)

    Sidekick:
    Bubo

    Who?
    A solid-gold mechanical owl who aids Perseus (Harry Hamlin) in his efforts to kill Medusa and save the city of Argo from the clutches of the evil Kraken. In a fairly cynical move, Bubo was clearly intended to fill the chirpy, kid-friendly R2-D2 role in this legendary epic.

    Why so useless?
    In his first appearance, Bubo flaps out of a clear blue sky, makes a weird cuckooing noise (he’s an owl, guys), and falls flat on his head. Things don’t really improve from there: This is one of those situations where pandering to the youth market just makes everyone look stupid.

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  7. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    Sidekick:
    Michael Williams (Michael Williams)

    Who?
    The burly sound recordist who, along with pack leader Heather (Heather Donahue) and cameraman Josh (Joshua Leonard), loses his way in the Maryland woods and falls prey to evil forces beyond his understanding.

    Why so useless?
    To be fair, all three characters are pretty incompetent, but moaning Mike takes the blue ribbon: Not only does he kick their only map into the river, he’s the doofus who goes blithely wandering off into the basement of a creepy abandoned house against the express advice of every horror movie ever. Still, at least he remembered to pack plenty of batteries for his camera.

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  8. Runaway Train (1985)

    Sidekick:
    Buck McGeehy (Eric Roberts)

    Who?
    A convicted statutory rapist (sounds like a great guy already) who latches on to Jon Voight’s blithering psycho Manny when the latter embarks on an escape attempt from a remote Alaskan prison.

    Why so useless?
    Naive, dumb as a stone and cowardly to boot (not to mention the whole rapist angle), Buck is meant to represent the ordinary man in Andrei Konchalovsky’s ferocious Nietszchean satire on rails. It’s no wonder Voight keeps yelling obscenities in his face.

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  9. Batman Forever (1995)

    Sidekick:
    Dick Grayson a.k.a. Robin (Chris O’Donnell)

    Who?
    Holy unnecessary appendage! Conveniently overlooking the fact that Tim Burton’s first two Batman flicks made wads of cash, the producers decided to return to the camp style of the TV series for this pitiful threequel. Largely forgotten tween favorite Chris O’Donnell sports some seriously ill-fitting Lycra.

    Why so useless?
    The character is a former circus trapeze artist, which automatically makes him an annoying little twerp. Add to that O’Donnell’s forgettable facial features and cardboardlike charisma, and the result is less Dick Grayson than just plain dick.

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  10. Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (1999)

    Sidekick:
    Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best)

    Who?
    A gangly six-foot amphibian who speaks in dubious alien patois and keeps tripping over stuff, Jar Jar attaches himself to Liam Neeson’s noble Jedi Qui-Gon and gets in everyone’s way while they’re trying to save the universe. He later becomes a politician, which seems appropriate.

    Why so useless?
    George Lucas made it clear that his first Star Wars prequel was aimed at a younger audience than the original trilogy, but it’d take a pretty brain-dead six-year-old to find Jar Jar funny. Imagine Jim Carrey with all his bones removed doing his worst Bob Marley impersonation and you’re almost there.

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  11. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

    Sidekick:
    Skids (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Mudflap (voiced by Reno Wilson)

    Who?
    They may be more than meets the eye, but they’re undeniably racial stereotypes: Two sassy extraterrestrial robot soul brothers tapped by Optimus Prime to tussle with some jive-ass Decepticons.

    Why so useless?
    Not so much useless as deeply offensive: With their buck teeth, big ears, urban slang and claims that they “don’t do much readin’,” Skids and Mudflap harken back to the Amos and Andy school of crude racial stereotyping. None of which prevented the film from making an absolute pile at the box office.

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  12. Judge Dredd (1995)

    Sidekick:
    Herman Ferguson (Rob Schneider)

    Who?
    An ex-con computer hacker who gets tangled up in Judge Dredd’s efforts to rid Mega-City One of mutant crime. However, Herman’s contribution to this noble crusade seems to consist entirely of popping up from behind pieces of blasted masonry, doing a quick double take, waving his arms then ducking back down again.

    Why so useless?
    There’s nothing inherently wrong with the cowardly sidekick (see Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2 or Pippin in the Lord of the Rings movies), but when Rob Schneider’s involved, chances are it ain’t gonna turn out well. Still, Schneider should be happy: For the first and only time in his career, he’s not the worst thing in this movie. He’s only as awful as every other element.

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The 12 most useless sidekicks in movies

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Whether it’s a cute wisecracking kid, a hairy alien copilot or a sassy kung fu assassin, every great movie hero needs a reliable sidekick. But what to do when your partner in crime-fighting turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help? From malfunctioning mechanical owls to bumbling extraterrestrial amphibians, from dead-meat fighter pilots to pratfalling computer hackers, these are the 12 most ineffective movie sidekicks.

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