Top 5 – Movie characters who were unqualified for their jobs

Top 5 Movie Characters who were unqualified for their jobs

We’ve already examined the world’s worst fictional bosses, but what about the wider workforce?

Here are our top five movie characters who were clearly unqualified for their jobs…

5. Dewey Finn (School of Rock)

Jack Black’s character in School of Rock had many characteristics. Unfortunately, the ability to teach wasn’t one of them.

In fact, he only got the position in the first place by lying about who he was, imitating his long-suffering flatmate, Ned, and taking his money in the process. Good role model.

And don’t be fooled by the ‘musical theory’ montage showing him broadening the student’s horizon. As far as we can see, he pretty much spent the entire time teaching them one song. It wasn’t even a very good one.

There is a whole ‘believe in yourself’/’improve your self-confidence’ angle in there somewhere, but let’s see how handy that really is when the end-of-term tests come around…

4. Indiana Jones

We admit that this is a slightly controversial decision, as Dr. Jones is actually a professor of his chosen profession, namely: archaeology.

But what’s the first rule of archaeology? OK, we have no idea, but we’re pretty sure it’s not ‘buy some neat duds, and crack your bullwhip at anything that moves’, which is the style seemingly pioneered by Indy.

Aside from this, he seems to break nearly everything he touches. Upon discovering the ancient temple in Raiders of the Lost Ark he doesn’t carefully record data and recover vital artefacts with painstaking precision, as you may expect the typical archaeologist to do. Instead, he proceeds to destroy the efforts of thousands of years of civilisation, and takes the whole place down. Why? Because he wanted one golden relic.

We can’t see him appearing on Time Team any time soon…

3. Frank Abagnale Jr. (Catch Me If You Can)

Based on a true story, Catch Me If You Can tells the tale of Frank Abagnale Jr., a young conman who blags, steals and borrows his way across America in the 1960s.

In the movie portrayal, Frank is seen to be doing three jobs: Pilot, Doctor and Lawyer. As a pilot, he never flies a plane. As a doctor, he can’t stand the sight of blood. Finally, as a lawyer, he eventually reveals that he really did pass his bar exam to become fully qualified. However, whilst lawyers take years to study their craft and prepare for this exam, Leo simply read a few books. Suddenly he’s a member of the club? Why not. Latin never really seemed that hard anyway (N.B. The story by the real Abagnale is also a point of contention).

Still one out of three seems a pretty poor return competence-wise. 10/10 for effort, but minus several hundred on the career choice front.

2. Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter series)

OK, so we know Dumbledore is supposedly a great wizard and everything. But let’s face it, he has a pretty laissez-faire style when it comes to being a headmaster.  

He constantly abandons his duty of care to his students, is oblivious to numerous blatant health and safety violations, and regularly cancels end of year examinations (presumably) resulting in at least two year groups leaving school without any formal qualifications. And don’t even get us started on his staff screening process (do interviews mean nothing to this man?).

His sheer lack of interest is perfectly demonstrated in the Chamber of Secrets. Learning that the children are in imminent danger, a fellow teacher asks: "Sir, the chamber of secrets is opened again! Do we close the school?". No says Dumbledore. Let’s leave it, and hope a paltry bunch of pre-teens can save the day.

Has anyone ever even seen his PGCE? 

1. Jamaican Bobsleigh Team (Cool Runnings)

This movie (another based on a true story) pushes the boundaries when it comes to sports movies. We’d almost go as far as calling it a modern day classic. But the actual recruitment process leaves a lot to be desired.

Yes they were good athletes. Yes they were determined. But had they ever actually been in a bobsled before? No. In fact, they hadn’t even seen snow before. And if we were conducting the Winter Olympics qualification interviews that would definitely have been considered a pre-requisite.

But not for John Candy, it seems. A few test runs down some steep hills and 30 minutes sitting in a fridge, and they’re on their way to Canada. They do manage to put on a good show, and leave with their pride and their heads held high, which is nice. But they still lost.

Maybe if they spent more time practicing and less time soul-searching and kissing eggs, they may have finished higher than bottom. I see pride, I see power, I see them back searching for jobs on Monday…

Honourable Mentions: Burt in Mary Poppins (less singing, more sweeping – and don’t even mention the accent), President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove ("Gentlemen, you can't fight here, this is the war room!"), Willie Stokes in Bad Santa, Elizabeth Halsey in Bad Teacher, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Anything.

Think there's any we've missed out? Share them with us on twitter @reedcouk

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