Lazy, unmotivated, and totally clueless, movie slackers have been a huge part of cinema for decades. Always funny and sometimes inspiring, these motivationally challenged individuals make the easy life so appealing, you’ll want to skip work and keep watching more of their movies. Slackers continue to prove popular with moviegoers, what with the recent release of American Ultra, as well as Richard Linklater’s spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!!, on the way.
There’s certainly a lot of movie slackers to choose from, but for this list we’re only choosing the best of the worst. These characters must be widely recognized and more importantly, widely recognized for not caring about work, school, or much of anything else.
So with that in mind let’s take a look at the 15 Best Movie Slackers of All Time that have made you want to put your feet up and just chill.
15 Bill and Ted (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
Whoa, this totally excellent pair from the 1989 time-travel comedy are slackers in the most basic sense of the word. Bill and Ted are high school partiers that have big aspirations of becoming huge rock stars. Bill and Ted have such a slacker aesthetic that they don’t even bother to learn instruments, shooting mindless music videos to send in to Edward Van Halen instead of practicing.
By focusing all their attention on their band, Wild Stallions, the two completely botch a history report they need in order to graduate. Thankfully a time traveling George Carlin saves the day, allowing the slacker duo to gain access to the most prolific figures in history to finish their report.
Plans for Bill and Ted 3 are still in the works, which is most excellent news for fans holding out hope of seeing Keanu Reeves readopt his surfer boy persona.
14 Kumar (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)
Smoking pot and slacking off go hand in hand, and that’s never more evident than by observing Kumar for any length of time in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. This stoner opens up the movie by completely failing a job interview on purpose by telling his would-be employer that he’s off to get so stoned he can’t feel his skull. Kumar doesn’t want to look for a job, he doesn’t want to work, and he doesn’t want to do anything productive. Instead he’d rather sit on the couch with his slightly more productive buddy Harold, smoke weed, and eat food.
This leads the two off on a quest to get the famed mini-hamburgers from White Castle, causing a whole lot of mischief and wacky events to happen along the way. The pairs two subsequent adventures have their charms, but were largely unable to capture the magic of the original, as is oftentimes the case.
13 Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
While Scott Pilgrim spends the majority of his own movie working hard to achieve one goal, it is one more goal than he would rather put any effort into. Scott is a twenty-something wannabe musician who plays bass guitar, but only when he finds it convenient, and he makes dumb decisions that he doesn’t spend too much time thinking about. His motivation is only to better things going on in his life without thinking about how his decisions affect the people around him.
Even his diehard courtship of the lovely Ramona Flowers is selfish, as he doesn’t take the time to break the news to his current girlfriend, Knives. By the end of the movie, however, Scott learns to grow as a person and tells people how he really feels instead of ignoring them. He does all this and more while still fighting supervillains played by superheroes (Chris Evans and Brandon Routh) and Oscar winners (Brie Larson).
12 Saul (Pineapple Express)
Spending all day smoking pot and watching stupid videos on Youtube is a slacker’s dream, and it’s a paradise that’s inhabited by Saul Silver, the drug dealer that's a few bulbs short in Pineapple Express. The character, wonderfully played by James Franco, is so high all of the time that he’s unaware of most things happening around him. Saul forgets simple things, has bad ideas, doesn’t know when to shut up, and has seemingly smoked the last remaining brain cells he has into oblivion.
Still, he has a big heart, as he helps his buddy Dale (who's not too hard-working himself) from avoiding getting shot by ruthless drug kingpins. Saul’s a slacker, but the kind of guy who will always give you a helping hand, even if sometimes that hand does more harm than good.
11 Peter (Office Space)
Peter (Ron Livingston) is an overworked, underpaid computer programmer that works a dead end job. He has a wanting urge to just sit at home all day and do absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, Peter is a bit of a pushover and doesn’t have the guts to do anything about it. That is until he enters a permanent state of total relaxation thanks to an occupational hypnotherapist.
It's then that Peter lives out his fantasy, his fantasy to do absolutely nothing. And he loves it. Peter spends his days fishing, hooking up with cute waitresses played by Jennifer Aniston, and just sitting on his couch drinking beer. He loves it so much that he comes up with an idea he can do it forever by robbing his place of work. Of course the plan doesn’t work out very well, but in the end Peter learns to embrace the slacker side of his life, even if he has to cut a few corners to get there.
10 Ben (Knocked Up)
Seth Rogen’s Ben from the Judd Apatow's Knocked Up is a good example of what happens when a slacker is shocked into reality by a surprise pregnancy. Ben Stone starts his journey as just another lazy pothead who lives with his other buddies in a house, who also happen to be lazy potheads. He lives off of a cash settlement he scored after being the victim of a car accident and his only other future endeavor involves creating a website featuring nude celebrities. Which has already been done.
When Ben realizes he’s about to have a child, he is snapped into reality but continues to indulge in his slacking ways, smoking pot and even tripping on magic mushrooms in Las Vegas. By the end of his story, however, Ben finally realizes he must change for the sake of his child and gets a legitimate job and stable apartment. While his days of goofing off are clearly over by the movie’s end for the sake of his new family, Ben will always be a slacker at heart.
9 Cheech and Chong (Cheech and Chong Series)
Clueless, dimwitted and always high, Cheech and Chong are probably the most recognized pair of slacker stoners in the history of cinema. The two characters’ entire stick is based around smoking weed, goofing off and getting into wacky adventures. Cheech and Chong, who were thought up by real-life stoner comedians by the same names, were in too many movies to count in the '70s and '80s, including Up in Smoke, Nice Dreams, Things are Tough All Over and Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie.
Sometimes they’ll be ice cream truck drivers who sell weed on the side, other times they’ll be limo drivers, and in other instances male strippers. Whatever they’re doing, you can rest assured that the duo will be putting their feet up, lighting a joint, and not concerning themselves with work, like a true slacker would.
8 Bender (The Breakfast Club)
Bender is one of five kids that get locked up in Saturday detention in The Breakfast Club, but he’s by far the most crude degenerate one of the bunch. In a group that has an athlete, a princess, a basket case, and a nerd, Bender is the criminal; the dreg of society. He spends his time riding the horns of Mr. Vernon, the authoritarian who puts Bender down any chance he can get.
Bender frequently acts up, makes fun of the other students and gets everyone to smoke pot by the movie’s end. He's had a rough go of it though, as evidenced by the rough childhood that he graphically depicts in one of the more serious scenes of the film. Bender is a slacker degenerate, but as he and the rest of the students eventually learn, it doesn’t define him as a person.
7 Randal (Clerks)
Anti-authority, anti-work and anti-Lord of the Rings, Randal is the slacker who does the bare minimum in order to get by. If you looked up the word “lazy” in the dictionary you would most likely see a picture of Randal sitting behind a counter eating potato chips. In Kevin Smith’s debut movie, Clerks, Randal runs the desk in a video rental store next door to a Quick Stop run by his buddy Dante. Randal, bored with his position and life in general, frequently makes his way over to the Quick Stop to shoot the breeze with Dante. He rambles on about Star Wars, bubblegum, hockey, and whatever else helps to make the time pass.
In the sequel to Clerks, both Randal and Dante have graduated from being convenience store clerks to fast food operators. Talk about moving up in the world. Randal still has a tough time doing actual work though, and frequently goofs off making fun of employees and customers for liking Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Kevin Smith has stated Clerks 3 is in the works, and if history has taught us anything, we'll still find Randal with his feet up on the desk taking a much deserved break for all of us.
6 Ed (Shaun of the Dead)
Nick Frost puts in a slacker performance for the ages with his character Ed in Shaun of the Dead. Ed is a lazy oaf that sits on the couch all day playing video games while selling a bit of weed on the side to support his freeloader lifestyle. His flatmate Shaun is unmotivated as well, but looks like a super productive person in comparison to Ed. While Shaun’s life slowly goes down the tubes, Ed is only concerned if his buddy will go to the local quickie mart to pick up an ice cream for him.
But does Ed step up to the plate by the time the zombie apocalypse shows up? Well, sort of. He does help his friends make their way to their favorite pub/safe haven, the Winchester, but he still can’t stop playing on his phone or help himself from taking joyrides in Shaun’s stepfather’s car. At the end of the day though, Ed proves to be a good friend by sacrificing himself for Shaun and his girlfriend Liz. Shaun repays the deed by keeping the zombified Ed in his wood shed with his beloved video games. What a buddy.
5 Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
Meet Jeff Spicoli, a surfer dude stoner who can’t show up on time for class to save his life. He was hated by his teachers, but that didn’t keep audiences from loving this character played so effortlessly by a young Sean Penn. Spicoli spends his afternoons getting high in his buddy’s van, taking off his shirt in burger joints, and smashing up the school’s star athlete’s car. His hijinks finally catch up to him when he meets Mr. Hand, the history teacher that makes an example of the high school degenerate. Mr. Hand ridicules Jeff by ripping up his school schedule and even makes a surprise visit to Spicoli’s house to teach him a thing or two about the American Revolution. Whoa.
Still, none of it seems to bother Spicoli or deter him from his slacking lifestyle. In an epilogue to the Cameron Crowe-written film it’s revealed that Jeff is rewarded a hefty sum of money after saving Brooke Shields from drowning. How does he spend his reward? By hiring Val Halen to play at his birthday party. Way to go Spicoli.
4 John Blutarsky aka Bluto (Animal House)
Probably one of the first characters to popularize cinema slackers and influence all that came after, it was John Belushi who brought this iconic degenerate to life in 1978’s Animal House. Blutarsky, also know as Bluto, is a loud, obnoxious, party-animal frat boy that is more concerned with how many beer bombs he can do than how many classes he is passing. He is the undisputed king of Delta Tau Chi House which is known for their repeated misconduct and poor academic performance, mostly thanks to the antics of Bluto.
This college slacker loves pulling endless amounts of pranks. He moves ladders onto the sides of sorority houses so he can get a peep inside. He places a live horse in the Dean’s office and accidentally gives it a heart attack by firing a gun full of blanks. He may be a slacker for the ages, but man, those chugging skills sure are impressive.
3 Wooderson (Dazed and Confused)
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age. Yes they do, yes they do.”
Alright, alright, alright. This widely beloved slacker from Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is a dimwitted, pot-totting partier of epic proportions. Wooderson is in his mid-twenties, but that doesn’t keep him from hangin’ out with high school kids to relive his glory days. And why wouldn’t he? The seniors of his high school, set in the early '70s, treat Wooderson like some sort of partying god. Wooderson goes on burn runs, shoots pool, hits on girls half his age, and arranges “beer busts” at the famed hangout, the moon tower.
While Wooderson was once a prominent football player, he decided to skip his college education to work for the city and put a little money in his pocket to support his slacker lifestyle. Good thing too, because the character is one of the many highlights of Dazed and Confused. He’s perfectly played by Matthew McConaughey, so much so that the actor was typecasted as a brainless slacker for years until he finally got more dramatic roles. Never forget, before he won an Oscar playing an AIDS victim, McConaughey was doing keg stands in a role he will undoubtedly be forever immortalized as.
2 Wayne and Garth (Wayne’s World)
Besides The Blues Brother’s, Wayne’s World is the most successful SNL sketch to make the jump onto the big screen, and it’s in large part thanks to Mike Myers' and Dana Carvey’s hilarious portrayals of Wayne and Garth. Fans of heavy metal music and babes, the pair channel their, erm, creative talent, into a public access show entitled Wayne’s World that’s filmed in Wayne’s parents' basement. The show has the duo pull stupid gags, talk about celebrities who are “babelicious,” and use moronic products like the hair-cutting “suck-o-matic.”
When their show is bought out by a major television company, the duo make the best of the situation by having the time of their lives. They have an excellent time hanging out with Alice Cooper, playing Laverne and Shirley, and placing shameless product ads like Pepsi and Pizza Hut into their movie. The two are a blast to watch thanks to their quirky conversations and clueless interactions. Party on Wayne, and party on Garth!
1 The Dude (The Big Lebowski)
The Dude, his Dudeness, Duder, el Duderino. Jeff Lebowski goes by many names, but the one you may know him by best is simply, the Dude. There can be only one King of the Slackers, and no one is more deserving of the title than this famed beach-bum hippie from the Coen Brother’s 1998 classic, The Big Lebowski. The Dude is the kind of guy you want to have a beer with, or rather a white Russian. He’s an unemployed pacifist that spends his days scrounging up roach clips and listening to whale sounds on cassette tapes. Amongst all his slacker hobbies though, the Dude loves bowling the best, frequently visiting the alleys with his buddies Walter and Donny, the latter of whom is frequently out of his element.
Things take a turn for the worse, however, when two henchmen break into his home, and pee on his favored rug, which really “tied the room together.” What starts off as a simple case of mistaken identity, sets off a chain reaction that has the Dude involved with a botched kidnapping. Still, the Dude never loses his cool even when nihilists burst into his bathroom and place a ferret into his bathtub. With his cool demeanor, laidback philosophy, and positive outlook on life, the Dude takes our top spot for greatest movie slacker. But you know, that’s just like, our opinion, man.
Do you abide by our list? Did we miss any of your favorite slackers? Let us know in the comments.
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