This week's release of 'Morning Glory' looks poised to earn Harrison Ford a spot in the movie curmudgeon hall of fame. He plays a sour morning show anchor who reluctantly accepts a job co-hosting America's lowest-rated national morning show. Much to the chagrin of his ambitious producer, played by the Rachel McAdams, Ford's grumpy character refuses to play ball by not taking on zany assignments like his perky co-host (Diane Keaton).
Ford's withering stare and gruff mumble make for perfect curmudgeon material. His steely eyes say 'Don't talk to me,' while his stern tone confirms he's not your friend. Or anybody's, for that matter. Will he prove to be a big softie in the end? It's Hollywood, so probably. Besides, even curmudgeons can't resist a sweet smile from the ever-charming McAdams.
In honour of Ford's crotchety turn in 'Morning Glory,' we've compiled a list of our favourite movie curmudgeons.
Robert de Niro as Jack Byrnes in 'Meet the Parents'
Jack Byrnes has got to be one of the most intimidating movie fathers-in-law of all time. Poor Greg works so hard to make a good impression, but this grumpy curmudgeon isn't having any of it. He'd much rather spend time alone with his fancy little cat, Mr. Jinx, than open up to the chatty male nurse his daughter has brought home. It only gets worse in 'Meet the Fockers,' when the uptight Jack is forced to interact with Greg's freewheelin' parents, the Fockers. Like many movie grumps (except the lonely single ones, of course), Jack is somewhat balanced by his more approachable wife, Dina, played by Blythe Danner.
Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski in 'Gran Torino'
Eastwood's curmudgeon Walt, shockingly enough, was married most of his life. Since the movie opens at his wife's funeral, we can only wonder what he and his poor wife chatted about. Conversation (and people, for that matter) doesn't seem to be his strong suit. Interestingly enough, his grumpy intolerance winds up helping his neighbor at one point, when he famously commands a group of street toughs to "get off my lawn." He gradually opens his cold heart to his neighbors, but he never loses that inimitable tough guy quality.
Bill Murray as Frank Cross in 'Scrooged'
Like many grouches, Frank Cross has alienated himself from everyone. He's cynical, ruthless and, well, downright mean. He even fires someone on Christmas Eve! Who does that? Oh, right. Crusty, heartless curmudgeons. Luckily, though, some ghosts visit him and straighten out his crotchety ways. Frank has a complete personality overhaul and morphs into a nice guy overnight, unlike many of his movie curmudgeon contemporaries, who typically undergo a more subtle shift to lovable old grump.
Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Leo Marvin in 'What About Bob?'
Clingy Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) certainly picked the wrong guy to grow so attached to. Grumpy Dr. Marvin is definitely no bleeding heart. Sure, he has the right to be annoyed when Bob follows him on his family vacation. But over the course of the movie, Dr. Marvin evolves from self-important narcissist to full-blown curmudgeon as Bob charms his family and wraps his annoying tentacles around Dr. Marvin's life. Bob continuously presses Dr. Marvin's buttons, driving the psychiatrist to become crankier and crankier, and ultimately alienating everyone around him as he becomes obsessed with the affable doofus Bob.
Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in 'As Good As it Gets'
Melvin may want to be a better man to snag the much-younger Carol, played by Helen Hunt, but he doesn't have to do much to become a better curmudgeon. He really sets the bar for grumpy old man. He slams doors in people's faces, he stuffs cute little dogs down garbage chutes, and he says stuff like "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here." Nicholson's iconic sneer captures Melvin's crabby grouch vibe perfectly.