The slacker character has grown from being background comic relief to the lead role. The upcoming film 'Your Highness,' for example, stars Danny McBride as Thaddeus, a prince who prefers boozing and smoking it up to ruling the kingdom. Judd Apatow has built an entire comedy franchise around the slacker, and Seth Rogen is an A-list star because of it. We're not here to degrade the slacker, but to celebrate the character with our own top 8 list. (Originally, we wanted to do a top 10 list, but we felt coming up short seemed appropriate.)
Note: Readers may have issues with some of our omissions. With so many options out there, we only picked those who accomplish almost nothing in their films. That ruled out the likes of 'Bill & Ted' and Wayne and Garth, who have slacker personae but actually get a lot done. We also considered the motivation for slack. If the character is simply a pothead, that didn't warrant a spot. The laziness had to run deeper than that.
8. Troy Dyer from 'Reality Bites' (1994)
Ben Stiller's definitive Generation X film stars Winona Ryder being quirky and cute, and Ethan Hawke being depressed and artsy. During this time period that's a fancy way of saying that Dyer is aspiring grunge musician. Makes sense, right? He's the only misunderstood artist slacker on this list. He blames his inability to commit or be productive on "the man" bringing him down. He's unable to keep a job, losing his latest one for eating a candy bar, and can barely gather enough energy to date a girl who lives in the same house and throws herself at him.
7. Enid from 'Ghost World' (2001)
There aren't many famous female slackers in cinema. Women often get portrayed as busybodies, tending to their family or working some kind of angle. Enid (Thora Birch), on the other hand, is perfectly content wasting her freshly educated, post-high-school mind on a whole lot of nothing. To her, it's not laziness, it's a protest ... against something. To be honest, we're not sure what, and it doesn't appear that she knows either. Unfortunately, she gets roped into taking a summer school art class; kind of, but not really, falls for an weird, old record collector (Steve Buscemi); and loses her best slacker pal (Scarlett Johansson) to guys. What a drag.
6. Smokey from 'Friday' (1995)
You could argue this Chris Tucker character is just another pothead. Perhaps he'd be a productive citizen if not for his staggering addiction to marijuana? Nah, he has the "motivation." Otherwise he would have taken the weed on consignment from Big Worm with the intent of selling it. He just has no drive, no willpower, and all of the ganja disappears in a cloud of smoke. Once he's finally found out, he can't even take the heat by himself. His buddy Craig (Ice Cube) gets pulled in and has to orchestrate the entire exit plan.
5. Peter Gibbons from 'Office Space' (1999)
Mike Judge's main character, played by Ron Livingston, may truly be the most unusual slacker on this list. Instead of being so disenchanted with reality that he ignores it, he enters a psychoanalyst's hypnotic trance and finds absolute peace by doing nothing. It's not that he's lazy, per se, it's just that he really enjoys doing nothing. That is, until he realizes he needs money in able to not do anything. That is the moment he decides to rip off his work, which goes poorly because he's a total slacker.
4. Randal Graves from 'Clerks' (1994)
Looking back, it's hard to believe actor Jeff Anderson never found further success in Hollywood. He is amazing as the fast-talking video clerk, who should win Worst Employee Ever on Film. Anderson could have been a wayward neighbor on 'Two and a Half Men' or annoyed Bruce Willis in some buddy cop movie. Oh well, we'll always have Graves, the perfect performance of a slacker who talks incessantly but acts on nothing.
3. Jeff Spicoli from 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' (1982)
If any critics doubt Sean Penn's acting talent, all they need to do is watch this movie again. We know the real S.P. can be political, tightly wound and kind of a drag. Spicoli, on the other hand, is nothing but easy times. We never even learn the names of his bros, played by Eric Stoltz and Anthony Edwards, because Spicoli never calls them by name -- probably because he doesn't remember.
2. David Wooderson from 'Dazed and Confused' (1993)
Absolutely no one has written "That Old Guy Who Hangs Around High Schoolers" better than Richard Linklater did, nor played him better than Matthew McConaughey did with David Wooderson. The character doesn't hit on high school girls because he's creepy, it's because he's lazy and they happen to be there. If his intentions were sinister, he would've bummed the stoner teens out before the film even started. His mentality seems to be, "Why go out in the world to make adult friends and meet adult women when I've got all these kids wanting to hang around me with no effort?"
1. The Dude from 'The Big Lebowski' (1998)
During the film's time span, Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) does get a lot accomplished. He bowls, botches a kidnapping-ransom drop-off, gets kidnapped, gets arrested, sleeps with an avant-garde feminist artist, fights German nihilists and more-or-less exposes an entire blackmail-porn-kidnapping ring. While that seems too active to qualify him as a slacker, he does everything unintentionally. Call it slacker happenstance. He takes the top spot here because The Dude has inspired more fandom, more White Russian purchases, more one-liners and more conventions than any other character on this list.