Twenty-two years ago, a nine-year-old Macaulay Culkin took over the planet when Christmas movie–and bad parenting guidebook–Home Alone was released. Everyone was going around screaming “Ahhhh!” People loved that little kid, as they should have; he was great in that movie. He was so great, in fact, society has kept tabs on him. He’s done a bit of acting as an adult, somehow managed to date Mila Kunis for years, and has recently come under even more intense scrutiny for his emaciated appearance, earlier this year. That’s what happens when you’re a popular child star, but what about the annoying kids? The ones we just wanted to forget about? As it turns out, we mostly did forget about them.
Who? Three syllables: Ru-Fi-O. Repeated. Ru-Fi-O. Over and over, again. Ru-Fi-O. Dante Basco played Rufio, in Steven Spielberg’s “all grown up” adaptation of Peter Pan, Hook. When I was a kid watching Hook, I saw Rufio and thought he was the best thing since sliced bread–I was a weird kid who knew tired, hyperbolic idioms–but with age comes wisdom. I now see Rufio as the annoying showboat he really was. That’s not really Basco’s fault, though; it’s how the character was meant to be seen, and Basco actually plays the part well.
Where is he now? After his career-defining role in Hook, Basco went on to enjoy quite the diverse career. He’s had bit parts in such critically maligned films as Take the Lead, where he was able to showcase his break dancing skills, and Biker Boyz, as well as the underrated But I’m a Cheerleader. Aside from acting, he’s also started a band with his brothers (The Basco Bros.), he writes poetry, and he maintains a very active Tumblr. Bangarang.
Basco’s real bread and butter (I still use bread-based, dated idioms) is voice acting. If you’ve seen him in Hook, then you’ll recall he has a unique voice, and he has parlayed that into a very successful career behind the mic. If you have a child in your home between the ages of 5-10, I would imagine you’ve heard Basco’s voice come out of the mouth of Jake Long, the titular character on American Dragon: Jake Long. However, if you still have that 5-10-year-old kid around, then you really should be sitting down to watch Dante Basco’s most popular character (perhaps even more so than Rufio), and that character is Zuko on the critically acclaimed, audience-heralded, god-blessed, Americanime awesomeness that is Avatar: The Last Airbender–this is real Avatar shit; not that Smurf cat abomination from James Cameron. Currently, Basco is voicing another character within the Airbender universe on the sequel series The Legend of Korra, which you should also be watching with that kid we’ve established you have. Bangarang.
Who? Fergwad. Fergnerd. Fergnuts. You know, Ferguson W. Darling, Clarissa’s annoying little brother on Clarissa Explains It All (If you don’t remember Clarissa Explains It All, then that is a you problem). Ferguson was the poor-man’s Alex P. Keaton (of Family Ties), right down to the idolization of Ronald Reagan; that’s pretty much where the similarities end, however. Whereas Alex P. Keaton was charming, witty, and likable–you know, everything Michael J. Fox is–Ferguson W. Darling was none of those things. What you’re left with is a conniving and advantageous shell of a person with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
Where is he now? Zimbler hasn’t done much acting since the end of Clarissa. In fact, he hasn’t done any. He graduated from Notre Dame, in 1998, and since then has directed lots of theatre in New York–oh, fancy–and, in 2007, co-founded The Re-Theatre Instrument in Portland, Oregon. The theatre company specialized in experimental, contemporary adaptations of classic theatre such as King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing; it really sounds like something the hipster holy land of Portland would eat up, so it’s unfortunate that the economy forced Zimbler to close the theatre in 2010 and take a full-time job at HBO as a software designer. I was going to link to the website for the guy’s theatre company, but it doesn’t appear to be up anymore–awkward.
Who? Chances are, you know who Eliza Dushku is. She hasn’t exactly gone anywhere. The reason she’s on this list, however, is because HOLY CRAP was she annoying in True Lies. “Daddy! Daddy! Save me! I’m on the nose of a jet! Daddy! Daddy!” Fuck, just fall already! Of course, she doesn’t fall, and we’re supposed to feel happy about this fact… I guess…
Where is she now? Like I said, Dushku hasn’t gone anywhere. She’s done more than simply linger, however, and has long since left “annoying” behind her. Just a few years after True Lies, she jumped on the nose of the Joss Whedon jet pretty early, playing the role of Faith, in 1998, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer–which is a show I’m told quite a few people like. She carried that role over to the Buffy spinoff Angel, and she later played the lead role in Whedon’s series Dollhouse, which is another show that some people liked a lot for some unknown reason; then again, I really enjoyed Tru Calling, another canceled show of which Dushku was the star, so I don’t have much room to talk. Beyond television, she’s kept quite busy working on plenty of indie films that nobody has seen, like Nobel Son, Bottle Shock, and Open Graves. Like Dante Basco, she’s found some success in voice acting, particularly video games.
Oh, and she’s been dating Rick Fox for three years. How the hell did that happen? I’m just going to say Joss Whedon has something to do with it and move on.
Julie Dawn Cole
Who? Come on, you can guess this one. If you guess it, I’ll give you a golden ticket to my windowless candy van. Julie Dawn Cole played the deplorably spoiled Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. When she wasn’t questioning very questionable wallpaper, she was busy demanding her hapless father give her an oompa loompa, a flying glass elevator, or–you know–the world. She did play the character very well; a little too well, perhaps.
Where is she now? After Willy Wonka, Cole actually kept a fairly active acting career. She’s a working actress, even today, showing up on various television series: Eastenders, Fortysomething, and Emmerdale, among them. In 2002, she founded Centrestage, a youth drama school in London (one of approximately 346 such schools in London by the name “Centrestage”; the actors of London really need to learn some new words to name their schools). Here again, I was going to link to this drama school’s website, but there are so many; it doesn’t seem possible, but I’m not even sure her school has a website. What is this? 1994?
Who? Up to this point, the people on this list haven’t really been annoying in and of themselves, as much as they happen to have played an annoying character. This is where that changes. I have nothing personal against Cameron Bright; I obviously don’t know the guy, but he hasn’t done a single movie that I could watch and think, “Man, I really enjoy him in this.” Quite the contrary: every movie Cameron Bright is in has resulted in me throwing things; this kid’s career is basically why I can’t live in a glass house, which results in the world being deprived of my daily bikram yoga sessions.
Let’s just list them: Birth; creepy as fuck, and not in any kind of way that makes me ever want to watch that movie again. Godsend; not only a bad movie, but Bright is anything but bright; he’s dead behind the eyes. X-Men: The Last Stand; you could argue that this entire movie is just plain annoying for the fact that it ruins the X-Men film series, but Bright’s performance as Leech rises above (or falls below) the rest of the film; he’s like Howie Mandel on the opposite of crack. Ultraviolet; he does absolutely nothing in that shitty movie, but he still manages to annoy me.
Where is he now? Honestly, I feel kind of bad. The kid is still just nineteen years old. It’s clearly not healthy that a kid can annoy me this much; then again, he’s in four of those freaking Twilight movies. That’s what he’s doing now: Twilight; it’s almost like he molded his entire career around the idea that he should never do any thing that doesn’t annoy me. He just had the “final” Twilight movie release, and now he’s on to more things that I sincerely hope will not annoy me. I don’t have much confidence, though. Bangarang.