Royal Rumble
(Stanley versus Heathcliff versus Morris–Who Is the Biggest Douche-Bag in Film?)

        There is no question that the films A Streetcar Named Desire, Wuthering Heights, and The Heiress have raised the bar of abject douche-baggery for generations to come, but of the respectively brawling, plotting, and sniveling male protagonists of these silver-screen gems, the question remains unanswered of just who is the biggest douche-bag among them. This analysis will attempt to answer that question.

        In Elia Kazan’s 1951 film of Tennessee Williams’ 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire , weighing in at 170 pounds, Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) is 5’ 8” of pure ass-hat. Loud, blustery, violent, and threatened by IQ scores above 90 and people who bathe, he is a likely favorite for the douche-bag title.

        In William Wyler’s 1939 film of Emily Brontë’s 1847 Wuthering Heights, enter Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), a man whose total load-bearing capacity for festering bile rivals the cubic tonnage of an Exxon oil tanker. This contender’s style of malicious dickery is not flashy, but as they say, slow and steady wins the race—show up on Heathcliff’s radar, and you shall wake up one day to find yourself, your entire family, and everyone you have met utterly destroyed.

        And in William Wyler’s 1949 film The Heiress, based on Henry James’s 1880 Washington Square, in the fancy gloves, we have Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift). Townsend is credited with putting the “ooze” in user; he does not fight, he is not vindictive, in fact, he is not much of anything. Unemployed and completely lacking in character, this contender would swindle the bottle out of a baby’s mouth if he had the brains to plan the heist and the spine to carry it off—which he does not. Townsend’s M.O. is charming girls out of their fortunes, but the real key to his imposing prickishness (and his shot at the title) is that like everything else, he is not any good at it. Our final contender is so astoundingly useless that other useless people think he is a loser and frequently put gum in his hair.

        “This match is a tough one to call,” said our ringside commentator, renowned tool of It’s a Wonderful Life infamy and former douche-bag champion, Henry F. Potter: “Kowalski certainly has the advantage coming out of the gate, but Heathcliff has stamina—if Kowalski can’t end this competition in a single temper-tantrum, he could end up weeping for Stella like a pathetic man-child. And Morris, he’s so disgustingly inept even I want to throw stuff at him.”

        Starting the bout, Stanley smashes a kitchen appliance. Heathcliff counters, hanging a dog from a tree while in a surprise flurry of activity; Morris bleeds his poor sister dry. On the ropes, Stanley picks on a mentally ill woman for fun; Heathcliff marries a naive girl out of spite, while Morris laments the unfairness of having to tie his own shoes and wonders if the wealthy have people to do it for them. In a desperation-maneuver, Stanley sexually assaults his sister-in-law, but Heathcliff pulls a Hail-Mary, adopting an innocent child for the express purpose of making its life an ignorant pointless hell and Kowalski goes down!!! Heathcliff win—just a minute, we are receiving word that Heathcliff has been disqualified, according to match-officials, his dog-hanging maneuver early in the bout was illegal on the grounds that it was actually performed by the ruggedly manly Heathcliff of the original novel, not the emasculated girly-man of the film adaptation—this bout is over! Morris Townsend is by default the undisputed biggest douche-bag in film!

Joan Royalty