Everyone loves to hate a good movie villain. They’re creepy, relentless, arrogant, mean, and sometimes just plain ridiculous. From goofy bully Biff Tannen to tyrannical Nurse Ratched to ultra greedy Gordon Gekko—if these bad guy traits sound familiar, it’s probably because we’ve seen them in real life recently.
Dave Hester, the belligerent buyer-slash-villain of the A&E reality show Storage Wars, seems to make more and more enemies with every passing season. As we know, it takes a lot to get rid of the bad guy once and for all—it took eight films to finally kill Freddy Krueger (though he was resurrected for Freddy vs. Jason, so even that didn’t stick). Likewise, even getting kicked off the show in 2012 didn’t stop Hester; like Krueger he was resurrected two years later.
Hester grew up around antiques and collectibles and at age 14 began attending auctions himself. Ten years ago, after being convicted of a DUI and sentenced to community service at the local Goodwill, he got the idea to transform his furniture store into a thrift store. In 2010, Hester was offered a role on Storage Wars, which became the most-watched program in A&E’s history and turned Dave Hester into a real-life villain.
But while Jack Nicholson in The Shining had the catchphrase “Heeeere’s Johnny!” and Darth Vader was known for uttering “You underestimate the power of the dark side,” Hester’s signature saying is the memorable and bone-chilling “Yuuup!”
To paraphrase film critic Roger Ebert, “Each reality TV show about storage auctions is only as good as its villain.” Here are some of the greatest movie villains that remind us of Hester:
Biff Tannen, Back to the Future
Biff is a big, rude bully who gets what he wants by intimidation. But when he turns idioms into idiotisms, such as “Why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here,” he also showcases his ignorance. During a fight with Dan Dotson, Hester, like any good bully, apparently knocked Dan’s wife Laura to the ground. And his thuggish advice to new bidders on the show? “Get out of the way — you’re bothering me.”
Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
Ruthless stockbroker Gordon Gekko, who has become a pop culture icon for greed, states: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” Hester’s greed has been called insatiable and he allegedly raises the price on storage lockers that his co-stars are interested in bidding on just to prevent them from succeeding.
Ivan Drago, Rocky IV
Villainous Drago pulverized boxer Apollo Creed and then said callously, “If he dies, he dies.” Hester once found a skeleton in a storage unit and turned around and sold it. There’s no evidence, but we’re fairly certain it was a past rival whom Hester killed and ate like a bucket o’ fried chicken.
Michael Myers, Halloween
It’s been said that there’s nothing more frightening than a villain who stalks his victims with a relaxed, Grandma-speed stroll, and yet always manages catches them. In a similar vein, Hester is a “stout, petty man who dresses in all black and walks with a sort of wounded pride of the winner of a chicken-wing-eating contest.” And that mask he wears…ooooh! Wait, you mean that’s not a mask? My bad.
Mr. Potter, It’s a Wonderful Life
Mr. Potter, the rich, mean, and cantankerous slumlord of this classic movie starring Jimmy Stewart, was so cheap he made Scrooge look like Santa Claus. Hester is so self-important that he apparently out-bids others in an attempt to force them into financial destitution. “Reality TV villains are a common and necessary thing, but they don’t get more explicitly detestable as this guy,” observes GQ.
Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Cold, heartless, tyrannical head nurse Nurse Ratched exercises complete power over the patients at a mental institution by revoking needed medications and basic necessities. Hester tried to assert his power by suing A&E for allegedly making him look like he was less skilled than his competition, a move that creates the illusion that he is a mental institution patient.
The Joker, Batman
“Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” says the crook-turned-madman from Tim Burton’s version of Batman. The Joker had some great villainous quips, was intelligent with an aptitude for art, and was always dressed to the nines. Hester drives a truck with “Yuuuuup!” inscribed on it, seems to own nothing but black capris and t-shirts, and his best line is: “It was hard to soar with the eagles when I was constantly surrounded by turkeys.”
The Shark, Jaws
This giant, intelligent, man-hunting shark wasn’t even seen until halfway into the movie, never speaks a word, and is, well, a fish. And yet, he still out-villains Hester, who is a “foil and an irritant.”
So there you have it folks. How does Dave Hester rate among the greatest movie villains of all time? Well, a truly villainous bad guy must be intelligent, ruthless, and motivated by revenge, but in the case of Hester, wearing a ball cap with your own “catchphrase” on it just sort of negates the bad guy persona.
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