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Ranked: All The ‘X-Men’ Movie Mutant Characters From Best To Worst

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by The Playlist Staff
May 21, 2014 3:10 PM
55 Comments
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X-Men, Best Worst Characters

It is downright amazing that 20th Century Fox has made six “X-Men” films thus far. The seventh, “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” opens this Friday, and it deals head-on with the history of these movies, toying not only with the already-established mythology, but reintroducing old characters, introduces us to new ones, and making us realize that a ton of mutants have hit the big screen since this franchise’s inception in 2000.

Going back over the films, which include “X-Men,” “X2: X-Men United,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “X-Men: First Class” and “The Wolverine,” you can kind of develop your own inventory of which characters were essential and which weren’t. For every character like Nightcrawler, who blazed onto the screen and made new fans immediately, you had someone like John Wraith (played by will.i.am) in cowboy duds not even Don Cheadle’s Buck Swope would wear. We thought we’d compile the X best out of a massive roster of X-characters, some popular, some obscure, but all whom were able to establish their own identity onscreen away from pre-established continuity. With apologies to Spike, Mutant 143, Jubilee, Leech, Mastermind and Marrow, because your seen-in-passing characters onscreen were so null and void, we can’t even consider you here.

January Jones X-Men

40. The White Queen
Notoriously one of the worst performances in an “X-Men” movie character to date, January Jones’ Emma Frost, The White Queen, is indeed the worst-ever mutant character to ever grace the X-screen. It’s a problem with both her vacant and totally bored performance (she seems either checked-out mentally or very ill at ease) and her totally underwritten character that essentially just serves to slink around half naked and act vaguely sultry and sexy. The White Queen, essentially, flaunts her sexuality as power, at least on the page. In the film, Jones just looks endlessly bored, as if all these special effects shenanigans are entirely beneath her.

Deadpool

39. Deadpool
One of the myriad problems with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” other than being completely worthless — is that it tries to stuff in every mutant character that hasn’t already been seen in the series. So that means sticking in one of the most popular characters, Deadpool, for really no good reason. And so the “merc with the mouth,” played by Ryan Reynolds is just one of the many baddies that Wolverine is tasked with facing. And yes, in the movie Deadpool sort of eventually becomes the lead villain in the end — or at least the villain Logan faces off at the movie’s crescendo — but he’s just a big ol’ mess of a character not really resembling the comics' guy at all. He’s sarcastic and quippy, but he’s really just a cipher for the bad plot. In fact, in the movie, Deadpool is “activated” to become Weapon XI, a "mutant killer" with the powers of multiple mutants that doesn’t resemble the character at all — just an excuse for Logan to battle a super mutant. Just terrible on all fronts.

Morlocks, X-Men

38. The Morlocks
This group of street punks surfaced in “X-Men: The Last Stand,” threatening the heroes less like they were the poor and impoverished mutants, but more like they were the cast of “Rent.” Led by tough-talking Callisto (Dania Ramirez), the group is mainly artificial sneers and leather jackets. When they begin grandstanding about their “cause,” Magneto is quick to side-eye them with his “Bitch, please” sarcasm, easily enlisting them to his side. But other than Callisto, who apparently has super-speed and the ability to sense other mutants, what do these guys do? Arlight’s (Omahyra Mota) concussive force is called upon precisely once. Psylocke (Meiling Melançon) doesn’t even speak, and Ken Leung, poor, underused Ken Leung, plays a bad guy who can make spikes shoot out of his skin, dangerous to anyone within a lethal one-foot radius! Called the Omegas in the movie, this group eventually, happily, lines up to become the first casualties of Magneto’s army.

Wolverine, Viper

37. Viper
Read the original Christopher McQuarrie-penned “The Wolverine” screenplay, the one that Darren Aronofsky would have directed. Unfortunately, it’s not very good either, but it doesn’t include Viper. And that’s because — as you can tell from the James Mangold effort which has a turd-dumping third act — the movie becomes written by committee after a few drafts and Fox execs get their hands on it. Played by Svetlana Khodchenkova, Viper is everything that the would-be more realistic and dialed-down “The Wolverine” movie is supposed to shun (it’s really just about love and honor and a fish out of water in Japan, until Fox was like, “mutant this baby up!”). And so her character is cartoonish and silly and the female equivalent of a bad guy twirling his moustache only she’s just being faux sexy evil. We’d get into her powers, but this character is total balls and represents how Fox just fucked up Mangold and Jackman’s intentions to make a proper Wolverine movie (and perhaps represents their lack of cajones/poor judgment to fight against it).

 Multiple Man, X-Men

36. Multiple Man
As smarmily played by “Grey’s Anatomy” star Eric Dane, the infamous Jamie Madrox hit the screen as a total douchebag, a leather-jacket-clad member of Magneto’s Brotherhood whose sole contribution is to provide a diversion and later get apprehended. The abilities of the character are so cinematic, but “X-Men: The Last Stand” was content to have him smirk and joke as the laughable body-double effects allowed him to multiply. Hey, maybe this would have been useful in the final battle when the X-Men were running right through your troops, Magneto. Just thinking out loud.

Kayla Silverfox

35. The Rest Of The Mutants From “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
We’re mostly ranking everyone, so for the sake of completion, all the lesser characters in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (and there are many of them) are lumped together. The biggest character Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) is a telepath and a love interest but she's really just a script pawn with little to no personality. So pointless they should barely get a write-up, Team X recruits Agent Zero (Daniel Henney), and Chris Bradley (Dominic Monaghan) just exist, more than anything, as additional plot obstacles to be dispensed with immediately than as fully-formed characters. A young Scott Summers (Tim Pocock) shows his face for a second in the movie, but that’s really for nothing more than a “hey, look it’s Cyclops” cameo for the fanboys.

Darwin, X-Men

34. Darwin
A mutant with the ability of "reactive evolution." — essentially an involuntary mutant reaction to evolve, however necessary, against any threat — this is the only thing remotely interesting about the character of Darwin and rather hilariously, it fails the character almost immediately. Played by Edi Gathegi, despite these would-be all-encompassing super powers, the character is killed by Sebastian Shaw in what is really his one and only scene.

X-Men: First Class

33. The Lame Members of The ‘First Class’ Hellfire Club
Jason Flemyng as Azazel and Álex González as Riptide are great visuals and nothing more. Azazel is basically just a plot tool to make life easier by having a teleportation mutant (which is what almost every X-Men movie now does, just as the easiest excuse to get characters out of any sticky situation). His devilish look is pretty outstanding, but then you realize he has just about no lines and all the Nightcrawler-esque features pretty much go to waste. As for Riptide, we're glad the fifth member of the Black Eyed Peas is getting work.

X-Men, Toad

32. Toad
There is very little reason to rank the two X-Men Toads as two separate characters. The more memorable version is the one from the original 2000 “X-Men” movie played by Ray Park. But as evinced by pretty much every role Park has ever played (including Darth Maul), he is really just a stuntman and martial artist that’s so good, they’ve cast him as villains because all he has to do is wear make-up, jump around and look menacing. In that regard, Toad from “X-Men” is fine, but not particularly special. Toad from ‘Days of Future Past’ (played by Evan Jonigkeit) is slightly different and gets a neat little scene, but it’s nothing to write home about.

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55 Comments

  • david bandel | August 29, 2014 3:20 PMReply

    not like this list is of any significance. but i won't give them 5 extra page loads to read it. that's an outdated practice and causes people to blow your website off like the joke it is.

    learn ajax. you don't need multiple page loads. you can even fetch serverside content dynamically on a page without needing to load another.

  • blueberry allerdyce | August 12, 2014 4:23 PMReply

    finally, someone who appreciates pyro and dofp quicksilver! pyro is my abosolute favorite becuase he's such a lovable sociopath.

  • Erik Lehnsherr | July 4, 2014 10:16 AMReply

    Huh .... again I'm again on the top of the chart.....!!!!!!

  • None Ya | June 27, 2014 6:06 PMReply

    Wolverine has to be the most overrated superhero ever. He's dumb, annoying and his powers are useless.

  • Billyg25 | July 8, 2014 3:11 AM

    Must be retarded

  • Bill | July 4, 2014 5:45 PM

    Are you retarded?

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:39 PMReply

    glad tht cyclops is back and mayb jean but tht kinda ruined the pheonex story so th was annoying but you know theres also one thing tht annoyed me, in the trailer rouge had this nice wicked combat suit but in xmen dofp SPOILER ALERT she dosent even be there to use it shes just at the end and has small cameo ...... WITHOUT SUIT ! WTH?

  • Mr X | June 24, 2014 11:25 PM

    I tried to read your comment... I really did. But ur gramr dosent even be there

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:01 PMReply

    what they did in xmen origins wolverine was unacceptable i can handle stuff like wolverines costume being xmen original black instead of yellow and blue and stuff like a talking racoon instead of a wonder woman movie but what they did to deadpool was devastating i mean he has an adamantium body and his head somehow was sliced by laser beam doesnt make sense at all plus deadpool is awesome why kill him in the first place

  • LanceKemal | June 19, 2014 3:41 PMReply

    Lady deathstrike isint even a mutant she was tranformed by modern science not nature

  • callum | June 23, 2014 5:53 PM

    thats not true lady deathstrike was born with long bone fingernails and were enhanced by addamantium at stryker island

  • PalmTree | June 20, 2014 2:20 AM

    I thought that only happened because she had the same ability to heal as Logan did. Wasn't it impossible to perform the operation unless you could heal yourself almost instantly?

  • Droppo | June 18, 2014 1:19 PMReply

    The extreme hate for X-men Origins: Wolverine is ridiculous. It has issues, but is much more enjoyable and rewatchable than several of the other X-movies. My wife never read an X-men comic in her life, and she enjoys that one and has watched it with me at least five times. How horrible can it be? Maybe it wasn't what some people WANTED it to be, but that shouldn't equate to criticism of what it actually is.

    The way Kitty Pryde is treated in the movies almost offends me. I would like to know where she suddenly gained the ability to send a person's consciousness back in time to their earlier self. The didn't make even the smallest attempt to explain that.

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:31 PM

    i have knowledge to explain tht, kitty pride (shadowcat) moves forward through walls and other stuff so xaivier has tought her to move other people forward with her mind.... get it now i hope it was helpfull

  • ih | June 18, 2014 10:36 AMReply

    I also agree with Andre Bowen's comment. Although, ultimately, I warmed to the Hugh Jackman and Halley Berry characterizations of both Wolverine and Storm, their characterizations, both in physicality and mannerisms are not 100% comic book-canon:

    Logan in the comics, whilst still retaining a heart of gold, is a 'stone-cold-killer'. The guy is brutal and he takes particular umbrage to those who are disloyal and his training in various martial arts as well as his ferocity in combat is undeniable.
    Halley's Storm is a departure, as well. For one thing, Storm is like 5'11, has a deep and commanding voice, and is dark-skinned.
    In the comics, Storm is always 'holding back' the full extent of her powers for fear of losing control so she keeps herself very much self contained.

    The 70's comics are the best documentation of Storm's thought processes and her internal conflict. Also, it is in the 70's and early 80's comics that show just how awesome a leader and character Cyclops is.

  • CALLUM | June 24, 2014 5:02 AM

    sorry i mean kitty can move foward to move people backwards#

  • ih | June 18, 2014 10:17 AMReply

    Interesting review of the characters but one thing frustrated me. The author/s seem/s to take particular exception to Halley Berry's (Storm's)...'militancy' and growing malice for those whom would oppress her and 'her people' but when it comes to Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique or the younger and elder Magneto, excessive violence seems necessary and excusable. Halley Berry's Storm is hate-filled and an 'angry-black woman- nationalist' who can't seem to forgive but Magneto's and Mystique's hatred is perfectly understandable and acceptable.
    It comes off as, for 'certain' individuals, that they need to learn to 'get over it' while a strong and take-no-junk-from-anyone-Lawrence's character's violence is 'empowering' and'justifiable'.

  • lyta | June 13, 2014 11:25 PMReply

    great list, i definilly agreed with pretty much everything, with only one exception. Quicksiver should have been in the top 10. Evan Peters portraid was sooo awesome. beside the fact it was the best part of the movie, it also had the fact that everybody hate him before the movie after the add comercial with burger. but now has made The avengers, who is also doing Quicksilver but now has the compariasson of this one. and no matter what Tayor Johnsson does, Peters perfomance is my favorite.

  • Chez | June 4, 2014 10:22 PMReply

    I have just one, very big nit-pick with X-Men: Days of Future Past. I'm sure that I'm not the only one in the world to think it too. Why, oh WHY did, they change Pietro's name to Peter? Seriously? as far as favourite characters go ( and this choice is of the movie versions - I have a seperate list for the comics) my top 3 are 3: Nightcrawler. I love the design of his tattoos, that they're so intricate. I'm not familiar with the actor, but I honestly can't think of a better person for the role, so I'm happy. I liked seeing him chatting to his mum in the second movie, and even better seeing who just had to be his dad in First Class! That made me a very happy bunny when he first came onscreen. 2: Mystique. She's naked, naked! Sgsin with the blue and intricate. I love hos they designed the scaly bits to keep her modest and making you wonder if she even has nipples or not - are they hidden, or does she just not have any? kinda cool I think. I don't really get why her hair is slicked back but eh, I'm not massively fussed about it, as she has a very pretty face. Plus those eyes! kinda frog-like, I love them! and when her voice does that cool echo-y thing. I like that. 1: Wolverine. Basically my ideal man... 'nuff said! I like how, even though he's badass, when he's with a woman all she sees is a big ol softy that loves her to pieces. I can't think of anyone better suited to the role than Hugh Jackman, I really can't. I'm glad he didn't have to wear yellow spandex though, it'd probably put me off him!

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:05 PM

    they changed it to peter because quicksilver is not from france he is an american and by the looks of it magneto and peters mom had a 1 night stand so magneto pretty much had no say in the name whatsoever and this is one of the annoying changes marvel films make we just have to live with it....

  • DFox | June 6, 2014 3:31 PM

    Because of one reason and one reason only. He cannot in any way be "related" to the Quicksilver that is in Avengers 2 (the fight between both studios is a teenage pissing contest I swear), which means if they intend to keep his name Pietro in Avengers 2, it HAS to be Peter in Days of Future Past. After all, he couldn't actually acknowledge that Magneto is his dad, he just had to hint at it.

    And technically, Peter is just the English version.

  • Hi | June 3, 2014 10:10 PMReply

    I still think Logan should have been first. Coocookachu Magneto got screwed. :/

  • robthom | June 3, 2014 2:44 PMReply

    All the worst ones seem to be from the movies I intentionally didn't watch.
    (I saw bits and pieces fast forwarding through them enough to verify my suspicions.)

    One that I though could have been interesting was the alt weapon 10 from origins.
    It was kind of a cool idea.
    But then they mess it up by having the Katana's pop out WAY too long to possibly fit in his arms for an immediate visual groaner.

    Everything and everyone was botched in that ratner turd.
    Ellen page has an appropriate enough look, but I never imagined kitty pride as a smugly self-important canadian liberal.

    Kitty Pryde seemed more fun and natural in the comics.

  • andre bowen | June 1, 2014 12:45 PMReply

    All in all, every ''X-Men' movie has been a wolverine movie. Lets just be honest. I turned away from marvel years ago because the stories just became crap. The movies just made them worse. Its always been said that you can't make the comics into movies and stay true the books but sincerity proved that to be wrong. Casting for these movies with exception of magnet to, Ian McClellan and prof x, Patrick Stewart, has been just shit. But what do expect. Right off the bat, Haley berry should not have been storm. Storm is of a regal nature. Mrs berry doesnt cut it. Hugh Jackson does an outstanding j ok b as wolverine but thats him. I could go on but no. If the were going to seriously make an men movie then stay true to their story, their attitudss and their powers. Captain america was good. The cons one stayed pretty close to story. But since our focus is the xmen. ..thumbs down all the way.

  • TallBoy6t6 | July 6, 2014 1:12 AM

    While that argument can be made for almost all the other entries (aside from Days of Future Past) Wolverine is in "Days of Future's Past" a bunch and he gets the plot rolling but he's not really who that movie is about, he's definitely a secondary character compared to Eric / Charles / Mysitque.

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:08 PM

    that is because wolverine was te he first mutant i mean ur not going to just pass that by be honest are you really going to give all the attention to halle berry when her story is just helping africa rain?

  • Robthom | June 3, 2014 2:48 PM

    "All in all, every ''X-Men' movie has been a wolverine movie. "

    I agree that Wolverine gets way too much attention.
    He always did.

    There's so many other great characters in the X-Universe,
    but like Justin Timberlake Wolverine just seems to continue to be "cool" with the largest and lowest denominator.

  • Cjack | June 1, 2014 10:06 AMReply

    I agree with most of your list, I'm just glad the good ones are usally the main charicters.

  • skippyman2099 | May 30, 2014 6:45 PMReply

    Yukio.

  • CJJ | May 29, 2014 7:20 AMReply

    "As much as the entire human race wants to pretend “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” didn’t happen"

    Oh grow the f*** up. You comic fanboys are incessant!! X3 and Origins are 6.5 and 7/10 films, miles away from awful or whatever hyperbole thrown at them. They could be better and are the weakest X films but they're better than MoS, TASM, Thor 2, Iron Man 2 etc.

    What, what? You didn't like Kelsey Grammer's Beast? He was one of the best parts of X3! And his make up is perfect, far, far better than Hoult's Beast. Also Liev Schreiber's Sabertooth was also one of the best parts of his film. How does he not physically impress? He kicks Logan's ass.

    Rogue changed herself because she wanted physical contact with people, kinda understandable. It's not like she threw away her power, one that she treasured, for Iceman, she was glad to get rid of it, it was horrible for her.

    "You also wanted to jump in bed with him"

    You alone lol. What a strange thing to write into the description of him lol.

    And really? Wolverine's not 1? And Mystique is above Fassbender's Magneto? Were you drunk when you typed this up?

  • Kaitain | June 11, 2014 2:04 AM

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the ten worst movies I've seen in the last decade.

    And I watch a LOT of movies.

  • Eddy | May 28, 2014 12:10 PMReply

    Did you watch DOFP? Banshee is dead - Magneto mentions him, along with a list of other First Class mutants, as a casualty. So no, we will not see him "back in those yellow gliders " anytime soon, barring another mega reality retcon.

    Also, total opinion here, but Kitsch was a TERRIBLE Gambit (and I'm a huge FNL fan). Yes, a lot of the blame goes to the writing, but how, based on that performance, could you not mind seeing him as the permanent Gambit?

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:12 PM

    i have to toatally disagree on that one because kitsch was an amazing gambit who else are you really gonna get to play him ? ?????? he had an amazing western like accent and imagine ryan renolds speaking like tht>................

  • dakken warlow | May 26, 2014 3:47 AMReply

    Why does Nightcrawler have to have Catholic guilt? Why can't he just be a man of faith? It is consistent with his character. Besides, his portrayal was on par with the cartoon.

  • callum | June 23, 2014 6:14 PM

    so true but can i ask were on earth did he go at the end of x2??? seems a bit messed up.

  • nycgirl | June 18, 2014 10:26 PM

    The guy gave himself a tattoo for every sin. That's guilty as hell.

  • Starreyed | May 25, 2014 4:33 AMReply

    No wonder I'm half-hearted about these films...I only care about 1/5th of the characters (last page or so). Scene-fillers.

  • Andoni | May 24, 2014 9:53 PMReply

    "Cajones"? What the hell's that supposed to mean? Don't you mean "cojones"?

  • Hdirndkdmek | May 24, 2014 9:20 PMReply

    top five, regardless of the order, is spot on. the rest of the list is ehh.

  • Derek | May 23, 2014 9:16 AMReply

    Didn't they write out Cyclops because James Marsden was also playing Superman that year in Superman: Returns? That's what I remember hearing.. Either way, this article rules.

  • Daniel Ashe | June 11, 2014 2:14 PM

    From what I read, the push out of James Marsden's character has more to do with Wolverine and Hallie Berry, not Storm, Hallie Berry. My understanding was that the movies were already going to focus on Wolverine, but after the first film, Berry demanded a more prominent roll to remain in the films. So the writers pushed Cyclops to the background in favor of Storm, which is really sad because Berry's storm was as bland as vanilla ice cream and Cyclops deserved better.

  • Dan | May 25, 2014 12:22 AM

    Dumbest comment ever. Yes he was in Superman Returns, no he did not play Superman. That was Brandon Routh.

    P.S. Many actors have played in more than one movie in the same year. It was the director's (Schumacker) decision to kill off Cyclops. Had Brian Singer come back for the 3rd X-Men I don't think he would have killed him off. And considering how bad Superman Returns was, Singer should have just stuck with X-Men instead of trying his hand at the worlds first super hero.

  • TP | May 22, 2014 12:52 PMReply

    Nightcrawler should be way higher and I would had knocked Mystique down a little bit. Also, no mention of how freaking awesome the death scene with Darwin (where he basically turns into charcoal). Just for that awesome death I would have put him a little higher.

  • TP | May 22, 2014 12:52 PM

    *have. Why can't I edit!

  • Emperor Zerg Rush | May 22, 2014 1:30 AMReply

    Your mention of Kitty being demeaned is a bit weird, considering she got the chance to call Juggernaut a dickhead. But mostly due to the fact that Juggernaut's "Don't you know who I am? I'm the JUGGERNAUT, bitch!" line was just an poor excuse to include something that sprang forth from a YouTube video that went viral over a decade ago (and was funny in the initial stages of its popularity but has since become a tired catchphrase) vs. some derisive attack on Kitty.

  • Emperor Zerg Rush | May 22, 2014 1:35 AM

    "a poor excuse" - dammit, IndieWire cronies, where's my edit function!?!

    Also, in terms of her being saddled with fighting Juggernaut it seemed like the best excuse to give her something to do (sort of like how she's time manipulator supreme in Days of Future Past). The Last Stand was full of odd choices like that though. I would've rather they went for a Colossus vs. Juggernaut smackdown but they were too busy catering to the Whedon fans and cramming the fastball special reference into the film (boiling down the film, it does shoehorn in a LOT of references - too many for its own good, really).

  • phiphthvyoo | May 21, 2014 11:28 PMReply

    Good list. Technically, Juggernaut is not a mutant--but you wouldn't know that from the movie.

  • Gabe Toro | May 22, 2014 10:38 AM

    The film breaks from canon and explicitly calls him a mutant. Shrug.

  • triguous | May 21, 2014 10:29 PMReply

    I'm glad to see Pyro so high on the list. The character was an absolute joy to watch in X-Men 2. He was easily the Anakin Skywalker of the bunch. Kudos to Aaron Stanford. The lack of his presence in DAYS is disappointing.

  • J Miles | May 21, 2014 6:21 PMReply

    I'm a bit confused why the authors repeated knock the Patrick Stewart Charles Xavier as not being a very good leader, being one-note, making stupid decisions, and then place him at #5! Either there were some very divisive opinions in the room or Stewart's star power really bumped him up a few rungs.

    Also, I think the Romjin Mystique is way to high on this list. Over (her son) Nightcrawler? Over Young Magneto?

  • J Miles | May 21, 2014 6:21 PMReply

    I'm a bit confused why the authors repeated knock the Patrick Stewart Charles Xavier as not being a very good leader, being one-note, making stupid decisions, and then place him at #5! Either there were some very divisive opinions in the room or Stewart's star power really bumped him up a few rungs.

    Also, I think the Romjin Mystique is way to high on this list. Over (her son) Nightcrawler? Over Young Magneto?

  • Remy LeBeu | May 21, 2014 5:56 PMReply

    Nightcrawler should be a bit higher and Storm is such a joke, she should be lower.

  • I too | May 26, 2014 3:42 AM

    cannot possibly agree more

  • Emperor Zerg Rush | May 22, 2014 1:26 AM

    I said this about Storm before in another post on this blog but I cannot possibly agree more. Her ranking here seems to stem more from the idealized version of the character that should've been the one appearing in the films from the first one onward. But they do nail it down well enough in that she's essentially a walking/talking fog machine.

  • KT | May 21, 2014 4:35 PMReply

    God, I hate Fox.

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