So a picture is worth a thousand words? Well that makes a word worth… like… a word.
Listen, I don’t intend on dissecting a bunch of non-sequitur pieces of dialogue, particularly from movies where I think the beauty of the writing expands not just in the line itself but in the context and delivery. The ranking of these lines even – unnumbered, just in descending order – is pretty much arbitrary. You’re not gonna see commentary in this list. If I can find the line in question on youtube, I will provide it but other than that: you will have to take my word for it. I just want to acknowledge some witticisms or dullnesses my ear was happy to hear in the past 10 years.
The Worst Movie Lines of the 2010s
Dagny Taggart (Laura Regan): “Ragnar Danneskjöld?”
Ragnar Danneskjöld (Eric Allan Kramer): “Dagny Taggart!”
-from Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt? Written by James Manera & Harmon Kaslow & John Aglialoro, based on Ayn Rand’s novel.
“If I was no good, why’d you steal my fucking voice?”
– Bobby Maine (Sam Elliott) in A Star Is Born. Written by Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, & Will Fetters, based on the previous screenplays.
“The Vatican did not endorse this film, nor aid in its completion.”
– Title card at the beginning of The Devil Inside. Written by William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman.
Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black): “War! Huh! What is it good for?”
Princess Mary (Emily Blunt): “Absolutely naught!”
– from Gulliver’s Travels. Written by Joe Stillman & Nicholas Stoller, based on Jonathan Swift’s novel.
Major Ematt (Andrew Jack): “It’s another Death Star.”
Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac): “I wish that were the case, Major. This is the Death Star, THIS is Starkiller Base.”
Han Solo (Harrison Ford): “So it’s big!”
– from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Written by Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt.
“If I robbed a church and had the steeple sticking out of my ass, I would deny it.” – John Gotti (John Travolta) in Gotti. Written by Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs.
“You wanna make a baby?”
– Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) in Arrival. Written by Eric Heisserer, based on Ted Chiang’s short story “The Story of Your Life”.
Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin): “Hate to spoil it but it was all a dream.”
Tessa Young (Josephine Langford): “Actually… it was all a lie.”
– from After. Written by Jenny Gage, Tom Betterton, Tamara Chestna, and Susan McMartin, based on the novel by Anna Todd.
Trench Mauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger): “I’ll be back!”
Church (Bruce Willis): “You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back.”
– from The Expendables 2. Written by Sylvester Stallone & Richard Wenk.
“I read a tweet about a New Yorker article about you.”
– Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) in Knives Out. Written by Rian Johnson.
“Now certainly you can run past the tortoise as long as you don’t contemplate the mechanics of that, but the question of how turns out to be so complicated that no one really solved it until Cantor proved that some infinities are bigger than other infinities… I think that answers your question.”
-Peter van Houten (Willem Dafoe) in The Fault in Our Stars. Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by John Greene.
“Fairy lives don’t matter today.”
– Ofc. Daryl Ward (Will Smith) in Bright. Written by Max Landis.
“He’s been doing all sorts of drugs, but he’s addicted to crystal meth, which seems to be the worst of them all.”
-David Sheff (Steve Carell) in Beautiful Boy. Written by Luke Davies and Felix van Groeningen.
Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch): [Regarding “Shamballa”] “What’s this, my mantra?”
Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor): “Your wifi password. We’re not savages.”
– from Doctor Strange. Written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, & C. Robert Cargill
“When you use a bird to write with, it’s called ‘tweeting’.”
–Maui (Dwayne Johnson) in Moana. Screenplay by Jared Bush.
Dr. Serizawa Ishiro (Ken Watanabe): “There are some things beyond our understanding, Mark. We must accept them and learn from them. Because these moments of crisis are also potential moments of faith. A time – when we either come together or fall apart. Nature always has a way of balancing itself. The only question is… What part – will we play.”
Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler): “Did you just make that up?”
Dr. Ishiro: “No. I read it in a fortune cookie once. A really long fortune cookie.”
– from Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Written by Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields.
“Look, I can’t hold forever. If you reach him, tell him Leia has an urgent message for him… about his mother.”
– Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Written by Rian Johnson.
“It’s been so long since I felt real pain! I missed it, but not as much as I miss inflicting it on others”
– Josh Lambert/Parker Crane (Patrick Wilson) in Insidious: Chapter 2. Written by Leigh Whannell
“From an economic standpoint alone, what you’re asking is problematic”.
–Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) in Exodus: Gods and Kings. Screenplay by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage and Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian.
“My God is bigger than your statistics”
– Joyce Eskel (Judy Greer) in The 15:17 to Paris. Written by Dorothy Blyskal.
“The most unreliable narrator is life itself.”
– Abby Dempsey (Olivia Wilde) in Life Itself. Written by Dan Fogelman.
The following entire 8-minute dialogue between Larry Bloom (Kevin Costner) and Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) in Molly’s Game. Written by Aaron Sorkin. Worst moments including “your addiction was having power over powerful men”, “No, you’ve known since you were 5. You saw me in my car and you didn’t really know what you saw.”, “It’s funny how fast you can go when you’re not charging by the hour”, and “I’m your father. Trying to measure how much I love you would be like trying to visualize the size of the universe.”
“I had orgasms, he had wargasms.”
– Ophelia Sage (Blake Lively) in Savages. Written by Shane Salerno, Oliver Stone, & Don Winslow, based on Winslow’s novel.
“A tree falls in the forest, no one puts it on YouTube, did it ever really happen?”
–Bodhi (Édgar Ramírez) in Point Break. Screenplay by Kurt Wimmer.
Lines that are somewhere between the realms of good and bad.
“Release the Kraken!”
– Zeus (Liam Neeson) in Clash of the Titans. Written by Travis Beacham, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi, based on the original screenplay by Beverley Cross.
“There are witches that need killing. Fucking witches.”
–Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), Seventh Son. Screenplay by Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight.
Father Burke (Demían Bichir): “The blood of Christ!”
Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet): “Holy shit!”
Father Burke: “The holiest.”
– from The Nun. Written by Gary Dauberman.
“Your barge and you are quite impressive.”
–Thermistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) in 300: Rise of an Empire. Screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad.
The Best Movie Lines of the 2010s
“Piss off, ghost!”
-Korg (Taika Waititi) in Thor: Ragnarok. Written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost.
“Do something. Do something. You phony prick fraudulent motherfucker. Do something! Come on! Prove it! Fuck faith! Earn it! Show me something real! I need it now. Not later. Now! Show me and I’ll believe in you until the day I die. I swear. I’m calling on you. I’m calling on you!… Fuck it. I’ll do it myself.”
– John Ottman (Liam Neeson) in The Grey. Written by Joe Carnahan & Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, based on Jeffers’ short story “Ghost Walker”.
Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist): “I heard you struck my son.”
Aurelio (John Leguizamo): “Yes, sir, I did.”
Tarasov: “And may I ask why?”
Aurelio: “Yeah, well, because he stole John Wick’s car, sir, and, uh, killed his dog.”
Tarasov: “… Oh.”
– from John Wick. Written by Derek Kolstad.
“This guy, he wouldn’t know God if He crawled up his pant leg and bit him on the pecker.”
– Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) in Hell or High Water. Written by Taylor Sheridan.
“Anybody accidentally kills anybody in a fight, they go to jail. It’s called ‘manslaughter’.”
– Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Written by Quentin Tarantino.
“I’m 6’5″, 220, and there’s two of me”
– Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) in The Social Network. Written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the novel The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.
“If fish looked like that, I would fuck fish. I would only fuck fish!”
-Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell), Piranha 3D. Written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, based on the original screenplay by John Sayles.
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg): “I was drunk, and angry, and stupid.”
Marilyn Delpy (Rashida Jones): “And blogging.”
Zuckerberg: “And blogging.”
– from The Social Network. Written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the novel The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.
“She’s like having your own Disney villain, plus she won’t let you jerk off.”
-Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck) in The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Written by Desiree Akhavan & Cecilia Frugiele, based on the book by Emily M. Danforth.
Jack O’Donnell (Bryan Cranston): “Find the White House Chief of Staff.”
Malinov (Chris Messina): “How would I find him?”
O’Donnell: “We’re a fucking spy agency, find him!”
-from Argo. Written by Chris Terrio, based on the non-fiction sources from Tony Mendez and Joshuah Bearman.
Beans (Isla Fisher): You are eating his ashes!
Rango (Johnny Depp): Eh! You carry his remains?
Beans: No! His ashes; he loved to smoke. They never found the body.
Rango: Oh. Um, I’m sure he had his reasons.
– from Rango. Written by John Logan.
Alma (Vicky Krieps): “I want you flat on your back. Helpless, tender, open with only me to help. And then I want you strong again. You’re not going to die. You might wish you’re going to die, but you’re not going to. You need to settle down a little.”
Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis): “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.”
– from Phantom Thread. Written by Paul Thomas Anderson.
“I like it when she puts her tongue in me.”
-Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in The Favourite. Written by Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara.
“I had a feeling that the great word ‘respectable’ would some day divide us.”
– Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) in Love & Friendship. Written by Whit Stillman, based on Jane Austen’s unfinished work Lady Susan.
“We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.”
– Anton (Rhys Darby) in What We Do in the Shadows. Written by Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi.
“My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around”
-Elsa (Idina Menzel) in Frozen. Written by Jennifer Lee but that particular line is to be credited to Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
“To be clear, asshole, you fucking asshole, I want very much to have it if it’s Jim’s. That’s what I want. But since I don’t know, you not only fucked things up by fucking me, and maybe making me pregnant, but even if it’s not yours, I can’t know that, so I have to get rid of what might be a perfectly fine baby, a baby I want, because everything you touch turns to shit! Like King Midas’s idiot brother.”
-Jean (Carey Mulligan) from Inside Llewyn Davis. Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen.
“I just thought there’d be more.”
– Olivia (Patricia Arquette) in Boyhood. Written by Richard Linklater, with input from his actors.
“I can’t help you with that.”
-Abby Gerhard (Sarah Paulson) in Carol. Written by Phyllis Nagy, based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.
Samantha Evans (Lorelei Linklater): “Goodbye, yard! Goodbye, crepe myrtle! Goodbye, mailbox! Goodbye, box of stuff Mommy won’t let us take with us but we don’t want to throw away. Goodbye, house, I’ll never like Mommy as much for making us move!”
Olivia (Patricia Arquette): “Samantha! Why don’t you say goodbye to that little horseshit attitude, okay, because we’re not taking that in the car.”
-from Boyhood. Written by Richard Linklater, with input from his actors.
“So I told him that to condemn a novel he had not read would be like going to Sodom or Gomorrah, and being disappointed that neither were Philadelphia.”
-Vryling Buffam (Catherine Bailey), A Quiet Passion. Written by Terence Davies.
“And please help Richard to marry Diane so that I may have grandchildren, and that the Pope may have more followers.”
– Richard’s mother (Patsy Meck) in American Hustle. Written by David O. Russell & Eric Warren Singer.
Céline (Julie Delpy): “You know what? The only time I get to think now is when I take a shit at the office. I’m starting to associate thoughts with the smell of shit.”
Jesse (Ethan Hawke): “Ha ha. That is a good line. I gonna use that in a book some day.”
Céline: “I’m sure you will. And that’ll be the best line in the book.”
– from Before Midnight. Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, & Ethan Hawke.
“If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see, no matter how unusual it may seem. If you look away, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish.”
-Kubo (Art Parkinson) in Kubo and the Two Strings. Written by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler.
“Have you ever heard the expression, ‘prevention is nine-tenths the cure?’ Well in the case of suicide, it’s ten-tenths the cure.”
– Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig) in Damsels in Distress. Written by Whit Stillman.
“So that’s the deal. I won’t- I cannot negotiate any more. You take it or leave it. But if you leave it, we go to court. And if we got to court, it’ll get ugly. And we’re not ugly people, Harge.”
-Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) in Carol. Written by Phyllis Nagy, based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.
“I don’t hate my fellow man, even when he’s tiresome and surly and tries to cheat at poker. I figure that’s just the human material, and him that finds in it cause for anger and dismay is just a fool for expecting better.”
-Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.Written by Joel & Ethan Coen.
“D’accord, mes contours…”
-Marianne (Noémie Merlant) in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Written by Céline Sciamma.
“Damn ye! Let Neptune strike ye dead Winslow! HAAARK! Hark Triton, hark! Bellow, bid our father the Sea King rise from the depths full foul in his fury! Black waves teeming with salt foam to smother this young mouth with pungent slime, to choke ye, engorging your organs til’ ye turn blue and bloated with bilge and brine and can scream no more – only when he, crowned in cockle shells with slitherin’ tentacle tail and steaming beard take up his fell be-finned arm, his coral-tine trident screeches banshee-like in the tempest and plunges right through yer gullet, bursting ye – a bulging bladder no more, but a blasted bloody film now and nothing for the harpies and the souls of dead sailors to peck and claw and feed upon only to be lapped up and swallowed by the infinite waters of the Dread Emperor himself – forgotten to any man, to any time, forgotten to any god or devil, forgotten even to the sea, for any stuff for part of Winslow, even any scantling of your soul is Winslow no more, but is now itself the sea!”
-Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) in The Lighthouse. Written by Robert Eggers.
“I do not have the mental or emotional capacity to deal with his loss, but sometimes, I sit in a chair late at night and quietly feel very bad. When the night is at its most quiet, I can hear death. I am very proud of my sadness, because it means I am more alive. I no longer fall in love with rocks.”
– Emily (Julie Pott) in World of Tomorrow. Written by Don Hertzfeldt around audio recordings of Winona Mae.
“You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant… oh, fuck it.”
– M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Written by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, based on the writing of Stefan Zweig.