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February 03 2008

15 Nominees for Worst Movie Dialogue Ever. One of Joss' three lines from X-Men (2000) - the one that got mangled in the performance - is nominated as some of EW's worst dialogue ever.

Does anyone remember what the other two lines were?

[ edited by daylight on 2008-02-04 00:22 ]

I believe one was Wolvie identifying himself as not-Mystique by telling Scott, "You're a dick." Don't know the other.
Odd how only one line was from "Revenge of the Sith". I could have filled the whole list with lines from that movie. "You're breaking my heart!" is probably the worst and most on-the-nose line ever spoken in a feature film.
I loved the lightening enhanced frog line.... problem was that Halle Berry is such a drama queen she can't pull off the under-her-breath sarcasm that was needed for that line.
Dingoes Ate My Baby... nice
Hehe...the dingoes line is a classic!

And am I the only one who gets a lil teary-eyed at that "Notting Hill" line? I think it's lovely!
The line's not all that great anyway. Even if she pulls off "The same thing that happens to everything else" in the non-chalant way its intended, it's still not that funny.

"You're a dick" most definitely is, though.
The line from She's All That is a good line! Nothing wrong with that in a teen romcom.

('I feel just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. You know, except for the whole hooker thing.')

The line's not all that great anyway. Even if she pulls off "The same thing that happens to everything else" in the non-chalant way its intended, it's still not that funny.
I bet Joss will regret till the day he dies admitting to that line. It's not a bad line, it's not a great line, but because it's become so talked about and built up it's been judged far more harshly than a throwaway line should have been. I could pick a dozen lines from any movie and have thousands of people on the net pick it apart for months and they'd have the same opinion.

[ edited by zz9 on 2008-02-04 02:40 ]
I don't get it, was that the original line that Joss wrote? What did you mean by 'mangled in the performance.'
Basically it called for something like this, performance wise...


[Toadie dude grabs onto building with his tongue as Storm begins to brew a... erm, storm.]

Storm: (shouting) "You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning?"

[A bolt of electricity darts down striking Toady dude sending him spiralling lifeless off the building. Storm turns around and walks away]

Storm: (mutters) "The same thing that happens to everything else."


Feels like it was one written for Buffy that does :)
I don't get it, was that the original line that Joss wrote? What did you mean by 'mangled in the performance.'

Here's what was said: ''You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.''

I always think of how David Boreanaz or Alyson Hannigan would say the line. Halle Berry clearly didn't get it. (I think she's overrated as an actress to begin with, and this line just made her look BAD.)
Van Helsing: That's why you're coming with me.
Carl: The hell be damned that I am.
Van Helsing: You cursed. Not very well, mind you, but you're a monk. You shouldn't curse at all.
Carl: Actually, I'm still just a friar. I can curse all I want, dammit.
Some people just don't have a sense of humor.
Halle Berry has two options on her standard contract.

1.) Should Ms. Berry show her ....
2.) Should Ms. Berry act like a ...

Same word fills... work the problem dammit. I believe there were only two lines, not three. Is the Joss Whedon draft of "X-Men" available anywhere?
I like the frog line and it shouldn't be on the list. It's the actor that screwed it up.

The rest of the list is weak except for SW and Jerry Maguire. I was thinking of "You had me at hello," which makes me go weak in the knees with laughter. Also, a little bit weak with nausea.

You can find any amount of horrible dialogue in this awful Mel Gibson movie called Bird on a Wire.
The toad-lightning line reminds me *a lot* of Buffy's line about her "Gandhi impersonation" in "Anne".
Oh man. Some of those are classic. ''Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.'' Heh heh. Was that the one "I sense Dooku" was in?

"Love means never having to say you're sorry" enrages me every time I hear it. It's just so ... wrong.

And I'm sorry, but ain't no one going to convince me that ''I carried a watermelon" isn't cinema gold. Baby!
I like that line from Sin City! Maybe just because I like Clive Owen and I like Dwight, but also it's a comic book like. Comic book dialog and movie dialog are really different.

Speaking of which, I must say I'm shocked that the ONE line from X-Men is in there while all three Spider-Man movies managed to escape judgment.
basically, there's a point to the line, i.e. the beginning's a distraction to make Toad think it's a riddle, blast him, then it's not one so HE looks stupid, but instead Berry (who need I remind you was trying to get a romance between Storm and Wolverine for x3) says the entire thing like it's some badass line, ruins it and makes herself look like an ass. I hate her so much. She, Julia Roberts, they can take a flying leap.
I glanced through the list. I think 14 of 15 were later than 1990. The only earlier movie I remember is Love Story. For worst dialogue ever you think they could dig up something from Manos: The Hands of Fate, Mars Needs Women or Billy the Kid Versus Dracula.
It's hard for me to justify the "turkey in the corn" line from Fire Walk With Me, if only because at least half of David Lynch's films contain some form of whiskey-tango-foxtrot dialogue that just defies description but more often than not fits the movie. If I were to cite any of his dialogue, it might be Kyle MacLachlan's impassioned "Why are there people like Frank Booth in the world?" diatribe from Blue Velvet which, while I love the film, always takes me out of the moment.

As for the line from Sith, I'm not sure why they would pick a line that references the budding romance in Clones when any line of, erm, "romantic" dialogue from Episode II blows any line of any sort from III out of the water in terms of inducing hives. Even "You're breaking my heart," while wretched, came and went in the space of a second, as opposed to the pages and pages of sub-high school pining in II.

(For the record, the best line in Clones came when Anakin was confessing to slaughtering the sand people. From two rows in front of me and three seats to my left: "Someone needs a time-out.")

[ edited by Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner on 2008-02-04 04:57 ]
I think my nominee from Revenge of the Sith would be, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" (scene)
Ya know, I never did like that line from Storm myself, hadn't paid attention enough to know that it was a big deal to moviegoers at large though. Here I silently detested it alone. I didn't think it was redeemable, but I can't deny that it may have simply been played the wrong way. Wow that's hard to admit.

Speaking of over-dramatizing an otherwise funny line, anyone else see AVP-R? Don't look at me funny, it was bad, but entertainingly so. My point:

(In answer to the coward of the moment, and with as much badassitude tone as you can imagine)

"Because we won't MAKE it out of town without guns, dickhead. You're too stupid to talk, Dean, shut up."

I laughed out loud in the theater and got a couple funny looks.
Everytime I hear someone in the Star Wars movies say Naboo, I giggle like a 5 year old because in Burmese, Naboo means 'pervert'.
I can definitely picture an actor in the Buffyverse saying that X-Men line and it actually being funny. But it all depends on the actor and apparently Halle Berry just isn't Joss Whedon material.
The Ghandi line from 'Anne' is pure gold.
Actually, I think "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" from the immortal over-actor Patrick Swayze should be the worst line uttered in movie history.
Speaking of over-dramatizing an otherwise funny line, anyone else see AVP-R?

"Are you looking at the clock now?"

When it comes to the Episode III line they chose, it makes me laugh more from how wrong it is even in the context of the series (remember, guys -- I loved Revenge of the Sith. Bunches). The full line is: "Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo, so long ago when there was nothing but our love. No politics, no plotting, no war..."

Except when the politician was plotting to assassinate you in order to start a war, of course.

[ edited by The Dark Shape on 2008-02-04 07:06 ]
The watermelon thingy is supposed to be a bad line. Right after she says it, she has a stupidstupidstupid moment.
I don't know about delivery, but I wouldn't be surprised if she got the wording wrong. It seems like the line should read more like this:

''You know what happens [to a toad when it] gets struck by lightning?
(crash bang splat)
The same thing that happens to everything else.''

Not trying to re-write the master, but I bet the actress didn't understand the joke. She mangled the set-up, so the rest of it felt wierd.
I love "A dingo ate my baby!'" with a passion that defies reason - but I like to say, "Dingoes ate miy baybee" because I think it's funnier. When it's slow at work, I like to IM my partner in his office (across the hall) and surprise-bug him with it. He falls for it every time - which is maybe partly why we're together...

Me: Oh, gods, A, I forgot to tell you something important.
Him: What?
Me: Wait a minute - let me see if I can remember it exactly... the client said it was important, so I want to get it just right... (waits)
Him: What!!??!
Me: Oh, yeh, I remember it now... (waits)... Dingoes ate miy baybee.
Him: Oh, god...arggghhhhh.

It just never gets old. Well, to me, anyway...

And I don't know if it's because I loathe the performance so much, or if these lines really do suck as much as I think they do, but in All About Eve - which I've seen exactly a kajillion times - I always cringe when Gary "Faux Cynical Smile" Merrill delivers this speech:

"The theatuh, the theatuh - what book of rules says the theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and The Lone Ranger, Sarah Bernhardt, Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex the Wild Horse, and Eleanora Duse. You don't understand them all, you don't like them all, why should you? The theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your theater, but it's theater for somebody, somewhere." (There's some more, but that's enough...)

It gives me a big honking case of the creeping willies. Plus, I just detest it when he pronounces "rodeos" as in "shopping on Rode-ay-o Drive."


Okay, I'l be good now.

No, wait - the Four Weddings and a Funeral line on the list - I think that's Andie MacDowell's fault, and not that it's such a bad line - another actress could have played it and it would have been alright. Andie is so annoying and arch throughout that whole movie that she sets my teeth on edge, and makes it thoroughly unbelievable that anyone could choose her over Kristin Scott Thomas as "Fiona."


Okay, now I'll stop. Really.

Oh, yeah - and Wings of Desire didn't need a re-make. And I agree about the Sin City lines - they work fine for comics.
Saturday night, a girl I was with brought up Storm's line, and I tried my best to convince her that its awfulness was exclusively Halle's fault.
It's not awful without Halle's overly theatrical delivery but it's not exactly vintage Purp either ("You're a dick" so very much is though). Wonder what the third line was ?

Including the 'Jerry MacGuire' line seems a bit harsh though. Even as a guy I could live with it, given the film it's in (i.e. one of the chickest flicks in the history of 'em ;).

In fact, I think a lot of the choices are completely ignoring context. In 'As Good as it Gets' for instance, Greg Kinnear is an artist and meant to be slightly over the top (Nicholson's character makes not a few snarky comments about his histrionics) so for him the line works. Also, shouldn't there be a "bye" for films that have one dubious line in an otherwise great script (yep, i'm still thinking of 'As Good as it Gets', which has a truer and therefore more potent version of "You complete me" IMO - more like "You show me where i'm incomplete" in the excellent "You make me want to be a better man") ?

(and the Sith line should totally be there but then there's about eleventy kabillion lines from the prequels that could be - "Issa peepul gonna dieee ?" and "Noooooooo !" being strong contenders for the top spot IMO)
In defense of Halle Berry, isn't it the director's job to make sure the actor understands how the line is supposed to be delivered? No prejudice here, I didn't see the movie & have no idea who directed it, just sayin' .....

The infamous Love Story line should have been number one, never in the history of film has there been such a barf inducing line of dialog.
Blush but I like Andie Dowell in Four Weddings... and Emma Freud (the script editor) regretted not cutting that unreadable line ("yuk" is how she felt in 2000).

Maybe the director and Halle Berry didnít get the toad joke in X-Men or maybe it is actually a bad line.
"The infamous Love Story line should have been number one, never in the history of film has there been such a barf inducing line of dialog."

Nor has there ever been a line that induced so much domestic abuse. Check the stats... I bet it went up after this film was released.

"maybe it is actually a bad line"

But that destroys a central tenant of our faith, that Joss cannot do wrong.
Yeah I don't place the blame squarely on Berry. I mean it was a very complex technical shot and I can't imagine Bryan "let's see if this shot fits between my fingers" Singer didn't have his fingerprints all over every aspect of production. (At least in the first one - I have heard stories that he bunked off for most of X-Men 2 and the latter stages of Superman - he now seems to be persona non grata in Hollywood for some reason, not welcome on the X-Men or Superman franchises any more.)
Well, Singer left the X-Men series to do 'Superman Returns' which probably didn't win him many friends. Then Returns didn't exactly set the box office alight (though with a reported production budget of $270 million I reckon it would have needed to make about $500 million just to break even) which is why there're now rumours that he won't be directing the sequel.

Re: line delivery, surely the actor has to bring their own interpretation to the script (Johnny Depp famously had Disney execs terrified over his take on Jack Sparrow and though Gore Verbinski - to his credit and our benefit - backed him up, it was still Depp's choice to begin with) ? When actors deliver a brilliant performance we don't say "Boy, that was great directing", we give the actor the credit (I don't credit Bryan Singer for Hugh Jackman's immaculate delivery of "You're a dick" for instance). Which to me means when it's not so great they also have to accept the bulk of the blame. You can't have it both ways ;).
Not sure what's supposed to be wrong with the line from "She's All That". It reads as being pretty funny.
Actually I thought the line from "She's All That" was OK, what made it better was the actress delivered it well. I am also on the side that feels the Sin City line was fine.

Four Weddings and a Funeral was so good it could easily survive the one bad line about "Is it still raining. I hadn't noticed"

My list of bad movie lines would look quite different from this one presented.
I'd have to agree with the people in the comments who submitted lines from "The Fast and the Furious":
"What is he, a tuna sandwich freak or something?"
and, worst of all
"I live my life a quarter mile at a time."

Although I know a lot of people liked that movie, so maybe there was a "so bad it's good" thing going on that I just didn't get.
QuoterGal, you said exactly what I came here to say about Andie MacDowell and Four Weddings. Plus, did anyone else notice in that last scene that one second they're slightly damp from the rain, and in the next shot Hugh Grant looks like someone dumped a vat of water over him? Talk about continuity problems.

I like Andie MacDowell, but it's in spite of her total inability to act. Layer over that Carrie's English-inflected dialogue, and it's a train wreck.

But my big beef is... nothing from Titanic on the list!?!
After doing a bit of digging around I was reminded of other horrible movie lines that make Joss' toad line read like Shakespeare:

"I love you."
- MOLLY JENSEN (Demi Moore) and SAM WHEAT (Patrick Swayze) in Ghost (1990)

Pain don't hurt. - Patrick Swayze in Road House

Are you guys sensing a trend here like I am?
Oi, 'Road House' is a cheesy 80s classic, watch what you say Tonya J ;-).

(and fair play, it's got some great lines too:

"Calling me sir is like putting an elevator in an outhouse. It don't belong."

"Jimmy: Prepare to die.
Dalton: You are such an asshole."

or how about this for a tagline:

"Dalton lives like a loner, fights like a professional. And loves like there's no tomorrow."

How can you not love a film that actually uses that as a sales pitch ? ;-)

with thanks to wikiquote, just so no-one finds out thinks i've committed 'Road House' to memory ;)
Oh, number two on the list should have been "I. Don't. Want. Your. Life!" uttered by James Van der Beek, who was obviously gunning for the Oscar, in "Varsity Blues." But sadly I love that movie.
Saje, I note you aren't defending the awfulness of Ghost ... no love lost there, eh? :>)
Well, the 90s tried Tonya J but it didn't feel like they really owned the cheese, y'know ? ;-)

(though I know people that'll argue til they're blue in the face that 1990 is actually the last year of the 80s - in which case my whole carefully constructed cheese edifice crumbles like so much old Cheddar ;)
I actually think the line from She's All That about Pretty Woman is pretty funny. It actually sounds a bit like Cordelia's line that the film should have been called "Pretty Skanky Woman". And the line from Dirty Dancing which came first, I haven't actually seen the film but isn't "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" a pretty horrendous one? Even once I figured out that the character is called Baby, it's so cringeworthy and doesn't make any sense out of context.

As for Joss' line from X-Men, I agree that the toad line doesn't really work in the film at all. But I can totally imagine it working brilliantly in Buffy, if it was Willow saying it, for example. I just don't think the delivery was anywhere near Joss' intention. But who knows, it wasn't necessarily Halle Berry's fault, it may have been the director.

The "You're a dick" line was one of the rare flashes of wit in X-Men and I definitely think I could have guessed that Joss wrote it.

[ edited by Razor on 2008-02-04 22:25 ]
I will still, with a bad Southern-by-way-of-Connecticut accent (Van Der Forehead and I come from roughly the same area of the Nutmeg state) greet my sister with "Ah. Don't Want. Your Liafe."

And the watermelon line, as mentioned above, *is* stupid. It's the sort of stupid thing you say when confronted with Patrick Swayze in all his glory.

What? It so is. I bet I wouldn't have even remembered the word "watermelon" when presented with the opportunity. Don't trash the work of our finest actor: Patrick "She's Like the Wind" Swayze!!!!
I'm now picturing The Swayze saying "I'm a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar." It's pretty funny in the awesomely bad way. :)
The one from Sin City looks cheesy in print, but it comes across great in the movie. I distinctly remember loving that sequence. It drips noir. I can picture Humphrey Bogart saying it. It's romantic and poetic. In fact the more I think about it the more I love it, and it makes me want to see Sin City again.
Continuing the Swayze trend before the topic falls off the main page,

Next of Kin:

"Do you believe in the Here-After? Then you know what I'm here after..."


You have give this one props for its sheer awfulness:

"No, I'm a postman." - The Postman (Kevin Costner) to a blind woman who says, "You're a godsend, a saviour," in The Postman
It's very funny that Varsity Blues has come up, because thinking about this topic brought to mind another loathsome line which happens to come from that movie: "We have the opportunity to play like GODS!!!!!" Oy.
Chronicles of Riddick.

"It's been a long time since I smelled beautiful."
dispatch, I totally agree about the Sin City line. On paper it looks kind of crazy but it works in the ultra-noir Sin City world. It fits with the style of most of the dialogue in the film, but it's also a really nice line. I also love "Nothing like having your friends show up with lotsa guns," which is in the same scene. Especially when those friends are crazily-dressed, gun-toting prostitutes.

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