The very worst lines of all time spoken in movies
Writing is hard. Talking is even worse. There are so many words and articles and confusing rules about ending a sentence with a preposition. Movies often make both look easy – characters open their mouth and Bill Pullman’s speech as President Thomas J. Whitmore from Independence Day comes out.
However, sometimes a good movie has bad dialogue that is so baffling, so mind-numbingly strange that it feels like a placeholder for a better line that just never happened.
In honor of those bizarre writing choices, we’ve compiled a list of the worst lines ever committed to film. For the purposes of keeping the list short, and not loading it entirely with B movies and M. Night Shyamalan material, we focused on films we actually enjoyed but had a line so off-putting and strange that it took us out of the movie completely.
Where the heck is Gotham located
As we all know, the only good Batman movie is the one with Michelle Pfeiffer in it, the rest are increasingly desperate portrayals of a rich man in crisis.
Batman Begins in 2005 ushered in the era of hoarse whisper-shouting Batman, and introduced a dilemma we had never considered before when Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) ushered this line:
Alfred Pennyworth : In the Civil War, your great-great grandfather was involved in the Underground Railroad, secretly transporting freed slaves to the North. And I suspect these caverns came in handy.
Gotham is in the South?
Bruce Wayne’s great-great grandpappy was some kind of proto-Batman?
Batman, a person that would both bring joy and distress to Ayn Rand in equal measure, was meant to serve as a course correction to extreme wealth and privilege. He shakes off his family legacy of wealth and puts that money to good use by helping others. The message falls flat if his family has always been humanitarian do-gooders.
Furthermore, Gotham has always been portrayed as an industrial, Northern city; giving off 1927 Metropolis vibes, or New York City, if the 70s had never ended. For the purposes of this article, and because this quote was bothering us so much, we attempted to determine Gotham’s location, based only on the geographic clues given in Batman Begins.
There were not that many; despite having the same skyscrapers, landmarks, and weather as Chicago, Alfred has insisted that Bruce Wayne’s palatial family estate was not built by slave labor, but rather created to help them escape from slavery.
However, we know that the Gotham in Batman Begins is 1) rainy and 2) built over an extensive series of caverns. There are a number of cave systems within the continental U.S., but the most extensive take up considerable parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Based on that, and the fact that Tennessee is ranked No. 6 in the country for rainfall, we can only conclude that Gotham City is located in Tennessee.
Sisters don’t fight like this
10 Things I Hate About You still stands out as one of the best movies of 1999, in a year that saw the release of The Matrix, Office Space, The Iron Giant, and Election.
It is acerbic and witty and sweet and a near-perfect adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s more misogynistic plays, but one of the fights between sisters Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) almost takes us out of the movie.
Bianca: Where did you come from? Planet “Loser”?
Kat Stratford: As opposed to Planet “Look At Me, Look At Me”?
What high-school-aged sisters fight like this? This sounds like what 5-year-olds would think is a devastating burn. Anyone with sisters knows the best way to wound them emotionally is to go through their diary, make detailed notes on their insecurities, then bring them up in a fight to gut their self-worth.
If that doesn’t work, there is always hair pulling.
Love is a constant stream of apologies for things you only half-mean
1970’s Love Story is the sincere, earnest love story between two beautiful, idealistic young people.
It is a movie you will have an enormous soft spot for if you watched when you were young, but watching as an adult completely ruins it and makes you wonder why a doctor would give the terminal health diagnosis of a woman to her husband, rather than to the woman herself.
Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal manage to make the characters of Jenny and Oliver feel like real people, despite the most ridiculous line of dialogue ever put on screen:
Oliver Barrett IV: Jenny… I’m sorry.
Jennifer Cavalieri: Don’t. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
This is a line repeated multiple times throughout Love Story. It makes less sense each time. It is a sign that these beautiful young people belong to the Romeo and Juliet school of relationships and have never actually been in love before, because “sorry” is a phrase repeated almost as many times as “I love you” in a healthy relationship.
You don’t need bubblegum to kick ass
They Live has everything: subliminal messages, drifters, alien conspiracies, a biting critique of Reagan-era consumerism, and more. While the film flopped commercially when it was released in 1988, it has since gained a cult following for its critique of unrestrained capitalism, packaged in the style of an exploitative B movie.
In a film where every line is a treat of late-80s weirdness, its most famous line falls flat:
Nada (Roddy Piper): I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.
Chewing bubblegum has no impact on kicking ass. We didn’t get it then, and we don’t get it now.
Of course, the line from X Men would be on this list
We all know the line. We all know Storm’s (Halle Berry) hypothetical query on what happens if a toad gets struck by lightning.
This line has (rightly) been eviscerated for years, but we’re mostly just curious because it puts a distressing spin on Storm’s past. She has storm powers. Does this mean she spent her youth, out in the wild, electrocuting frogs?
Animal abuse at a young age is a common sign of a serial killer. What else was she shish-kabobing with her wizard powers?