Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad, bad, bad movie dialogue

Entertainment Weekly magazine has got an online photo feature listing what it considers 15 shining examples of bad movie dialogue. Without cheating, for how many of these can you name the film in which they appear? Answers tomorrow.

Personally, I think they should have included the one line from Casablanca that always makes me cringe. In a script so full of great dialogue, how did Ilsa's line comparing an Nazi artillery bombardment to her heart beating make the cut? Still, here's the unhappy 15:
1. I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.

2. You're why cavemen chiseled on walls.

3. You complete me.

4. A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?

5. I'm gone, like a turkey in the corn. Gobble gobble!

6. You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.

7. And she rescues him right back.

8. My warrior woman. My valkyrie. You'll always be mine, always and never. Never. The Fire, baby. It'll burn us both. It'll kill us both. There's no place in this world for our kind of fire.

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

10. Love means never having to say you're sorry.

11. A dingo ate my baby!

12. Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed.

13. I carried a watermelon.

14. We were made to fit together.

15. Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.


Oli said...

Oh, some of those aren't bad. A few of them are actually quite good - even the 'Is it still raining?' line is only ruined by Andie McDowell's atrocious performance.

I would like to suggest some truly appalling lines, tellingly from movies that the people writing the list would never admit to watching:

"You took a mental test!" - The reason the cops suspect Bruce Campbell in Maniac Cop.

"People are dying, we need guns!" - The action movie boiled down till there's nothing left in Alien vs. Predator: Requiem...

... and my favourite bad line of all time:

"Come here, Church. It's Thanksgiving Day for cats. But only if they've come back from the dead." from the execrable Pet Cemetery.

Surely worse than most of the list.

AndyDecker said...

What, just one Star Wars line?

Okay, maybe they hadn´t the space to print the entire three screen plays :-) Compared to the awful, awful dialogue of the last three SW movies a movie like SAW reads like Shakespeare :-)

And this list is just dumb. Some lines are okay, and some are in fact great. What´s not to like about "A dingo ate my baby"? Lol. It inspired a lot of people :-)

Lucy said...

The Watermelon line is from Dirty Dancing. I don't know how I know that cos I haven't seen it.

My fave terrible line comes from an episode of Babylon 5: "You know what it's like when telepaths make love lieutenant? It's like a wall of mirrors..." Makes me cringe, just thinking about it.

John Soanes said...

Think oli has a point - there's definitely a distinction to be made between the dodginess of the line itself and the delivery, and the 'is it still raining?' and 'struck by lightning lines would be okay if said in a light fashion (if memory serves, Joss Whedon contributed the latter to the script for X-Men, and is on record as saying how unimpressed he was with Berry's delivery of it).

The watermelon line (though it's from a film I obviously won't have seen because I'm male) is immediately followed by the person who said it grimacing in the realisation of just how stupid it sounds, so I think it's a bit unfair to have it included in the list.

It's worryingly telling how many of these lines are from the last couple of decades, I'd say - old films (such as Casablanca, which you mention) had some ropey lines in too, and I'm rather inclined to worry about the list being slightly motivated by an intention to mock, but only safe (that is, well-known) targets...


Paul Scoones said...

Maybe it says something about me that I have over half of the movies that these lines come from in my DVD collection...!

Sonance said...

About the Andie McDowell line in Four Weddings. Can someone please tell me I'm not completely mad and that they have in fact replaced that line of dialogue with a different take (or a re-dub) that's not quite as bad as the original take.

I don't have access to my old VHS copy of the movie, nor does YouTube yield anything worthwhile, so I can't check. But I'm prepared to wager a considerable amount of pretend money that the versions of the movie that currently exist on DVD and for TV broadcast feature a different take of that line.

Someone please tell me I'm not imagining things.

Anonymous said...

At least three of those sound like good lines, and some seem just so-so. EW doesn't justify the choices, just presents them as accepted fact. Online, anybody can dump on anything.