January 3, 2015

Embarrassingly Awful Dialogue from Otherwise Great Films

We've all heard our fair share of bad dialogue in movies. In some cases, it can either totally sink a film or be part of what makes it so much fun (like Twilight or any disaster movie you'd care to name). On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Tarantinos, Mamets, Allens, etc., whose skill with dialogue is the primary reason some films achieve greatness. Then there are those movies we all love for various reasons, but contain a line so dumb we can't help but wonder what the writer was thinking.

The following is a list films which most would agree are wonderful (many are classics), yet toss-in a line or two of dialogue so bad, corny, off-the-wall or meaningless that they stand out like Waldo on a nude beach. I suppose it’s a tribute to the thespian skills of the actors forced to utter these lines with a straight face.

Elaine Brody: My husband tells me you’re in sharks.

Nobody would ever say that. 

Storm: Do you know what happens when a toad is struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.

Thanks for the science lesson.

Cohaagen: In thirty seconds you’ll be dead, and I’ll blow this place up and be home in time for Corn Flakes.

Corn Flakes…part of your nutritious breakfast AND the ultimate way to celebrate crushing your enemies.

Store Clerk: I thought you guys just ate donuts.
Sgt. Powell: They’re for my wife.
Store Clerk: Yeah.
Sgt. Powell: She’s pregnant.
Store Clerk: Yeah.
Sgt. Powell: Bag it.
Store Clerk: Big time.

Huh? Big time? What the hell does that even mean?

Rhonda: I think I have a plan. Why don’t we throw a bomb the way we want to go and when it goes off, we run like goddamn bastards! 

Dem goddamn bastards run mighty fast.

Lindsay: I know how alone you feel…alone in all that cold blackness…

Lindsay is supposed to be trying to keep Virgil’s spirits up as he descends deeper in the ocean than anyone ever has before…so she sits at the microphone and reminds him of how cold and isolated he is!

Obi-Wan Kenobi: You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

An ominous statement, but ultimately meaningless and dumb since, after Obi-Wan dies, all he really does comes back to pester Luke in later films. 

Marty McFly (after blowing up the giant speaker in Doc Brown’s lab when he plugs in his guitar): Rock and roll!

That’s right, Marty, overlook the fact you’ve just destroyed Doc’s entire lab. Some friend.

Lois Lane (internal monologue as Superman takes her flying for the first time): Can you read my mind? Do you know what it is that you do to me? I don't know who you are. Just a friend from another star. Here I am, like a kid out of school. Holding hands with a god. I'm a fool. Will you look at me? Quivering. Like a little girl, shivering. You can see right through me. Can you read my mind? Can you picture the things I'm thinking of? Wondering why you are... all the wonderful things you are. You can fly. You belong in the sky. You and I... could belong to each other. If you need a friend... I'm the one to fly to. If you need to be loved... here I am. Read my mind.

I’m sorry, but what the fuck?

Carrie’s Mom: I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.
Carrie: Breasts, Mama. They’re called breasts, and every woman has them.

Poor Mrs. White…having gone an entire lifetime without knowing what boobs are. And when was the last time you heard anyone say, “Man, that babe has one nice set of dirty pillows on her.”?

Recall any other lines of mind-numbingly awful dialogue from a classic film? We’d love to hear your suggestions for a future list.

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