Some movies are remembered for their classic one-liners. "I'll Be Back" made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star in the Terminator franchise, and "Where we're going we don't need roads" helped turn Back to the Future into a household phenomenon. Joe Pesci made a career out of "I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown?" And Robert De Niro made movie history for "I'm walking here!" These classics, unfortunately, don't speak for the majority of films. Not every one-liner sticks in a good way.
Some movie one-liners are so bad, they actually overtake the films they were in as the most remembered part of the entire flick. They are the subject of Internet memes, they give actors a bad reputation, and it's possible that they cost screenwriters' future employment.
Of course, the opposite is also true. Some movies are actually written with the intention of placing these cheesy one-liners in them. You can almost picture the screenwriters building entire scenes and sets around one terribly corny line, just to capture the moment on film. Actors like Sylvester Stallone have made a career out of this type of filmmaking.
The lines aren't often intentional. Actors improvising lead to all sorts of last-minute decisions. Originally meant to hit the cutting room floor, the director decides that the line is simply too good not to keep. That can be a mistake. If only they knew how it would play out when the audience watched it, they may have decided on another route.
No matter how these god-awful lines got into the movies, they're there. Ever wondered what some of the worst one-liners in movie history are? Here are the 15 most torturous we could think of.
15 “It’s Turkey Time. Gobble Gobble.” - Gigli (2003)
I'm sorry, but whoever wrote this should be ashamed. Did they actually try this line in the bedroom with their significant other? Did it work? Was it Thanksgiving and they wanted to be festive and 'excited' all at the same time? How confident do you think someone has to be in themselves or how intoxicated to use that as a pick-up line?
You almost have to wonder how many different ways Jennifer Lopez tried to deliver that line in the mirror before finally deciding to go with this version. To her credit, I suppose there could have been a hundred different ways to deliver this dialogue, but this is pretty bad. In fact, the whole movie is full of terrible one-liners like this, and Gigli is highly regarded as one of the worst films ever made. The fact that J-Lo and Ben Affleck walked away rather unscathed is amazing.
14 No Not The Bees - Wickerman – (2006)
Where to start with this film. It has to be one of the reasons Nicolas Cage went from being Hollywood’s highest grossing actor to a straight-to-DVD afterthought. In this particular scene from The Wickerman, when being tortured, his job is to act as though he’s being swarmed by a bunch of bees (which of course is CGI). Supposedly, the scene wouldn’t work if he just flinched or moved around and made some grunts or said “ouch”, so in full Cage fashion, he started screaming! “No! Not the bees! Nooooo! Not the bees! My eyes! Arghhhhhhh! Arghhhhhh! Arghhhhhh!”.
I can only imagine how odd it probably was for a set full of extras in the scene who’s job it was to respond to Cage’s acting. Either they stood there acting surprised when he did nothing, or they tried not to fall over in laughter as he completely overacted the scene in a way that only Cage could. Perhaps looking back at the scene, the writers and producers should have rethought keeping it in the film, but knowing Cage, he probably figured it was some of his best acting work yet.
13 “Just In Case We Get Killed...” - Showdown In Little Tokyo (1991)
I know the writer of this dialogue thought it would be funny, but it comes across as an awkwardly odd time to reflect on another man's body parts. Just as Brandon Lee and Dolph Lundgren are about to go into a fight, Lee pushes out this little nugget, "Just in case we get killed, I wanted to tell you. You have the biggest di** I've ever seen on a man."
Of course, Lundgren would respond, "Thanks, I don't know what to say." Yep, that makes sense. If I was about to fight potentially to my death and my partner decided to lay that on my right before the fight, I wouldn't know what to say either. Brandon Lee was awesome in so many ways, but this was a time when he should have mustered a little creative control and said, "Yah, no, probably not going to happen."
12 “Pain Don't Hurt” - Roadhouse (1989)
Who doesn't love the movie Roadhouse? Honestly, I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like that movie. That doesn't mean every line in it is a pure winner, though. In fact, some of the lines are corny as hell.
Take for example when Patrick Swayze is getting stitched up after an altercation, the doctor (who eventually becomes his love interest in the film) asks him if he wants something for the pain. This is what a normal person would do. Nope, not Swayze. His response? "Pain don't hurt." Um, yes it does. By pure definition of the word, pain hurts. That's why it's called pain.
This line may make his character sound like an idiot, and to be honest, there is a lot going on in this film that shows that the characters aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. But hey, he got the girl, so it clearly worked.
11 “Put The Bunny Back In The Box” - Con Air (1997)
Today, Nicolas Cage is a straight-to-DVD star. But at one time, he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Movies like Con Air helped get him there, and he became a megastar despite some pretty bad acting and some pretty terrible lines. One of the funniest (and I don't think it was meant to be funny) is when he's battling it out with another convict in the cargo hatch of the plane. He takes issue with the fact that the con has found a toy stuffed bunny that belongs to Cage's daughter.
Giving the bad guy one last chance to do the right thing, he says, "Put the bunny back in the box." As if this one gesture would make everything okay, of course, the real villain doesn't oblige. After a dramatic fight scene and an eliminated henchman, Cage then asks out loud, "Why couldn't you have just put the bunny back in the box?" Between him regretting having to kill the bad buy guy over a bunny and Cage's terrible accent, this ranks as one of the worst ever one liners.
10 “You Betrayed The Law!” - Judge Dredd (1995)
For all of Sylvester Stallone's success, he's perhaps the actor most known for one-liners that just don't stick. In this instance, not only does he deliver a whopper, but his acting partner in this scene is clearly trying to outdo the dramatic nature of the scene and gives it right back to him.
This is so bad that one of the commenters in the comments section of the video called this the ultimate in ham-to-ham combat. He's exactly right. Another said, "Wow, Assante actually out-stalloned Stallone!!" You have to be pretty special to manage that feat. There are few things more overly dramatic than Stallone when he's at the top of his overacting game.
Remember folks, this is the same guy that brought us Rocky! This is one of those few films where the remake of the movie was better than the original.
9 “Alright Everybody, Chill” - Batman And Robin (1997)
Like Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger has long been known as the man of one-liners. Most of his quips have made him a household name. Not so much for Batman and Robin, though, which, to this day, is still considered one of the worst superhero flicks ever made. Arnie delivers one-liner after one-liner, and all of them are so over the top that there's just too many to pick one.
Check out the compilation of terribly delivered and terribly written puns and one-liners. It takes the cake in terms of the sheer quantity of poorly done dialogue, even for the former Governor of California. George Clooney still considers this the worst acting gig he ever did, but everyone involved was more than pleased to cash the hefty cheques that came with being a part of this turd of a film.
8 “I Don't Like Sand” - Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones (2002)
Widely regarded as the movies that almost killed the unkillable Star Wars, the prequels were wrought with terrible dialogue and even worse acting. Of all the culprits, Hayden Christensen is by far the most depiction of a character, and it's hard to tell whether it was just really bad acting or a horrible script.
One of the best/worst lines in all of the prequels was when Anakin Skywalker was bonding with future wife and mother of Luke and Leia. He describes his experience on planets like Tatooine and says he doesn't like sand. Amazingly, George Lucas probably thought this moment would go down as one of the most touching in the franchise's history. Yeah, a real scene-stealer this one was.
7 “Garbage Day!” - Silent Night, Deadly Night (1987)
The extremely corny 1987 slasher film has become famous for this one line. In fact, there are probably a swarm of fans who have now seen this movie, thanks to this scene who never would have otherwise. It was so overacted that it's awesome in its own incredibly good, but sort of bad, way and Eric Freeman has become somewhat of an acting legend for his way over-the-top performance. Was he standing there all day so he could catch him walking the garbage cans to the curb? Was it just extremely coincidental timing?
Pick your joke here. Before the victim got shot, you have to wonder if his wife told him it's not gonna kill you to take out the trash. Maybe you show this to your wife and use it as your excuse. You can both have a good laugh and then get back to taking out the trash.
6 “What? No!” - The Happening (2008)
After hits like The Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable, you have to wonder how such a bad movie was ever made by M. Night Shyamalan. The Happening stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel is so bad on so many levels, it's amazing these two didn't see this coming and demand better writing. From the script to the acting to the payoff at the end, everything about this film made this a stinker of epic proportions.
Somewhere in the filming of this scene, you could almost sense the moment that Wahlberg just stopped caring. One commenter on YouTube nailed it when they said, "One of the things I love about this scene is that the unintentional hilarity not only lies in the acting, but also the writing. Like, there is absolutely no way that any actor could have delivered that line and still sound believable."
5 “Christmas Only Comes Once A Year” - The World Is Not Enough (1999)
James Bond has always been known to have some pretty cheesy lines. The films are meant to be popcorn flicks full of action, women, and catchphrases that make the movies iconic. Not every one-liner is a hit, though.
In the 1999 version of the film, Pierce Brosnan plays Bond, and he's especially corny in some of his delivery. It doesn't help that The World Is Not Enough is considered one of the worst Bond films ever made. In his scene with Denise Richards (named Christmas), he's conquered his female partner (as he always does) and even after she tells him not to joke about her name, he delivers this keeper. After they've made love and are ready for round two, he says, "I thought Christmas only comes once a year." That's bad, even by James Bond standards.
4 “You Know What Happens To A Toad...” - X-Men (2000)
Sometimes, the line itself isn't so bad. It's the idea behind the line that is. For what possible reason did the writers of this movie feel this was a good time for Halle Berry's character, Storm, to have a sense of humor? Right before she does away with Toad in X-Men, she decides to share a bit of her infinite wisdom.
"Do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lighting?... the same thing that happens to everything else." And here, I thought she was going to say, "It croaks."
I guess that would have been a bit too obvious, so they went with a surprise punchline. The problem is, Berry played is straight instead of playing it for humor. Not really her fault. After all, it's not like Storm was known as a jokester.
3 “Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall” - Mission Impossible III (2006)
I understand the idea here. But when it was written, did anyone actually say it out loud before they popped it in the script? After Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) performs another feat of near impossibility, scaling up a wall and doing all of it outside the view of the many security cameras, he takes a breather, turns to the camera, and says, "Humpty dumpty sat on a wall." Huh?
Who wrote that? And why, of all the times, especially after Hunt has no history of cheesy one-liners like that, did they feel the need to add that line? We all know Cruise is an actor you either really like or don't like (and most of that is because of his flare for the odd outside of his films), but stuff like this makes it easy to take a shot at him. A nursery rhyme was probably not the right way to go, and Cruise should have realized it.
2 “Rest In Pieces” - The Expendables II
Now, let's take this for what it is. The Expendables II, just like it was in The Expendables, is an excuse to string together as much unnecessary violence and zingy one-liners as possible. The entire movie franchise is based off that premise. It's what the fans love about these films. Old action stars, crazy stunts, and one-liners that make you remember back to the days of these actors glory years. Still, some of the lines are a bit hard to swallow.
In this scene, Stallone's entire crew shoots one man and to the point that he's got 50-some bullet holes in him. Stallone yells, "Rest in pieces!"Here's the problem with that. His victim is not in pieces, and the line is so forced you can almost see the look on Stallone's face when he sat down and wrote that guy into the film so he could deliver the line.
1 “I'm Gonna Take You To The Bank...” Hard To Kill (1990)
Watching a Steven Seagal movie is like opposite day. For any other actor, you'd groan and wonder why the line was ever muttered. In Seagal's case, you become a bigger fan, the more ridiculous he gets.
In a scene that is about the oddest in cinematic history, our main character is having to reenact, in his own mind, the pieces of the crimes to see if he can't put his finger on something his nemesis says. All of a sudden, it comes to him. The evil senator's voice rings, "And you can take that to the bank." Having figured out the mystery, with a completely straight face and looking at a television that isn't turned on in an empty room, Seagal says out loud, "I'm gonna take you to the bank Senator Trent, the blood bank."
This is classic screen writing at its "Seagal" best. And of course, he says it out loud, where no one can hear him. The delivery, the music, the set-up are all so over-the-top that it's some of the best, and worst, stuff Seagal has ever done. And we love him for it!