Best of 2013: The most cringeworthy movie lines of the year

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Image Credit: Quantrell D.Colbert

The Furrowed Eyebrow. The Slo-Mo 360-Eye-Roll. The Wince. The Something-Smells Nose-Scrunch. And the Dead-Eye Jaw-Drop. Chances are, you have your own versions of these faces, perfected from years of watching mediocre movies and television where words are strung together in a truly unholy manner by actors  — who may be either victim or willing accomplice to the writer — delivering a metaphorical gut-punch to the audience that makes you go, “Oof.”

Fortunately, our brains have a natural tendency to quickly forget the worst lines in a movie. (It’s a survival mechanism.) But every now and then, a turd refuses to be flushed. In some cases, those loser-lines come from otherwise beloved movies. I give you Notting Hill‘s “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” — the rare stinker that nailed the difficult Wince into a Slo-Mo 360-Eye-Roll combo.

So what were some of 2013’s doozies? Some were throwaway quips in C+ movies that just stand as reminders that you’re never getting that $12 or two hours back. Others are notable because they belong to acclaimed films and are spoken by revered actors. There’s one, fortunately, that straddles the line between being everybody-was-high embarrassing and bat-sh-t genius. Enjoy.

5. “I just think he’s kinda hot.” — female soldier to General Swanwick (Harry Lennix) after Superman pledges allegiance to America and flies off, Man of Steel

I just think. He’s kinda hot. Niiiice. Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot struggled a little with tone, and this epilogue quip seemed borrowed from some other movie. Or The CW.

4a. “I know this is what we do. This is our life. But it just seems like the world is moving so fast. Right now, things are changing so much.” — Catherine Keener in Captain Phillips

4b. “I’ll tell you something. It’s not going to be easy for our kids. They’ll be going into another world than the one you and I came into.” — Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

4c. “Everything’s different and big wheels are turning. You gotta be strong to survive out there.” — More Hanks in Captain Phillips

The opening sequence of Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass’s high-seas adventure, shows Richard Phillips and his wife driving to the airport. It’s awkward, totally unnatural, and completely for the audience (rather than the characters), who will soon witness a violent microcosm of the impact of globalization and wealth disparity. Stanley Kubrick would not have been a fan:

“The essence of dramatic form is to let an idea come over people without its being plainly stated. When you say something directly, it is simply not as potent as it is when you allow people to discover it for themselves.” — Stanley Kubrick

3. “You know, they call it a waterboard… but I never get bored!” — Zartan, who’s taken over the presidency in G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Truly deserving of the rare Slo-Mo 720-Eye-Roll. It’s a parody of the worst Bond villain every invented. Dr. Evil couldn’t even pull this one off.

2. “I’ve come back from worse than this!” — Charlie Sheen getting pummeled by a poltergeist in Scary Movie 5

Have you, Charlie? Have you really come back?

1. This final one needs an intro, because it is truly Mount Rushmore mesmerizing. In Only God Forgives, Kristen Scott Thomas — The English Patient’s Kristen Scott Thomas! — plays Ryan Gosling’s maniac mother. Her oldest son has been murdered, and she’s come to Bangkok to identity the body and seek revenge. The scene where she has a meal with Gosling’s Julian and his girlfriend is undeniably amusing, unnerving, and NSFW, especially since Scott Thomas seems to be playing the vengeful woman as if the character description was “Ellen Barkin as Cruella de Vil.” I’ve already said too much. Enjoy your Dead-Eye Jaw-Drop.

“So, tell me, Mai. What kind of work are you in? [Mai: I'm an entertainer.] An entertainer!? And how many c-cks can you entertain with that cute little c-m-dumster of yours? What do you think of his line of work? I’m not talking about the fag boxing club. I’m talking about where the money comes from. You know what he does, right? He deals drugs, May. Heroin, cocaine. That’s where the money comes from. That’s how he can afford to pay you to f-ck him. [to waiter] Oh great, I’ll get the crab, he’ll have the spicy chicken, and May here will have a salad, with the dressing on the side… [Mai: It's Mai.] I’m sorry. I apologize for my behavior. It’s just that I’m a little upset. I have lost my first son. [Mai: I'm sorry for that.] Thank you. It’s good to know someone cares. Because I swear to God, sometimes I think Julian hated Billy — maybe hate is the wrong word, but you were always jealous of him. You know the way boys are, May — competitive. What with Billy being the older brother and having a bigger c-ck — Julian’s was never small, but Billy’s was, oh, it was enormous. How can he compete with that? Billy was everything Julian wanted to be. Is that not true? Because let me tell you, if the tables were turned, your brother would’ve found your killer and brought me his head on a f-ckin’ platter. And you… just sit there, thinking he got what he deserved. F-ck you… I don’t want to talk about it. Do you mind if I smoke?

You really must watch a portion of this soliloquy, in all its delicious awfulness.

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