The category for best line in a film is one of the hardest categories to think through year after year because I not only need to sort through all the movies I’ve seen but also the multiple lines from each one of those movies. Inevitably I’ll miss some real gems and there’s also a good chance that I’ll completely overlook a line that could become iconic in the future… but them’s the breaks.
- “Captain America: ‘Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?’ Iron Man: ‘Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.’” –The Avengers: The Avengers is a film that’s way too reliant on one-liners, but that does benefit it in this category. This line from early in the film when the heroes are still at each other’s throats perfectly encapsulates what makes Tony Stark such an arrogant prick and what makes Steve Rogers such a self-righteous ass. I love hearing comebacks like this whenever movie characters get to high on their soapbox.
- “Yes, that’s exactly what I mean! Do I have your word as a lawman not to shoot me down like a dog in the street?” – Django Unchained: If there’s anything wrong with this line it’s that it needs context. It’s part of a brief negation between Dr. King Schultz and a town’s marshall and is meant as a response to the Marshall’s accusation that Schultz had murdered the town sheriff in cold blood. Christoph Waltz delivers the line in a perfectly confident and shit-eating fashion and it becomes one the film’s biggest laughs.
- “Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” – The Grey: I looked this up to make sure it wasn’t simply a quotation of a real poem, and it appears that it is indeed an original verse written for the movie. The poem becomes something of a melancholy (if badass) rallying cry for a film that is, oddly enough, melancholy and badass. The fact that a poem is so integral to one of the year’s most macho action movies does sort of telling about the work as a whole.
- “The modern travesty of Thomas Jefferson’s political organization to which you have attached yourself like a barnacle has the effrontery to call itself ‘The Democratic Party.’ You are a Dem-o-crat. What’s the matter with you? Are you wicked?” – Lincoln: There are a number of lines in Lincoln that could have ended up here if I didn’t think they were essentially verbatim quotes from historical documents. It’s possible that this line spoken by Thaddeus Stevens in a private conversation is also a paraphrasing of a real quote, but my ten minutes of googling didn’t reveal any clear source, so I’m allowing it. The line itself is very witty and emblematic of the film’s use of old-timey speech and it also does a good job of addressing the strange reversal of party ideologies in this era.
- “No it doesn’t. There’ll be one guy left with one eye. How’s the last blind guy going to take out the eye of the last guy left whose still got one eye left? All that guy has to do is run away and hide behind a bush. Ghandi was wrong. It’s just that nobody’s got the balls to come out and say it.” – Seven Psychopath: This strange little confection of a speech comes out of the mouth of the film’s most psychotic psychopath. What I like about it is that it perfectly encapsulates how hard it is to discuss much of anything with an idiot who will come up with any pedantic argument he can come up with in order to justify (even if it’s only to himself) whatever wrong-headed belief he wants to further.