The Top 10 Films that are More Fun to Quote than They are to Watch

Here are some of the most noteworthy films I’ve ever felt compelled to quote or recommend. The thing about this list though, is that these films are so noteworthy, so quotable, that they actually become more fun to talk about than they are to watch. Below each choice, I’ve included links to audio files of memorable lines or scenes.

More often than not, there are inspired moments or characters or settings in these films that are otherwise surrounded by nearly unwatchable stuff. Sometimes, the script writer or director renders something in such a memorable way, that it becomes immortalized in our minds.

Perhaps some of these films were as fun to create (or as fun to pitch to the studios) as they are to remember in retrospect. In between there somewhere, are the sometimes unfortunate realities of the movies themselves. Sometimes clunky films contain stunning characters. Some films age better than others. Some films become more memorable with age.

Whatever the case, each of these choices, for varying reasons, are more enjoyable to remember than they are to re-experience. Some things truly are better when shared – except for when they are better just left alone.

Drum roll please…

#10


The Big Lebowski – This film is shrouded in a fog of midnight movie classic status. I still see quotes from this movie on t-shirts and posters, but I can’t remember what memories I used to have that made this film stand out from other better Cohen Brothers films.
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#9


A Christmas Story – I once ran out to rent this film and watch it with some friends who had never seen it. About a 1/2 hour into the movie, I finally stopped laughing nervously and started officially being embarrassed for subjecting my friends to this holiday classic.
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#8


Plan 9 From Outer Space – This is s slightly awkward choice for this list because the film as a whole is extremely noteworthy for its well-meaning ambition matched only by its incompetence. Still, there are stand-out lines from this film that capture its essence so that you won’t actually have to sit through it.
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#7


Airplane! – This movie was hilarious when I was very young. Some lines and scenes still provoke adolescent glee.
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#6


This is Spinal Tap – A classic film that spawned many lesser “mockumentaries,” but its status breeds quotation more than it does multiple viewings.
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#5


Pee Wee’s Big Adventure – This circus of a movie holds a place dangerously close to my heart, and I can’t believe I would admit to anyone that I would probably watch it all the way through again in the privacy of my walk-in closet full of Pee Wee Herman memorabilia.
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#4


Dr. Strangelove – This is a painful addition to the list. I included it, I think, because the audio clips I’ve been reviewing bring a big grin to my face, but I can’t imagine actually sitting through the film anytime soon.
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#3


Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Surely I’ve seen this movie 300 times. Either that, or I’ve seen it 3 times, and quoted it 297 times.
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#2


Napolean Dynamite – This film’s younger audience seems to love quoting this film over and over. One of my favorite film quotes contained within another film is in Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, where a young character quotes a long scene from Napolean Dynamite. But how many times can you watch these characters before you stop loving how much you hate them?
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#1


Mystery Men – #1. Really. Think about it. Or rather, start talking about it. There is Invisible Boy, who is only able to become invisible when no one is looking at him. There is Mr. Furious, played by Ben Stiller, who supposedly has super strength whenever he becomes very angry. There is the mainstream superhero, Captain Amazing, a corporate sellout hero whose uniform is riddled with company logos and advertisements. This film is chock full of brilliant ideas and sharp dialog. Its uninhibited playfulness and epic wit is matched only by its epic unwatchability.
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10 thoughts on “The Top 10 Films that are More Fun to Quote than They are to Watch

  1. Sorry, I just can’t agree about mystery men. I love watching it, and sharing it with friends. Hmm…none of them ever seemed to love it as much as I do, though. Maybe that should tell me something.

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  2. Thanks for joining the conversation, Shannon! The interesting thing to me about categorizing movies in this way is that in a pinch, I would talk very positively about them. They are important enough to go on and on about. There are moments in these films that are so good, that some of the bad stuff in them becomes even more difficult to sit through. Of course, these choices are just my opinion too. I would love to be argued out of “Mystery Men” as number one 🙂

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  3. good post brother. I still love watching Mystery Men and Monty Python but now I understand why I’m the only one…One problem with your list though. With your review of Spinal Tap you said that it had spawned other “mockumentaries”. I assumed you were talking about “Best in Show”, “A mighty wind” and “Waiting for Guffman”, right? You do know they are all from the same people don’t you?

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