After Hours

The Top 10 Most Quotable Geek Films...Ever!


SFSignal and reddit both pointed me to this entry in the Houston Chronicle Tech Blog, which lists "Fifteen geek movies to see before you die." As you might expect, I take issue with the list:

Brazil,The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Serenity, Dark City, 12 Monkeys, Shaun of the Dead, Darkman, Army of Darkness, War Games, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Office Space, Repo Man.

Setting aside the fact that no geek list is complete without either Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back, but seriously, Dark City? I mean, if you're going to pick an Alex Proyas film (and I'm really not sure you have to), it would be The Crow, not this Fritz Lang-wannabe vanity project. Also, any healthy list would have more directorial diversity, so there wouldn't be two Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) and two Sam Raimi (Darkman, Army of Darkness) films. It's like a list of films that geeks need to see to become more obscure. Thanks, but we got that covered.

Anyway, spend fifteen minutes with geeks and you'll realize we brandish movie quotes like a samurai wields a katana. If you want a true geek movie list, you need a Top 10 of source material for all the best one-liners. Here's mine, The Top 10 Most Quotable Geek Flicks...Ever!:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back - If we're only going to pick one entry in the Star Wars lexicon, here's your moneymaker. Yoda alone is worth his muppet-weight in quotable gold, and the dialogue in this SW Episode is the snappiest and most memorable of them all. "No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try."
  2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - The Tech Blog guy had this right, just under-ranked. Holy Grail is pretty much a motherlode of geek quotations. I know at least a dozen people who could recite the film on demand. If you don't know why witches weigh the same as ducks, Lancelot's favorite color, or the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, you're not really a geek.
  3. The Princess Bride - This movie singlehandedly turned the word "inconceivable" into a comedic catchphrase, and that's but one of about two-dozen must-know quotes and tropes that Rob Reiner's masterpiece delivered unto us.
  4. Superman II - "Kneel before Zod!" Any questions?
  5. Office Space - Occasionally dull, filled with only marginally likeable characters, with only the slightest hints of theme or meaning—yeah Office Space is pretty much the perfect example of the average geek's career life. And the nightmare-boss character of Bill Lumbergh is the painfully quotable scumbag we've all done professional time with at some point. "Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler..."
  6. Pulp Fiction - This movie was designed to be a quote-fest, and for once Tarantino wasn't so busy riffing off other peoples' work that he delivered. Most of the quotes aren't repeatable in polite company (which is part of the fun), but let's just say that, short of Snakes on a Plane, Samuel L. Jackson's entire list of personal catchphrases comes from this film. And I dare you to tell me that ain't worth the price of admission.
  7. Army of Darkness - Bruce Campbell is like unto a god—an insane trickster god—amongst geeky film nuts, and this movie is pretty much why. Absurd in the extreme, so campy it's painful, and the ultimate proof that you must fear the boomstick!
  8. Die Hard - Every single gamer who has ever appropriated an automatic weapon in any game setting under any circumstances has marked the occasion with this film's signature quote: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho." There are other jewels to be found here, but our profanity filter prevents their citation.
  9. Aliens - If this movie taught us anything—and it taught us a great deal, believe me—it was this most important lession: "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
  10. Tombstone - An underrated entry on most lists, but anyone who has seen this film knows the bounteous quotability of which we speak. How inexorably great is the dialogue here? It made the phrase "I'm your huckleberry" downright terrifying.

So, anybody out there think they can top this list?

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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