20 April 2011

Tops: Best Movie Swears

Swearing is pretty awesome. It's jarring, uncomfortable and classless - just the kind of image we're looking for over here at Norwegian Morning Wood. A couple months back I posted a mediocre article chronicling the best attempts at Basic Cable Television to cover up some of the most hideous of words, so consider this the inverse of that compilation.

Now we're not really looking for Nil by Mouth (1997) stuff here, we all know what films have the most swears. I want to see quality over quantity in this post, but needless to say, when weaving the delicate art of dropping vocal bombs, many times they are one in the same. Let's get started in no particular order:

Jules Winnfeild in Pulp Fiction (1994)
There isn't a better Swear Artist than Sam Jackson. He rolls off "motherfuckers" with the command of a professional; driving home the urgency and attitude necessary to justify such language use in the situations he finds himself in. Many may have chosen the classic Snakes on a Plane (2006) line, but that's way too played out. I'm highlighting this underrated Pulp Fiction line, "I'm a mushroom cloud layin motherfucker, motherfucker!" I love how he's able to use "motherfucker" as both an insult to Vega and a fitting descriptor for himself seamlessly, simultaneously conveying an anger righteous enough to drop Atomic Bombs on those who oppose him. Fits in with Ezekiel 25:17. Kind of.

Rocco in The Boondock Saints (1999)
As Connor MacManus notes, Rocco certainly illustrates the diversity of the word "Fuck" in his astonished tirade following his late arrival on a scene where the brothers have double-handedly mowed down an assortment of Russian Mobsters intended as a set-up for Rocco himself (don't try to follow...there's Guns! And Irish Music!). He gets points for memorably stringing together a series of nine Fucks in ten seconds. Marvelous.

Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity (2004)
Ryan Reynolds needs to be in more movies like this - just an R-Rated Asshole out on the town killing people (Deadpool? Shit.) Anyway, his introductory scene both establishes his intelligence and planning along with his foul attitude towards...everybody and an incredible grasp on creative swearing. This is the only "Cockjuggling Thundercunt" on the list and earns its spot through sheer creativity. And they say that you only swear out of ignorance of language - untrue if you can string together an insult like that one. Although it's prevented from embedding, you deserve this in high quality - head over here and check it out.

Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Alec Baldwin probably has his best film role in this movie even though he's only on screen for a few minutes. He's such a commanding presence however that years later it's one of his most notable and acclaimed appearances. He comes in to these terrible Real Estate Salesmen to give a pep talk or whatever but it turns into an emasculating tirade with threats of lay offs but worse still complete spiritual and professional despair. Awesome. My favourite swear here though is responding to Ed Harris' Character who doesn't quite buy the act - he asks Alec his name. "FUCK YOU! THAT'S MY NAME!" It's all business, it's all sales, everything else is horseshit - it's a game of Sharks and Alec's the biggest fucking shark of all. Here's the whole damn thing. I also enjoy "Fuck or walk."

Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass (2010)
"Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now." I'm a big "Cunt" fan. "Fuck" just doesn't hold that shock value anymore - everybody spouts of fuck fuck fuck all the time and no one really gives a fuck. You drop a casual cunt here or there though - holy shit people are still offended. It's a harsher word really only because it's been less desensitized by modern media. It's also an awful term for women, essentially summing up their entire existence as a vagina to be banged for male pleasure. It doesn't have enough variable uses (as demonstrated by Rocco) to really expand into mainstream vocabulary (even Shit is more versatile). So it's the perfect introduction coming out of the mouth of this apparently sweet 13-year old Hit-Girl. If she says anything else here the bad guys aren't listening to her. Neither is the audience. She's got our attention and it earns a spot for the sheer audacity of the moment - "She said WHAT?!" It's a beautiful moment in high level offensiveness.

Gary Johnston in Team America: World Police (2004)
"Dicks fuck assholes."The marionette's ending speech in Matt and Trey's only live action puppet film (to date...) is one of the best in Movie History. Clearly. It gets points here for string a huge series of casual swears together but also for legitimately justifying American Foreign Policy in easily understood terms. Yeah it's basically a defense of the Bush Doctrine put more eloquently than Bush (or Sarah) ever could. Welcome to the irony of being a South Park Republican.

Harry Waters in In Bruges (2008)
It's hard to pick out the best swear from In Bruges ("YOU'RE AN INANIMATE FUCKING OBJECT!" or "Yankee Fucking Cunt" or many many more). But to settle on one, I'll pick this bit about Harry's (Ralph Fiennes) Cunt-Fucking kids and Ken's (Brendan Gleeson) appropriate responses. Fiennes really is nothing but a cunt throughout this movie, completely unable to control his temper or temper his swearing (tho no one really can perform the latter). Colin Farrell was also underrated in this film until he nabbed a Golden Globe from under everyone's noses. Actually this movie both exhibits the terms Fucking Cunt and Cunt-Fucking. Maybe Cunt's more versatile than we suspected.

Joey LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980)
By far the best single swearing line I've ever heard in a film comes from Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) in Raging Bull. As his brother Jake (Bobby De Niro) has grown farther apart he attempts to call him but on the line he can't summon himself to speak. Joey gets worked up (as Pesci's characters rarely do...) and emits the following: “I can hear you breathing you fuck. You listening, your mother sucks fucking big fucking elephant dicks, you got that?” Read that again. Then watch it:

At first it would seem that the "Fuckings" are misplaced. A more conventional phrasing might be something like "Your mother fucking sucks big elephant dicks" in which "fucking" normally a progressive verb instead becomes attributive adjectives. In fact if we examine Adjective Order (which I'm sure Joey LaMotta pays attention to), we can guess that the first "fucking" is likely a descriptor of the quality of the size of the dicks - they're Fucking Big Dicks. The second "fucking" is a qualifying adjective - Big Fucking Dicks. Paired we have Fucking Big Fucking Dicks. The elephant in there adds a whole higher level of weirdness - it's a rare but effective insult to suck an animal dick, much less an elephant dick, which would be very large, probably larger than a mother's mouth.

Of course the ultimate irony in all this is that Joey is talking to his brother, so that grave insult towards the mother of the guy on the other line is that she is in fact, also his mother. Regardless of our grammatical discussion and any kind of awkwardness, that second "fucking" really makes the line stand-out, it helps the trochaic cadence of the line verbally and for the character provides the anger so well. I give it the honour of Top Movie Swear Ever.

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