Top 10 Best Insults & Comebacks from 2000s Movies
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
These 2000s movies have us some epic insults and comebacks. For this list, we'll be looking at the most memorable insults in the first decade of the 21st century. Our countdown includes "Inglourious Basterds," "Legally Blonde," "School of Rock," and more!
Top 10 Best Insults/Comebacks From 2000s Movies
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Insults/Comebacks From 2000s Movies.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most memorable insults in the first decade of the 21st century. These encompass all kinds of sassy retorts from 2000s movies that made us gasp or laugh. There’s also a spoiler warning for a few of the following films. Some of these insults get so savage that they need a spoiler alert.
Did we forget one of your favorite comebacks? Let us know in the comments below.
#10: Chewed Out
“Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
By the end of “Inglourious Basterds,” Lieutenant Aldo Raine finds himself in a forest as Hans Landa tries to surrender. In a surprise move, Raine turns the tables on the villain and his radio operator. It’s a moment that riles up the Nazi and prompts a candid remark from Brad Pitt’s character. Unafraid and nonchalant about the reversal, the hero doesn’t worry about his decision. It’s especially satisfying to see Pitt one-up such an awful person in this scene. While Tarantino didn’t win the Oscar for this screenplay, his dialogue at the conclusion of this film shows that he writes dark humor as well as anyone.
#9: Questioning Erin’s Research
“Erin Brockovich” (2000)
In her Oscar-winning role, Julia Roberts brings a whole lot of attitude to "Erin Brockovich." Her attempts to help out deserving people pay off due to her intense research. When she's questioned about her work, Brockovich fights back in one of many great scenes showcasing her character's intelligence. This one has the lead actress sparring with someone about her work, dishing out a verbal beatdown in the process. Her perfectly-delivered comeback has just the right amount of spite. It's the kind of slick words that any actor would love to say, likely being one of the lines that earned Roberts her Academy Award.
#8: The Definition of “Idiot”
“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005)
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" captures writer/director Shane Black with one of his best screenplays. His witty writing style allows for actors Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. to play well off of each other. In this scene, Kilmer's character Perry finds himself frustrated by Harry's incompetence and finds a new way to insult his intellect. The line works especially well as Black subverts the usual cliché about calling someone an "idiot." Even as his partner tries to interrupt him, the private detective wins the moment with a beautiful comeback. Thanks to the work of two brilliant performers, it’s both a funny and fantastic dose of comedy in an entertaining film.
#7: Getting into Harvard Law School
“Legally Blonde” (2001)
"Legally Blonde" has no shortage of funny moments courtesy of Reese Witherspoon. After her boyfriend Warner breaks up with her, Elle chases him to Harvard Law in an effort to convince him otherwise. Her ex gets a rude awakening when he finds her in the school hallway. Surprised by her appearance, Warner wonders what his former girlfriend is doing at the prestigious school. Defying the myth of ditzy blondes, Witherspoon delivers a hilarious line that’s also empowering. This is just another example of how the actress made the role her own in one of her most iconic films. Embodying all Elle's heroic and unashamed energy, the performer was truly born to dish out a comeback like that.
#6: The Best Worst Pirate Ever
“Pirates of Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
In "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," Captain Jack takes the initiative and saves Elizabeth Swann from drowning. When he's questioned and revealed to be a pirate, Commodore Norrington asks him about his reputation as a criminal on the high seas. Jack follows up with this iconic quote that reveals everything you need to know about his personality. Among his most iconic performances, Johnny Depp's scheming character never fails to make the most of a quick line and a smirk. This kind of writing and acting also reminds audiences that the film is much more than a Disney ride.
#5: Mr. Darcy Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine
“Pride & Prejudice” (2005)
In this sequence from the 2005 version of "Pride and Prejudice," the Bennet sisters find themselves mingling with various society types including Mr. Darcy. Later in the evening, Elizabeth hears him critiquing her looks. When the two finally meet, the heroine finds a chance to embarrass the arrogant man with a witty comeback. The quote knocks Darcy down and reminds him of his hypocrisy. Keira Knightley plays the lead role well and ensures that the words stick in the audience's mind long after the scene. Building off of Jane Austen's classic story, this moment translates well to a modern audience thanks to the careful adaptation.
#4: Billy Insults Dewey
“School of Rock” (2003)
Throughout "School of Rock," substitute teacher Dewey tries to teach kids how to rebel from their everyday lives. This comes back to bite him when he opens up the forum to his students' real opinions. One of these comes courtesy of Billy who has a really blunt line about how the instructor makes him feel. Needless to say, we've all been there at some point. The funny moment works especially well as it seemingly comes out of nowhere. Featuring impeccable timing from the young actor, it's dialogue like this that elevates the film into the league of other modern classics.
#3: The Toilet Store
“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)
Steve Carell’s character in “Anchorman” is nothing short of a wild card. When he and his Channel 4 team find themselves up against their evening rivals, Brick says this immortal line with complete sincerity. It’s exactly the kind of nonsensical phrase that makes the weatherman all the more adorable. While his insult doesn’t work on paper, the delivery and context shape it into one of the many funny moments of the film. Carell's gleeful presence in the scene guarantees even more smiles from the audience. He does have a point, though, because nobody would want to buy clothes from a toilet store.
#2: Shut Up!
“Punch-Drunk Love” (2002)
For one of the best moments of "Punch-Drunk Love," Adam Sandler's character Barry finds himself on the phone with Philip Seymour Hoffman's Dean. Barry confronts a late-night call service, landing him in hot water with the unruly manager. While they trade insults, the argument devolves into one of the greatest repetitive comebacks ever from a visibly upset Hoffman. Dean gets fed up with the customer's behavior and tells him to be quiet. Coming out of an award-winning actor, the phrase is perfectly mangled as he performs the word "shut" with an explosive delivery. The blunt and humorous exchange makes for a highlight in an underrated film.
#1: The “Milkshake” Speech
“There Will Be Blood” (2007)
As Daniel Plainview, Daniel Day-Lewis is given ample opportunity to unleash a torrent of greedy statements. His oilman persona clashes with everyone from his own son H.W. to the preacher Eli Sunday. His growing rivalry and previous embarrassment at the hands of Sunday build to this final standoff. Having gained the upper hand, Plainview insults the man by invoking this dessert drink. The meaning behind this line and its accompanying speech is worth more than all of his other comebacks combined. Not only is it absurd, but the speech also represents true depth of the character's tortured soul.