11 Dark Humor Jokes from Hit Movies
One advantage films possess over real life is that filmmakers have the freedom to have jokes play out exactly how they want. Movie characters don’t have to bite their tongues as much as we do. They have carte blanche to say inappropriate things in tense situations or say something dark and random in polite company without the worry of judgment, getting punched or receiving a “You’re disinherited” text later that day.
Black comedy is just a natural part of life that, unfortunately, needs to be tempered by our need not to have a meeting with HR. Luckily, we can still vicariously live via movie characters. It’s all part of the “magic of the cinema” that Nicole Kidman was rambling about in that AMC ad.
And it’s with that spirit in mind that we’d like to share some of our favorite darkly funny jokes and moments that still make us laugh on every rewatch...
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Peg (Jessica Henwick), the assistant of vapid, ditzy fashion icon Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), reads a damning email exchange out loud: “‘Ms. Jay, I am writing to inform you that the proposed Bangladesh factory is notoriously one of the world’s biggest sweatshops. Please advise.’ And then you replied: ‘Sounds perfect, thanks.’ With your Memoji dabbing. Birdie, please tell me you did not think sweatshops are where they make sweatpants.”
At the end of Se7en, when detectives Mills (Morgan Freeman) and Somerset (Brad Pitt) are escorting killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey) to the location of the last victims and investigate an object in the road:
Mills: What do you got?
Somerset: Dead dog.
John Doe: I didn’t do that.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Chas Tenenbaum: Why did you try to kill yourself?
Ethel Tenenbaum: Don’t press him right now.
Richie Tenenbaum: I wrote a suicide note.
Chas: You did?
Richie: Yeah. Right after I regained consciousness.
Chas: Can we read it?
Chas: Can you paraphrase it for us?
Richie: I don't think so.
Chas: Is it dark?
Richie: Of course, it’s dark; it’s a suicide note.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
We’ve always felt this line aimed at a devout churchgoer, and Colin Firth’s immaculate delivery of it is always overshadowed by the ludicrous fight sequence that follows: “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my Black Jewish boyfriend, who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”
Burn After Reading
This would’ve been a complete throwaway line if anyone other than John Malkovich said it: “I have a drinking problem?!? Fuck you, Peck. You’re a Mormon. Next to you, we all have a drinking problem!”
So I Married an Axe Murderer
Phil Hartman nailing his small role as Alcatraz tour guide, John Johnson (aka Vicki): “Now this is something the other tour guides won’t tell you. In this particular cell block, Machine Gun Kelly had what we call in the prison system a ‘bitch.’ And one night in a jealous rage, Kelly took a makeshift knife or ‘shiv,’ and cut out the bitch’s eyes. And as if this wasn’t enough retribution for Kelly, the next day, he and four other inmates took turns pissing into the bitch’s ocular cavities. (Pause) This way to the cafeteria!”
Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) and his student James Leer (Tobey Maguire) address the dead dog elephant in the room:
James: You’re mad at me, aren’t you? You’re mad at me because I shot your girlfriend’s dog.
Grady: It wasn’t her dog; it was her husband’s. Who said anything about a girlfriend? Okay, James, I wish you hadn’t shot my girlfriend’s dog. Even though Poe and I weren’t exactly what you’d call simpatico, that’s no reason he should’ve taken two in the chest.
“Now, I have to hold out until the probe gets here with more food. You want to see what a minimal calorie count looks like? Standard-issue ration, but instead of three of these every one day, I’m now eating one of these every three days. And now, they’ve asked me to do that (cuts it down another third). Point is, stretch the rations four more days; it’s a real dick punch. I’m gonna dip this potato and some crushed Vicodin, and there’s nobody who can stop me. (Takes a bite, blank stare) It has been seven days since I ran out of ketchup.”
Behind Enemy Lines
Pilots Burnett (Owen Wilson) and Stackhouse (Gabriel Macht) discuss the real heroics of their profession:
Burnett: Every day, we lose a band to some shitty hack they got flying for them. A Navy pilot could have saved Ritchie Valens from being a one-hit wonder. That kid had talent. You know, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Holly—
Stackhouse: What about John Denver?
Burnett: Well, let’s not get carried away.
Man on Fire
Denzel Washington, trying to get info out of a cartel member after putting a bomb up his ass and setting the timer for five minutes: “Four minutes and 20 seconds. Are you sure? Okay. I got all the time in the world; you don’t.”
Rob (John Cusack) and Laura (Iben Hjejle) have this exchange while sitting in a car after her father’s funeral:
Laura: Listen, Rob, would you have sex with me? Because I want to feel something else than this. It’s either that, or I go home and put my hand in the fire. Unless you want to stub cigarettes out on my arm.
Rob: No. I only have a few left; I’ve been saving them for later.
Laura: Right. It’ll have to be sex, then.
Rob: Right. Right.
Laura: I knew there was a reason I wore a skirt today.