Movies can be fountains of poetic wisdom, where characters say their innermost thoughts better than we could. But sometimes, they’re not. The words that come from characters’ mouths make us scratch our heads and wonder if we heard them right.
There are a few reasons why a quote might not make sense. Some lines literally mean nothing. Sometimes a character never would’ve said that in their situation. Some lines make you roll your eyes at the obviousness. Worst of all is when they convey an unveiled message from the writer, so it’s not even the character speaking (I’m looking at you, Jaskier’s rant in “The Witcher” Season 2, Episode 4!).
Regardless of the reason, audiences agree that these quotes were some of the biggest flops in movie-writing history. Here are nine movie quotes that made no sense, as well as where to find their movie origins on major streaming services.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” — Jenny Cavilleri from ‘Love Story’ (1970)
If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know that love is about saying you’re sorry all the time for unintentionally hurting the people closest to you. One could assume she’s trying to say that love means you’re automatically forgiven, but that’s honestly a stretch, and many people know it isn’t true. What it boils down to is that this line is nothing but some romantic-sounding trite with zero depth. What’s worse is they made it the marketing tagline for the whole movie!
“Love Story” is available to watch with a fuboTV subscription.
“You want answers?” “I want the truth!” “You can’t handle the truth!” — Col. Nathan Jessep and Lt. Daniel Kaffee from ‘A Few Good Men’ (1992)
This quote falls into the “character would never have said that” category. Col. Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson), a supposedly brilliant psychopath, speaks to a military lawyer who’s trained to handle any truth one could drop on him. Not to mention Jessep is under oath in this courtroom scene and the quote implies he was untruthful beforehand. A character this smart would never have incriminated himself so easily. He’s a psychopath, not a narcissist, so what does he care about putting someone in their place, especially over his self-interest?
You can buy or rent “A Few Good Men” on Amazon Prime Video.
"I'll never let go, Jack, I'll never let go." — Rose Dewitt Bukater from ‘Titanic’ (1997)
Perhaps the most hated quote in movie history, this line is said when Rose (Kate Winslet) is lying on a floating door while her love, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), clings to the side of it in the freezing water. Minutes later, she releases his hand when it becomes clear he’s dying. You could argue that she’s saying she’ll never let go of her love for him, even though he’s about to die. In her situation, I would’ve been doing everything to get my loved one on that door and to safety instead of pausing for sentimental fluff, giving up on them, and then saving myself. Couldn’t she have just paddled over and blown that whistle all along?
“Titanic” is available to stream to Amazon Prime Video subscribers.
“I think World War II just started.” — Capt. Danny Walker from ‘Pearl Harbor’ (2001)
To give some context on just how bad this quote is, the events of the film “Pearl Harbor” occurred in 1941, two years after the start of World War II. It's also completely unrealistic. Soldiers have never stood on a battlefield and said, “Hey, I think there’s a war going on.” You could argue that the war became a reality to Americans after Pearl Harbor, but I think that’s attributing far too much nuance to a Michael Bay movie.
“Pearl Harbor” is available to stream on Max.
“Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.” — Mickey Bergman from ‘Heist’ (2001)
They call it money because of the Latin word moneta, originally a title of the goddess Juno. In Rome, money was minted in her temple. There’s no clever play on words in this quote. It means nothing. Considering Danny DeVito is a comedy genius, however, this one is clearly intentional.
“Heist” is available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime Video.
“Harry, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire!?” — Albus Dumbledore from ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ (2005)
The direct quote from this scene in the corresponding “Harry Potter” book says, “‘Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?’ asked Dumbledore calmly.” Movie Dumbledore (Michael Gambon)’s panicked and angry delivery, which includes shoving Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) into a wall, is such a break from the character that audiences still can’t get over it. Memes of a swooping Dumbledore captioned in all caps, “Harry! Did ya put yah name in da Goblet of Fiyah!?” encapsulate just how ridiculous this line sounded and looked coming from this character.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is available to stream with an Max subscription.
“You better hold on tight, spider monkey.” — Edward Cullen from ‘Twilight’ (2008)
A Google search told me that spider monkeys are in fact a real type of monkey, but they’re a little hairy to be considered a romantic thing to compare your love interest to. Vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) was piggybacking Bella (Kristen Stewart) while demonstrating his superspeed in this scene, so “You better hold on tight” isn’t too out of context. Maybe they were just trying to be quirky, since “Twilight” was made at the height of the hipster era. Is it a pet name? Does Edward have a personal affinity for spider monkeys? We’ll never know.
Stream “Twilight” on Hulu.
“This time we show the Fire Nation that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs.” — Princess Yue from ‘The Last Airbender’ (2010)
Well, duh. They do call them beliefs because people believe in them. If you’re going to war just to show the other side that you believe in your beliefs, they probably already know. In general, that’s why people go to war. Princess Yue (Seychelle Gabriel) is a brave and determined leader in the story, but she should consider hiring a new speech writer.
You can stream “The Last Airbender” on Sling TV for free.
"And by the way, the women are always saving the men around here. You might wanna think about changing the name to X-Women." — Raven from ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ (2019)
This is the type of line that causes internet fights about whether politics is killing film and television. Girl power is great, but if the women have been saving the men the whole film, isn’t that obvious to audiences? Therefore, the better line here would have been no line, to let the action do the talking instead of beating the point as if the viewers were stupid. A good guideline is that if you want to make a political statement with your art, you should probably be a good artist.
“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” is currently available on Disney Plus.