There’s a quote from British philosopher Geoffrey Hinton that I tend to agree with: “Computers will understand sarcasm before Americans do.” (He’s actually working on artificial intelligence projects for Google right now, so he probably has a better perspective on this than the rest of us!)
Just so we’re all totally clear, being sarcastic — by definition — means “using irony in order to mock or convey contempt.” There are a ton of TV characters who are consistently sarcastic, from Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones) to Chandler Bing (Friends) to Geoffrey (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) to Raven (Teen Titans Go!) to Squidward (SpongeBob SquarePants) to… OK, I need to cut myself off.
But since movies have to cover a lot of ground within less than two hours (usually), I could think of far fewer film characters who are infamous for their sarcasm. In fact, 4 of the 5 characters on my list are part of a multi-film franchise. The lesson? It takes a while to build a reputation for being sarcastic — on the silver screen, at least.
Here are 5 characters who cut deep with their one-liners:
Wade Wilson / Deadpool – Deadpool rules this arena, no question about it. It’s hard to think of anything he’s said between the original movie and Deadpool 2 that isn’t dripping with sarcasm. That’s why the just-as-caustic-in-real-life Ryan Reynolds was born to play this role. Two of my top laugh-out-loud moments in Deadpool 2? When Wade says to Josh Brolin’s baddie Cable: “You’re so dark. Are you sure you’re not from the DC universe?” and, at another point, “Zip it, Thanos!” Want more? Check out a full 10 minute preview at the end of this article!
Tony Stark – Here’s another great example of an actor and a role that were simply meant to be. Robert Downey Jr. has always carried himself with a cocky swagger since his membership in the ‘80s “Brat Pack.” He’s the perfect guy to play an arrogant billionaire tech whiz like Tony Stark and his alter-ego Iron Man. There isn’t a movie he’s been in as Stark where he hasn’t stolen at least 5 scenes with sarcastic one-liners. Check out any of these we have at Redbox — Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron or Captain America: Civil War — and tell me I’m wrong. One of my favorites: “I’m a huge fan of the way you lose control and turn into an enormous green rage monster.” (To Bruce Banner, obviously, in The Avengers.)
Princess Leia and Han Solo – “Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy.” From the moment they met, Leia and Han were ribbing each other … and driving each other crazy. Who didn’t laugh AND cry at their infamous “I love you” … “I know” exchange in The Empire Strikes Back? While they share precious little screen time together when they reunite in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the ol’ spark is still there.
Rizzo – I had the original Grease memorized when I was a kid, and I’m sure I could still recite it word for word now. While I always idolized Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), there was certainly a part of me who (still, to this day) wanted to be the cool-as-ice Rizzo (Stockard Channing). While she was definitely mean-spirited a lot of the time (her friend Marty: “Do you think these glasses make me look smarter?” Rizzo: “No, you can still see your face”), the movie audience witnessed her more vulnerable side during the song “There are Worse Things I Could Do,” even if the other characters didn’t.
Which movies characters did I forget? Feel free to be sarcastic in your answer — I can take it!