This has been a weird week for speeches. First, President Obama gave his State of the Union, which resulted in a bit of playful — if somewhat pointed and scathing — back-and-forth between him and Congressional Republicans who have vehemently opposed his every waking moment. Then yesterday, Jodi posted this delightful piece on Rifftrax’s Worst of the 90’s list. That list puts the Van Damme vehicle Street Fighter at number 12.
This is not something I would argue with. That is a laughably (literally) bad movie. However, what I do find contentious is the criticism of Van Damme’s “We Can All Go Home” speech, because it is cinematic nirvana. Watch it:
You hear that? That’s what motherfucking freedom sounds like, you commie shitchokers.
But seriously, bad speeches in movies are a strange little love of mine. There’s something to be said about a screenwriter trying so hard, and then an actor just actressin’ the fuck out of it, and then having it just shit the bed so spectacularly. So with that in mind, here are ten of the absolute best bad speeches ever.
Sam Worthington in Avatar. This movie is garbage, the character is garbage, and the ham-fisted racial/environmental politics that are supposed to somehow be deep and intelligent are goddamn insulting. Apologies for the lousy quality.
Steven Seagal in On Deadly Ground. Another hideously clumsy effort at an environmental message from a movie where Seagal awkwardly punches and kicks his way into saving Alaska from Michael Caine.
Brad Pitt in Troy. Immortality! It’s yours! TAKE IT! I heard no fewer than 15 people burst out laughing in the theater at this moment.
Bill Pullman in Independence Day. One of the gold standards. FUCK YEAH INDEPENDENCE!
Kristen Stewart in Snow White & The Huntsman. This is a terrible movie and this speech is terrible. If you liked it, you are terrible. That said, bonus points for the fact that a Snow White retelling starring Thor and Bella Swan somehow made me think of New Jack City.
Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. This is the official moment when Pacino’s career started to die. This is its death rattle.
Everyone in The Boondock Saints. People. People, this is not a good movie. Please stop acting as if it is. It is bad. This scene is all you should need as proof.
Milla Jovovich, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Do we remember when Milla fucking Jovovich was cast as Joan of fucking Arc? How did the world not collapse in on itself? And I actually kind of love Milla. But come on, folks. This whole movie is bonkers.
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV. Hey, remember when Rocky punched the Cold War to death? This scene is absolutely hysterical.
Samuel L. Jackson in Deep Blue Sea. THE gold standard. The greatest. Un-fucking-touchable even without the shark attack.
BONUS ROUND, BITCHES: Ming Na Wen and Raul Julia trade melodramatic blows in Street Fighter. Julia’s delivery of that final line is legitimately brilliant. I’m telling you, this movie is the fucking balls.