TOPS: 10 Most Quotable and Iconic Comedies of the 2000s

It’s rare to find a Hollywood cult classic that provides an impressive screenplay and that is absolute pure comedy gold. Each decade, a film vies – some more desperate than others – to be that cult classic. And along with that status, we – in return – are given a clever, witty script that coins our everyday catchphrases and is, unfortunately, over-used by the targeted audience (i.e. – Happy Gilmore (1996) provided the instant phrase: ‘The price is wrong, bitch!’ while Big Daddy (1999) had children nationwide grounded for life with the simple line: ‘But I wipe my own ass!’.) Although comedic films have entertained various generations throughout the years, it wasn’t until the new Millennium set a standard for “the perfect comedy”.  The 2000s saw a rise in memorable quotes and unforgettable comedies (with many knock-off films attempting to find the same success). Narrowing this list down wasn’t easy (and, of course, should never be easy); Here is a list of 10 of the most quotable and iconic comedies of the 2000s.

10. Bring It On (2000)

I define being the best as competing against the best there is out there and beating them.

Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union in Bring It On

Film franchises tend to lose their flair after the sequel, but unfortunately, Hollywood never learned from past failed (or over-exposed) franchises; the Bring It On franchise is one of the most notably notorious of them all. What caused the ripple effect of unnecessary sequels, you may ask? The original Bring It On (2000) provided its teenage market the easy, everyday teenage lingo. In other words, the conversations spoken between the film’s characters were as real, understandable, and memorable as it could get,  thus making it not only filled with quotable one-liners but iconic and an instant cult classic. As for the never-ending sequels, let’s just say they “put  the ‘ass’ in massive … and the ‘lewd’ in deluded”.

9. Rush Hour 2 (2001)

You just jealous, Lee, ’cause women like me. I’m tall, dark and handsome and you third world ugly.

Jeremy Piven, Jackie Chan, and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2

So, sure, Bring It On‘s never-ending spin-offs may never go away, and Hollywood will most likely supply us with continuously mediocre sequels. And, of course, ideally each franchise hopes to surpass the original. Perhaps the most notable film that surpassed its predessor is Rush Hour 2 (2001). Although Chan’s work borrowed several phrases from the original but worded them in reverse (i.e. – In the original, “I am Michael Jackson, and you are Tito” was phrased “I am Michael Jackson, and you are Toto” while “Don’t you ever touch a black man’s radio, boy! You can do that in China but you can get your ass killed out here, man! ” became “Don’t you ever touch a Chinese man’s radio! You owe me a new Beach Boys CD”), it was rather clever to recycle the original phrases as it made the film more nostalgic of the original Rush Hour (1998) and practically comical from scene to scene.

8. Superbad (2007)

McLovin? What kind of a stupid name is that, Fogell? What, are you trying to be an Irish R&B singer?

Superbad (2007) can most likely be seen as a “super bad” movie to the older crowd, but to the targeted generation, the movie was an instant classic – being quoted all over universities and high schools. The success of Superbad had everything to do with the rise and fame of the “Apatow” pack as well as the role and acceptance of crude humor comedies. Thus, had it been released earlier in the 2000s, the movie may have plummeted at the box office or even would’ve been compared  to the negatively received Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000).

7. The 40-Year Old Virgin (2006)

I hired a 90-lb girl to work in the stock room at Smart Tech for you, okay? I should’ve hired a 300-lb guy to lift the 60-inch flat screen, but instead I hired a hot girl who can’t lift an iPod to bring you out of your funk.

Steve Carrell in The 40-Year Old Virgin

Perhaps more successful based on its title, The 40-Year Old Virgin (2006) was a laugh-packed film that had comedy screenwriters worldwide checking to see if their script could be as quirky as this one. Apatow’s script pushed story premises to the maximum limit, and comedies in the later 2000s [i.e. – Accepted (2006),  Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Dinner for Schmucks (2010) and 50/50 (2011)] brought the genre not only topics that could possibly be considered uncomfortable but opened opportunities for other comedy screenwriters the chance to reinvent screwball comedy with topics they truly understood.

6. Tropic Thunder (2008)

I know who I am. I’m the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!

Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr, and Jack Black in Tropic Thunder
By far one of the more under-appreciated comedic films of the 2000s, Tropic Thunder (2008) practically spits out quotable phrase after quotable phrase. The film follows a group of actors who think they are working on a movie and stumble upon the most interesting characters and situations throughout the entire film. The main characters themselves are also flamboyant and egotistical. Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller) is a fame-hungry actor who is being criticized for his terrible performance in the fictional film “Simple Jack”, Kirk Lazaruz (Robert Downey, Jr) is a famous actor who chooses to play in the most controversial films, Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) is a recovering heroine addict, Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) is a successful “booty sweat” rapper who is – by force from his management – acting with Kirk and Tugg, and Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel) is … well .. nobody really knows him. So put 5 guys together, the adventure in Vietnam/Laos, a film that’s supposed to be a film, and what do you get? The craziest conversations that will make you want to “get the TiVo!” and watch it all over again.

5. Hot Rod (2007)

Babe, wait. Babe. Baaaaabe. Babe. Wait. Don’t go, baby. Wait baaaaabe.”

Cool beans … enough said.

4. Borat (2006)

Your shirt is gray not.

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat

As incredibly stupid Borat (2006) is and was, there is absolutely no doubt how insanely impacting the over-the-top  movie influenced and revolutionized a generation … with everyday conversations, that is. After the release of Borat, “Your shirt is gray…”, “Very nice, very nice. How much?”, and super delayed “…NOT!” could be heard in almost every conversation. Cohen’s crude humor comedy not only provided a new set of catchphrases but also paved the way for other future successful crude comedies such as Knocked Up (2007), Step Brothers (2008), and Observe & Report (2009).

3. The Hangover (2009)

I’m not supposed to be within two hundred feet of a school… or a Chuck E. Cheese.

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha in The Hangover

By far, The Hangover (2009) is one of most overrated comedies of the decade, but no one can really dismiss the fact that the film has been the most relevantly quoted movies since its release. This, though, shouldn’t “be frowned upon, like …” – I’m sure you know the rest of that. The Hangover’s success opened doors for various comedies [i.e.: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)] that wanted to find the same success using solely ridiculous one-liners and conversations rather than obscenity, thus making The Hangover one of the few greats of its decade and, of course, the most overrated.

2. Mean Girls (2004)

One time, I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops. So … I decided to wear army pants and flip flops.

Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls

I wonder if Cady Heron’s name (pulled apart, it reads “caddy her on” – a possible metaphor for Cady’s struggles in fitting in to the right ‘clique’ and her journey in finding herself; it’s a chick thing … you may not understand) was intentional when Tina Fay wrote the script for the hilarious coming-of-age comedy Mean Girls (2004). What separates the film apart from other teenage-based films [i.e.: John Tucker Must Die (2006), She’s the Man (2006), and Princess Diaries (2001)] is how well every narration from Cady and the lines used throughout the film flowed perfectly. It is, indeed, hard to find a film – to this day – that is still quoted sporadically. Oh, c’mon – don’t tell me you’ve never once thought of saying, “One time, I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops. So, I decided to wear army pants and flip flops” when you hear the words ‘one time’. Or when you happen to see your attractive 1st/2nd/3rd/4th cousin at a party, you automatically “know who’s lookin’ mighty fine tonight”. Hate it or love, this film is truly “so fetch”!

1. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I wanna say something. I’m gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don’t, send it right back. I want to be on you. Wait. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I… I wanna be on you.

Before we write it off as one of the most overrated, keep in mind that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) not only put actors Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and Dave Koechner on the map to comedy stardom but also opened up the newest standard to making an unforgettable, quotable, over-the-top hilarious, and (pretty much) pointless  comedy. Gone were the ideas that comedies needed to be one dimensional, focus on one specific topic, and in need of a point and/or plot. Anchorman became what every comedy wanted to be and – seeing that the film still plays a huge role in movies and even tv shows [i.e. – “New Girl” (2011), Take Me Home Tonight (2011)] – what every comedy strives to be. The movie had it all: the randomness, the cockiness, the ridiculousness, and the cheesy yet unforgettable script – exactly how every tv show and film approaches its writing style. It is, without a doubt, the most quotably, iconic films of the 2000s.


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