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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Top 25 Batman Movie Quotes

June 22, 2005

"Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in when a man dressed up as a bat gets all of my press?" - The Joker

The American Film Institute released their list of the Top 100 Movie Quotes. It's a pretty good list, I guess, but there's a big problem: There's nothing from any of the Batman movies. Six movies over 31 years and you're telling me the high-falootin' AFI 100 couldn't give any love to Batman?

I decided to compile my own list of the Top 25 movie quotes from the five Batman movies spanning Adam West's camp classic in 1966 to George Clooney's 1997 atrocity. Why did I pass over Batman Begins? It's too new. It's still in theatres. It needs some time to resonate and become part of the culture.

In truth, 25 quotes isn't nearly enough. I could probably have compiled a Top 100 lines from Batman: The Movie, Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin given enough time, but that probably would have been going overboard. Also, I would have needed to consult my DVDs of the five movies or the IMDB and I didn't want to do that. The challenge was to compile this list entirely from memory. It wasn't easy choosing which dialogue to leave out. A lot of good Batlines were kicked to the curb.

It's fun to try to incorporate these quotes in everyday life. Try it sometime. 

Top 25 Batman Movie Quotes (1966 - 1997) 

25) "All right, everyone. Chill." - Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin, 1997)
Marginally better than Mr. Freeze's first line of dialogue in Batman and Robin: "The Iceman cometh!", which he yells at the top of his lungs. You can say this line while trying to approximate Schwarzenegger's accent and you might get a chuckle out of someone, if they don't glare at you like you're an asshole and stomp away.

24) "It's the car, right? Chicks love the car." - Batman (Batman Forever, 1995)
Batman Forever is surprisingly lacking in iconic, quotable dialogue. The most memorable lines come from this rooftop scene as Dr. Chase Meridian summons Batman via the Batsignal. She comes onto him, prompting Batman to scoff. Note Val Kilmer's smirk as he delivers the line. He's almost disgusted that this woman wants to have sex with him. What does she think he is, heterosexual? Batman has a couple of more zingers here:
"You summoned me here for this? The Batsignal is not a beeper."
"You trying to get under my cape, doctor?"
The car line is the one that lasts, though. It's condescending and sexist as only a man wearing a rubber codpiece who's never had a steady girlfriend can utter.

23) "You are not sending me to the cooler!" - Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin, 1997)
The second of my Mr. Freeze trifecta. Freeze mines every possible cold pun there is, then salts the earth so nothing further can grow.

22) "Power surplus? Bruce, shame on you. No such thing. One can never have too much power. If my life has a meaning, that's the meaning." - Max Shreck (Batman Returns, 1992)
The greatest and most overlooked addition to the Batman mythology is billionaire industrialist Max Shreck, played by Christopher Walken. In a movie that had Batman, Catwoman and Penguin, Shreck, a character no one had ever heard of before, ran away with Batman Returns. He had all the good dialogue and was the real villain of the piece, revealing the three characters named after animals as the fractured, sad little lost souls they were. Bruce Wayne has a business meeting with Shreck and points out the major flaw in Shreck's plan to build a power plant for Gotham. If Shreck could have dealt Wayne some defenestration like he did his secretary, he sure would have. Little does he know Wayne falls off of buildings every night and likes it.

Incidentally, if you have Facebook, you should Like Max Shreck.

21) "Wow. The Batman! Or, is it just 'Batman'?" - Selina Kyle (Batman Returns, 1992)
Selina's comment to Batman after he saves her life from evil circus people. Finally, this question that has baffled 6 decades of Batman fans is posed cinematically. Which is it? Instead of answering, Batman glares at her and stalks away, leaving us all hanging. The lesson? Some questions are just not meant to be answered.

20) "A laundry service that delivers! Wow!" - Mr. Freeze (Batman and Robin, 1997)
My jaw drops every time I hear this line. What the fuck? To set the scene, Mr. Freeze has been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. Poison Ivy and Bane arrive to break him out and bring him his ice armor in a shopping cart, which prompts Freeze to delightedly exclaim the line. Seriously, what the fuck?

19) "Goodbye, my unintended. Go to Heaven." - The Penguin (Batman Returns, 1992)
Penguin horny. The Penguin was trying to get some Catwoman tail and framed Batman for throwing the ice princess off a building (this happened a lot in Batman Returns. It was the means of choice for disposing of women.) When Catwoman retched at the thought of sex with a deformed bird midget, Penguin strapped her neck to a helicopter umbrella and uttered this poetic farewell as he sent her to her death. It's kind of a sweet thing to say to a woman you're about to kill.

18) "Oh God. Does this mean we have to start fighting?" - Selina Kyle (Batman Returns, 1992)
This line actually comes right after number 6 on the list, after Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle realized who the other person really was at the Maxquerade Ball. Then Penguin blew a hole through the floor and rode up in a giant rubber duckie, so everything turned out all right for Bruce and Selina. At least for about 20 more minutes. Then she got shot six times and electrocuted herself.

17) "Well, come what may, Merry Christmas, Mr. Wayne." - Alfred
"Merry Christmas, Alfred. Good will towards men. And women." - Bruce Wayne (Batman Returns, 1992)
Batman Returns has two unique distinctions: it's the only Batman Christmas movie and the only Batman movie that ends in slit-your-wrists sadness. Poor Bruce thinks Selina Kyle is dead and sits in the back of his limousine with her cat as Alfred drives him home. No girlfriend for Bruce Wayne, no happiness; another lonely Christmas, just him and his butler sitting in a dank, sinister cave. He doesn't suspect that Catwoman's giant head is watching from above. There was supposed to be a spin off with Michelle Pfeiffer. Instead, 12 years later, we get Halle Berry's Catwoman. What a gyp.

16) "Women. Nothing surprises me, Chip. Except your late mother. Who woulda thought Selina had a brain to damage? Bottom line is, if she tries to blackmail me, I'll drop her out a higher window. 'Til then, I got bigger fish to fry." - Max Shreck (Batman Returns, 1992)
Sage fatherly wisdom from Max Shreck to his son Chip.

15) "Security? Who let Vicki Vale into the Batcave? I'm sitting there working, I turn around, there she is. 'Oh hey, Vick. C'mon in!'" - Bruce Wayne (Batman Returns, 1992)
By far my favorite dialogue uttered by Michael Keaton's Batman, addressing the most jarring, out of place moment from the previous Batman movie. It's also the only time Bruce Wayne admonishes Alfred, but seriously, what was he thinking letting Vicki Vale into the Batcave? In Alfred's defense, he was only trying to get his master laid so his heart was in the right place.

14) "What do you want?" - Batman
"Ah, the direct approach. I admire that from a man in a mask." - The Penguin (Batman Returns, 1992)
Penguin scored quite a bit off of Batman in Batman Returns. Later on, he and his circus folk sabotaged the Batmobile and turned it into an H-bomb on wheels. As much as Penguin wrecking his car must have pissed Batman off, Penguin coolly dissing him when they had their first face-to-face confrontation must have stung Batman mighty fierce. He got Penguin back before the confrontation was ended by Catwoman doing cartwheels and blowing up Shreck's department store.

13) "Nice outfit." - Jack Napier (Batman, 1989)
Seriously, what would you say if you were trying to rob a chemical factory in the middle of the night and a guy in a rubber bat costume showed up out of nowhere? And it is a nice outfit. The first Batsuit is still the best.

12) "You - you've got kind of a dark side, don't you?" - Bruce Wayne
"No darker than yours, Bruce." - Selina Kyle (Batman Returns, 1992)
Bruce Wayne wasn't quite sure why he was so attracted to Max Shreck's secretary until he ran into her on the street and she started waxing insanely. Her being hot got Bruce's attention. Her being crazy got her a dinner invite to Wayne Manor.

11) "I am the light of this city, and I'm its mean, twisted soul." - Max Shreck (Batman Returns, 1992)
Probably the coolest sinister words to escape from Max Shreck's mouth. Donald Trump wishes he were half the industrial tyrant Shreck is. Also, Shreck had better hair.

10) "Just the pussy I was looking for!" - The Penguin (Batman Returns, 1992)
Penguin horny. Dude, seriously, there are kids watching this. There's innuendo and then there's outright naughty words. You wanna fuck Catwoman. We get it. Tone it down, Oswald.

9) "And where is the Batman? He's at home washing his tights!" - The Joker (Batman, 1989)
A low blow from the Joker as he addresses the people of Gotham on television and promises to dump $20-million in cash on them. Joker knows damn well Batman doesn't wear tights, but I suppose "he's at home washing his rubber" brings forth a whole different set of nasty connotations.

8) "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!" - Batman (Batman: The Movie, 1966)
Ah, the greatest, most memorable line from Adam West's Batman. Batman literally had to dispose of one of those round, black spherical bombs that only exist otherwise in Bugs Bunny cartoons. No matter where he went on the Gotham waterfront, there was a parade, children playing, nuns passing by, or baby ducks swimming.

8) "This town needs an enema!" - The Joker (Batman, 1989)
When I was a kid, I had no idea what an enema was or what Joker was talking about. Then I looked up what an 'enema' is. Now I want to know how Joker was planning on giving Gotham one.

7) "Eat floor. High fiber." - Batman (Batman Returns, 1992)
Michael Keaton's Batman didn't quip much, or say much of anything, really. But when rooftop kung fu fighting with Catwoman, Batman loosened up and started cracking wise. This was his best zinger as he drove Catwoman's face into the ground.

6) "Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it." - Batman
"But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it." - Catwoman (Batman Returns, 1992)
You say strange things to each other if you're wearing a costume and you're intensely attracted to your arch enemy who is also wearing a costume. Bruce Wayne went to Max Shreck's ball to see Selina Kyle and she started having another of those emotional breakdowns that really get Bruce's engine running. Then she fired off the mistletoe line, Bruce automatically offered the retort, and the jig was up.

5) "This evidence is purely circumstantial!" - Commissioner Gordon (Batman Returns, 1992)
The greatest day of fat old Commissioner Gordon's life was when Batman showed up and started doing his job for him. Now, instead of catching criminals himself, he just had to turn a searchlight on, sit back, and unlock his jail for the incoming. But when Batman was framed by Penguin and Catwoman for killing the ice princess with Batman's own stolen Batarang, Gordon went to embarrassing lengths on TV to proclaim his meal ticket's innocence.

4) "'Winged freak terrorizes?' Wait'll they get a load of me!" - The Joker (Batman, 1989)
Awesome line from the Joker after quoting the headline of the newspaper: Winged Freak Terrorizes Gotham. By the way, as far as Batman movies go, the greatest headline in the history of Batman movies is in Batman Begins: Drunken Billionaire Burns Down Home. If they made a T-shirt of that, I'd buy it in a second.

3) "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" - The Joker (Batman, 1989)
Turns out, he gets them from Morgan Freeman. The Joker always felt a little inadequate when Batman would come after him with his Batarangs, Batmobile and Batwing. So he handled it in a logical fashion: he got himself a big gun with a ten foot barrel and he hid it in his pants. Yes, that is a ten foot barreled gun in his pants and the Joker is always happy to see you.

2) "I'm Batman!" - Batman (Batman, 1989)
In the original script, the line is "Tell your friends, tell all your friends - I am the night!" That's stupid and they were wise to change it. How is exactly is Batman the night? Instead of that comic booky gibberish, we get the crowd-pleasing, defining moment that instantly and forever sold Michael Keaton as Batman. A moment so pivotal, Christian Bale also said it in Batman Begins. Keaton's was still better.

1) "Have you ever danced with the Devil by the pale moonlight?" - The Joker (Batman, 1989)
The best line in Batman movie history. Quote it to nearly anyone, and if they saw Batman when they were a kid, they'll remember it. They'll smirk or roll their eyes or grimace, but damn sure, they'll remember it. It's as purely a construction of the Batman movies as it is to have the Joker as the man who killed Bruce Wayne's parents.

By my reckoning, I have 14 quotes from Batman Returns. It's far and away the most quotable of the Batman movies if you like nasty, cruel, misogynistic dialogue. And who doesn't?

Tim Burton's first Batman (1989) commands the top four and The Joker boasts three of the top four quotes. The Joker/Jack Napier could potentially have fielded the entire Top 25 all by himself. Screenwriter Sam Hamm gave him all the best dialogue. Only Max Schrek in Batman Returns has dialogue that competes with The Joker in quantity, quality, and quotability. There are lots of good Joker lines I had to omit, such as:

"Never rub another man's rhubarb." - The Joker

That's good advice.