Coen Brothers Movie Quotes That Deserve a T-Shirt
January 8, 2020
The Coen Brothers have been churning out films in a genre-busting fashion since the late 1980s. Whether it’s a callous western like No Country For Old Men, a mystery film like Fargo, or a 1960’s period piece like the recently released Hail, Caesar!, these two Hollywood moguls continue to write some of the most original and creative movies in recent film history.
More specifically, the Coen Brothers are praised for the dialogue between their characters, which usually makes for some of the best, most satisfying moments in their films. Especially good at creating unique, interesting voices for their movies and their characters, the writers’ dialogue runs the gamut from offbeat humor, to poetic, philosophical one-offs. If you’ve ever seen The Big Lebowski, for example, you know how many great lines are in that movie. The Coens truly are masters of dialogue.
With such a quotable cabinet of movies, we can’t think of a better way for folks to share their favorites than by throwing one onto their favorite t-shirt. Here are seven of our favorite quotes from the Coen Brothers filmography:
“You should see the other guy.” –Carl Showalter
While Fargo is a thriller, it’s sense of humor is hilarious if you’re into dark comedy. In the film, a Minnesota man hires two kidnappers to extort money from his father-in-law. As you can imagine, the plan goes awry. Steve Buscemi’s character, Carl Showalter, shows up to a parking garage meet-up for the ransom money, but is greeted by the father-in-law instead of the man he expected. He shoots the father-in-law, but doesn’t get away unscathed–he’s shot in the face!
When he returns to his hideout with a bloody shirt and chin, his partner-in- crime gives him a look that’s saying “What the hell happened to you?” Carl responds with a pained grin, some laughter and delivers this classic line.
We can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. It’s a brilliant bit of understated, dark humor, if you’re into that sort of thing. Plus, who wouldn’t want Steve Buscemi on their t-shirt?
The Big Lebowski
“The Dude abides.” –The Dude
The Big Lebowski is an infinitely quotable movie. It was hard for us to pick just a single quote, but we narrowed it down to this one. Jeff Bridges delivers the ethos of this movie in one line with this quote. The Dude is a middle-aged hippy who doesn’t want to disturb anyone and just kind of floats through life. He just exists, man. And all he wants is his rug back.
Anybody who slaps this quote across their chest is sure to be the coolest in the room. You might even say it really tied your outfit together, man.
“They tell me you’re a man with true grit.” –Mattie Ross
For all the tough guys in your lives, this is the perfect Coen Brothers quote for a t-shirt. This one comes right at the beginning of the movie, when young Mattie Ross meets Rooster Cogburn and asks him to help hunt the man who killed her father. A hardened, mean, and bold man of much experience (with an eyepatch no less), Cogburn is just the kind of hero you’d expect to see in a western, making this quote a perfect match for anyone who has “true grit.”
No Country For Old Men
“Call it.” –Anton Chigurh
The resident villain in this Coen Brother’s classic western thriller, Anton Chigurh, uses a coin toss to settle disputes throughout the film. One of the most terrifying portrayals of a psychopath to ever make it to the big screen, Chigurh uses the coin toss to intimidate a cashier at a desert gas station and eventually show him that he was spared death because he made the right call.
It’s a brilliant stroke of the pen by the Coen Brothers, both psychologically and philosophically. There’s the obvious terror that this man seems dangerous, but it also presents a kind of existential dread when Chigurh tells the man he’s got to keep the coin separate from others, or it will just become another coin–which it already is.
For those Texas outlaws out there, tell them to “call it” and throw this on their favorite vintage western tee.
O Brother, Where Art Thou
“Woman is the most fiendish instrument of torture ever devised to bedevil the days of man.” –Ulysses Everett McGill
Set during the Great Depression, and based in part on Homer’s Odyssey, O Brother, Where Art Thou chronicles the adventures of three escaped convicts looking for a secret treasure that George Clooney’s character, Everett, buried years earlier. At one point, Everett returns to his hometown to find that his wife plans to remarry and had their kids change their last names to her maiden name. He then utter this line after a fight with his wife’s suitor. Everett is just not “bonafide!” enough for them.
Though the Coen’s movie is set in a long-gone era, the one-liners in this film capture the range of the human condition, especially love. If you’re a man out there with a broken heart, this just might be the t-shirt you need to help you move on from that fiendish woman.
Burn After Reading
“You’re part of a league of morons.” –Osbourne Cox
In this Coen Brothers comedy, two dimwitted fitness center employees attempt to blackmail a former CIA agent. Little do they know, the files they stole contain nothing more than meaningless criticism of the CIA. When Osbourne is at rock bottom, his wife involved in an affair and his money dwindling, he finds the manager from the fitness center in his basement looking for more blackmail material.
After mistaking the manager for his wife’s lover, Osbourne goes on a dark, but hilarious monologue about the “league of morons” he’s been fighting against his entire life, and shoots the manager dead. This quote would make a perfect t-shirt for the guy who thinks he’s always got to fight against the world’s, um, dimwits.
“Should I fix you some sandwiches?” –Thurman Merman
Although Bad Santa is not technically a Coen Brothers creation, they were executive producers on the project, and it’s one of our favorite holiday comedies. We couldn’t resist this quote from the little blonde boy in the movie, Thurman Merman. The kid is so cute and unassuming, that eventually, Santa has to agree to the sandwiches. Create this t-shirt for the person in your life who’s always asking if you’d like some more!
What are some of your favorite Coen Brothers quotes? Share your favorites in the comments!
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