Seeing Bad Teacher this weekend? Despite the kooky, family-friendly title this foul-mouthed comedy certainly isn’t for the kids, so why not send them to bed and have a weekend in with some of the sweariest movies to ever hit the big screen? Do I even need to warn you about the explicit content of this article? No? On we go then…
5.) Closer (Mike Nichols, 2004)
Adapted for the screen by Patrick Marber (from his own stage play) this terse, vitriolic and raw relationship drama remains one of the most frighteningly honest portrayals of the limits of a relationship that the cinema has ever seen. Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts and Jude Law play the four lovelorn individuals who crash through each others lives, coldly interacting in sporadic sexual affairs and clinically deconstructing their lives by reckless impulse and desire. But it’s Marber’s language which steals the show, such is its dexterity and range. One second the language can be titillating and sexy, using the word “fuck” as a come-on, teasingly and playfully. But come the ending and its use has sunken to the gutter as much as the characters spouting it. The highlight? Larry’s (Owen) reaction to his wife’s affair: “Thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Now fuck off and die, you fucked up slag.” Stings, doesn’t it?
4.) In The Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009)
The halls of government are likely filled with lies, secrets and infidelities, but I find it hard to believe that any political office would produce language to the following effect: “This is a government department, not some fucking Jane fucking Austen novel! Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock!” Such is the beauty of satire I suppose, as Malcolm Tucker’s (Peter Capaldi) heterogeneous vocabulary, into which the word “fuck” is introduced every five seconds, is side-splittingly hilarious, and witty rather than controversy-baiting. Iannucci’s glorious film is overwritten to the extreme, but I wouldn’t have it any other way when it results in such magnificent, vein-popping and hugely quotable swearing. “You are a real boring fuck. Sorry, sorry, I know you disapprove of swearing so I’ll sort that out. You are a boring F, star, star, CUNT!” Solid gold poetry.
3.) Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley, 1992)
Perhaps nobody else on this list is as qualified a swearer as David Mamet, whose expansion, agility and creativity of and with the word “fuck” is staggering, never better proven than in the swear-o-riffic Glengarry Glen Ross, a film so venomously foul-mouthed it’ll put you off car dealerships forever. Two scenes stand out. Firstly, Al Pacino’s terrific monologue to Kevin Spacey, which allows the grandstanding actor to deliver his finest fire n’ brimstone fury to the sound of the cruellest word in the English language: “Where did you learn your trade, you stupid fucking cunt, you idiot!” More than anything it’s the breathless pace of the delivery that gives the language heft, as if there’s no time to consider the brutality of the language. But then there’s Alec Baldwin’s classic: “Fuck you, that’s my name!” which seals the film a position on this list.
2.) In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)
Martin McDonagh is a genuine heir to the throne of Mamet and Neil LaBute, and I discovered his work through this dark, beautiful and often hilarious film, which literally defies genre categorization. The pace of the swearing is blistering, and often shocking, especially in the scenes with posh hardman Harry (Ralph Fiennes), who at one point declares to his wife: “You’re an inanimate fucking object!” His letters to Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are packed with foul obscurities too, but Ken steals the show toward the end of the film with a torrent of an attack on Harry. It goes, wonderfully, like this: “I mean no disrespect, but you’re a cunt. You’re a cunt now, and you’ve always been a cunt. And the only thing that’s going to change is that you’re going to be an even bigger cunt. Maybe even have some more cunt kids.” Don’t know about you, but that one left me reeling.
1.) The Big Lebowski (Coen Brothers, 1998)
Okay, so the swearing here isn’t as inventive as your average Mamet or McDonagh, but it’s the most entertaining I’ve ever come across. Y’see, the swearing has a sweetness to it, and it always – always – evokes a laugh. Seriously, every “Donny, shut the fuck up” is a laugh riot, and the frank silliness of the dialogue (although the script is razor sharp) is endearing. It’s kinda goofy, the way the word “fuck” is thrown around here, especially given that the characters are so dumb. It’s had to say who has the best lines but The Dude’s (Jeff Bridges ) desperation in the scattering of the ashes scene is just terrific: “God damn you Walter! You fuckin’ asshole! Everything’s a fuckin’ travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Vietnam? What the FUCK has anything got to do with Vietnam? What the fuck are you talking about?” Works on so many levels…