7 alternate holiday movies to watch filled with snark and black humour


By Paul Crilley

Posted on December 7, 2015 in Film, Hodderscape Advent with tags Advent, Paul Crilley, Poison City

Ah, Christmas. A time for melting into the couch with our third box of Quality Street and umpteenth cup of tea. A time for vegging out in front of the telly watching adverts featuring CGI cats and others that shamelessly pull on our heart strings making us cry while we suck up the mince pie crumbs from our onesie. You know what I say? Screw all that. We need more snark and black humor at Christmas. The perfect antidote to all that schmaltz and tinsel. Bah humbug indeed!

My name is Paul Crilley and I have a soft spot for snark and black humour. Especially in well-written dialogue. I have a book coming out in 2016 from Hodder. It’s called Poison City and does indeed feature much snark and black humour, (whether it’s well-written snark and black humour will be up to others to judge). The snark comes mostly from a demonic familiar in dog shape called… wait for it… The Dog, who’s a foul-mouthed alcoholic who actually loves Christmas. (If only because it means easy and plentiful access to his drink of choice – Sherry.)

So here is my alternate list of the seven best movies to watch this Christmas with examples of some of the best bits of dialogue. You know, for when you’re sick of watching the millionth repeat of Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life. All of them filled with copious amounts of snark and violence.

  1. kiss kiss bang bang posterKiss Kiss Bang Bang. This one’s actually a Christmas movie, so double points! Shane Black’s brilliant noir detective movie starring Robert Downey Jr as thief-turned-actor Harry Lockhart and Val Kilmer as Gay Perry. Val Kilmer is a P.I. hired to train Harry for his upcoming role and they get caught up in a murder investigation. Best moment: Harry, surprised at finding a corpse in his bathroom, proceeds to pee on it. Then he and Perry have to dispose of the body in a busy hotel.

Perry: We gotta move her somewhere. You got gloves?

Harry: Excuse me?

Perry: Gloves. Do you have gloves? You have to move her. If it’s a frame-up, some asshole’s probably calling the cops on you right now. Do this: wrap up the body in a blanket, a sheet, anything.

Harry: Okay, any particular kind of gloves?

Perry: Yes, fawn. Will you f**king hurry!

Harry: Perry?

Perry: Yeah?

Harry: I peed on it.

Perry: What? You peed on what?

Harry: I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, ID from that?

Perry: I’m sorry, you peed on…?

Harry: On the corpse. My question is…

Perry: No, my question, I get to go first: Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on a corpse?

Harry: I didn’t intend to! It’s not like I did it for kicks!


  1. in brugesIn Bruges. One of the few movies in which Colin Farell is actually watchable. Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

Best moment. At the climactic shoot out, Ray and crime boss (Ralph Fiennes) pause a moment to argue:

Ray: Harry, I’ve got an idea.

Harry: What?

Ray: My room faces out the canal, right? I’m going to go back to me room, jump into the canal, see if I can swim to the other side and escape.

Harry: All right.

Ray: If you go outside around the corner, you can shoot at me from there and try to get me. That way we’ll leave this lady and her baby out of the whole entire thing.

Harry: You completely promise to jump into the canal? I don’t want to run out there, come back in ten minutes, and find you f**king hiding in a cupboard.

Ray: I completely promise, Harry. I’m not going to risk having another little kid dying on me.

Harry: So, hang on – I go outside and I go which way? Right or left?

Ray: [upset] You go right, don’t you? You can see it from the doorway! It’s a big f**king canal!

Harry: All right. Jesus. I only just got here, haven’t I? Okay, on the count of one, two, three, go. Okay?

Ray: Okay.

[long pause]

Ray: What? Who says it?

Harry: Well you say it.

Marie: You people are crazy.


the guard

  1. The Guard: An unorthodox and genially corrupt Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring in small town Ireland.

Best moment: Actually, too many to pick. Every piece of dialogue is clever and funny and makes me hate the screenwriter with the Viking fury of an insecure writer. I’ve included three here.

Sergeant Gerry Boyle: There were gay lads in the IRA?

Colum Hennessey: Mmm… one or two.


Colum Hennessey: It was the only way we could successfully infiltrate the MI5.


Sergeant Gerry Boyle: Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, these men are armed and dangerous, and you being an FBI agent you’re more used to shooting at unarmed women and children…

FBI agent Wendell Everett: Oh, f**k you, Sergeant!


Gerry Stanton: [while Clive Cornell is handing the bent coppers a briefcase of money] It’s all there, yeah?

Clive Cornell: Excuse me?

Gerry Stanton: It’s all there?

Clive Cornell: No, it’s not. I’ve skimmed a couple of grand off the top.

Gerry Stanton: What?

Clive Cornell: ‘Course it’s f**king all there. This is the pay-off, yeah? We pay you off, you and your pals keep your f**king noses out of our business. That’s the dynamic in this situation. Why the f**k would I then cheat you out your money? Eh? Why would I do that? That doesn’t make any sense. That’d defeat the entire purpose of the f**king interaction. F**k me!

[walks away angrily]


pulp fiction4: Pulp Fiction. Ah, The grand daddy of them all. I watched this at the cinema when it first came out – I was about 18 at the time – and was the only one to laugh when poor Marvin got his comeuppance in the car. I remember thinking “Jeez, what’s wrong with all these people? Why aren’t they laughing?” Looking back, I realise now that every single one of them was thinking the exact same thing about me.

[Jules and Vincent take Marvin with them in their car and Vincent’s gun goes off and blows Marvin’s head off]

Vincent: Whoa!

Jules: What the f**k’s happening, man? Ah, shit man!

Vincent: Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.

Jules: Why the f**k did you do that!

Vincent: Well, I didn’t mean to do it, it was an accident!

Jules: Oh man I’ve seen some crazy ass shit in my time…

Vincent: Chill out, man. I told you it was an accident. You probably went over a bump or something.

Jules: Hey, the car didn’t hit no motherf**king bump!

Vincent: Hey, look man, I didn’t mean to shoot the son of a bitch. The gun went off. I don’t know why.

Jules: Well look at this f**king mess, man. We’re on a city street in broad daylight here!

Vincent: I don’t believe it.

Jules: Well believe it now, motherf**ker! We gotta get this car off the road! You know cops tend to notice shit like you’re driving a car drenched in f**king blood.

Vincent: Just take it to a friendly place, that’s all.

Jules: This is the Valley, Vincent. Marsellus ain’t got no friendly places in the Valley.

Vincent: Well Jules, this ain’t my f**king town, man!

Jules: Shit!


true romance5: True Romance. A change of pace here, just in case you don’t think I have a soft side. One of the most romantic movies ever, and the perfect date night movie this for those cold Winter nights.

Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it. Tarantino wrote the script before Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, and it has all his trademark touches. Standout is the ten minute scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. Also, worth the price of admission alone to see Balki Bartokomous shot to crap.

Coccotti: You know who I am, Mr. Worley?

Clifford Worley: I give up. Who are you?

Coccotti: I’m the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the man who killed you. My name is Vincent Coccotti. I work as counsel for Mr. Blue Lou Boyle, the man your son stole from. I hear you were once a cop so I can assume you’ve heard of us before. Am I correct?

Clifford Worley: I’ve heard of Blue Lou Boyle.

Coccotti: I’m glad. Hopefully that will clear up the “how full of shit am I?” question you’ve been asking yourself.


layer cake6: Layer Cake: An unnamed mid-level cocaine dealer (Daniel Craig) in London makes plans to step away from the criminal life. Before he can cut ties, the dealer’s supplier draws him into a complicated pair of jobs involving kidnapping the teenage daughter of a rival gangster and brokering the purchase of a large shipment of ecstasy pills from a dealer known as “the Duke”, leading to a series of elaborate double-crosses from all corners.

XXXX: {answering his phone] Who is this?

Dragan:     My name is Dragan.

XXXX:       How did you get this number?

Dragan:     Boatman Paul gave me your number, in the end.I believe you have some property that belongs to my employer and you’re the person I should talk to about the return of this cargo stolen by your associate, the Duke.

XXXX:       Dragan, the Duke is nothing to do with me.

Dragan:     Mr. Duke came to Amsterdam, used your name, said he worked for you. Are you listening?

XXXX:       Dragan… I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you come round for breakfast, I’ll squeeze some orange juice and grind some coffee and we’ll talk about this like adults, how does that sound?

Dragan:     Sounds very hospitable.

XXXX:       Do you know where I live?

Dragan:     No.

XXXX:       Well f**k off then. [hangs up]


nice guys7: The Nice Guys. This one hasn’t even been released yet, but I just saw the trailer and it looks amazing. Another Shane Black movie, this one pairs Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as the mismatched duo. A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.

Best moments in the trailer:

Daughter (being led by her dad through a raunchy LA party: Dad, there’s like, whores here and stuff.

March: Sweetheart, how many times have I told you? Don’t say, ‘and stuff.’ Just say, ‘Dad, there are whores here.’


March: Look on the bright side. Nobody got hurt.

Healey: {Deadpan} People got hurt.

March: I’m sayin’ I think they died quickly though, so I don’t think they got hurt.


grosse point blankBonus! 8: Grosse Point Blank. And one more for a bonus, ‘cause that’s the kind of guy I am. Martin Blank (John Cusack) is a professional assassin. He’s sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time. Absolutely love this movie for Cusack’s snappy delivery of some of the best dialogue out there.

Debi: So, is there a Mrs. Mysterio?

Martin Q. Blank: No, but I do have a very nice cat?

Debi: Not the same.

Martin Q. Blank: Well, you don’t know my cat, it’s very demanding.

Debi: It? You don’t know if it’s a boy or girl?

Martin Q. Blank: I respect its privacy.


Martin Q. Blank: Don’t you think that maybe you’re just upset because I told you what I do for a living, and you got upset and *you’re* letting it interfere with *our* dynamic?

Dr. Oatman: Whoa. Martin. You didn’t tell me what you did for a living…

Martin Q. Blank: Yes, I did!

Dr. Oatman: You didn’t tell me what you did for a living for *four* sessions. *Then* you told me. And I said, “I don’t want to work with you any more.” And yet, you come back each week at the same time. That’s a difficulty for me. On top of that, if you’ve committed a crime or you’re thinking about committing a crime, I have to tell the authorities.

Martin Q. Blank: I know the law, okay? But I don’t want to be withholding; I’m very serious about this process.


Martin Q. Blank: And I know where you live.

Dr. Oatman: Oh, now see? That wasn’t a nice thing to say; that wasn’t designed to make me feel good. That’s a… kind of a… not too subtle intimidation, and I, uh, get filled with anxiety when you talk about something like that.

Martin Q. Blank: Come on, come on. I was just kidding, all right? The thought never crossed my mind.

Dr. Oatman: You did think of it, Martin! You thought it, and then you said it. And now, I’m left with the aftermath of that, thinking I gotta be creative in a really interesting way or Martin’s gonna blow my brains out! You’re holding me hostage. That’s not right.

So there you go. My antidote to the usual Christmas fair. Stick one of these movies on and the in-laws who’ve taken up residence in your lounge and commandeered the remotes might head off to bed early and leave the TV to you. There’s enough swearing in them all to chase most away.

Then again, they might not, so you better hide the good Quality Street and leave them the nut ones. That’ll teach ‘em.


One comment on “7 alternate holiday movies to watch filled with snark and black humour”

  • Lynn Love says:

    Some very cool choices. Anything with Brendan Gleeson is worth watching – one of the finest actors on the planet.
    And Grosse Pointe Blank is a work of genius – I’ve watched it so often and could watch it over and over.
    Excellence all round

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