Sometimes calculated, diplomatic, well-thought-out speech is the best way for someone to get a point across. Other moments, however, require yelling, finger-pointing, spittle-projecting and the type of language that would get you 50 Hail Marys in Sunday school.
Indeed, movie history has provided us with hundreds of instances where a character's unstoppable flood of emotions got the best of them. Luckily for you, we've narrowed them down to the fifteen best.
Warning: Most of these rants contain NSFW language, as you might imagine.
15. John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in 'The Big Lebowski' (1998)
The gist: Donnie was a good bowler, and Vietnam was a bitch.
It's hard to pick just one Walter Sobchak rant from "The Big Lebowski," considering almost every time he speaks is a rant and almost every one of his rants is memorable. But we'll go with the scattering of Donnie's ashes, which starts off as a good enough remembrance of a pretty mostly forgettable character and escalates into a tirade about the treachery of Vietnam — even though, so far as we know, Donnie was never in Vietnam. Donnie's ashes flying back into their faces isn't technically part of the rant, but it's hilarious and thus worth noting, regardless.
14. Al Pacino as Tony D'Amato in 'Any Given Sunday' (1999)
The gist: Life is kinda like football, and football is kinda like life, y'know?
Considering Al Pacino has spent a good deal of his acting career yelling, screaming, and generally looking like he was teetering on the edge of sanity, there were lots of rants to choose from, but we'll go with his slow-building inspirational speech from "Any Given Sunday." While trying to get the members of the Miami Sharks ready to play the game of their lives, Pacino waffles between football speech and awkwardly personal confessional. It takes him a while before he's full-on yelling, but like a camel finding its way to water, Pacino gets there eventually. See if you can name all the famous faces in this clip — by our count it's approximately 37.
13. Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton in 'Trainspotting' (1996)
The gist: Being Scottish ain't so hot.
If you've ever seen "Trainspotting" (and if you haven't, get on that) you might remember it as the non-"Requiem For a Dream" movie that convinced you never to try heroin. But in this scene, Ewan McGregor's Renton goes on a super self-loathing rant not about about the ugliness of addiction but about the crappiness of being Scottish — a "sh*te state of affairs" back in the '80s, apparently. Cheer up, mate, it can't be all bad. Look at that beautiful mountain landscape!
12. Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' (1989)
The gist: Clark's boss needs to work on his people skills.
Back when Chevy Chase was better known for his comedic chops than his reputation as an egomaniac, he was pretty much killing it in '80s classics like "Caddyshack," "Fletch," and "Three Amigos." But maybe his best work was as everyman Clark Griswold in the "Vacation" movies, seen here going atomic on his boss for giving a membership to the Jelly of the Month club in lieu of an actual bonus. Pause the video right at 1:59 if you're interested in having Chase forever haunt your dreams.
11. James Stewart as Jefferson Smith in 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' (1939)
The gist: America, f**k yeah.
Ah, the good old days, back when a filibuster on the House floor meant that someone actually had to, y'know, filibuster. And Mr. Smith doesn't just sit there reading the dictionary. He goes into full-on Hulk Hogan mode, laying down the law on why America is #1 and isn't to be messed with by slimy power brokers, greedy politicians or Slim Jim-slinging egomaniacs. (That last one might only apply to Hogan.) If it's been a while since you've felt patriotic, Jimmy Stewart's treatise might just bring that gooey apple pie, weeping bald eagle feeling back into your heart.
10. Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup in 'A Few Good Men' (1992)
The gist: I deride your truth-handling abilities.
While everyone remembers Nicholson's famous "You can't handle the truth" line in "A Few Good Men," not everyone remembers just what his character, Colonel Jessup, was getting at during his tirade. In full, the speech — written by Aaron Sorkin — brilliantly draws a contrast between civilian life and the realities of warfare soldiers face every day. That scenery must have been deep-fried and sugar-coated, because Tom and Jack chewed it up good here.
9. Will Ferrell as Mugatu in 'Zoolander' (2001)
The gist: Mugatu invented the piano key necktie and Derek Zoolander is nothing.
Before Will Ferrell was movie superstar Will Ferrell, he his hitting the supporting actor circuit hard for other comedy stars with roles in movies like "Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back," "Austin Powers" and "The Ladies Man." But his best pre-superstardom work was as '80s musician turned fashion- magnate Mugatu in "Zoolander." Here, Mugatu goes off on the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge: Derek Zoolander is kind of a one-trick pony when it comes to looking super-sexy.
8. Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in 'Fight Club' (1999)
The gist: Being a male member of Generation X sucks for reasons that are hard to pin down.
Wow, can we get Tyler Durden some cheese with that whine? A booming economy? No majors wars? "The Simpsons" and "Seinfeld" at their peaks? What more could a generation ask for? A lot, apparently. As Durden explains, the '90s were a time when lots of young men were "very pissed off," spending time in-between Lollapalooza festivals and Richard Linklater screenings lamenting the lack of meaning in their lives of white-collar, middle-class servitude. Mercifully, Generation X is now too busy raising kids and saving for retirement to be searching for meaning. And now we're all better for it.
7. Trey Parker as Gary Johnston in 'Team America: World Police' (2004)
The gist: The most effective approach to American foreign policy is a system that both polices the more war-mongering sects of our society but also isn't afraid to defend our national interests against tyrants abroad, wouldn't you say?
Here, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, through the voice of actor-turned-spy Gary Johnston, sum up the last 15 years of American foreign policy better than any history or government teacher we've ever had. Although the language might not be student-safe, the "South Park" dudes' point — that a system of checks and balances between peace-nicks and war hawks is exactly what our country needs if we're ever going to defeat the world's major a**holes — feels right on point.
6. Various in 'Do The Right Thing' (1989)
The gist: Racism.
A racially charged exchange between Pino, an Italian pizza maker, and Mookie, a black delivery man, leads to a scene in "Do the Right Thing" where a member of each race represented in the movie releases an onslaught of ugly slurs and pent-up anger. Thankfully, local DJ Senor Love Daddy (Samuel L. Jackson) steps in and puts the racial tirades to an end, reminding everyone that the only way to beat the inner-city heat is to keep it cool. And that's the double truth, Ruth.
5. Peter Finch as Howard Beale in 'Network' (1976)
The gist: Things aren't going well out there. If you're not mad you should be. Let's yell about it, and then reassess the situation later.
Life: from economic depression, to violent crime, to the depersonalization of modern society, it's full of stuff that just sucks. In this scene from "Network," the kinda-genius, kinda-bats**t insane news anchor Howard Beale takes the general crappiness of life to task with his "farewell" speech to a live television audience, and then encourages people to scream "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" But instead of getting Beale the help he so clearly needs, the television industry executives exploit his mental instability as a ratings draw. Man, we've really come a real long way since 1976.
4. John Belushi as Bluto in 'National Lampoon's Animal House' (1978)
The gist: Man up, slacker frat boys of the early '60s.
If ever there was a very funny man in a very funny movie, it was John Belushi as the hard-partying, guitar-smashing, 0.0 GPA-having John 'Bluto' Blutarsky in "Animal House." Here, Bluto rallies the boys of Delta to take revenge on the smug Dean Wormer and Omega house following their expulsion. He doesn't necessarily get all of historical facts right, but the heart is there. And really, isn't that what matters most?
3. Steve Martin as Neal Page in 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' (1987)
The gist: Car. Gimme.
In this home-for-the holidays classic, Neal Page delivers a cathartic f-bomb storm of a tirade for anyone who's ever been fed up with bureaucratic nonsense/wanted a car right f**king now. Neal's over-the-top nastiness is off-putting, but you'd be lying if you said you couldn't sympathize, at least a little. Side note: This movie came out over 25 years ago. Does Steve Martin ever age?
2. Edward Norton as Monty Brogan in '25th Hour' (2002)
The gist: I hate everyone in New York City, but not nearly as much as I hate myself.
Edward Norton gives a powerhouse performance throughout Spike Lee's overlooked "25th Hour" as Monty Brogan, a drug dealer tying up his life's loose ends the day before he's sent to jail. But without a doubt Norton's best scene is his no-holds-barred tirade against almost every ethnic group in New York City, America's favorite religious figure and a whole bunch of other folks. But as we learn, the person Monty is most pissed off at is Monty.
1. Alec Baldwin as Blake in 'Glengarry Glen Ross' (1992)
The gist: Be better at your job or lose it, you f**ks.
Alec Baldwin's tirade at the murderers row of Oscar-winning actors at the Mitch and Murray real estate office in "Glengarry Glen Ross" was so memorable that it's hard to believe it was his only scene in the movie. Blake might not be the friendliest cat, but listen to him closely enough and there's actually some worthwhile life advice about how in the business world people don't care what kind of person you are, they care about what you can deliver. If Blake were teaching our kids their ABC's, they might not speak like little ladies and gentlemen, but they sure wouldn't expect anything to be handed to them. Hey, people, no one said life was going to be easy.