When the superhero genre wasn’t as densely populated as it is now, The Mask followed a shy banker who becomes a paranormal playboy after putting on a mask of Loki’s effigy, pulling objects out of thin air, and stretching his limbs to extraordinary lengths a full decade before Green Lantern and Mr. Fantastic hit the big screen. Equal parts gimmicky and hilarious, it made Jim Carrey a household name and was successful enough to achieve cult status.
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The Mask has become a classic since it debuted in 1994, both as an underrated addition to the cape and cowl genre and as a nostalgic piece of ’90s cinema. It was a perfect way to highlight the abilities of Carrey (a real-life cartoon character) while laying the foundation for the CGI seen in movies today, and the film’s dialogue is just as hilarious now as it was then.
Updated on October 1st, 2021 by Kayleena Pierce-Bohen: In the midst of a deluge of series adapted from superheroes and comic book characters, a dialogue has begun about rebooting The Mask in a similar serialized format, though whether or not the series should be more influenced by comedy or horror is still up for debate. One thing’s for sure, The Mask movies quotes have a certain appeal to them that shouldn’t be ignored in the writing process however The Mask gets revisited.
The Mask: “Our Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose…And I Am A Little Thorny.”
After setting his sights on Tina, The Mask’s ardor for the singer is almost insatiable, and when they have a rendezvous in the park he tries to impress her by dressing like an approximation of a French lover and reciting suggestive poetry. Unfortunately, she finds this incredibly offputting and rejects his advances.
As the id of Stanley Ipkiss, The Mask represents his innate impulses and makes manifest his most instinctive and primal desires. The Mask is the man Stanley wishes he was, but eventually, he finds out that he doesn’t need to change who he is to be wanted by women.
The Mask: “It Wasn’t Me, It Was The One-Armed Man!”
When confronted by Dorian’s men about the stolen money, The Mask has a good laugh at their expense by constantly toying with them and never taking their interrogation seriously. When they ask him if he’s the person who robbed the bank they were supposed to hit, he points the blame at anyone but himself.
The reference he makes with this line might not be immediately apparent to some fans, but the “one-armed man” he mentions is the antagonist in the Harrison Ford-led suspenseful crime movie The Fugitive, who is responsible for murdering Ford’s onscreen wife and precipitating the events of the movie.
Arthur Neuman: “We All Wear Masks…Metaphorically Speaking.”
When Stanley first tries on the mask and has an incredibly intense experience under its thrall, he decides to seek out an authority on the matter. He finds a doctor that specializes in not just masks, but the intricacies of the human psyche, and tries to recreate what happened the night before. Nothing happens, except an interesting conversation about New Age psychology.
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While The Mask quotes are undoubtedly hilarious because of Jim Carrey’s particular brand of comedy, having someone as dour as Ben Stein portray his psychiatrist, and deliver some of the most cutting lines in his signature deadpan, is an unexpected delight.
The Mask: “Look At That! It’s Exactly Three Seconds Before I Honk Your Nose And Pull Your Underwear Over Your Head.”
When accosted by several thugs in a back alley while he’s out on the town, The Mask doesn’t back down from the confrontation. On the contrary, he seems to revel in the prospect of a fight, using the opportunity to pull out his bag of tricks and unleash a supernatural smackdown on them all.
Part of The Mask’s appeal is in its brilliant marriage of brutal violence with hysterical comedy, making over-the-top scenes like this a genesis for future similar movies like Kick-Ass or series like The Tick.
The Mask: “You Were Good Kid, Real Good, But As Long As I’m Around You’ll Always Be Second Best, See?”
On first viewing, fans might think that The Mask and Tina are going to wind up together, but after he rescues her from Dorian at the Coco Bongo club they part ways. Before she goes back to her hometown, he gives her this little piece of advice without any context.
The Mask quotes are often stuffed with references to other movies, and this line is no exception, with The Mask taking a quote from one of the last scenes in The Cincinnati Kid, in which an old poker pro (played by Edward G. Robinson) imparts some important wisdom to a young, arrogant cardshark (played by Steve McQueen), and applying it where it doesn’t belong.
The Mask: “Sssssmokin’!”
Part of the hilarity involved in The Mask’s dialogue came from his inherent puns, which allowed actor Jim Carrey to turn the absurd into the clever and satirical. In a snappy smoking jacket, he yells, “Sssssmokin’!” while at Dorian’s club, a one-liner that would become one of the film’s most popular catchphrases.
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Stanley’s oleaginous friend Charlie Schumacher tried to top the line with, “No, I don’t smoke, but for you? I’d shoot the Surgeon General!” but it doesn’t land the same way without The Mask’s signature attitude.
The Mask: “Somebody stop me!”
The Mask’s affirmation while admiring himself in front of the mirror remains one of the most quotable phrases from the film, compounded by him slipping into his iconic yellow outfit. The Coco Bongo Club didn’t know what hit it when he danced the night away with Tina, its star attraction.
If anyone could bring the wacky whimsicality of The Mask to life and translate his most bizarre aspects from comic book to film, it was Jim Carrey. His malleability with both the dialogue and physicality of the role made something demanding seem effortless and completely believable.
Lt. Kallaway: “Those Pajamas Are Impossible. This Actually Happened.”
When Lieutenant Kallaway showed up at Stanley Ipkiss’s apartment, he didn’t know what to expect. After hearing bizarre reports of a hostile hit on a local automotive shop and a bank heist tied to Ipkiss, he didn’t know whether to expect a hardened criminal or a docile bank clerk behind the door.
When Ipkiss explained it would be “impossible” for him to have done the things Kallaway claims, Kallaway snaps back with a witty comment about his pajamas that would come to characterize his dry sense of humor throughout the film.
The Mask: “It’s Party Time! P-A-R-T-Why? Because I Gotta!”
Nerdy Stanley Ipkiss wasn’t a ladies’ man, couldn’t get access to the most popular nightspot in the city, and had no professional ambition at a job he hated, but all that changed when he put on Loki’s likeness and transformed himself into The Mask.
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Suddenly he was outgoing, stylish, and capable of incredible feats of transformation. The Mask was the life of the party, and as good as he made Stanley feel, Stanley had to learn that he didn’t need The Mask to be special.
The Mask: “Hold On, Sugar! Daddy’s Got A Sweet Tooth Tonight!”
Stanley might not have been able to get the girl, but as The Mask, he was able to fill her dance card. The beautiful Tina, the Coco Bongo Club’s star entertainer, was dazzled by his style, flair, and impressive dance moves.
The character of Tina was Cameron Diaz’s breakout role, and over the course of the film, she went from portraying a bombshell inextricably tied to the men in her life to a woman who realized that she didn’t need a man to feel special. No matter her attraction to what The Mask represented, she needed to be–and get–her own “sugar”.
The Mask: “Look Mom, I’m Roadkill. Ha Ha!”
When Stanley first put on Loki’s likeness he opened up an incredible world of possibilities, some frightening and some hilarious. When his landlord discovered him as The Mask testing out his powers, he was forced to flee into the night on a maniacal spree.
Aside from the ability to pull out a ridiculous amount of guns from his pockets, or change his clothing faster than Superman in a phone booth, he was also able to be run over by a truck without having to worry about suffering any horrific injuries, leading to one of the film’s many humorous lines, “Look mom, I’m roadkill, ha ha!”.
Peggy: “Do You Know How Hard It Is To Find A Decent Man In This Town? Most Of Them Think Monogamy Is Some Kind Of Wood!”
Peggy Brant may have been a hard-hitting reporter searching for the scoop, but she was also a hopeless romantic. When she found out that Stanley Ipkiss was behind a touching letter to their local paper, she realized that there really were decent men out there.
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While visiting Stanley at his bank, she gave this caustic line that conveyed her sharp wit and rhetorical styling.
The Mask: “Hold Me Closer, Ed, It’s Getting Dark…Tell Auntie Em To Let Old Yeller Out…Tell Tiny Tim I Won’t Be Coming Home This Christmas…Tell Scarlett I Do Give A Damn! Thank You! You Love Me! You Really Love Me!”
When The Mask first confronted Dorian and his goons, they quickly realized they were no match for him and his powers. No matter how many bullets they unloaded into him, he not only couldn’t be killed but could return fire with much more impressive weapons (and some devastating insults).
The monologue he delivered when he faked his death was peppered with half a dozen cinematic references, and not only showed Jim Carrey’s comedic abilities, but proved just how impressive The Mask was when faced with adversaries. Dorian knew the only way to defeat him was to become The Mask himself.
The Mask: “You Can’t Make The Scene If You Don’t Have The Green.”
Stanley Ipkiss may not have been able to bribe his way into the Coco Bongo Club, but The Mask had no such qualms. He knew he couldn’t show up without something to sweeten the doorman’s pot, so he decided to rob a bank and head to the nightclub to shower its staff in loot.
Part of what makes The Mask an enduring classic is the fact that some of the most iconic scenes aren’t rooted in CGI but in practical effects involving Jim Carrey’s facial expressions and dramatic flair. It achieved a strong balance that many films aren’t lucky enough to do no matter their expense.
The Mask: “Now You Have To Ask Yourself One Question: “Do I Feel Lucky?” Well, Do Ya, Punks?!”
The Mask was full of quotes from other films, with Jim Carrey reciting a popular piece of cinematic zeitgeist every few scenes. One of the most salient was his homage to Dirty Harry, the gritty detective series of films starring Clint Eastwood.
The Mask decided to channel one of cinema’s most lauded lawmen by gritting his teeth and asking Dorian’s thugs if they “felt lucky”, borrowing Eastwood’s signature catchphrase and making it his own as he pumped them full of lead.
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About The Author
(1208 Articles Published)
Kayleena has been raised on Star Wars and Indiana Jones from the crib. A film buff, she has a Western collection of 250+ titles and counting that she’s particularly proud of. When she isn’t writing for ScreenRant, CBR, or The Gamer, she’s working on her fiction novel, lifting weights, going to synthwave concerts, or cosplaying. With degrees in anthropology and archaeology, she plans to continue pretending to be Lara Croft as long as she can.
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