MouseHunt (film)

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MouseHunt is a 1997 American slapstick/black comedy film starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans as two brothers who inherit a crumbling old house from their eccentric father, and subsequently find themselves locked in a battle of wits with a hyper-intelligent mouse.

Directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by Adam Rifkin.
The funniest movie of the year! (taglines)

Ernie Smuntz[edit]

  • No capers? But that's just grilled cheese. What's the point? Why don't they eat out of a trough? [Rings a counter-bell, looking around at the diner's customers] All right! Which one of you palateless sheep sent my sandwich back?
  • Yeah, I was on top once, too. And there's only one way to go from there, and that's down, baby! Down!
  • I don't think we're dealing with an ordinary mouse.
  • Hasta la vista, you little rat bastard!
  • Pop's lucky string! The son of a bitch ate it!
  • [Upon seeing the box, returned for insufficient postage] I told you you should have weighed him.

Lars Smuntz[edit]

  • [quoting his father] A world without string... is chaos!
  • Christmas isn't about complaining over what we don't have. We should be thankful for what we do have.
  • [explaining to Ernie how April apologized to him] She just showed up at the factory, took off her coat, and begged me to take her. We made love in a way that I've only ever seen in nature films.
  • [as Ernie blasts the house apart with a shotgun] Are you crazy?! You're blowing the whole house up! The only thing you haven't hit so far is the mouse! Why don't you give someone else a chance with that gun? [Ernie levels the shotgun at him, and Lars immediately relents] You're doing a wonderful job.


[At the funeral of Rudolf Smuntz, his sons Lars and Ernie are bickering as they help carry his coffin out of the church.]
Lars: Hold your end up higher. You're not holding it.
Ernie: I am too.
Lars: You are not.
Ernie: Don't worry about me. Say, isn't that suit charcoal?
Lars: No.
Ernie: Looks charcoal gray to me, some gray polyester blend. Couldn't even find a black suit for your own father's funeral.
Lars: It's black.
Ernie: No, I'm sure it's gray.
Lars: It's black!
Ernie: Gray!
Lars: Black!
Ernie: Gray!
Lars: Black!
Ernie: Fine, it's black. It's the grayest black I've ever seen.
Lars: It doesn't matter what color it is- [Lars's handle breaks off, causing everybody else to drop the coffin down the steps] I'm sorry, pop. I'm sorry! [the coffin smashes into the hearse, sending Rudolf's corpse flipping into the air and headfirst down an open manhole]
Lars: Quick! Get him out of there!
Sewer worker: He's halfway to the harbor by now, bub.
Ernie: Oh, well.

[The Lawyer is reading the last will of Rudolf Smuntz to Ernie and Lars.]
The Lawyer: [reading] And thus, it is my dying wish that my two sons run Smuntz String together.
Ernie: Terrific! Let's put a For Sale sign on the lawn and see what we can get.
Lars: We're not supposed to sell it, Ernie. We're supposed to run it together.
Ernie: Either way, this godforsaken museum piece is not worth a dime, now is it, Lars?
Lars: Some things are more important than money, Ernie.
Ernie: [to the Lawyer] Notice how it's always the financially-challenged who say that?

Ernie: When I'm in the kitchen, I cook. I can't control every single thing that goes on in there.
Lars: You know, it really isn't fair for everybody to blame you. You didn't do anything wrong.
Ernie: Yes, but society always needs someone to persecute. A scapegoat, someone to demonize. The same thing happened to Galileo.
Lars: Really? That's unbelievable. With a cockroach, and everything?
Ernie: No. The point is, I put everything I had into that restaurant. It was my livelihood, and my home. In one fatal bite, it was all taken away from me. If only we could sell the factory.
Lars: I'd let you stay with me, you know, but, uh, April threw me out.
Ernie: Oh, that's too bad.
Lars: Yeah, well, don't worry about me, though, Ernie. Th-This is temporary. April's been like this since high school. She'll be back. I...
Ernie: Well, would you look at that? Sleeping in the street. Pitiful.
Homeless Man: Hey! If I had a house, I'd sleep in it!

Lars: [after Ernie insults their late father] Wow, did you feel that?
Ernie: What?
Lars: I got a chill. You should never talk about Pop like that.
Ernie: Really? What's this do for you? [shouting] Thanks for nothing, you string-sucking old loon!
Lars: He didn't mean it, Pop.

Alexander Falko: LeRue. I have his books, I have his letters. You see the shoes?
Ernie & Lars: [glancing down] LeRue's?
Alexander Falko: No, but I'm sure he would have loved them.

Lars: [staring at Ernie's triggered-but-empty mousetrap] I don't believe it. He snapped the trap, ate the olive, and left the pit just to mock us!
Ernie: I think you're giving him a little too much credit. Mice don't mock. They don't have a sense of humor or irony. He's not sitting in his hole in a smoking jacket sipping cognac, and giggling to himself, "I left the pit!" The trap snapped itself, the olive flew off and he ate it. [starts pouring cereal] It's just that simple. But now that he knows we're here, he won't come within a mile of us. I don't think we'll be seeing any more of that- [the mouse suddenly falls out of the cereal box] MOUSE!!!

[The brothers have covered the entire kitchen floor in baited mousetraps]
Lars: Don't you think this is a little... much?
Ernie: Never underestimate the opponent. Let's say, he has mastered a way to empty a mousetrap without getting caught. If he snaps one of these babies, the chain reaction will start snapping them all. He'll panic, and the law of averages says that one of them has to nab him.
Lars: That's pretty smart.
Ernie: Yeah, well, I like to use both sides of my brain.

[Lars and Ernie are at the animal shelter in search of a suitable mouse-hunting cat.]
Maury, the Handler: Gentlemen, I thought you'd never ask. I had all but given up on anyone wanting him. We were about to... gas him again.
Ernie & Lars: Again?
[Maury leads the brothers to a chained-and-padlocked crate.]
Maury: Probably spent his whole life in that box, you know...
Ernie: [reading a tag tied to the crate] "Catzilla"?
Maury: Oh, you know the guys who clean up call him that, but you can call him anything you want. I'd say he looks more like a "Fluffy."
Lars: [leans down] Aw, poor little Catzilla. You want a home, don't you? You want to get out of here. Well, you're gonna have to kill, kill, kill for it!
Ernie: You're a stupid cat, aren't you? Yes, you are! And you're ugly, too... [the cat lunges, tearing at Lars's sleeve until Maury subdues him with a taser]
Lars: Oh, you little bastard!
Ernie: We'll take him!

[The brothers have hired an exterminator named Caesar, who explains his methods.]
Caesar: See, most people aren't what I call... psychologically-equipped to catch mice. But you spend a few days getting into his furry head, you know how to find him, figure out his moves, and then... POW! One dead mouse.
Lars: You're the expert. [picks up a can of pesticide]
Caesar: WHOA!! Never touch that! [the brothers panic and throw the can around until Caesar catches it]
Lars: What is that?
Caesar: The big one.
Ernie: It's a flea bomb.
Caesar: Works on mice, too.
Ernie: It better! Because we can't handle any more intrusions.
Caesar: Sure, that's how you perceive it. But to the mouse... YOU are the intruder.

[The brothers later arrive at the house to see a delirious Caesar being carried out on a stretcher by paramedics.]
Lars: Oh, my god! Caesar, are you okay?
Paramedic: Please, sir, he's not well.
Ernie: Try to think! Did you kill the mouse?
Caesar: What's that?! HORSE?! FIENDISH! I won't eat it!! [keeps ranting and raving as he's carried away]

[In the midst of an argument, Lars throws an orange at Ernie, but the orange hits the mouse instead. Ernie sees the unconscious mouse on the table in shock.]
Ernie: You killed him! [laughs with joy as Lars walks over]
Lars: I-- I didn't even know he was there!
Ernie: Just think of all the trouble we could have saved ourselves if we had just thrown fruit at him in the first place!
Lars: Look! He's still breathing!
Ernie: Well kill him! Kill him! Find a blunt object! There!
[Lars grabs a small shovel and prepares to finish the mouse]
Lars: There we go, get the hell...
Ernie: Let him have it. [Lars hesitates] What the hell are you waiting for!?
Lars: I can't just hit him with the shovel.
Ernie: Why not!?
Lars: Well, look at him. He's pathetic.
Ernie: Pathetic? He's Hitler with a tail! This is The Omen with whiskers! Nostradamus couldn't have seen this thing coming!
Lars: Well, Ern, he's a living thing.
Ernie: Not for long! Give me that! [Ernie snatches the shovel from Lars and prepares to kill the mouse, but hesitates] I can't! [he hits himself in the head with the shovel and starts crying] Look at him just lying there! It just doesn't feel very sportsman-like.
[The mouse starts regaining consciousness]
Lars: We'd better do something quick! I think he's coming to!

[At the house's auction, Ernie is greeting the guests near the buffet table.]
Ernie: [greeting an African prince] Ah, Hakuna Matata!
New York Lady: The crepés are magnificent. The raisins are a nice touch.
Ernie: They are good, aren't they? [looks confused] Raisins? [checks a tray for mouse droppings]

[Having been flooded out of the house in the brothers' last attempt to kill the mouse, the angry auction guests are leaving.]
Ernie: Wait! Don't go! That was just a... a demonstration on how durable a LeRue really is! Now you know... this house will last forever! [the house suddenly collapses]


  • The funniest movie of the year!
  • Who's hunting who?
  • The Mouse Never Dies
  • The squeak shall inherit the earth.
  • You don't need to be big to be a hero.


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