“You cannot truly understand someone until you focus on that person’s T-shirt.” -Ancient Proverb
Alright, so that’s not a real proverb, but it is true that the t-shirt you wear says a lot about you. T-shirts are like tattoos with less commitment. When you walk into a room, they speak first about your personality.
You have to know where you stand. Do you rock irony like a handlebar mustache? Does your shirt say, Hey look at this stupid thing? Maybe you’re more the straightforward T-shirt professional; your Tees are no laughing matter.
A solid route to go if you’re unsure about where you stand on this important issue is to emulate the best T-shirts worn by your favorite movies.
That way, when someone asks you about your fashion choice, you can shrug: “It’s from [your favorite] movie.” It’s the fastest way to say something without saying anything.
Here are 30 options from which to choose.
The Avengers – Black Sabbath
As if we needed more proof that Tony Stark is cool. He made Iron Man for the love of Pete. I could think of a better song than “Headless Cross” when going into battles. The acoustics in the suit have to be premium.
The Outsiders – Mickey Mouse
There may be a generational gap between those who know The Outsiders and those who don’t, but everybody loves a little Mickey Mouse. Even Apple paid big bucks to Disney so they could feature the icon on the Watch. Cut off the sleeves to rock it like Two-bit Matthews (Estevez’ character).
American Flyers – Res Firma
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit translates to a firm resolve does not know how to weaken or as they said in the movie… Once you get it up, keep it up! If you know anything about cyclists, they take biking seriously. If I could be a cyclist and wear this T-shirt, that would be cool with me.
Twins – Born To Be Bad
Nothing says late-80s-early-90s retro like colorful triangles and mixed font design. Arnold was still in good shape when they filmed this movie. He would’ve pulled off any T-shirt at the time. When you buy this one, you gotta get it in size LSL (little sister large). That way it will show off your muscles.
Hot Tub Time Machine – Comb Shirt
The great thing about the comb shirt is the subtle multi-cultural implications. Sure, it’s rasta colors, but it also features combs used by people across different heritages and genders. Let’s get it started in here.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – Plumtree
Plumtree is an all-girl rock band from Canada. They wrote a song called Scott Pilgrim in 1997. That song inspired the movie by the same name, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Michael Cera (pictured) played the title role in the film, where he donned the Plumtree brand with no fear. When you rock the Plumtree T-shirt, only select people will understand your level of awesome. It doesn’t matter. You get you.
Pulp Fiction – UCSC Banana Slugs & Krazy Kat Comic
Quentin Tarantino’s character said they look like dorks, when Travolta and Jackson slid on these T-shirts. I disagree. When you walk into the bar with the Banana Slugs or Krazy Kat across your chest, you feel like Superman. Just don’t drive like these dorks.
Accepted – I’m Sofa King Cool
The best thing about this shirt is the implied cursing, which will elude most people. Sadly, the movie wasn’t as cool as this shirt, but they can’t all be winners. When you wear this T-shirt, you’ll be a winner.
Pineapple Express – Shark Cat
Don’t ask silly questions. It means a cat that lives in a shark, clearly. Anyone who doesn’t recognize your sweet T-shirt from Pineapple Express is nobody you should trust. That person probably would recognize a triumphant comedy if it leapt at them from the mouth of a shark.
The Hangover – Tree Head
It’s not so much the tree growing from the featured head in the shirt as it is the gradient sun ball in the background that makes this T. Without that, it’s a snoozer in the design department. This T-shirt appears to scream irony, but only the few will understand you are emulating one of the best comedies ever to grace the silver screen. Go belly-tight on the size.
Die Hard – Now I Have A Machine Gun Ho Ho Ho
It’s festive. It’s aggressive. It’s from one of the best action films made. In case you’re not familiar… wait, you haven’t seen Die Hard? Stop everything and watch it now. Welcome back. This is from the scene where the tide turns for Bruce Willis. When you wear a T-shirt like this, the tide of your life turns. Don’t wear it to school, though. The sense of humor around guns on campus is slim these days.
Heathers – Big Fun
In the ’80s hit, Heathers, the faux-band Big Fun received mad rotation on the radio. There was a real band by the same name in the U.K., but they didn’t write the hit song “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It),” also fake. Rock the Big Fun T-shirt to show you know what teen angst was all about in the ’80s.
Real Genius – I ♥ Toxic Waste
Few remember a world where Val Kilmer was still cool. Before Batman, there was a humble version of him we all wanted to either emulate or make out with. He was charming. He was funny. He had hair. Check out Real Genius if nothing else for the scenes where God tells to Kent to enter the house that’s about to explode with popcorn cooked from a laser. Yeah, that happens. Then you can wear this T-shirt like a boss.
Rocky – Win “Rocky” Win
There’s a lot going on with this T-shirt. First, you’ve got the nonsensical quotation marks that imply Rocky’s name is a sarcastic joke. The second thing is, he’s Rocky. It’s a shirt on the guy for whom the movie is named; so meta. We all know how it ends. You win when you wear the Win “Rocky” Win shirt. Go sleeveless or go home.
Napoleon Dynamite – Vote For Pedro
Considering the recent election, you may have missed your best chance to make multiple statements with this T-shirt. Don’t give up. The powers that be are sure to present us with equally charming options for the next election. In four years you can slap this shirt on your chest like you have an opinion.
Flash Gordon – Flash
Talk about shameless self promotion. Flash Gordon is getting up there in years, but what the movie was about is still relevant. One man must save us all. This before Twitter. Once upon a time, a T-shirt with your name was the hashtag of its day. Download the Tenacious D version of the theme song to play in your headphones while you wear this T-shirt.
Goonies – Super Sloth
To the kids of the ’80s, Sloth was our hero. He was imperfect, scary, but a good guy deep down. If you had nothing but a Baby Ruth bar in your pocket, Sloth would do your bidding against the bad guys, even if they were his family. Who couldn’t use that? You may want to wear this with another shirt over the top so you can rip it off. That way people will get the reference. It’s not about Clark Kent.
Funny People – Super Star Of David
For the record, the name of this movie implies it’s a comedy. It has its moments, but this is a painful movie to watch. Comedians are tortured souls. They see the world too clearly. That’s what makes them funny. It’s that clarity that lends itself to the brilliance of a Super Star of David T-shirt. If you wear it, you get it.
Shaun Of The Dead – I Got Wood
It’s not just a double-entendre. Wood is what Nick Frost’s character uses to take out zombies. The layers built into wearing this shirt will escape most people, but you’ll know what you’re about. Do yourself a favor and don’t walk around with weaponry while you wear it. Police frown on this sort of thing.
Big Trouble In Little China – Fu Manchu Samurai
Although not Russell’s best work (Escape From L.A. and Tango and Cash, come on), Big Trouble In Little China wins for featuring the best shirt. To be fair, this is a tank top, which makes it an A-shirt, but you can order the T-shirt version and still throw down like a boss.
What About Bob – Don’t Hassle Me I’m Local
If you’ve ever lived in a tourist town, you know how this feels. Tourists hassle you to with questions until you want to scream. A strong message let’s them know where you stand. You can send that same message with a nod to Bob. Please select the same perfect colors for your shirt, yellow on turquoise.
Pumping Iron – Arnold Is Numero Uno
When the documentary Pumping Iron came out, Arnold was making his money posing on stage. He didn’t anticipate the run for governor in California, which he eventually won despite this scene. It’s the one where he smoked pot. Rumor has it, Arnold tried to buy all the copies of Pumping Iron when he started to campaign, but that would’ve been silly.
Forrest Gump – Have A Nice Day
The precursor to emoji, the smiley face came out of nowhere in the 20th century. If you believe the movie Forrest Gump, the title character created it when he said, “it happens” in this scene. The it he was talking about was sh*t, not emoticons. So confusing.
Fight Club – I Am Jack’s Sobbing Rorschach Test
While nobody should ever forget that Meatloaf’s greatest role was in Rocky Horror Picture Show, he made quick work of the character Robert Paulson in Fight Club. The great thing about this shirt is you can say something about the movie Fight Club without breaking the first rule of fight club: you don’t talk about fight club.
The Jerk – Bull Shit
This T-shirt may not have made a blip on your radar, but you can’t ignore it now. You’ve seen it. Sure, it’s a crass, but nothing expressed a general disdain for everything in the world like this expression. Let everyone know you’ve seen it all while making a subtle nod to Steve Martin’s greatest film.
Bad Santa – Sh*t Happens When You Party Naked
The kid from Bad Santa is the ultimate rise from rags to riches, but he has to go from riches to rags, then back again. He starts the movie a snot-faced kid who gets beat up by bullies. By the end, he’s a snot-faced kid who kicks bullies in the pants. You could be that snot-nosed kid if you wore this shirt.
Revenge Of The Nerds – Gimme’ Head Till I’m Dead
Booger was the cool nerd. He dated high school chicks, smoked weed, and picked his nose. As far as the other nerds measured up, he was the real catch of the bunch. Your nod to this film when you rock this T-shirt says you’re a receiver like nobody else.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High – Colt 45
Spicoli, a man for whom pizza belongs in the classroom, and for whom the class is really our class. By donning the Colt 45 T-shirt, you aren’t as much an advocate for beer as you are the socialist ideals of visionary character. Sean Penn himself could get behind that.
White Men Can’t Jump – Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics
Racially insensitive? Perhaps. True? No comment. Whether or not white men can jump is not your concern. You’re representing the advent of a sticker aimed at censoring the emergent rap genre of the ’80s. That, and you remember a softer Woody Harrelson.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Van Halen
We’ll end on the greatest film ever. When you put on the Van Halen T-shirt, folks will assume you’re into hairband metal. You may be. Little will they understand that you are emulating Ted Theodore Logan. This may seem silly right now, but rumor has it they will make Bill & Ted 3 soon. You’re fashion-forward.
UPDATE!!! You asked for it so we added more…
Beverly Hills Cop – Mumford Phys. Ed. Dept.
The guy who made stealing a house a thing, Axel Foley also made wearing the Mumford phys. ed. dept. shirt something people wore. They did. You caught the reference only if you were cool. You could be cool again… when you rock this tee.
Teen Wolf – What Are You Looking At Dicknose
*Facepalm* Yup, Styles had a shirt for every scene, but this was the winner. Little known fact: This shirt made a reappearance in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That was the one directed by Jerry Levine, the guy wearing the shirt above. Meta, eh?
Do The Right Thing – Bed-Stuy
Perhaps more recognizable as Bedford–Stuyvesant, to the people of Bed-Stuy, New York, this is where Brooklyn happens. For the movie, Do The Right Thing, and the fans, this t-shirt captures the borough and the 90s.
Human Traffic – Junglist Movement
“This could turn Hare Krishna into a Bad Bwoy.” This reco came from a Teehunter fan. Jungle did have its time in the great arc of electronic music. In this case, the shirt is more about the character than the content.
1o Inch Hero – Orgasm Donor
To pick just one shirt from this film took a small team of us at Teehunter, but we did it. After a brief disagreement and a fist fight that meant nothing, we agreed (right, Frank?) that this was the winner. The best part is the part II of the gag. He gets you walking away, disgusted. If the front of this winner offended you, then you shouldn’t have looked as he walked away.