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Grumpy Old Men is a 1993 comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It features two, well, grumpy old men, John Gustafson (Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Matthau) who've been neighbors for over 50 years and bickering for most of it, all the while ice fishing on the local lake and putting up with their kids (John's daughter Melanie, played by Darryl Hannah, and Max's son Jacob, played by Kevin Pollak) and John's nonagenarian father (Burgess Meredith). Then the pair's lives are turned upside down by a new neighbor named Ariel (Ann-Margaret), and their old feud goes all out to try and win her hand.

The movie's success spawned a sequel, Grumpier Old Men, which gave Max a love interest in Maria (Sophia Loren), and revived the old Lemmon-Matthau tandem for one more run in the '90s, including movies such as The Grass Harp, Out To Sea, and The Odd Couple II, thirty years after their original movie together.[1]

Not to be confused with the British talk show of the same name.

This film and its sequel provide examples of:


  Max (in a bathtub): If I had know there was gonna be a nude scene in this picture, I would've asked for another million.

  • Intimidating Revenue Service: The first movie's subplot involves the IRS repossessing John's house to pay back taxes.
  • Minnesota Nice: Averted, with the titular due spending all of their time insulting each other and pulling cruel pranks at one another's expense. Or maybe just played with, as by the end they're shown to be Vitrolic Best Buds.
  • The Reveal: Both movies have one:
    • In the first, John has a heart attack and is very weak in the hospital talking to Ariel. That's the last we see of him, up until the end, where Jake, Max, and John's dad talk reverently about him outside of a church, leading the viewer to believe he's dead. But then they pull of their coats inside to reveal tuxes; what the viewer believes is John's funeral is actually his wedding to Ariel.
    • In the second, Jake is ambivalent about marrying Melanie, but it appears that he finally decided to marry her in the end...until it's revealed at the church that the wedding isn't Jake and Melanie's, but Max's and Maria's. They even lampshade it by mentioning they eloped beforehand.
  • Villainy Free Villain: Snyder of the IRS is just doing his job, trying to collect back taxes John owes. And (off-screen) he is actually fairly reasonable - Jacob talks him into waiving the late fees if the original amount owed is paid. Doesn't stop Max from insulting him and playing a few hilarious practical jokes on him.

 Max: Hey, Snyder, why don't you do the world a favor? Pull your lip over your head and swallow!

Snyder: Ha ha! (under his breath) Asshole.

  1. The presidential comedy My Fellow Americans was also supposed to feature the pair, but Matthau withdrew due to illness; James Garner took his place.
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