"What crawled up your ass?" an offended friend asks Clint Eastwood in his new movie, "Trouble With the Curve." "Old age," rasps the screen legend.
Yes, Clint has made a career of playing men who'd just as soon shoot you as look at you. But now, he's mostly shooting dirty looks and insults -- and he isn't the only one. Eastwood has joined a pantheon of classic actors and aging action heroes who enjoy playing crusty old coots on screen as they've gotten older. (Look for the grouchy gangster fest "Stand Up Guys," starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, to enter the competition soon.)
So, in honor of Eastwood's "Trouble With the Curve" character, let's take a look at older stars who prefer to go grumpy in front of the camera.
10. Samuel L. Jackson
Sure, he's still angry about a lot of things (like those damn snakes on his damn plane), but that rage often looks a lot like crankiness. Do you ever see the man smile? We'd be cranky too if we had to deal with a plane full of pythons and supervillains from other planets, not to mention being stuck on brain cleanup duty. The actor admits, once he hit 60, <a href="http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2009/04/07/samuel_l_jackson_is_a_grump_on_the_set">he started to lose his patience on set</a>.
9. Robert De Niro
One of the most intimidating men in cinema needs no words, just that permanent scowl of disapproval we know so well. Try impressing this guy? Fuhgettaboudit! Pity poor Ben Stiller in the "Meet the Parents" trilogy, who flounders like a fish gasping for air while his future father-in-law takes his every move as a confirmation of his worst fears.
8. Hugo Weaving
True, at 52, he's not as old as some of the guys on this list, but his Agent Smith is one of the grumpiest guys we've ever met. His rant about how humans are "a disease" in "The Matrix" makes him seem almost, well, human. Who knew that artificial intelligence could be so irritable? And remember his classic facepalm during the council of Elrond in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring?" Guess we'd be a tad grumpy if we were 6,000 yeas old. (And surrounded by idiots.)
7. Danny Glover
He spent an entire franchise protesting, 'I'm getting too old for this," and now that he's in his 60s, Glover's embracing his inner Grumpy Old Man in roles like cantankerous Uncle Russell in "Death at a Funeral." In the 2010 farce, he plays an impatient older gentleman who doesn't hesitate to thump someone with his cane, or to turn a trip to the bathroom into a horror show.
6. Henry Fonda
Fonda won his final Oscar as sourpuss Norman in "On Golden Pond." We love the scene where his delighted wife Ethel (Katharine Hepburn) proclaims, "the loons, they're welcoming us back" upon their arrival at the lake and crotchety (and hard of hearing) Norman gripes, "I don't hear a thing." Way to ruin the moment, dude. Of course, there are plenty of emotional moments before the film's end, but he starts off in full grumpy old codger mode.
5. Alastair Sim
Lots of actors have played Scrooge over the years, but you can't beat the 1951 version for Sims's glower power as the ultimate miser, misanthrope and all-around unredeemable grouch. We're still surprised his sour countenance didn't scare those ghosts, instead of the other way around:
4. Harrison Ford
Looking back, Indiana Jones always was kind of grumpy, now that we think about it. As Ford hit his 60s, his characters started channeling their inner grump more and more, like his back-to-back roles as a short-tempered rancher in "Cowboys and Aliens," and a crotchety anchor in "Morning Glory" who refuses to say the word "fluffy." In real life, he's known to have little patience with reporters and <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlla/tara-reid-harrison-ford-tommy-lee-jones-shirley-maclaine-marlon-brando-francine-brokaw-tales-red-carpet_b71623">has been called</a> "the rudest a-hole in show business."
3. Clint Eastwood
Eastwood's decades of righteous rage has now simmered into a concentrated stew of grouchiness. Who's the grumpiest: His brooding boxing coach in "Million Dollar Baby" who won't take advice from a baby-faced priest, his gun-toting widower in "Gran Torino" who rasps, "Get off my lawn," or his surly baseball scout in "Trouble With the Curve," whose idea of a conversation is a scowl followed by an insult? Sure, he softens by the end of each film but we can practically hear the creaks as he tries to smile.
2. Tommy Lee Jones
Jones has carved out a niche as serious authority figures you don't want to mess with, like his deadpan agent Agent K in "Men in Black," his unamused marshal in "The Fugitive," and his dour sheriff in "No Country For Old Men." His most fear-inspiring role, though, seems to be that of Tommy Lee Jones. Take this awkward "Men in Black III" interview<a href="http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=90355"> in which he gives a reporter nothing at all to work with</a>.
1. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon
Before they were the squabbling senior citizens who defined Grumpy Old Men in the '90s, they were the Odd Couple. In that 1968 classic, Lemmon was the perky perfectionist and Matthau the unapologetically unfriendly slob who couldn't stand him, so we have to give the title of Grumpiest Old Man to Matthau, whose title really stretches back several decades.