10 Best Movie Cameos
A little while ago we published a list of the 10 Worst Movie Cameos, with the promise to follow it up the next week with the 10 best.
Seven weeks later. Cough.
Damn, this was hard to narrow down. We had to be cruel and cut out such good roles as Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek for staying on screen too long, and much of The Blues Brothers because that movie was 90% cameos. This is what we ended up with, list the ones you expected to see in the comments section.
Let’s just get to it.
10. Jim Parsons in The Muppets
This ended up in a tie with Orson Welles in The Muppet Movie, and it was a tough call because Parsons in The Muppets isn’t going to remain funny for future generations. In the end we chose this one because I laughed for about a month afterwards. I saw several doctors. They forced me to watch 2 Broke Girls until I stopped laughing.
During the Oscar winning song number ‘Man or a Muppet’ Jason Segal’s character Gary sings remorsefully about whether he is a man or a muppet, and he is joined by a muppet version of himself in a duet. The movie cuts to his brother (who is a muppet) Walter who is also performing the song. He steps in front of a mirror and we know what we’re going to see – a human version of Walter. Who will it be? Who could possibly play a human version of a muppet? When he stepped into frame…I laughed…and laughed…
9. Matt Damon in Eurotrip
We found pretty early that the best cameos appeared in comedy films. They can slip in a joke featuring a cameo without it disrupting the flow of the film. The strange thing about this cameo is that the celebrity is not actually related to the joke…many people don’t even recognize him. In the only good gag in this mediocre comedy is when the lead character discovers the extent of his girlfriend’s infidelity.
The grungy, tattooed and pierced Matt Damon performs the song ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’ at a party (and the song itself is pretty damn funny) at the beginning of the film and it becomes a runaway hit, playing almost everywhere they travel in Europe. Why Matt Damon though? Who cares, it was funny.
8. Bruce Springsteen in High Fidelity
I can’t help but think Springsteen must be a good sport to do this. As our main character Rob is laying in bed considering whether or not he should visit his ex-girlfriends he muses that it’s like a Bruce Springsteen song. We immediately cut to Bruce Springsteen in his studio strumming his guitar and continuing the train of thought. It’s a nice cameo that adds a strong visual element (and this is the first time in publishing history Springsteen has been called a ‘strong visual element’). A very nice touch indeed.
7. Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise in 21 Jump Street
The first surprise with 21 Jump Street – it was kinda awesome. Didn’t expect that. Also, WHY THE HELL WAS JOHNNY DEPP AND PETER DELUISE IN IT THE WHOLE TIME?! During the movie there’s recurring run ins with a biker gang who become central to the finale. It’s only in the closing scene that we discover that two of the bikers were Officers Hanson and Penhall from the TV series. Then you skip through the movie and notice that they really were there during the whole movie. Funny, clever and well executed.
6. Robert Patrick and Charlton Heston in Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2
Fine, I’m cheating. You caught me. But I couldn’t pick one. The first is a throwaway gag, but it’s so perfectly timed and apropos of nothing that it stands out as one of the best moments in the film. Whilst on the way to save his girlfriend from the sleazy intentions of Rob Lowe he gets pulled over by a motorcycle cop. When the cop approaches the car it turns out to be Patrick reprising his role as the T1000 from Terminator 2. Wayne yells and drives away – simple and brilliant.
In the second one is a more surreal joke breaks the fourth wall to comedic effect. Once again on the way to save his girlfriend from sleaziness (this time Christopher Walken) when he stops at a garage to ask directions. As the mechanic begins reminiscing about his childhood Wayne breaks the flow of the scene to complain about the poor performance of the extra. They shuffle him out and bring in a replacement – none other than legendary actor Charlton Heston. Weird but brilliant.
5. Hugh Jackman in X-Men: First Class
When First Class appeared on the radar it wasn’t entirely clear whether this was a prequel to the existing two X-Men movies (what third movie? I haven’t heard of it and I won’t acknowledge it) or the start of a new franchise? With the upcoming Days of Future Past mashing the casts up things are a bit clearer, but the first real indication came with the sudden appearance of Hugh Jackman in his role as Wolverine in First Class.
At this point we should pause and explain that there are certain things that can automatically bump up a movies rating, and one of them is the ‘F-Bomb’. For a movie to avoid age restrictions on ticket sales they can only have one utterance of ‘fuck’, and it’s not something used lightly. This stands as one of the best examples of the single ‘fuck’ being put to good use. During a montage of Xavier and Magneto recruiting young mutants they approach the grizzled Canuck in a bar. They barely introduce themselves when…
Also Rebecca Romijn briefly reprised her role as Mystique in a scene where her younger counterpart (played by Jennifer Lawrence) makes herself look older.
4. Bill Murray in Zombieland
With the entire world in ruins and the population all but dead the four-person cast of Zombieland don’t really meet any other living folk on their cross-country journey. When they arrive in L.A. Tallahassee has one destination in mind – the home of the greatest actor in history. Bill Motherfucking Murray. At first it looks like the performer has succumbed to the zombie plague but, brilliantly, it’s Bill Murray disguising himself as a zombie to mingle with the undead. These entire encounter is a bunch of fun, with Murray playing off Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone brilliantly and it ends on a funny close.
3. Samuel L. Jackson in Iron Man
It’s hard to believe that it was only six years ago that the Marvel Movie franchise really kicked off. Seven movies (with an eighth and ninth out later this year) later it’s an institution and embedded in pop culture. When Iron Man first appeared on the screen the possibility of an Avengers movie was nothing but a vague rumour. With the audience extremely pumped up from the mind-blowing and the credits winding down we were surprised to have a new scene appear. A shadowing figure emerged from the background and said the one thing we all hoped to hear. The Avengers Initiative. Bloody perfect.
2. John Hurt in Spaceballs
You rarely see this in a ‘best cameo’ list, instead getting rubbish like Tom Cruise in a fat suit. This is a crime. This is without a doubt one of the greatest moments in comedy history. In this Mel Brooks Star Wars satire the characters are taking in lunch at a diner (and it just occurred to me that a scene from a Star Wars satire was done sincerely in Attack of the Clones) when a customer goes in to convulsions and an alien bursts from his chest. Parodying the Alien franchise is nothing original, but you get a LOT of points having John Hurt reprise the role of Kane to ‘birth’ another horror along with the line “oh no…not again”.
AND THEN IT SINGS A SHOW TUNE. GENIUS. And since you’re about to google it anyway…
Alfred Hitchcock in Everything
What did people do with their time before Where’s Wally (Waldo to our US readers)? Read words? Talk with loved ones? What a bleak world it must have been. At least they had Hitchcock. The master of horror (still unsurpassed) was renown for his oddball humour, and would make a point of appeared in frame in almost every movie he made. Sometimes it was obvious and sometimes it’s a shadow glimpsed through a window. Fortunately his distinctive profile made life easier for eagle eyed fans. Hitchcock gave us some amazing cinema, and his hide and seek game gave us something to do during subsequent viewings.