I don’t know about you but I LOVE CAMEOS. Mainly for a couple of reasons.
For one, a cameo in a film can provide a powerful moment, a meaning that extends beyond the film it resides in or, more often than not, a memorable instant of comic relief. Second, and more importantly, when you see someone big enough to be recognized show up in a film, chances are you’re watching a pretty good flick. Good enough that a notable celebrity would lend their time to be in that film even if just for a moment.
Here are, in my opinion, the Top 10 GREATEST Movie Cameos (in order):
10. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in THE RUNDOWN.
This cameo lasts a few seconds at best as Arnie walks by The Rock in a club and the two share a knowing look. This happened right before Arnie began his run for Gubernator and retired briefly from film. It was considered by many to be a passing of the torch from one generation of action star to the next and any boy who grew up in the 80′s watching films like T2, Predator and Commando got chills down his spine.
9. MATT DAMON & BEN AFFLECK in JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK.
This cameo makes the list for being funny and because I’m a huge fan of Kevin Smith’s View Askew films. Ben Affleck comes back to help support the man that helped launch his career and brings his buddy Matt Damon with him. It gets bonus points though for: Good Will Hunting 2… HUNTING SEASON!
8. BOB SAGET in HALF BAKED.
This cameo just cracks my ass up. I mean, it’s the Dad from Full House for chrissakes. It could easily make my list for Top 10 Movie Quotes Most Often Used in My Everyday Life. If you haven’t seen it, PLEASE, check it out:
7. MARSHALL McLUHAN in ANNIE HALL.
Admittedly, I’m not a big Woody Allen fan… Sorry! And while Annie Hall is a really good film, I think it often gets a bit too much praise. Still, things like this cameo are what gives this film it’s charm. Watch the clip to see Woody Allen not only break down the fourth wall but prove how great life could be if it worked like this:
6. NEAL PATRICK HARRIS in HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE.
The precursor to Barney Stinson! When Neal Patrick Harris pops up in H&KGTWC, it was just plain funny to see Doogie Howser play a partying ladies man. Since the film was released, NPH has come out of the closet which I think makes his scenes in this film all the more enjoyable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7bK3w9Mw6w (embedding disabled)
5. SAMUEL L. JACKSON in IRON MAN.
NERD ALERT! NERD ALERT! I would easily put this at #1 on my list of cameos that got my nipples hard. So, at the end of the credits in Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson pops up and teaches us 2 things. The first is that Nick Fury is now, apparently, black. The second is that there is an all star Super Hero movie in our future. That’s right! The Avengers is coming and Fanboys across the universe rejoice!
4. STEVEN SPEILBERG, JOHN TRAVOLTA, TOM CRUISE, GWYNETH PALTROW, KEVIN SPACEY & DANNY DeVITO in GOLDMEMBER.
I feel for films, like Napolean Dynamite and Austin Powers, that become so popular and quotable that it actually becomes a detriment to the film itself. The Austin Powers films were not only great but they were a BIG deal. Naturally, they had to do cameos at some point and this might be the biggest group of A-list celebrities ever assembled for such a task!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-AZgBXCsLY (embedding disabled)
3. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN in PULP FICTION.
This and #1 on my list are the rare situation where a cameo is not injected for cameos sake. It’s a situation where a known actor takes a bit role and manages to take their small bit of dialogue and elevate a movie as a whole. I’ve actually read the Pulp Fiction script and Walken’s scene is 1 page of solid dialogue (which typically translates to a minute of screen time).
In a film full of memorable scenes, this one is almost always forgotten but it’s important. It acts as the catalyst for everything that transpires between Butch and Marcellus Wallace. It also reminds us that a war veteran sticking a cheap watch up his rectum can be both poignant and hilarious.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kngBtoylIVM (embedding disabled)
2. STAN LEE in EVERY MARVEL MOVIE.
NERD ALERT #2! NERD ALERT #2! There’s a reason they call him Stan “the Man”. Mainly, because he is. I should know… not only did I found “the Man” club, I’m also a member.
Look, alot of people prefer Stan’s cameo in Mallrats and that one is great. Personally though, I was really bummed when the comic business took a dip in the 90′s and Stan lost control of Marvel Comics (aka: the house that Stan built). Still, give credit where credit’s due. Most directors, though not all, who have directed a Marvel film have done their darndest to work Stan into a cameo. As a Fanboy, my heart warms every friggin’ time!
1. ALEC BALDWIN in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
David Mamet is a master of dialogue and this talky picture (an adaptation of his play of the same name) is, hands down, his greatest work. It also features a juggernaut line-up of awesome actors like Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Jack Lemmon and Al Pacino. However, it’s Baldwin who steals the show in this film with a scene that lasts merely a few minutes. In those brief moments, he swoops in and gives one of my favorite cinematic performances. He’s there just long enough to set the events of the film in motion… and then he’s gone. If you haven’t seen it, sit back, buckle up and thank me later:
So, what are some of your favorite movie cameos?