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10 Weirdest Times Films Broke The Fourth Wall

 

 

Just when you thought you were comfortable watching a movie, the people inside it suddenly have something to say. And no, it’s not to each other, but to you, dearest watcher, breaking the very foundations of our normal voyeuristic cinema-watching with one foul piece of eye contact straight down the lens.

Breaking the fourth wall isn’t a new concept, but it’s always a jarring addition to a movie: reminding us that we are not in fact in the middle of a high-stakes car chase in apocalyptic New York or inhabiting an alien planet lightyears away, but in our pants in our own living rooms drenched in shame whilst this plays out on screen.

In any case, getting trapped inside the walls of a movie can’t be that fun of a time, so you can’t blame the characters for wanting someone new to talk to really.

10. Fight Club – Cigarette Burns

20th Century Fox

The political, violent, and nihilistic brilliance of Fight Club is realised entirely in The Narrator’s consistent breaking of the fourth wall to address the audience, with the best example coming part and parcel with the cigarette burns scene.

Taking an almost infomercial style break to relay all the intricacies of how to splice porn into children’s films to bring us into the joke, Tyler shows us his technique for scarring children for life in the name of giant dicks the world over. Is there any cause more just?

The best part of this scene is the repeated references back to it. Tyler’s own image is spliced throughout Fight Club as if he’s added him in personally, and as the film finishes, we see the very ‘nice big c*ck’ that he added in earlier to the reels we saw on screen.

Everything is one big construct to remind us that nothing we see can be believed, especially with someone as untrustworthy as The Narrator as our filmy guide.

 

9. The Wall – The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad!

Paramount Pictures

A series of comedy films based on the television series Police Squad!, The Naked Gun is a spoof on all things spy movie in the most silly way possible. With Seargent Frank Drebin in charge and solving crimes completely by accident each time he’s involved, all the iterations of the series are fairly ridiculous, full of puns and visual tomfoolery to match its lead characters.

The first movie in The Naked Gun series embodies this wholeheartedly, with one such fourth wall breaking moment remarkable for its absolute lack of subtlety. Moving between rooms on a set, instead of taking the door, a character chooses to walk around the edge of the set facing the camera. It’s such a small moment, but it’s enough to make you double take pretty sharpish.

This is a gag they’ve used more than once, but still remains brilliant for its simplicity in reminding us we’re watching a movie. A stupid one at that.

 

8. 16 Wall Break – Deadpool

20th Century Fox

The red-clad merc with a mouth is known for his fourth-wall breaking entires perhaps more than any other on this list, making a living off sassing his audience as if he’s sat there with us. From addressing his previous film roles (and if you know, you know) to complaining about X-men budget cuts, Deadpool is the king of smashing through the screen as well as out of his comic book prison. So it’s only fair he gets to do it in the most extra ways possible.

In his first film iteration, Deadpool flashes back to his time in a laundromat with Blind Al whilst in the midst of a fourth wall break addressing the audience, where his flashback then continues his line of thought for him in the past. Amused by his own joke, he comments it’s like ’16 walls’ as he goes full meta with his commentary.

Question is, if he then flashes back again and does the same, is it 64 walls broken? Or 256? Either way, he’s causing some irreparable damage to the wall community here.

 

7. Subtitles – Wayne’s World

Paramount

Mike Myers’s Wayne’s World movies are some of the very best of their kind. Both movies feel like one long running in-joke with audiences, as Garth and Wayne power through trying to make their public-access TV show happen in the big time. Wayne’s World as a whole is very excellent, bodacious, and schwing-inducing, but it’s the moments when the duo give us a little something-something straight to camera that make it all the more impressive.

One such moment is when Wayne is trying to impress general badass and sexy rock lady Cassandra by speaking in Cantonese. The pair have a conversation in the language, interacting fluently until one phrase from Wayne results in pages and pages of subtitles unfolding underneath whilst the two have to wait for them to play out.

His concerned looks to camera and embarrassed fidgeting as he watches the lines finish up is a hilariously unique moment: a picture says a thousand words after all, I guess.

 

6. Rewind – Funny Games

Warner Independent Pictures

Hey remember that terrible Adam Sandler movie Click? Where he has a magic remote control that he uses to watch slow motion t*ts bounce around and generally be a menace to society? Funny Games is nothing like that.

It’s a clever, intense, and visceral art horror movie that sees a family terrorised in their vacation home, that is, until the tables turn and one manages to grab a gun. Director Haneke isn’t here to play fair though and neither are his characters, with murderous Paul utilising some dirty tactics to keep the family he’s terrorising in check. But how does an actually good movie at all relate to Adam Sandler?

Well, it’s a magic television remote again my guys, used to rewind the scene and play it out again to Paul and Peter’s advantage. Coming out of all but nowhere in a gritty realistic movie, it’s a bizarre take that hammers home how utterly hopeless this situation is for the brutalised family. Even when they manage to swing the odds in their favour, the rules change, offering up a whole new level of terror for what’s actually going to happen to these people.

 

5. Patrick Bateman – American Psycho

Lionsgate

Mary Harron’s tale of a man that lives a duplicitous life as a wealthy banking executive by day and a serial killer by night is a peek into what exactly it takes to push a man from your average New York yuppie into a flesh-rending psychopath, or if that’s the way this warped mind was built all along.

The fourth wall is consistently broken with Patrick Bateman’s internal monologue describing exactly how he feels about the innocuous events that unfold around him in day-to-day life and the gleeful indulgence of his dark lifestyle lurking at the edges.

The film wouldn’t exactly work without this consistently contrasting point of view, Bateman’s face never giving away the intensifying rage that boils up like a unruly pot noodle inside him. That’s a bad analogy, but it’s all I’ve got. Look at me breaking the fourth wall!

No better example comes than when Bateman runs us through his meticulous morning routine, explaining in great detail how he looks after his body with regimented precision. That he literally peels off an invisible face in the mirror is symbolic enough that something is remiss with our point of sympathy in the movie.

 

4. Ben Affleck – Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

Dimension Films

Breaking down the success rate of your own movie whilst in your own movie is a brave move, granted, even if it does come as a sequel to another, Clerks, that’s ultimately been received incredibly well already.

Jay and Silent Bob are probably your third favourite loveable stoner duo after the aforementioned Cheech and Chong and Bill and Ted, but they’re loveable all the same. In their return to the big screen, their comic book counterparts Bluntman and Chronic are getting their own film made – but the pair won’t be receiving any royalties.

It’s Ben Affleck that gets into the nitty gritty with the pair, referencing himself and rating his own movies as a character in Jay and Bob’s world before slamming Miramax in the process. If you ever wanted to see Affleck denounce Good Will Hunting and bro out over Phantoms, then this is the scene for you, as bizarre as the whole thing is is when you really sit and think about it. Which isn’t really recommended.

3. Product Placement – Return Of The Killer Tomatoes

Four Square Productions

Perhaps the most self-indulgent break in film ever, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, the sequel to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – both very serious, brooding films, if the titles are anything to go by – contains a moment with young George Clooney coming to the film’s rescue. With a tube of crest and some invasive cornflakes, no less.

In a move that’s been parodied plenty of times but never quite so expertly, when the filming budget runs out the cast and crew brainstorm ways they can keep the movie afloat: and what better than product placement?

After pulling the set apart with their conversation, we cut to a scene in a bar… or a cafe… or whatever it is that sells beer, breakfast, and toiletries all over one handy counter, for Clooney and his moustached companion run through a skit selling whatever they can get their hands on.

 

2. Hulk Hogan – Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Warner Bros.

Possibly the greatest shoe-in moment of all time, “Hulk Hogan goest to the movies” is the ultimate film premise that makes it into Gremlins 2. The film pulls out of its format for a moment, taking us to a cinema with a room of fans also watching Gremlins 2.

As the pesky gremlins take over the projection booth to get some sweet ‘nudies nudie nudies’ on screen, aka a naked lady movie Volleyball Holiday, it turns out one fan has rightly had enough of their sh*t. And it just so happens to be WWE star Hulk Hogan.

Addressing the rogue Mogwais above the audience, he scares them into submission by tearing his shirt off and demanding the people get what they want – cold sodas, hot popcorn, and no monsters in the projection booth – before turning to the camera itself and giving us a knowing smile and an apology. Seems to do the trick though, as the film plays without a hitch from then on.

Looks like that’s what you do when Hulkamania runs wild on you, brother.

1. Another Shot – Robin Hood: Men In Tights

Brooksfilms

The classic tale of Robin Hood has never been so ridiculous as when him and his merry band of men are under Mel Brooks’s direction, dressed up in their tights and ready to spoof the ever-loving sh*t out of the far more serious Prince of Thieves.

Brooks is renowned for putting fourth-wall breaking moments into his movies, and Men In Tights is no different – but perhaps at its most insane when Robin loses an archery competition, riles the crowd up into a chaotic mess, then checks his script on camera to see if he gets another shot. Spoiler: He does!

His other castmates then make sure to check as well, as you know, you’ve got to be sure about these things. Once that’s all well and sorted, the crowd unifies to sing and give him the chop. Is there any support so heartwarming as this? If there is, I don’t want to know about it.

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