Here is a little tribute to a motley band of misfits who somehow gatecrashed their way into iconic movies...
Oh, and I have arranged them in order of least ridiculous to most.
Marcel Marceau in Silent Movie (1976)
Histories most famous mime singularly defines the term "irony" by being the uttering the only word of spoken dialogue in Mel Brooks' screwball homage to the silent film era. Having scrambled in hilarious, clown-like fashion towards the phone in order to answer it, Marceau's concviction is clear. When asked if he would participate in the film, Marceau takes a deep breath, arches, and bellows "no!"
Thankfully, Mel Brooks doesn't speak French...
WTF Factor: 7/10 Though hilarious, the cameo is a little too fitting to be truly ridiculous, given the films loving testament to the genre in question.
Mike Tyson in The Hangover Franchise (2009-)
Perhaps one of the most apt examples of fitting the right man to the right material in years. The boxing legend's involvement in these films epitomizes everything we love/hate/feel indifferent about regarding this franchise- bloated, silly, tasteless, excessive, and lacking all subtlety. "Iron Mike" punches a dentist, strokes a comically under-sized dog, and sings Phil Collins- and that's just the first film! As he sais himself: "I'm Mike Tyson, I've seen everything."
WTF Factor: 7.5/10 Again, fitting. But, you have to admit, his appearance did come with little warning, and for many people his charmingly poor acting skills and lack of tact are among the most memorable things about the films.
David Bowie in Zoolander (2001)
When Ben Stiller's pout-inclined hero Derek Zoolander decides to do battle on the catwalk with new kid on the block Hansel (Owen Wilson), only one man could make the scene more ridiculous...and, no, it's not Billy Zane....
Yes, David Bowie. Well, can you think of another straight guy qualified to judge a walk-off??
WTF Factor: 7.5 Well scripted and sharp. Still, not as ridiculous as it could be, given that Bowie is so comfortable in these surrounds that he barely even has to exaggerate his performance.
Fritz Lang in Le Mepris (1963)
Fritz Lang plays himself in a Jean Luc Godard film about a couple falling out of love while the man works on the new Fritz Lang film. In the movie, the film icon is supposedly adapting Homer's The Odyssey (I wish the film had happened!). Old man Lang lounges about in a directing chair, teaches the kids a thing or two about life, and is generally aggrandized periodically over 90 minutes. Why not?
WTF Factor: 8 It was a very Godard move to write a film specifically to force one of the great directors to step in front of the camera. Lang, for his part, clearly has a sense of humour in playing a rather pompous self-characateur. Very well executed, great film too.
Phil Collins in Hook (1991)
Okay, so Phil Collins isn't actually playing himself in this cameo- but, really, he kinda is. Inspector Collins, you might say. Yes, when Peter Panning's (Robin Williams) children are kidnapped, what better consolation than a ludicrously British Phil Collins saying that the missing children may only be a "prank." To this day, nobody has the slightest clue why Steven Spielberg cast Phil Collins in this role, we only know that when our children our lost, seek not Phil Collins in your hour of need.
WTF Factor: 9 Collins is not actually the worst actor in the world, but why would would anybody allow this man into another artistic medium when he has already ruined one?!
And, finally, the head-scratcher to rule them all...
Tom Jones in Mars Attacks! (1996)
It was, is, and possibly forever will be the most insane casting decision in film history. When Martians infiltrate a Tom Jones gig in Las Vegas, horribly evaporating his backing band, Jones joins a motley band of human survivors who attempt to pilot a private plane to the an island paradise.
Tom Jones vs aliens. A level of camp almost unfathomable to anybody who isn't biologically related to Tim Burton. This is no walk-on cameo, either. Tom Jones actually acts in this film. He has lines, motivations, he is a main character. Indeed, our skepticism was understandble.
But, then, we saw this:
Genius. Case closed.
WTF Factor: 10 Even Tim Burton hasn't been that bat-shit since; Tom Jones the leading man was a one-time-only deal, folks.
Until next time- I leave you with a sobering thought- will Tom Jones ever dance will a hawk on his arm again?!
Well that's it for me. THANKS FOR READING.