There’s a certain rush we get when our favorite movies and cartoons get meta. So many of us are basically narcissists, so if our favorite handsome-ass movie stars directly reference us, the audience, from the perch of a giant silver screen, we feel not only like we’re in on the joke, but that we’re all just special little angels. (It’s really the only validation I’m getting these days.) Anyway, here are five iconic fourth-wall breaks in movie history.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Okay, sure, Ferris Bueller is basically breaking the fourth wall this entire movie by acting as narrator and speaking directly to the audience. But one thing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is famous for is its end credits scene, in which Ferris clearly references the fact that not only is it a movie, but it’s over, you damned freeloader, and that you gotta get the hell out of the theater (I’m paraphrasing, of course). It’s a fun little moment that doesn’t really serve much purpose, but really, neither did Ferris’ shower mohawk, and that scene influenced my bathing habits for years.
Look familiar? Yes, 30 years later, the fourth-wall-obliterating Deadpool would pay homage to its predecessor by including an extremely similar post-credits scene, down to the bath robe worn by our favorite anti-hero. This time, however, it serves a bit more of a purpose, as Deadpool grants our wishes by promising that Cable will be involved in a forthcoming sequel. Of course, this means the superhero Cable, not the kind of cable that led to Time Warner incessantly calling me at all hours asking if I want to buy a land line (IT’S 2017, GUYS, NOBODY WANTS THAT).
Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Did you know that any movie can become infinitely more ridiculous with just a slight dash of Hulk Hogan? It’s true. The Hulkster’s a mountain of a man with the skin of a hot dog and a predilection towards hideous red and yellow clothing, so who wouldn’t cast him? There’s a bizarre moment in the 1990 classic Gremlins 2 in which the titular Gremlins overrun the projection booth and start interfering with the movie itself, before the Hulkster stands up and admonishes the “Gremsters”, demanding they play the rest of the movie for the patrons in attendance. It’s a weird moment, sure, but it’s pretty much why I only attend movies if Hulk Hogan is sitting next to me.
Not many movies break the fourth wall in quite as dark a manner as Funny Games, whether you’re talking about Michael Haneke’s 1997 original Austrian thriller or the 2007 shot-for-shot remake that Haneke himself inexplicably made. At one point, the good guys basically win, shooting one of the villains down, only for the other to grab a television remote and rewind the movie. It’s a pretty baller move, and between this movie and Click, I bet universal remote sales went through the roof in the mid-2000s. That’s what universal remotes are, right? That’s how those work?
Lots of Mel Brooks movies
The original Mellie Mel loves breaking that fourth wall, from addressing the audience to Blazing Saddles to addressing the audience in Spaceballs to, you guessed it, addressing the audience in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. In a do-over scene that Michael Haneke would be proud of (if it were a little bloodier), Robin Hood loses an archery competition, and upon checking the script of the movie itself, informs everyone in attendance that he gets another shot. And finally, I’m vindicated for years of carrying around what I claim to be the script of my life, allowing me to do whatever I want without consequence.
How often do you look directly into the camera that’s filming your every move? Let me know on Twitter!