Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Cameo Countdown Continues

"We now return to "Return Of The Pink Panther Returns" starring Ken Wahl as Inspector Clouseau..." - An announcer on a late night TV broadcast in the background of Chief Wiggum's bedroom on The Simpsons So I had such a gigantic response for my post - 20 Great Modern Movie Cameos (6/3/07 - 6/10/07) that I thought I'd honor my readers and their suggestions this time out. I got more email than I've ever gotten in my life in the last week so it is quite a task to go through it all but well worth it. Let's start with the major cameo ommisions - i.e. the ones that got the most votes : Sean Connery - ROBIN HOOD : PRINCE OF THIEVES (Dir. Kevin Reynolds, 1991) I've never made it through all of this commercial Costner castastrophe but I keep hearing that one of its only saving graces was an appearance at the end of the collosal icon Connery (who played Robin Hood himself in ROBIN AND MARIAN, 1976) as King Richard. Since I doubt I'm putting this one in my Netflix queue I'll just have to take my reader's word for it. Cate Blanchett - HOT FUZZ (Dir. Edgar Wright, 2007) I was so surprised by the amount of email I got that wanted this appearance noted! Especially since you can barely see her - I mean most people won't catch her but David G. puts it best in his email to me : "It's a gross but funny scene, and you never get to see her face...just her eyes...everything else is covered because she's working a gruesome crime scene. To top it off, she's arguing with the hero, her ex-boyfriend, about their the scene also lays waste to that particular cliche." Marcel Marceau - SILENT MOVIE (Dir. Mel Brooks, 1976) I agree that this should have made the list. The most famous mime in history has the only spoken line (well, spoken word) in Brooks' retro mid 70's silent film satire. Most people just wrote in names but some fine folk took the time to write a bit 'bout their cameo picks - here's some I particularly enjoyed : Jeffrey Singer writes : One of my favorites was Charlton Heston in WAYNE'S WORLD. Mike Myers asks a garage mechanic for directions, and the mechanic goes into a tirade about how he loved a girl on that street. Myers turns to the director and says, "Can we get someone else to do it?" The scene is repeated with Heston. I thought it was wonderful. Brad Weinstock puts in more than a mere 2 cents : Meryl Streep's cameo (as a bogus version of herself) in the Farrelly Brothers' STUCK ON YOU is a high point in an otherwise so-so comedy. Her scene as a diva-fied version of herself in a restaurant in the middle of the movie is fine, but it's her tour de force at the end of the movie as Bonnie Parker in a ridiculous community theatre version of "Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical" (with Greg Kinnear as Clyde) that is absolutely priceless. It's a brilliant little moment of zen watching, arguably, the greatest living actress do a shrill, gangly, awkwardly dancing rendition of Dunaway's classic role. This segment is so hilarious and bizarre, that you wonder who was able to pull strings and convince her to appear. I had to put STUCK ON YOU in my Netflix queue for the sole purpose of watching this sequence again. Craig writes : Robert Patrick in WAYNE'S WORLD 2 as his TERMINATOR 2's T-1000 character, who pulls Wayne and Garth (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey) over on the highway, shows him a picture and says "Have you seen this boy?" When I saw this, the theatre erupted in laughter, since T2 was fresh in memory. Kevin T. from Seattle sez : What about George Lucas in BEVERLY HILLS COP 3? Extremely random cameo. He walks up to the theme park and says something cheesy. Onscreen for all of maybe 5 seconds. How in the Hell did they get him to make an appearence in that Awful Sequel? * * Film Babble attempting to answer Kevin T.'s query notes that according to the mighty IMDb It's a "Director Trademark: ['John Landis' ] [filmmakers] Appearances by directors Martha Coolidge, Joe Dante, Arthur Hiller, George Lucas, Peter Medak, Barbet Schroeder, George Schaefer and John Singleton and filmmaker Ray Harryhausen were also in BEVERLY HILLS COP 3". That explains Steven Spielberg showing up as the Cook County Assessor's Office Clerk in THE BLUES BROTHERS! I was happy to get an email from Jim Beaver (Ellsworth on Deadwood - pictured on the left, also on the new series John From Cincinnati, and the new old reliable classic CSI, and countless other film and TV performances and most importantly for film babble purposes a renowned film historian) who had a sweet handful of cameo contributions : Yul Brynner in THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN. One of my very favorites. "Oh, yes!" Peter O'Toole has a cameo in the original CASINO ROYALE which he asks Peter Sellers if Sellers is Richard Burton. (Sellers says, "No, I'm Peter O'Toole," to which O'Toole replies, "Then you are the greatest man that ever breathed!") John Wayne in I MARRIED A WOMAN (1958). (Stretching the term "modern" here). Count Basie in BLAZING SADDLES. One I never see mentioned, an oddity in that it's a cameo by an actor who is already in the film in another role: Frank Finlay as the jeweler in the 1973 THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Finlay plays Porthos in the film, but as I recall, with heavy makeup he also plays the fellow who makes the fake necklace. What a great movie that was. Danny T. writes : Personally, my favorite cameos were in the movie DODGEBALL : A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY where we see Chuck Norris, William Shatner, and my favorite Lance Armstrong. While the first two were just quick jokes that just added a little bit of humor to the film, the Lance Armstrong cameo is absolutely ridiculous how he berates Vince Vaughn's character by using his cancer survival as a form of trash talking. And while Lance isn't exactly an Oscar quality actor (much less a Golden Globe one) he still at least had fun. And, the audience does as well. Quizmaster Moses of Boston, MA offers : Donald Bumgart in ROSEMARY'S BABY. (Remember when Mia Farrow calls the actor who her husband replaced?) Listen closely and the voice on the other end of the phone is none other than Tony Curtis. That is the equivalent of Cameo Gold, my friend - and probably the Best Movie Trivia Question ever. Tracy Spry sez : Marla Maples in HAPPINESS William Burroughs in DRUGSTORE COWBOY Dweezil Zappa in PRETTY IN PINK Stiv Bators in TAPEHEADS and POLYESTER George Plimpton in GOOD WILL HUNTING Travis C. asks : ...where is the love for Neil Patrick Harris (TV's Doogie Howser!) as himself in HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE? Come on! "Dude, I humped every piece of ass ever on that show" and "Yeah, that was a real dick move on my part, that's why I'm paying for your meal." Too funny... Ronald Skinner writes : I'd have to add: Veronica Hart in BOOGIE NIGHTS (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997). Hart plays Judge O'Malley in the child custody hearing of Amber Waves (Julliane Moore). The scene was inspired by Hart's own real-life custody problem. Veteran porn actress plays legitimate role while legitimate actress plays veteran porn star. And it's very discreet, so a casual viewer would probably not even recognize Hart. Art imitiates life imitating art. BOOGIE NIGHTS also has porn actress Nina Hartley playing Little Bill's wife. Henri Cheramie really has some whoppers! - Okay, here's a few for you...I don't know how great these are, but they are kinda cool : Hugh Hefner in the trailer and early cut of CITIZEN TOXIE : THE TOXIC AVENGER IV. Due to Legal Issues, he asked to be taken out of the movie but in the trailer he is still seen saying "Only the toxic avenger knows for sure." Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg in LAND OF THE DEAD (Director and Writer/Star of SHAUN OF THE DEAD make appearances as zombies in a photobooth. John Travolta in BORIS AND NATASHA : He comes to the door with flowers asking "Is Natasha home?" Johnathan Winters in THE ADVENTURE OF ROCKY AND BULWINKLE : In a movie rife with cameos and guest stars, his is the funniest, playing three roles. Peter Jackson (LORD OF THE RINGS director) in HOT FUZZ : Dressed as a psycho santa, Peter stabs Simon Pegg in the hand. Frank Oz in just about every film by John Landis. Brad Pitt and Matt Damon on the Dating Game in CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND. P.J. Soles in THE DEVIL'S REJECTS : She's the woman who gets harassed by Captain Spaulding and eventually has her car stolen. Groucho Marx in SKIDOO!: He plays "God" the head of the Mafia. This mafia is filled with old movie stars. Mitchell S. Nagasawa has the floor : One of the best cameos and best kept cameo of the modern era has to be Will Ferrell in WEDDING CRASHERS. I am amazed that they managed to keep this secret and the impact of Chazz walking down the stairs to be revealed as Ferrell was HUGE on the audience that I was in. They couldn't have cast anyone better and by the reaction of all the movie goers, they agreed too. Mpavlov echoes the sentiment of the Matt masses when mentioning : My favorite cameo, that always seems to miss these lists, is Matt Damon in EUROTRIP. To refresh your memory, he plays the lead singer of the rock band that plays at the graduation party. Performing the hilarious "Scotty Doesn't Know" with a shaved head, tattoos, and piercings, Matt Damon bangs his head, grinds with Kristin Kreuk, shakes his tongue at the crowd and finally makes out with her. Very hilarious. Chris French writes : JAWS (Director Steven Spielberg, 1975) : Peter Benchley (author of the book Jaws) as the reporter on the beach leading into theJuly 4th attacks; Steven Spielberg as a voice on the radio in the same sequence. CARS (John Lasseter, Joe Ranft, 2006) Not only does Richard "The King" Petty appear as one of his cars (a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird -- which, ironically, he never won a race while driving), Lynda Petty (his wife) appears as the station wagon the Petty Clan used to use to drive to races. Mario Andretti as the car he won the 1967 Daytona 500 in. HISTORY OF THE WORLD : PART 1 (Dir. Mel Brooks, 1981) : Hugh Hefner as a Roman citizen describing his new invention, "the 'centerfold'"; Henny Youngman as Chemist, source of the punchline for "a pack of Trojans"; Spike Millgan as the senile old man in the French Revolution sequence ("What fool put a carpet on the wall?"). BASEKETBALL (Dir. David Zucker, 1998) : Dale Earnhardt Sr. as the Cab Driver ("Can *I* drive faster? Hang on!"). Reggie Jackson as himself. (I don't count Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Siegfried & Roy, as they really don't do anything except sit in glass cases. Gary from Novato, CA. says : James Cagney in RAGTIME (Dir. Milos Forman, 1981) - Because he was a screen legend, it had been 20 years since he'd last appeared in a film, and it was the last film he ever appeared in. It was also one of the most talked about cameo appearances. Steven L. writes : There are numerous examples of famous newspaper reporters, columnists, etc., appearing as themselves in cameos to add verisimilitude. Most often in political thrillers and science-fiction movies. Just to name two: Howard K. Smith appeared in THE BEST MAN. Eleanor Clift, Jack Germond, Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke (now of Fox News) appeared in INDEPENDENCE DAY. * Someone pointed out to me that the category of news media folks who have cameos in movies is a whole category in itself. Larry King (CNN) has had a zillion cameos in movies and TV shows, notably GHOSTBUSTERS (Roger Grimsby was in that movie too.) A number of other CNN personalities were in the movie CONTACT. Bernard Shaw (CNN) was in JURASSIC PARK II ; THE LOST WORLD * They also appeared in DAVE (Dir. Ivan Reitman, 1993) Daniel Garcia from remarks : Earlier today I was watching SINGLES on TNT, and I didn't remember the cameo by Tim Burton... it's like 10 seconds long, but TOO funny to see him charging 20 bucks for a lousy video to a desperate woman! Mikey Mouse on the record : I love those cameos but as you will see most of them are part of a comedy. Bob Barker in HAPPY GILMORE * Ronnie James Dio in TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY Ozzy Osbourne in LITTLE NICKY Neil Diamond in SAVING SILVERMAN Billy Idol in THE WEDDING SINGER * (Happy retirement Bob! - Dan) Scott N. writes : A few more great cameos for you: Reggie Jackson as himself in THE NAKED GUN... getting him to assassinate the queen, HA! Warwick Davis as a pod race spectator in STAR WARS : EPISODE I - THE PHANTOM MENACE...IT'S WILLOW!!!!! Ed Kowalczyk (lead singer of Live) as Waiter at Clifton's in FIGHT CLUB...personal bias Me - as a blurry background shadow in SNAKE EYES paid $120 to do it too. Okay! So a lot of people wrote in with suggestions that didn't quite fit the criteria. A good example is ANNIE HALL - Paul Simon as slimey Tony Lacey fits the bill. He was a well known celebrity and instantly recognizable. But Jeff Goldblum, as much as I love his brief part on the phone at a Hollywood party - "I lost my Mantra" wasn't known at the time - neither was Sigourney Weaver (seen in long shot) in 1977 - so keep that in mind. I thought about making a 'cameos after the fact' post but c'mon! These are better labeled as "bit parts" not cameos. Okay?!!? The Modern Movie Media Cameo Whore Award Goes To : Larry King As Steven L. noted above King has done zillions of cameos (including LOST IN AMERICA, CONTACT, MAD CITY, BULLWORTH, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, - too many to list here) all of which have him playing himself giving credibility to a fictional entity - be it characters or events that have become household names. My personal favorite King cameo comes from DAVE (also mentioned above) in which he interviews director Oliver Stone fresh from JFK about his conspiracy theories dealing with President Mitchell (Kevin Kline) being replaced by a double (also Kline). Great 'cause King scoffs at the notion and we all know that Stone is right. Sigh - just like real life. Lastly I have to say to file this under "I got to take my reader's word for it" but I'll at least note that a lot of people loved Dustin Hoffman's cameo as himself in THE HOLIDAY. Still haven't put it in my Netflix queue yet though. Thanks from film babble for all your suggestions, picks, ommisions, everything. Please feel free to email - More later...

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