Can you name three actors that appear in two completely different movies? No sequels, “Road” movies, or otherwise related content. There’s about to be one example, as Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwenneth Paltrow will star, along with Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, and Marion Cotillard in a Steven Soderbergh film called Contagion.
This is the last we saw of these three, in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The only other Double-Tri-Thespa™ I can think of is Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Tim Robbins. All three were in both Anchorman and Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny.
Oh yeah, there’s also every Adam Sandler movie because he promised his old buddies they’d get roles in all of his movies if he ever got famous.
I’m sure I’m missing another, maybe two, but they are a rare occurrence in mainstream movies.
One of the top things a film can do to piss me off is to have the actors break the fourth wall. Intended to be cute, and a throwback to stage productions of olde, it usually just manages to yank my imagination out of the story – precisely the opposite effect it’s going for, which is to make me feel more intimate with the character doing the breaking. As they discuss over at Cinematical today, this aspect of craft isn’t going away, and some directors use it to excess.
The practical applications are few and far between, but a couple of exceptions to this crime come to mind. High Fidelity made it work because the character is an insufferable egomaniac; it just makes sense that this entire story will be told to us directly from his point-of-view, spouted from his lips to our ears. In this case it’s a generous serving of breakage, pretty much throughout the entire flick, and consistency wins. Alternately, if it’s only used once or sparingly, it can be an appropriate moment for comedy. For instance, at :51 in this clip from Trading Places, Eddie Murphy nails it.
On the other hand, in a penultimate scene from St. Elmo’s Fire, Rob Lowe screws up the whole scene between him and Demi Moore when, at 1:42, he takes her drama and casts his attention our way. Holding our gaze for a couple of seconds, he informs us that “We’re all going through this.” As if the entire film is suddenly about the social plight that is college graduates and their pathetic lives.*
For the most part, breaking the fourth wall rips me out of the cinematic adventure I was on. One second I’m an omnipresent viewer taking in the setting, characters, plot and conflict, barely aware I’m eating popcorn; the next, Ferris Beuller is telling me about his lung he’s about to cough up, all personal and up in my face. Shut up, Ferris. Just shut up.
I first saw John Saxon in the Six Million Dollar Man. Yeah, the one where he removes his freakin face to reveal he’s a robot.
I was blessed with the knowledge of his semi-rise to fame in the 70s and 80s in crappy movies through my favorite source of abstract moviedom, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yes, the last episode, with Joel, #512, where Joe Don Baker battled John Saxon in Mitchell.
But here he is in all his early days, looking and acting like a real actor. In fact, there’s more Brando in this character than Brando offered up in On The Waterfront AND Streetcar combined. Love it or hate it, I find it entertaining. Kinda like the G.I. Joe movie.
Han, Vader, Chewie, Leia, Luke, and Artoo.
Just utterly cool.