Our Favorite Movie Cameos
10/14/2009 2:20pm EDT | By: Dee Doyle
There are a lot of modern movies that love to give little winks at the audience, and one of the easiest ways to do that is through the use of cameo appearances. A cameo is when a well known celebrity or important person shows up for a brief appearance in a movie. It can be a non-speaking random role, or perhaps a whole scene that steals the show. Whatever the case may be, oftentimes in a film the cameo ends up being the most memorable part of the whole movie. Take "Zombieland" for example, out in theaters now, but there's no spoilers here. Just go see the film and you'll see. Here's a look at some of the best big star cameos! Be aware there might be some language in the clips below.
Tom Cruise is one of the super stars in Hollywood, but he's been criticized a lot in the past few years due to his vocal love of Scientology and his verbal diarrhea over his love affair with Katie Holmes. Still, Cruise proved that he's not only a great actor but has a wry sense of humor as well when he showed up in "Tropic Thunder." While a bit bigger than your typical cameo role, Cruise hid his good looks and winning smile behind a fat suit and a bald cap as studio executive Les Grossman. Foul mouthed, disgusting, callous, and generally unpleasant, Cruise provided some of the funniest moments in the film and had everyone buzzing afterward.
Neil Patrick Harris, affectionately known as NPH to friends and fans, grew to stardom as a child actor for the television series "Doogie Howser, M.D." For years NPH had guest roles in movies and television series but nothing too serious, and he moved to the Broadway stage. It was a quick guest role in "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" that brought him back into the Hollywood spotlight, which was solidified not long after by a starring role in "How I Met Your Mother." NPH plays a fictionalized version of himself in the stoner flick, appearing to be a drugged up womanizer with no boundaries. He reprised this role in "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay," and you cannot think of the two films without going picturing NPH snorting coke and riding a unicorn.
This cameo is amusing only to fans of the "Lethal Weapon" series, but those fans were probably rolling with laughter when they went to see "Maverick." Danny Glover and Mel Gibson played partners in "Lethal Weapon 4," so apparently when Gibson started this movie they thought it would be funny to wink wink nudge nudge at the audience. Glover comes in as a bank robber and in the scene he and Gibson look at one another, almost in recognition, and then go 'nawww!' It showed the actors - and the writers of the film - had quite a sense of humor.
Ever since Johnny Depp said the inspiration of Captain Jack Sparrow came in part from The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, fans were wondering if the musician would appear briefly in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Richards did delight audiences when he agreed to come on set for the third film, and not only that but he played the father of the very character Depp based on him! Richards happily got into pirate gear and even played a quick tune on a guitar as Captain Teague.
Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny DeVito, Steven Spielberg in Austin Powers in Goldmember
The third "Austin Powers" movie was an enormous success worldwide, which wasn't really a surprise considering how favored the entire series was once it exploded onto the scene in 1997. One of the best parts about the third film was the opening sequence in which several big names appeared. They were making a movie inside of a movie, with Spielberg directing and Cruise playing Powers, Paltrow playing Dixie Normous, Danny DeVito as Mini-Me, and Kevin Spacey as Dr. Evil. It's still funny even after all these years to see the actors laughing at themselves, and it came as a surprise to most audiences since very little world was released about any of the cameos.
David Bowie is one of the most celebrated singers of the last thirty years, so it is no surprise that people would be clamoring to get him to cameo in their films. The singer has worked in films before, but it was a random surprise and delight when he showed up in "Zoolander." The silly film is written, directed, and starred in by Ben Stiller, and it is numbered as one of Bravo's 100 funniest movies. In the famous walk-off scene with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, David Bowie shows up as guest judge to everyone's delighted satisfaction. Who else but this fashionable musician to judge a model walk-off?
There are a lot of genius quotes and moments in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," but several of these lines are given by Ben Stein, and he's only in the movie for a scant few minutes. As a droning teacher at Bueller's high school, Stein mutters the famous lines "Anyone? Anyone?" and "Bueller?" This perfectly counteracts the excitement and joy of Ferris' day off, and what exactly he is missing (nothing!) at school. It's hard to think of the film without hearing Stein's deadpan voice, but would someone just answer a question already? The poor guy keeps giving the students chances!
What are some of your favorite cameo moments?
Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
Follow Chelsea on twitter at http://twitter.com/mustbethursday.