2011 is almost over and the time has come to look back on the year’s movies. It’s been a pretty solid year, all things considered, with plenty of good films balancing out the bad. But what we’ll carry with us for all time are the little moments, the scenes and speeches and celebrity cameos that made us ask, “What the f**k?” There were too many to choose from this year, but these are what made us question Hollywood's sanity this year. Check out CraveOnline’s list of The Ten Weirdest Movie Moments of 2011!
10. JOHNNY DEPP’S EMBARRASSED CAMEO in JACK AND JILL
We all knew that Al Pacino agreed to co-star in Jack and Jill, and as himself. Not the proudest moment of his career, but we’re sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. But we’re not sure how Johnny Depp got corralled into making a brief, thankless cameo in Adam Sandler’s greatest abomination. Yes, Jack Sparrow himself shows up at a Lakers game sitting next to Al, and looks entirely uncomfortable throughout his brief appearance, barely tolerating the manufactured silliness around him and never so much as rising from his chair. It’s like they caught Depp at an actual Lakers game and asked him to play along. He was probably too nice to say “No.”
9. A GIANT ROBOT TICKLES JOHN MALKOVICH in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
Michael Bay’s Transformers movies have always been bastions of unnecessary weirdness, from the racist stereotypes of Revenge of the Fallen to everything else in Revenge of the Fallen. We liked Dark of the Moon for what it was: a big, stupid action thrill ride that was only occasionally bogged down in bizarre moments like Buzz Aldrin’s vaguely demeaning cameo as part of a vast government conspiracy. But the strangest of all was a bit where, for no apparent reason, John Malkovich sneaks his way into the scene and lets Bumblebee tickle him into a giggly stupor. We’re guessing it’s the only reason Malkovich agreed to do the film, since it’s not like he got to do anything else.
8. THE ROAD WARRIOR CAR CHASE in FOOTLOOSE
This year’s remake of Footloose was an unusually faithful one, telling basically the same story with two key differences: first, they cut out the sermonizing about conservatives burning books. You gotta appeal to those red states, you know? Second, they replaced the already silly game of “Tractor Chicken” with a Road Warrior battle royale, in which a bunch of tricked-out buses race around a drag strip and explode. You gotta appeal to those red states, you know? A completely ridiculous addition to an already kind of ridiculous story, that stood out like a sore, exploding thumb.
7. THERE'S A GUARD GOOSE in WAR HORSE
War Horse, a heartfelt drama about war and, well, horses during World War I features a guard goose. Yes, really. Jeremy Irvine’s family is so poor that they can’t afford a vicious dog to protect their property, so instead they appear to have trained a goose to do the job instead. It chases evil landlords around the front yard and steals the entire movie. Why couldn’t they have called it War Goose instead? Maybe then we would have liked it.
6. MY STEEL IS SO VERY, VERY GOOD in ATLAS SHRUGGED: PART I
Atlas Shrugged: Part I is a very bad movie, politics or no politics, but the pièce de résistance has got to be the scene in which steel magnate Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler) is confronted by a government goon played by Armin Shimerman, who wants to shut down his monopoly. Rearden agrees, but only if Armin Shimerman will admit that his steel is good. Tell me my steel is good, he insists, in a scene that was probably supposed to have deeper significance but falls apart because it sounds like a pathetic, Freudian cry for help. Shimerman just can’t say it. Maybe he was too busy trying not to laugh. It’s an awkward scene on countless levels.
5. THE ANTI-NERD MESSAGE in GREEN LANTERN
The Green Lantern movie has its fans, but most of us were turned off by its many, many flaws. Many. But in hindsight, the most frustrating of all is a big speech Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) gives to his villain, Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), in the final showdown. Like many movie villains, Hammond is the polar opposite of the hero. Hal Jordan is a sexy bastard who coasts on charm, while Hector Hammond is a prematurely bald science nerd who works his ass off with nothing to show for it. Hal turns into a hero when he gets alien powers, while Hammond becomes a supervillain. In the end, Jordan tells Hammond that “You have to be chosen,” as if greatness cannot be achieved through struggle or by overcoming obstacles, but is instead handed to you because you’re intrinsically better than everyone else. Hammond only becomes a supervillain because he’s neurotic, and Hal only becomes a hero because he does whatever the hell he wants. We suspect a message of confidence reigning supreme over self-doubt was what they had in mind, but it plays like a damning indictment of nerdiness, and was a truly, powerfully weird thing to include in a superhero movie of any stripe.
4. ALL THE PLOT HOLES in LIMITLESS
Limitless got a free pass from most critics this year since it was surprisingly vibrant for a March release, but man oh man, was it ridiculous. What at first seems like a fun wish-fulfillment fantasy about pills that boost your IQ becomes a laughable mess when you realize that the hero, supposedly the smartest man in the world, does some of the stupidest things imaginable. Here’s a short list: 1) He borrows money from the Russian mob; 2) He keeps all his pills in one place; 3) He borrows money from the Russian mob; 4) He doesn’t try to get more pills until he’s already running out; 5) He forgets to pay the Russian mob back. Like, he just plain forgets. A movie about a super-genius that relies entirely on an “Idiot Plot?” That’s weird on an epic scale.
3. ALL THE INCEST in CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Here’s one we did not see coming: in Conan the Barbarian an evil conqueror played by Avatar’s Stephen Lang is trying to resurrect his witch of a wife. That is to say, she was an actual witch, just like her daughter, played by Rose McGowan. But in one scene McGowan goes to her father, gets down on her knees before him and silkily reminds him that she can do everything her mother could do… which is pretty gross. We’re not reading too much into this either. We ran our observation by Rose McGowan herself and she gave us a high five for picking up on the subtext. Bless you, Rose McGowan, for putting something interesting in Conan the Barbarian. You’re one spooky chick, but we love you for it.
2. THE BAD BOYS 2 CAR CHASE in CHILDREN OF THE CORN: GENESIS
Here’s one you probably didn’t see, and with good cause. The straight-to-video release of Children of the Corn: Genesis, the eighth film in the franchise (tenth if you count the original short film and the Made-for-TV remake) was an utterly forgettable entry right up until the end, when all of a sudden they threw in stock footage of the car chase in Bad Boys II to boost their production value. Unmistakable footage, we might add, since it’s from the memorable scene where the bad guys are throwing cars at Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It has nothing to do with children, let alone corn, but was certainly funny – and weird – as hell.
1. THE FRIED CHICKEN SCENE in THE HELP
How this wound up in the finished film is anyone’s guess, because it means that nobody ever raised their hand and said, “Isn’t reinforcing a clichéd stereotype about black people antithetical to the whole reason The Help is getting made?” Either nobody asked that question, or somebody told them to go @#$% themselves. Whichever it was, it made for the weirdest movie moment of 2011. Sassy black maid Octavia Spencer gives her boss, Jessica Chastain, a heartfelt speech about why fried chicken is the most wonderful creation on God’s Green Earth, in a film supposedly about the evils of racism.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order):
THE HANGOVER PART II: A twist ending reveals that they weren’t even trying to make a sequel, and have instead lazily remade the first film.
THE HELP: Bryce Dallas Howard goes through the last ten minutes of the film with a visible herpe on her lip.
MACHINE GUN PREACHER: Gerard Butler decides to give Christianity amiss, whips out a bazooka we never knew he had, and kills some guys.
MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID: 1980’s pop sensations Tiffany and Debbie Gibson fight in a giant cake, smearing frosting all over each other’s cleavage.
THE MUPPETS: Chris Cooper, star of American Beauty and Adaptation, raps. The weirdest part? He was actually pretty good at it.