A well-handled cameo subtly acknowledges the fourth wall without taking the audience out of the flow of the movie. A poorly-handled cameo hurtles through the fourth wall and furiously pimp slaps you until you're unable to remember what the fuck this movie was about in the first place. Here are six of the pimp-slappingest cameos of all time.
6Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Lead Up:
We're immersed in the movie for a full hour already. We've seen the most graphic vision of D-Day ever shown on film. We've learned of the mission to save one man and we've seen the team lose a man in exchange.
Philosophical questions abound when suddenly the soldiers find themselves face to face with a squad of Nazis. Everyone has their guns pointed at one another, sweat is slowly forming on top of each and every brow. People are screaming in German and English and the entire theater is quiet with tense anticipation. And then it happens, the Germans get mowed down by ... Sam mother-fucking Malone from Cheers. Hey, Sammy!
Why it Nearly Ruined the Movie:
Maybe they got the idea to cast an '80s sitcom star in a war movie from Casualties of War. That Vietnam movie answered the question "Who do people want to see in a horrifying movie about cultural and oh so literal rape?" with the name Alex P. Keaton.
But Sgt. Sam Malone causes even more problems than Private Marty McFly, because his whole comedic persona on Cheers was based around a stone-faced droll delivery. So when he actually tries to be serious, you just keep waiting for him to crack a joke about how much tail he used to score when he was pitching in the minors.
Think back right now and see if you can remember anything about Ted Danson's role in the movie. If you're like us, all you hear is:
Sam: Hey there guys, looks like you've had a rough day. Sit down and tell me all about it.
Tom Hanks: We're looking for a Ryan. Private James F. Ryan.
Sam: Ryan eh? Let me go check. Carla! Hey Carla! You know guy named Ryan?
Sergeant Carla: Yeah, two of my eight kids are named Ryan.
Sam: No, Private James Ryan. Poor sap lost all his brothers and these guys need to find him.
Sergeant Carla: Haven't seen 'em. But you can have my boys instead. They're already proficient with firearms.
Tom Hanks: Thanks anyways, we'll be leaving now.
Lucky for us, Danson's only on screen for about six minutes, and Spielberg sucks us back into the action with a 10-minute scene of the guys holed up in a church for the night doing nothing but talking.