4Jaws - Young boy's grieving mother confronts Police Chief Brody
The classic funnyman's rule of thumb is "tragedy plus time equals comedy." But a lesser-known corollary, known by some as the "We're a bunch of dicks" corollary, is "It's funnier when it happens to ugly people."
If Quint were a 4-month-old infant, this scene would be at least 60 percent less hilarious.
We'll get this out of the way: None of us are going to be on the cover of GQ any time soon. And the actress that plays Alex Kintner's mother is undoubtedly a nice woman. I mean, it's definitely just a coincidence that her only other screen credit is a flashback in Jaws: The Revenge, and not because an on-set caterer accidentally looked at her without a mirror and turned to stone.
The scene: Mrs. Kintner, clad in all black, approaches Police Chief Brody on a dock. She looks distressed, as any mother might while still mourning the death of her child. Her distress also might just be due to the fact that she began menopause yesterday, as this mother of a 10-year-old boy appears to be anywhere between 65 to 70 years old. Walking next to her is a man who was clearly born during the Taft administration.
Voted "Cutest Couple" at their high school, in 1907.
Their relationship is not explained. For the sake of comedy, we'll assume this is her husband. As she approaches the police chief, he hangs back, perhaps knowing this isn't his fight. Her first action is to raise her black veil so that Brody can look her in the eye, and this is the first time he gets to see her face. Brody looks slightly surprised, and his eyes flit away ever so slightly as he represses his natural instinct to do the mathematical inverse of a Tex Avery wolf routine (this involves barfing instead of howling, a giant beating heart shooting out of his butt, and him hitting Mrs. Kintner with a mallet instead of himself, then doing the Lynndie England pose next to her unconscious body).
Hommina hommina (but not in a good way) hommina.
Then she slaps him, and her face contorts with grief. To say that she now grows less attractive is like saying that the Atlantic Ocean somehow gets wetter during a rainstorm. It sounds impossible but it's technically true. A strong breeze blows, and a glimmer of hope enters Brody's eye as he suspects that maybe, just maybe, the veil will be blown back over her face.
Instead, she lectures Brody for not closing the beach, and he looks like he's about to come around to her side when suddenly it hits him: This is not a woman -- it's the guy who played Willie Tanner on ALF in a wig!
There's another famous saying that "The greatest tragedy imaginable is for a parent to outlive a child." A popular variant, coined by an Amity Island beauty-parlor owner, is, "The greatest tragedy imaginable is Mrs. Kintner coming in to redeem the second half of her 'Two Brazilian Waxes for the Price of One' Groupon."
She's not a conventionally attractive woman and therefore it's funny to laugh at her sorrow.
3Alien -- The Two Most Iconic Scenes (Upon Second Viewing)
There's this thing about horror that makes it a lot like sex -- the first time, it's absolutely terrifying; the second time it makes you scratch your head, wondering what the big deal was. No film is better at illustrating this dynamic than the two most iconic scenes from Alien.
We all remember the moment when John Hurt starts doing The Worm on the dining room table, then gives birth to a Hollywood legend - the Chestburster. It's shocking, freaky, and iconic the first time you see it. But then, on repeat viewing, you realize that the little guy looks kind of like an angry Muppet slathered in a bold, tangy moppin' sauce. In defense, Yaphet Kotto brandishes a spoon -- let me write that again, a spoon -- perhaps threatening to eat it to death. Baby Chesty races across the table, knocking over cereal bowls and juice glasses like something born of Robot Chicken.
"Your meticulously laid-out meal means nothing to my cosmic horror!
Then comes the punch line: a quiet moment in which four of the remaining cast members stand staring off in four different directions, and your mind hears a laugh track and the Seinfeld slap-bass tab.
"I swear ta God, Jerry, the guy at the pet store said he was house-trained!"
The second iconic scene, and the dessert of Alien's second-viewing smorgasbord of unintentional hilarity, is when Ash starts attacking Ripley, revealing that he is a goddamned robot. In that split-second, Ash goes from Bilbo in a little space jumpsuit to a frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic who tosses six-odd feet of Sigourney Weaver around like a wet towel while sweating boogers and madly blinking like Kristen Stewart. It's almost too much for a human brain to handle. And then it gets better. As if he's just had a brilliant idea, Evil Bilbo rolls up a magazine and tries to jam it down Ripley's throat. It's probably a porn mag and it probably has all kinds of foul undertones, but the look on Ripley's face is less sheer terror than it is "Ash, what the hell, anyway?"
Look. Lookit. What am I? What am I? ... A duck, come on!
Ash tries the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on Yaphet Kotto, who responds reasonably by coldcocking him with a fire extinguisher. Ash responds by moshing around the room, puking his yellowy snot all over the place while shrieking in a way that reminds you of Adam Sandler whenever he pretends he's not trying to sing. And the cherry on top? Yaphet knocks his block off, leaving Ash to search twitchingly, almost apologetically for his own head.
Okay, just give me a moment here, I can explain.
Back in the Days of Innocence, before Torture Porn and Bucky Larson, the horror genre had to rely on foreboding and dread and surprise to get a rise out of the audience. Now, as we get used to flying limbs and spraying bodily fluids, it's hard not to just start laughing right away.