Hall of Shame Moments from Five Blockbuster Comedies
No movie is without sin — there are entire polarizing YouTube channels devoted to this fact — and it’s especially hard to stick the landing when it comes to comedy. Weird moments in dramas, fantasy, etc. can be played off as artsy, but a turd of a joke only stinks all the more when it’s surrounded by great ones. Does it ruin the movie? Not always. But it does often mean dusting off an old favorite you haven’t watched in 10 years and going, “Oh, man, I forgot about this part.”
About one-third of the events of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera’s journey to the big party are bodily fluids, so a period joke wasn’t necessarily out of the question. Periods are funny! If anything, it’s an argument for why more people who have them should be writing comedy, because it’s almost certain none of them were involved in the scene in which Hill’s character grinds with a girl on the dance floor and later discovers that she perioded on him.
Is this a plausible scenario? Sure. It apparently really happened at a party Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg attended as teenagers, but it definitely didn’t result in a palm-sized stain unless that girl was sitting still on his lap for a long time on hour eight of a light tampon on her second day. Vaginae don’t forcefully eject menstrual blood like sanguine web-shooters. If anything, wouldn’t it just be a big smear?
They were going for a gross-out gag, but all they did was reveal they don’t know how periods work.
‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’
The immensely accurately titled Crazy, Stupid, Love is a delightful story about the power of love and its ability to create wacky situations. It’s got everything — comedy, drama, Steve Carell at his peak of both and the astute observation that Ryan Gosling looks Photoshopped. It’s a near perfect movie until the very end, when Jessica, the 17-year-old babysitter/crush of Carell’s character’s middle-school-aged son, gives her charge the nude photos she’d taken with the intention of giving them to his dad and things get all child predatory.
There was no reason they couldn’t have cut straight from “That’s not a bad plan” to “Take care, Robbie.” Those nudes — which are legally child pornography — had served their comedic purpose: misleading Jessica’s dad about the nature of his daughter’s relationship with her employer, thus allowing him to participate in comedy’s greatest windmill-related four-way wrestling match. Robbie doesn’t even look happy to get the photos. He looks like something deeply inappropriate has just happened, which it has. Also, he’s in possession of child pornography now, so both of these people have become both predator and victim in this situation.
In a movie full of GIF-able moments, this is decidedly not one of them.
‘La La Land’
Boy, Emma Stone appears in a lot of great movies with singular dicey scenes, huh? And by any measure, La La Land is a great movie. Listen, people, it’s hard to sell musicals to modern viewers, even amazing ones. Just ask Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. La La Land pulled it off with stunning visuals, a moving story, flawless performances and good jokes. It even won Best Picture for a few minutes. The deciding factor was probably the scene in which Ryan Gosling mansplains jazz.
We get it — he’s into jazz. He demonstrates that very sufficiently in every other minute of the runtime. This isn’t evidence of an important dynamic between these characters, either. Their relationship fails for reasons that have nothing to do with him dismissing her thoughts and feelings, which he largely doesn’t. She could have come around to jazz all on her own, but someone clearly just wanted to lecture the audience rather than let John Legend’s mere presence do the talking.
Speaking of modern musical classics, unlike Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles, where people celebrate traffic jams and gravity occasionally stops working at the Griffith Observatory, Grease is pretty realistic for a movie where people perform choreographed dances about having sex in cars. That’s why it’s so jarring when the movie ends with the two leads taking off in one that flies.
It’s so weird, in fact, that people have mined the darkest recesses of their imaginations to explain it. The leading theory is that Sandy really did drown in the events leading up to the movie and everything that happens afterward is her brain’s dying flickers, but really, anyone could have died at any point — the T-Bird lifestyle isn’t one of personal safety.
According to one of the movie’s writers, though, it ain’t that deep. It’s just symbolic of riding off into the sunset or possibly orgasms, depending on how committed you are to the movie’s themes. The good news is that this means you probably won’t be shuffled off this mortal coil by Stockard Channing bullying you in song.
If you’re any kind of comedy fan, you knew this was coming, as it were. There was exactly one person who looked at Ghostbusters and thought, “Needs more ghost blow jobs,” and that person was Dan Aykroyd.
In real life, Aykroyd is a hardcore “spiritualist” — i.e., ghosts and aliens weirdo — and the idea for the scene came from, uh, field research. “That’s a common thing, ghosts doing sexual things to people,” he insisted. “I have a friend who had three women visit him in a haunted house in Louisiana, and it was one of the greatest nights of his life.” Sometimes, humping anything that breathes just doesn’t cut it.
In fact, the scene was originally part of a much longer sequence intended to give Aykroyd’s character a “love interest,” but the movie was running long, and incredibly, extended ghost sex was deemed inessential. Instead, it popped up in the middle of a completely unrelated montage about the Ghostbusters’ rise to fame, where it was sure to provoke maximum bewilderment.
In that sense, since comedy relies so heavily on the unexpected, it’s actually genius. Okay, we take it all back.