5 Actors Who Do the Exact Same Thing in Every Movie
Everyone assumes that directors and writers decide what happens in a movie, but many times the movie star is the most powerful person involved with the project. For instance, when Jim Carrey wanted to make a movie about his favorite number, The Number 23 hit theaters across the country. A much more entertaining abuse of this star power occurs when huge movie stars decide they look awesome doing something, and proceed to force that something into every movie they make. For instance ...
Tom Hanks' Career is a Urinary Morality PlayMost movie stars use their careers to build up enough credibility to avoid urinating onscreen. Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller each had a couple piss gags early on, and then they got successful. It's just not a bodily process we're built to share with millions of people. Hell, some people can't go if there's a single person in the same bathroom as them. That's why it's so strange that Tom Hanks has used his impressive career to make us watch him pee.
Perhaps it's our fault for encouraging him. Everyone loved his first scene in A League of Their Own, when he busts into the locker room and takes World War II's manliest piss.And there's the even more iconic scene in
"Alright guys, we've got enough money in the effects budget to make President Kennedy say one thing. Any ideas?"If it were just these two iconic moments, it would be easy to dismiss this as a mere weakness for the poop joke's more penis-y cousin. But Gump wasn't the first Hanks character to pull the "'I've gotta pee.' --sneaks off to explore secret house" gambit. In The 'Burbs, Hanks uses the same excuse to investigate the home of his creepy neighbors.
How Tom Hanks lets a room full of adults know that he has to pee.And in the art-house movie Road to Perdition, he uses his overactive bladder as a spidey-sense when he escapes a hit man by excusing himself to take a whiz.
OK, this is still The 'Burbs. The footage of Hanks grabbing his penis in Road to Perdition wasn't nearly as funny.When Tom Hanks is actually urinating onscreen, you can be sure that something thematically significant is taking place. In A League of Their Own, it establishes his character's central conflict as a man who refuses to accept people without penises into the locker room. In another early comedy, The Money Pit, his literal pissing contest with a statue is the central symbol of his character's journey.
At the start of the film, Hanks and his wife optimistically buy an old house, and set about pragmatically dealing with its problems. For instance, when the toilet's plumbing doesn't work, Hanks merely goes outside to pee.
When he notices the plumbing is giving the statue in the front yard a fitful stream, he wryly asks if it's having prostate problems while his manly stream continues to flow freely. Here is a man with a world-beating attitude letting the world know in the only way Tom Hanks knows how: peeing on it.
Later in the movie, the house makes Hanks pay for his arrogance by ruining his marriage. Or, translated into Tom Hanks pee stream logic: The pisser becomes the peed on.
This is not the only Hanks vs. a hostile environment movie that uses urine to let us know the score. Early in Apollo 13, man's mastery over space is demonstrated by showing Tom Hanks pee on it.
"So I pee into a tube?
Then I press a button labeled urine dump ...
... and then my urine is sprayed all over outer space just as you'd expect based on how airplanes work? Fascinating! We need to show every step of that process in painstaking detail!"
-- Absolutely nobody except Tom Hanks
Castaway devotes an entire scene to answering another question nobody on the outside of Tom Hanks' head was asking: If you were trapped on a desert island, where would you pee?
"Imagine that! Being able to just pee right in the ocean!"
There are also meaningful pee scenes in Saving Private Ryan (while the other soldiers talk about missing their mothers, Hanks reminisces about a kid who used to piss Vs on everyone's jackets) and The Terminal (his character must wait for an important phone call despite having to pee, like, super bad). But Hanks' crowning achievement has to be The Green Mile.
In 1999, Tom Hanks was arguably as big as any movie star had ever been. He was coming off of Oscar-wins for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, plus Apollo 13 (nominated for nine Oscars) and Saving Private Ryan (nominated again for Best Actor). Following in the footsteps of great actors like Daniel Day Lewis, Hanks chose a character with a crippling physical affliction for his next role in an Oscar contender. Unlike any character other than Beavis and Butthead in that episode where they forgot how to pee, that physical affliction was painful urination.
Well there's your problem right there.
Tom Hanks used the credibility he built up over one of the most successful acting careers of the past 50 years to play a character whose central conflict was that he couldn't pee in a standing position. And while I can forgive him for the scene where Michael Clarke Duncan heals him by grabbing his penis, I will never be able to look at him the same way following the uncomfortable close-up as he has what can only be described as an extremely slow orgasm while peeing.
Tom Hanks' career, peaking with a peegasm.
Tom Cruise Will Find an Excuse to Make You Watch Him Sprint
Sprinting is one of those random activities that seems to give actors more trouble than you'd expect (along with throwing a baseball, high-fives and anything within a 12-foot radius of a basketball). They make smoking and dancing look cool, but ask an actor to sprint and they suddenly look like their extremities all fell asleep at the same time ...
Look how hard Steven Seagal has to concentrate to run like a girl in the midst of a devastating growth spurt.
Now, Tom Cruise throws a baseball like he's doing it with his off-hand.
But unlike most actors, Tom Cruise is a fantastic sprinter, presumably because that's the only way he knows how to move from place to place.
This is also how Tom Cruise gets from his bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
And nobody has known a fact any harder than Tom Cruise knows that he looks good sprinting. As this video montage demonstrates, he has spent bizarrely extended portions of his career running away from giant alien spacecraft ...
Tom Cruise runs approximately eight miles in this scene.... Chinese chimney sweeps ... ... or just sprinting out of some bushes somewhere.
Tom Cruise just chased down a deer and killed it with his bare hands. Why, how'd you get to the hospital?
And once Cruise starts sprinting, it's difficult for even great directors to get him to stop. If you saw Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, you might remember the footrace in a Dubai dust storm that took about 15 seconds too long to turn into a car chase. Or maybe you remember the chase at the end of Collateral, when Michael Mann seemingly forgot how editing works in order to let us drink in every explosive footstep.
This is how you film the 400-meter dash, not the movies.In Mission: Impossible III, J.J. Abrams completely stops the movie so that Tom Cruise can spend what seems like an hour sprinting through Shanghai, telling Chinese people to get out of his way.
He takes a phone call without losing a step.
There's a hairy moment where it appears as though he might completely lose his mind if these people don't get out of his way.
But otherwise, it's just this: 10-second-long tracking shots of Tom Cruise sprinting like a goddamn lunatic.
The scene ends when the camera keeps traveling in a straight line, and Cruise sprints off in a different direction. I have to assume they keep a team of handlers just off camera with a big net for when he gets going like that.
Occasionally the movie fails to even produce a good reason for him to start sprinting in the first place. Toward the end of Jerry Maguire, he sprints through a mostly empty airport. He's not trying to catch a flight or anything, but it's almost the end of the movie, and Tom Cruise hasn't sprinted yet, so ...
"Oh look, a crazy person." -- Everyone in the quiet airport some maniac is sprinting through.The very first scene of Vanilla Sky was nicknamed the "million dollar shot" because it required director Cameron Crowe to shut down New York's Times Square during daylight hours. At the production meeting before the shoot, the crew was surprised when Cruise showed up to "let everyone know how crucial this scene was," (It's actually just a dream that he wakes up from few seconds later in the movie, but you know ... important to him). In the scene, Cruise finds himself driving a high-performance sports car through the abandoned post-apocalyptic urban landscape that
Like a young Dalmatian, you need to give Tom Cruise lots of room to run.
Steven Seagal IS ... Clearly Titling All of His Movies
Stephen Seagal doesn't have any performance quirks that he forces on directors, which isn't surprising, since he seems only vaguely aware he's in a movie at any given moment on screen. Instead, Seagal wields his power in the titling department, making sure that all of his movies have names that sound awesome when preceded by the phrase "Steven Seagal IS ..."If you don't pay entirely too much attention to action movies, you might not realize how rare this is. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably has the second most impressive run, when Arnold Schwarzenegger WAS ...
Nobody else is out there forcing his name onto the front of movie titles as consistently and with the same level of difficulty as Seagal. At their best, Stallone and Schwarzenegger titles only answer the "who" of ass-kicking (Stallone is Cobra, Rocky and John Rambo). Seagal considers this redundant, since his facial expression has already made it perfectly clear who's about to make you all the wrong kinds of pointy, which is why he skips directly to the oft-overlooked "where" of ass-kicking.
Where is Steven Seagal, you ask?
"Up here, tough guy."
"Whoops, now I'm down here."
"And POOF! Now I'm out here, getting ready to make Lady Justice thank God she's wearing that blindfold."
There were even a couple Bond-worthy titles that answered the "why" of ass-kicking.
Q: Why did Steven Seagal just kill everything with dreadlocks?
A: Oh shit, you didn't hear? A Rastafarian gang painted blood on his door, and ...
Q: Right, but why did he have that creepy look on his face the whole time?
A: Guy loves to kill people. And I mean loves, if you catch my drift. Yes, I guess you could say ...
Hard, like boner-wise, you see.
And then, just as quickly as he'd burst onto the scene with a poker hand's worth of awesome "Steven Seagal IS..." movie titles, he lost his touch. It wasn't for a lack of trying. In fact, the many "Steven Seagal IS ..." titles he's come up with since then only prove how hard he nailed the first five. But no matter how hard he tries, he's found himself answering the "where" of ass-kicking with ridiculous bullshit like ...
Steven Seagal is ...
"Up here, like a book on the top shelf that you need a footstool to get to."
"OK, I was using a Thesaurus on that one. No need to reinvent the wheel here. Just go with what works. Steven Seagal IS ..."
"Boom. He's out here. Out for a Ki-- goddamnit, that's not even a phrase, is it? I'm too inside my own head. I get too close to it and it's just like word salad, y'know? Hey, maybe we're asking the wrong question. Maybe the question we should be asking is -- ready? -- "when" is Steven Seagal? Like if you asked someone for the time, and they looked at their watch, and -- WHAAAT? --- their watch is Steven Seagal, and he's super mad. Then you might say that Steven Seagal IS ..."
Half Past Dead was Seagal's last starring role to get a wide theatrical release, and I'm almost positive that it only exists to justify what he thought was an awesome title that would put him back on top. Seagal plays a cop named Sasha who comes back from the dead at the beginning of the film. This seemingly important bit of back story is only referenced in the title and the following piece of dialogue:
You can tell he's desperate because that is the only line that Steven Seagal has ever delivered with an exclamation point. But if you think his subsequent straight-to-DVD irrelevance has taught him a lesson, you must be forgetting that Steven Seagal IS ...
A crazy person.
Brad Pitt Has an Oral Fixation
Brad Pitt has consumed more calories onscreen than every
Pictured: Brad Pitt consumes the caloric equivalent of two goats and one Robert Shaw.
New York magazine's Vulture blog put together an exhaustive list of 60 different foods Brad Pitt has eaten in movies that is somehow incomplete. The list fails to account for the green apple he eats in Fight Club or the bag of chips in Se7en -- understandably, since grisly murder investigations aren't known to work up an appetite and why would an imaginary person be eating an apple?
"What's in the box? Is it a cake? Ooh, or a pie?"
This might not seem that strange until you try to think of the last time you saw another actor eating in a movie -- actually putting food into his or her mouth, chewing and swallowing. Even if it's a diner scene, directors tend to leave out the act of dining. We all eat approximately the same way, so watching a character push food into the hole in the middle of their face is just wasted time they could be discussing the ethics of tipping or faking an orgasm.
Sorry, sandwich, but my mouth has sexy noises to make.
Nobody's sure why directors have such a soft spot for the image of Brad Pitt putting food into his awesome mouth. Some say it gives his mouth something to do while the rest of him is busy being easy to look at. Unfortunately for that theory, Brad Pitt eats as though it's hurting his face.
Brad Pitt enjoys ice cream the way normal people smell farts.
Perhaps they think it will make Brad Pitt more relatable: "Don't let his good looks fool you. He eats human food just like you!" (This is not actually true, of course. Brad Pitt subsists on a diet of honey, eucalyptus and the perspiration of gazelles, but it's a nice thought.)
Brad Pitt forgets to put food on his fork while pretending to eat human food in Ocean's Eleven.
A look back over some of his best performances would seem to suggest that the food is beside the point: Brad Pitt is using his acting career to work out an oral fixation. The first time most of us learned he could act was 12 Monkeys, in which he played an insane person whose nail biting is so out of control, he has to be institutionalized.
In his Oscar-nominated role in Moneyball, he eats sunflower seeds, popcorn, sorbet, French fries, Christmas cookies, a Twinkie and a cheeseburger. But what's truly remarkable is how many times he manages to lick his fingers when paging through this scouting report.
1) Brad Pitt has the fastest-drying fingertips in the history of the world
2) He has a borderline debilitating oral fixation or
3) He is trying to fuck Jonah Hill.
John Cusack Doesn't Understand How Rain Works
Famous people are like time capsules to the year their careers peaked. It's the same dynamic that afflicts high school quarterbacks who get the girl, win the big game and never move on. Only with celebrities, the big game is on TV, the girl is 20 girls at once and, instead of having their parents tell them they need to move out of the basement, they have a cadre of yes men telling them how awesome they look in those leather pants.
That's Michael Jordan in 2007, which is 20 years after fluorescent T-shirts tucked into jeans and hoop earrings were acceptable male attire and 15 minutes after someone told him he looked awesome for the 30th time that day. Since actors are insecure about everything, including their jobs, success can have a devastating effect on their careers. Al Pacino has shouted every line of dialogue in an inappropriate Cajun accent since winning an Oscar for doing that exact thing in Scent of a Woman, and John Cusack has made it a point to brave the elements in every film since the romantic comedy The Sure Thing put him on the map and Say Anything made every girl between the ages of 18 and 25 slip out of their seats at the movie theater.
Here he is meeting the female love interest in The Sure Thing:
A few years later, in his career-defining performance as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, he took braving the elements to levels of reckless endangerment. Everyone remembers the iconic moment when Cusack stands outside on an overcast Seattle afternoon holding a giant piece of consumer electronics over his head:
A few scenes earlier, he goes out of his way to stand outside of a phone booth with an electrical device pressed to the side of his head in what appears to be the inside of a giant dishwasher on rinse cycle.
Presumably lamenting the fact that the stupid cord barely reaches outside of the human-sized rain protection box it's attached to.
Cusack realized he'd stumbled onto a magical formula: Braving the elements technically qualifies as brave while still making you look romantically forlorn enough for women to pity you. And as this amazing montage by Avaryl Halley demonstrates, he's spent the remainder of his career combining and recombining the elements from the scenes that taught him that lesson.
In High Fidelity, he tries to win back ex-girlfriends by playing progressive rock for them. Holding a boom box over his head would have been too obvious, so he stands outside of their apartments shouting about the progressive rock songs on the mix tapes he made them ...
... in the rain.
The rain scenes weren't quite as iconic, so he hasn't been shy about remixing those.
Look at how little of a shit he gives about the rain compared to Catherine Zeta-Jones!
He's been regurgitating the rain theme like a mother bird into the hungry mouths of vulnerable hipster women.
He even had the balls to bring back the "heartbroken on a pay phone in the rain" trifecta.
And update it for modern times.
The problem is that, as his career wore on and he continued to find ways to get his characters caught in the rain, the romantically brave and forlorn vibe gave way to the impression that John Cusack doesn't understand how rain works.
"Stupid car with your inexplicably marbled windshield pictures!"
"One day they're going to make an antennaless cellphone that doesn't randomly get wet sometimes when you go outside."
"No, no, trust me. Keep the windows rolled down. I've seen them pull this bullshit before."
"Check and mate, marbled windshield pictures."
"Ray-m? Rang? I don't understand what you're saying. Just jump."
The final screen cap, in which John Cusack advises his son to jump on a sheer rock wall in a rainstorm, is from the 2006 "mountain climbing thriller" The Contract. It co-stars Morgan Freeman and went straight to video, presumably because the main antagonist is John Cusack's inability to understand why the rocks are slippery. That's the danger of becoming too reliant on one move. Obliviousness to the weather might look cool in romantic comedies, but when there's a serial killer on the loose, it's just a stupid reason to get your gun wet.
Ray Liotta knows which side of the gas station overhang is drier because he is a human being, and also not John Cusack.
Precipitation dysmorphia isn't the most versatile of character traits, since it only makes sense in movies where the entire premise is "the weather does stuff that's genuinely confusing." Unfortunately Roland Emmerich already made The Day After Tomorrow. What's that?
John Cusack's highest grossing film 2012: Bravery in the Face of Inexplicable Weather Conditions.
I didn't see 2012, but I have to assume his next move was to stand up and hold that computer over his head.
Jack O'Brien is the founder and Editor in Chief of Cracked.com, and a regular contributor to the microblogging site Twitter.com.
Allow him to explain why art theft is a viable career path in 5 Things That Are Way Easier Than They Look in Movies or watch videos he wrote about The Most Honest Press Conference Ever and The Last Guy to Wear a Hitler Mustache.