At the end of every year, most entertainment sites look back and rank the best and most impressive performances, scenes, and films of the past twelve months. We here at Punch Drunk Critics do this too (AND YOU CAN READ THEM ALL RIGHT HERE! HOORAY!) This is a lovely tradition that celebrates the bright spots of entertainment, even in years that are astonishingly terrible. That being said, 2016 was, in fact, astonishingly terrible. So, it seems fitting to spend at least a little time on moments in the films of this year that took a hard left turn from “Understandable That People Made This Movie” to “Baffling Crazy Town.” Here’s my listicle looking back at the scenes in which seemingly serious movies revealed themselves to be comedic goldmines. But before we get started, I must give out an honorable mention.
Do you guys remember Nine Lives? Kevin Spacey was turned into a talking cat so he could learn to love his family. This is a real movie that people made.
Who hurt you, 2016?
And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are the TOP FIVE MOST UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS FILM MOMENTS OF 2016!
#5: Allied – The Sand Storm Car Sex Scene
This well paced, well-acted spy thriller was rather engaging for the most part. The first act of the Marion Coltiard/ Brad Pitt vehicle was conventional, yes, but the two stars fit perfectly with the discount-Casablanca period piece that director Robert Zemekis had crafted, and I actually found myself getting wrapped up in the film’s espionage plot and time period… until…
The hyper choreographed Sand Storm Sex Scene!
The two spies discuss how their relationship could prove fateful, and they should therefore keep their distance. But the musical score disagrees, and begins to swell as the two slowly undress. The desert storm kicks up, the camera revolves around the car in an flashy display of both Zemekis’ CGI filmmaking and the two stars’ ideal prettiness, entirely taking you out of the moment, and killing the small amount of realism the film had going for it. Muffled giggles fill the theater as everyone (justifiably) give up on Allied. The scene was so staged, much too long, and very, very silly.
#4: Sully – The Takeoff Conversation
For the most part, the cast and production team of Clint Eastwood’s Sully translates the emotional complexity of the script to the screen in visual way, tastefully bringing us into the mind of the heroic pilot who managed to safely land a plane on New York’s Hudson River after seagulls crashed out the engine. Tom Hanks gives a subtle, natural performance as the titular captain, and the movie is good. Whatever.
One moment, however, abandons all of this visual storytelling subtlety crap in favor of treating audiences to one of the most hilariously on-the-nose scenes I’ve seen all year. Sully and his copilot have a hilariously on-the-nose and borderline inhuman conversation right before the infamous crash-landing.
This is the scene verbatim:
Pilot 1: We’ll be alright.
Pilot 2: Nice view of the Hudson.
Pilot 1: I never get over on how beautiful is up here.
Pilot 2: Life's easier in the air.
Pilot 1: I guess, it is.
Pilot 2: Birds!
Pilot 1: Oh sh*t!
That’s right. The same screenwriter who delicately crafted complex trials against Sully boils down the central event of the entire film to be “Birds!” “Oh sh*t!” I could not love this more if I tired.
#3: Collateral Beauty – Row Row Row Your Boat
There is a lot to be said about Collateral Beauty. If you’ve been on the internet this past week, you’ve probably seen many articles discussing the mind-boggling insanity that is Will Smith’s latest film. Honestly, there are just so many comedic gems in this movie that it was a truly daunting task to narrow it down to one particular moment of unintentional hilarity. I could have just made a top 5 list of the funniest moments from this film alone. For example, the scene in which the characters keep repeating the nonsense title phrase of “collateral beauty” five times in two minutes. I won’t get into any spoiler territory here, because if you enjoy the occasional movie that doesn’t know how ridiculously nuts it, stop reading this, go see Collateral Beauty, then come back to finish reading this list and laugh as you reminisce about how ridiculous that moment is. Otherwise, let’s talk about that amazing thing that happened near the end.
I must make it clear how much credit I give to Will Smith for his performance here. He’s really trying everything he can to make this poignant… But my god it is not. The emotional climax of the movie was hands down the funniest part of the entire movie. Is that heartless? Maybe, but oh hear me out you nonbelievers. It’s the scene in which Will Smith’s character finally breaks down, and lets all of his emotions pour out in a heartfelt monologue. It starts off pretty strong, and again, Smith really goes for it. However, once his character gets focused on the looming promise of death that surrounds us in everything from expressions and clichés to books and songs, things go downhill fast.
The emotional center of this movie is Will Smith scream-singing all of the lyrics to Row Row Row Your Boat through tears.
It’s as good as it sounds.
#2: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – The Scene Where Jesse Eisenberg Makes Holly Hunter Drink Pee and Then Blows up The Capital Building
There’s going to be a Congressional hearing over the country’s relationship to Superman. “Cool!” I thought, foolishly. “We’re going to get some intense dialogue scenes about the pros and cons of letting superheroes fight our battles!” Zack Snyder had a different idea than I did about where this scene should go, and it involved drinking piss and destroying Washington.
That’s it. That’s what the scene is. Jesse Eisenberg’s… questionable portrayal of Lex Luthor begins his evil plan by sneaking a jar of what is implied to be his own urine to a Congresswoman played by Holly Hunter, a reference to a conversation they had in an earlier scene that also didn’t work because the audience isn’t folksy enough for Warner Brothers to find comparisons to our grandmother’s tea and urine charming. He then blows up a guy in a wheelchair, destroying the United States Capitol and killing everyone inside. Again, just to make sure we’re all clear, this is just step one of his plan.
This sequence is big contributor to why I, and many others, found Dawn of Justice to be deeply puzzling.
#1: Nocturnal Animals – The Opening Credits
Oh, Nocturnal Animals. There is just so much to say about you. The polarizing art film from fashion designer Tom Ford delighted many critics (our site included) with its complex visual metaphors. I however, was not dazzled by those images. In fact, I found them to be very silly. If I just described individual scenes from Nocturnal Animals to someone who hadn’t seen it, not only would they not believe me that this is in a real movie, but they would also think I’d entirely lost my mind for thinking up scenes that are so maddeningly senseless.
My number one Most Unintentionally Hilarious Moment is actually the very first thing seen in Nocturnal Animals. The very first shot. The opening credits. The film opens on a montage of obese naked women wiggling around in slow motion to elevator music in band leader hats while confetti falls from the sky. The credits roll by under this. It goes on like this for about five minutes, daring you to continue watching the movie that follows.
Yet even when you do call the credits’ bluff and continue watching, it turns out the sequence doesn’t have much to do with the actual movie. It was part of an art gallery Amy Adams’ character was running and…that’s about it. Yet despite this sequence’s lack of thematic relevance to the rest of the plot, it is perfectly representative of the insanity that is Nocturnal Animals, a theatrically released movie up for awards consideration, which opens with five minutes of slow-motion. Naked. jiggling.
The more I think about it, the more I begin to come around to the idea that Tom Ford is pranking us all. Like in Mel Brooks’ The Producers, I think he came up with the least watchable idea he could, and showed it to audiences who surprisingly loved it.
Here’s to you 2016! You broke my mind!