Feb 24 2014
Hey you. Yes, you reading this article, right now. Why are you here? What brings you here today? Did the page come up on a random StumbleUpon? Are you a fan of the site? Have you read any of my stuff before? It’s just strange to me, there are billions of web pages, and you stopped here, at this one. Did you know when you began reading it that I would talking directly to you? It’s weird, because I know you are reading this right now. You are my somewhat captivated audience, and it is my job to entertain you. I thought maybe if I talked to you directly it would make this a more personal experience for you. Like you are involved with the process. You know what other medium does this sometimes? Film. So why don’t we take a minute to talk about it? Is that okay? Here are five movies that break the fourth wall, just like I am, right now with you. Kind of.
Ssshhh, don’t tell her, but we just killed her dog. Tee hee.
All the bad things that happen in Funny Games happen because of you. They happen because the people IN the movie know what the audience wants. The audience doesn’t sit to watch horror and not expect to be horrified, right? Funny Games knows this, and decided to put on the best damn show for you it can. Keep in mind, it knows you are a horror fan (you must be to be watching a horror film) and it wants to make sure it doesn’t let you down at any point.
So everyone who is murdered in that movie is murdered because the two protagonists know it is what you want.
I mean, it was what you wanted, right? Why else would you have been watching?
This is the part where we cut off your balls.
At one point in the film, Tyler stops talking to (well, himself) and turns towards the audience. He commences to tell them, tell us, actually, that we are NOT our (cuss word) Khakis. He reminds us were are consumerist sheep who graze in a field of what we believe to be free will, but know it is anything but. He tells us that we are nothing but a generation of blue collar workers working our ways towards death to help ensure someone higher up than us becomes well off. He lets us know, at that point, we are much a part of the problem as anyone, unless we are willing to change it.
Well, are you? Are you willing to change it?
Or are you you’re f*%^(#g khakis?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Yes, he’s smiling at you, specifically.
Don’t you think that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off us the ULTIMATE fourth wall break? Much like how we feel like we are part of what is going on in Funny Games, it is almost as if Ferris talking to us means he is taking us along on his epic, day long journey. We are the third friend in that group. The one the camera never sees, but we all know we are there. We get to partake in the madness, but we are not forced into any of the consequences for it.
Truth is, the single best fourth wall breaking moment in cinema comes after the credits.
He LITERALLY calls out every Marvel fan ever, years early. Ah, so much win.
Don’t look at me like that.
What I liked about the fourth wall breaking scenes in High Fidelity is, John Cusack was talking to us about his relationship. He was giving us insight in the same way a friend would. He just wanted to talk, wanted to get some stuff off his chest, and we are the one lucky enough to be on the receiving end of it. It is candid, and feels personal, even in a film full of laughs like this.
Plus, we get the lists. I would be lying if I were to say that the fourth wall breaking and list making in this film didn’t have quite a bit to do with us both being here, right now, at this exact moment. Talk about serendipity (which is, ironically, another Cusack film).
Hey, has anyone seen my daughter? She won’t return my calls.
Okay, so for a moment, we need to ignore some of the stories of Woody Allen’s odd (and seemingly disturbing) personal life and talk about a film of his for a second. In reality, I gave too much props to Ferris earlier. This fourth wall breaking thing is definitely a huge characteristic of some of Allen’s earliest and most poignant work. Annie Hall is a great example. Think about what he does in Annie Hall. We are sort of the invisible confidant in that movie. He only talks to us when he needs to vent about a situation, but it is amazing, because every time he does it, he pulls us deeper into the story and the complexity of his characters.
Funny story, as I am writing this, my neighbor is working on the house, and trying to get a solid thought out of my hands and into this machine is proving to be an exercise in frustration. I want to open the window and push his ladder over.
If my tone suddenly changes in the next few lines, that means I did it.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Admit it, you wish you were as cool as me.
Maybe I am wrong about this, but Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the only movie I recall that ever thanked me for coming and watching it. The whole movie is neo-noir ride, but the final moments when Robert Downey Jr thanks the audience? Yes, that is about a meta, fourth wall breaking as you can get.
A great final note to a great film, don’t you think?
Lord of War: Crazy Nic Cage’s opening speech breaks walls before sending him into typical Cage batshit crazy mode.
Amelie: She quietly talks to us during the movies. It feels sweet and sorta intimate, in a way.
Even shows like Pokemon have used it for great comic effect. That is the first time I ever made a Pokemon reference in one of my articles. I want you to know I did that for you. I know you are a big Mewtwo fan.
Well, thanks for hanging out and letting me shoot the shit with you. That was fun. We should do this again. In the meantime, help your brother out by throwing a “like” up over here. That is how I measure my self worth. Alright, now go outside and get some fresh air. It would do you well.
Hello God, are you there? It’s me, Remy…
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