Main One Scene Wonder Discussion

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08:26:20 AM Sep 25th 2011
Hugh Jackman has 'zero lines' in X-Men First Class? That would suggest he doesn't say anything but he clearly does and it's notable for being a very strong swear word in a franchise that usually avoids them
11:02:49 PM Mar 27th 2011
Out of curiosity, what is the source of that picture? I could swear I've seen it on another site. I thought it was from Cracked, but I browsed through their Photoshop contests and nothing came up. My second guess would be somethingawful, but I don't feel like doing an Archive Binge on there either.
10:56:25 AM Jun 1st 2010
Pulling examples that don't seem to fit the description of the trope:
  • A brief appearance
  • That is the most memorable thing about the movie

Some of these are simply cameos. Some are simply "only had a short amount of screen time". Some are "Got high billing for a small role." Some it's impossible to tell, because all the example is is a name, a role, and a movie.

Not enough information:
  • Space Jam has Bill Murray show up during the last round, to the annoyance and amazement of Swackhammer. As Bill puts it, he was let in because he was friends with the director...

    • (True Romance) Val Kilmer as the faceless hallucination of Elvis Presley doesn't count?

  • MirrorMask has Robert Llewellyn, Stephen Fry, and Lenny Henry in minor roles, as, respectively, a dim-witted griffon, a librarian, and the entire police force.
  • The film version of Stardust has Ricky Gervais as an amusing fence, and, more infamously, Robert De Niro as Captain Shakespeare, the zeppelin-based Camp Gay Pirate. Both have more than one scene, however, but Peter O'Toole does briefly appear as a dying king. There's also David Kelly as a 97-year old martial arts master in a few scenes.
  • The Hurt Locker has many of these, most notably Ralph Fiennes.
  • Ben Affleck's character in Boiler Room delivers a monologue that sets the tone for the film, in a direct play on Alec Baldwin's character from Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • In The Prestige, David Bowie appears as Nikola Tesla, and Andy Serkis appears as his helper.
  • George Carlin's appearance as Cardinal Glick in Kevin Smith's Dogma. Also as the Hobo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Crispin Glover was also in Wild At Heart as Cousin "I'm making my LUNCH!!!!" Dell?
  • Stephen Fry as the humorously incompetent police inspector in Gosford Park.
  • Steve Carell as Uncle Arthur in Bewitched.
  • Steve Carell again in Bruce Almighty, to the point where he was the main character in the sequel.
  • James Mason in Voyage of the Damned.
  • Randy Quaid's character in The Ice Harvest was apparently supposed to be one of these, with how many clips from his one scene were used in the trailer. So few people saw the film that it didn't really work out.
{So, was he or wasn't he? This trope isn't about what was intended, it's about what actually happened.}
  • (Ferris Bueller) Also, Charlie Sheen.
  • Terry O'Quinn's portrayal of Howard Hughes in The Rocketeer.
  • Captain Richard Robau in the new Star Trek. If the internet is to believed he is one tough badass, getting killed in a few minutes and still being awesome.
  • Ian McKellen had one scene in Plenty, as a man with a lot of power over the diplomatic community, with "a mind like a laser and a heart of stone."
  • Seth Green's sarcastic Amish character in Sex Drive.
  • Michael Sheen as Aro in Twilight's sequel New Moon.
  • Mike Myers in Inglourious Basterds. For the first time in a long while, we've been happy to see him.
    • There are two scenes that have narration. The narrator is Samuel L. Jackson. Needless to say, it's the most badass narration ever.
  • Technically, Liam Neeson as Priest Vallon in Gangs of New York.

Brief appearances but no indication they were scenes that stole the show:
  • In the film Constantine, Peter Stormare and Tilda Swinton have brief appearances as Satan and Gabriel, respectively.
    • Bruce Willis in Planet Terror. He was on the set for so little time that Quentin Tarantino didn't even know he was in the movie until they started shooting his scenes. The effect was ruined, however, when they put him on the cover and included him in ads, as the planned reaction was "Oh, Bruce Willis is in this movie?"
    • (Judi Dench) Some of her performances as M in the James Bond series might fall in this category as well.
      • A lot of the Bond supporting cast (M, Q, Monneypenny) only shows up for one or two short scenes in each film... but Bond wouldn't feel like Bond if they didn't.
    • He (John Wayne) also makes a brief and uncredited appearance as General Ulysses S. Grant in How The West Was Won.

Top billing, small part:
  • Rowan Atkinson again in Love Actually, as the man who takes ten minutes to do everything. He is among the top billed for the film. Originally he had a much, much larger role, but it was cut for time.
  • The advertisements for the 1976 movie Car Wash featured Richard Pryor's name and face everywhere. He was in the movie for one scene that lasted less than seven minutes.
  • Robert De Niro received second billing for Terry Gilliam's Brazil despite being onscreen for one scene. Bob Hoskins was fifth billed with the same number of scenes.

Missing the point entirely:
  • The Big Lebowski is basically built around One Scene Wonders, with the plot involving Lebowski wandering the LA area meeting quirky people who are rarely seen again. One of the most notable is John Turturro as Jesus Quintana. He has only two brief scenes and is probably the best-remembered part of the film with his line, "Nobody fucks wi' da Jesus!"
    • David Thewliss is in one scene: "Knox Harrington! The video artist!"
  • Dead Man is another film built around the concept of One Scene Wonders. Crispin Glover appears as the philosophical fireman, Robert Mitchum as the shotgun-toting industrialist, Gabriel Byrne as the love-sick rich kid, Billy Bob Thorton as a mountain man, Iggy Pop as a bible-quoting crossdresser, and Alfred Molina as a racist missionary. All have exactly one scene except Mitchum, who has two.
  • The famous mime Marcel Marceau has a cameo in Brooks' Silent Movie. He's the only character with a line! Oh the irony.
  • Shutter Island has a whole series of these, most notably Jackie Earle Haley as George Noyce (in a cell in the wing for violent patients, trying with no luck to tell Teddy what's really going on), Patricia Clarkson as Rachel Solando (in a seaside cave, speculating on the lighthouse's sinister purpose), and Ted Levine as the Warden (driving Teddy back to the asylum in a golf cart, cheerily philosophising on the divine nature of violence).
  • Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. He has more than one scene, but otherwise fits the trope. He doesn't appear in the promotional materials and wears glasses, a paunch and a bald wig (or just has his head shaved) in all his scenes, which he spends doing nothing but dropping Cluster F Bombs. Inattentive viewers could be forgiven for not recognizing him until his second or third appearance, and he is hilarious.
  • Annie Hall. DEAR GOD, Annie Hall. The "transplendent" Shelley Duvall, Truman Capote as "the winner of the Truman Capote look-a-like contest", Jeff Goldblum as the party guest who "forgot his mantra", and Christopher Walken as Annie's disturbed brother, among others, all have memorable moments in this movie, regardless of number of scenes or length of appearance.
  • Porkins in the A New Hope, because you can't help think "They named the fat dude PORKINS? That's messed up!"
  • He was named "Piggy" in the A New Hope novelization.
    {how is this stealing a scene?}
    * Jennifer Garner's one minute or so in Catch Me If You Can made a strong impression (in this case, due to smoldering sex appeal rather than acting talent).
  • There are many stars playing small roles in Oliver Stone's JFK but Donald Sutherland arguably had the most important of them all as "X" the mysterious informant who lays out the entire JFK assassination conspiracy to Kevin Costner in one sixteen minute scene.
  • The opening song number by "Weird Al" Yankovic in Spy Hard was the only memorable thing from that whole movie.
  • The alien opera diva from The Fifth Element. WOW.
  • Stan Lee makes a hobby out of these, claiming to be up for a cameo in anything, and jokingly suggesting that this trope should have its own Oscars category.
07:28:26 PM Apr 6th 2010
Does anyone else think an image page might be in order at this point?
08:06:10 PM Apr 7th 2010
That sounds like a reasonable idea but to be fair it might be hard to find a "truly well known" example since we're talking about characters whom only appeared briefly in a story. (About 10 minutes in a movie, one episode in a TV series, etc.) I understand we are trying not to make this really obscure but still...
01:03:04 PM Mar 18th 2010
I think this is a terminal case of Just a Face and a Caption. Even the caption is admitting this.
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