The fourth wall break has become a treat in cinema since quite a few people have come to love seeing those candid moments when the actors turn to the screen as they begin to speak to the audience. Obviously it’s all scripted and created for effect, but the novelty of it is too enticing to speak out against since it gives the moviegoers a sense that the people on the screen are speaking to them directly. It’s definitely all about perception and how people are going to view the effect, but to be fair it’s a lot of fun and tends to make a lot of people laugh since often the effect will be used in comedic movies or in a funny way since that appears to be the best way to use it. There have been moments when the method is used for dramatic effect as well, but almost every time it’s been used, the fourth wall break has satisfied a lot of audience members. Here are some of the best fourth wall breaks from various movies.
10. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
This is kind of an odd movie in which to use a fourth wall break, but there’s another moment in the movie that this same effect is used since it would appear that Kevin Smith definitely isn’t shy about taking shots at his own movie, which is hilarious. In this scene and the other mentioned the characters are discussing who in the world would want to see a movie based on Jay and Silent Bob before turning to the screen to offer a meaningful glance to the audience. It’s enough to make a person laugh or roll their eyes since Smith is known for being kind of an oddball director, but a skilled one that knows what people like all the same.
9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
To this day there’s still a rather big argument about whether Ferris is a guy just having fun and getting into mischief, or if he’s one of the most diabolical characters that gets his friends into one situation after another and doesn’t appear to care as long as he gets his way. His fourth wall breaks are pretty funny, but some might want to say that they’re a testament to his ego and the idea that he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t care what happens to anyone while he’s having fun and doing whatever comes to mind. It’s actually kind of difficult to defend Ferris without realizing that yeah, he is irresponsible, and the ‘he’s a kid’ argument doesn’t really work. But it’s still a funny movie.
8. The Big Short
Unless you happen to know a lot, or even something, about the housing crash of 2008 then this movie might be entertaining but also kind of confusing. There was more to it than the movie is actually showing and it does get a little complicated for those of us that aren’t really into this subject. But the fourth wall breaks were still funny since they did go a little way toward explaining the characters and what was going on, so long as a person was willing to listen since it did require the attention of those watching. It’s not too hard to see why some folk remember this movie and others just don’t care, even if a lot of people say that the basis for the movie is bound to happen again.
7. Lord of War
The manner in which people view guns is a complicated one thanks to a dizzying number of factors that can actually be boiled down to just a handful before they’re allowed to expand thanks to varying opinions once again. But in this movie the fourth wall break is pretty clear, the man narrating the story, played by Nicolas Cage, has little to no soul left by the time it’s all said and done. So long as he gets to move the product that keeps him in the lavish lifestyle he grew accustomed to, he’s not exactly happy, but he is bound and determined to fulfill a basic human need that many would argue over. As Alanis Morissette would say, it’s ironic.
6. Wayne’s World
This movie is filled with fourth wall breaks since Wayne, played by Mike Myers, is narrating the whole thing. But there is a moment when Wayne and his buddies enter the donut shop that Ed O’Neill’s character takes over and delivers a fairly disturbing monologue while speaking to the audience that is disrupted by Wayne shortly after he finishes. Let it never be said that the man who captivated as Al Bundy on Married…With Children wasn’t capable of doing anything but comedy. True, his monologue was funny, but it showed how intense and kind of psychotic his character was.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
Jordan Belfort was arrested and legally charged for the crimes he committed, but one has to wonder how far Hollywood really took things and how much it veered from the truth. This could mean that Jordan wasn’t quite as bad as the movie made him out to be, or it could mean that he was even worse, since playing fast and loose with other peoples’ money is something that a lot of folks would get hot under the collar about. But the fact that the real Jordan Belfort showed up in the movie makes it feel as though he might have learned something after getting in trouble, or maybe he just wanted to be a part of his own story.
A lot of people hopped on board this story thinking that Henry Hill was the guy to go to in order to learn about the mafia at one point since it appears that he might have had the low down on what went on inside the organization. The thing is, in recent years the man has been described as being made to look far more important than he was. While it’s not kind to speak ill of the deceased, the fact is that those that were in the life and even those that did a bit of research found out that Henry Hill wasn’t quite the same type of character that Ray Liotta portrayed, and might have been a bit worse.
3. Trading Places
When all a person has to do is look at the camera for a great fourth wall break then it’s obvious that this person is skilled in the art of comedy and has gained a tremendous reputation already. Eddie Murphy would fit that description since the guy is insanely funny and his looks have been making people laugh for years following and preceding this movie. Trading Places was a great movie that was definitely silly and didn’t always take itself seriously but was a lot of fun and still stands out as a classic today since it starred some of the best actors and two of the greatest comedians of the time period.
Many would call Deadpool the king of the fourth wall break since the character has been doing this in the comics well before he came to the big screen. There’s no argument there, and the only reason he falls to the second spot is due to the classic comedy that predates this movie and deserves a little more recognition at this time. But there’s no denying that Deadpool is by far and large one of the greatest fourth wall breakers of all time given that he does it so often and will continue to interact with the characters on screen at the same time. While he didn’t invent it, Deadpool certainly took this idea to another level.
No one does comedy like Mel Brooks, and I mean that. His techniques and methods have, over the years, been enough to get people laughing so hard their jaw will begin to ache since there’s little if any real limit to what he’ll do or say in his movies. This might sound a little controversial at times, and there are movies that he’s made that some people feel cross certain lines as of now, but still, his comedy is worth crossing a few lines, especially since it produces some of the best comedy that’s ever been made.
Long live the fourth wall break.