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50 Most Awkward Movie Moments

Killer Joe (2011)

The Movie: How deep-fried is William Friedkin's Texan comedy-thriller and return to form? Let's see.

The Awkward Moment: Killer Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) confronts Sharla Smith (Gina Gershon) about her hitherto secret role in events.

Look Away When: He humiliates her by forcing her to fellate a piece of deep-fried chicken held to his crotch. There, that deep-fried.

Clerks (1994)

The Movie: Kevin Smith's never-bettered debut about a day in the life of reluctant convenience store clerk Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran).

The Awkward Moment: Old flame Caitlin (Lisa Spoonhauer) thinks she's had the best shag ever with Dante in the Quick Stop bathroom... except it wasn't him.

Look Away When: Smith gives us a close-up of the guy Caitlin shagged: a dead passenger who passed away on the toilet while masturbating.

Happiness (1998)

The Movie: Todd Solondz invites outrage with his ensemble black comedy about the vile underbelly of suburbia.

The Awkward Moment: Billy Maplewood (Rufus Read), having found out his father Bill (Dylan Baker) is a paedophile, asks dad some searching questions.

Look Away When: Asked if he'd ever fuck his son, Bill replies, "No. I jerk off instead."

American Pie (1999)

The Movie: Four lads, one pact - to lose their virginity by graduation, or forever hold their piece.

The Awkward Moment: Jim (Jason Biggs) scores with hot exchange student Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth), but has unwisely been peer-pressured into playing the whole event live via webcam.

Look Away When: Jim prematurely ejaculates - for the second time.

Carrie (1976)

The Movie: It might be a telekinetic horror-show, but Brian De Palma's Stephen King adap is also a bruising portrayal of a naïve girl's rite of passage.

The Awkward Moment: Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) has her first period - something her mad religious mother has never prepared her for - at school, and assumes she's dying.

Look Away When: Her classmates taunt her and throw tampons at her.

There's Something About Mary (1998)

The Movie: The Farrelly brothers hit the motherlode with the story of Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller), a guy around whom awkwardness orbits like a sun.

The Awkward Moment: Ted starts as he means to go on, ruining his prom date with Mary Jensen (Cameron Diaz) by having a zipper malfunction.

Look Away When: The Farrellys cut to a close-up of Ted's red-raw penis.

Taxi Driver (1976)

The Movie: Robert De Niro's sociopathic cabbie Travis Bickle struggles to relate to normal life after Vietnam, in Martin Scorsese's classic.

The Awkward Moment: Travis convinces Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) to go out on a date…and then takes her to a porno.

Look Away When: Betsy storms out, yelling at Travis, "Taking me to this place is about as exciting to me as saying, 'Let's fuck.'"

Your Friends And Neighbors (1998)

The Movie: Misanthropy rules in Neil LaBute's squirm-inducing black comedy about a bunch of narcissistic, amoral friends.

The Awkward Moment: Laddish banter about their best sexual experience turns sour when Cary (Jason Patric) admits his involved raping a male classmate at high school. "It's never been like that with a woman, ever."

Look Away When: Jerry (Ben Stiller) admits his own best was Barry's (Aaron Eckhart) wife. "That beats my story," reckons Cary.

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

The Movie: Jonathan Demme's painfully realistic film about a wedding celebration unravelled by the arrival of the bride's sister and recovery drug addict, Kym (Anne Hathaway).

The Awkward Moment: Kym kills the mood by giving a rambling, self-absorbed toast at the rehearsal dinner - "Hello. I'm Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for the evening."

Look Away When: Kym gets the giggles telling an inappropriate story about trying to apologise to a girl... "but I couldn't talk to her because her Mom took out a restraining order."

Swingers (1996)

The Movie: Jon Favreau wrote himself his breakthrough role as Mike, a struggling actor trying to get back into the dating game.

The Awkward Moment: Mike leaves potential date Nicky a voicemail - but did she get the whole number? So he leaves her another message. And then another. And another. Mike just doesn't know when to shut up.

Look Away When: Nicky answers. "Don't ever call me again."