50 Greatest Meta Movie Moments

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

The Meta Moment: The film suddenly breaks down on account of Gremlins in the projection booth. Fortunately Hulk Hogan is knocking about in the cinema lobby to save the day.

Why It’s Great: Any film that breaks the fourth wall to allow for a Hulk Hogan cameo is alright by us!

Scream 3 (2000)

The Meta Moment: Stab 3 director Roman Bridger complains that the movie’s failure could thwart his real ambition: to direct a classic love story.

Why It’s Great:
Craven is freely admitting that his primary motivation to return for part 3 was to secure enough funding to direct Music Of The Heart . So take that, audience!

The Prestige (2006)

The Meta Moment: Michael Caine’s voiceover is replayed at the film’s finale, clearly addressing the audience as he tells them, “You don’t really want to work it out… you want to be fooled.”

Why It’s Great: Caine’s explanation of magic is actually Nolan’s explanation of movie-making, and his way of talking to his audience, without explicitly breaking the fourth wall.

Goldmember (2002)

The Meta Moment: The opening credits take the form of a movie within a movie, featuring the likes of Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Why It’s Great:
Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito steal the show as Dr. Evil and Mini Me respectively.

Out Of Sight (1998)

The Moment: Karen Sisco is watching the TV when Jack Foley’s mugshot is shown on the news. “It doesn’t even look like him,” she mutters, dismissively.

Why It’s Great: The image is actually Seth Gecko’s mugshot from From Dusk Till Dawn , another character played by George Clooney.

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

The Meta Moment: Jennifer Tilly (starring as herself), throws herself at Redman in order to get the part of the Virgin Mary in his directorial debut. Midway through her “persuasion”, she’s knocked out by Tiffany, voiced by… Jennifer Tilly.

Why It’s Great: Because it’s totally, totally barmy. Fair play to Tilly for being such a good sport!

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

The Meta Moment: A tour group of rats can be seen taking photographs of a sign that reads, “the actual jungle location for the movie Muppet Treasure Island ”.

Why It’s Great: Meta movie moments can occasionally come across as smug or indulgent, but not when they’ve got the Muppets to sell them!

Blazing Saddles (1974)

The Meta Moment: The final dust-up comes crashing through the fourth wall, as the scrapping cowboys go barrelling through Warner Bros studios (interrupting the filming of a musical in the process) before winding up outside the premiere of… Blazing Saddles .

Why It’s Great: It’s a gloriously chaotic finale, with Mel Brooks gleefully abandoning the conventional rules of storytelling.

Being John Malkovich (1999)

The Meta Moment: When the actual John Malkovich stumbles through the portal into the mind of John Malkovich, resulting in a mega-Malkovich meltdown.

Why It’s Great: The scene is batshit crazy, and all the better for it. Mallovich Malkovich!

Oceans 12 (2004)

The Meta Moment: Julia Roberts is forced to impersonate Julia Roberts in the presence of Bruce Willis, while Matt Damon improvises as her PR manager.

Why It’s Great: The Roberts element might be a bit smug, but the scene does afford Matt Damon the opportunity to tease Willis about his lack of Oscar recognition. “That little statue on the mantle starts smirking at you after a while, you know what I’m saying?” says Damon. “Not really, no,” comes the terse response.