Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

This supercut breaks cinema’s fabled fourth wall hundreds of times

The fourth wall offers very little in the way of structural integrity or privacy to movie characters. Already transparent, allowing viewers to peep in on scenes that are absolutely none of their business, the fourth wall can be broken very easily. It takes almost nothing. Just looking directly at the camera for a second will do the trick. A new supercut, edited by Adam Bennett and posted to the Vimeo account of The Video Shop, collects approximately 400 examples of fourth wall breaking scenes, spanning decades and genres. Organized more or less thematically, rather than chronologically or alphabetically, the video shows that there are numerous, creative ways to smash that fourth wall to pieces. One popular method is to mess with the studio logo or the opening credits. Sometimes, a character onscreen will talk to the audience directly. There’s even an entire passage of this supercut devoted to jokes about onscreen subtitles. But perhaps the simplest method is just to have the hero give a knowing look to the audience, as if to say, “Can you believe this?”

Not surprisingly, the faces seen most often here belong to comedians and other cinematic smart alecks who want you to know that this is all just a movie, folks, and nothing to get alarmed about. Appropriately, then, Peter Sellers, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Burt Reynolds, Mike Myers, and Bill Murray all put in multiple appearances in this montage. Meanwhile, in the films of Mel Brooks, Monty Python, or the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team, the fourth wall is so flimsy and so frequently shattered that it might as well not exist.


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