The 8 Ball 11.12.13: The Top 8 Post-Credits Scenes
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 11.12.2013
From Nick Fury's appearance in Iron Man and the two scenes in The Avengers to the fourth wall-breaking Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the big surprise in Fast & Furious 6 and more, 411's Jeremy Thomas counts down the top 8 post-credits scenes!
Welcome, one and all, to the 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas and as always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top eight selections of that particular category. Keep in mind that this list is meant to be my personal opinion and not a definitive list. You're free to disagree; you can even say my list is wrong, but stating that an opinion is "wrong" is just silly. With that in mind, let's get right in to it!
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Top 8 Post-Credit Scenes
Welcome back to the 8 Ball, ladies and gentlemen! Thor: The Dark World made quite the splash at the box office this weekend (see, I can avoid using puns if I want!), with $86.1 million domestically and $327 million worldwide. To put that in perspective, it was not very far off from topping Captain America: The First Avenger's entire worldwide gross already. Much has been made about the two post-credits scenes that take place, and that got me to thinking about those post-credits sequences. Scenes that play after the credits have rolled--traditionally called stingers or codas--have technically been around since From Russia with Love included the "James Bond will return in..." tagline after the credits had rolled. But the first true example of what we could call a "post-credits" scene would come about in 1979, and grow increasingly ubiquitous in recent years with the rise of the movie geeks and fanboys. This week I thought I would look at the best scenes to take place after the credits.
Caveat: A couple of little caveats for this list. First off all, for criteria I kept this list specific to scenes that take place after the credits were completed as opposed to during the credits. Scenes during the credits tend toward gag reels and the like and I wanted to look more specifically at the epilogues and codas. In terms of ranking, I was looking at the overall satisfaction that the scene provided. Even a bad movie can have a good stinger attached to the end. Finally, this should go without saying but there are some SPOILERS in this, including one for (spoiler alert) Fast & Furious 6. The rest have all past the point where they have been released on home video and I feel like most people who wanted to see Fast 6 probably did already.
• Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
• Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
• Thor (2011)
• Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
• House on Haunted Hill (1999)
#8: Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)
First up on our list this week is a movie that, all in all, I didn't particularly like. I dig stoner comedy well enough and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is fine; hell, Harold & Kumar's 3D Christmas isn't too bad either. But for me the middle adventure is where things really fell flat. The highlight of course is the expanded role that Neil Patrick Harris has in playing the drugged-out, sociopathic version of himself. Harris is shot in the back by a madam after he brands a prostitute in a brothel and is thought to be dead, but once the credits roll we cut to him laying on the ground. He pulls himself slowly upward and, as it fades to black once more, he delivers one last obscenity. This coda was great because it worked in the way most comedy stingers work: taking a largely moment from the highlight of the film and revisiting it for one final laugh. Besides, anything that gives us more NPH in this franchise was a welcome move as far as I'm concerned; it put a final funny moment on a film that could have used more of them.
#7: Evil Dead (2013)
Horror films have been using post-credit scenes for nearly as long as the idea has been in existence. Most of the time a post-credits moment is to tease a way to continue the franchise or give us one last scare. In this year's Evil Dead remake, we actually get a little bit of the reverse: a scene that ties the film to what came before, rather than suggesting how the franchise can continue. The end of the film, which sees Jane Levy's Mia walking away as the lone survivor, already gives us a hint that more is to come when the Book of the Dead slams shut on its own accord. That might have been enough to fool some people into thinking it was all that they were getting, but those savvy fans who stuck around anyway were rewarded with a scene in which an older Ash Williams appears in profile and delivers his famous "Groovy" line from Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. We had already been told that the film was a loose continuation of the previous films, but outside of a few moderately subtle callbacks there had been nothing (and certainly nothing definitive) tying the two together. Bruce Campbell's appearance provided a rock-solid link between the two narratives and gave proof to the statements that Fede Alvarez, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell have made about the films being directly connected.
#6: Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Richard Donner is in some ways the grandfather of the post-credits scene, having included a post-credits tagline in Superman in 1978 the promoted the sequel. In terms of actual stingers though, his best moment was in the third entry of the Lethal Weapon franchise. We've already talked about some of the key reasons that a post-credits moment are used, including teasing or setting up sequels and giving a last quick gag for the fans. Donner did something a little different; he set up a little fan service moment when Riggs and Murtaugh pull up to a hotel and debate whether to go inside, only to have it blow. They then back away with Riggs saying "I hope nobody saw us" before they both deliver the famous "I'm too old for this shit" line. Yes, the moment is certainly funny but it isn't a gag like Harold & Kumar and it doesn't set anything up. It merely provided one more great moment for fans of the buddy cop team. What makes this moment even better is the way in which it was put together; Donner wasn't able to get Mel Gibson and Danny Glover back together for the stinger so he included them via voiceover. When you can create a great moment like this without your cast being directly present, you deserve a lot of credit.
#5: Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Listen guys, if you've been spoiled here...sorry, but I warned you. Even in bold lettering. The Fast franchise has delivered quite a few post-credits sequences, though they've been of varying quality. Much like the franchise itself, not everything has been a hit. But the last couple of entries have done it right. First you had Fast Five in which the Rock's Luke Hobbs finds out from 2 Fast 2 Furious' Monica Fuentes that Dom Toretto's believed-dead love Letty is alive and kicking, which sets the events of the sixth film in motion. And then, once the dust has settled from all of the gleefully over-the-top action in that one, you get one of the more sublime continuity moments in action franchise history. You see, the Fast franchise has a very strange sort of chronology. The films essentially go in this order by entry: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and then the third film, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. In order to tie all that together, we know that Han had to die. And they did it in a great way that tied into the film that came before (since?) when Owen Shaw's brother is revealed as the man who killed Han. And that brother is played by none other than Jason Statham. It drew some of the most excited sounds I've heard in a theater in about five years and set expectations ever higher for Fast & Furious 7, doing exactly what a good stinger should.
#4: The Avengers (2012)
The film so big it got not one, but two post-credits scenes! Perhaps it's not too much of a surprise that The Avengers received two post-credits sequences, as it was the big movie that Marvel was banking on and you would imagine that they had a lot they wanted to accomplish. But the best part about this is what those scenes were. The first takes place in the middle of the credits (we'll count it as a technicality in this case, it is distinctly different than a "runs during the credits" moment) and delivers the big fanboy-pleasing moment as we learn that Thanos, one of the heaviest hitters in the Marvel universe, was behind the whole thing. That got people deeply excited and accomplished exactly what it had to in order to give fanboys around the world the chance to lean over to the person they came with and whisper an explanation of who that is. (Let's not lie; we fanboys love being able to do that.)
But it was the second sequence that really took the cake. And it was such a little thing; a tie-in to a seemingly throwaway joke by Tony Stark at the end of the film about wanting shwarma. But the sheer joy of seeing these characters in this moment after all the epic action is over, just eating at a little restaurant together. Not only is it hilarious (my favorite part is Cap basically being asleep at the table), but it also makes them distinctly human. These are the moments you don't see in big superhero films, or any big franchise film. The heroes just being people. And it's twice as great because outside of obviously Bruce Banner, they're all in their costumes. It humanizes and provides hilarity. What more could you want?
#3: Airplane! (1980)
This is the single greatest post-credits gag in the history of film. And it's so simple, too. But so many films have attempted to copy it and none of them have quite reached the hilarity of this one. It all ties back to a scene in the beginning of the film when Ted Stryker is driving a taxi. He pulls up to the airport, bumping up on the curb and leaves the meter running as a man waits in the back seat. And about eighty-seven minutes later, after we've seen all sorts of insane hijinks and other moments of sheer madcap hilarity, the credits roll to give us a capper on the end of one of the greatest spoof films of all time. But oh, we're not done yet...we still have that one little joke, as we cut back to Howard Jarvis, the Man in the Taxi (that's actually how he's referred to in the credits). The meter is still going; the taxi is still up on the curb. And the man looks at his watch, sighs and says "Well, I'll give him another 20 minutes... but that's it." It's brilliant in its simplicity and many, many a comedy stinger owes its existence to this moment.
#2: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
If you're going to break the fourth wall in a film, then you'd better do it right. Characters referring directly to the audience has been done very well and very, very poorly on screen before, but it is safe to say that no film does it quite as well as Ferris Bueller's Day Off. John Hughes' 1980s comedic masterpiece gleefully shattered that wall with a wrecking ball and Mathew Broderick did an incredible job with it, making Ferris relatable and witty without being too smarmy. It's a fine line to walk, and he made it look easy. The best moment involving it was the end though, after Principal Rooney has been assaulted and is forced to take the school bus away. The credits finish up and we cut back to the hallway, where Ferris comes out in a robe and gives the camera a bewildered look. He comes close, looking at the camera and saying, "You're still here? It's over. Go home." And then he walks off, only to turn a moment and wave once more, saying, "Go." It's incredibly funny and yet it doesn't have to reach for that humor; it's just naturally humorous and it plays beautifully. Bravo, Mrs. Broderick and Hughes.
#1: Iron Man (2008)
In the Fast & Furious 6 entry, I noted that I had not heard that much excitement in a theater for five years. This was the other moment. This was the moment that brought codas into mainstream mass markets. Yes, the concept had been on films for years and even well-known films. But you didn't usually get everyone (or a majority, or even a sizable minority) of people sticking around through the credits until after this moment. This was the moment that not only launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in earnest; it was the ultimate moment of wish-fulfillment for fanboys up to that point. This stinger fulfills all possible moments. There's a gag in it, it's fan service and of course, it set up so much to follow in its wake. When Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury turns to say "I'd like to talk to you about the Avengers Initiative," superhero films had the bar raised. It was a great moment and is easily the best post-credits scene.
Note: Now that I am caught up to current, I have gone back to watch the episodes that have become available in the US since I started watching and thus were previously unavailable to me (thus why I have episodes remaining despite being caught up).
Current Series/Season:Season Five (1968) Episodes Watched: 633 Last Serial Completed:The Web of Fear - The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria return to London where they find the Great Intelligence and its robotic Yeti have overrun the London Underground railway system. With the help of a Colonel named Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, they move to stop the villain from taking over the world. Surviving Episodes Remaining: 20
And that will do it for us this week! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a good week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! JT out.