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Film Studies 101
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13 Of Cinema's Most Meta Moments
Did you see what they did there?

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Trying to define exactly what a “meta” moment is caused a near-apocalyptic argument in the Empire office. Eventually we came to this conclusion: passing in-jokes and obscure prop gags didn’t cut it: to be truly “meta” the reference has to draw the character out of the film he was appearing in, and also require knowledge of previous work from that actor. Phew, that was technical. It all came up because of a beautiful moment in the charming indie comedy Cedar Rapids, where a cast of The Wire ends up impersonating another cast of The Wire. So in honour of that movie-stealing piece of happenstance, here are 12 other priceless meta-moments from through cinema`s history. And if you have any other favourites, then please do let us know in the comment box below.

WORDS ALASTAIR PLUMB
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13 Of Cinema's Most Meta Moments | Cedar Rapids (2011)
Cedar Rapids (2011)

Playing off: HBO crime drama series The Wire (2002-2008).
Stars involved: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Quote: “I’m straight up gangster, and I always keep one in the chamber.”

As any Guardian-reading telly snob will happily tell you, The Wire is “The Greatest TV Show Ever”, which makes it compulsory viewing for anyone who appreciates good drama, donchaknow. Anyway, just in case you haven’t watched it all yet, in The Wire there’s a character called Clayton 'Clay' Davis, a corrupt State Senator played by Isiah Whitlock Jr., best known for saying the word “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit” every other scene.

There’s also another character called Omar, a morally ambiguous stick-up man who spends most of his working day robbing people and being pretty goddamn scary.

We mention this because in Cedar Rapids, there’s a scene where Isiah Whitlock Jr. does an impersonation of Omar to intimidate the men beating up his friend, Tim Lippe (Ed Helms). It works, and afterwards he tells the group: “I do a pretty convincing Omar from the HBO programme, The Wire.” That, ladies and gentlemen, was meta. If he’d dropped in a “Shiiiiiiiiiit” we might have passed out in the cinema, to be honest.
 

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Your Comments

1 RE: 13 Of Cinema's Most Meta Moments
The bit at the end of Hot Fuzz where Edward Woodwards character says "Oh lord no" just after he sets off the sea mine, the same thing he says at the end of The Wicker Man when he's about to be burnt... More

Posted by edjones95 on Wednesday June 8, 2011, 23:30

2 RE: Also in Ocean's 12...
i find this reply weird. lol More

Posted by sherylradcliff on Monday May 9, 2011, 10:21


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