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Marshall McLuhan

The film: Annie Hall (1977)
Version of self played: Brainy philosopher who loiters in cinema lobbies
Approximate screen time: 30 seconds

The French have an expression, “l'esprit de l'escalier”, for that annoying moment when you think of something clever to say too late to win an argument. Woody Allen just has brainiac philosopher Marshall McLuhan for that. Frustrated with a know-it-all pontificating about McLuhan’s work in his cinema queue, Annie Hall’s Alvy Singer does what we’d all love to do and actually produces McLuhan himself to debunk the man’s opinions on the spot. The philosopher wasn’t first choice for this cameo – Allen asked Federico Fellini and Luis Buñuel initially – but he does a solid job of popping out from behind a poster, landing some intellectual punches and disappearing again.

Marks out of ten: 8½ (Fellini would have wanted it that way).

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Your Comments

1 Rocky films
The rocky films have a few...but two that should be in this list are joe Frazier from Rocky, and james brown in rocky 4 (living in America!) More

Posted by echoalpha92 on Monday July 22, 2013, 09:26

2 Silent Movie
Did I miss Mel Brooks' 'Silent Movie' in the compilation? Surely you can't ignore a film that features Burt Reynolds, James Caan, Liza Minelli, Anne Bancroft, Paul Newman and Marcel Marceau all playing themselves? Newman is my favourite, but the Marceau gag is the most memorable. More

Posted by cloacina on Wednesday July 17, 2013, 21:45

3 Leonard Maltin
You should have put film critic Leonard Maltin on this list. His appearance in Gremlins 2, reviewing Gremlins as the Gremlins themselves take issue it it, was inspired. Unless you were worried the Gremlins might come after you next..... More

Posted by Kev2012 on Monday July 15, 2013, 20:30

4 William S. Burroughs
No love for the BRILLIANT cameo of Burroughs at the end of 'Drugstore Cowboy? For SHAME!' More

Posted by glaive on Sunday July 14, 2013, 16:25

5
Johnny Depp in L.A. Without A Map?? Dull film but the combination of David Tennant and Johnny Depp onscreen is just too awesome to be ignored. More

Posted by jennylouise on Saturday July 13, 2013, 20:50

6 Julia Roberts
Seriously Julia Roberts in Oceans Twelve doesn't get a mention... That was brilliant and I don't think anyone saw that coming. More

Posted by Xolelwa on Sunday July 7, 2013, 23:48

7
Yeah tom jones should be number 1 hes a legend! More

Posted by boboshambles on Friday July 5, 2013, 19:37

8 The Muse
and here are a couple of a list directors going crazy in albert brook's film- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3gRtGeMGY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly7FkGb3b-c More

Posted by spark1 on Tuesday July 2, 2013, 10:26

9 RE: nice
L: hermes16 nice list, however as with all these 'top 50' type list features that Empire does, I wish they'd include a page that just summarizes the list, as scrolling through every individual page takes ages. ave you still got dial-up? More

Posted by Osric on Tuesday July 2, 2013, 10:16

10 Tom Petty in The Postman...
I loved seeing "future Tom Petty" in The Postman, particularly when Kevin Costner's character asks him "Weren't you famous once?"... Nice joke. More

Posted by Toursiveu on Tuesday July 2, 2013, 02:38

11 The Voice and The Godfather of Soul
Brilliant list, but you just have to have forgotten these 2 amazing playing themselves examples. Jones as Tom Jones: Saviour of the Universe in Mars Attacks.helps save the world from Ack-Acks and then is first in the queue in the repopulating of the planet. Plus he is at one with nature. Amaze-balls! But the Voice is NOT a fan of Slim Whitman. www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFs6FBxCfAUb]2. James Brown as unlucky but slightly creepy James Brown in The Tuxedo.Godfather of Soul is in his dressing room when stumbled upon by Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt. He initially is very generous and polite, offering the mis-matched couple front row seats but immediately follows it up by "complementing" Miss Love Hewitt on her "Nice Rack". Jackie then accidentally side swipes him and knocks him out cold (sweat). www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxy0q9dp1GA More

Posted by frankie on Monday July 1, 2013, 15:48

12
No love for Kurt Vonnegut in Back to School? Which also sets up for a great call back joke More

Posted by AgentDesmond on Sunday June 30, 2013, 21:51

13 Repeat Offender
actually the shat has previous on this with roles in 'free enterprise' and 'showtime' More

Posted by spark1 on Sunday June 30, 2013, 11:34

14 RE: haha:D
This list immediately made me think of Julia Roberts in Twelvese character Tess has to impersonate the famous actress Julia Roberts to fool the 'real-life' Bruce Willis??? Urgh. I'm sure everyone involved thought this was awfully funny, clever and meta... but it's the self-satisfied straw that breaks this lame camel-of-a-film's back. More

Posted by tommypocket on Saturday June 29, 2013, 10:46

15 haha:D
Shatner in Fanboys is the best of them all!=P "Im William Shatner, I can score anything" haha so damn good More

Posted by Paulieman on Friday June 28, 2013, 16:36

16 The Beatles
They didn't play themselves in Yellow Submarine More

Posted by Jack Spank on Friday June 28, 2013, 16:12

17 Surely...
...Chuck Norris in Dodgeball? More

Posted by Humungousfungus on Friday June 28, 2013, 14:32

18
What about Zoe Bell in Death prof? More

Posted by retranimator on Friday June 28, 2013, 14:05

19
I agree More

Posted by shinebox123 on Friday June 28, 2013, 13:11

20 nice
nice list, however as with all these 'top 50' type list features that Empire does, I wish they'd include a page that just summarizes the list, as scrolling through every individual page takes ages. More

Posted by hermes16 on Friday June 28, 2013, 12:55

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