Good things can come in small bites sometimes, and that can also include performances. Some of these are brief walk-ons that largely work because of unexpected celebrity placements. Other nominees here would function more as “limited roles,” where actors create entire performances within a few short minutes. Yeah, the people in the later category probably have an advantage, but hey, them’s the breaks.
- Bruce Willis- The Expendables: Tons of hype was spewed onto the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger had a cameo in this movie, and frankly it was a waste. The dude just showed up out of nowhere, did nothing, and then left. Bruce Willis wasn’t around much longer, but his role had more of a purpose and he seemed to be having a lot more fun with his role. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that Willis has more charisma than Schwarzenegger, but still.
- Brandon Routh- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: There are a lot of super-powered exes in Scott Pilgrim, and their almost all defined by the fact that they make the main character really jealous. What’s going to give someone an inferiority complex more than Superman himself, albeit a Superman who isn’t particularly well remembered. The fact that Routh was pretty much cast in that iconic role for very superficial reasons just helps to underscore how vapid his character was here.
- Daft Punk- Tron: Legacy: If nothing else, this functions as pretty much the only movie that Daft Punk could show up for a cameo, in their regular costume, and fit in with the surroundings perfectly. The duo plays a pair of MP3 files who function as a pair of DJs at a techno-computer nightclub run by a Ziggy Stardust channeling Martin Sheen. Wow, that’s a lot of radness.
- Josh Brolin- True Grit: Every year I find myself nominating someone in this category who seems to push the limits of what can really be called a cameo. Brolin actually plays a character who is pretty important to the movie’s plot in spite of his limited screentime, still, this casting has that feeling of “hey, that’s josh Brolin” which I think sort of defines what a cameo is supposed to be.
- Justin Long- Youth in Revolt: Michael Cera’s other coming of age quirk-fest from 2010 probably didn’t generate the buzz of Scott Pilgrim but it had some personality of its own. Justin Long, who has a surprisingly large number of cool cameos on his resume given that he’s deeply annoying in regular roles, plays the burnout stoner brother of the main character’s manic pixie dream girl. It’s one of the movie’s funniest aspects.