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“Always Be My Baby” is now streaming on Netflix, and some of the excitement around the film has centered on a (very funny) cameo by Keanu Reeves as the very aggressive new boyfriend of Ali Wong’s character.
But cameos are not, of course, a new invention of the streaming age. On the contrary, the cameo is an ancient art that stretches all the way back to the time Kurt Vonnegut wrote a bad essay about his own work in “Back to School,” and possibly even before that!
Mind - Panel - Critics - Movie - Cameos
With that in mind, we asked our panel of critics to name their favorite movie cameos ever. Check out their choices below:
I’ve recently been oddly fascinated by Huey Lewis’s brief cameo in “Back to the Future,” in which he plays a teacher who rejects Marty McFly’s band from competing in a school contest as he finds them “too darn loud,” because I think it ticks so many of the boxes for a “classic”, for lack of a better word, type of cameo. Lewis is someone involved with the film’s production in another aspect (soundtrack), there’s a deep irony to the appearance (a rock musician playing someone who doesn’t appear to particularly like rock music—even more, the song he’s negatively reacting to is a performance of a song by his band), and it all plays as something of an inside joke (there’s no indication that there’s anything surprising who’s playing the teacher if you don’t recognize him). Certainly cameo appearances occupy a far wider variety of contexts and forms than this, but there’s something really interesting to me about how this specific moment seems to serve as a perfect encapsulation of how one might traditionally imagine a cameo.
Cameo - One - Cameos - Sets - Standard
The best cameo ever is the one that sums up all preceding cameos and sets an insurmountably high standard...
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