​revisiting all the wtf moments from the world of film in 2016

Bill Murray didn't actually crash a White House press briefing to talk about baseball did he?

by Oliver Lunn
23 December 2016, 9:21pm

If it were possible to wipe 2016 from memory, Eternal Sunshine-style, there might be a few takers. And you wouldn't blame them. It was a shitty year, in which your worst nightmares took shape before your very eyes. And while the world of film provided a much-needed escape from the Trumpocalypse and everything else, it was arguably just as unpredictable and laden with WTF moments. "Did that actually just happen?'' it felt like we found ourselves uttering daily. The abnormal became normal. Here are just some of the moments on and off screen that made you slap your cheeks and scream your head off like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone

That time #OscarsSoWhite happened…
It was embarrassing for everyone. It was the biggest WTF moment in the movie world this year. It was #Oscarssowhite, a reaction to the fact that not one of the 20 nominees was black for the second year running. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith boycotted the ceremony along with a few others, while the show's host, Chris Rock, faced the storm head-on. He entered the stage with zingers like, "I'm here at the Academy Awards—otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards."

That time Charlotte Rampling said the diversity row was "racist to white people"…
In the fallout from #Oscarssowhite, Charlotte Rampling, a 70-year-old white British actress, said that the campaign to boycott the ceremony over claims of a diversity deficit was "racist to whites". She went on, "One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list." Then the internet exploded. Of course it did. To be fair she did later attempt to clarify: "I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted ... I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration."

That time The Rock was named the highest paid actor of 2016…
The wrestler guy who "acts" now? Seriously?! I guess anything is possible in 2016.

That time Kate Moss had a movie cameo in Absolutely Fabulous (and Zoolander 2)…
Until this year, Kate Moss had never appeared in a feature film. Now she's been in two, albeit fleetingly. In Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie she plays herself, appearing in a glitzy green dress, champagne flute in one hand, fag in the other. That is, before Eddie accidentally pushes her into the River Thames. In Zoolander 2, another fashion world satire, she again plays herself, as part of a secret society in search of the fountain of youth. So there you go. Kate Moss is a movie star now. Kind of. 

That time James Franco played Riff Raff alongside Riff Raff in a music video for Riff Raff…
It was even more surprising given that, back in 2013, Riff Raff was set to take legal action against Harmony Korine and James Franco for basing the character of Alien in Spring Breakers on him. They seem to have made up now though. Franco's Riff Raff-inspired character appears again, minus the cornrows, in the music video for Riff Raff's Only in America, featuring everything you'd expect from a Riff Raff joint: silver teeth grills, crotch-grabbing, the American flag, multi-coloured hair, and terrible tattoos. 

That time Nicolas Winding Refn had beef with Lars von Trier…
The Cannes Film Festival infamously banned Lars von Trier in 2011 for saying nice things about the Nazis. This year, Nicolas Winding Refn had some unkind words to say about his fellow Dane. "Lars, Lars, done a lot of drugs, over the hill." He goes on, "The last thing I saw Lars do was trying to tell my wife he wanted to have sex with her. He found some other slut." No one really knows what this is all about. But knowing Von Trier and Refn, both arch provocateurs who share a schoolboy sense of humour, it's not that much of a stretch to believe.

That time Shia LaBeouf occupied an Oxford lift in the name of performance art…
It's hard to pick one WTF Shia moment from 2016, just as it's hard to know what he's gonna do next. But the most unpredictable thing he did this year, perhaps, was step inside an Oxford lift for 24 hours in the name of performance art. "One guy pulled his dick out," Shia said, recalling the project known as #Elevate, made with artistic collaborators Nastja Sade Ronkko and Luke Turner. It was streamed live online and it was apparently all about creating forced intimacy. Something an actor should be good at, huh.

That time Bill Murray crashed the White House to talk baseball…
Bill Murray is as unpredictable as Shia LaBeouf, whether he's crashing weddings, hanging out with students or playing a dog in a Wes Anderson movie. This year he made a strange appearance at the White House press briefing room. In full Cubs gear - that's the Chicago Cubs, his favourite baseball team, FYI - he talks about great pitchers and shares his baseball predictions. He was there to meet Obama, apparently, but it's not hard to see how this little stunt eclipsed that conversation. 

That time pro skater Eric Koston appeared in the Point Break remake…
It made sense when pro skater Eric Koston had a cameo in Spike Jonze's Her. Jonze's roots are in skating, him and Koston go way back. That I get. This however…this I don't get. Maybe because Koston is one of the best skaters of all time and this was one of the worst movies of all time. If you do find yourself watching this film, his blink-or-you'll-miss-it cameo comes during one of the party scenes. It's the best moment in the movie, for sure.

That time the world's most elusive filmmaker appeared in public…
A filmmaker appearing in public hardly sounds newsworthy, but it is when it's Terrence Malick, aka the most elusive filmmaker on the planet. The director of The Tree of Life and Knight of Cups doesn't do interviews and is notoriously camera shy; he's the J.D. Salinger of the film world. Which is why everyone was stunned to hear he made a public appearance recently. He appeared at a New Jersey theatre to do a random Q&A following a screening of 1954's Journey to Italy. There was strictly no photography that night, so we don't actually have any physical evidence that this happened. Did this actually happen?

That time Donald Trump said Citizen Kane was his favourite movie…
In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Trump name-checked his "all-time favorite movie" as Citizen Kane, the critically adored film is about a narcissistic media magnate who lives in a lonely fortress that might as well be Trump Tower. No doubt Trump sees a lot of himself in Kane - insensitive, self-centered, greedy. But my guess is he chose this title to try and sound smart, or more likely, to go with the popular vote. He probably just Googled: "What is the best film of all time?" 

That time Xavier Dolan dissed the Cannes Film Festival…
Long-time Cannes darling Xavier Dolan snubbed the festival this year over 'trolling and bullying'. This followed the mixed response that greeted his film It's Only the End of the World. It was strange to hear, because the director had long been adored at the festival, seeming almost critic-proof. In 2014 his film Mommy won a joint jury prize with Jean-Luc Godard, and just last year he served on the jury. But now, you suspect his relationship with the bigwigs at Cannes is less cosy.

That time critics and filmmakers locked horns over I, Daniel Blake
It's rare to see a virtual punch-up on Twitter between critics and filmmakers. Especially when the film in question is not a Michael Bay blockbuster but a Ken Loach indie. Loach called out Sunday Times critic Camilla Long when she called his film "a povvo safari for middle-class do-gooders" and "misery porn for smug Londoners". He in turn called her review "ghastly". Her response? "Poor Ken Loach. I'd be fucking angry if I wasn't Mike Leigh, too." 



Text Oliver Lunn

bill murray
year review
did that happen?