A cameo is typically a small part in a film played by someone whose status is above that of their role. While some cameos have a special significance, a lot of them are relatively throwaway, blink or you’ll miss it moments. Pointless, right?
Well in many cases, yes. A pointless cameo might reek of desperation and an attempt to remain relevant, and in many cases, the list below dives straight into that. However, pointless doesn’t directly translate to bad in this list. While some seem like nothing more than human product placement, a few have much more wholesome intentions.
10 Chester Bennington in Saw VII
Honestly, I’m not even sure if this counts as a cameo. The late Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was on screen in Saw VII for quite a while, certainly long enough to appease the early 2000’s nu-metal fans, but his role was largely pointless.
Considering his acting was surprisingly good, it seems like making the effort to get him involved in the film was largely wasted by ripping his back off and sending him crashing through a wall just two minutes into his screen time. It does make for one of the cooler traps in an otherwise disappointing Saw VII, but it really seems like Bennington could have done more here.
9 Daniel Craig in Star Wars: Episode VII
Star Wars is no stranger to some cool cameos. With Spectre and Star Wars: Episode VII filming at the same time in Pinewood studios, Daniel Craig was able to wander from one set to another in order to make his brief appearance as a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens. While he publicly denied this appearance for some reason, his voice is pretty clear under that white helmet. This certainly isn’t a self-promotional appearance, but leaving Craig buried under a helmet seems like a bit of a missed trick. Then again, maybe James Bond turning up on a Starship wouldn’t be the most immersive thing in the world.
8 Kanye West in Anchorman 2
Whatever your view is of Kanye West these days, it’s clear that back in 2013 he might have taken himself just slightly less seriously. Armed with a silver tooth and a jacket (which, apparently, he hated) Kayne was front and center for the battle of the news anchors.
While he apparently loved his time in the film, it was all a bit over-obvious. Rather than some subtle (probably funnier) background fighting, the producers wanted to squeeze all they could out of Kanye and made sure it was abundantly clear that that really was the most famous rapper on earth in their film.
7 Stephen King in It Chapter 2
Stephen King likes to show up in his own films. After all, he genuinely seems like quite a fun-loving and interesting guy. The problem with his role in It Chapter 2, is that he’s effectively playing a version of himself, talking to a version of himself. He’s talking to Bill, a successful writer who isn’t great with endings, about the very fact that he’s a successful writer who isn’t great with endings, while King himself is, let’s be honest, a successful writer who isn’t great with endings. It’s all a bit meta for a film about an evil clown.
6 Peter Jackson in Hot Fuzz
While this appearance stemmed from Jackson’s friendship with Edgar Wright and his love for Shaun Of The Dead, its split-second section seemed like a waste of such a big name. Cate Blanchett was also in the film, but took on the much less pointless (yet even more secretive) role of Nick Angel’s masked ex-girlfriend.
5 Michael Jackson in Men In Black II
Michael Jackson was always a strange guy, but his appearance in Men In Black II is an odd one even by his standards. Having one of the most recognizable faces and voices in history makes the giant projection of him a moment completely impossible to miss.
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Seeing a global megastar in the middle of a spy-comedy really takes you out of the moment, especially when even his name is a reference to Jackson himself. While he personally asked Will Smith for a cameo, perhaps it wasn’t the wisest decision for Will to say yes. Then again, it wasn’t the wisest decision to make Men In Black 2.
4 Hulk Hogan in Gremlins 2: The New Batch
This is the exact opposite of the above. In the sequel to Gremlins, Hulk Hogan is seen dressed head to toe in his stage gear (something I can’t imagine he often goes out in) in the cinema. He delivers a classic Hogan-like speech, rips his shirt off and breaks the fourth wall all within a matter of seconds. In fairness, the film is interspersed with a lot of strange fourth wall breaks, references to other franchises and actual segments from Loony Tunes, but this cameo is still absolutely pointless.
3 Stan Lee in The Princess Diaries 2
Stan Lee is known for making brilliant, well-planned and hilarious cameos in the Marvel films. It seems strange, then, that he should appear in such a bizarre and pointless way in The Princess Diaries 2.
Smiling away and looking as happy as ever, Lee pretends to be an uncle who learned English watching The Three Stooges. The problem is, it’s completely unprompted and he doesn’t really attempt any accent aside from his own thick American one. It leaves Julie Andrews just as confused as us by this unconvincing character you can’t help but think might have been pulled off better by, you know, an actor?
2 Miley Cyrus in High School Musical 2
You might well have missed this one, but back in the days of Disney Channel, Miley Cyrus showed up for a few seconds of in-character dancing at the end of High School Musical 2. This one actually has quite a cool backstory in that Miley was actually voted for by fans to make an appearance in the film. Certain fans might be wondering if this revelation means Hannah Montana and High School Musical exist in the same universe, but I’m sure most are wondering why they kept this appearance so subtle.
1 Donald Trump in Home Alone 2
Since his acquisition of the most powerful position in the world, Donald Trump’s cameo in Home Alone 2 has been talked about a lot. Perhaps he was a fan who wanted to have the exciting experience of being in a film?
Well, as you might expect from Trump, there is a far more demanding self-benefit involved. According to Matt Damon, in order to film in one of Trump’s buildings, he would insist on having a scene shot for the film. This gives a little bit of context to his chat with Kevin McCallister, while simultaneously sucking every last morsel of fun out of it.