The Film Cameo: The Fine Line Between Pointless and Purpose

So many films have cameos now. The Marvel films always have a cameo from Stan Lee. but this is getting pretty excessive, ridiculous and pointless.
So what exactly makes a good cameo now? How can cameos feel warranted within a film?
This could make mention of Quentin Tarantino’s cameos in his films and embedding them into the narrative slightly and any other director who similarly does this. Maybe also mention the rumoured cameos set to appear in Batman vs Superman and how many of those are going to be purposeful.
Or are cameos solely just there as a nod to the fans/audience and are nothing more than a glorified easter egg.

  • Great topic! This could make for a really interesting article. I would imagine that a cameo is purposeful if it does something to move the plot forward. This being said, I think you'll need to consider whether easter eggs and nods to the fans/audience are truly meaningless. Even if a cameo does not advance the film in a particular way, are there other ways that cameos can add value to a movie or to an audience's reception of a movie? – NicoleEWilliams 7 years ago
  • One of the more memorable film cameos I can recall is the appearance of Marshall McLuhan in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" (1977). This does nothing to advance the plot -- though that implies the film has a really coherent plot. What this does accomplish is to puncture the pomposity of people who try to sound like an expert on a subject about which they know nothing. It's a very rewarding scene. – jgwilson 7 years ago

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