Refuge in Audacity/Film

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

  • An infamous deleted scene from the first Star Wars movie shows Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia strolling through the corridors of the Death Star, their faces uncovered and their street clothes clearly visible, but also conspicuously sporting some stark white utility belts they have stolen from Imperial stormtroopers they've managed to knock out and/or kill. And all this in full view of the Imperial personnel! Apparently, the only explanation is that Han, Luke, Chewie and Leia figured that the enemy would find this sight so funny or brazen or unbelievable that they'd just dismiss it. (My guess is that George Lucas shot this scene for no other reason than to add to his personal blooper reel.)
  • Back to The Future: When Biff and his sidekicks chase Marty on the impromptu skateboard, and they approach the manure truck, Marty climbs over their car, through the sidekicks, and lands back on the skateboard.
  • Be Kind Rewind: When every tape in a video rental place is erased, the leads decide to do 20-minute no-budget versions of the films themselves and hope nobody notices. It didn't actually work, but customers found the remade films had their own odd charm, and the store was actually more successful than it was before the accident.
  • You only need three words: Big Fat Liar. Like any director would steal creative writing from some kid's backpack and turn it into his next big movie...
  • In The Blues Brothers, the cops find out that Elwood's license is suspended, so they call the entire national guard of Illinois to catch them.
    • Well, he did have 116 parking tickets and 56 moving violations. That takes some effort!
      • What happens after the gig " the last time they played anywhere, they where charged with: grand lawsuit, felonious motor vehicle assault and damages excess of over 20 million dollars".
    • Elwood also falsified his address on his license, listing it as 1060 West Addison. The police manage to find his real address, but the Illinois Nazis fell for it.
  • The Dragnet movie has the obligatory Turn in Your Badge moment be the result of the arrest of a reverend, like anyone would believe that he was organizing a drug rave and trying to offer a woman as a human sacrifice.
  • The crazier and more over-the-top the actions of the main characters in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas became, the more likely they were to get away with them. These actions included doing enough drugs to kill a herd of elephants, destroying their hotel rooms, trashing a couple of expensive rental cars, and showing up stoned out of their minds at a police anti-drug convention. The trope was invoked by Raoul Duke at one point, after a truly astonishing sequence wherein he and his attorney chase a pair of cops and their wives down a highway, demanding that they be allowed to sell the cops drugs; the attorney wonders if they'll be arrested, to which Duke points out that nobody would believe the victims if they tried to report it. The scary part is that this is based, however lightly, on actual occurrence.

"It was all over now. We'd abused every that Vegas lived by. Burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help. The only chance now, I felt, was the possibility that we'd gone to such excess that nobody in the position to bring the hammer down on us could possibly believe it."

    • The author Hunter S. Thompson's entire reputation seems to be based on Refuge in Audacity. Stories circulate of him intentionally invoking this trope; when his house was found to contain over thirty firearms from handguns up to machine guns, and several sticks of dynamite, Hunter told the police that they were "for home defense."
  • Ghost: When Whoopi Goldberg's character signs the million-dollar check, she goofs and apologies, "I signed the wrong name."
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: Indy's encounter with Adolf Hitler. When you're carrying a diary about the Holy Grail, which Hitler seems to want for some reason, and you come face to face with the man himself, do you hide it? No. You take advantage of the book signing you're at and get Hitler's autograph.
    • While escaping from Berlin in a Zeppelin which hasn't quite taken off yet, Indy notices an SS officer searching for him and his father. With no place to run or hide, Indy decides the best course of action is to disguise himself as a steward on the Zeppelin, follow the officer around, then hit the officer with a sucker punch when the officer finds Jones Sr and throw the officer out a window. The real audacity comes when Indy explains "No ticket" to the shocked German passengers in clear American English. The other passengers immediately present theirs.
    • In the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade adventure game, you also can encounter Hitler. However, you are then given control of Indy and can give him a few different things to sign: the diary, a copy of Mein Kampf (you can give it to a guard at a security checkpoint), or a pass (which lets you go through any security checkpoint without problems). You can also punch Hitler, but his bodyguard will make sure you don't live to enjoy it.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tops this. In an infamous scene early in the film, Indy realizes that he is on a nuclear test site that is about to be tested upon. How does he survive? By sealing himself in a lead-lined fridge. And it works. Yet he doesn't just survive it. The fridge is actually thrown out of the test house it's in, when that house and everything else is disintegrated, and the fridge is actually launched through the air, to well outside the blast radius.
  • Questionable, but maybe the IDKFA "Invincibility and Infinite Ammo" cheat used by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in the "over the roof" shooting sequences in Commando (1985) and Rambo: The First Blood Part II (1985) respectively, fall under this trope.
  • In Just One of the Guys, a teenager pulls a Sweet Polly Oliver so she can write an article about life as a guy. When her vacationing parents phone home, her brother informs them that his sister has become a transvestite, and is assumed to be kidding.
  • Mary Poppins landed her job by simply acting as if she already had it (and to an extent, actually subjected her prospective employer to a quasi-job interview in turn).
    • She also flatly dismissed the children's recounting of their adventures with her right to their faces, knowing full well just how ridiculous it actually sounded, even though it had just happened.
    • Have we forgotten how she did just blow the competition away to get the job? That was, with a wind spell, against old ladies.
    • Then Mr. Banks confronts her:

Mr. Banks: Will you be good enough to explain all this?
Mary Poppins: First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear.
Mr. Banks: Yes?
Mary Poppins [brief pause as if tongue-tied]: I never explain anything.

Cardinal Richelieu: Ah, yes. That is usually the first. Let me see if I remember it correctly. While the English attack from without, the wicked Cardinal undermines from within, forging a secret alliance with Buckingham and placing himself on the throne. But really, Your Majesty, why stop there? I have heard much more festive variations. I make oaths with pagan gods, seduce the queen in her own chamber, teach pigs to dance and horses to fly, and keep the moon carefully hidden within the folds of my robe. Have I forgotten anything?

  • In Leap of Faith the protagonist gets out of a speeding ticket by cold reading the police officer and taunting him about his divorce until he gets arrested. He then talks the cop into reconciling with his estranged daughter, and walks away a free man.
  • In The Men Who Stare at Goats the covert psychic organization is so outrageous, (has pseudo-hippie philosophy and refers to its members as Jedi) that the film can get away with harsh social commentary on the Iraq War that would otherwise make it controversial.
    • The fact that the movie's based on real research the military actually engaged in just makes it even more awesome.
      • The book the movie's based on was written by a nutjob who assumed the Army did that stuff because of the goats on Fort Bragg that the movie actually did explain the purpose of.
    • The Jedi reference was likely due to Ewan McGregor being in the movie.
      • Apparently the director was not aware of this, but Ewan played it up anyway.
  • In Once Upon a Time In Mexico, Sands walks around wearing a CIA t-shirt. This in itself isn't weird, but then you remember that he's, you know, an actual CIA agent. Arguably, this is how Sands gets by with most of his antics.
  • Everything in Kick-Ass, but particularly anything to do with Hit Girl. This trope is arguably the entire point of the movie.
  • Postal. It's too offensive to be taken seriously. Too bad most people don't understand this.
  • Crank more or less runs on this trope: should the main character ever STOP doing things absolutely ridiculous, his heart slows down and he dies. This leads to such incidents as fighting a room full of Scary Black Men, overdosing on artificial adrenaline, riding a motorcycle in nothing more than a hospital gown, and having sex with a woman in Chinatown while everyone cheers you on.
    • The sequel, Crank: High Voltage has so fucking much of this, it's unbearable. It's like Neveldine/Taylor both thought of a thousand outrageous scenes, put them all together with an equally outrageous plot, and made it work.
  • The art direction of Three Hundred, taken faithfully from Frank Miller's book, is this trope in action; especially the grotesques of the Persian army.
    • The story is also shown from the beginning as a work of propaganda from an Unreliable Narrator, charged with whipping the combined Hellenic armies into a frenzy. It worked.
  • Neo and Trinity's rescue of Morpheus in The Matrix reeks of this. Walking into a heavily guarded installation, with military support and three Agents, with coats full of guns and a bag of explosives. When Trinity points out the ridiculous nature of the plan, Neo retorts, "That's why it's going to work." It does.
  • The Swedish teen drama film Hip Hip Hora! (The Ketchup Effect) apparently got away with a sex act that involves frontal (prosthetic) nudity, done by barely legal actors playing drunken minors. Sweden, as a whole, is less uptight than the US, but the scene might just have crossed the line had it not played out like this. NSFW!
  • Mel Brooks has based his film career on this for very blatant reasons. He has gone on the record saying that his plan is to make Hitler look so ridiculous that his ideas can never be taken seriously again. This can probably be expanded into all racism as well.
    • Consider History of the World, Part I. Making light of the persecution of Jews in the Spanish Inquisition, bad. Doing so in a long and elaborate big-budget Hollywood song-and-dance number with a water torture scene envisioned as an aquatic ballet, directed by a Jewish film-maker, funny.
      • It needs to be pointed out that the Inquisition was not directed at Jews per se, but at hypocritical Christians - that is conversos, people of Jewish ancestry who converted to Christianity but secretly retained some Jewish customs that were claimed to be "polluting" Christianity. Since Mel Brooks is not even a nominal Christian, he wouldn't have been a target.
        • Only because the Spanish government had exiled all the non converted Jews some time previously; in addition to backsliding conversos the Inquisition was after marranos, Jews who pretended to have converted but continued to practice their own religion in secret.
    • The Producers revolves around the titular characters accidentally invoking this trope when they try to put on the worst musical ever, Springtime for Hitler.
      • Roger Ebert disputes this. He argues that The Producers manages to stay funny because Brooks didn't push the material too far. He claims that if Brooks had actually shown Jewish concentration-camp prisoners singing and dancing as they are led to their doom instead of just depicting the Nazis as Affably Evil, that would not have been funny. Ebert is right, but for a different reason than he thinks. Because Max and Leo indeed restrained themselves (perhaps out of a sense of decency, or maybe just squeamishness), their play was seen as delightful rather than obscene; if the audience had outright hated it, the various madcap circumstances we all enjoyed laughing at would never have come to pass.
    • Race in Blazing Saddles. Uncensored versions, especially.
  • Similarly, the crucifixion scene at the end of Monty Python's Life of Brian went from horrifying and sacrilegious to gut-bustingly hilarious with the introduction of the light-hearted sing-along ditty, "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life."
  • The ending of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II could be seen as an example of this, Splinter's reaction not withstanding. Consider, four mutant ninja sewer-dwellers duking it out with two super-mutants and a squad of ninjas, in a dance hall, to an impromptu rap song by Vanilla Ice, who then proceed to toss high-fives to the crowd, then hop onto the stage, perform dance moves and shout "Give it up for a Turtle!" None of the people there find this weird.
  • Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, released in early 1964, both for the events in the film (climaxing with the trope namer for Riding the Bomb) and its very existence (a comedy where the world is annihilated ... made at the height of the Cold War).
    • While the film in general does an excellent job of invoking this trope, Kubrick generally manages to avoid it in relation to Kennedy's assassination; possibly he thought that no matter how audacious it was, he could not have gotten away with it.
      • For example: Major Kong is from Texas. His line after listing all the field supply kit items (the first of which was "one forty-five caliber automatic and two boxes of ammunition") was originally supposed to be "Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff!" The film was released in January 1964, just a couple of months after Kennedy's assassination. Had they left it in, it probably would have become an example of this trope; instead Kubrick chose to switch "Dallas" to "Vegas" and recorded new audio for the scene. However, there wasn't time to re-cut the footage, so if you look, you can clearly see that Kong's mouth still shapes the word "Dallas".
      • And yet, it could have been worse: the original script had the War Room scene ending in an enormous pie-fight, with one of the lines being "Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!" The film was supposed to have been released in late November of 1963. Luckily, Kubrick cut it long before the assassination, mostly for logistical reasons.
  • Another Peter Sellers film that invokes this is 1969's The Magic Christian, which climbs increasing heights of absurdity as an Eccentric Millionaire tests how willing people are to sacrifce sanity and dignity for money/material possessions. (One of the milder examples is offering a traffic cop money if he'll eat the ticket he's trying to issue. He does.) The source novel, not coincidentally, was by Terry Southern, who contributed to the Strangelove screenplay and co-wrote this one as well.
  • Southern also co-wrote the screenplay for The Loved One in 1965, a very faithful adaptation of a book written by Evelyn Waugh, with jaw-dropping antics set in both a human and a pet cemetery. When a portion of the studio-screening audience walked out in disgust, director Tony Richardson was pleased to have achived his objective.
  • The cult film Forbidden Zone seems to exist purely as a demonstration of this trope. It begins with a character in Blackface, and that argubly could be one of the least offensive bits of the movie ... if the film weren't so brilliantly humorous.
  • Whenever Tuco is about to be hanged in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the list of horrific crimes he's accused of committing becomes so ludicrously long and varied that it goes from menacing to hilarious very quickly.
  • Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino is so racist that it stops being offensive and becomes part of the film's humor.
  • Hot Fuzz Nicholas Angel kicked a grandmother in the face, shot or beat up a bunch of other old people, and was perfectly justified.
    • He was also shot at by a cursing priest.
  • Shaun of the Dead also has many fairly ludicrous scenes, including killing a zombie with old vinyl records (but not the ones he still likes!) and Shaun stopping the car after hitting a zombie to make sure they were already undead.
  • Tropic Thunder is made of this trope. Best example: 12-year old druglord wielding a bazooka.
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off: Demonstrating in the space of a single school day why he is a master of Xanatos Speed Chess (or a Karma Houdini from Hell), Ferris manipulates everyone in sight, bitch-slaps his Butt Monkey (or is that Asshole Victim?) of a principal around like it's an Olympic sport, rolls about the City of Chicago in a nearly-priceless Ferrari, finally gets through to his Jerk with a Heart of Gold sister that they can work together, takes over a Oktoberfest parade in downtown Chicago to sing a showstopper song, and taking the 'fourth wall' and making it his personal bitch. Oh - and then, there's there the very strong implication that it was all a Plan designed to make his friend happy and show him the time of his life. His best friend Cameron said it best: ' "Ferris Bueller - you're my hero!" '
  • Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin. It didn't work...
    • The original Batman: The Movie was (arguably) a more successful version of this trope.
    • The entire Burton/Schumacher Batman franchise could have been called Refuge In Audacity: The Series....
  • Batman (1989)
    • Just to start, The Joker and his gang gratuitously gassing everyone in an art museum just so they can deface all the paintings and sculptures by splattering paint on them or just destroying them outright - and through it all, Joker has the nerve to insist that he's "making art". Perhaps the funniest moment is when he catches sight of a statuette posed like a ballet dancer, awkwardly mimics the figure's stance....and then nonchalantly flings his arm out so that it smacks the figure and sends it to the floor with a crash! (Roger Ebert, predictably, opined that this scene was "really vile.")
    • The parade. Joker preempts the Mayor's television address to the city with his own broadcast, and then - after having shamelessly murdered dozens of people in the cruelest way imaginable - announces that he is going to hold a parade in the center of town and toss 20 million dollars down to the spectators if they will only show up - and they do.
    • Later at that same parade, after Joker has finally revealed his plot to gas all the revelers to death with poison-filled balloons, news reporter Alexander Knox, armed only with a baseball bat and a handkerchief to shield his nose and mouth from the gas, rushes into the street to attack Joker's henchmen with his bat - and it actually works, because as the henchmen are struck with the bat, they let go of the ropes holding down the balloons, causing the balloons to rise into the sky and take their poison gas clear of the street level. And then, as if that isn't enough, Knox shortly afterward gets hit by a car, clings for dear life to the vehicle's hood and roof, and rides it like a surfer.
    • When it comes time for the penultimate showdown in the street between Batman and The Joker, Joker casually strolls out into the middle of the street (his henchmen scattering fearfully away from him) muttering "Come on, you gruesome son of a bitch, come to me" the Batwing is streaking toward him with a horrible, screeching rush of wind. Batman prepares every weapons system on his plane for firing, from machine-gun turrets to missiles, targeting the Joker alone....and when he finally does open fire on Joker (who's still standing there in the street as if waiting for it to rain), every single bullet and missile misses completely! Then, as the Girl Of The Film, Vicki Vale, looks on, Joker pulls a gigantic revolver that has to have at least a 2-foot-long barrel out of....wait for it....his purple-and-green plaid pants and fires one shot that scores a direct hit on the Batwing and sends it to a fiery crash on the steps leading up to a cathedral, nearly killing Batman!
  • Batman Returns
    • In an over-orchestrated scheme to kidnap of one man, The Penguin secretes his gang inside a red-and-green Christmas package the size of a small house. This "package" then somehow drives itself out of an alley and to the edge of a bridge overlooking the public square where Gotham City's Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is taking place - and then the huge contraption inexplicably bursts open like a jack-in-the-box, raining confetti down on the square and catapulting 5 men dressed as acrobats in several directions at once. Almost immediately afterward, 3 other men tear through the side of the box on motorcycles, wearing oversized skull masks that seriously strain the boundaries of both good taste and logic. And that's just for starters....
    • The outrageousness continues later on when Batman confronts those same thugs on the street and finds himself surrounded by 4 criminals: one with a rocket launcher (which, by the way, has already been fired at a storefront, causing it to explode 4 consecutive times), one with nunchuks, one with a pair of Japanese swords, and....a "poodle lady" with long blonde hair and a girlish pink dress armed with exactly nothing, plus her pet poodle growling adorably at Batman. Batman programs a computerized batarang to fly at the faces of the first 3 hoods, knocking them out. But then the poodle leaps up and catches the disc in its jaws like a Frisbee, eliciting a mild Oh Crap reaction from Batman. The woman just throws Batman an "I-told-you-so" glance and scurries away with her dog!
    • Catwoman, full stop. With practically no athletic training and only an Unstoppable Rage at her disposal, Selina Kyle can perform multiple gymnastic flips, crack a bullwhip, slaughter a mugger in an alley within seconds of challenging him, fight Batman (one of the greatest hand-to-hand martial artists in history) to a standstill, and survive falls from 3 buildings, plus 4 bullet wounds to the gut and electrocution by Gotham City's electricity supply.
    • Penguin's attempt to firebomb the city with a flock of emperor penguins armed with missiles, their avian minds electronically programmed to obey computerized commands sent over their headsets. Impossible? Yes. Absurd? Yes. Indescribably awesome? Yes!
  • Batman Forever:
    • The whole movie, really. One of the filmmakers even described it as "Saturday Night Fever on acid."
    • Batman's very first line is him telling Alfred that he doesn't want a sandwich because he's going to get "drive-thru" for his pre-crimefighting snack. Imagine if they'd filmed that....
    • Batman later saves a bank guard from a locked safe rapidly filling with "boiling acid" by popping a hearing aid out of the guard's ear, placing it against the front of the safe, and listening - and this somehow enables him to enter the correct combination to open the safe. (It's explained in the novelization and the comic book adaptation that Batman managed to hear the tumblers inside the door and simply twisted the dial accordingly, but in the movie itself it's just Hand Waved.)
    • Two-Face and his gang attempt to bomb a charity circus that Bruce Wayne and Chase Meridian are attending, daring anyone in the audience to reveal Batman's true identity in the hopes of stopping the massacre. Without any hesitation at all, Bruce stands up and yells "HARVEY! I'M BATMAN!" - but, due to the crowd noise, not one person hears him! (And it's not as if Bruce meant for this to happen, either: he later tells Dick Grayson that if he could have been able to give his life to save everyone at the circus, he would have.)
    • The Riddler uses his technologically enhanced intelligence to locate Two-Face's hideout and then storms in there without invitation. He then proposes that he and Two-Face join forces in a scheme to unmask Batman. Two-Face points out that "violating the sanctity of our lair" is an abomination and to even attempt it is foolhardy, but he likes Riddler's idea so much that he ends up sparing his life.
      • To be more accurate he's intrigue by the idea enough to toss the coin on it. If it had come up "bad heads" he'd kill Riddler. It didn't
    • Dick Grayson challenges a street gang, claiming he's Batman. When the gang members laugh, he "explains" that he's forgotten his Batman costume!
  • Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. Words cannot explain the sheer absurdity of it. It's too insane to be offensive.
  • Inglourious Basterds has to count, at least with regards to the historical record.
  • Ebert's quote is on Shoot Em Up, which DEFINITELY qualifies.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace features a pair of kindly Maiden Aunts who have casually and unashamedly murdered twelve lonely old men and buried them in their cellar. It's astonishing that this was able to be released in Hays Code-era Hollywood, mainly by making the production (based on a play by the same name) so over the top that it could only be seen as hysterically funny.
  • Die Hard With a Vengeance features John McLain walking around Harlem wearing a sign that proclaims "I Hate Niggers" (the Big Bad made him do it). It's pretty clear that the only reason he lasts five minutes is because no one can believe their eyes.
    • There's actually more. The street corner at which John is forced to stand is less than twenty yards away from the favorite hangout of a street gang armed with knives. Zeus Carver ominously lampshades this - not five seconds before said gang members spot the sign and come over looking for trouble, and one of them hurls a switchblade that becomes lodged in the sign. John quickly tries to save himself by pretending to be a religious fanatic....which doesn't work at all. But perhaps what's most outrageous is that John and Zeus both manage to survive this harrowing encounter with little more than a minor knife wound for Zeus.
  • Weekend at Bernie's. Two ambitious young men, hoping to climb the corporate ladder, are invited to a weekend long bash at their boss Bernie's beach house, not knowing that a scam they recently uncovered is Bernie's doing and that he plans to kill them. Then Bernie himself is killed by his own hitmen, and the two protagonists try to extricate themselves from the situation by making the guests believe Bernie is still alive, even when his corpse is in plain view.
  • The Boondock Saints. Within the first ten minutes of the first film, a main character wrenches the toilet he's handcuffed to out of the floor, carries it to the fire escape, and drops it onto a Russian mobster's head from several stories up in order to save his twin brother from being shot.
  • Jingle All the Way: When Arnold is caught in the bootleg toy warehouse by the cops he grabs a toy police badge from an open box and bullshits like his life depends on it to convince the cops he's an undercover detective. This moment seems more audacious when you remember that impersonating a law enforcement officer is a serious crime in the United States. Had his bluff not worked he would have gone to prison for a long time.
  • Anything Axel Foley does in Beverly Hills Cop, especially when he flashes his Detroit cop badge rapidly while pretending to be a customs officer, a foreman, etc.
    • The third film introduces a device that combines a machinegun, a rocket launcher, a microwave, a boombox, and a sponge-launcher. And that's just to start. When Axel tries to use it to take out some Mooks, they are more than a little confused.
  • Eddie Murphy got other roles where he used the same sort of stunt. In The Golden Child, there's a scene where he pretends to be some kind of Federal Agent, and flashes what should be his badge around...if he actually had one on the part of his wallet that his hand is covering.
  • Outbreak: in order to get to Cedar Falls, Dustin Hoffman's character -- a Colonel -- comes stamping into the aircraft dispatcher's office demanding to know why he isn't on the passenger list for the next flight to the town. (Because he's been ordered not to attend.) Variously demanding the dispatcher call his superior officer and then not call his superior, Hoffman gets onto the passenger list and flies because he's intimidated the dispatcher into authorising him.
  • The climactic battle of Fifty/Fifty has Jake Wyer and Sam French pinned down by the Tengaran army. Then Jake says he has a plan:

Sam: Alright, what is it?
Jake: Full frontal assault.
Sam: That's your plan? A full frontal assault is your plan?
Jake: It's got the element of surprise.
Sam: Suicide is always surprising.

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