While films are mainly thought of as entertainment, they’re also art. And art is a passion for all those who create it, from prominent directors down to unknown writers. Another thing about art? It doesn’t always turn out the way it was expected. So it’s understandable when there are scenes that make it into a movie that were important to the filmmakers or that they felt were vital to the plot, but just didn’t manage to convey the intended message.
This has happened to both really good and really bad movies. But let’s focus on the otherwise good films — the ones that, for all of the thought and the editing and the love that went into them, ended up with a scene (or two, or five) that wasn’t necessary.
Here are 15 Movie Scenes That Should Have Been Deleted, because they were superfluous, gross, hilariously off-topic, or just plain stupid.
15. “Open the pod bay doors, HAL” – 2001: A Space Odyssey
If the words “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that” don’t haunt you, consider yourself lucky. But for those who have seen the Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL, the AI component of the spacecraft headed for Jupiter, is an unforgettable character. Originally a comfort to the astronauts during periods of solitude on their journey, HAL begins to cause problems, and the pilots discuss the possibility that they might need to turn him off to determine what’s wrong.
In the scene in question, HAL reveals that he knows about this plan and refuses the commands of his superior, Dave. While it can be argued that this is included to further bring about the question of man versus machine, it’s already been established that HAL is sentient and, frankly, the focus on him gets to be a bit much. Most of the three-minute scene is simply Dave yelling “HAL,” and, due to the film’s 161-minute running time, probably could have been done without.
14. Jenny’s Dorm Room – Forrest Gump
While widely acclaimed, Forrest Gump as a whole has many problematic areas. Its treatment of race and handicapped individuals aside, the portrayal of the titular character’s lifelong love interest, Jenny, is far from feminist. Though likely meant to be emblematic of the times, Jenny winds up with various men throughout her life who leave much to be desired, while keeping her adoring best friend, Forrest, at an arm’s length.
That is, until she brings him back to her dorm room one rainy night, and the two strip down. Rather than being sensitive to Forrest’s different mental state, Jenny asks him if he’s ever seen a woman topless before… and then proceeds to take off her bra and place his hand on her breast. The scene adds nothing to the (admittedly far-fetched) plot of the movie, and does little to endear Jenny to the audience prior to her later tryst with Forrest. It’s hard to understand what the writers were thinking, beyond “Let’s make everyone uncomfortable with this scene.”
13. Ghost sex – Ghostbusters (1984)
Speaking of weird sexual tension, Dan Akroyd’s character engages in some paranormal hanky-panky in the original Ghostbusters film. Okay, that’s not exactly true. What happens is that, upon returning home from some ghost-busting, Ray goes back to his apartment and falls asleep. He then dreams that a hot lady-ghost descends upon him, his buckle and pants come undone, and then… well… he makes an interesting face.
Ghostbusters has many funny moments, and few that would surpass its PG rating, but sexual innuendo is a given. This scene took it past suggestion, but was so brief that it probably barely registered to most of the flick’s youngest viewers. Unfortunately, the adults watching (and those who saw it as children and re-watched as adults) fully experienced this extreme cringe-worthiness. Interestingly, Akroyd and Harold Ramis have been quoted as saying that the scene was part of a larger subplot, and that it was based on a real account in paranormal research. But that still doesn’t mean it should have made the final cut.
12. Beach Scene – Magic Mike
“Hot dudes dancing half-naked” is how some might describe Stephen Soderbergh’s 2012 hit, Magic Mike. But the flick, based loosely on the experiences of star Channing Tatum’s stripping career growing up in Florida, managed to surprise audiences by actually offering some substance in between the muscles and moves. Boasting a strong 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was well-paced, and many straight male critics even admitted to enjoying it, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.
But Cody Horn’s Brooke fell flat with audiences. The sister of Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who’s taken under the wing of the titular character, Cody serves as Mike’s love interest, despite the fact that he’s already sleeping with Olivia-freaking-Munn. She’s supposed to be the concerned, yet supportive family member, but it’s hard to tell what emotions she’s really feeling. And in one scene, where she accompanies Mike and crew on a beach outing, she attempts to bond with the strippers — showing just how boring she is in comparison. To be honest, completely removing her character would have pleased many, but then there would be essentially no women in the film at all. So let’s just kill the beach chat, shall we?
11. Disappearing Green Goblin – Spider-Man 3
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy has been the talk of many critics since its humble beginnings. It started off strong, followed up with an arguably even better sequel… and then the third movie happened. While not a terrible flick as a whole, the excessive number of villains made for a jumbled plot, to say the least. The oft-discussed and bewildering part where Peter has been taken over by the symbiote and becomes “dark,” leading to him dancing down the street, is a good contender for a should-be-deleted scene, but there’s another, shorter one that also makes the cut.
After Harry tells Peter that he’s been sleeping with MJ, Peter walks out. The waitress approached Harry and asks him how his pie is, and he (very creepily) replies, “So good.” To make things even weirder, Peter then turns around, sees Harry in the window, and the latter winks at his former BFF — before a car passes between them, and suddenly, Harry’s gone. There are so many questions that come from this: Why did Harry talk to the waitress like that? Why did he wink? And why did he just disappear? Who knows — and honestly, who cares?
10. The Sand Monologue – Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones
The Star Wars prequels of the early-aughts are a controversial topic in the film (and fan) community. On one hand, we learn the origins of the beloved characters from episodes 4-6. But on the other hand — we got Jar Jar Binks. And we also got some otherwise talented actors wasted on some very awkward roles.
You see, even Jedis in training have trouble coming with lines to impress the ladies. In Attack of the Clones, a teenaged Anakin Skywalker, tasked with escorting Padmé to her home planet of Naboo, falls for the queen. While attempting to seduce her, he chooses to reveal to her one of the great thorns in his side: sand. You know– that thing that’s “coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere“? Somehow, she still falls for him after this strangely poetic diatribe, but should it really have made the final cut? Simply put, no.
9. The Love Shop – Logan’s Run
The 1970s is thought of as a time of open sexual exploration, so it makes sense that those living in that decade would imagine a future where that still holds true. The creators of Logan’s Run probably aren’t too happy with the comparatively sexually repressed 21st century we’re living in, as one of the film’s taglines is “Welcome to the 23rd century. A perfect world of total pleasure.” Then again, the seemingly Utopian society wasn’t without its flaws, as the titular character and his companion, Jessica, soon discover.
The two make their way through numerous obstacles while attempting to escape death. One such hurdle involves getting through what’s been deemed the “Love Shop” — which is just a fancy word for an orgy, let’s be real. The only purpose this scene seemed to serve was to show that their society, while flawed, was on the “free love” train of the time period. As if the reminder was needed.
8. Black Widow and Hulk – Avengers: Age of Ultron
To speak ill of Joss Whedon’s writing is practically a crime, but here’s the caveat: Tasked with following up the colossal hit that was The Avengers in a ludicrously short time period is difficult enough, but then he had to include all of the characters the Marvel Studio overlords deemed necessary, and set up the even bigger Captain America: Civil War. Poor Joss had a Hulk-load on his plate, pardon the pun. And as a writer known for, among other things, his multi-faceted characters and relationships, it would have been a shame for him not to create a romance in Age of Ultron.
Well, maybe not actually a shame. After showing a kiss between Captain America and Black Widow, as well as a distinct closeness between the sole lady Avenger and Hawkeye, viewers were a bit romance-fatigued by the time Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanov began making eyes at each other. In the party scene at Tony Stark’s mansion, she first begins to flirt with him over the bar, and he’s completely oblivious, until Cap points it out to him. This is Black Widow, and she’s obsessing over some green guy? Girl, move on. He’s not worth it.
7. The Baseball Glove – Good Will Hunting
What’s that saying — boys will be boys? As two young men from Boston, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, writers of the acclaimed Good Will Hunting, penned a thoughtful and clever script — but, being the renowned goofballs they are, they had to add in some color. And while color is all well and good — and, in this case, is certainly essential for telling the tale of a kid who grew up in a blue-collar lifestyle with a gifted intellect trying to determine what kind of future he wants — not all of it makes for a great scene.
After fighting with Professor Lambeau about his wasted potential, Will and his friends are seen hanging out in Chuckie’s kitchen, drinking and smoking, as they do. Will hears Morgan upstairs, and when he comes down, Chuckie confronts him, telling him they know he was masturbating in his mom’s bedroom. Morgan’s also wearing Chuckie’s baseball glove, which he claims he used “just for cleanup.” The scene is just one of many that is meant to juxtapose those of Will in the world of academia, but if it hadn’t made the final cut, nothing would have been lost from the plot — and none of us would have had to imagine Casey Affleck like that.
6. Dr. Marcus Strips Down – Star Trek Into Darkness
A whole list could be devoted to gratuitous sex/nudity in film, but for now, they can be grouped with other unnecessary scenes. What’s (kind of) surprising about the moment in question is that Star Trek isn’t exactly known for its PG-13 romance — any traces are usually subtle, or simply suggested in a wink-wink fashion. After all, the crew members of the USS Enterprise have more important things to do.
But as it’s pretty unbelievable that Chris Pine wouldn’t have a love interest, Alice Eve’s Carol shows up in Into Darkness a sexy scientist who catches his eye. Of course, she’s all business, and as the two come up with a plan regarding torpedoes, she asks Kirk to face the other way. His curiosity gets the better of him, and he turns around to see Carol stripped down to her bra and underwear — then she tells him to turn back around again. Very little information is offered in this scene, and it certainly could have been done a myriad of other ways — but then they wouldn’t have taken full advantage of the actress’s hotness, now would they?
5. Ape-raham Lincoln – Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes
Tim Burton plus primates was bound to be a strange combination and, despite its acclaimed source material, fantastic makeup and costumes, and moderate financial success, this remake of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes hasn’t made much of a mark in film history. (Though it is known for being the project that brought Burton and his long-time partner, Helena Bonham Carter, together.)
Mark Wahlberg’s Leo goes through an awful lot — he loses his best bud, goes after him through time to a world ruled by primates, becomes a slave, and fights the ape overlord, General Thade. After defeating Thade, Leo thinks all is well and good, and plans to travel back to the 21st century and his home planet of Earth. But when he crash-lands on the steps of what he thought was the Lincoln Memorial, what does he see? A statue in honor of Thade… and a bunch of ape cops. This ending was criticized for being confusing, but more than that, it was just pretty lame. But at least it made for a great pun!
4. Boba Fett’s “death” – Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
The final film in the original Star Wars trilogy picked up shortly after its predecessor left off, and our hero Luke Skywalker is off to rescue his frenemy, Han Solo. This doesn’t prove to be an easy task, and a number of other lives are at stake. One such cohort is Boba Fett, who answered to the series’ big bad, Darth Vader.
However, it was revealed earlier this year that George Lucas had allegedly planned to make Boba Fett the main villain in Return of the Jedi, delaying the Darth Vader reveal for another three films. When he decided to stop with episode 6, a lot of material had to be cut and condensed, reducing Boba Fett’s death to brief flash of the character falling into the Sarlacc’s mouth. It was a lame send-off for an otherwise intriguing character, and would have been better left on the cutting room floor.
3. Zion Rave Scene – The Matrix Reloaded
Random musical/dance scenes have their place in many movies. They can tell a story and move the plot along. But Reloaded, a sci-fi/action thriller sequel starring Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne? This does not compute. Or, well, it does — but it serves no purpose.
The Wachowskis’ 2003 follow-up to The Matrix is not as highly regarded as its predecessor, of course, but it has some great fight scenes and awesome effects. The plot was often lacking, but never more so than during a six-minute scene where all we hear is club music, and see just scenes of sweaty, scantily-clad dancers interspersed with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Neo (Reeves) having sex. The sequence totally breaks the momentum the film is building. “But why,” you ask? The world may never know, thought it may have something to do with a similarily shot “telepathic orgy” scene from the Wachowskis’ Netflix series Sense8, released last year.
2. T-Rex San Diego Rampage – Jurassic Park: The Lost World
Like many sequels before it, Jurassic Park‘s follow up had a choice to make: Focus on continuing the plot while also creating a movie that stands on its own, or just try to give the viewers more of what they liked the last time. The latter is often picked for reasons of money (see: any Transformers movie). The Lost World chose to attempt to do both — it is Spielberg, after all. And while the movie is watchable, and the plot has a good bit of drive to it, the violent scenes become a little gratuitous, even for an action flick.
After narrowly escaping death (on a few counts), you’d think this crew would have had enough — Doctors Harding and Malcolm certainly had. But when resident money-driven bad guy Ludlow decides to continue with his plan for a Jurassic theme park, a very hungry T-rex escapes — and our heroes have to clean up the mess. While seeing a giant “76” gas station ball go rolling down the street is kind of fun, the San Diego rampage/chase scene was excessive and a bit derivative, not to mention ridiculous — who wouldn’t wake up if a 5-ton dino was stomping through your neighborhood? But you know, all’s well that ends well, right? Even if a hoard of bystanders (and an adorable mutt) had to die.
1. Denethor’s Cliff Dive to Death — The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Let’s break it down here: Return of the King is an impressive movie. To date, it’s in the top 15 highest grossing films of all time. It won 11 Oscars, including Best Picture — which no other fantasy flick has ever done. Additionally, the critical and box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is at least partially responsible for today’s big budget nerd culture, and movies like Warcraft likely wouldn’t have been greenlit without its impact.
But even the most notable films have their flaws and, like ROTJ, this is the third in the series and there were loose ends to wrap up. After his son, Faramir, suffers what he believes to be a fatal blow, Denethor goes insane with grief. He decides to cremate his son and, in the process, kill himself.
At this moment, Gandalf the White and Pippin burst in, and the latter saves Faramir. Shadowfax the stallion then knocks Denethor into the fire, where he looks up and realizes that his son is actually alive. This is the moment that he catches fire, and proceeds to run out of the castle and throw himself off the edge of the cliff. While the suicide itself wasn’t unimportant, the comical way the scene was presented is hard to ignore. Of course, the visual effects artists who metaphorically killed themselves to make it would likely take issue with this critical view.