Have you ever pulled off the perfect prank? Has anyone ever pranked you so well that you couldn’t even be mad at them? These films reach out to the prankster in all of us with their elaborate schemes and amusing outcomes.
Animal House (1978) – Delta House has a saying, “Don’t get mad, get even.” When Dean Womer wants to remove Delta Tau Chi from the Faber College campus, the fraternity brothers get back at him in the best way they know how: by pulling a prank.
Amélie (2001) – Whimsical and imaginative, Amélie is a mischievous Parisian who is on a mission to make the lives of those around her a little happier. While her quest is noble, she isn’t one to shy away from a good prank against someone who deserves it.
The Help (2011) – “Revenge is a dish best served cold” in this film on American race relations in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. After Minny, a maid for a family that considered themselves amongst the social elite, was fired unjustly from her position, she brought her former employer a peace offering in the form of a pie. The prank ultimately comes in the form of the pie’s “secret ingredient,” which I will not ruin for those who have yet to see the film.
Super Troopers (2001) – In many comedies, the police are often the helpless butt of a prank. However, Super Troopers flips that narrative. The film opens to three friends using (at the time) illegal recreational substances while on a road trip to Canada only to be pulled over by the Vermont State Police. What starts out as a routine speeding stop turns into an elaborate prank hosted by the police force that plays off of the induced paranoia of the hapless trio. With sudden and repetitive movements made by the officers, intimidation tactics, trooper vehicles burning out on the highway, and a false hijacking that even tricks the audience into thinking it’s real, these three friends have no idea what they have gotten themselves into. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan
Matilda – Why only be a telekinetic when you can be a trickster as well? This is the question Matilda must have pondered when she considered what she could do with her newfound powers. This film puts a new spin on the classic line “sweet revenge.”
Home Alone – Where to begin with this holiday classic. Poor Kevin McCallister doesn’t only need to adjust to his new independent lifestyle at the age of 8, he also needs to booby trap his house in a fight for his life against two robbers.
Step Brothers – In an effort to save their family home, two 40-year old man-children, played by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, decide to pull out all the stops to make sure that the house is unsellable. As their evil brother shows the house to potential home buyers, the comedic pair dress up in politically incorrect costumes to dissuade all who come near from stepping foot in the neighborhood again.
I’m Still Here – Capping off our list is a film that doesn’t have a prank within its narrative, but is a prank on the audience watching. One part drama, one part character study, and one part mockumentary, this film is rooted in Joaquin Phoenix’s actual life as it follows him quitting his acting career to pursue a career in rap/hip-hop.
Article by Zachary Williamson