Last week, I touched on whether or not feces is actually funny in movies. While studying poop humor, several themes began to emerge in the way that poop is used as a cinematic device. For instance, poop occasionally introduces itself as an avenging angel in film. When villainous characters get their comeuppance, poop sneaks into the equation at times. Not only is it humorous when applied to nefarious characters. It gives us the justice and vengeance that we crave as an audience. Here are several instances in which poop is used as justice.
Back to the Future (parts 1-3)
Perhaps the most famous example of poop as justice comes from everybody’s favorite time travel trilogy. In each film, a member of House Tannen chases after Marty McFly. Each time, they fail. And each time, their failure is punctuated by manure falling on their head.
In a memorable scene in an otherwise forgettable movie, Atouk (Ringo Starr) gets revenge upon the lovely but shallow Lana by tossing her into a giant pile of dinosaur poop.
Big Fish (2003)
The film’s hero, Ed, competes for the love of his future wife, Sandra, with another guy named Don. Almost immediately after Don wallops Ed, the audience discovers that Don will die of a heart attack in the future while pooping (and reading a Playboy… but I’m pretty sure he was just pooping and nothing else). If only he hadn’t beaten up Ed, he wouldn’t have had that heart attack.
National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002)
When Gwen (Tara Reid) discovers that her boyfriend has cheated on her, she laces his daily protein shake with insane amounts of a product known as “Mega Colon Blow”. What ensues is predictable, and basically ruins the guy’s life. Feces 1, Preppy Guy zero.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
It may be a bit of a stretch to include this particular scene, but I think it’s apt. While at an etiquette party hosted by some people who seem a little too full of themselves, Borat excuses himself and returns with a bag full of feces. It’s probably the last thing that someone would want to see at a formal dinner party when teaching people about etiquette. Fun fact: the victim of the joke sued Sacha Baron Cohen and everyone else involved with the film… and lost.
The Magic Christian (1969)
Amazingly, Ringo Starr has played a role in TWO poop-as-justice movies. In The Magic Christian, Ringo- as a homeless man named Youngman- is adopted by the infinitely wealthy Sir Guy Grand, played by Peter Sellers. The duo exploit greedy people, most notably towards the end where they dump huge piles of cash into a vat full of mostly feces. People dive in after it, receiving their cash but paying the price for their greed.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The characters are morally ambiguous so it’s hard to say that one is evil and others aren’t. Still, at the time of poop vengeance, Vincent Vega had broken into Butch’s home, and was hoping to kill him. That’s breaking and entering, and premeditated murder on Vega’s record. Vega taking a poop led directly to his own death.
South Park, Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls (1998)
Forgive me, because this is television and not film. Still, it’s as strong a “poop as justice” scene as you’ll find. Only Trey Parker and Matt Stone could effectively combine a Fantasia reference, the Sundance Film Festival, and poop to create one of the best fecal vengeance scenes around. In the episode, the Sundance Film Festival comes to South Park. But festival attendees have a diet that’s bad for Mr. Hankey. To scare the Sundance people off- including Robert Redford- Mr. Hankey returns to wash all of the undesirables away in a tidal wave of feces bursting from the sewer.
Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace (1999)
Technically, the justice received isn’t from anyone who’s actually in the film. It’s attained by the audience who had to put up with Jar-Jar Binks, who “makes the Ewoks look like fucking Shaft!”, according to Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) in Spaced. As bad as Jar-Jar was, it’s great to know that he at least had to step in bantha poop.