Top Five: Fisticuffs at Funerals (and other similarly sombre occasions)

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Who wants to put the ‘fun’ in funeral when you can can start a punch up instead? The rotten characters in the list below are the sorts of people that attend a wake and skip the seven pints of Guinness, preferring instead to get down to brass (a)tacks from the off. Don’t expect any eulogising here, unless of course somebody gives a post-fight report.

5. Death at a Funeral (2007) – Three years after the Muppet’s Frank Oz released his calamity stricken church-set comedy, Death at a Funeral, Neil LaBute came out with an ever blacker version of the same film; the humour was not necessarily darker (though Movie Quibble hasn’t seen the remake), but it did feature an all black (not the rugby dudes) cast. All black that is, apart from Peter Dinklage, who appears in both films as a drug addled, coffin busting midget (is it dwarf?) and is the origin of the scuffle you see in the clip below. Big shout out to Game of Thrones and Mr Dinklage’s indisputable dominion over the rest of the acting roster.

4. Rent (2005) – The musical funeral number is a precarious undertaking, but this scene in Rent is conducted in the best of taste, capturing the despondence and confusion of losing a loved one. Looks like a nice mourning for it, too. ‘Wait’, you cry. ‘There’s no fisticuffs here! Cufflinks, maybe (there are a couple of suits on display, after all) but that’s pushing it.’ That is where you’d be wrong; skip the namby pamby and check out the barely contained rage shove at 1.25. Jesse L. Martin is unhinged!

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – As Madame D lays in her casket, not yet a day dead, her entire extended family sits in the adjacent chamber squabbling over trinkets and guzzling her whiskey stock. When Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum) informs the gathering that ‘Boy with Apple’ has been bequeathed to the infamous concierge, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), Madam D’s son Dimitri (Adrien Brody) decries the hotelier as the lecher that he is. Gustave denies nothing, and so ensues an old fashioned ‘eye for an eye’ punch up. Dmitri’s ‘will’power is to be admired, but he must work on his (de)composure; his mother is a good example in this respect.

 

2. The Other Guys (2010) – Michael Keaton’s Gene Mauch has a lot to deal with, what with his disappointment of a son draining his funds dry as he works night shifts at Bed, Bath and Beyond and the pathetic excuses for cops that he has to constantly reprimand. So when it comes to the funeral of his two best detectives, the TLC loving Captain will stand for no funny business. As soon as this fight breaks out inside the reception hall, he clamps down with a thundering yet extremely low-decibel fury.

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – ‘Fleeeee! Flee for your lives!’ Denethor made a grave mistake when he forgot to check Faramir’s pulse at both neck and wrist to make sure he was completely dead. On the other hand (of the king), his second favourite and only surviving son had always been a st’ranger’ to him so perhaps it was a conscious decision – think about it, he didn’t event hire a Minis-ter to hold the service! Either way, Gandalf shows up to knock Denethor off his pedestal of immolation just in time to save the budget Boromir but, in doing so, turned the former into a human pyre. As double suicides go, it’s pretty epic.

 

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