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9 Great Movie Moments at the Video Music Awards

Ben Stiller at the Video Music Awards
MTV

You might think that the MTV Video Music Awards are all about music, or more specifically, music videos. But throughout the past 17 years, there have been plenty of movie-related moments that have broken up the many Madonna performances, "Moonman" award upsets and general VMA revelry.

After all, you can't pack an auditorium full of the entertainment industry's most talented performers and not expect some big-screen brilliance. (We're already anticipating one big movie moment at this Sunday's show. Two words: "Hunger Games.")

In celebration of this year's ceremony and the big-screen moments that it will certainly bring, we've compiled the nine best movie-related VMA moments (ever!) for your enjoyment.

9. A Lesson in Humor From Eddie Murphy (1985)

It was the mid-'80s, and Eddie Murphy was hot. (Like, legitimately movie-star hot -- not just "trapped in this 'Norbit' fat suit" hot.) After successfully transitioning from small to big screen via hits like "48 Hours," "Trading Places" and "Beverly Hills Cop," the actor was invited to host the second Video Music Awards, where he set a high bar for future comedian/actor hosts like Chris Rock and Jack Black. For proof, look no further than this clip in which the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member explains humor to his young audience.

 

8. A Moonman For David Fincher (1989)

Before directing some of our favorite movies like "Seven," "Fight Club" and "The Social Network," David Fincher directed music videos. But not just any music videos. We're talking expensive Madonna music videos like "Express Yourself," which was inspired by a 1927 film called "Metropolis" and cost a reported $5 million, making it the most expensive music video at the time. Fortunately, all of that money paid off and Madonna's video won three awards in 1989 for Best Direction, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography. If that isn't impressive enough, Fincher would go on to direct another VMA winner for Madonna the following year: "Vogue." Here's the winning "Express Yourself" music video.

 

7. How Not To Promote a Movie (1989)

Speaking of Madonna, there is a very fine line between scandalously good and scandalously bad when it comes to the VMAs. Madonna has mastered the scandalously good (see her 1984 "Like a Virgin" performance and the infamous triple kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera), and Andrew Dice Clay mastered the bad. Back in '89, the comedian visited the award show with the intent of promoting his upcoming comedy "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane," but when he ditched his presenter script to recite "adult nursery rhymes," MTV executives were so angered that they banned Dice Clay from the network for life. Watch and then do not repeat.

 

6. Pee-Wee Returns (1991)

Poor Pee-wee. In July 1991, Paul Reubens, the man behind the beloved bow-tied character, was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult move theater in Florida. Shortly thereafter, CBS stopped airing "Pee-wee's Playhouse," toy stores removed Pee-wee products and Reubens went into seclusion. Two months later, the actor made his first public appearance at the Video Music Awards. In character, he walked onstage and asked the audience, "Heard any good jokes lately?" The line elicited a standing ovation from the audience and Pee-wee was forgiven -- at least by MTV viewers.

 

5. Fartman Market Research (1992)

Ahhh, the Fartman movie that almost was. In the early '90s, Howard Stern popularized the National Lampoon superhero by discussing him on his radio show, assuming his identity for prank calls and producing assorted Fartman comedy bits. Stern was even contemplating a feature film about the fictional character called "The Adventures of Fartman," and excitedly appeared at the 1992 VMAs to test the concept. Following the stunt, Stern decided instead to make a biographical film, "Private Parts," which would open with Stern's disastrous Fartman appearance at the VMAs.

 

4. Ben Stiller's Backstreet Boys Memories (1998)

Just two months after Ben Stiller's breakthrough film "There's Something About Mary" premiered in theaters, the actor hosted the Video Music Awards and contributed one of the most hilarious opening sketches in VMA history. Starring as estranged Backstreet Boy Trent McJivvers alongside Andy Dick and the actual boy band, Stiller proved that he could play hilariously delusional narcissists (paging "Zoolander" and "Dodgeball") and that he is probably the only person who could sincerely deliver the following line, "When I look at Paul, I see a guy who got more talent in his right gripper claw than the entire Backstreet Boys got put together."

 

3. Parodying the King of Pop (2003)

Three years before hosting the VMAs himself, Jack Black impressed MTV viewers when he boldly parodied Michael Jackson's loopy acceptance speech from the year before. In 2002, Britney Spears introduced Jackson by saying that she considered him to be "the artist of the millennium." The King of Pop then confused fans by accepting what seemed to be a fictional Artist of the Millennium Award. Black, who was about to reach stardom himself a month later when "School of Rock" premiered, made light of the situation by appearing in a similar red military-style jacket as Jackson and accepting an imaginary Funniest Man Alive award from Fred Durst. Roll the tape...

 

2. Russell Brand Enrages 'Twilight' Fans (2008)

Apparently, it does not matter if you are an entertaining comedian, an energetic stage presence and the host of the Video Music Awards: If you accidentally cut off Robert Pattinson as the "Twilight" heartthrob tries to introduce a band, you are the devil. The enemy. The worst VMA host ever -- according to Twihards. Just ask Russell Brand. But hey, at least Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart got their words out. Right? Forgive and forget?

 

1. Slumber Party With Tracy Morgan (2009)

In between "30 Rock" seasons (and controversies), Tracy Morgan costarred in three (three!) VMA skits with Eminem, one of which featured Cyndi Lauper. The clips cleverly stage Morgan as an aspiring VMA winner who enlists Eminem as his begrudging coach; but sadly, the skits were overshadowed by that whole Kanye West stage-crashing saga. Don't worry, though, Tracy. We'll never forget your VMA contributions... but we might have to permanently erase your rendition of "Time After Time" from our memories, "Eternal Sunshine of the of Spotless Mind"-style.

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