Top 20 Movie Moments That Broke the Internet
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These internet sensations captivated billions! For this list, we'll be looking at various scenes from popular 2010s films that were memed, popularized, and widely discussed on the world wide web. Our countdown includes "Avengers: Endgame", "Get Out", “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, “Furious 7”, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, and more!
Top 20 Movie Moments That Broke the Internet
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Movie Moments That Broke the Internet.
For this list, we’ll be looking at various scenes from popular 2010s films that were memed, popularized, and widely discussed on the world wide web.
Did you partake in any of these internet-breaking discussions? Let us know in the comments below!
#20: Rick Dalton Points at the TV
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (2019)
You never really know what the internet will get a hold of. One scene in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” sees Rick and Cliff watching one of Rick’s old TV shows. While lounging in his chair, Rick sits up, snaps, and points at the TV to signal his upcoming appearance. The internet thought that this was just the funniest thing, and a new meme was born. The meme began on Twitter before spreading to Reddit and the other reaches of the internet and is typically used to display recognition. Dozens upon dozens of examples have been made, each with a screenshot of Rick (or in the meme’s case, the writer) pointing at the TV in excitement.
#19: Godzilla Powers Up
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019)
This film was met with quite a lot of hype before its release in May 2019. Luckily, the movie did not disappoint. In one particularly amazing sequence, Godzilla powers up and unleashes multiple atomic waves against Ghidorah, turning its multiple heads into drifting dust. He then explodes in a bright nuclear blast, decimating both Ghidorah and the surrounding buildings. Godzilla then emerges from the rubble and is recognized as the King of the Monsters by the other kaiju. It’s arguably the most badass scene in a movie full of badass scenes, and it certainly got the internet talking. Both diehard kaiju fans and casual “Godzilla” viewers bowed to the filmmakers, recognizing the thrilling spectacle on display.
#18: Shirtless Kylo Ren
“Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (2017)
There was a lot of talk surrounding “The Last Jedi.” The Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic user scores drew particular attention, and the movie was enormously divisive. But there was one thing that everyone agreed on - Adam Driver is one good-looking dude. Kylo Ren appears shirtless in one sequence, and the internet collectively gasped in amazement. They began referring to Kylo as “Ben Swolo,” leading to various Twitter reactions and memes regarding the shirtless actor. This movie is filled with extravagant special effects, but the best bit of eye candy was a muscular male body.
#17: Keanu Reeves
“Always Be My Maybe” (2019)
The internet loves them some Keanu Reeves. And suffice to say, almost no one expected him to show up in a Netflix rom-com. In “Always Be My Maybe,” Reeves plays a pretentious version of himself, serving as the new boyfriend of Sasha Tran. The actor took a short break from shooting “John Wick 3” to be in the movie, and he even offered Randall Park some ideas for the credits song, “I Punched Keanu Reeves.” He also improvised with the other actors, and it was he who decided to wear lensless glasses. Reeves helped elevate the already-great movie, and the internet was left in sheer delight. It’s one of the best and most surprising cameos in recent cinema memory.
#16: “I’m the Captain Now”
“Captain Phillips” (2013)
This thriller saw the inexperienced Barkhad Abdi starring as head pirate Abduwali Muse. Abdi had never acted before and was working as a limo driver, DJ, and phone salesman when he attended a casting call for the movie. He got the role, and what a debut it was. Abdi received an Academy Award nomination, and his improvised line “I’m the Captain now” sparked endless memes on the internet. Variations of the meme spread throughout Reddit, Imgur, FunnyJunk, and Tumblr, most of which used a “Look at me, I’m the [x] now” template. It takes a special kind of talent to upstage Tom Hanks, and Barkhad Abdi is that special kind of talent.
#15: The Last Ride
“Furious 7” (2015)
The “Fast and Furious” movies have long been popular, but “Furious 7” was a special kind of popular. Unfortunately, its popularity was largely due to the death of Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in November 2013. He was in the midst of filming “Furious 7,” and his face was later imposed over physical stand-ins - including Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody. The most famous scene of the movie is its ending, in which Dom says goodbye to a retiring Brian. The scene was also a goodbye to Walker himself. Playing over the sequence is Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” which was written as a tribute to Walker. It’s a beautiful scene, and the internet thought it a very touching eulogy to the late actor.
#14: “Time in a Bottle”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)
Earning stellar reviews and multiple accolades, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is widely regarded as one of, if not the best movie in the “X-Men” series. The movie’s technical filmmaking was lauded, with many critics and fans singling out the iconic “Time in a Bottle” sequence. The scene sees Quicksilver zipping around a kitchen, causing people to punch themselves in the face, stealing hats, and moving bullets. It was by far the most popular scene from the film, and the clip has accumulated millions of views on YouTube. The craft, humor, creativity, and imaginative visuals were all praised, and it instantly became one of the most famous scenes in superhero fiction. And that’s saying a lot.
#13: Darth Vader
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)
This tragic “Star Wars” prequel was released immediately after the lighthearted and traditional “The Force Awakens.” It certainly made for a jarring tonal shift. The end of “Rogue One” sees most of the protagonists dying, and in one particularly famous scene, Darth Vader slaughters a group of rebel troops. The scene works perfectly on its own, but it’s also a wonderful bit of fan service harkening back to the original trilogy and one of cinema’s greatest villains. This sequence is pure “Star Wars,” and it may have generated the most discussion and excitement from the Disney era of movies. Yes, even more than shirtless Adam Driver.
#12: Messages from Home
This Christopher Nolan space epic is certainly filled with bombastic and imaginative sequences - including the famous docking scene. But it still finds time for humanity, and that is perfectly represented through the “messages from home” scene. Due to time dilation, Cooper’s brief foray on the ocean planet actually spans 23 years back on Earth, and Cooper watches two decades’ worth of video messages from home while displaying incredible emotion. The scene is heartbreaking, and it was rightfully regarded as one of the year’s best sequences. But it also turned into a meme, and Matthew McConaughey Reaction Videos was born. Perhaps the most popular is the one that sees Cooper reacting to the “Force Awakens” trailer.
#11: “Jessica, Only Child, Illinois, Chicago”
It’s not often that Best Picture winners set the internet alight, but “Parasite” proved the exception. And while the film was filled with tons of great sequences, it was a simple jingle that went viral. Ki-Jung is scamming the Park family with her brother Ki-woo, and to remember her fake backstory, she creates a little mnemonic jingle with Ki-woo. The two recite the jingle one last time before entering the Park household, and for some reason, the internet really took a liking to it. The scene was parodied and memed, actress Park So Dam taught viewers how to sing the tune, and the song was even available to download on the official “Parasite” website. It’s amazing what a clever mnemonic device can do.
#10: The Argument
“Marriage Story” (2019)
Like “Parasite,” “Marriage Story” isn’t the type of movie to go viral. But it did, thanks primarily to the proliferation of Netflix and the incredible cast. The memes also helped. In the movie’s most famous sequence, Nicole and Charlie enter into a vicious argument that eventually has Charlie wishing that Nicole would die. The scene garnered instant attention, with the internet at large praising the performances of Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Driver’s red, screaming face became the de facto image of the movie, and the scene gave rise to a four-panel meme that ended with Driver punching the wall. And therein lies the power of good acting.
#9: The Stairway Dance
The stairway dance is unique and fun enough to elicit thousands of copycats, and it was filmed in a real location. Like the famous “Rocky” steps, this scene was just begging to be copied over and over and over and over again. The stairs are located in the Bronx, New York, and are located near the 167th Street station. They are now crowded with tourists, many of whom recreate the Joker’s bizarre dance down the steps - some of them dressed in Joker attire themselves. Its legacy is yet to be seen, but like the “Rocky” steps, we wouldn’t be surprised if fans are recreating this scene 40 years into the future.
#8: The Sunken Place
“Get Out” (2017)
This movie came out of nowhere, and despite its less than $5 million budget, it ended up grossing over $250 million at the worldwide box office. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly struck a chord with mainstream audiences, but many praised the movie’s commentary on the black experience in America. This is visualized to absolute perfection in The Sunken Place, which is where Missy Armitage sends Chris’ consciousness after hypnotizing him. The dehumanizing theme of The Sunken Place, the haunting music, and its unique visuals combined to make it the movie’s most famous sequence, and the image of Chris’s hypnotized, crying face has become one of the most iconic movie images of the 21st century.
#7: Terence Fletcher’s Lesson
Serving as director Damien Chazelle’s breakthrough, “Whiplash” received universal praise when it was released in 2014, with much attention going towards the performance of J. K. Simmons. Simmons plays a jazz instructor named Terence Fletcher, who is prone to mistreating his pupils. Near the beginning of the film, the band is playing Hank Levy’s “Whiplash” when Fletcher grows irate at Andrew Neiman’s off-tempo drumming. After countless starts and restarts, Fletcher throws a chair at Neiman’s head, slaps him across the face, calls him offensive names, and screams directly in his ear. With this, everyone knew they weren’t watching just another music movie. They also knew that Simmons would be an Oscar winner - and they were right.
“A Star Is Born” (2018)
This is actually the fourth time that “A Star Is Born” has been made, following the original in 1937 and remakes in 1954 and 1976. This time, Bradley Cooper was at the helm, and he did an exceptional job directing, writing, performing, and singing. “Shallow” is performed three times in the movie, with the most famous being Ally and Jackson’s performance of the song at Jackson’s concert. While the “Star Is Born” name is obviously popular, it was “Shallow” that pushed this version over the edge. The song peaked at #1 in more than 20 countries and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the music video has since accumulated over one billion views on YouTube.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)
Sometimes the internet breaks for the wrong reasons. Case in point - the infamous Martha sequence from “Batman v Superman.” The titular fight doesn’t even last that long, and it ends in a spectacularly silly fashion when Batman hears the name of Superman’s mother. Learning that his own mother shares a name with Martha Kent, Batman decides to stop the fighting, acknowledging Superman’s humanity. The scene was met with wide derision by the internet and quickly became infamous, leading to in-jokes, memes, and shaking heads. Many people found it a contrived and anticlimactic way for the short battle to end, and it was one of many reasons for the movie’s lackluster critical reception.
#4: “What a Lovely Day!”
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)
This entire movie broke the internet, as no one could believe just how good it was. CGI certainly has its place, but there’s just something about real cars smashing into each other that really gets the blood pumpin’. While the movie is basically credits-to-credits action, the most famous sequence sees the characters driving into a raging sandstorm. The visuals and music are superb - especially when the car and bodies are flying through the sand tornado. But it’s Nux’s reaction to the flying debris that became a phenomenon, and “What a lovely day!” quickly became one of the most popular movie quotes of the decade.
#3: Peter Parker Disintegrates
“Avengers: Infinity War” (2018)
There’s just something about a good tragic ending that sets the internet ablaze. The end of “Infinity War” sees Thanos snapping his fingers and activating the Gauntlet, wiping out half of all life in the universe. This includes the young Peter Parker, who sadly turns to dust in Tony’s arms. The scene was enormously popular - not only for the shock of Thanos’ victory and the incredible destruction that results, but also for the intense emotion that the deaths generate. And, this being the internet, the sequence was also memed to death, with image macros depicting subjects disintegrating into particles - usually accompanied by the caption “I don’t feel so good.” We needed the laughs to cover up the tears.
#2: Jordan Belfort Discovers a New Phase
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the finest actors of all time, and watching him act is watching a master at the top of his craft. And, sometimes, that craft involves squirming around on the ground, drooling, groaning like an injured animal, and opening a Lamborghini door with your foot. In the movie, Jordan swallows an amount of methaqualone that results in his partial paralysis. The following ten minutes are pure comedy gold, and it proves DiCaprio’s qualities as a physical comedic performer. When the internet was clamoring for DiCaprio to win an Oscar, they were undoubtedly thinking of scenes like this.
#1: Iron Man Snap
“Avengers: Endgame” (2019)
This movie was more than ten years in the making, and the results certainly did not disappoint - both in movie terms and the resulting cultural impact. At the very end of the film, Tony Stark taunts Thanos and snaps his fingers, resulting in the deaths of both Thanos and Tony himself. To say that this moment broke the internet would be a massive understatement. It’s all anyone talked about in the weeks to follow, the snap itself became a major cultural moment, and people even synched the scene to New Year's countdowns. For many, the MCU will be a defining point in their moviegoing lives. And this served as the perfect culmination.