Celebrity movie cameos are a fun wink to the audience when a familiar face drops into a scene for a brief but memorable appearance. Sometimes, it’s just a blink-and-you-missed-it pop in, while other times, they’re given a joke to deliver. Occasionally, the guest star plays a pivotal role in moving the plot along.
But these cameos are also often very much a reflection of the times. The stars chosen for these moments were part of the zeitgeist in that given time. As a result, the person or the reference may not be as recognizable or relevant to audiences watching years later. A Michael Jordan cameo in a 1993 film is going to pack less of a punch now than it would have if you saw it in the theater on opening weekend 20 years ago. Here are some movie cameos that could’ve only happened in the '90s.
Dan Marino In ‘Ace Ventura’Photo: Warner Bros.
The plot of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is centered around the fish-napping of the Miami Dolphins mascot just weeks before the team is set to play in the Super Bowl. The culprit turns out to be a deranged former player who also kidnaps real-life Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. Marino appears as himself in the film and ends up playing a key role in exposing the culprit.
When the film was released in 1994, Marino was one of the most recognizable quarterbacks in the NFL and was named the Comeback Player of the Year by the Associated Press.So, so '90s?
Bob Saget In ‘Half Baked’Photo: Universal Pictures
In the '90s, Bob Saget was a beloved family-friendly household name thanks to his role as Danny Tanner on the enormously popular Full House and as the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Though audiences have since gained a more well-rounded understanding of Saget and his forays into more mature comedy, at the time his image was squeaky clean.
As a result, many were shocked when Saget began appearing in raunchy comedies, like when appeared as a coke fiend in Dave Chappelle’s Half Baked. It was a truly brilliant move to have America’s favorite dad in a scene set at a treatment facility where he announces, “I used to suck d*ck for coke!”So, so '90s?
Brendan Fraser As Encino Man In ‘Son in Law’Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
In 1992’s Encino Man, Brendan Fraser stars as a caveman who was accidentally frozen in a block of ice until he is discovered by nerdy Los Angeles Valley-area teenagers, played by Pauly Shore and Sean Astin. The critics were unimpressed, but the film still managed to become a commercial success and developed a cult following.
The audience appreciation for the film led Fraser to reprise the role the next year in Son in Law, starring his pal Shore.So, so '90s?
Wayne Gretzky In ‘D2: The Mighty Ducks’Photo: Buena Vista PIctures
'90s kids can tell you what a truly big deal the Mighty Ducks films were for so many childhoods. The movies were so popular that by 1993, Disney actually founded an NHL franchise and named them the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
At the time that the first film was released and became a major hit at the box office, Wayne Gretzky was the biggest hockey star in the world and happened to play for the Los Angeles Kings. When it came time to make the sequel, D2: The Mighty Ducks, it only seemed right to have Gretzky drop in briefly to congratulate the team.So, so '90s?