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Wayne's World: Spoofing a marked flashback

by Michael Frierson

It is a testament to the drive for narrative clarity in Hollywood films that they often mark flashbacks with overt dissolves. This convention of clearly marking flashbacks is such a common cinematic figure of speech that it is spoofed in Wayne’s World (Spheeris, 1992) when Wayne and Garth make wavy motions with their hand, and sing a silly trilling song as the film offers alternate two endings to the film. The first alternate ending it identified by Garth as “the Scooby Doo ending,” a reference to the television cartoon franchise, because they unmask a character in that version, an action typical of the cartoon. (4.19)

Flash back in Forrest Gump

by Michael Frierson

One traditional kind of narrative flashback in film is recounted enactment: a character in the film recounts something in his or her past and we see that event enacted on screen. In Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) Forrest (Tom Hanks) strikes up a philosophical conversation with a nurse on a park bench about her shoes. As the camera pushes in, Forrest recalls “I bet if I think about it real hard I could remember my first pair of shoes.” He closes his eyes, thinking hard, and continues, “Moma said they would take me anywhere,” cut to Forrest as a young boy, striking the same facial expression. As the camera pulls back, the adult Forrest’s voice continues, “She said they were my magic shoes.” The camera reveals Forrest in a doctor’s office. As Forrest opens his eyes in astonishment, the camera continues back to reveal his first pair of leg braces.

Wayne's World: Spoofing a marked temporal reversal

Wayne and Garth mark their flashbacks (temporal reversals) with a transition borrowed from Scooby Doo.

from Wayne's World (1992)
Creator: Penelope Spheeris
Distributor: Paramount
Posted by Michael Frierson