South African director Neill Blomkamp is attempting something rather daring with Chappie (which hit theaters last week). He wrote the movie around his country's weirdest music act, Die Antwoord. Duo Ninja and Yolandi Visser play versions of themselves, raising the titular contraband robot to be just like them, complete with their "zef" lingo and pop-art aesthetic.
Musicians have been playing versions of themselves since the early talkies. Unlike Chappie, however, most movies employ them in brief cameo form. There are other times when artists slip in as random background characters, but we're here to celebrate those appearances when their built-in fame and larger-than-life reputations are used for a good joke or a pivotal moment. Sometimes, it's just about James Brown donning a silly ski sweater and performing in the middle of Idaho. Others, it's someone like Shania Twain stepping into I Heart Huckabees to point out just how callous Jude Law's character really is.
While gathering this list, we noticed something odd about it: There are hardly any female artists. Is it because directors don't think they're funny enough? Or are women discouraged from the kind of self-mockery these appearances usually require? Probably a little of both. Whatever the reason, we hope more ladies follow Rihanna's example in This Is the End and smack some sense into those boys.