It’s bewildering how the last ten years have flown by, but also that the most legendary bit of comedy ever put to film is only a decade old. It’s such a cultural touchstone of universally agreed-upon comic genius that it feels like it’s been around forever. But the numbers don’t lie. The funniest movie scene ever created reached movie theaters on November 21, 2008.
Obviously, I’m talking about the vampire baseball scene from Twilight.
Twilight is an okay movie about a not-particularly-interesting romance between a boring vampire and a boring young woman that, at one point, grinds to a halt for three minutes so that we may all be treated to the ridiculously hilarious experience of watching a family of vampires play baseball. Why do they do that? Well, as Edward, the sexy vampire guy (Robert Pattinson) explains to his human girlfriend (and the audience’s surrogate) Bella (Kristen Stewart), baseball is “the American pastime, and there’s a thunderstorm coming.” That … doesn’t explain this scene at all. This scene is similar to that scene from Fargo where Marge Gunderson has lunch with Mike Yanagita, in that it is inconsequential to the plot. Except that this scene has vampires. And baseball. And vampires playing baseball.
Let’s break down just why this scene is so hilarious.
Bella is there because Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), the matriarch or “mom” of the Cullen vampire family, asks her to be the umpire, because, according to one of the vampires, “She thinks we cheat.” “I know you cheat!” Esme teases back to her more-or-less son, with more than a little flirtation.
Also, the vampires wear old-timey-looking baseball caps, some of which bear a “C” that obviously stands for “Cullen.” Yeah, they’re wearing hats with their family’s initial on them, which is the dorkiest thing ever.
Okay, the hats are the second dorkiest thing ever, because some of the vampires — creatures that can live forever by consuming the liquid life force of other humans, a concept that has fascinated fiction writers for decades — are presented in Twilight as individuals who are so excited about their dumb family game of baseball that they even have special, old-fashioned striped baseball socks.
There’s a random cutaway to Dude-Bro Vampire (Kellan Lutz) doing some hip-hop dance moves he seemingly learned from Darrin’s Dance Grooves. This (correctly) suggests that the big game of vampire baseball is going to be aggressively athletic, something one does not normally associate with either vampires or baseball.
A lighting bolt flashes, indicating that it’s time to play vampire baseball. “It’s time,” vampire Alice, played by one-time pop-culture sensation Ashley Greene, says, confirming the notion that it’s time to play vampire baseball. She throws a pitch and the film slows down a little to imply that she threw it very fast, because these here Twilight vampires do things very fast and with very much vigor (and as a family, because family is so important, you guys).
Coinciding exactly with a thunder clap, vampire Rosalie (Nikki Reed) hits the baseball very hard. That prompts Bella to quip, “Okay, now I see why you need the thunder,” except it doesn’t actually explain anything at all. But she says it with the same straight-out-of-a-commercial delivery used by Chris Farley (“I think I’m gonna like house-sitting!”) in that “Schmitts Gay” commercial from Saturday Night Live.
The ball goes very far, and this makes Edward very competitive and determined. He gives the inanimate object a steely gaze and then runs very fast after that flying baseball.
“That’s gotta be a home run, right?” Bella asks Esme as Rosalie rounds second base, because she is very fast. Not necessarily, Bella. “Edward’s very fast,” Esme basically purrs. What an unsettling and suggestive thing for a mother to say about her son, to his girlfriend!
Hey, here’s another vampire (Jackson Rathbone) twirling an aluminum baseball bat like a baton, the way vampires, like teens from 2008, like to do.
Edward uses his vampire powers (his eyes) to find the baseball on the ground. He picks it up and throws it back to the diamond. Esme — who has apparently been playing catcher this whole time — catches it with her bare hands, because vampires obviously have very tough hands and don’t need mitts. Bella timidly calls her out at the plate.
Rosalie gets so mad that she stares down and tries to physically intimidate Bella, as if this one play in a game of vampire baseball matters in the slightest. She refrains from sucking out all of Bella’s blood and thereby murdering her, which she very much could do, but does not.
Vampire dad Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli) calls his own shot, à la Babe Ruth. Dads love baseball lore, so vampire dads are just like non-vampire dads in that they do dorky stuff that makes you cringe. (Also, Esme is having so much fun she literally never stops smiling.)
Alice is a terrible pitcher, because Carlisle also hits the ball several miles away. But look out, because Dude-Bro and Edward both think they can catch it and they jump up high into the air to get it, but even after 150 years of vampire baseball experience, neither remembers to say “I’ve got it!” and they collide mid-air and have a wacky, hilarious pratfall.
The bat-twirling vampire goes up to bat. He makes this face when he hits the ball. He can’t even believe that he’s playing vampire baseball and doing a real good job at it.
Once again, a vampire connects for what would be a home run for a human, but since these are vampires playing, Dude-Bro parkours up a tree to catch it. Rosalie likes that and calls Dude-Bro her “monkey man,” as if that is a term of endearment and not the weirdest and grossest thing you could say about another person (or baseball-playing vampire).
This game would probably go on forever, because nobody ever seems to score a point, but it comes to an abrupt end when a coterie of bad vampires arrives. And just like that, the funniest and weirdest scene of all time is over and you, viewer, are expected to watch the rest of Twilight with interest, even though your mind is still reeling from witnessing the world’s least-scary vampires enthusiastically play baseball.