Pity our poor young colleague Peter Hall. Not only is he a newlywed with two difficult cats and a mortgage; he's also trying to keep himself focused on the two or three outlets he contributes his daily cinematic nerdliness to. And now this: He's got to get his wisdom teeth out. Or better yet, his dentist may want to do a root canal first, and then focus on the four rear extractions. Yes, I said rear extractions. Anyway, here's a collection of films that you'll definitely want to avoid the next time you're in Pete's position: Prone, scared, and with a strange masked man sticking metal tools into your mouth.
1. Marathon Man -- I place it first because A) the film has the great-grand-daddy of dangerous denitalia, B) it's a really obvious pick, and C) it's the first one I thought of! But yes, the sequence (embedded below the jump) is Sir Laurence Olivier going to town on Dustin Hoffman's teeth like nobody's business. And man can that Hoffman screech like a mortally wounded primate when the scene calls for it! Ah, but here's the good news: You all know the "is it safe?" sequence, but have you seen the whole film? It's really quite good!
2. Little Shop of Horrors -- Yes, I completely agree that Steve Martin, as the sadistic, gas-addicted Orin Scrivello (D.D.S.!) is one of the funniest things found in 1980s cinema (especially in the blissfully twisted scene with Bill Murray), but there's also some amusingly graphic dental meanness found in this film. (Some of it shot from inside a wounded patient's mouth!) Funny and clever, but not something to witness before you kneel down to the lord Novocaine. (Another film in which Mr. Martin plays a dentist. Not a bad flick.)
3. The Dentist -- In case you maybe thought The Dentist was a quiet and thoughtful rumination on a difficult profession, not unlike the William Hurt film The Doctor ... think again. Here Corbin Bernsen plays a loony dentist who does horrible, horrible things to people. Like, worse than Major League 3. And just when you start to think "Ick! Who'd want to watch THAT movie?" I'd remind you that The Dentist 2 hit the shelves not soon after the first one. (They're actually sleazy fun, provided you're a hardcore horror fan who digs the Yuzna vibe.)
4. Final Destination 2 -- The scene heads off in a rather different direction, but there's definitely some dental tension involved once the huge shiny needle comes out ... and the pigeons start slamming themselves into the window. Have a look for yourself, but skip the ending if you don't enjoy silly gore. (And hey, this rather goofball sequence has been annotated for your edification!)
5. American History X -- Three words: Curbside Dental Demolition. To this day this is one of the most painful scenes I've ever witnessed. And I've seen dozens of those brutal Italian zombie movies.
Also avoid all dentists played by the likes of Alan Arkin, Matthew Perry, and W.C. Fields. They'll just make you more nervous. Oh, and here's that Marathon Man sequence I promised. Brace yourselves.
Fine, one last treat. Davis really wanted this included here, and ... well, he's right. It's awesome.