The Washington Post

With ‘Hop’ in theaters, a salute to cinema’s best use of bunny rabbits

Russell Brand, such a darling little bunny. (Photo Credit: Rhythm & Hues)

Russell Brand is currently attempting to pull off what may be an acting first: he goes from playing a cuddly animated rabbit this weekend in “Hop,” to appearing in theaters next weekend as a raging alcholic in the remake of “Arthur.”

Although, based on the largely lousy reviews of “Hop,” Brand’s E.B. — son of the Easter Bunny — can be a crude little thing, one who hits on Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory” and, apparently, has bowel movements that resemble jelly beans. So really, maybe these two roles are just variant shades of the same color.

Nevertheless, Brand’s work in the hare department sparked the idea for today’s Friday list: a look at nine of the most memorable rabbit moments in cinema history. One caveat before we begin: Bugs Bunny has been omitted from the list simply because he’s clearly the master in this field (we all saw “Space Jam,” did we not?) and it only seemed fair to give other carrot munchers their due.

Now without further ado, a tribute to movie bunnies, both the cute and the unbearably creepy.

Alec Azam, the Pixar short “Presto”: Shown in theaters as the opening act before “Wall-E,” this briskly paced animated short features a bunny with one goal in mind: convince his magician boss to give him a carrot. To reach that goal, Alex Azam proves he’s cunning, brilliant and, at all times, adorable.

Eight more movie rabbits after the jump....

Harvey, “Harvey”: Six-feet-tall. Best friend of Elwood P. Dowd. And invisible. That’s Harvey, the imaginary (we think) friend of Jimmy Stewart’s Dowd in this 1950 classic.

Frank, “Donie Darko”: Writer-director Richard Kelly swears that the aforementioned “Harvey” did not inspire him to craft a story about a disturbed teen (Jake Gyllenhaal) who develops a relationship with an eerie rabbit convinced the world is going to end. Whether intentional or not, “Donnie Darko” certainly stands as the head-tripping flip side of “Harvey’s” sweet take on the ‘ol guy-who-talks-to-a-bunny story.

Roger Rabbit, “Who Framed Rogger Rabbit?”: Even if you didn’t surrender to Roger’s charming tendency to stretch out the word “please,” surely you agree about this much regarding the star of this 1988 blockbuster: he had a seriously hot wife.

The rabbits in “Watership Down”: The bunnies from this movie, based on the wonderful novel by Richard Adams, wrecked an untold number of childhoods in the 1970s. Which is why, as the video clip below demonstrates, it makes total sense to watch scenes from this film with Marilyn Manson as the soundtrack.

Thumper, “Bambi”: You may have a heart that’s made out of eight layers of stone and encased in a steel vault. It still probably melts at the sight of Bambi’s buddy Thumper.

Pet rabbit, “Fatal Attraction”: Granted, this poor little bunny did not get much screen time given its disturbing demise. But when you think about memorable rabbit-related scenes on film, this one immediately rockets to the forefront of the mind. (Don’t watch the clip if the words, “bunny,” “boiling” and “stovetop” make you exceptionally nervous.)

Killer rabbit, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”: You thought that “Fatal Attraction” clip was disturbing? Try taking a look at this homicial, buck-toothed freak with “a vicious streak a mile wide.” Good lord, that sucker can fly, to the point where the only proper response has to be: “Run away! Run away!”

Ralphie as a pink bunny, “A Christmas Story”: What’s more frightening? Frank the rabbit in “Donnie Darko” or Ralphie Parker looking like a pink nightmare? I still say Frank, but I’d love to see how “Donnie Darko” would play if Jake Gyllenhaal were tormented by images of Peter Billingsley, dressed up in Aunt Clara’s finely crafted ensemble.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.


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