47 Great Movie Moments #37 – Hunt for the Wilderpeople

And we continue with this series of 47 moments in film that I love. (Why 47?)  For #37, we continue looking at some of my favorite moments of comedy that I have enjoyed…

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Directed by:  Taika Waititi

Young delinquent Ricky Baker and his foster father Hec embark on an odyssey through the New Zealand bush after a series of misunderstandings leads them to becoming fugitives.

The Set-up

Prior to Ricky and Hec’s journey, the two are living comfortably together thanks to the bonding presence of Hec’s wife, Bella.  But when she suddenly dies, the two are left bereaved.

The Moment

Hec and Ricky attend Bella’s funeral, which is being presided over by an inept minister, who is played by the film’s writer and director, Taika Waititi.

We’ll let his sermon speak for itself:

“You know, sometimes in life, it seems like there’s no way out.  Like a sheep, trapped in a maze, designed by wolves.  You know that, if you’re ever in that situation, there are always two doors to choose from.  Through the first door, oh it’s easy to get through that door, and on the other side waiting for you, all the yummiest treats you could imagine:  Fanta, Doritos, L&P, Burger Rings, Coke Zero…but you know what, there’s also another door.  Not the Burger Ring door, not the Fanta door. Another door that’s harder to get through.  Guess what’s on the other side? Anyone want to take a guess?”

“Vegetables?” says Ricky uncertainly.

“No, not vegetables, no,” the minister replies, slightly offended.

“Jesus?” someone else offers.

“You would think Jesus.  I thought Jesus the first time I come across that door. Not Jesus.  It’s another door.  Guess what’s on the other side of that door.”

“Jesus,” the voice comes again, more confidently.

“Jesus, yeah, Jesus.  He’s tricky like that, Jesus.  So let us pray, to Jesus to please make it a bit easier to get through those doors, to find you and your bounty of…delicious confectionery.”

The organ begins to play and Hec leaves, frustrated.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is full of all sorts of comical moments with quirky and memorable characters.  Waitit’s minister is a perfect example of this.  The character doesn’t appear anywhere else, but you don’t quickly forget him.  He provides some great laughs in what would otherwise be a depressing scene, while at the same time highlighting Hec’s general dissatisfaction with “regular” society.

Sam Neill provides a perfectly irritated presence, without having any actual lines.  And Waititi himself is very funny.  I’m a Christian who is generally tired of clergymen in moves being portrayed as hypocritical, corrupt or stupid, but I still found this scene hilarious and enjoyable.


The Payoff

Hec decides to go out bush, and Ricky opts to fake his own suicide rather than be taken back by the child welfare officer assigned to him, and the movie really gets underway.

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