The 10 Best Movies Where Nothing Actually Happens, According To Reddit – Screen Rant

Between a movie about two friends having dinner and a crime caper made up of irrelevant vignettes, these films about nothing are actually riveting.
The Batman was a huge success when it was released earlier in the year, and its success has continued on HBO Max, but some have complained that nothing actually happens in the film. It has been pointed out that Batman doesn’t have an effect on the outcome of any of the movie’s events. But it isn’t the first time a film has been guilty of nothing happening.
However, nothing happening in a movie isn’t necessarily a criticism, and it could simply mean that it’s more ambiguous, more character-driven, or more aesthetically pleasing than narratively driven blockbuster movies. Between a movie about two friends having dinner and a crime caper made up of irrelevant vignettes, Redditors make some great arguments that these films about nothing are actually riveting.
One Redditor thinks My Dinner with Andre is the best movie where nothing happens, believing it to be the most uneventful movie of all time. But the Redditor adds, “Unless you count each course or their meal being brought to them as an event…” The 1981 film follows Wally, who meets with his old friend, Andre, for dinner one evening, and that’s literally it.
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But while it’s simply about two old friends eating dinner together and having deep philosophical conversations, it still has a firm place in pop culture. The movie has been referenced and parodied to no end, most notably in Community when Abed reenacts the movie with Jeff, who is hilariously unknowing of the whole situation.
As the ’90s was the decade of cinematic wunderkinder like Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson, Kevin Smith was instantly added to that list with his micro-budget black-and-white comedy, Clerks. The film is very much a life-in-a-day type of movie, but where something eventful generally happens in those films, Clerks is literally made up of conversations, some of which are hilariously and intentionally mundane.
Courwes notes, “Probably the quintessential movie where absolutely nothing happens. He works on his off day and that’s literally all the movie is about. A bunch of people come into the store and talk to him.” The sequel, Clerks II, was just as much about nothing as its predecessor too, and though comedy sequels have a bad reputation, it’s just as good as the original and one of the best legacy sequels of all time. Clerks III could pull off the trick a third time too, as the threequel is scheduled for release later this year, 16 years after Clerks II.
TheHeyHeyMan refers to Inherent Vice, the 70s-based, The Big Lebowski-influenced neo-noir comedy as an engaging movie where nothing happens. The Redditor hilariously notes, “So much happens, and yet… nothing really happens by the end.” While there is the clear through-line of Doc trying to figure out what actually happened to Mickey Wolfmann, who had gone missing, Inherent Vice is put together almost like a series of vignettes.
The movie is two-and-a-half hours long, and in that time, Doc encounters an unpredictable cult leader dentist, uncovers a mysterious heroin trade under the guise of The Golden Fang, and has ongoing surreal encounters with Bigfoot, his archnemesis police lieutenant. And it all essentially amounts to nothing, but it’s still director Paul Thomas Anderson’s best movie.
For a movie that’s essentially about nothing, Adaptation has one of the most convoluted premises ever. The film follows Charlie Kaufman (who is a fictionalized version of the movie’s actual writer,) a screenwriter who is tasked with writing an exciting Hollywood movie based on the non-fiction book, The Orchid Thief.
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A deleted user thinks the film expertly approaches the idea of nothing happening. The Redditor breaks down the movie, explaining, “Adaptation is a satire about the problems with writing a movie in which nothing happens.” The film does feature an action-packed final act that includes a gunfight and a crocodile attack in a swamp, but it’s ultimately redundant and a commentary on the formulaic nature of Hollywood movies.
YeahIdWatchThat thinks that 2013’s Nebraska is the best movie about nothing. The Redditor explains, in the movie, “An aging man sets off on a trek to claim prize money from a lottery ticket.” However, from the very beginning of the film, both audiences and Woody’s family know it’s a scam, but there’s no convincing him, so his son, David, humors Woody by traveling with him cross-country.
Though it would have been great to see Woody win the prize money, needless to say, David was right all along, and they simply drive back empty-handed, meaning that in the two-hour movie, nothing happens at all. However, the content of the film is still powerful, and it’s a criminally overlooked movie that deserves more attention.
Carnage has an interesting title, as while the four only characters in the film are all very passive-aggressive, there’s very little carnage, and little of anything else for that matter. Les-the-badger succinctly summarizes the plot, explaining, “Two married couples in a room, discussing a fight that happened between their sons at their school.”
At a lean 80 minutes, even that length of time is stretching its premise thin. And at the 80th minute, the movie simply ends after the two couples realize that the conversation is going nowhere. But it’s hilarious and ingenious in the way that audiences feel second-hand embarrassment for the characters.
Just as is the case with Inherent Vice, the movie influenced by the 1998 crime caper, a deleted user argues that nothing happens in The Big Lebowski, but that’s why it’s so great. The Redditor posits, “Nobody changes or learns a lesson, and they all wind up basically the same person they were at the start of the movie.”
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While very little happens in the movie and almost every character is in the same position they were at the beginning of it, it’s actually fairly eventful compared to the Coen brothers’ other films. However, if all of the bowling scenes and montages were cut out, the film would be a good 20 minutes shorter.
There’s a popular debate over whether or not Pulp Fiction would be good if the scenes were shown in chronological order, and if there’s even any point to them being muddled up in the first place. But the way the sequences are misordered cleverly adds stakes to a narrative that doesn’t actually have any.
Brachert17 puts it best, explaining, “Try to tell someone the plot of Pulp Fiction and find yourself at a loss for words.” A lot is going on and Pulp Fiction is full of great supporting characters, but when looking at the overarching narrative of the 1994 classic, it doesn’t amount to much.
MasterK999 makes an observation that has long been a criticism of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Redditor explains, “The very first time I saw it, I realized that Indy could have stayed home and everything would have been fine.” While things do happen in Raiders, none of them are caused by Indiana Jones, who has absolutely no effect on any of the events that occur.
The Nazis would have found the Ark of the Covenant with or without the archaeologist, and they were always going to end up dead as soon as they opened the box. Interestingly, the newly released The Batman is partially guilty of that too. In the movie, Batman fails to stop anything of the bad things that happen, and up until the final act, everything would have unfolded the same way with or without the Caped Crusader solving the Riddler’s clues.
Just like The Big Lebowski, Inside Llewyn Davis was directed by the celebrated directing duo, the Coen brothers, but even less happens here than in the stoner comedy. The 2013 film does what all great Coen bros. movies do, which is to have the narrative open-ended, ambiguous, and to let the viewers interpret the film’s meaning how they wish.
But that led to a lot of confusion. Marlefox tries to convince themselves that there is a detailed plot in the movie before hilariously giving up. The Redditor posits, “…and there’s a cat… actually, what the f**k is this movie about?”
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Currently residing in Madrid, Stephen Barker has been a staff writer at Screen Rant since 2020. Since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies in 2014, he has written for numerous movie and music websites. Stephen has been obsessed with movies since he first watched Jurassic Park on VHS, and with a deep interest in screenwriting, he loves 70s character-driven movies. But he’s just as much of a defender of Batman & Robin, The Fast and the Furious, and Small Soldiers. Visit Stephen‚Äôs personal blog, Quaranste, where he writes about guilty pleasure movies, his latest musical discoveries, and how he stays creative during global pandemics, or contact him directly:


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