The most inappropriate product placements in movies

These days, just about any movie you see is 50 percent plot, 50 percent product placement. After all, if a studio makes back half its budget simply by agreeing to focus the camera on Dorito bags or Sony products for five seconds, what's to lose? Sometimes, however, a simple showing isn't enough, and the movie stops to pull you out of the narrative in favor of a blatant, full-scale commercial. Here are some of the worst, most inappropriate offenders in all of celluloid.

Power Rangers: Krispy Kreme

The original Power Rangers was pretty goofy, but the 2017 movie strove for darkness. Then they made Krispy Kreme a central part of the plot and mucked everything up.

Power Rangers' Krispy Kreme commercial plays out over the whole movie. It starts as a popular hangout for the Rangers because the Juice Bar was so '90s. We get a grabby game between a couple Rangers, with the last bite of a delicious Krispy Kreme doughnut as both the prize and the camera's main focus. Later, Rita Repulsa holds a couple Rangers hostage, and they tell her what she's looking for can be found at Krispy Kreme. She decides it must be "a special place," and they agree. Near the film's climax, Rita and Goldar go on a rampage, looking for Krispy Kreme while the Rangers circle it to protect it. The world may crumble, but the doughnuts must live.

Finally, Rita finds the Krispy Kreme and sits down to enjoy her first perfectly glazed doughnut, as a presumably hungry Goldar crashes through the wall. Conveniently, you could watch the film then go to a real Krispy Kreme and enjoy Power Rangers-themed doughnuts because if you're going to have anything in common with someone as evil as Rita, it should be a sweet tooth.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pizza Hut

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles love pizza, but that doesn't mean they have to advertise the pizza, too. When Michael Bay directs them, they most certainly do.

In Bay's 2014 Turtles reboot, the Turtles get caught sneaking up to the city by Master Splinter, who's a way bigger jerk than he was in the cartoon or original films. He whips the Turtles with his tail, then punishes them with actual torture, forcing them to stay in weird, uncomfortable, unnatural positions for seemingly hours until one explains why they went aboveground. No Turtle cracks, at least not until Splinter tempts Michelangelo with a delicious Pizza Hut pizza. And because this is a commercial, Splinter went out of his way to let Mikey (and the audience) know everything that's good and wonderful about succulent Pizza Hut pie. Calling it the "99 Cheese Pizza," Splinter seduces Mikey with all the various cheeses baked within until the poor hungry Turtle finally cracks, telling Splinter what they were up to.

While the 99 Cheese Pizza isn't actually a Pizza Hut item, sticking such a fictional treat in an obvious Pizza Hut box did nothing but make the brand very, very happy. That said, an Australian chef actually made the 99-cheese pizza reality that same year, so if the Hut really wants to make some money, it has a new recipe to purchase.

Little Nicky: Popeye's Chicken

Little Nicky may have been about Satan's son, but the real devil was Popeye's Chicken, and Adam Sandler clearly made a crossroads-worthy deal with them.

Popeye's is featured twice in the movie, and each time it's more heavy-handed than Sandler's weird, off-putting Nicky voice. In the first scene, a talking bulldog teaches Nicky how to eat because devils don't need nutrition in Hell. Like your typical toddler, Nicky's first food is crunchy fried chicken. After he finally figures out how to chew and swallow, he declares, "Popeye's Chicken is f**king awesome!" If that isn't enough of an endorsement for you, later in the movie Nicki has to fend off evil demons, and he does so by conjuring up a giant box of Popeye's. The demons feast on it, goaded on by Nicky's not-at-all-naughty instructions to "let the meat slide down your throat." The demons clearly enjoy the poultry as much as Nicky, with one proclaiming "Popeye's Chicken is the shiznit!" which is really close to how you might describe films that shoehorn fast-food chicken into a plot about devil spawn.

I, Robot: Converse All-Stars

Despite I, Robot taking place in post-apocalypse 2035, Will Smith really wanted to sell viewers a pair of Converse All-Stars. But filming a scene where he digs up an old, beat-up pair of Converse kicks wouldn't be good for the brand, so instead the writers got creative, concocting a scene that makes sense in the film's milieu, even though it makes almost no sense as a plain old decent scene.

In it, we see Smith opening up a shiny new shoe box to unveil a shiny new pair of Converse All-Stars. He laces those bad boys up during an extreme close-up, just in case we think for one second these might not be Converses, calls them a "thing of beauty," and then shows them off to his grandma. He calls them "vintage 2004," which is how the movie justifies slapping them into the narrative. It's certainly more effort than most films take to justify shameless shilling. Later on, a guy compliments Smith's shoes because what if even one audience member forgets how nice those shoes are for even an instant? Can't have that.

Transformers Age of Extinction: Beats By Dre

The Transformers cartoon was designed to sell toys, whereas the Transformers movies are designed to sell everything. Here's just one example, one of the most painfully blatant Michael Bay's yet dreamed up.

In Age of Extinction, we see a businessman looking over a batch of "transformium," a mysterious alien alloy that can change into any form its holder desires. So while it's floating above his hands, what's the first thing this cold, intense, single-minded business tycoon dreams up? Why, the new Beats By Dre Pill speaker, of course! He conjures it up, holds it right up to the camera, asks the scientists whether they like music, then name-checks it as "The Pill" for anyone watching with a few hundred bucks to burn on a slightly-above-average speaker. He then turns the transformium into a gun, though Bay amazingly didn't have him identify the make and model. Perhaps even shameless shills have their limits.

It's such a blatant commercial, it later got edited down into a real commercial, complete with that "Happy" song earworming its way into your cerebellum. Now you can avoid all that pesky "robot war" claptrap and focus on what's really important: buying stuff.

You've Got Mail: Starbucks

Never mind that You've Got Mail is essentially one big ad for America Online — its most egregious product placement of all is when it spends 45 seconds reminding you of all the delicious treats you can get at Starbucks.

After 30 seconds of Cranberries magic, just in case grownups using AOL IM wasn't enough reminder that this was the '90s, both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan hit Starbucks separately, but within seconds of each other. Oh, cruel fate. A Hanks voiceover then eschews the plot in favor of shilling for Starbucks. While part of it is stand-up comedy that's only semi-endorses the coffee chain ("The whole purpose of places like Starbucks, is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee,") the rest is basically him rattling off the damn menu. Let Tom Hanks tell you all the many ways you can get your coffee at your local Starbucks while customers helpfully fill in the blanks by ordering yum-yums like mocha frappuccino grandes and caramel macchiatos.

Then Hanks reminds us that "for 2.95, [you] get not just a cup of coffee, but an absolutely defining sense of self." The self that just paid someone else three bucks for bean water.

Sex Tape: Apple

Sex Tape is about a couple who make a sex tape and then accidentally send it to everyone they know. So they run around trying to delete it from everyone's computers like that matters any because it's already in the cloud and now they're porn stars. You would think the moral of the film would be "don't make a sex tape." But the real message is, "if you're going to make a sex tape, film it with Apple products because they're seriously the best."

As the above video shows, Sex Tape is basically one big commercial for Apple, though why it would want to associate itself with naughty tapes is unclear. Everyone is using an Apple computer or iPad and loving it to bits. When Cameron Diaz asks Jason Segel about his new iPad, he even exclaims, "I'm super-excited about it. It's got a higher-resolution display, which means more pixels, and they upgraded the camera." It's like romantic comedy's answer to all that trade federation talk in Phantom Menace.

Even once the couple realizes everyone near them has a copy of their deviance, the shilling continues. Diaz grabs her son's iPad right out of his hands and chucks it out the window — Segel, feeling bad for him, goes to retrieve it. It survived the fall with nary a scratch, prompting him to opine, "Man, the construction on these things is just unbelievable." So is the gall needed to turn this film into a 90-minute Apple ad.

Jack and Jill: Dunkin' Donuts

Just because your commercial-within-a-movie is presented as a terrible idea doesn't make it any less of a commercial. Case in point: the Dunkin' Donuts ad that took up way much of Jack and Jill's time. (To be fair, the movie itself took up took much time, but still.) Sandler's ad exec character spends the whole movie desperate to get Al Pacino to film a Dunkin' Donuts commercial. So right there, you have Dunkin' mentioned time and again. Finally, at the end, we see the commercial, and it's basically the worst thing ever.

Pacino raps (oh yes) and claims his name is no longer Al, but Dunk. As in Dunkaccino. Technically, it should be Dunk Pacino, but the poor man suffered enough just filming this drivel, so we'll let it slide. He references various lines from his movie career while putting over his new favorite drink ("You want creamy goodness, I'm your friend / Say hello to my chocolate blend," "They pulled me back in hazelnut too / caramel swirl, I know it was you") while he CGI dances all over the place. So much for Gigli being the worst part of his career.

Al demands Sandler never put the ad on air and that he burn every copy. So yes, they admit the commercial is terrible … after bombarding you with "yay Dunkin' Donuts" for an obnoxious 30 seconds. That doesn't count — the only way to get away with a terrible commercial-in-a-movie is to not film it at all.

Mac and Me: McDonald's

Technically, the MAC in Mac and Me stands for "Mysterious Alien Creature," but considering what this movie was really about, it was clearly shorthand for "Big Mac."

In a movie about government agents tracking down a friendly, lovable alien (this time with no interest in phoning home), everyone pauses for a four-minute commercial about the awesome and fun-filled world of McDonald's. MAC's human friend disguises him as a teddy bear and hides him at a local McD's that just happens to be hosting a dance party outside. There's a jam-packed birthday party inside, too, hosted by none other than Ronald McDonald himself. Naturally, McDonald's food and drinks are shown everywhere, just in case any hungry kids watching need ideas of where to bug their parents to take them.

For some reason, the parties merge as the announcer implores the kids to "get this dance party started." Football players join the party, again with no explanation. Crispy golden fries are simply the reason for the season, we must assume. As the evil agents enter the McDonald's, they're confronted by what has become a full-blown, choreographed dance routine, right in the middle of the restaurant. And yes, Ronald's dancing, too, like he does in many a McDonald's commercial. MAC gets away, of course, and the agents rush after him while the entire dance party gives chase, too. Nothing about this scene makes any sense, but since the entire point was "aren't McNuggets tasty?" it didn't need to.

Shooter: Google Maps

2007's Shooter is mostly about Mark Wahlberg trying to prove his innocence after being framed for the murder of an archbishop. But at one point, the film attempts to slip product placement into the narrative but only manages to make the narrative look positively stupid.

As Donald Glover and his agents are looking for Wahlberg, one guy mentions a chat room transcript that includes a "delta level clearance request," whatever that means. The request apparently came from some field office near a doughnut shop where the chatting originated, and the agent knows this because he used Google Maps to calculate the distance. Yes, Google Maps. The same free service you use to find the burger shop closest to your hotel room is also what highly trained federal agents use to find dangerous, highly trained fugitive soldiers.

To be fair, professionals like this probably do use Google Maps from time to time, but this movie makes it seem like using Google was the only way they could've ever found their man. Besides, nobody name-checks the thing they use unless they're getting paid to do so, and Google clearly paid quite dearly for this to happen.