In real, living, breathing life, having an awkward moment with someone is something we try to avoid. That water-cooler small talk, that unbearable silence in the lift or meeting your other half's parents for the first time - all painful to experience.
But in movies, we tend to get a kick out of them. Sure, we'll squirm in our seats and maybe we'll even watch through our sweaty fingers but at least we're not in the situation. So here are 11 scenes where you can live an awkward moment vicariously through someone else. Try to enjoy.
(Images: Rex Features, All Star)
Swingers - the voicemails
Before the days of the cowardly text, actually talking on the phone was an inescapably important element to dating. Which meant that the cruel mistress that is the answering machine was a necessary evil. In this increasingly hard-to-watch scene from Swingers, Jon Favreau's attempt to leave a casual message for a woman he's just met is an unmitigated disaster where each attempt is even worse than before. Her ultimate reaction is totally justified.
Bridesmaids - the engagement party speeches
Most of Bridesmaids revolves around uncomfortable humour, thanks to Annie, a heroine whose default mode is awkward. It's showcased best in this series of ultra competitive speeches at her best friend's engagement party. As she tries to outdo her rival bridesmaid, Annie wades through new depths of awkwardness culminating in the world's least appropriate singalong.
There's Something About Mary - the bathroom
Now, if we actually had prom over here then we're sure it would be a hugely awkward experience. It's possible that our view is a bit tainted by this 1998 gross-0ut comedy however. In the opening sequence, Ben Stiller's character finds himself in a slippery slope of awkwardness after he goes for a seemingly innocent trip to the bathroom. But things soon get cocked up. So to speak.
American Pie - the tube sock
Taking a situation that would make anyone crave the ability to disappear, this memorable opening to the first American Pie film sees our hero Jim get interrupted while, ahem, enjoying himself. By his mum. And then his dad. Yes earth, you can cave in and swallow him now.
Taxi Driver - the blue cinema
Deciding on where to take a first date is a vastly underestimated process. You want to showcase somewhere that you're familiar with but a slight element of ambition and effort is also necessary. To be fair to Travis Bickle, he gave it his best. But, unsurprisingly, his choice of an XXX cinema didn't go down so well with the more refined Betsy. Easily the worst first movie date ever.
Meet The Parents - Milking cats
Ben Stiller crops up again in a situation that was always going to be fraught with awkwardness: meeting the parents. It's a rite of passage that's made even more difficult with De Niro playing dad. In this dinner scene, Stiller is forced to go down a trail of increasingly absurd lies involving the milking of a cat. It somehow gets worse...
Goodfellas - a funny guy
A mixture of awkwardness and a genuine terror, this iconic scene sees Ray Liotta telling Joe Pesci that he's "a funny guy", which, given the jokes that he's just been telling, seems like an understandable observation. But in a brilliantly controlled piece of acting, Pesci takes the comment a little bit badly...
Wedding Crashers - the dinner table
A formal dinner with new people is always ripe for embarrassment. Said set-up is made even more excruciating when you're trying to hide the fact that you're being, ahem, played with under the table. Vince Vaughn tries his damn best though. So there is that.
About A Boy - Killing Me Softly
Kids are mean little beasts. We're still able to remember what it was like being around them on a daily basis. At school obviously. So performing a song in front of an entire hall of them has never been very high up on our to-do list. This decision was proved to be a good one after we watched, and cringed, at Hugh Grant's attempt to save the day in About A Boy. Well done us.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin - poker talk
Trying to feign convincing locker room chat with "the lads" when you have zero sexual experience is not going to be easy. So this scene where Steve Carell tries to persuade the guys that he's a ladies' man is difficult to watch. Never refer to a breast as feeling like a bag of sand. Good to know for the future.
Superbad - the punch
When you're around a girl you're trying to impress, mind where your hands accidentally end up swinging. That's all we're saying.