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This Fumble In The Outsiders Happened Completely By Accident

Generally, films and TV shows are scripted, and the humorous moments in them were planned by the writers. However, occasionally actors make mistakes, forget lines, and improvise certain moments, going off-script. Although these mistakes are often thrown away, and the scenes are re-shot, sometimes, the mistakes actors make actually end up working and being kept in the film. Perhaps, sometimes actors inhabit their characters so deeply that they seem to channel their personalities, even if they can't remember the script. 

There are several famous examples of this. For example, in "Scream," Billy (Skeet Ulrich) grabs a phone that's covered in blood, but it slips out of his hands and hits Stu (Matthew Lillard) in the head. Stu says, "You hit me with the phone, d**k!" which was not scripted according to the DVD commentary, but it did fit with Stu's goofy character, so the filmmakers kept it. In "Django Unchained," when Django (Jamie Foxx) first meets the evil slaveholder Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), DiCaprio accidentally slams his hand into a glass, which was not scripted, and just continues giving his monologue while calmly picking shards of glass out of his hand, even though it was injured in real life. This made the scene even more intense, so they kept it in.

"The Outsiders," the 1983 film based on S. E. Hinton's 1967 young adult novel of the same title, contains one of these bloopers so good that they kept them in the movie. This is not too surprising since the cast of "The Outsiders" includes such talented actors and musicians as Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Darry Curtis, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Waits.

Dallas falling out of his chair at the drive-in was an accident

In one scene from "The Outsiders," Greasers Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon) and Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell) are at the drive-in movie theater, sitting in the chairs for people who did not bring cars with them. During this scene, Dallas is trying to flirt with Cherry Valance (Diane Lane), but then he falls out of his chair, and Ponyboy briefly looks off-screen at the camera and laughs. The author of the novel, S. E. Hinton, was on the set for this and says that this part of the scene was not scripted but rather accidental. When Ponyboy looked off-stage, he was actually looking at director Frances Ford Coppola, presumably waiting for him to cut the scene, but Coppola kept rolling. Therefore, Dillon simply climbed back into his chair and continued doing the rest of the scene. Redditor u/ShaneMP01 pointed out this piece of movie trivia, as did IMDB

Although this moment was not scripted, Dallas falling out of the chair makes the scene more comical. His bumbling demeanor as he attempts to flirt with Cherry is more humorous because of Dillon's actual clumsiness. When Ponyboy looks at the camera because something ridiculous just happened, this is similar to later mockumentary shows like "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation," where certain characters often look at the camera knowingly after a different character has done something silly. Although this style of comedy was not really popular yet when "The Outsiders" was filmed, it is still funny, so Coppola kept Ponyboy's off-camera glance in "The Outsiders" as well as Dallas falling out of the chair.