Movie and TV soundtracks usually aren't exactly subtle. You get a triumphant orchestra when the heroes defeat the evil king and you get a Doors song whenever you're flashing back to the 1960s. But sometimes, composers will get clever and insert cues that practically give away the ending. If, that is, you're paying close enough attention and have an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and classical music. For example ...
5A Piano Piece Gives Away The Surprise Villain In Iron Man
Iron Man is probably best remembered for being the movie which kick-started the Marvel cinematic juggernaut and reminding everyone that Robert Downey, Jr. hadn't died in prison. The film's supervillian is a regular, real-world bad guy (at first): Obadiah Stane, Tony Stark's former partner and an unabashed war profiteer. However, since this is a summer blockbuster, he's also responsible for more traditional villainy, like kidnapping, terrorism, bombs exploding, and a giant mech-suit battle in the sky. You know, the usual.
The audience doesn't officially learn that Stane is secretly trying to kill Tony until the third act or so, but the movie actually reveals it way earlier, right after Tony gets back from being tortured in a cave and announces that he doesn't want to build weapons anymore. After a hilarious montage of Tony injuring himself in his workshop with his new Iron Man equipment, he comes upon Stane playing a baby grand piano, because villains are irresistibly drawn to giant Steinways like bugs to lamps.
"Oh, don't mind me. I'm merely diddling around with 'Movie Spoilers In D Minor.'"
If you know your 18th-Century composers (you do, don't you?), you'll recognize the piece as Antonio Salieri's Piano Concerto In C Major. If you also know your 1980s movies, you'll recognize Salieri as the guy who killed Mozart in Amadeus, a movie about a bitter older rival insidiously destroying the young, brash upstart composer. Throughout the film, Salieri is tortured by the fact that he can't do work on the same level as the young genius, just as Stane bemoans his inability to reverse-engineer Stark's invention. ("Tony Stark was able to build this in a cave with a box of scraps!")
Luckily, Tony didn't also posses the world's most annoying laugh.
Oh, and Salieri's master plan (in the movie -- there's no indication he killed Mozart in real life, or even hated him) was to steal Mozart's final piece of music and claim it as his own after death. You know, the same as how Stane stole the arc reactor right out of Tony's chest. The whole "Jeff Bridges is secretly the bad guy!" twist is laid out in these few seconds of music, as is the fact that filmmakers do in fact put a lot of thought into shit like this.
4The Opening Song In Season 5 Of Lost Reveals The Twist In The Finale
Fans and non-fans alike complained that the later seasons of Lost were a jumble of ridiculously unbelievable reveals, the end result of too many random choices made for shock value's sake. The primary culprit behind most of the show's shark-jumping moments is the Smoke Monster, aka the Man in Black, who can shapeshift to look like dead people and wants to kill his similarly godlike brother, Jacob, the protector of the island who is also preventing him from leaving and destroying reality. Simple enough!
Sponsored by Excedrin!
In Season 5, the Smoke Monster impersonates the dead John Locke -- you know, the dude who looks like that one gym teacher you had who got fired for throwing a basketball at a kid's head -- to try to get one of the main characters to kill Jacob. However, we don't know it's the Smoke Monster in disguise until the end of Season 5. For many fans, this was yet another random "why not" late-stage decision in a long line of shit they clearly made up to keep viewers guessing. Except it wasn't. This was foreshadowed in the first minute of Season 5.
Season 5 starts with a Dharma scientist playing a song called "Shotgun Willie," which is from a 1973 Willie Nelson album, and the lyrics hint at Locke's secret persona. The second verse, about a character named John T. Fours, isn't heard as the record skips, itself arguably mirroring the characters on the show, who were left skipping through time. But the song's lyrics refer to John T. Fours as a man who's "working for the Ku Klux Klan," highlighting that a man called John cannot be trusted.
A guy called John working with a dubious group of people -- sound familiar? But, you presumably say, the character on the show is John Locke, while this is someone called John Fours. Precisely. Remember those stupid goddamned numbers that kept showing up? Well, those six numbers -- 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 -- referenced people. Jacob made a list of all the people who could potentially replace him, and the ones assigned those numbers were the last six alive. And what was John's number? Four.
Jacob kept this list in a lighthouse scribbled on the side of a giant compass that was connected to a one-way mirror
which showed everyone's childhood house so he could watch them grow up. So thoughtful!
Lost may have turned into the craziest pile of directionless nonsense ever produced, but at least for one brief moment, the writers included some genuine foreshadowing. With a Willie Nelson song.