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5 Movies Plots Given Away by the Characters' Names

Names can influence our lives in profound and amazing ways. They can determine how much money we make or how attractive we appear to other people, while the more unpronounceable ones can even pose a serious choking hazard to children under 3 and the elderly. (Hope you feel better soon, Grandpa.)

But when it comes to fictional names, their main power is being able to spoil your favorite films harder and faster than "Rosebud McItwashissled." That's because screenwriters absolutely love putting tiny clues into the names of movie characters that flat out tell you what's going to happen with the plot, like how ...

#5. The Name of Nicolas Cage's Character in Face/Off Revealed How He Was Going to Die

Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista International

In the 1997 installment of John Woo's dove fetish infinite-logy, commonly known as Face/Off, Nicolas Cage plays insane terrorist Castor Troy, who plants a bomb somewhere in Los Angeles. Then, to make sure no one can get any information about it from him, he strategically almost dies and falls into a coma. This leaves FBI Special Agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) with no choice but to have Troy's face transplanted onto him so he can trick Castor's brother, Pollux, into unwittingly giving up the device's location.

What follows is a typical action movie roller coaster: Things go tits up when Troy wakes up, staples Archer's face to himself, and convinces everyone that he's the real thing, then the tits go down again when the original Archer finds and murders his evil doppelganger with a spear gun.

Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista International
"It literally kills me to do this, but ..."

Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:

Wait, "Pollux"? That can't be a real name. That sounds more like a rejected bee-themed supervillain from Captain Planet. In reality, the Troys' monikers are a reference to Castor and Pollux, two brothers from Greek mythology who make up the Gemini constellation, which is Latin for "twins." In the movie, Troy and Archer sort of become each other's twin, and suddenly, BAM, you're in John Woo's symbolism land!

Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista International
Hope you brought an umbrella.

Castor and Pollux were also brothers of Helen of Troy and the protectors of sailors, which featured prominently in the movie finale when Archer chased Troy in a speedboat.

Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista International

More importantly, though, according to the ancient Greeks, Castor met his end after the Gemini bros got into a feud with their cousins, Lynceus and Idas, which ultimately led to Idas killing Castor ... by impaling him with a spear. Then, a few centuries later, John Woo took that idea, added "gun" to the end of it, and had his ending to Face/Off, which the more observant audience members could've guessed the second the name "Castor Troy" was first mentioned in the film.

Now, I'm not saying that this has somehow ruined Face/Off for anyone, because you can't really spoil the crazy-awesome spectacle of that scene even if you know about it in advance, but ... it's like this: If you tell someone that they're going to see naked people later tonight, they'll still be happy when it happens, just less than if you'd handed them a pair of binoculars and simply pointed them at the right house.

#4. The Surname "Hayes" Lets You Know How American Beauty Will End

DreamWorks Pictures

When you think about it, the plot of American Beauty revolved almost entirely around Kevin Spacey's penis: His penis gets ignored by his character's joyless wife, which causes him to fantasize about doing various penis-related things to teenager Angela Hayes (the rose petal girl from all the posters), and then Spacey and his penis die after being shot by Chris Cooper.

DreamWorks Pictures
Directed by Mr. Garrison.

But of course that's just me being my childish self. American Beauty was ultimately about the culmination of Lester Burnham's midlife crisis and his obsession with a sexualized child. That's why it wasn't really a spoiler when he told us at the beginning that he was going to die, because while that does happen, it doesn't really capture all the nuances of the movie's complex, real ending.

Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:

You know what did capture those nuances, though? Angela Hayes' surname, because "Hayes" sounds just like "Haze," as in "Dolores Haze," the titular character of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, which immediately draws plenty of weird parallels between the novel and the movie.

DreamWorks Pictures

The Samuel Goldwyn Company
This may require further research.

Lolita tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a literary scholar with two failed marriages under his belt and very cruel parents, who kidnap-adopts (kidnopts) a sexualized child because she reminds him of his first love. Similarly, Lester Burnham is a magazine executive in a failing marriage who turns a sexualized child into a symbol of the life he thinks could finally make him happy. Unlike Humbert, Lester eventually sees Angela for the kid that she is, but his obsession still leads to someone getting shot to death. In the movie, that someone is Lester, who gets killed by his neighbor Colonel Frank Fitts for not returning the secretly gay Fitts' advances.

This bears some resemblance to a scene in Lolita where Humbert shoots a man named Clare Quilty for kidnapping Dolores and doing weird things to her. (So ... he pretty much shoots him for plagiarism.)

DreamWorks Pictures

MGM, Turner Entertainment Co.

Both endings deal with the same bizarrely specific formula where a sad middle-aged man lets his sexual frustrations escalate until he ejaculates lead into a guy whom he believes took advantage of him. Also, there's an underage nymphet involved in it somehow, which you can apparently spoil with a simple spelling variation of "Haze," just like the movie did.

#3. In Inception, Ariadne Had to Be the One Who Ends Up Saving the Day

Warner Bros. Pictures

Christopher Nolan's dream-heist movie Inception has a rather complicated story, to say the least, and to say the most: When I watched it on Japanese TV, there was a small text in the corner letting the viewers know which level of the dream world the action was taking place in.

Warner Bros. Pictures, TV Asahi

To me it just proves that the only true international language is "not getting the entire plot of Inception on the first viewing," which also made it impossible to guess what was going to happen next in it ... unless of course you guessed that Ellen Page's Ariadne would be the one who guides Leonardo DiCaprio's Dom Cobb to limbo and helps complete the titular inception on Cillian Murphy. Then you were right on the money, together with anyone else who figured that out thanks to their knowledge of Greek myths.

Warner Bros. Pictures
So, are we totally sure that Ariadne's last name wasn't "Troy" or something?

Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:

In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos, fell in love with a warrior named Theseus, and helped him defeat the half-man, half-bull Minotaur. She did it by giving Theseus some thread so he could navigate the Labyrinth and kill the beast without getting lost in it, which is subtly referenced in the movie when Cobb first meets Ariadne and fucking asks her to draw him a maze.

Warner Bros. Pictures
To which she NEVER replies "This is bullshit!" Talk about a wasted opportunity.

Consequently, when Cillian Murphy's Robert Fischer gets shot in the dream world and falls into limbo, an infinite area of his subconscious mind, it is Ariadne who convinces Cobb to go down there and look for him. Once they reach limbo, it's once again up to Ariadne to rescue Fischer and bring him back to a higher dream level so the rest of the team can implant the idea in his head that he should dissolve his company and then go put on a rubber bat costume.

But in order to save Fischer, Page's character first had to save Cobb by shooting his imaginary dream wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), which is just another way of saying that Inception's Ariadne ended up protecting a guy lost in a maze from being killed by a fantastical creature whose name starts with an "M." Man, no wonder John Woo only gave the movie 6 out of 10 doves. He must have seen that ending coming a mile away.

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Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

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