5 Brilliant Clues Hidden in the Background of Movies
Movie spoilers are one of the many things that the Internet deals in like currency -- once a film has been released, it's tough to avoid having the ending ruined for you unless you power down every electronic device in your home and live like a frontier fur trapper. However, sometimes the movie gives away its own ending (or at least crucial upcoming plot points) by dropping vague little hints early on. You just have to keep your eyes open ...
Jurassic Park: A Seat Belt Malfunction Reveals That the Dinosaurs Can Reproduce
Jurassic Park is a movie about dinosaurs killing people, but several things had to go wrong in order for this to happen. Sure, the security system getting shut down by Newman from Seinfeld was a big one, but before that came the news that the dinosaurs were breeding out of control, despite the fact that it should have been impossible.
After all, sending kids to a single-sex school always stops them from fucking, right?
This is one of the big twists of the film, when paleontologist Dr. Sam Neill discovers that the dinosaurs are breeding despite the fact that they were genetically engineered to all be female (specifically to prevent this). It is a development that, indeed, no one saw coming, for how in the name of science could a bunch of prehistoric lizards equipped with nothing but girl parts be expected to make babies?
However, if you were paying close attention, it's a twist the movie gives away in the first 20 minutes.
It's played as just a throwaway joke -- as the helicopter carrying all the '90s-fashionable scientists swoops down toward Isla Nublar, Neill is told to buckle his seat belt. But then this happens:
Alan Grant, Ph.D., makes three separate attempts to buckle these together.
That's right -- Neill is stuck with two buckles, rather than the tongue and buckle combination required to secure him safely to the helicopter bench. The clasp, incidentally, is also referred to as the "female" end, so Sam is technically stuck with nothing but female parts. He continues fumbling around with the mismatched seat belt while Jeff Goldblum stares him down like a guy who knows a thing or two about female parts:
"Life finds a way ... to my dick."
Finally, having exhausted every possible option, Neill resorts to simply tying the two ends of the belt together to form a makeshift seat belt.
Grant, you old sailor, you.
There you go -- he needed to create something new (a seat belt), but all he had were female ends. So, he improvised. This is exactly what ends up happening with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. They were left with only one half of the necessary gender pairing to breed, but somehow they are able to create baby dinosaurs. They made it work.
Of course, the specific way that the dinosaurs were able to leap this biological hurdle is never adequately explained (beyond some tossed out rationalization about the geneticists using frog DNA), so we've no choice but to imagine two female dinosaurs tying their vaginas together.
Fight Club: A Brief Close-Up on a Telephone Gives Away the Ending
Fight Club is, of course, full of hints about the big twist (that Edward Norton and Brad Pitt were the split personalities of one guy who just beats the shit out of himself for no reason), and most of them are obvious after the fact. Like when Norton beats the hell out of himself in his boss' office and says that it reminds him of his first fight with Tyler Durden (Pitt) -- it seems like an offhand comment on your first viewing, but is obvious in retrospect.
We can only imagine what masturbating reminded him of.
However, there's one bit of Brad-Pitt-is-really-a-mind-ghost foreshadowing that we're pretty sure even the most devout Fight Club viewers mining the DVD for senior yearbook quotes didn't pick up on, and that is the freaking pay phone.
Right after Norton's apartment explodes, he calls Tyler on a pay phone to ask if he can crash on the couch at Tyler's rancid hobo tomb. Tyler doesn't answer, so Norton hangs up. Immediately the phone starts ringing -- Tyler is on the other end, having hit *69 to redial the last number that had called him, because for some reason a man in designer clothing living in a giant decaying shack feels the need to screen his calls.
As soon as the phone starts ringing, however, we are treated to a revealing close-up:
"Schizophrenic hallucinations and local calls only."
It's tough to see, but read that line directly underneath the word "TELNEX" -- it says "No Incoming Calls Allowed." Meaning it is not physically possible for this telephone to receive incoming calls. Meaning Tyler cannot possibly have called Edward Norton back. Meaning Edward Norton is standing in a phone booth with the receiver pressed to his ear, having a detailed conversation with nobody. And of course we find out later that's exactly what he was doing.
Granted, none of this explains why a man beating the shit out of himself in a parking lot would attract a group of disenfranchised males asking if they can join him, but that would be the subject of another article.
Reservoir Dogs: Mr. Orange's Secret Is Given Away Constantly
Quentin Tarantino's first film is about some professional crooks with color-based pseudonyms (Mr. White, Mr. Blue, Mr. Pink, etc.) who team up to pull off a diamond heist, only to discover that one of them is secretly an informant for the police. None of the crooks had ever met before, and no one can make assumptions based on anyone's reputation because of the pseudonyms. So a complex game of cat-and-mouse begins as the criminals try to discover the traitor in their midst, only to have the movie abruptly reveal that it's Mr. Orange about halfway through in a hail of Michael Madsen-slaying gunfire.
What kind of trustworthy person parts his hair down the middle anyway?
However, if you're paying really close attention, you can figure out Mr. Orange's duplicity way beforehand.
There are a few well-known visual hints that pop up before the big reveal that Mr. Orange is the rat, like when Nice Guy Eddie is talking on the phone about how the heist turned into a cop ambush and an orange balloon floats along behind his car:
Or when Mr. Pink and Mr. White are arguing about who the rat could be in a room full of orange, pink, and white bottles:
The pink bottles are all tip jars.
However, the single greatest (and most consistently overlooked) hint comes in the very first scene of the movie, during one of Tarantino's patented 10-minute conversations that sound cool but do not seem to advance the plot in any way. After breakfast, everyone throws in a dollar to tip the waitress except for Mr. Pink, who refuses because he thinks tipping is stupid. When the boss, Joe, comes back from the bathroom and demands to know who didn't throw in for the tip, Mr. Orange immediately tattles on Mr. Pink before anyone else even has a chance to speak:
Joe: Wait a minute ... who didn't throw in?
Orange: Mr. Pink.
Joe: Mr. Pink? Why not?
Orange: He don't tip.
Joe: He don't tip? What do you mean you don't tip?
Orange: He don't believe in it.
Joe: Shut up.
Mr. Pink has no problem admitting it, and he goes on to defend his position to Joe, but the implication is clear -- Mr. Orange simply could not wait to drop the dime on his fellow teammate.
"I don't care about upholding the law, I just really like squealing."
In fact, that opening scene (including the subsequent debate about tipping) winds up defining everyone's personality (Mr. White is a soft-hearted pushover, Mr. Pink is a cold professional). Mr. Brown's tangential lecture about how "Like a Virgin" is about a guy with a huge dick, however, remains impossible to connect to the rest of the film in any meaningful way.
Everybody else left hours ago. He's still just sitting there, talking.
Back to the Future: Doc Brown's Thought-Reading Machine Works
One of the running themes in Back to the Future (aside from how Marty stole the Civil Rights movement from black people) is the juxtaposition between how the characters behave in 1985 versus how they were in the '50s: Marty's conservative mother used to be a sex fiend, the aloof mayor of Hill Valley used to be a friendly janitor, and Marty's loser dad was ... well, a slightly younger loser.
And when Marty meets the younger Doc Brown, he sees that the Doc wasn't always a genius -- he's a rambling lunatic who wastes his time building ridiculous inventions that cannot possibly work. For example, the instant young Doc meets Marty, he tries to read Marty's thoughts using a Mind Helmet that looks like it was built from a shoebox full of old K'Nex he bought at a yard sale connected to a suction cup.
Marty appears to be taking it much better than the Jehovah's Witnesses who stopped by earlier.
After Doc sticks the suction cup to Marty's head, he makes three guesses, which are as follows: "You've come here from a great distance," "You want me to buy a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post," and "Donations! You want me to make a donation ... to the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary!"
Actually, Doc's mind-reading helmet totally works, which is the film's subtle way of telling us that he is, in fact, a genius -- he just doesn't realize it yet.
"I mean, just look at this thing."
If you give that thought-reading machine a little flexibility and some loose interpretation, then everything the Doc said is true. Marty really has come a great distance -- the dude just got chased 30 years into the past by terrorists in a microbus. That's one. And what day of the week did Marty arrive in 1955? On a Saturday, which we see when he checks the date on a newspaper:
Boom, that's two. Finally, every person Marty speaks to keeps asking him if he's in the Coast Guard, mistaking his vest for a life jacket, which is fair because Marty himself has mistaken a down vest for something that people are supposed to just casually wear.
One could argue that Doc is simply making the same error and letting it influence his guesses, but if that's the case, prepare to have your naysaying mind blown -- Doc senses that Marty is there about a donation, right? Well, later on in the same scene, Marty hands Doc the love letter his girlfriend wrote, which is on the back of a donation flier for the Hill Valley clock tower from 1985. The only reason Marty and Doc know when and where the bolt of lightning necessary to fling the DeLorean back into the Reagan administration is going to strike is because of this flier.
"Marty, what exactly does she mean by 'pegging'?"
Doc couldn't have been aware of any of this -- he's literally only known Marty for 10 seconds when he rattles off his mind-reading guesses. And it stands to reason that those three things would be at the front of Marty's mind -- his time-traveling journey, the shocking discovery of what date he'd arrived in, and the love letter from the girlfriend he's trying to get back to. The movie is using this scene of apparent bumbling pseudo-science dumbassery to tell us that everything the Doc builds does actually work -- just not necessarily in a way that makes any kind of sense.
The Avengers: An Offhanded Joke Sets Up the Finale
In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, The Avengers is chock-full of nerd-culture references to appeal to the fans. The best (or, at least, the Internet's favorite) is Tony Stark's Galaga line. When Tony first arrives on the bridge of the Helicarrier after his backwoods punchfest with Thor, he runs through a few sailboat jokes to demonstrate his irreverent wackiness, then points off screen at one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s numerous deck hands to say, "That man is playing Galaga! He thought we wouldn't notice, but we did."
And you didn't think we'd notice your absurd facial hair, Tony. But we did. We did.
Captain America looks around like everyone in the room just farted six times:
"Whoa, did you guys ... did you hear that? It was from way over there, though. Not here."
But other than that, no one really reacts. The scene continues, and we get a nice little button at the end of it showing us the unseen crew member who was, in fact, playing Galaga:
It's a fun throwaway joke that, incidentally, gives away the film's climactic final sequence.
In case you're not a student of video game history, Galaga is a shooter game wherein you play as a single space fighter defending the Earth from seemingly endless waves of alien invaders that pour down from the top of the screen. You can play it right here.
Don't give us that look. If you were trying to be productive at work, you wouldn't be on Cracked in the first place.
Now, if you remember the movie at all (which, if you are reading this website, chances are you probably do), you know that it ends exactly the same way: Seemingly endless waves of alien invaders pour down from the top of the screen, and Iron Man zips around blowing them up.
Meanwhile, Cap, Hawkeye, and Black Widow stand around and try to pretend like they're contributing.
In the end, Tony Stark even flies directly into space to face the oncoming swarm alone, effectively becoming the heroic little ship from Galaga:
"With my dying breath, I enter my initials into the high scores ... A ... S ... S ..."
When Tony drops the initial joke, we have no idea what Loki's plan is yet. We know he's going to do ... something. With aliens. But the seemingly innocuous video game reference was actually priming our brains for the movie's finale. If only the aliens had themselves gotten hold of a copy of Galaga, they would have realized that aimlessly flying around in formation and waiting to get shot is actually a terrible invasion strategy.
J.F. Sargent has been dropping hints about you following him on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook throughout the whole article. Dennis Fulton is now dropping an obvious hint for you to check out his friend's Web series.
For more things you completely missed in films, check out 7 Movies That Put Insane Work Into Details You Didn't Notice and 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Amazing Details of the Most Embarrassing Spy Scandal Ever.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see how the ending of Cracked is discretely hidden in Ross Wolinsky's columns.
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