6 Mind-Blowing Easter Eggs Hidden in Famous Movies
As you know, half the fun of watching a movie is later poring over the DVD frame by frame for hours and hours so that you can pick up on the Easter eggs hidden within. What's that? You don't think that sounds like fun? Well, in that case, we suppose you could skip that step and just look at the Easter eggs we find for you in articles like this. You freak.
For example, you probably never noticed that ...
The Departed's Characters Are Marked for Death (Literally)
If you've seen Martin Scorsese's The Departed, you know that, at the end of the movie (hint: The phrase "at the end of the movie" means there's gonna be spoilers next, and yes, we're making this sentence extra long to give you a chance to look away), fucking everyone dies. What you probably didn't notice was that, much like Steven Seagal in that 1990 film where he plays a tough guy with a ponytail, each doomed character is marked for death. Like this:
Pictured: a death mark. Also, Leonardo DiCaprio being too polite to tell Matt Damon he's got a booger.
See that X between Damon and DiCaprio? It's not the location of Jack Nicholson's magical buried treasure -- it shows up behind the characters who are going to die before the end of the movie, which is most of them. We see a mark behind Jack Nicholson:
And Martin Sheen:
"Could you, um, go sit elsewhere, Mark?"
All three die eventually from multiple gunshot wounds, a single gunshot to the head, and falling off a fucking building, respectively. However, it looks like the Grim Reaper had a hard-on for Matt Damon in particular (apparently he missed a flight that later exploded), because the mark shows up behind him a bunch of times:
You can often see the X lurking in Damon's shadow, right beside Ben Affleck.
In fact, the only major character who doesn't get marked is Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), and guess who makes it through the entire movie alive? It's the only one with a hip-hop album.
But maybe this is just a huge coincidence, or the result of a deranged porn-obsessed set designer? Nope: Scorsese, being a huge film nerd, was intentionally paying tribute to Howard Hawks' 1932 version of Scarface, where an X appeared every time a murder was about to be committed.
They tried to do this in the Al Pacino version, but the screen ended up covered in X's all the time.
Toy Story Is Full of References to The Shining
As you've probably noticed, the children's animation studios of today just love filling their movies with references to things that a large percentage of their audience couldn't possibly get. For DreamWorks, that means blatant dick jokes ... and in the case of Pixar, it means slipping in connections to a movie about an alcoholic who's driven insane by ghosts and tries to murder his entire family. For example, remember the scene in Toy Story where Buzz and Woody are trying to escape Sid's house?
"Where's the exit? Let's ask those twin girls standing over there."
Did you feel an inexplicable sense of dread while watching that scene? Well, that's probably because the carpet in Sid's house has the exact same pattern as the carpet in the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, the same one where junior psychic Danny Torrance used to play with his toys:
Looks like Buzz just saw that dude in the bear costume.
Buzz and Woody eventually escape that place without killing each other, but the horror continues in Toy Story 3. At one point, we see a monkey toy watching the feed from some surveillance cameras in a nursery. On the same desk, there's a small box with the Overlook carpet pattern on it again, plus a 1970s intercom modeled after the one seen in the hotel manager's office in The Shining.
After all those murders, the company just gave up and started hiring inanimate objects as caretakers.
But the most recurrent element in the movie is the number 237. We see a security camera with the model number "OVERLOOK R237":
That's almost as creepy as the surveillance tape where all the toys stand up and move around.
A garbage truck with the plate number "RM237":
And Woody chatting with someone with the username "Velocistar237":
"For the last time, stop calling me Danny."
Well, those are all references to the Overlook Hotel's Room 237 -- you know, the one where Jack Nicholson made out with that naked lady who then turned into a cackling corpse. Apparently she has pretty good Wi-Fi in there and likes chatting with toys to pass the time.
And none of this is a coincidence, by the way: Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich is a massive fan of The Shining and personally put in all of these Easter eggs ... except the one in Toy Story 1. Presumably that's just straight up haunting.
Sam Raimi's Oldsmobile Has Been in More Movies than Most Actors
There's only one thing director Sam Raimi likes putting in his movies more than Bruce Campbell's massive chin -- his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88. For starters, this is the car that Ash and his friends drive to that cabin in the middle of the woods in Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, which then gets transported through a time portal and turned into a totally plausible death machine in Army of Darkness.
It also serves as an accurate visual representation of this franchise's increasing ridiculousness.
But so what? The Back to the Future trilogy probably used the same DeLorean, too, and the Transformers movies used the same Shia LeBeouf mannequin. Well, the difference is that this car has been in shitloads of other movies -- here it is as Uncle Ben's car in Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3:
With great chassis comes great responsibility.
It also turned up in the Evil Dead remake, 32 years after it showed up in the original, which wasn't even its first movie appearance: The Oldsmobile belonged to Raimi's dad and was borrowed to be used as a prop for the films he shot as a kid with an old Super 8. Oh, and he possibly lost his virginity in it. That's why Raimi has continued using it in pretty much every movie he's done. Remember the creepy old Gypsy who curses the protagonist in Drag Me to Hell? Guess what car she drove:
Note the ominous number on the plate: 51, the area code for the evil nation of Peru.
According to Campbell's autobiography, such is Raimi's dedication to the damn car that he might have even sneaked it into The Quick and the Dead (which is set in the Old West) by dressing it up as a wagon. It also showed up as a henchman's ride in Darkman during a chase scene in which the titular character lands on its hood.
Making it part of that exclusive group of movie actors beaten up by Liam Neeson.
We could do this all day, so here's a montage of some other movies that Raimi's car has starred in, including Crimewave, A Simple Plan, and The Gift:
Yeah, it's been beaten up, crashed, crushed, blown up, and covered by mashed Deadites, but it's still the same car ... more or less. Most of its parts have been replaced by now, but then again, we could say the same about your body, so shut up.
Rango Bumps into Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Rango is the movie where Johnny Depp finally dispelled the idea that he just plays the same darkly quirky yet good-hearted guy over and over and over again ... by playing a darkly quirky yet good-hearted gecko. Eat it, Meryl Streep.
Finally, technology has advanced enough to recreate Johnny Depp's facial expressions.
But despite the fact that Rango is a family-friendly movie, it features a connection to another Depp film you probably shouldn't show to an 8-year-old unless you want him to grow up into Mickey Rourke. In one scene, Rango ends up on the highway and smashes into the front windscreen of a red convertible:
He doesn't seem terribly inconvenienced by this turn of events.
We then see the driver, who mutters the words "There's another one! I knew it!" with a distinct tone of chemically induced paranoia and uses the windshield wiper to dislodge Rango. As the animal flies away, we get one last peek at the car, the driver, and his chubby passenger:
"Is ... is that gecko wearing my shirt?"
To a kid, this would seem like a wacky moment of innocent slapstick, but there's something else going on here. Many of you no doubt already recognized the cigarette-chomping, bucket-hat-wearing maniac driving the car and that passed out mess of a human being resting in the back -- they're Raoul Duke (aka Hunter S. Thompson) and his lawyer, Dr. Gonzo, driving through the desert in their drug-fueled convertible, as seen in Depp's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Had Rango landed in the trunk of the car instead of on the windshield, he would have entered "a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers ..." and probably never left.
"We can't stop here! This is quirky geckos wearing Hawaiian shirts country!"
This means the filmmakers of Rango made a children's movie cross over with the story of a search for the American dream through heavy acid use. Does this mean that Rango's adventure was just another hallucination of Raoul Duke's depraved mind in Fear and Loathing? Maybe or maybe not, but either way, we finally know what kicked off Duke's reptile zoo freakout in the Polo Lounge.
Batman's Parents Make a Cameo in Watchmen
Whether you liked Watchmen because it was so close to the comic or hated Watchmen because it was so close to the comic, you have to admit that the opening credits are kinda genius. In this long sequence set to "The Times They Are a-Changin'," we see important real-world events of the 20th century retold with superheroes included: The Comedian assassinates JFK, the Vietnam War ends by way of giant blue naked dude squashing the VC, and so on.
In this reality, the Beatles were John, Paul, George, and Space Ghost.
It's all about merging comic books with real history, but one of the events shown here actually deprived the world of a famous superhero. How? Well, even with all the slo-mo going on, it's easy to miss all the details, so here's the relevant part:
Business casual at an opera house? We know who the real criminal is.
That frame is packed with more Batman Easter eggs than the last three Nolan movies. First of all, we see one of this world's heroes punching a criminal, but not just any criminal -- the man with the gun kind of looks like none other than Joe Chill, the mugger who killed Batman's parents and inspired him to dress up like a bat and chase bad people.
"Or it could be a guy with the same hat. Better kill him just in case."
OK, so that's not conclusive. But then we have the couple by the door, presumably the mugger's intended victims before the man in the owl costume came along. They bear more than a passing resemblance to a certain Thomas and Martha Wayne of Gotham City.
And their butler, Alfred Hitchcock.
Next, check out the billboard behind the action: It says "Gotham Opera House" (where the Waynes were killed in the comics) and "Fledermaus," which is German for "Bat."
And "Rigoletto," which means "little boy in pantyhose."
And finally, just in case anyone had any doubt of what's going on after all that, we get several Batman posters on the wall, because fuck subtlety at this point.
The only thing that's missing is a big "POW!" next to the punch.
In other words, if it wasn't for that masked jerk, the Waynes would have died and Batman would have solved the movie's three-hour plot in 15 minutes. Nice job.
There's a Coffee Cup in Every Scene in Fight Club
It's well-known that Fight Club is packed with tiny Easter eggs, like Tyler Durden appearing as subliminal flashes on the screen before the narrator meets him, or the film literally flashing you with a penis right before the end credits.
Either way, the message is dicks.
But there's something odd hidden in this movie that kind of undercuts its message about the dehumanizing effect of corporate branding -- namely, more corporate branding. Let's take another look at that photo without Brad Pitt to see if you can spot what they're subtly advertising:
Is it soul-crushing routine?
Yeah, somebody in that office must have just made a Starbucks run, because everybody is drinking coffee. And it's not just in that one scene:
Can't blackmail your boss without a little pick-me-up.
Or in those two scenes:
"Decaf, please. Caffeine messes with my schizophrenia."
Or in those three -- according to director David Fincher, coffee is in all of them. Every scene has a cup of joe hiding somewhere, and it's usually Starbucks. Notice the cup hanging out in the debris of the narrator's destroyed apartment:
Because apparently this movie wasn't enough like "Where's Waldo?" yet.
Or the one chilling behind Marla as she attends one of the narrator's support groups:
Coffee, cigarettes -- the lady on the right is either injecting meth or drinking Coca-Cola.
And if you can take your eyes off of Robert Paulson's ample bosom for a second, you'll notice one in the background as the narrator hugs Bob:
This is like one of those "Man Test" memes.
As far as we know, not all the coffee cups have been found, but Fincher says they're definitely there. In a 1999 interview for Empire magazine, he explained that the reason why Starbucks is everywhere is to make fun of the fact that Starbucks is, well, everywhere (especially in New York). It's still kind of weird that, in a movie about rejecting the empty corporate branding that pervades our lives, an actual brand has more screen time than Meat Loaf's boobs.
Also, the company was totally in on the joke: Fincher had Starbucks' permission to use their name for every scene ... except one. Even though they were cool with a movie about crazy, half-naked terrorists making fun of their corporate omnipresence, they drew the line when Fincher wanted to destroy a Starbucks outlet with a giant ball.
"The smallest size is 'tall'?! This is what I think of your nomenclature!"
Did you know that, down to the minute, every successful movie you've seen is exactly the same? In our latest podcast, David Wong joins Jack O'Brien to discuss this bizarre formula that you never knew existed and how it's been affecting your life. You can download it here and subscribe to it on iTunes here.
Related Reading: Did you know Beauty and the Beast spoiled Gaston's gruesome death? And, for your reference, the mysteries of the Da Vinci Code's cover are more interesting than the ones INSIDE the book. After all those movies, why not wind down with some video game Easter Eggs?