6 Minor Details That Reveal Major Things About Movie Worlds
Because Hollywood thinks we're dumb, and because we keep proving them right by going to see Transformers sequels, most movies have replaced subtlety and intrigue with clunky exposition and obvious foreshadowing. But sometimes the same movies that we mock for replacing plot with explosions hide important details so well that we wouldn't have picked up on them with a dozen repeat viewings. So once again, we're here to save you some time:
Inglourious Basterds -- Aldo's Mysterious Origins Are Explained In One Scene
Of all the things we learned from Inglourious Basterds, including the fact that Eli Roth climaxes while shooting Adolf Hitler in the face ...
... there's one thing Inglourious Basterds forgot to tell us. Why does Brad Pitt's character, hillbilly Aldo Raine, hate Nazis so much? We're not saying that hating Nazis is weird -- but Brad Pitt's character is on a Batman-style crusade of personal vengeance. Clearly Raine needs an origin story, right? Actually, all the information you need is hidden in this scene.
First, there's that ragged scar on his neck.
That's a rope burn, which means that at some point Raine survived a lynching. Probably in the South, as Raine is from Tennessee and, if we're being honest, the South was the lynchiest part of America. We're not reaching with this conclusion -- it's in the script.
Next, Raine says that he's descended from mountain man Jim Bridger and "has a little Indian in him." That's not an excerpt from Johnny Depp's audition for The Lone Ranger -- Bridger was a real person from the 1800s. A rugged fur trapper and all-around badass, Bridger had children with three different Native American wives and sometimes lived with them.
If we put all that information together, what do we have? A descendant of a historical badass who survived a lynching, probably took his bloody, scalp-based revenge, and now dedicates his life to fighting history's greatest genocidal maniacs as a descendent of people who suffered a genocide themselves. Shit, we know we said that one scene provided all the info you'd need, but we still want to see the origin movie.
District 9 -- Wikus Has A Hidden Motivation
District 9, made in a distant and long-forgotten year when Neill Blomkamp was still considered a promising director, is about aliens who get stranded on Earth and walled off in the titular shantytown. Human protagonist Wikus is tasked with moving the bulging population to the larger and even shantier District 10, but in doing so he gets sprayed in the face with alien fuel and thus obviously starts mutating into an alien. Presumably, if any of the aliens were sprayed with oil, they would turn into a brontosaurus.
Long story short, Wikus goes on the run while his mutation progresses. He helps an alien called Christopher Johnson (CJ to his friends) fix his spaceship so he can return to his home planet and get help for both Wikus and his fellow stranded E.Ts. While the now-fully transformed Wikus waits for the three-year trip to be completed, he has to hide in District 10. And that's how the film ends -- the final scene features Wikus' mourning wife, who reveals a metal rose that was left on her doorstep. It's implied that Wikus left it, although it isn't explained how a 10-foot-tall Dr. Zoidberg lookalike/most wanted man in the world was able to escape District 10 and put it there without anyone noticing.
But hold up -- what's that on the top left of her mirror? Polaroids? Black and white? Triangular shape with a curved bottom? Either Mrs. Wikus has started Instagramming her pizzas, or that's a sonogram. Wikus is going to be a dad.
Now, Wikus is not a sympathetic protagonist. At the start of the movie he's an asshole to the aliens, and even after he starts to transform he only works with Christopher for his personal gain. At the end of the movie the power of teamwork teaches him respect, but for the vast majority of the runtime, he's a dickish xenophobe. You almost have no reason to care that he literally loses his humanity. But knowing that his wife is pregnant suddenly explains why he's so desperate for a cure and gets furious when Christopher reveals that it will take three years. He'll miss the baby's birth, the baby's first words, being able to break something and blame the baby ... and all because he's slumming it as a human cockroach. That's enough to drive anyone to asshole behavior. Look on the bright side, Wikus -- at least you get to skip the diaper years.
Related: 55 Details Hidden In Famous Films
Cloverfield -- A Split Second Of Film Reveals The Monster's Origins
Cloverfield, a found-footage horror movie that we all pretended was a bold new idea because J.J. Abrams was involved, is about a guy with bad facial hair trying to rescue his girlfriend while a preposterous-looking creature destroys New York City. The horror comes from the fact that our heroes are a bunch of regular schmucks only catching glimpses of the catastrophe that's unfolding around them. Almost nothing gets explained. Where did the monster come from? Did we win in the end? Why does the CGI look so shitty? What the hell's a Cloverfield?
We can't answer most of those questions, but we can address the first one. Throughout the film we see snippets of the original tape that was made three days prior, when our classy protagonist filmed his girlfriend while she slept (and recorded their day spent at Coney Island). In the movie's very last shot, after the couple declares their love for each other and has a bridge fall on them, the original recording returns. The camera overlooks the sea as the girl says she "had a good day," which we believe is called dramatic sarcasm.
At first it just seems like an ironic and bittersweet ending, but look closely in the bottom right before the camera pans away. Just as the film bleeps you'll see something hit the water. Not spotting it? Let's zoom and enhance!
That's why the film opens with a statement from the government that says their camera was recovered as evidence. Half the population of New York would have recorded the monster or taken selfies with it, but this is the only known footage of what caused it to wake up in the first place. (The elaborate viral marketing campaign says it's a crashed Japanese satellite, but that campaign also revolved around the economic machinations of a soft drink manufacturer, so feel free to make up your own explanation.) Whatever fell in the ocean presumably woke up the monster like the world's worst alarm clock, although that still doesn't explain why it was able to sneak around on padded cat feet.
Coraline -- Mr. Bobinsky Helped Clean Up Chernobyl
Coraline, the stop-motion kids' film creepier than most horror movies, has an eclectic cast of supporting characters. For the most part they're odd, but believable -- two old actresses reliving their glory days, a socially awkward boy with a domineering grandmother, and workaholic parents. Then there's Mr. Bobinsky.
Bobinsky is a beet obsessed acrobat who's trying to train a mouse circus, and he looks for all the world like he wandered out of another movie. Most of the characters in Coraline, evil stepmothers from an alternate universe notwithstanding, look more or less normal. Certainly none of them have blue skin. So why does Bobinsky look like a double penetration dildo attached to a lump of Play-Doh? The answer is in the medal on his shirt that we're pretty sure none of you noticed because you were distracted by his oddly hypnotic body hair. Here's a better look at it.
On the off chance that you haven't memorized the medals of the Soviet Union, here's a big hint.
If you haven't played Modern Warfare, that's a picture of Pripyat, the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Its lingering effects have already claimed the lives of some of the 600,000 who were sent to clean up. Those Soviet citizens were called Liquidators, and for their service they were awarded the Medal for Service at the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, because communists are bad at creative names. So Bobinsky was one of the people who helped clean up the obscene amounts of radiation when the Soviet Union accidentally started a Fallout LARP.
While there's no record of radiation turning anyone's skin blue, this is a movie that contains an alternate universe where everyone has buttons for eyes behind a small door in a random apartment, and giving Bobinsky crippling cancer would have been a little less family friendly. So we're sorry to say this, Coraline, but while you insist that he's just eccentric instead of crazy, such labels are actually the least of his problems.
Predators -- The Predators Have Been Hunting Humanity For A Very Long Time
Predators, the 2010 sequel that you forgot existed until we reminded you about it just now, is about a strange world where Adrian Brody is the closest thing we have to a grizzled action hero. The film consists of Brody and a group of racial stereotypes finding themselves on an alien planet that's been turned into a massive hunting ground by the Predators and their weird dogs.
At one point, the African warlord, the katana wielding Yakuza enforcer, and the rest of the extremely creative gang come across the Predator camp, which is filled with skulls and trophies. Some of them are humans posed like the giant bear your crazy uncle has in his study, and if you look closely at the far left, you'll discover the answer to a major question asked by Predator fans.
That's your great, great granddaddy, Homo Erectus. If you Googled that, you'd find gay porn. But if you Googled that with safe search on, you'd learn that Erectus is our ancestor who walked the Earth some 70,000 years ago (unless you're deeply religious, in which case it was put there by God to test the Predators' faith). So either they robbed a Smithsonian exhibit to give their diorama historical context, or they've been kidnapping and hunting humans for 70 millennia.
That raises all sorts of new questions, not the first of which is why the Predators haven't found anything better to do with their time. But just how far back does their tradition go? Hundreds of thousands of years? Millions? Was there a time in history when confused T. rexes woke up in freefall, their little arms flapping about pointlessly before getting hounded by Predators? Does this mean that Jurassic Park: Predators and Croods vs. Predators are both feasible spinoffs? We'd watch them, Hollywood. We'd watch the shit out of them.
Django Unchained -- Broomhilda's Last Name Reveals A Famous Descendant
If you're a serious Tarantino fan, you know that his movies share a universe. Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction is the brother of Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs, the same lawman killed by From Dusk Till Dawn's Gecko brothers returns from the dead to investigate the wedding massacre in Kill Bill, and everyone's blood pressure, both literal and figurative, is 20 times our own. But the coolest attempt to create a shared universe happened in Django Unchained, and no one noticed.
The clue is in Broomhilda's full name, Broomhilda von Shaft. It sounds like a name pulled from a pile of rejected Bond girls, alongside Titania Boobsalot and Ivanna Boneyou, but the surname has significance. Consider the fact that Django doesn't have a last name of his own. At one point Schultz refers to him as Django Freeman, but that's not so much a surname as it is a reference to his status as an emancipated lover of inopportune horse tricks.
So consider what would have happened after the credits rolled. Django would have taken the von Shaft name, because he didn't have one of his own. They most likely would have had children, and eventually their descendants may have Americanized von Shaft to simply ...
That's right. Then, one day, Django's great-grandson would have been born and christened John Shaft.
We're not cribbing from our fan fiction here -- Tarantino confirmed it. And considering Samuel L. Jackson played Shaft in the remake, this revelation also means that Django's greatest enemy is his time-traveling ancestor. OK, that part is from our fan fiction.
For more details you probably missed, check out 14 Awesome Secrets You Never Noticed In Famous Movies and 5 Brilliant Jokes Almost Everyone Missed In Famous Movies.
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