Captain Marvel -- A VHS Tape Hints At Carol's Origin
When Captain Marvel first comes to Earth, the movie needs a way to let viewers know that all this takes place in the '90s. Rather than having Carol Danvers crash-land into a celebrity Pog tournament featuring Ace of Base battling the Budweiser frogs, she falls smack into a Blockbuster Video. This firmly establishes the film in the past (for everyone except the people of Bend, Oregon).
Walt Disney StudiosNothing kicks off a fun action movie like the business equivalent of a sad trombone.
While perusing the aisles of the store she just partially destroyed, Carol picks up a copy of The Right Stuff, the 1983 adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book about the Mercury Seven astronauts. While we haven't learned Captain Marvel's backstory yet, it turns out to have certain parallels to the experiences of John Glenn and company. The Right Stuff chronicles test pilots who ventured into space, and later in the movie, we learn that Carol was an Air Force test pilot who also wound up going to space.
Walt Disney Studios
Warner Bros. PicturesSurviving that crash seems pretty lucky until you find out you could've survived and got superpowers. Better luck next time, Yeager.
Not only that, but the bar she later visits is named Pancho's, a reference to "Pancho" Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Club, the improbably named watering hole featured in The Right Stuff. So do any other random details in that Blockbuster hold any special meaning? Does a VHS copy of Three Men And A Baby provide any clues about Avengers: Endgame? Well, no. But at one point, a spooked Carol shoots a True Lies standee, which might also hint at a later twist. In True Lies, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character has been deceiving his wife since they met, hiding his job as a government agent. Similarly, we learn that Jude Law's Yon-Rogg has been lying to Carol about her past as an alien agent. (Or it could be an F-you to a '90s action flick that holds up like a turd in a rainstorm nowadays.)
Us -- A Bunch Of Subtle Clues Pave The Way For The Big Twist
Jordan Peele's horror hit Us finds a vacationing family dealing with home invaders who happen to be their doppelgangers. The Wilsons' doubles are members of the "Tethered," a secret underground population of America that was cloned from the people above because ... well, reasons. And in a surprise final twist, we learn that the protagonist Adelaide was a Tethered who ambushed her surface-dwelling double and switched places back in the 1980s.
Now sure, that's nutty, but the movie gives us some subtle hints at Adelaide's true nature. Early on, she tells her friend Kitty that she doesn't like to talk, which makes sense, as the Tethered don't speak, but communicate through howls. (The fact that Adelaide's Tethered speaks seems like an aberration, but makes more sense when it turns out she's not originally a Tethered at all.) Later, a different group of doubles inexplicably spares Adelaide's life. In light of the reveal, this may have been because they sensed that Adelaide is in fact one of them. Most intriguing, in the opening, we see that young Adelaide is wearing a Thriller T-shirt (keep in mind this was back in the 1980s, when it was totally acceptable to dress children in Michael Jackson paraphernalia).
Universal PicturesWhich is more subtle, if a bit less fun, than hinting with an echoing recording of Vincent Price's mad cackle.