4 Blink-and-You’ll-Miss-It Jokes in Recent Movies

Why don’t movie theaters have pause buttons?
4 Blink-and-You’ll-Miss-It Jokes in Recent Movies

No one can catch every single joke while watching a new comedy in a movie theater — especially if you’re forced to spend 50 percent of its runtime in the washroom after drinking a Coke Zero the size of a large toddler. But some gags in recent films have been especially tough to spot, so to save you hours of exhaustively combing through every major Hollywood release as if it were the Zapruder film, here are some of the more subtle jokes you might have missed out on, such as…

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A Character Is Seen Reading a Famously Erotic Canadian Novel in ‘No Hard Feelings’

The success of the Jennifer Lawrence-starring No Hard Feelings helped to remind the world that audiences have an appetite for R-rated comedies and that movies that in no way involve Captain America and/or jacked Smurf-aliens can do well at the box office. While it’s not exactly a subtle movie (few comedies with boner jokes for titles are), there is one sneaky reference that most people likely didn’t catch. When Lawrence’s character shows up at the town animal shelter in order to hit on the teenage boy she’s been secretly hired to hook up with, the employee behind the counter is reading a paperback copy of a book called Bear.

Bear, by Marian Engel, is a controversial (and also acclaimed) 1976 Canadian novel about a librarian who gets a job in Northern Ontario and naturally begins an emotional and sexual relationship with a bear. And when we say “bear,” we don’t mean a hirsute gay man or a chef struggling to run his brother’s Italian beef restaurant; we mean a literal friggin’ bear. So the guy working at this animal shelter is killing time by reading about Canuck bestiality, a funny detail for viewers who are well-versed in 1970s Canadian erotic literature.

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Includes a Cameo from an Obscure 1980s Cartoon Character

By design, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is jam-packed with Easter eggs and obscure pop-culture references. One of the most random, easiest-to-miss cameos was the appearance of the villainous Videoman, one of the baddies being held captive by the Spider Society along with the Green Goblin from the Atari game and Donald Glover.

The hilariously dated Videoman first appeared in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends TV show in the 1980s, back in a simpler time when people were convinced that the greatest threat to the youth of America was not loving Reagan enough and Pac-Man.

Beau in ‘Beau Is Afraid’ Has Been Calling Moviefone, For Some Reason

The recent Joaquin Phoenix movie/anxiety simulator Beau Is Afraid is full of freakish details, up to and including a giant penis monster puppet presumably made by some kind of Bizarro Pervert Jim Henson. One low-key oddity that may have escaped your notice: During the scene where Beau is frantically calling his mother, we see some of the other numbers he’s dialed recently…


These include his landlady, his therapist and… Moviefone? You know, the service people under 30 mainly know as that thing Kramer was into one time.

Yeah, in the world of Beau Is Afraid, the defunct phone line that dispensed movie showtimes until the internet rendered it useless is apparently still operational. Which is funnier than 1,000 penis monsters.

‘Barbie’ Ends With a Reference to an America Ferrera Disney TV Movie

In the closing moments of Barbie (SPOILERS for a movie that the entire world has already seen), our hero is starting her new life in the real world, far from the plastic, genital-less comforts of Barbieland. She is wished well by Gloria (played by America Ferrera) and her husband, who, in his ever-continuing attempt at learning Spanish, tells Barbie: “Si, se puede.” 

Gloria dismisses her husband’s awkward efforts as a misguided “political statement,” which is true. The phrase, which roughly translates as “Yes, we can,” is a historic political rallying cry. But it was also the pivotal motivational chant for a school dance team in the 2002 Disney TV movie Gotta Kick it Up! which just so happened to co-star a young Ferrera before she and Blake Lively joined that pants-obsessed traveling cult in that documentary (at least we think that's what those movies were about).

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