There’s a certain breed of movie fan who sees two hours of cinema as much more than just a distraction that happens to come with popcorn. Quite the opposite – for some fans of the silver screen, when the lights dim and the movie starts, school is in session.
For these moviegoers, every trip to the theater is an opportunity to scour a film for trivia, Easter eggs, and blink-and-you-missed-it details. While that may sound like a bit of a chore to many of us, it’s exactly the point for these diehard fans. They go to the theater to gain obscure knowledge, so they may drop said knowledge on the unsuspecting, to the amazement of one and all.
What follows is a list of movie facts that only the most hardcore fans are likely to know. And if you find yourself nodding along with these and rolling your eyes at how well-known they are, congratulations – you’re an obsessive.
1. Spiderman (2002)
In the last 20 years, three actors have played Spiderman, and everyone has an opinion about which one is the best. For our money, it’s Tobey Maguire, simply because we admire his stick-to-it-iveness. Although Spiderman was released in 2002 and there was no shortage of CGI to go around, the “tray catch” scene, in which Peter Parker catches Mary Jane and her lunch tray in the high school cafeteria, was shot live and required 156 takes to get right.
2. Back to the Future (1985)
1985’s Back to the Future hails from a time before YouTube, so if you saw it during its original theatrical release, you had to be extra-attentive to catch all the details. One of them concerns the location from which Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly leaves 1985, which is the parking lot at the Twin Pines Mall. One of the pine trees on the original property gets destroyed when he lands in 1955, so when he returns to 1985, the parking lot now belongs to the Lone Pine Mall.
3. Avatar (2009)
James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar contains a none-too-subtle dig at the militaristic tendencies of the United States. Towards the climax of the film, the villainous Colonel Quantch readies his troops to attack the native people of the planet they’ve invaded, and during his saber-rattling speech, he’s filmed in a long shot in which a pattern on the wall can be seen that looks very much like the American flag. One important modification is to the 50 stars, which have been replaced here with the number 50.
4. American Psycho (2000)
2000’s American Psycho contained bravura performances from all of its famous actors and actresses, including Willem Dafoe, who plays a police detective investigating a murder committed by banker Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). In a scene in which Dafoe questions him, he was told by director Mary Harron to perform it three different ways – as if he knew Bale was the killer, as if he suspected Bale was the killer, and as if he had no idea. Harron used excerpts from each of the three to keep audiences unsure about whether Dafoe’s character was really onto him.
5. The Terminator (1984)
Arnold Schwarzenegger has the perfect voice for a killer cyborg from the future. At least, that’s what English-speaking audiences thought when he delivered his lines in a menacing Teutonic monotone. As it turns out, his regional Austrian accent was considered rural-sounding by German standards, and someone else was brought in to dub his dialogue for German-language versions of the movie, presumably for a more urban cyborg.
6. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
Getting a film permit in Tokyo is difficult under the best of circumstances, but if you’re a foreign film crew that wants to film a car race in the busy Shibuya section, you’d better have somebody who’s ready to go to jail for it. Rather than go through the long and arduous process of getting a permit to film that car race, the crew simply did it without a permit, and when police came to the scene to arrest the director, they were instead given someone impersonating him, who had agreed in advance to be jailed for the sins of the director.
7. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street has no shortage of movie stars whose performances are a cut above what they do normally. There is perhaps no better example than Matthew McConaughey, who only appears at the beginning of the film but remains memorable long after it’s over. In his signature scene with Leonardo DiCaprio at a power lunch, McConaughey pounds his own chest and hums, which it turns out is a relaxation technique that McConaughey uses before each take. This time, he was asked to do it during the take, and it made the cut.
8. Interstellar (2014)
Speaking of Matthew McConaughey, a year after The Wolf of Wall Street he starred in Interstellar, a borderline-incomprehensible movie about space travel. Director Christopher Nolan consulted with theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Thorne to keep the movie as realistic as possible, which included a ticking sound in the background when McConaughey and his fellow astronauts land on a distant planet. The ticks, which are a little over one second apart, represent the passage of an entire day on Earth, and has real science to back it up.
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was one of many very successful Marvel comic book adaptations. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who dies in the film – or does he? Either way, he gets a headstone, and engraved on it is a quote from Ezekiel 25:17, which just happens to be the same book of the Bible that Jackson’s Jules Winfield character would recite in Pulp Fiction before killing someone.
10. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Pulp Fiction turned up in 1996’s vampire movie From Dusk Till Dawn, which may not be too surprising since Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay for the latter film. In From Dusk Till Dawn, the characters get something to eat at Big Kahuna Burger, which is where one of the characters got his breakfast in Pulp Fiction right before Jules Winfield recites Ezekiel 25:17 for him.
11. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Phantom Menace may be nobody’s favorite Star Wars movie, but it has some interesting tidbits for those whose attention meanders to other parts of the screen. Director George Lucas kept every frame full to bursting with CGI aliens, and in the Galactic Senate scene, every type of alien can be observed. One of the senate pods is populated by creatures who look exactly like the friendly alien in E.T., and perhaps to make sure no one thought it was an accident, their leader in The Phantom Menace is named “Grebleips,” or “Spielberg” spelled backwards.
12. Ratatouille (2007)
Pixar’s Ratatouille is the story of a rat who wants to become a chef. To get everything exactly right, the filmmakers consulted with Bay Area celebrity chef Thomas Keller, who taught them the ways of an authentic French kitchen and helped them make the CGI food look like the real thing. The film’s crew was also sent to cooking classes, where they learned everything from the correct knife-holding technique to the creation of sauce and pastry stations.
13. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show may have made midnight movies a tradition, but it also has Easter eggs in it. As in, actual eggs, painted with dye, and then hidden so children may hunt for them in April. Allegedly, before production began, the cast and crew had an Easter egg hunt on set but were unable to find all of them before filming started. Since some people were known to go to midnight screenings every weekend, they were able to spot some of the eggs that had eluded the film crew while watching the movie hundreds of times.
14. The Godfather (1972)
Despite all the planning that goes into making a movie, some of the most iconic moments in celluloid were spontaneous. In the case of the 1972 gangster epic The Godfather, it’s hard to imagine the opening scene with Don Corleone minus the cat in his lap. However, that was originally how it was supposed to happen, until director Francis Ford Coppola spotted a feline wandering the set. He put it in Marlon Brando’s lap, rolled camera, and the rest is history.
15. All the President’s Men (1976)
It may be hard to envision in the era of clickbait headlines, but in a long-bygone era, the news was once printed on paper, and newsrooms were awash in the stuff as frustrated journalists yanked half-written copy from their typewriters and threw the crumpled drafts at the wastebasket. In the name of authenticity, the newsroom in All the President’s Men, which is modeled after the Washington Post, was strewn with wastepaper that actually came from the offices of the Washington Post.
16. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Two Towers is the second movie in the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, and despite copious amounts of CGI, there was still room for authentic human emotion to make it onscreen. No moment better exemplifies this than when Viggo Mortensen’s character Aragorn kicks a helmet lying on the ground as an expression of grief. The actor’s pain seems real because it was – Mortensen broke two toes when he kicked the helmet, and that’s the shot that appears in the movie.
17. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Singin’ in the Rain may be the most iconic movie musical ever made, and the scene in which Gene Kelly sings the title song in a manufactured urban downpour is rightly considered one of the greatest movie scenes of all time. Just remember the next time you watch it that the scene took a day and a half to shoot, and in all that time, Gene Kelly was sick with a fever. The accomplishment is nothing short of astonishing, particularly since Kelly never lets his smile wane and never shows any discomfort during the entire sequence.
18. Clueless (1995)
It’s a very small moment in 1995’s Clueless, but it’s a memorable one – Alicia Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz is having a debate in class with another student about oppressed people, and rather than pronounce the word “Haitians” as the two-syllable word that it is, Silverstone pronounces it “Haiti-ans.” Director Amy Heckerling said that this was how Silverstone believed it was actually pronounced, and didn’t learn until after the scene was shot that she was saying it incorrectly.
19. Jurassic Park (1993)
As a complicated, effects-driven movie that was the first to rely heavily on CGI, there were a lot of challenges in getting Jurassic Park made. One that many people probably never thought of was, “What did velociraptors really sound like, and how can we best replicate that sound?” Since dinosaurs and human beings missed each other by several million years, there’s no way to know what they really sounded like, so sound engineer Gary Rydstrom said that they settled on the sound that tortoises make when engaged in the physical act of love. Try not to think about that the next time you watch the movie.
20. Titanic (1997)
The story of star-crossed lovers aboard a ship that is speeding towards its doom, 1997’s Titanic most likely earned its PG-13 rating thanks to a very brief glimpse of one of Kate Winslet’s “girls,” cough, cough. Co-star Leonardo DiCaprio was apparently nervous about filming this scene, as it was the first time the two actors had ever worked together. Sensing his discomfort, Winslet did him a solid and flashed him before the cameras rolled, and he was able to loosen up enough to get through the scene.
21. The Mummy (1999)
1999’s The Mummy is one of the better attempts at rebooting a classic Universal Pictures property, but a lot of strain went on behind the scenes in order to get it made. For example, the actors spent the entire shoot unaware that the Morocco location where they were filming was so dangerous that kidnapping insurance had to be bought for all of the main cast members. Director Stephen Sommers only told them about this after the movie had wrapped.
22. Cruella (2021)
Emma Stone received rave reviews for her take on the titular character in 2021’s Cruella. The origin story of 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil, it featured great performances all around, particularly from Emma Thompson, who wore insanely elaborate costumes for her portrayal of Baroness von Hellman. According to the movie star, her costumes were so elaborate that the mere act of visiting the bathroom was a Herculean task that required “a team of people” to execute.
23. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his work in Dallas Buyers Club, the story of an AIDS patient in the 1980s who takes unapproved drugs to treat it. Jared Leto plays a trans woman in the movie and both he and McConaughey have scenes in which their weight fluctuates, an effect many people believed came courtesy of the actors losing and gaining weight. In reality this effect was achieved in part through lighting and also through makeup, which is incredible considering that makeup lead Robin Mathews told Entertainment Weekly that the entire makeup budget for the movie was $250.
24. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
In the first movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, cast members were flown by helicopter to the top of a mountain where certain scenes were being filmed. That is, with the exception of Sean Bean, who played Boromir and was so terrified of helicopters that he refused to join his castmates in one. Rather, he ascended the mountain every day by foot, which required a two-hour head start on the rest of the cast.
25. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
1983’s anthology film Twilight Zone: The Movie is perhaps best-known for an accident that happened on set which took the lives of three actors. People who saw the movie may have been too distracted by that to appreciate the movie on its own merits, one of which was a callback to the 1978 comedy classic Animal House. That movie ends by telling the audience what happened to each character, including ROTC commander Douglas C. Neidermeyer who, it is revealed, gets killed in Vietnam by his own troops. In a scene in Twilight Zone: The Movie that takes place in Vietnam, a United States soldier says to the rest of his group, “We never should have shot Lieutenant Niedermeyer.”
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.