The number of unanswered questions in films is decreasing every day. Not only are audiences becoming more astute viewers but advanced technology is helping us find details that we never could before. The movies themselves are not leaving nearly as many things openly ended. Modern audiences seem to like neatly tied-up films. At least, the average viewer seems to like that. Or maybe that’s just what the studios are leading us to believe. We might be alone in this, but we like a little mystery in our lives. Sure, if every movie left things up to individual interpretation, it might get a little tired, but not everything needs a pretty bow on it either.
That being said, we also like mysteries that have solutions, especially ones that have solutions that are challenging to uncover. Well, the internet loves this type of thing as well. Every film that leaves us with any sort of question at the end is searched through frame by frame by dedicated fans to locate an answer. Well, we’ve looked at some of the questions that continue to pop up around the interwebs and in our own heads. There’s a reason why these questions keep showing up. The filmmakers wanted these movie moments to be slightly ambiguous. Maybe they didn’t mean for them to seem unanswerable, but they surely wanted a bit of mystery. There are answers to these questions, however, even if you aren’t aware of them. And let me tell you that we found them. Here are the Answers and Proofs to 15 of Film’s Most Nagging Questions
15. Butch Keyed The Vincent’s Car
There really weren’t many other suspects for this one, unless you’re one of those people who think it was just a random device to spur on dialog. But Butch was the mystery man who keyed Vincent Vega’s car in Pulp Fiction. Since the timelines are a little wonky, it can be difficult to track when is when and who is where, but it adds up. Vincent ticked off Butch by calling him Palooka and Punchy. Both Vincent and Butch just had terrible days, so they were both testy. Marcellus’ bar was basically empty after this encounter, so identifying Vincent’s car wouldn’t be hard. Butch, angered, walked outside and keyed Vega’s car. Not long after that, Butch would kill Vega, so he got him twice in the end; one for each name Vincent called him.
14. Sick Triceratops In Jurassic Park
The film version of Jurassic Park doesn’t really make it clear why the triceratops are getting sick, but we can use the books to make it clear. In the movie, Ellie realizes that West Indian lilac is nearby. The guy says that they know the berries are toxic but the animals don’t eat them. Ellie is unable to find any berries in their stool. This is where the film leaves the mystery. In the book, however, we learn that the dinosaurs eat small stones to crush up food in their stomachs and help them digest small things. These rocks are replenished every six weeks or so. These rocks are also too close to the poisonous berries. The reason there are no berries in the stool is because the rocks are crushing them.
13. Real Or Dream At The End Of Taxi Driver?
Ever since Taxi Driver was released, fans have been wondering whether the final scenes in the film take place in reality or in Travis Bickle’s mind. Well, we get a few clues that indicate that the final scenes are just Bickle glorifying himself in his dying moments. First off, Iris is terrified of Bickle. This wasn’t a rescue. She never asked for his help. After the police come through the door, the camera angle switches as if to show Bickle’s life leaving his body. When the scene switches to Bickle’s apartment, we see two major clues that it’s his creation. One is that he has a new TV. Sure, he could have bought one, but the camera focusing on the TV makes it seem like we should be thinking about it. Then, there’s the note from Iris’ parents. This is the best clue that Travis created this image in his mind because the writing is from his own hand.
12. Joker’s Scars
While this may not be an answer to a question as much as it’s a dispute of a popular fan theory, we thought we would include it because it is an interesting connection. There has been a major interest in the story of how the Joker got his scars in The Dark Knight. He tells a number of stories and there are hints in other places that fans have jumped on to give other explanations. One of the most popular is the claim that the Joker is an ex-military and was bombed or injured during war. It may sound interesting, but it’s very likely to be false. One of the major reasons we believe this is because the Joker and his scars are so intimately tied to Al Capone and his scars. Like the Joker’s, the origins of Capone’s facial scars were the cause of much mystery. Similar to this explanation for the Joker, Capone even used a war story as a reason for his scars. The truth is probably that the Joker, like Capone, did get his scars in a crazy tragic or heroic way. Capone had his face cut in a fight in which he was in the wrong and the Joker probably did too.
11. Cinderella’s Slipper
This one has nailed people for a long time. They rip on Cinderella and pat themselves on the back. Why don’t Cinderella’s glass slippers change back at midnight like everything else? They ask. Well, the answer is simple. The glass slippers were a gift from Cinderella’s fairy godmother. The rest of the items were just changed from other items and things. We also hear the question about the fit of the slipper a lot. If it was such a perfect fit, why did it fall off? Well, a slipper is meant to slip on and off the foot easily. Hence, the name. They are not built for running. The reason it fell off her foot was because it slipped right off her foot, as it is meant to do.
10. The Final Scene In The Dark Knight Rises
When the credits rolled for The Dark Knight Rises, fans began to question if what they saw at the end was real or just a dream. While Christopher Nolan has been known to make his endings ambiguous, this final shot of Alfred seeing Bruce Wayne at a coffee shop, just as he had said he wished he would earlier, seemed a bit too on the nose for some fans. For that reason, many have declared that this was just wishful thinking on Alfred’s part; that he never actually saw Bruce at that café. But wait, there seems to be proof that Bruce is actually there. When Alfred sees his surrogate son, Bruce has a scar on his forehead that he got from a wound Bane gave him (when his cowl broke). It would seem strange that if Alfred really was creating him in his imagination, he would give him fresh scars.
9. The Flying Grease Car
Did Sandy die? Was it all a dream? What the heck is going on at the end of Grease? How and why did that car suddenly rise up and fly away before the credits rolled? These have been some of the questions plaguing fans of the musical for many years. Well, the answer is pretty simple. Sure, it might not technically answer how or why the car flies away, but it at least points you in the right direction. Earlier in the film, when the shop teacher is checking out the car prior to the race, she says, “If it were in any better condition, it would fly.” So, when the car was suped-up to its max, it flew. Voila.
8. Why All The Hate In Prometheus?
A lot of people have had questions about Prometheus. While Covenant may have helped answer some, there are still lingering questions from the first of the two Ridley Scott films. In many ways, it felt unfinished. It was as if Scott had an idea for a film that made sense and then he went through and scattered the pieces and threw some plot points away to make it mysterious. Instead, we got a confused film. Still, there is an answer available to one of the biggest questions in the film: why did the Engineers have such a hate on for humankind? One of the hints we received for this answer was when we learned that something happened around 2000 years that soured the relationship between humans and engineers. This would coincide with the death of Jesus. There’s also the mural of a crucified xenomorph, which seems to beg for a Jesus Christ comparison. Whether Jesus was an Engineer or an emissary, we’re not sure. But it seems that the humans killing him is what sent the Engineers into a rage.
7. Inception And The Spinning Top
We fully acknowledge that this one has been beaten to death, but people keep going around in circles on it. Was the top Cobb’s totem or Mal’s? What about Cobb’s wedding ring? Does it even matter? We’ll be brief, so if you’re just tuning into this discussion for the first time, you might get lost. Sorry. First, we learn that Mal’s totem was the top, but she stopped trusting it. Why? Well, when Cobb discovered how Mal used the totem, it became untrustworthy and susceptible to being tampered with. The totem has to be secret and individual. It also has to have a secret function or behavior. This has led some to suggest that Cobb’s totem is actually his wedding ring. Unlikely. The wedding ring is a reflection of his subconscious and allows the viewer to know when he’s dreaming or not. But that’s about it.
So, what is Cobb’s totem? Well, it’s the top. It’s just used differently. Cobb can create exceedingly well in dreams. So, his top spins forever in a dream not because it’s its secret function, but because Cobb is making it spin. In essence, Cobb’s ability to make the top continue spinning is his totem. This is why he is always in direct contact with the spinning top when it’s his totem. In the real world, he tries to make it continue spinning but is unable to. This means he’s in the real world. When it comes to the ending, many have come to the conclusion that whether the top falls or not is meaningless. This is correct. But, make no mistake, the top will fall. When Cobb is reunited with his children, he spins the top and walks away. He refuses to address whether this is a dream by trying to make the top stay spinning. Instead, he lets it fall. If it falls because it’s reality or it falls because of lack of effort doesn’t matter. It will fall and this is now Cobb’s reality.
6. Donnie Darko WTF?
Like Inception, the ending of Donnie Darko has been discussed a lot. We apologize for adding to the pile, but we thought a simple explanation might help with the confusion. Here’s what’s going on. Time and the universe get all messed up when something extraordinary happens (like the plane engine). This event caused a tangent universe to be created. This is bad and will lead to more bad unless Donnie, the one who the extraordinary event targeted, fixes it. This fix is done through sacrifice. If Donnie doesn’t fix it, time loops. We don’t know how many times Donnie has failed his mission, but we know it’s at least once. How? Well, because Frank was killed in one of the failed timelines and is now helping Donnie fulfill his mission. OK. So, Donnie is afraid to go through with everything. More specifically, he’s afraid to die alone, but he must. He needs help by both the dead and the living to complete his quest. His final sacrifice reboots the universe and corrects the never-ending loop they were stuck in. The end.
5. Is The Stuff In Pan’s Labyrinth Real?
Yes. That’s the answer. Even though Guillermo del Toro didn’t beat us over the head with one single interpretation, the magical world we saw was real. We are shown this in three major scenes. The one is the flower blooming at the end of the film. This flower is a magical legacy of Ofelia’s. How would it bloom if the world did not exist? The other sign is the chalk door that allows for travel from the attic into the Captain’s room. Since Ofelia teleporting would not be very realistic, we have to assume it’s magic. The final hint is shown when Ofelia is running away from her stepfather. When she reaches the dead end, the wall opens up. Now, some might say she just hid or found another way out for the last two, and they may say the flower blooming was just a coincidence. We say nay.
4. Cypher In The Matrix
While this is certainly still up for debate, there’s long been the question about Cypher in The Matrix. Who exactly is he? And, perhaps more pressing, how does he get in and out of the Matrix without an operator? We wonder this when Cypher meets with Agent Smith. Now, the Wachowskis have hinted at some type of automatic script that allows Cypher to dip into the Matrix alone. We tend to subscribe to the idea that Cypher is fully in-tune with the code of the Matrix. He said that he can taste steak just by reading the code, so he could likely speak to someone like Agent Smith without being plugged in. There’s also some indication that Cypher was the One before Neo. This was more evident in an earlier draft of the script, but it’s still there in the film. He seems very interested in what Morpheus said to Neo to convince him that he was the one and that he has some history with Trinity. Trinity may have fallen for Cypher because he was the one and that is her destiny. Interestingly, Cypher also means zero, which means he would be before Neo (One) as well.
3. Old Biff And The New Timeline
Back to the Future and any other film dealing with time travel opens up plenty of potential plot holes. Well, the one that many cling to is in Back to the Future II. In this film, we see Old Biff (i.e. Biff from 2015) realizing that the DeLorean is a time machine. He then takes the car back to 1955. When there, he gives Young Biff (i.e. 1955 Biff) the sports almanac. He then returns to 2015 and walks away. People question how the future is unchanged in this moment. Well, it will change over time. Time will ripple outwards and change all time along the way. It just hadn’t, and by this time, got all the way to 2015. In a deleted scene, we also saw that Old Biff vanished from time very painfully as soon as Marty and Doc left.
2. Rejection Of The Therapy In Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of our favorite movies because of how deep and layered it is. You could watch this film 10 times and still catch new things. One of the most common questions in the film is how and why Joel rejects or resists the memory erasing procedure. You could argue that his love for Clementine is just too strong, but there is an important thing that helps him hang on. At the beginning of the film, when Joel has decided to bring all his Clementine memories to Lacuna to have his memory erased, he is shown in his car listening to Beck’s “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime.” This is a song that reminds him of Clementine. But rather than bring it to Lacuna, he throws it out the car window. The rest of the film, during major scenes, that song can be heard playing. This might just be for us, but it’s possible that this lingering memory is strong enough to help him fight the erasure and meet Clementine in Montauk to start their journey over from the beginning. It might also be the thing that keeps them together the next time around.
1. Why Are There Eight Silhouettes? – Saving Private Ryan
Since the film has come out, we’ve heard plenty of people pointing out an apparent continuity error in Saving Private Ryan. It comes after Carpazo (Vin Diesel) is shot and killed. Now, since there were only eight soldiers who set out, losing one would leave the group with seven. That math is sound. Yet, when we see the group walking across a ridge in the distance, we can clearly make out eight silhouettes. Sure, this could have been a mistake. That is, however, unlikely. What’s more likely is that this is a reference to the dance of death in the final scene in The Seventh Seal. The Dance of Death has long been depicted in art as the unification of all humankind through death. This scene in Saving Private Ryan shows that even though Carpazo is dead, he has not left the group.
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