Movie in-jokes, Easter eggs, and hidden references—they’re all so different and similar at the same time. Because these terms are often used interchangeably, we’ll be throwing them all together in the blender. This has allowed us to open up the field a little more and pull from more material. Little inside jokes in films are one of the great pleasures for movie fans. The more film you watch and the more familiar you are with the material, the more of these in-jokes you capture. Well, we don’t expect that you’ve caught them all. We also don’t expect that you have the time to scour the internet to hear from those that have found them all. There are different levels to these types of jokes. There are the ones that we’ve heard of and seen posted online countless times. We’re going to avoid those, no matter how funny or clever they are. We’re interested in the movie in-jokes that people not only missed but haven’t been made aware of at all. This is a smaller pool, but it’s got more value.
The entries on this list are from both recent films and classics. The jokes from the newer films speak for themselves, but it’s always amazing learning something about a film you’ve watched several times over the years. It adds a little something more to films that we all already had a great deal of respect for. While not all of these “in-jokes” are laugh-out-loud funny, they each have an in-the-know flavor to them. So, this is our invitation to you. Come join the club. Laugh at the jokes only a select few understand. Tell your friends. Or don’t. Whatever. Here are 15 Incredible Movie In-Jokes We All Missed.
15. Scream And Halloween
In the original Scream, the kids all gather together during the house party to watch horror films, specifically Halloween. To repay the favor, Halloween: H2O featured a scene where Scream 2 was being watched on the television in their film. This is great, but the homages go further than that. In Scream, after Casey Becker’s (Drew Barrymore) parents come home to find their house messed up, the husband tells his wife to “go down the street to the Mackenzie’s house.” This is a reference to the original Halloween, as those are the same instructions that Laurie Strode gave to the kids. Again, Halloween: H2O replayed the reference. In that film, a much older Laurie Strode tells the kids to “go down the street to the Becker’s house.”
14. Spider-Man: Homecoming And Iron Man
We all know that Tony Stark is a big fan of Peter Parker. Where this stemmed from was not totally understood, but fans theorized that it went back to Iron Man 2. In that film, there’s a little kid in an Iron Man costume that stood up to one of the armored drones. The real Iron Man saves the kid before he’s killed and then flies away. This led some to suggest that this inspired kid grew up to be Peter Parker. Well, even though this was already confirmed by Tom Holland and Kevin Feige, the little detail in the credits of Spider-Man: Homecoming is still awesome and confirms it even more. In the credits of Homecoming, we see a drawing of Iron Man looking down on a smaller figure. This little animation mirrors the scene in Iron Man 2 and proves the connection.
13. Human Forms In Beauty And The Beast
While this is certainly more of a continuity detail than an in-joke, the attention to detail in the human characters in the new Beauty and the Beast is fantastic. Essentially, some of the things that were unique about the characters when they were inanimate objects are carried over into their human forms. Some of these are better than others, such as Cogsworth’s mustache, which is uneven and in a similar angle as the hands of the clock, or how the piano is missing teeth when human after shooting out some of its keys at the intruders. Then, we see Chip as a boy, and he’s only missing a tooth. Consider yourself lucky, kid. That chip should have been on your face. Sure, seeing these may not have made you laugh hysterically, but you’re a grouch. Besides, if you did spot these while watching, we bet you felt pretty good about yourself.
12. Allyson Wonderland In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
While the title for this one pretty much speaks for itself, we thought we would include an in-joke from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? if only because there are so many little “toon” references in the film. This one comes when Eddie is in a bathroom in Toontown. In a very quick shot, on the wall by the paper towel dispenser, graffiti is visible. This scribble reads, “For a good time call Allyson Wonderland. The best is yet to be.” The second part of the quote here is a play on “the best is yet to come,” which makes this line read a whole lot dirtier. While this was certainly more for the animators than the fans, the naughty joke fits right in with this movie and is added to the list of things that make this movie awesome.
11. Scranton In The Founder
Scranton, Pennsylvania is known for one thing and one thing only—The Office. Similarly, the actor B.J. Novak is also pretty much only known for The Office, as he was a star, a writer, and a producer on the show. Well, the creators of the film The Founder were aware of this. When Novak’s character is introduced in the movie, while talking to Ray Kroc, a map of the United States is shown and the camera zeros in on Scranton, Pennsylvania. This subtle little sight gag is purely for fans of The Office and/or B.J. Novak. Now, all you Novak fans might be bothered about The Office dig. Sure, Novak has been in other things, but the average fan likely couldn’t name you one of the top of the dome.
10. The Hand Jokes In Evil Dead II
The number of small little jokes and sight gags in Evil Dead II is astounding. They come in all shapes and sizes, but we’re interested in the hand jokes throughout the film. The first one, and perhaps the least visible one, comes after Ash is forced to cut off his own hand. For a brief second, we are shown the clock in cabin and it is bleeding. Many people have wondered about this, thinking it nothing more than a sign of the house being overcome by demons, but it has more direct meaning than that. It is the minute hand that is bleeding, mirroring what’s happening with Ash’s hand. Shortly after that, Ash pins the demon hand down with a book. That book is Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. Clever dogs.
9. The Adrenaline Gland In Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
While this is more of a very subtle plot detail than a joke, it’s hidden enough that we felt we could and should include it. We know that Johnny Depp‘s character takes adrenochrome in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and trips hard. He asks where Benicio del Toro‘s character got it, and the response is “from a Satanist.” Earlier in the film, when the guys arrive at the first hotel, we overhear that a man had been murdered in the parking lot. Though it is easy to miss, the man also says that the victim had his adrenaline gland taken.
8. Talladega Nights In Other Will Ferrell And Adam McKay Films
Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have teamed up in some of the biggest comedies of the last 15 years. Between the two of them, they created Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Each of these films references the others in different ways, so we’ve decided to pull out a few of more noticeable ones that reference Talladega Nights. One comes from Step Brothers during a bedroom scene. In the background of several shots, you can see a Hugalo’s Pizza sign. This is the pizza shop that Ricky Bobby worked at as a delivery driver. In The Other Guys, in the scene that Mark Wahlberg freaks out at an art show, one of the art pieces is a Wonder Bread toolbox. That is the very same piece that Ricky Bobby’s pit crew has in Talladega Nights. It is a work of art.
7. Independence Day And The Anal Probe
Although Randy Quaid‘s character, Russel, doesn’t explicitly state that he was anally probed by aliens during his alleged abduction before the events of Independence Day, he is questioned about it. He states that he was experimented on and the implication is that there was an anal probe. Truthfully, this is always implied with alien abduction stories. The anal probe business is hammered home later in the film when Russel prepares to fly his ship into the alien craft. He says, “Payback’s a bi**h, ain’t it?” which suggests that he’s going to do something to them that is similar to what they did to him. He also says, “Up… YOURS!” which has a very specific imagery attached to it. This entire anal probe connection finishes as Russel flies his plane right into the ship’s weapon, which is located at the bottom of the craft; essentially, the anus of the ship. The man is anally probing the ship.
6. The World’s End And Toilet Paper
In Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, as in most of Wright’s films, there are numerous details and little jokes scattered throughout. When Gary first sees Sam coming out of the bathrooms, he tries to reignite the flame they once shared. We know that when they were younger, they slept together in the disabled toilet stall. So, Gary tries to convince Sam to sleep with him again, informing her that the “disableds is out of order.” When Sam asks what happened, meaning “what happened to you Gary,” he thinks she’s asking about the toilet and responds, “maybe one of them put too many paper towels down the toilet.” Later in the film, in a different bar, we see a sign in the disabled toilet that reads, “Please do not put excessive towels down the loo.”
5. Cusack’s Past In Hot Tub Time Machine
John Cusack is part of a couple different in-jokes in the film Hot Tub Time Machine. When the guys travel back in time, they notice that Cusack’s character has a suitcase filled with drugs. Jacob asks him, “Who are you, Hunter S. Thompson?” While this is seen as a simple answer, it is also likely an in-joke referencing the fact that Cusack was close to being cast in role of Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Later, on the ski hill, a guy passes by on skis talking into a cellphone, asking, “Where’s my two dollars?” This is a reference to the paperboy who wants his two dollars in Better Off Dead, starring Cusack.
4. Steve Buscemi’s Movie Karma
There have been plenty of people who have discussed the countless references between both Quentin Tarantino films and the Coen Brothers‘ films. Both have their films speaking back and forth to others in their collections, but the Steve Buscemi connections are ones that not many discuss. In Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Buscemi’s character, Mr. Pink, is against tipping. The others in the group reprimand him for this, but he refuses to budge from his stance. Later, in Pulp Fiction, it seems that Buscemi got a dose of bad karma, as he is cast as the Buddy Holly waiter in the film. The Coen Brothers also seemed to give Buscemi a taste of his own medicine. In Fargo, Buscemi’s character doesn’t seem to stop talking. He’s always blabbering on and rambling. Later, in The Big Lebowski, Donny (Buscemi) is told to shut up almost every time he opens his mouth.
3. The Goonies And Jurassic Park
It was brought up on Twitter that Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park wears clothes that are extremely similar to the outfits worn by some of the kids in the classic film The Goonies. The first comparison comes when Nedry wears the Hawaiian shirt. Both in style and pattern, the shirt resembles one worn by Chunk in The Goonies. The next is the grey coat he wears later on in the film, a grey coat that looks identical to the one worn by Corey Feldman‘s character, Mouth. Finally, when Nedry goes out into the storm, he throws on a yellow raincoat over the jacket. This combination makes him look like he’s dressed like Mikey (Sean Astin) in The Goonies. Although some suggest that this connection is a stretch, Steven Spielberg and several others were attached to both films, so it seems very likely that this was intentional.
2. Cutting Off Johnson In The Big Lebowski
In The Big Lebowski, the nihilists break in the Dude’s place while he’s in the bathtub. They throw the ferret into the water to mess him up and then they threaten him by saying, “Tomorrow, we come back and we cut off your Johnson.” Now, we take this literally, so when it doesn’t happen, we consider it somewhat of an empty threat, but in a way, the nihilists do follow through on this. Although it isn’t the next day, when we get the big confrontation between groups, Donny dies. Look at the bowling shirt that Donny’s wearing when he dies; it has the name Johnson stitched on the back left shoulder.
1. Baby Driver And Penniman
We could fill three of four lists with the amazing little details in Baby Driver, but we will simply discuss the songs in this entry. When Deborah and Baby first start talking about their names appearing in songs, Deborah mentions how “Baby” is found in so many songs. In fact, most of the songs on the movie’s soundtrack include the word “baby.” That one was obvious, but there’s one little inside joke that was unbelievably subtle in relation to this. Deborah’s jacket in the film has a name tag on it that reads “Penniman.” It turns out that Penniman is Little Richard’s real surname. Little Richard is relevant to this joke because he has a song called “Baby.” In fact, Little Richard has several songs with the word “baby” in the title.
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