It happens more than we would like to admit, but we all misunderstand movies from time to time. Sometimes we miss the entire point of the film; sometimes we only miss little details. But don’t go celebrating just yet if you’re in that second group. Sometimes, it’s those little details that mean so much. Without these, we misinterpret elements of the film or we fail to grasp a major facet. Well, we wanted to explore what these overlooked facts can do for a film. For the most part, the movies on this list are already great. The little facts that people tend to overlook just improves them, making them even greater. These are details that serve to enhance character or plot. They might help provide motivation and allow you to better understand the genius of the film.
There’s a good chance that you have noticed some of these, but your fellow man might not have. Even if you knew these, going through the entries and thinking about the implications of these facts won’t hurt. If anything, it might just help you remember how amazing these films are in the first place. Perhaps these facts will help shed some light on the reasons why a film you disliked is so loved. For everyone else, we want to show you what a little detail can do for a film. Here are 16 Overlooked Facts From Major Movies That Make Them So Much Better.
At the beginning of Ratatouille, Remy lives in and eats from a house in rural France. The elderly lady eventually kicks him and his friends out and the mouse moves to the streets of Paris. Now, remember that Remy steals the cookbook before he left the house. OK, at the end of the film, the big bad food critic comes to the restaurant. Remy cooks him some ratatouille and the critic, Anton Ego, is instantly transported back to his childhood and tasting his mother’s ratatouille. This food doesn’t just remind him of his mother’s cooking. Look at the memory. Look at the kitchen. Look at the stove his mother is cooking at. Look familiar? It’s the same house from the beginning of the film. Remy stole Ego’s mother’s cookbook. The old lady is Ego’s mom and Remy is recreating the same dish she once cooked.
14. Lilo and Stitch
In Lilo and Stitch, Lilo has a peculiar habit of feeding her favorite fish, Pudge, peanut butter sandwiches. We learn that she does this because Pudge controls the weather. Now, why does she take on this job so diligently? Think back to Lilo describing her parents’ death. They died while driving during a rainstorm. Lilo now feeds the fish comfort food to keep it happy and keep the rain away so that no one else has to die. Now, obviously, we don’t believe that Pudge does control the weather, but it is interesting that the one time Lilo doesn’t feed Pudge, it rains.
There’s been a wealth of discussion on what Inception is all about and when the real is real in the film. Well, everyone has long focused on the spinning top at the end of the film. This is the focal point for many and people have debated if that top is going to stop spinning or not. Others have pointed out that the totem might not even be valid. Some have even suggested that we look to the wedding ring instead. Well, what if none of that matters? What if it was all a dream from very early on. Remember back to the first time Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) met the chemist, Yusuf. This guy allows Leo to test the new drug he has created to keep people in a dream state. Cobb tries it out, sees Mal and then wakes up. He rushes to the bathroom to see if he is still dreaming. He starts to spin the top, but then Saito interrupts him and the top falls to the ground. From that point forward, we have no idea if Cobb is actually awake or not.
12. Saving Private Ryan
Perhaps of all the facts on this list, this one from Saving Private Ryan is the best known. It comes from the beginning of the film. After clearing out the trenches, the American soldiers see two German soldiers. The men have their hands up and are yelling something. After the American soldier shoots them, he says that they were saying “Look! I washed for supper!” Well, they weren’t saying that. The soldiers were speaking in Czech and were saying, “Please don’t shoot me! I am not German, I am Czech, I didn’t kill anyone! I am Czech!” These poor guys were very likely forced into fighting for the Germans.
11. Big Trouble in Little China
Big Trouble in Little China sets itself up to be a story about a white hero saving the day. The star, Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) looks the part of the hero and he has a non-white sidekick. But that’s not what this movie is, even if audiences force themselves to see it that way. The character of Jack Burton is not the hero. He is the sidekick. He doesn’t really do anything. He asks a lot of questions and relies on Wang Chi to save the day. Hell, Jack is incapacitated during the big battles. This is one of the greatest things about this flick. It sets up the expectation that Jack is the hero, when he is the one who needs saving half the time.
Even though this might be more of a fan theory than an actual fact, it sure seems legitimate. Ok, so we’re talking about Aladdin here. In the film, Aladdin’s first wish is: “Make me prince.” We then see Aladdin become this Prince Ali figure with all the fanfare. Now, later, when Jafar gets the lamp, he strips Aladdin of his princehood. That seems a little unfair. But, at this point, Prince Ali wasn’t really a prince. That wish wasn’t truly fulfilled until Aladdin married Jasmine. So, the entire film and all that leading up to Aladdin becoming a prince was necessary in order to “make” Aladdin into a prince. When he was Prince Ali, that was just a step in the process toward wish fulfillment, it wasn’t the actual fulfillment.
Remember in Zombieland when Bill Murray’s character was asked if he had any regrets? He answered, “Garfield, maybe.” Well, there’s a funny story about Garfield that makes the fact that Murray voices the cat even more hilarious than it already is. Murray explains that when he got the script, one of the first things he noticed was written by one of the Coen Brothers, Joel to be specific. He recalls, “I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens! They’re funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, Yeah, I’d like to do that.” So they went forward with it and he started recording his lines. He soon realized that the lines weren’t funny and it was only getting worse. Eventually, he said, “Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we’re dealing with.” He then saw that the entire script was garbage and totally unfunny. “Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the *bleep* was Coen thinking?” he asked. And it’s then that they told him. Joel Coen didn’t write the script. Joel Cohen of Cheaper by the Dozen did.
8. No Country for Old Men and Cast Away
There’s something really neat about these two movies, No Country for Old Men and Cast Away, that is lost on many viewers. The scenes are shot so well and the environment plays such a major part in the films that most don’t notice that there is almost no music in either of these films. Cast Away doesn’t play any music until the shots are off the island. While on it, the scenes are stripped of anything except the sounds of the island to enhance the feelings of isolation. Similarly, No Country for Old Men only features a few notes from a piano, a mariachi band and the music that plays over the end credits. The Coen brothers felt that by eliminating music, they could create more tension. It worked well.
7. Hot Tub Time Machine
Forget that the sequel ever happened. The first Hot Tub Time Machine was hilarious and very underrated for a comedy. It also has a neat little connection to The Wizard of Oz. Match the characters to their Oz counterparts and it becomes clear as day. Jacob, the guy who only wants to go home, is Dorothy. Then we have Nick as the lion because he lacks the courage to face his marital problems. Adam is the Tin Man, the guy without a heart because his girlfriend broke it. He then is a heartless jerk throughout the film. Then there’s Lou, the idiot, who is obviously the brainless Scarecrow. Finally, Chevy Chase’s hot tub repairman is the Wizard who gives them their wishes. Lou uses smarts to get rich. Adam gets his heart back by falling in love. Nick gets the necessary courage to face his fears and Jacob gets the home he wanted. You can even see the guys transported to the Oz-like past via a cyclonic hot tub.
6. The Room
With the recent release of the film, The Disaster Artist, this fact will soon become general knowledge, but it’s still amazing at this point. The Room is a ridiculous movie, often called “The Citizen Kane of bad movies.” But there are so many delicious tidbits of information that make the film seem impossibly great. Take the character of Mark, for instance. You know, “Oh, hi Mark.” Well, this character was named Mark because of Matt Damon. Confused? The filmmaker and star, Tommy Wiseau, decided to make The Room after watching The Talented Mr. Ripley. He was urged to watch it by a friend for other reasons, but it inspired Wiseau so much that he wanted to make his own movie. He named his main character Mark because he thought Matt Damon, the star of The Talented Mr. Ripley, was named Mark Damon.
5. The Goonies
Next time you watch The Goonies, pay attention to the traps. Did you notice that there is always a way through each of them? Now, notice that the ship is all rigged up as well. It was ready to sail away whenever it needed. This setup seems to suggest that a one-man crew could have gone through the tunnels and sailed away with the treasure. In fact, it could be suggested that the traps were set up in order to allow for only one survivor to get through. The reason that The Goonies were able to do it and get through it alive was because they were a true team, a single unit.
4. The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element is a strange movie that has only gotten stranger with time, but it does have one fact that makes the setup for the film quite interesting. It’s a setup that is rarely seen in film (though it has happened before). The protagonist, Korben Dallas, and the antagonist, Zorg, never share any screen time. They never meet, they never speak and they are virtually unaware of the other’s existence. The only real connection they have, aside from the main action, is that Korben works for the cab company that is owned by Zorg. There is one scene that has them almost bump into each other on the elevators, but that’s it.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey doesn’t need any small facts to make it into a remarkable film. It is already that. But there are elements to it that people tend to overlook. Take HAL, for example. HAL is not some crazed and malfunctioning robot. This poor thing was given terribly conflicting orders. HAL was designed to relay information. HAL was then asked to keep the objective of his mission secret. When his ship investigates the mysterious signal sent from the monolith on the moon, HAL is compelled to complete his design’s mission, but he was also told to keep it secret. Therefore, do deal with the conflict, he disables the ship’s communications so that he can’t relay the information. When the humans try to disable him, he must disable them in order to keep at least one mission going. At this point, we are confronted with another fact. The protagonist, Dave (or man in general), after disabling HAL, has leaped forward in evolution another step. We know that 2001: A Space Odyssey is about evolution in many ways, but so many people overlook this step. We see early man using tools. Then we see man exploring with said tools. Then man creates tools to explore further. Then those tools nearly destroy him. Then man becomes the tools himself. This is the stage that Dave is at after disabling HAL, travelling the universe without the need for tools.
2. Blood Diamond
Next time you watch Blood Diamond, consider the following and see if it changes your viewing: Leo’s character has HIV. Near the beginning of the film, a prostitute says to him that she has no HIV. To this, Leo says, “I’ve heard that before.” This is our first clue. Now think about his relationship with Maddy (Jennifer Connelly). He keeps his distance from her, forming a non-physical connection with her, almost as if he were longing for things to be different. Then, when he is shot, Solomon tries to help him, but Leo demands that he not. This could be interpreted as them being in a rush to get away, but it could also be that Leo is trying to save Solomon from coming in contact with his blood.
1. Radio Flyer
If you haven’t seen Radio Flyer ever or in a long time, we’ll catch you up. The film is about two young brothers. Their step father is abusive to them, but their mother is happy, so they withhold the truth of what he’s doing to them. They spend their time outdoors to escape the violence and let their mom be happy in ignorance. They then develop a plan to have the youngest brother, the one who gets the brunt of the violence, fly away on their Radio Flyer wagon that they turned into an airplane of sorts. The flying wagon works. The youngest gets away and sends the other brother postcards from his travels. But wait a minute. Listen to the film’s last line: “Now do you understand what I mean about history being in the mind of the teller? ‘Cause that’s how I remember it.” Things clearly didn’t work out this way. There are several possibilities, but only one that seems likely. Some say the younger brother was killed. We don’t believe that. We believe that the younger brother was only a figment of the older brother’s imagination. He invented the younger brother as a way of cordoning off the abuse he took. It’s symbolic of a loss of innocence. When that younger brother flies away, it’s only the dreams and fantasies of the older brother flying away, a way for him to escape the abuse once and for all.
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