Movies are big productions. It’s not something most of us really think about and we are increasingly led to see movies as the result of a few good actors, or directors, or occasionally even producers. But the truth is even a film like Get Out, which is now pretty much synonymous with Jordan Peele, is the product of cinematographers, casting directors, costume designers, set designers, producers, editors, musicians, music editors, screenwriters and many other rarely-spoken-of-jobs. A movie is usually made by hundreds of people and can takes years to put together. Each one can represent tens of thousands of man-hours, but you’ll sit down and watch it in 90 minutes and give it a 7/10.
But everything in a movie is the product of someone sitting down and making a decision. Every chair, every mug, every light switch, can reflect a conscious decision by a movie-maker (at least it does if the people making the film gave a damn about it). So, with that in mind, we went out and sought out the most interesting movie details that escaped notice. These can be tiny plot details, bits of scenery, or some minor part of the world that you otherwise failed to notice but which reflect a conscious effort by the movie-makers to create a more detailed story.
So, let’s begin!
Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction!
Pulp Fiction is a great film and it revitalised John Travolta’s career with his silky-smooth performance as Vincent Vega. Vincent is almost always on the bathroom in this film, and it’s not just a meaningless detail. Not only does it signal that something terrible is about to happen, and not only does it reflect Tarantino’s interest in the mundane details of his characters’ lives, but it’s also reflects Vincent’s heroin addiction. Constipation is a common side-effect of heroin addiction and this comes through in how the character, who shoots up in one scene, is so often seen on the toilet!
Vitamin D in the Truman Show
This one is a bit of a two-fer. Not only does the presence of Vitamin D in Truman’s cabinet tell us that he isn’t being exposed to real sunlight as part of his life. It also acts as a neat little call out to the much-loved cult classic Dark City where a similar reveal is used to foreshadow a terrible sci-fi reveal.
Freaky Mannequin in I am Legend
I am Legend is a bit of a mixed movie when it comes to quality. However, most agree that the first half of the film where Will Smith lives alone in a devastated post-apocalyptic New York is genuinely good. And one scene, in particular, stands out. In the scene Will Smith spots a mannequin and is startled only to realise it’s just a piece of plastic. Except… it’s not! Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that he mannequin actually moves! Creepy…
Toy Story 2 – Don’t Touch my Moustache
This one had me stumped as a kid, and I just wrote it off as one of those jokes I didn’t understand for reasons. Years later, however, I finally had it explained to me why Al ends his conversation with a Japanese collector by saying, “don’t touch my moustache!” It’s a joke you’ll only get if you know a bit of Japanese but it’s actually his attempt to say the phrase, “Do itashimashite” which is Japanese for “You’re welcome.”
Hannibal and His Meds
There is an all-too-famous scene in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal tells Clarice that he ate a man’s liver with fava beans and a nice chianti. At the time I just thought this was Hannibal’s way of showing how calm he is about cannibalism, but in truth all of those foods interfere with antidepressant medication. In other words, it’s a subtle way of telling the audience that Hannibal wasn’t taking his medication!
In the recent iteration of Stephen King’s It we get to see a haunting portrayal of the famous killer clown given by Bill Skarsgård. However, an interesting bit of trivia tells us that not only does Pennywise always have one eye on the camera, but that it isn’t even a trick of CGI! Bill was genuinely able to split his eyes so that they both looked in direction. Thus you can cover one of his eyes and you’ll find he’s always secretly looking straight at you! But that’s not the real detail. That’s just trivia. The real detail is that in the infamous sewer scene near the start Pennywise changes the colour of his eyes from yellow to blue. Why? Because Bill’s eyes are blue, and Pennywise knows the colour will help calm Georgie and lure him into his grasp.