10 Movie Inside Jokes You Didn't Get
Sometimes in the weird and wonderful world of Hollywood, there are things included in movies that seem a little bit out of place or forced – certain lines of dialogue, props, pieces of music or celebrity cameos, for example. Often this can be put down to poor filmmaking or desperation, but these things can also be included simply for the fun of it.
Writers and directors love to make movies their own and this can sometimes come in the form of the aforementioned inclusions. When watching a movie for the first time, viewers might completely miss them or wonder what on Earth is going on, but these inclusions are generally clever in-jokes that make reference to something else in a subtle way – things like a director’s past projects, or a movie a director liked in their childhood, for instance.
In this video, we’re going to run through a list of some of the best in-jokes in movie history. Here are 10 movie inside jokes you didn’t get.
The Spider-Man trilogy that starred Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging superhero was, of course, directed by Sam Raimi. Raimi was previously best-known for creating and directing the Evil Dead series of movies – and in 2004’s Spider-Man 2, there was an entire scene that quite hilariously took its visual cues from those cult horror movies. When the presumed-dead Otto Octavius was being prepared for post-mortem surgery, his mechanical arms developed sentience and attacked the doctors who were present. In the most blatant callback to the Evil Dead movies, one of those doctors reached for a chainsaw – as wielded by Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams – and used it in a failed attempt to escape the clutches of the mechanical arm that had a hold of him.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
When movie franchises have writers and actors in common with each other, they will often make fun references to each other, and the first example of that in this particular list comes from 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. With George Lucas having written the movie’s story and Harrison Ford AKA Han Solo starring in the titular role, Star Wars references were guaranteed to happen. The movie’s opening took place in a Japanese nightclub called “Club Obi Wan” – a reference to the Jedi first played by Sir Alec Guinness in 1977’s A New Hope.
Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are always full of in-jokes, Easter eggs and fun references – to the point that we could saturate a list like this with such examples – and one of the best came in 2011’s Thor. The movie saw the blossoming of the perennially reviled relationship between Chris Hemsworth’s titular character and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster. At one point, Foster lends Thor a shirt that she says belonged to an ex-boyfriend called Donald Blake. Eagle-eared fans of the Thor comic books will have realized that this was a reference to the human alter-ego of the Asgardian in the character’s early years.
I Am Legend
Back in 2007, when I Am Legend was released, a Batman v Superman movie was still nothing more than a dream. The idea had been conceived – I Am Legend producer Akiva Goldsman had in fact been working on the project - but putting it into practice was a long way off. Goldsman’s involvement in the failed project resulted in the inclusion of a fun in-joke in the Will Smith movie. A Times Square movie poster showing Batman and Superman’s respective logos overlapping each other could be seen in the background. Of course, the movie has finally become a reality here in 2016, but back then it was almost as if Warner Brothers were saying “the only chance of this movie happening is in a fictional post-apocalyptic world”.
Guardians of the Galaxy
2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie was genuinely teaming with in-jokes and fun references – even more so than the average comic book movie, which is really saying something. One of the more subtle examples was the name of the ship owned by Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord in the movie. It was called “the Milano”, which was a cute nod to the fact that director James Gunn used to have a huge childhood crush on actress Alyssa Milano, the gorgeous star of shows like Melrose Place and Charmed.