Trailers Playground, Youtube
Trailers Playground, Youtube

10 Outrageous Movie Theories You Didn't See Coming

Trailers Playground, Youtube
Trailers Playground, Youtube

When a movie's narrative isn't straightforward, fans sometimes drum up their own theories to explain its inconsistencies and plot holes. Although a majority of these theories are far-fetched, there are quite a few that make the movie they're about feel more relatable and understandable.

1. The Theory: In The Dark Knight, The Joker was a War Veteran

Yokid37, Youtube

In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, The Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger, is a charismatic and insane villain, who some fans believe was a veteran of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The theory comes from a story The Joker tells Harvey Dent in the second half of the film about a truckload of soldiers being blown up. This might also explain the character's disdain for the establishment and his proficiency with explosives, a bazooka, and automatic assault rifles.

2. The Theory: James Bond is a Codename

Clevver Movies, Youtube

Since 1962, six actors—Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and now Daniel Craig—have played Agent 007 James Bond. A popular fan theory explains why the character’s appearance and age have changed over the last 52 years: “James Bond” is not one man, but rather a codename used for various MI6 agents. The theory leaves the door open for female actors and minorities to play Agent 007 in future James Bond movies.

3. The Theory: Grease is Sandy’s Elaborate Fantasy Before She Drowns

Andrea,Youtube

At the end of the movie musical Grease, we see Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) fly off in a red convertible as they wave goodbye to their friends on the solid ground below. This weird ending led movie theorists to the conclusion that the flying car was the final result of Sandy’s fantasy.

During the song “Summer Nights,” Danny and Sandy recount how they first met and started a summer fling. The line, “I saved her life, she nearly drowned,” suggests that Sandy actually did drown and the whole movie is an elaborate musical fantasy due to the lack of oxygen getting to her brain. The flying red convertible also suggests that Sandy is happily being whisked away to heaven at the end of the movie.

4. The Theory: Childs is The Thing

The final moments of John Carpenter’s The Thing are one of the most ambiguous endings to a major Hollywood movie. After a violent melee with the shape-shifting alien invader, the film’s hero MacReady (Kurt Russell) is exhausted as he re-unites with Childs (Keith David) and the pair wait to “see what happens.” The question remains: Is Childs or MacReady the monster?

The popular theory is that Childs is The Thing at the end of the movie. There are a few clues that point to this conclusion. One, you can’t see Childs’ breath in sub-arctic weather; two, Childs takes a swig from a molotov cocktail that is believed to be made by MacReady as a test; and three, John Carpenter cues the audience with Ennio Morricone’s theme for The Thing before the film cuts to black and the credits roll. MacReady smirks and quietly laughs, acknowledging that Childs is The Thing because he didn’t react to drinking gasoline.

5. The Theory: Jack Never Existed and Rose Suffers from Psychotic Depression in Titanic

Movie Channel, Youtube

There’s a popular belief that Titanic's male lead, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), was a figment that Rose Dewitt Bukater created due to having an abusive fiancée. Rose made Jack up to muster enough courage to finally stand up and leave Cal for good. This theory explains why there are no records of Jack and why the elderly Rose said, Jack “exists only in my memories.”

6. The Theory: RoboCop is Jesus Christ

The story of a man who is wrongfully executed, only to return to life as the savior of a dying world seems somewhat familiar to Christians. Only we’re not talking about Jesus—we're talking about the hero of the 1987 action film RoboCop.

Just look at the movie's story: Alex Murphy is violently murdered while patrolling the means streets of Detroit, only to come back to life as a part machine and part human “RoboCop.” He later goes around Detroit saving the lives of its citizens. There’s even a scene in the movie where RoboCop, walking through very shallow water, appears to be walking on its surface.

Director Paul Verhoeven validates this theory. “The point of RoboCop, of course, is it is a Christ story," he told MTV in 2010. "It is about a guy who gets crucified in the first 50 minutes, and then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes, and then is like the supercop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end." Verhoeven also refers to RoboCop as “the American Jesus."

7. The Theory: The Ghostbusters Died When They Crossed the Streams

At the end of Ghostbusters, the team crosses the streams of their proton packs to defeat Gozer and save New York. Afterward, they are celebrated by the city. But some movie fans believe that the Ghostbusters actually died when they crossed the streams. Why? Because of Dr. Egon Spengler's (Harold Ramis) assertion that crossing the streams would be “very bad ... try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” As soon as the Ghostbusters crossed the streams, they died a quick death, and the celebration was a fantasy.

You might think that the sequel discredits this, but theorists have an explanation for that, too: The Ghostbusters are in purgatory during Ghostbusters II. That film repeats the events of the first movie, but they're slightly skewed, and it seems that everyone in New York has forgotten the events of the first film, namely the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man attack.

8. The Theory: The Golden Briefcase in Pulp Fiction Contains Marsellus Wallace’s Soul

Movie Clips, Youtube

The golden briefcase is the driving narrative force in Pulp Fiction. While it’s not important to know what’s inside of the briefcase to fully enjoy the film, there have been numerous theories out there relating to the case’s contents since the movie’s initial release in 1994. Although Quentin Tarantino has flat out said that nothing is in the briefcase and it’s merely a McGuffin, the popular belief is that crime boss Marsellus Wallace’s soul is inside of the briefcase.

This one you've probably heard. The theory is that Marsellus Wallace sold his soul to the devil and sent Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta) to get it back. The glowing orange hue that shines upon Vincent Vega’s face when he opens the case, one of the characters calling the briefcase’s contents “beautiful,” how Jules and Vincent survived getting shot, and the adhesive strip on the back of Marsellus Wallace’s neck are just some of the reasons why this movie theory has persisted over the years—plus the fact that the combination for the briefcase’s lock is “666,” the mark of the beast.

In Roger Ebert's Questions for the Movie Answer Man, Pulp Fiction co-author Roger Avery said the briefcase originally contained diamonds, but that was "too boring and predictable." So they decided the contents would remain unseen, so "each audience member would fill in the blank with their ultimate contents."

9. The Theory: Stan Lee is Uatu the Watcher

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Comic book icon Stan Lee has appeared in almost every Marvel movie based on the characters he has created—including Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and The Avengers. While Lee’s cameos are considered fun for Marvel fans, many others believe that the comic book writer is playing the character Uatu the Watcher, but in human form. Uatu is part of an extraterrestrial species that is responsible for monitoring and cataloging the activities of other species on Earth and across its solar system.

10. The Theory: Bill Murray is Our Savior

Columbia Pictures

In an essay entitled “Groundhog Day The Movie, Buddhism and Me,” Spiritual Cinema Circle co-founder Stephen Simon calls the film “a wonderful human comedy about being given the rare opportunity to live several lifetimes all in the same day. Of course, that's not how the film was marketed but, for our purposes, I believe that concept is at the soul of the story.” In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Angela Zito, co-director of the NYU Center for Religion and Media, noted that the film illustrates the Buddhist idea of samsara, or continuing rebirth. “In Mahayana [Buddhism], nobody ever imagines they are going to escape samsara until everybody else does,” she notes. “That is why you have bodhisattvas, who reach the brink of nirvana, and stop and come back and save the rest of us. Bill Murray is the bodhisattva. He is not going to abandon the world. On the contrary, he is released back into the world to save it.”

See More: 8 Creative Interpretations of Groundhog Day

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Shout! Factory
10 Surprising Facts About Mr. Mom
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

John Hughes penned the script for 1983's Mr. Mom, a comedy about a family man named Jack Butler (Micheal Keaton) who loses his job. To ensure their three kids are taken care of, his wife, Caroline (Teri Garr), goes back to work—leaving Jack to fight off a vacuum cleaner and learn why it's never a good idea to feed chili to a baby.

In 1982, Keaton turned in a star-making role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift, but Mr. Mom marked the first time he headlined a movie, and it launched his career. Hughes had written National Lampoon's Vacation, which—oddly enough—was released in theaters the weekend after Mr. Mom. But Hughes himself was still a relative unknown, as it would be another year before he entered the teen flick phase of his career, which would make him iconic.

In the meantime, Mr. Mom hit home for a lot of viewers, as the economy was on the downturn and more and more women were entering (or reentering) the workforce. But some people think that the movie's ending—which sees the couple revert to traditional gender roles—sidelined the movie's message. Still, on the 35th anniversary of its release, Mr. Mom remains an ahead-of-its-time comedy classic.

1. IT'S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Mr. Mom producer Lauren Shuler Donner came across a funny article John Hughes had written for National Lampoon. Based on that, she contacted him and the two became friends. “One day, he was telling me that his wife had gone down to Arizona and he was in charge of the two boys and he didn’t know what he was doing,” Donner told IGN. “It was hilarious! I was on the floor laughing. He said, ‘Do you think this would make a good movie?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, this is really funny.’ So he said, ‘Well, I have about 80 pages in a drawer. Would you look at it?’ So I looked at it and I said, ‘This is great! Let’s do it!’ We kind of developed it ourselves.” In the book Movie Moguls Speak, Donner mentioned how Hughes “had never been to a grocery store, he had never operated a vacuum cleaner. John was so ignorant, that in his ignorance, he was hilarious.”

The players involved with the movie told Donner and Hughes they thought it should be a TV movie. Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, who came aboard to executive produce. “Then the players involved were upset because John was writing out of Chicago instead of L.A.,” Donner said in Movie Moguls Speak. “They fired John and brought in a group of TV writers. In the end, John and I were muscled out. It was a good movie, but if you ever read John’s original script for Mr. Mom, it’s far better.”

2. JOHN HUGHES REJECTED THE IDEA OF DIRECTING MR. MOM.

Stan Dragoti ended up directing the film, but only after Hughes turned it down, because he preferred to make his movies in Chicago, not Hollywood. “I don’t like being around the people in the movie business,” Hughes told Roger Ebert. “In Hollywood, you spend all of your time having lunch and making deals. Everybody is trying to shoot you down. I like to get my actors out here where we can make our movies in privacy.” Hughes remained in Chicago and filmed his directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, there.

3. MICHAEL KEATON GOT THE ROLE BECAUSE OF NIGHT SHIFT.

In 1982’s Night Shift, Keaton’s character works at a morgue and starts a prostitution ring with co-worker Henry Winkler. Donner had an agent friend, Laurie Perlman, who represented the not-yet-famous actor. She contacted Donner and pitched Keaton to her. “’Look, I represent this guy who is really funny. Would you meet with him?’" Donner recalled of the conversation. "So I met with him. Usually I don’t like to do this unless we’re casting, but I met with him because she was my friend. And then she said, ‘You have to see this movie Night Shift that he’s in.’ So I went to see Night Shift, and midway through I couldn’t wait to get out of that theater to give Mr. Mom to Michael Keaton. Fortunately, he liked it."

Keaton told Grantland that he turned down one of the main roles in Splash to play Jack Butler. “I just remember at the time thinking I wanted to get away from what I’d just done on Night Shift,” he said. “I thought if I do it again, I might get myself stuck. So then Mr. Mom came along. So I said no [to Splash] so I could set up this framework right away where I could do different things.”

4. THE FILM BROKE NEW GROUND.

Teri Garr, Michael Keaton, Taliesin Jaffe, Frederick Koehler, and Martin Mull in Mr. Mom (1983)
Shout! Factory

In 1983, more women stayed at home than worked, so it was a novelty for a man to be a stay-at-home dad. Today, an estimated 1.4 million men are stay-at-home dads, and 7 million men are their children's primary caregiver. “Mr. Mom became part of the vernacular,” Donner told Newsweek. “Mr. Mom represented a segment of men who were at home dealing with the kids who, up until then, really hadn’t been heard from. That’s what really told me about the power of film, because it spoke for a lot of men. It also helped women, because I think that women sometimes, if you’re a housewife, you’re not really appreciated for what you do. This sort of made women feel better about what they did because they knew that men were understanding it.”

5. TODAY, “MR. MOM” IS CONSIDERED A PEJORATIVE TERM.

More than 30 years after the film’s release, stay-at-home dads feel the term “Mr. Mom” should die. The National At-Home Dad Network launched a campaign to terminate the phrase and instead have people refer to men as “Dad.” In 2014 Lake Superior State University voted to banish “Mr. Mom” from the lexicon.

“At least, the pop-culture image of the inept dad who wouldn’t know a diaper genie from a garbage disposal has begun to fade,” wrote The Wall Street Journal, after declaring “Mr. Mom is dead.”

6. TERI GARR DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS A MESSAGE MOVIE.

The movie redefined gender roles, but when the producers pitched the premise to Garr, they hid the plot reversal. “They just told me it was about a guy who does the work that a woman does, because it’s so easy,” she told The A.V. Club. “And I went, ‘Oh, yeah. Ha ha.’ It’s so easy. All the women I know who stay home and take care of their kids, they go, ‘Oh yeah, this is easy.’ Hmm.”

7. MARTIN MULL IMPROVISED THE “220, 221” LINE.

The quote everyone remembers from the movie comes from Jack, holding a chainsaw, standing next to Ron Richardson (Martin Mull) and discussing what kind of wiring Jack will use in renovating the house: “220, 221, whatever it takes,” Jack says.

“We’re doing the scene and it was okay,” Keaton told Esquire. “And I remember saying to the prop guy, ‘Go find me a chainsaw.’ When he comes back with it, he says, ‘You wanna wear these?’ And he holds up some goggles. I go, ‘Yeah.’ You know, they make me look crazy. And when Martin shows up, I know I should look under control, I’m not sweating it. I’m a dude. So we’re standing there, Martin pulls me aside and says, ‘You know what you ought to say? When I ask about the wiring, you oughta just deadpan: ‘220, 221.’ I died. It was perfect. I may have added ‘whatever it takes.’ But it was his.”

“That was a little ad-lib that we just threw in, but every carpenter or construction person I’ve ever worked with, they’re always quoting that line from Mr. Mom,” Mull told The A.V. Club.

8. MR. MOM OUTGROSSED HUGHES’S OTHER 1983 SUMMER MOVIE—VACATION.

Mr. Mom only opened on 126 screens on July 22, 1983, but managed to gross $947,197 during its opening weekend. Once the film went wide a month later to 1235 screens, it hit number one at the box office and spent five weeks at the top. By the end of its run, the film had grossed just shy of $65 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 1983 (just between Staying Alive and Risky Business). National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes’s other film that summer, came out July 29 and ended its theatrical run with $61,399,552 (at its height, it showed on 1248 screens). Vacation finished the year in 11th place.

9. THE MOVIE LED TO HUGHES BEING CALLED “A PURVEYOR OF HORNY SEX COMEDIES.”

During a 1986 interview with Seventeen magazine, Molly Ringwald asked the writer-director why he never showed teen sex in Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club. “In Sixteen Candles, I figured it would only be gratuitous to show Samantha and Jake in anything more than a kiss,” he said. “The kiss is the most beautiful moment. I was really amused when someone once called me a ‘purveyor of horny sex comedies.’ He listed The Breakfast Club and Mr. Mom in parentheses. I thought, ‘What kind of sex?’ Yes, in Mr. Mom there’s a baby in a bathtub and you see its bare butt.”

10. MR. MOM WAS MADE INTO A TV MOVIE AFTER ALL.

In the beginning, producers wanted Mr. Mom to be a TV movie, not a feature film. But a year after the film came out in theaters, ABC produced a TV movie called Mr. Mom, with the same characters and premise. Barry Van Dyke played Jack and Rebecca York played Caroline. A People magazine review of the movie stated: “They and their three kids are immediately likable … But it goes downhill from there as the script lobotomizes all its characters. Here’s a textbook case in how TV takes a cute idea—and a script that does have some good lines—and leeches the wit out of it.”

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Star Trek Theme Song Has Lyrics
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Star Trek theme song is familiar to pretty much anyone who lived in the free world (and probably elsewhere, too) in the late 20th century. The tune is played during the show's opening credits; a slightly longer version is played, accompanied by stills from various episodes, during the closing credits. The opening song is preceded by William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) doing his now-legendary monologue recitation, which begins: "Space, the final frontier ..."

The show's familiar melody was written by respected film and TV composer Alexander Courage, who said the Star Trek theme's main inspiration was the Richard Whiting song "Beyond the Blue Horizon." In Courage's contract it was stipulated that, as the composer, he would receive royalties every time the show was aired and the theme song played. If, somehow, Star Trek made it into syndication—which, of course, it ultimately did—Courage stood to make a lot of money. And so did the person who wrote the lyrics.

WAIT... THERE WERE LYRICS?

Gene Roddenberry, the show's creator, wrote lyrics to the theme song.

"Beyond the rim of the star-light,
my love is wand'ring in star-flight!"

Why would Roddenberry even bother?

The lyrics were never even meant to be heard on the show, but not because the network (NBC) nixed them. Roddenberry nixed them himself. Roddenberry wanted a piece of the composing profits, so he wrote the hokey lyrics solely to receive a "co-writer" credit.

"I know he'll find in star-clustered reaches
Love, strange love a star woman teaches."

As one of the composers, Roddenberry received 50 percent of the royalties ... cutting Alexander Courage's share in half. Not surprisingly, Courage was furious about the deal. Though it was legal, he admitted, it was unethical because Roddenberry had contributed nothing to why the music was successful.

Roddenberry was unapologetic. According to Snopes, he once declared, "I have to get some money somewhere. I'm sure not gonna get it out of the profits of Star Trek."

In 1969, after Star Trek officially got the ax, no one (Courage and Roddenberry included) could possibly have imagined the show's great popularity and staying power.

Courage, who only worked on two shows in Star Trek's opening season because he was busy working on the 1967 Dr. Doolittle movie, vowed he would never return to Star Trek.

He never did.

THE WORDS

If you're looking for an offbeat karaoke number, here are Roddenberry's lyrics, as provided by Snopes:

Beyond
The rim of the star-light
My love
Is wand'ring in star-flight
I know
He'll find in star-clustered reaches
Love,
Strange love a star woman teaches.
I know
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.

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