Chekhov's Gun in your favourite movies

How about Breaking Bad, where the arms dealer in the semi trailer gives the Twins a sample bullet, which later falls out of one of their pockets and is used by Hank for a dramatic head shot.

There was also a similar one in the first Jurassic Park.

At one point, for no apparent reason, the boy starts insulting the girl and claiming she’s “a nerd who sits inside all day on her computer.”

Sure enough, about an hour later she uses her skills as a hacker, in a scene which caused a few friends to visibly since, to save everyone.

If I get it right, the complaint here is about the lack of “throwaway” detail. If the script or story has any detail, then that detail has to be a functional, even pivotal, plot element.

And I agree with the complaint. Throwaway detail adds richness. If a guy walks down the street eating ice cream…maybe that’s just something that happened that day, and the ice cream doesn’t have to show up later to put out a fire or freeze someone’s electronics or distract the guard-dog or whatever.

Writing that is so tightly focussed that it can’t accomodate throwaway detail is denying the viewer/reader real-world verisimilitude. In the real world, lots of things go by with no direct “plot” consequences.

Why not, once in a while, have a police or fire siren go down the street outside the apartment building…and NOT lead to a police raid or a building fire? Why not show a married couple having a spat that DOESN’T lead to an important plot revelation?

I very much dislike writing that is so taut, it has no room for throwaway.

In Snakes on a Plane, the beginning of the movie has the bad guys loading snakes onto a plane.

And their luggage is lost?

My favorite one is in Grosse Pointe Blank where you’re distracted from the Chekhov’s Gun by a red herring. Martin goes to his high school reunion and leaves his gun behind, not knowing that an assassin was coming after him. At the reunion one of his classmates reveals that he brought a gun, which Martin makes him put away. Martin is later attacked by the assassin, killing him with…a pen his friend gave him earlier at the reunion. The pen is the Chekhov’s gun; the actual gun is a nifty distraction and is never referred to again.

Roger Ebert claimed that “Whenever a movie character is a gymnast, sooner or later, she will encounter a bar”.

Or occasionally a pommel horse.

So if you don’t think that “Chekhov’s gun,” “Easter egg,” and “foreshadowing” are all the same thing, distinguish carefully between them.

There’s a good one in the movie I was watching last night, The Last of Sheila. A pair of hand-puppets are among the toys and games in James Coburn’s collection in the games room on his yacht. Ian McShane plays with them during a later scene and, at the end…

Richard Benjamin wears them when he tries to murder James Mason. “I don’t have any gloves.”

Way to go, we’re never going to see Dr_Doom again!

IMHO, Checkiov’s Gun and foreshadowing are of course related. CG is a method sometimes used to foreshadow; it’s just one way of doing it, usually without the audience knowing that’s what you’re doing. It also normally refers to an object, skill, character, or something specific versus a whole scene.

Easter Eggs are hidden, difficult to find, and sometimes have nothing to do with the story/game.

That’s just my BS though.

Sulu has Chekhov’s gun in * Shore Leave*.

I’m not sure about the diff between Chekhov’s Gun and foreshadowing. Seems to me that the Chekhov’s Gun is really it’s own opposite: extraneous stuff should NOT be introduced.

However, I’ll use the example of Galadriel’s gifts to the Fellowship of the Ring from both the movies and books. Here, she specifically KNOWS (via some sort of precognition) that a bright (magical) light will be helpful to Frodo, that an elfin rope (and, in the book, seeds) will be helpful to Sam, etc.

In Ghostbusters, when Sigourney Weaver is putting away her groceries and first encounters Zuul, there’s a bag of Stay Puft marshmallows.

If you’re talking about the “this is Unix, I know Unix” thing, I can back that up. I went on opening night with a friend of mine. When that scene came up, he leaned over to me and said “that’s Unix” about two seconds before the girl in the film did. It wasn’t the UI that gave it away, it was the directory names, /bin, /home, /etc.

She knows these items will be generally useful, a Boy Scout being prepared, or she knows what specific uses they will be put to?

Note also that C’sG originates in literature, not film. In film there’s always tonnes of stuff on screen that doesn’t matter a whit to the plot – the wallpaper, background extras to fill the streets, &c – because you need these things for a realistic-looking background to the action.

In literature, the only way you know anything particular about the setting is that the author has specifically mentioned it, so it’s intrinsically more conspicuous. To get the same effect in film, you have to have the camera linger on it or have the characters mention it explicitly or something. Just being in the background is not enough.

That’s foreshadowing. If that specific bag of marshmallows had come into play, that would be a Chekov’s Gun.

I think this would be a great example of the Easter Egg, wouldn’t it?

Actually, I would call that an Easter Egg. An Easter Egg is some hidden detail that you might not notice until going back and watching the movie again. Foreshadowing has to have some sort of element of “this is a clue as to what is going to happen later on in the story.” No one watching Ghostbusters for the first time is going to think “Huh, I bet Stay Puft is going to be important later.”

And speaking of Ghostbusters, I would say “Don’t cross the streams” is a sort of Chekov’s Gun. If someone says “Don’t ever do this” in the beginning of the story, you just know that by the end of the story, they’re going to do it.

An Easter Egg example would be something like, in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as the alien mothership passes over Roy, in the close up, if you look closely, you will see R2D2 from Star Wars, hanging upside down on the ship. It’s not something that ‘looks kind of sort of like’ R2. It is specifically supposed to be recognized as R2 but it isn’t pointed out. He’s just there.
He’s not a Chekhov’s Gun for two reasons. It’s not ‘act I’ an it does not ‘go off’ later.
The Chekhov’s Gun rule, as I have heard is for the theater, or for play writing.

You can’t introduce a gun in the beginning of the play and not have it go off by the end of the play.