Movies with Interesting Small Details

If you listen to a few directors’ commentaries, you begin to see that in many cases even the smallest details of a film are planned or shown for a reason.

Last night I was watching Secretary, where Grey is telling Lee to set out the catch-and-release mousetraps, fairly clear symbolism of how he treats his secretaries. The interesting thing that I saw (third viewing) is that after Grey tells her to go out and find the lost file in the garbage, he watches her leave by turning his head just like an owl does (did he blink like one? don’t remember). Owls, of course, being natural predators of mice, contribute more to the predator/prey relationship.

I just thought it was interesting. :cool:

Alex Cox’s *Repo Man * is packed with stuff like this. The generic food and drink labels. The fact that all the repo men are named after brands of beer sold at the convenience store where they go so often that it’s practically a character in the movie.

In particular, at one point in the movie, when Otto is trying to catch up with the girl he’s got the hots for, he rounds a corner a bit too sharply, and his fender accidentally knocks over a trash can, spilling garbage. A little old lady immediately runs outside and begins demanding that he pick it up. Otto tries to speak to the old lady, but she is loud, unpleasant, and shrill, and he gets in the car and drives off.

Much later, near the end of the movie, Otto goes to the hospital to see Bud, who’s been beaten up. In the background in one scene in the lobby, if you look down the hall, you can see the same little old lady, talking to a nurse at the nurse’s station.

And if you turn the volume up, you can even hear her complaining, “… and he wouldn’t pick it up!”

Not a movie, but in one episode of the TV show Babylon 5, there’s a scene where the captain of the spacestation and the Mimbari ambassador are having a dramatic conversation in a hallway. Something about destiny, or interstellar war, or whatever. What’s interesting is, in the background, you can see one of those yellow plastic “slippery when wet” signs they put in the middle of floors that have just been mopped. I don’t know if it was intentional, or was accidentally left there by the studio’s janitorial staff, but I just love the idea that they’re still manufacturing and using these things two hundred and fifty years from now.

Another nice one in Babylon 5 is a scene in which you can see a video monitor in the background announcing the Rolling Stones’ farewell tour.

Oh boy! The Oscar-snubbed epic The Wizard of Gore is full of interesting little details. For example, in one scene, the hapless victim is seen driving off in a Chevelle and later arrives at “the scene of the crime” in a Camaro. Later, a police detective is relating the scene of the dastardly murder in the cafe to his fellow officers. He tells them, “The body was in a booth, chopped into a hundred pieces!”. The audience is shown the site, and sure enough, there was the completely intact corpse, seated at a table right in the middle of the room! Its attention to the little things that set apart the Spielbergs, Lucas’ (Lucases?), Woods and Scorseses from the pack. I don’t know who is responsible for TWoG (much to my discredit. I hang my head in shame), but they clearly belong with the former, not the latter. That is, the former group of names. Not the latter pack. Oh, you know what I mean!

What is real, and what is an illusion?

This actually had to be pointed out to me, but at the end of Mouiln Rouge, when we zoom in to Christian’s room, we pass a birdcage. Christian has “inherited” Satine’s little bird!