Ever feel like Hollywood aren’t taking things entirely seriously? This list of in-jokes proves the movie industry is just one big backslapping parade…
John Landis – See You Next Wednesday
Director Landis used a mock-up poster in his first movie, ‘Shlock’, for a fake film called 'See You Next Wednesday’ – it was the first movie he ever wrote, but it got shelved. 'See You Next Wednesday’ has appeared in some guise or another in 12 of his films since, not to mention TV shows and music videos including Michael Jackson’s 'Thriller’. Every time it appears, whether on a marquee or on a poster, the content of the film is always different.
George Lucas – 1138
You’re probably aware of the Pixar A113 easter egg in all their movies, but did you know George Lucas has a similar numerical good luck charm? In almost all of his movies since his sci-fi thriller 'THX-1138’, Lucas has snuck in the number, including here in 'The Phantom Menace’ on the back of a Battle Droid.
Sly vs Arnie
The rivalry between action heroes Stallone and Schwarzenegger – first serious, then friendly – has surfaced in many of their movies. Arnie poked fun at John Rambo in 'Twins’, then wandered into a video store in 'Last Action Hero’ which cast Sly in 'Terminator 2’. In reply, Stallone seemed exasperated about the idea of “President Schwarzenegger” in his future sci-fi 'Demolition Man’, scarily predicting Arnie’s political career.
He’s played a few kings in his time, but one royal Arnie never got the chance to play was Lear – except in the alternative universe of Jurassic Park, that is. A brief shot of a video store during the T-Rex’s rampage in 'The Lost World’ showed a standee of Arnie playing the lead role in 'William Shakespeare’s King Lear’. Also in the store: Tom Hanks in 'Tsunami Sunrise’ and Robin Williams in 'Jack And The Beanstalks’.
Pegg legs it
Blink and you’ll miss it, but there’s a very familiar drive-by in Nick Frost’s solo comedy outing 'Cuban Fury’. During the scene where Frost’s fleet-footed office worker takes on colleague Chris O'Dowd in a car park dance-off, the action is interrupted by a car passing. Meeting eyes with Frost but saying nothing, driver Pegg does a double-take before driving on by.
Shaun/Dawn Of The Dead
The relentless in-jokes, references and hat-tips to George Romero’s zombie series in 'Shaun Of The Dead’ won’t have escaped you, but did you know director Edgar Wright and star Simon Pegg returned the favour? The pair played zombies at a photo-stall at a funfair in Romero’s 2005 horror 'Land Of The Dead’.
A familiar psychopath
David Fincher doesn’t do the whole 'shared universe’ thing, but there is a neat nod to his past work in 'The Social Network’. As Facebook creator-in-waiting Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) browses his university intranet, the username he’s chosen for himself might ring a bell – the choice of 'Tyler Durden’ for his avatar could only have been intentional. I want you to poke me as hard as you can…
Maverick’s lethal weapon
Nothing warms the heart like an established cinematic double act, and Gibson & Glover were among the best of friends both on screen and off. Even away from the 'Lethal Weapon’ franchise, Mel and Danny still found time to make us smile – in Gibson’s Western comedy 'Maverick’, Glover turned up playing a masked bandit, who would go on to exclaim: “I’m too old for this s***!”
Doc Ock goes Evil Dead
You might not necessarily recognise 'The Evil Dead’ and 'Spider-Man’ as two movies from the same man, but Sam Raimi did fit a number of in-jokes regarding his horror franchise into his super-sequel. For example: during Otto Octavius’ surgery scene, when his tentacles go rogue, the camera angles – scooting along the floor – are pure 'Evil Dead’, and the shot of a spinning chainsaw would make Ash very happy indeed.
All hail the Oldsmobile
Sam Raimi has been slipping the same car into almost all of his movies since his career began. The 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 belonged to Ash in 'The Evil Dead’, but it’s since turned up in 'Crimewave’, 'Darkman’, 'A Simple Plan’, 'The Gift’, 'Spider-Man’ and 'Drag Me To Hell’. According to Bruce Campbell, the car’s chassis even made its way into Raimi’s period Western 'The Quick And The Dead’: now that’s dedication to an in-joke.
Raiders of the lost Star Wars
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have a shared cinematic history, and their relationship crosses over in their films – Spielberg’s 'Indiana Jones’ movies feature their fair share of 'Star Wars’ references. For starters, you can just make out hieroglyphics of R2-D2 and C3P0 in 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark’, while the slightly more obvious reference of 'Club Obi Wan’ can be seen in the opening of 'Temple Of Doom’.
Also, that Han Solo chap sure does look like a certain archaeologist adventurer…
Wes Craven as Freddy cleaner in Scream
Director Wes Craven leaned heavy on the horror movie references in 'Scream’, his meta-slasher that played fast and loose with movie trivia. Craven actually makes an appearance in the movie, dressed in a familiar-looking red and green striped jumper and hat combo – when he’s referenced as 'Fred’, you wonder if his surname just might be 'Krueger’ and if he lives on Elm Street.
“This never happened to the other fella…”
Possibly the most famous movie in-joke of all. 'On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was George Lazenby’s solo mission as James Bond and it was well received, but audiences already knew the Australian had big shoes to fill when Sean Connery bowed out. The genius move on behalf of the writers was to have Lazenby break the fourth wall and acknowledge to camera just how hard he’s had it compared to his predecessor.
Wayne’s World: Judgement Day
One of many silly gags in the first 'Wayne’s World’ movie saw Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) bump into a cop who looked suspiciously like Robert Patrick – the moment he asked “Have you seen this boy?” à la 'Terminator 2’ seemingly confirmed they were in the presence of the T-1000. One of the oddest crossovers in movie history.
Who watches the Batmen?
The extended opening sequence to Zack Snyder’s 'Watchmen’ is a thing of beauty for many reasons – mostly because of the perfect use of Bob Dylan’s 'Times They Are A Changin’’ – but you may have missed a perfect in-joke. One sequence shows the original Night Owl busting the chops of a robber outside an opera. The crook? Joe Chill. The show? Die Fledermaus (The Bat). The man and woman protected in the background? Mr and Mrs Wayne, left alive and well, thus preventing the need for their son Bruce to become Batman. It cements Watchmen’s alternate timeline, but it’s also really cool.
Clash Of The Remake
The 2010 remake of 'Clash Of The Titans’ doesn’t have much in common with the 80s version – there’s far more thrash metal and skinheads and CG than we remember – but it does share one common factor: Bubo. The small robot owl who was so instrumental in the Ray Harryhausen original was deemed too silly to play a major part in this super-serious reboot, but Sam Worthington’s Perseus does fish him out of a box at one point with a suitable look of bemusement.
Klaatu Barada Nikto
These three words have echoed throughout movie history since they were first uttered by robot Gort in 50s sci-fi 'The Day The Earth Stood Still’. You may remember “Klaatu, Barada, Nikto” were the words that needed to be uttered in 'Army Of Darkness’ to retrieve the Necronomicon, but they were also seen in 'Tron’ and three characters in 'Return Of The Jedi’ were named after the famous line.
He ain’t afraid of no ghost!
You may think there are only two 'Ghostbusters’ movies, but you’d be wrong – well, sort of. You see, Dan Aykroyd technically reprises his role as Ray Stantz in the most unlikely of movies – 'Casper The Friendly Ghost’. After a run-in with a particularly malicious supernatural entity, Stantz runs out of a building in full costume and says: “Who you gonna call? Someone else!” It’s 12 seconds long but still better than 'Ghostbusters II’.
You’re gonna need a bigger cameo
Richard Dreyfuss came very close to revisiting his 'Jaws’ character 35 years later, when he was called in for a cameo in aquatic terror 'Piranha 3D’. Dreyfuss doesn’t last long, but his fisherman character Matt sings 'Show Me The Way To Go Home’ (as in 'Jaws’) and he even drinks the same brand of beer as Matt Hooper. Sadly, producers were forced to give his Piranha character a surname, Boyd, to distinguish between the two men. Booo.
“I loved you in Wall Street!”
It’s one of the great father-son movie moments – father Martin and son Charlie Sheen are ships that pass in the night in 'Hot Shots: Part Deux’, but they still get to share that iconic line. Charlie’s character Topper has his boat-bound monologue interrupted by his dad’s character in Apocalypse Now mode. Best. Cameo. Ever.