Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Fred Betzner5
Secret Mysteries of Cinema REVEALED!!!
Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s sorta-kinda prequel to his 1979 film Alien, opened a few weeks ago and it has proven to be a very divisive film. Some people love that it’s somewhat ambiguous and that Mr. Scott was content to leave several major plot points unexplained, while others deem it to be the worst thing ever made by anyone for these same reasons. I would council the latter group to be patient. Ambiguity and utterly confusing storytelling is nothing new in cinema, and usually, after some time has passed, the filmmakers offer some much desired clarification and insight into what they intended.
Sometimes, however, a bit more digging–specifically in dumpsters in and around Los Angeles by people willing to do practically anything for money (unemployed actors, writers…anyone you stop on the street, really)–is required to uncover the truth.
So, thanks to my crack team of Messrs. Eszterhas, Guttenberg, and Feldman, here is a list of four such confounding film moments and the true meaning behind them.
1. The Glowing Briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
Pulp Fiction has perhaps one of the most famous unexplained plot devices in cinema history; the glowing briefcase and its unrevealed contents have driven fans of Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece out of their minds since the film’s release. Many theories have been bandied about, the most popular being that it is Marsellus Wallace’s soul. But thanks to
an elaborate phone tapping operation a perfectly legal thing I did, I can now reveal that it was in fact an interstellar object that Wallace planned to consume to achieve near invincibility!
In a deleted scene from the unpublished screenplay, a Super Wallace goes on an out-and-out rampage, killing each of his mob rivals in turn, snorting 60 bags of pure cocaine, and leveling four city blocks in the process. In the end, however, his new-found powers wear off, and he is defeated as his character always is: butt sex.
2. Why the birds are all pissed off in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock presented a terrifying story of nature violently attacking the human population of a small town, suddenly and without reason. Flocks of birds create havoc as they menace and kill hundreds of citizens and–in a bold directorial move–no explanation is given for this sudden outbreak of violence from members of the Avian Nation. But this was not always the way the film was intended. An early draft set up a political drama with overtones of a government grown corrupt with power in a prologue set at City Council Meeting. An early outline sets up the scene:
“Mr. Seagull,” the council president says, “we have heard your objections, but the surtax on salted mackerel and discarded bagels will go forward as proposed.”
“You fools!” replies a livid seagull, “that is our only supply of food! You’ll rue the day you underestimated…THE BIRDS!”
Hitchcock himself was to play the part of the seagull dressed as a giant bird who then went on to lead a popular rebellion. He was talked out of using this narrative framework by François Truffaut during a visit to the set. Film historians almost universally agree with his estimation that it was all “pretty f*&%ing stupid.”
3. Bill Murray whispering to Scarlett Johansson in the last seconds of Lost in Translation.
In Lost in Translation, Bill Murray’s character finds himself alone and depressed in Japan and finding solace from his failing marriage in the arms of equally lonely and depressed Scarlett Johansson and her boobs (who, thankfully, had each other for company and were quite cheerful–perky even). At the very end of the film, Bill is set to leave Japan, and as he embraces Scarlett for a last time, we in the audience see him whisper something in her ear but, infuriatingly, we cannot understand what he says.
But now, thanks to advancements in audio technology, modern scientists have been able to discern the dialogue and finally bring an end to this long national nightmare.
Bill Murray: I have to be leaving now, I’m going to go do a Garfield movie…maybe two…but please don’t hold it against me. In my heart, I’ll always be Venkman, okay?
4. The spinning top at the end of Inception.
I would be happy to explain this to you if someone could explain the rest of the movie to me.
I hope, dear reader, that you have found some catharsis in the answers to these mysteries, and please, if there are any pesky unanswered questions that you have from your latest trip to the cinema, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll set my team to digging. Now I’ve gotta go hose down Guttenberg. That guy’s addiction to rolling around in trash like a dog was why they never made an eighth Police Academy movie.