What "useful" trivia have you learned from the movies?
June 11, 2004 5:30 PM   Subscribe

In the most under-appreciated of the Lethal Weapon movies, - number 2 - Mel Gibson passionately explains to a hot South African Patsy Kensit that you you should always choose fruit from the back of the stack, since supermarkets stack the oldest fruit up front. In Twins, Arnold Schwarzenegger explains that lifting an alarming car above 45 degrees will disable the alarm (discredited here) What "useful" trivia have you learned from the movies?

Probably against the law for me not to provide IMDB links to everyone but my governor.
posted by Sinner to Media & Arts (36 answers total)
one word: AstroGlide
posted by matteo at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2004

a: wow. so in addition to the Arnold omission, that's "...you you should always choose fruit..." and "...for me not to provide IMDB links to everyone but..." all on one page. Matt, any plans to build a "dumb-checker" to complement the spell-checker? (Or is that currently coded in as "Preview?")

b: matteo: "Astroglide?" This wasn't a cartoon, was it?
posted by Sinner at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2004

Lightning or electricity brings inanimate objects to life, like robots, or dolls. Usually with amusing results.
posted by loquax at 6:32 PM on June 11, 2004

I learned to put sour cream in my scrambled eggs after watching Ralphie Cefferetto do it on Sopranos. Best cooking tip ever from a fictional character about to be decapitated.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:44 PM on June 11, 2004

Any amnesia or odd behavior aquired after a blow to the head can be fixed with another blow to the head.
posted by interrobang at 6:54 PM on June 11, 2004

Also from the very educational "Lethal Weapon" films:

They FUCK you at the drive through!

and, of course,

Diplomatic immunity......diplomatic immunity...



posted by briank at 6:55 PM on June 11, 2004

That chili and Cheerios go great together. Yum.

A lightning bolt carries 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.

The third rule of any crisis situation: "Duck."
posted by scarabic at 8:12 PM on June 11, 2004

When someone asks if you're a God, you say "Yes".

Macs are compatible with everything.
posted by Potloaf at 8:19 PM on June 11, 2004

People having sex are immediately murdered by psychopath serial killers.

Foreign exchange students = comedy and hijinx for everyone.

Not only is it possible to outrun cold temperatures, but you can also outrun giant tidal waves coming at you.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:31 PM on June 11, 2004

Before leaving any room or situation, one *must* turn to someone and say or (if appropriate, yell) "let's get outta here".

Seriously, it's in every movie. Just listen for it.
posted by interrobang at 8:35 PM on June 11, 2004

OT: Man, I just don't get those Google ads. Four links for home drug testing kits? Drug Test Your Teen?

The most important thing I learned at the movies is that you can always escape by crawling through the ventilation system. (Thanks, Evil Overlord!)
posted by SPrintF at 8:42 PM on June 11, 2004

I learned that the chinese word for 'crisis' is also the chinese word for 'opportunity.'
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 9:17 PM on June 11, 2004

When in any high speed crash or falling over a cliff, cars will always explode, usually just before impact.

After waking from a blow to the head of sufficient force to cause unconsciousness, any long-term injury is avoided by groaning once, standing up and briefly rubbing the back of your neck with your hand.

If you are female and being chased, you are more likely to either fall over or lose a single shoe, the more attractive you are.

And, of course, the old classic (I suppose these all are): If you arrive home at night and suspect an intruder in your house, walk straight in anyhow, without first finding help, and never turn on the lights.

Isn't there a page of these out there somewhere?
posted by normy at 9:31 PM on June 11, 2004

Apparently, John Wayne was a faggot. No one tell Peggy Noonan.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:34 PM on June 11, 2004

This page has the oft-emailed "things I learned from the movies" list.
posted by O9scar at 9:39 PM on June 11, 2004

I can't help but feel like 90% of the responses here have been on the totally wrong track.

Sinner, I think, is looking for bonafide real world trivia and factoids mentioned in passing. Number of bones in the human body, the best way to get blood out of white cotton type stuff, rather than the standard list of totally-played-out movie scenarios/settings/plots/cliches/absurdities.

Not that I have any to offer, or anything. I'll have to think on it. But it's an interesting question, and a great use of AskMe, I think.

Would make a stunning magnificent obsession for some archivist, too.

On preview, it occurs to me that Fight Club had all kinds of amazing, seemingly factual recipes for napalm and so forth -- according to IMDB the script had working recipes, but the ones actually recited in the movie are duds (in the interest of public safety).
posted by rafter at 10:28 PM on June 11, 2004

I learned what a "cigarette burn" was from "Fight Club", if that's more on-topic.
posted by interrobang at 10:30 PM on June 11, 2004

rafter - you're exactly correct as to the intention of my question. i'm as aware of the standard bad-movie tropes as anyone else out there. but, as mentioned above, fight club is perhaps the best example of a film replete with at-least-seemingly-legitimate info: the "chemical burn" scene, the "pure oxygen gets you high" lecture on the plane, the napalm stuff, even the "how-to-make-soap" sequence (which tied into the chemical burn thing, actually, iirc).

this is the stuff i'm talking about, not the "it's always the blue/green/red wire" stuff.
posted by Sinner at 10:37 PM on June 11, 2004

rafter, you may well be right, although Sinner's use of "useful", in quotes, may have subverted his purpose, in that case.

And feel free to call me a boring old fart, but if we are to treat the question seriously for a while, then don't we also need to embrace the notion that Hollywood movies might actually contain educational information? I suppose I'm having a hard time suspending my disbelief sufficiently to handle that concept.
posted by normy at 10:42 PM on June 11, 2004

Some of this may fit your criteria and some of it may not:

Coat face in hot water. Leave razor in cold water. (why? "because metal contracts in cold water.") "you get a clean shave every time." (miller's crossing).

the human head weighs 8 lbs and dogs and bees can smell fear (jerry maquire).

if you magnetize a needle and place it on a leaf floating in water, it'll work like a compass (the magnetized end will point north). you can magnetize the needle by rubbing it on silk. (the edge).

also the edge: the reason looking for a round stone will get rid of cramps is not because of some superstition but because it distracts the mind, gets the body stretching, slows down your pace, etc.

cigarettes are a "nicotine delivery system" (the insider)

the chinese have a lot of hells. (big trouble in little china).

"there's always got to be poison. affairs just can't dissolve." (carnal knowledge)

if you put a wristwatch under both sides of a car's tire, you can determine what time the car left (one of the watches will be broken). (chinatown).

always carry two guns--when they search you they'll consider themselves done after finding one. (the limey) also the limey: the 60s weren't really the sixties. they were just 1966 and a little bit of 1967.

"these things really happen" (magnolia)

studio executives always say their name when greeting someone they know because they're afraid the person won't know who they are. (the player--learned from the commentary, actually)

you can use information as a chisel (sweet smell of success--though the line is actually from miller's crossing.)

sometimes you can accomplish your goal better by being dead (waking the dead).

sometimes it's better not to know (the vanishing)

"could be drug related" or "drugs may have been involved" is useless information in the news, to which I always now reply "and she could have peanut butter smeared all over her breasts. why are you telling us this?" (how to get ahead in advertising)

remeran (sp?) is an antipsychotic or antidepresent which has no bad sexual side effects. (the extras in royal tennenbaums)

identity is transient (3 women)

women in comas can get pregnant (talk to her)

deaf people can have rhythm (code unknown)

if you want to drive someone mad break into their apartment and move everything one inch. (i can't remember what movie this was but michael caine was in it)

velcro is extremely flammable (or used to be). (from the earth to the moon).

when applying for a job don't say "i can do anything"--tell them what's wrong with their office and how you can fix it. (erin brockovich)

vinegar cancels out the pain of lye (fight club)

when traveling never assume superiority to the locals. (deliverance)

what yar means (the philadelphia story).

though our surroundings affect our state of mind our state of mind also affects our surroundings (spider)

corporations control everything (network)

sex is everywhere (roger dodger)

objectivity changes everything (blood simple)

you can clog the exhaust of a car with a banana (beverly hills cop)

to whistle, you just put your lips together and blow (to have and have not)

you can buy explovises in arizona and texas with just a driver's licence (heat)

if you shove a wet towel down someone's throat and hang on to the tip of it and then yank it out, you can pull their stomach lining out their mouth (24)

coffee is for closers (glengarry glenross)

they pull a knife, you pull a gun. they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue. (untouchables)

what, exactly, a defense attorney does (or can do). (murder on a sunday afternoon)
posted by dobbs at 11:59 PM on June 11, 2004

I learned that dobbs may be obsessive-disordered...
posted by five fresh fish at 12:57 AM on June 12, 2004

they pull a knife, you pull a gun. they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue. (untouchables)

"Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life." (Bruce Lee - Tao of Jeet Kune Do)
posted by Jairus at 1:23 AM on June 12, 2004

But how do you know if some of the stuff is true (ie the items presented as facts as opposed to the self evident 'good ideas')? For example, the subject of this thread?
posted by biffa at 3:53 AM on June 12, 2004

You assume I was being snarky in my post about things I learned from "Lethal Weapon", but I was not.
posted by briank at 4:20 AM on June 12, 2004

War Games: Social engineering is 90% of hacking.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:18 AM on June 12, 2004

A pig will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. A single pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Always be wary of a man who has a pig farm. This bit of trivia from Snatch echoed real life when a man in Port Coquitlam, B.C. was busted for killing and disposing of several prostitutes a few years ago.

If you cut off somebody's pinky, they'll tell you whatever you want to know (Harvey Keitel - Reservoir Dogs)

Hundreds of years ago the Moors conquered Sicily (Dennis Hopper - True Romance)
posted by vito90 at 8:23 AM on June 12, 2004

All of life's big problems are solved in the movies. (Grand Canyon)
posted by bingo at 11:43 AM on June 12, 2004

When was Astroglide in a movie?
posted by jjg at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2004

Hundreds of years ago the Moors conquered Sicily (Dennis Hopper - True Romance)

hahahaha - but that isn't exactly the main "fact" offered in that monologue.
posted by scarabic at 3:20 PM on June 12, 2004

people will do anything for a potato - empire of the sun
posted by triv at 5:23 PM on June 12, 2004

vinegar cancels out the pain of lye (fight club)

Isn't it more that vinegar pH-neutralizes the lye to stop the chemical burn in its tracks? I'm pretty sure there would still be plenty of Jack's Searing Pain for a while.
posted by cortex at 5:43 AM on June 13, 2004

Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
posted by Soliloquy at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2004

If you whack a head of lettuce on the kitchen counter, it easily dislodges the stem. (I think this was in "Sweet Liberty", but I'm not certain.)
posted by Vidiot at 5:26 PM on June 13, 2004

the main "fact" offered in that monologue.

That Christopher Walken is half eggplant?
posted by vito90 at 8:20 PM on June 15, 2004

« Older Simmering 101   |   Do you wish you had a fatter upstream pipe for Bit... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.