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General questions about movies, TV and more

This page is for general movie questions - if you've got a question about a specific film or TV show, please check the title-specific questions page first.Click the edit button below a question to answer it or amend the existing answer, if needed. Got a question about movies/TV shows that the IMDb or Google can't help with? Just click "submit something" in the navigation bar. I'll post it ASAP and hopefully someone will answer soon! Members get e-mailed when any of their questions are answered.

New today Question: There was a TV movie that had Hilary Swank. In the movie, she plays a woman whose husband was arrested and charged with the murder of an elderly couple that he knew. During the trial, flashbacks show what happened. The husband had a sleepwalking episode where he drove to their house and began fixing an air conditioner. When they noticed him, they tried to talking to him but with no luck. Eventually, the old man touches the husband on his shoulder and he suddenly goes berserk and kills them both. The ending of the movie has the husband found not guilty and Hilary's family disowning her.

New this month Question: I'm trying to remember the title of a film probably from the late 80s or early 90s. The main plot centers around a teen promoting his favorite local band called "Severed Heads In A Box" or something similar. There were also numerous subplots such as the main character having a crush on a girl who herself has a crush on the band's singer, his sister trying to stop him from having a big party at his house, and a lot of other things going on. I've tried to find the film on IMDb, but I don't have enough info to go on. Thanks in advance for any help.

Question: I remember a movie where two women were training to be lawyers or cops. The teacher assigned the class unsolved cases as a test. The two women got one about stolen sheets or towels from an industrial laundry. They tracked the guy down and got a confession out of him. He said "are you going to arrest me?" and they replied "No, we're not cops. We are only in training." Think this movie is mid 90s.

New this month Answer: This sounds like the 1988 light-comedy film, "Feds," starring Rebecca DeMornay and Mary Gross as two unlikely F.B.I. trainees who support each other through the rigorous program.

raywest

Question: I am searching for the title of a movie a saw in the 60's but looked old even then. It was a Sci-Fi about creatures from below the surface of the earth. The creatures were slimy and used spears. The tips of the spears could be removed and the shaft was hollow. People trapped in a dome of some sort surmised that the creatures used the hollow spears to fight among themselves.

Question: Why do several TV shows portray fathers as bumbling idiots? Just two examples are Homer Simpson ("The Simpsons") and Peter Griffin ("Family Guy").

Answer: It's just an old "nuclear family" stereotype dating back to the earliest days of television sitcoms. The father was often depicted as a good parent and faithful husband, but he was often a bit clueless about what was going on in the family. The mother was always the most level-headed one who managed the home and kids and kept everything running smoothly, all while tactfully letting her spouse believe he was in charge.

raywest

Question: I realise that these details are vague, but I would appreciate any guesses. This has been bugging me for years. I don't remember the main plot of this movie, but it involves a teenage boy (perhaps a pre-teen) who lives with a mean older brother. Or another adult male. At one point, the boy finally snaps and yells at him: "She thinks you're pathetic!", referring to a girl who the mean boy has been talking to/flirting with. Then there is an explosion sound (and possibly a clip of an explosion). I saw this in the '90s, so it's at least that old.

Question: Not sure if it's the same movie or if I'm thinking about two different films entirely, but I know that it had Gene Wilder in it. In the movie, Gene is sitting in a cab with a woman and sees her writing an address on an envelope which he drops in a mail box for her. Later, he is abducted and through some kind of drug is forced to tell his kidnapper what the address is. Another scene has him confronting a lady who she thinks he's attempting to rob. When he tells her that he doesn't want her money, she pulls her blouse tight causing him to say he doesn't want her body either.

Answer: I believe the scene in the cab is from Hanky Panky (1981). The woman, Kathleen Quinlan, is being chased by government agents. After mailing something, she is killed, so they go after him. The second, I believe is from Stir Crazy. At the beginning of the movie, Gene plays store security, who chases a woman he believes shoplifted, and harasses her. She thinks he's a lunatic.

Question: There was a movie that had Walter Matthau in it. He plays a man whose daughter is getting married when she suddenly locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to come out. Walter spends his whole time trying to convince her to come out. She eventually lets Walter go into the bathroom and when he leaves, he goes downstairs and returns with his daughter's fiancé with him. The fiancé bangs on the door and tells her to cool it. The daughter then leaves the bathroom and goes downstairs to get married.

Answer: The movie you are thinking of is California Suite (1978).

Question: I remember seeing part of a live action movie on TV that showed a puppy playing with an old woman who lived on the street and she later dies from an illness. The puppy also has dreams of a past life, and later joins with an older dog and he grows up with him in a junkyard. When he is all grown up he attacks a man for stepping on his tail and the man takes his revenge on him by kidnapping him and taking him to a place where he is used in some sort of a test. I didn't watch the rest of the movie after that because it bothered me so much. Can anyone tell me what this movie was called?

Answer: This is Fluke (1995), starring Matthew Modine at the voice of Fluke the dog.

Sierra1

Question: There was a movie staring Mario Van Peebles. In the movie, he catches a serial killer who, by decision of a jury, is sentenced to death. The man is believed to be dead but, about eight years later, members of the jury are being killed and their deaths match the way that Christian martyrs died. Eventually the truth is discovered. The killer was somehow brought back to life, had his face altered and his memory wiped in hopes of reforming him. Instead, the killer remembers what happened and now wants revenge.

Answer: The movie starring Mario Van Peebles was a movie released back in 2000, called Blowback (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0201484/).

Question: What usually happens with movie/TV show scenes that involve food (i.e., a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner)? Is fake food used, real food, etc.?

Answer: Having worked in food photography and videography, I can tell you that the majority of the food you see in film is completely inedible. Items such as roast turkey and cakes, while real enough to carve and slice on camera, are usually airbrushed with paint for a "perfect" appearance; meats and fruits, in particular, are often sprayed with commercial furniture polish to achieve a high gloss. Static side dishes adorning the table are often wax or plastic. The only edible foods are small prepared portions seen in closeups of actors actually eating.

Question: There was a film, I can't remember what it was called but it's most likely from the 1970s but may have been a B-Movie or a TV movie. It featured a bomb on an airplane that would explode if the plane's altitude dropped below a certain level, but they only find out about it once they're in the air above that level. When the fuel in the airplane runs low the pilot eventually works out that he can (and does) land at an airport that is above that altitude and the bomb turns out to be in his briefcase that he's had all along in the cabin.

Answer: This is "The Doomsday Flight", a 1966 TV movie written by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame.

Sierra1

Question: Recalling an episode of a courtroom drama, but not sure which one. (It could have been Law and Order, LA Law, or any of a few others.) A couple are on trial because their baby died a crib-death, but there was enough evidence of foul play to charge them with murder. Their defense attorney gets them found innocent, and then the last scene is him getting into the elevator with the couple to leave the courthouse and in the last moment, he sees them holding hands and realises they did it. Anyone know it?

Answer: It was from L.A. Law, season 4, episode: "Justice Swerved." The couple killed their severely handicapped baby because they didn't want the financial and emotional burden of raising it. The jury was unable to find either one guilty. At the end, in the elevator, Victor Sifuentes is standing behind the couple. He looks down and sees them discretely clasping each other's hand and realises they are guilty and were exonerated with his help. This episode is on YouTube.

raywest

Question: Can someone give me a website or perhaps a Youtube account of videos where visual effects techniques are described in detail and how many there are? Could someone also tell me how to tell a visual effects shot different from a real one?

Answer: Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxDq5FjwClc.

Question: This isn't the movie Sleeper or Idiocracy or Planet of the Apes. A man is put into a stasis pod and shortly after that, the facility he is in collapses and his stasis pod is lost. About maybe three hundred years later, a group of people find his stasis pod and manage to open it. He discovers that they have no technology and they wear long gowns.

Answer: While the scenario described could apply to several sci-fi stories, films and television shows, it sounds very much like the 1973 made-for-television movie "Genesis II, " which was a pilot for a TV series that Gene Roddenberry attempted after "Star Trek" was cancelled in 1969. The premise of "Genesis II" was that a NASA scientist volunteers to test a suspended-animation chamber in the late 1970s; once he is successfully suspended, however, an earthquake buries the chamber for over 150 years. The scientist is revived in a post-apocalyptic world where the human population is greatly reduced and much of global civilization has gone back to a primitive state. Not all technology has been lost, but the humans of the future are largely ignorant of how to operate the old technology; this makes the NASA scientist from the past extremely valuable in the future. Unfortunately, "Genesis II" was never picked up as a TV series. In 1974, Gene Roddenberry revamped the "Genesis II" concept into another made-for-television pilot movie called "Planet Earth" (essentially the same story and characters as "Genesis II"). The networks didn't pick up "Planet Earth" as a TV series, either. Http://trekmovie.com/2009/10/23/reviews-gene-roddenberrys-genesis-ii-planet-earth/.

Question: There was a movie with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason where they portray father and son. In one scene, they are both at a restaurant when Jackie says that his left foot keeps bothering him. Tom tries to remove his shoe under Jackie's protest but, when he does, he sees that half of Jackie's foot is completely black. The next scene has a doctor tell Tom that half of Jackie's foot had to be amputated.

Answer: The movie in question is Nothing in Common (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091653/). It was made in 1986 and is the only movie where Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason portray a father and son. This was also Jackie Gleason's final movie before his death in 1987, the following year.

Question: Really need help with the name of a movie. The only scene I know of is a guy is swimming in his pool when suddenly a shackle appears from a secret compartment on the pools floor. The shackle shoots forward and gets attached to the man's ankle and then the guy is pulled underwater. When the man dies, the shackle is released and is quickly pulled back into its secret compartment.

Question: A wife is killed by her husband in their kitchen, but the cops don't think the husband did it - the only person who thinks he did is the girl who lives next door. Then she finds the wife's wedding ring on the floor in the kitchen where she was killed. The husband later comes into the girl's room and kidnaps her and takes her to her school.

Question: There was a movie that took place at a military academy. The only scene I saw was of a cadet standing in the office of a military instructor with a high ranking officer standing right beside the cadet. From what I could make out, the high ranking officer gave the cadet full authority to handle a situation that had plagued the academy. When the officer leaves, the cadet then tells the instructor that him and some students are to graduate with full honors as well as given some graduation rings or some other item. The second thing the cadet wanted was for the instructor to quietly resign from his post. At first the instructor refuses but, the cadet tells him to look out his office window. When the instructor does, he sees another cadet holding some envelopes in his hand. The cadet then says that in the other cadets hand are some letters that, if the instructor fails to comply to the requests, will be mailed out to newspapers and other media exposing what happened at the academy. The instructor is left with no choice but to agree. This is not the movie Taps.

Answer: You are describing the end of the 1983 film "The Lords of Discipline, " based on the book by Pat Conroy. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lords_of_Discipline_ (film).

Question: Think this might be a Cheech and Chong movie but can't be sure because it has a supernatural element to it. Two guys end up going to a house and meet two women who claim that they can never leave. One scene in the movie has some white curtains suddenly being torn down and take the figure of a man which then puts on a top hat, grabs a cane and begins dancing. Another scene has the women finally explaining why they can't leave the house. A curse has been placed on them and as long as they stay inside the house they will remain young but, if they leave they will begin to get old and eventually die. The only way they can leave the house is by taking a small green pill that enables them to stay young for several hours.

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