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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.

Question: I'm looking for a film I heard about in drama class in high school. It takes place on a steamboat or river paddle boat. The main character is a woman that sings on the boat, but is kicked off for being half black. If this sounds familiar please please please let me know! Thanks.

Answer: This is the musical, "Showboat." It was originally a Broadway musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, based on Edna Ferber's novel set in the late-19th century American south. The character, Julie, is a mulatto who marries a white man, which was illegal. When it is discovered that she is half-black, the couple is arrested. There have been several movie adaptations of Showboat, the most notable being the 1951 MGM version starring Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, and Ava Gardner, among others. The 1936 film starring Paul Robeson is more faithful to the original story, however.

raywest

Question: I just borrowed a movie from my university library, and the cover of the DVD case reminded me of a query I've had for a long time about DVD cover/advertisement design. The movie is called The Island. It stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. And here's the thing: On the front of the DVD case, under the name Ewan McGregor is Scarlett Johansson, and under the name Scarlett Johansson is Ewan McGregor. Is this a mix-up? This has seemed, to me, to be a sign of a shoddily-made, generally crappy movie, but I liked this one. What's the deal? Thank you.

Answer: These are two totally unconnected items that you're discussing. McGregor is the lead and the biggest name in the film, so his name appears first, just as it will in the credits of the film itself. As for the picture, that's purely down to aesthetics, how they felt the cover image looked best. The cover designers aren't going to limit themselves by constraints about having to match the image of the individual to where their name appears, they'll go with what they think is the better image. If the image and name order happen to match up, that's a happy accident, nothing more than that. If they don't, no big deal.

Tailkinker

Question: I'm searching for a movie I saw maybe 20 years ago about a community on Venus. Venus is covered in clouds and there is a legend/story that the clouds will part one day in however long and the sun will come out. A little girl believes in this story but everyone in her class makes fun of her. On the day it's supposed to happen, her classmates lock her in a shed or closet or something but the clouds do part. The kids run out in the sun while all the flowers bloom in the sunlight and the little girl only gets to see a streak of sunlight through a slot in the door. Finally, the clouds close up and the kids remember that they locked her in the closet. So they go and open the closet and give her all the flowers they collected in the time the sun was out.

Answer: The movie is "All Summer In A Day," based on the short story by Ray Bradbury. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195517/)

Question: I'm looking for a movie. It's about a house, on a street where some evil people live (I think), and they live at house number 669. Now when the door slams, the 9 turns upside-down to make it 666. That's all I can remember. Can anyone help me on this?

Answer: This is The Blurbs with Tom Hanks, its a generally good 80's movie, with Corey Haim and Corey Feldman to boot.

Question: I wanted to submit this to the general questions page, since it is about more than one Disney movie. Has anyone ever explained why several Disney characters have deceased mothers (Belle, Snow White, etc.)?

Answer: Partially, it may be attributed to feelings of guilt over the death of Walt and Roy Disney's mother of carbon monoxide poisoning in the house they'd just bought her a month previously (For more on that, check http://www.snopes.com/disney/waltdisn/mother.asp), however, it's also a trope of children's literature to have the protagonists be orphaned or without one or the other parent, the better to go off on adventures without anyone worrying about them.

Question: What is probably the best software for creating pictures of mistakes?

Answer: You can do it with just your computer's basic Paint, although the resulting picture may be quite poor. If you want more features, The Gimp (www.gimp.org) is an open source solution.

Sereenie

Question: I saw a trailer for a thriller movie that began with a shot of the first day of the school year at university; a couple of girls were standing on the main building looking down at and discussing the goings on. A new girl arrived and spilled her suitcase, at which point a guy pulled up in a car and offered to take her to the girls' dorm. When they got there the girl saw a memorial (with candles) for some girl that had died the previous school year. Evidently the movie is about some murders, that maybe the girls on top of the building are involved in. Can anyone identify this movie? Thanks.

Answer: Poison Ivy IV.

Question: I am looking for a movie that was a direct to DVD movie. It had 3 or 4 stories in it. I remember the first story had a man fighting toy soldiers in his penthouse apartment. The last story had a couple where their car broke down in a small town. The town was being run by dead celebrities (Elvis was the sheriff) and the celebrities forced the visitors to stay and watch them perform every night. Anybody know the name of this movie?

Answer: These stories were not from a movie, but from an anthology series called "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" that was shown on TNT in 2006. All of the episodes are based on Stephen King short stories. The first one you mentioned is called "Battleground" and the second one is called "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band".

wizard_of_gore

Question: I'm looking for the title of a show that has a scene in a stark white hospital room. The man is completely covered in bandages except for his nose and his eyes. He is in traction. A fly lands on his nose and his eyes go back and forth watching the fly. He is completely immobile except for his eyes. Can someone help?

Answer: Could be the last scene of Daredevil, where the injured Bullseye is seen doing precisely that.

Tailkinker

Question: 1 What is the name of the film inspired by Hansel & Gretel, made in the 1960's or 1970's? This movie was a suspense/thriller type movie, not made for children. From what I remember, the movie began as a group of unfortunate orphans who visited a woman in her large home for a Halloween party. Two children, a brother and a sister stowed away because they were not allowed to attend. When the party was over, these two children got left behind and were imprisoned by the woman of the house. The woman of the house previously had a daughter, who died by falling while sliding down the stair rail, and whose body was kept as a shrine. One night the woman touched her dead daughter's face, and it crumbled in her hands. The sister of the children who were held captive was a splitting image of the woman's dead daughter which is why she kept the children in her home. The film may have been made in the 1960's or 1970's, but I could be wrong about that. I have searched long and hard with zero luck. If anyone could shed some light on what the name of this film is, I would be most grateful. Submitted 7/01/09.

Answer: The movie was "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? released in 1971. It starred Shelley Winters, Mark Lester and Chloe Franks.

Question: What is the name of the film inspired by Hansel & Gretel, made in the 1960's or 1970's? This movie was a suspense/thriller type movie, not made for children. From what I remember, the movie began as a group of unfortunate orphans who visited a woman in her large home for a Halloween party. Two children, a brother and a sister stowed away because they were not allowed to attend. When the party was over, these two children got left behind and were imprisoned by the woman of the house. The woman of the house previously had a daughter, who died by falling while sliding down the stair rail, and whose body was kept as a shrine. One night the woman touched her dead daughter's face, and it crumbled in her hands. The sister of the children who were held captive was a splitting image of the woman's dead daughter which is why she kept the children in her home. The film may have been made in the 1960's or 1970's, but I could be wrong about that. I have searched long and hard with zero luck. If anyone could shed some light on what the name of this film is, I would be most grateful. Submitted 7/01/09.

Answer: "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo" Starring Shelley Winters and Mark Lester.

Question: Once saw on public tv only part of a movie that was a sprawling epic about Scandanavian or German immigrant steelworkers in the Midwest. A catch phrase, connecting or ending scenes, showed workers shoveling coal into a furnace with the foreman saying, "Let's make steel." Never saw the film pop up again, could never figure out what it was. Film seemed quite old. Anyone know the film?

Answer: Hope I have it for you now. "An American Romance" with Brian Donlevy. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036596/.

Question: I remember watching this movie about 30 years ago, when I was a kid. I remember a scene where a young girl is trying to show off for her sibling and his/her friends, so she puts her pet bird on the ground and tries to make it fly by throwing small pebbles at the bird. What the young girl actually does is pelt the bird to death. Does anyone know the name of this movie?

Answer: The title of this is A Girl Named Sooner.

Question: I am looking for a movie about a teen that finds this government weapon (like a blow torch zap gun) and he uses it on his dad after he kills his golden retriever named Axel. The government is chasing him and in the end he is killed. Anyone know the name of this movie? I have been searching for years. Late eighties or early nineties.

Answer: Sounds like it might be Deadly Weapon (1989) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097171/.

Grumpy Scot

Question: I am looking for the name of a 1980's movie (I believe). I don't remember much, but i do remember the weapon and the hero had to go on a journey to rescue a lady. The weapon was a silver star with blades that popped out. The movie is not "Legend" with Tom Cruise.

Answer: Sounds like "Krull" from 1983. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/

Twotall

Question: In what movie from the 1970s or 80s did a television network create reality shows where people were hunted to the death and where other terrible things were programmed? It was not "Network."

Answer: Sounds like the 1987 Schwarzenegger film The Running Man.

Tailkinker

Question: I can't remember much about this movie, since I only saw the last ten minutes, but it looked interesting. All that I can recall was that it seemed to be children's movie, and the villain was called the Ice Queen. After her inevitable defeat, the heroine says something along the lines of "but Winter passes. It passes." I think the heroine had a brother as well. It was most likely an '80s or '90s film but could also be '00s.

Answer: Is it possibly Snow Queen (2002)? It's story about the passing of seasons in a fantasy style.

newtrekkilover

Question: I have seen some people create online petitions to try and stop a show from being cancelled or to bring a show back. Do the creators of TV shows ever pay attention to these petitions? Has an online petition ever successfully brought a show back or stopped one from being cancelled?

Answer: Online petitions are just one form of fan-base pressure and it's certainly true that shows have been saved from the axe by the fan community, if sometimes only briefly. Sliders was cancelled after its first season, but fan pressure prompted the studio to continue with it and it ultimately ran to five seasons. Jericho was likewise cancelled after season one, but got a short second season after protests, but was subsequently cancelled again. Farscape was cancelled after four seasons, but plans to destroy the sets were put on hold, at least partly due to fan pressure, which ultimately paved the way for a mini-series entitled "The Peacekeeper Wars", which tied up many of the remaining plot threads from the series. Fan pressure can work and online petitions are a part of that, although not really one of the most effective methods as they would be more ignorable than organising a mass letter-writing campaign to the studio. But every little bit helps.

Tailkinker

Question: This movie is about a boy who, after losing his father, moves into a house and finds a ventriloquist's dummy in the shed. The dummy then comes to life and claims to be the boy's dead father. It eventually tries killing the boy. Does anyone know the title of movie? I have never been able to figure it out.

Answer: I believe the movie you are talking about is called "Joey", or also known as "Making Contact". It is a movie from 1985.

MooCow

Question: I remember seeing a trailer for a movie on TV, where a car is going down the road and runs head-on into another vehicle. The car breaks into a bunch of pieces and goes around the other car (I believe it's a semi-truck) and the car forms back together and keeps driving. Any idea what movie this is from?

Answer: That was the 2006 movie, The Covenant.

pross79

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