Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

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I've seen this in a few movie/TV scenes. A man wants to ask a woman out on a date, but he expects her to say no and make an excuse. One common excuse is "I'm washing my hair that night." What is the origin of this? I am a woman who was born in the late '80s, so, for as long as I can remember, girls and women have washed their hair a few times per week.

Answer: Their making a lame, flimsy excuse to avoid going out with the guy. Washing one's hair doesn't take that long and isn't something that couldn't be rescheduled. Instead of coming up with a plausible excuse, they're basically letting the guy (and the audience) know they just don't like the guy.

Brian Katcher

This doesn't explain why it has become such a common joke/excuse in movies and TV.

Answer: Before the invention of shampoo conditioner, women would use lye soap. It would take literally a day for a complete washing, cleaning and grooming of hair.

Hardly something that happened after the advent of TV.

Brian Katcher

Answer: According to my research, this was a more reasonable excuse before the 1980s. Many women wanted time for their hair to dry and "set", i.e. for a perm style in the 1950s. Some preferred to have this done at a salon, so an appointment could actually prevent them from accepting a date. Also, families in rural or low-income areas might conserve water. A girl/woman would not always have the luxury of going to a salon, or washing her hair every couple of nights.

Sometime in the 2000s, I read a mention of this upcoming movie. A teacher suspects that another teacher (also female) at her school is having an affair with a student. I think the story would mostly be told from the friend's point of view. Hayden Christensen (younger adult at the time) was going to play the student, but I can't find anything like this on his IMDB page. Could this be a movie with a different actor?

Answer: I think this is "Notes on a Scandal" from 2006. Judi Dench plays an older teacher who befriends a younger new teacher (Cate Blanchett). She suspects that her friend is having an affair with a student (Andrew Simpson). If Hayden Christensen had played the student, he would have been 23-24 years old during filming. It's not unusual for actors of that age to do teenage roles.

Answer: It could be "The Good Student," (2005) Tim Daly plays a widowed and depressed teacher, who has a small crush on a student, Hayden Panettiere. Who disappears after he gives her a ride home. There's also "Dirty Teacher," (2013) Josie Davis plays a mentally unbalanced teacher who has an affair with one of her students. When his girlfriend finds out, the teacher sets her up for a murder.

Neither of those plots sounds like an answer to the question. This movie involves a female teacher and male student, so it's not the one with Tim Daly. A movie released in 2013 would probably have been made too late for Hayden Christensen to play the student.

Why do some TV shows have different directors and producers throughout a season? Don't networks order/approve an entire season at once - meaning that a regular director and producers could join the crew? For example, I am currently watching the first season of "Melissa and Joey", and there have been six different directors for the episodes I've seen so far.

Answer: The workload of making a TV show is usually intense, and they often film multiple episodes simultaneously or back-to-back in order to save time. It's basically like filming multiple feature-length films. Having a single director or the same producers working on every single episode would be borderline impossible and would take way too long, especially if the season is more than 10 episodes. They have a schedule to keep.

TedStixon

Looking for a cabinet game I played in an arcade in the early 1990s. It was a first person shooter, where you used a plastic gun to shoot the screen. The premise is you are in a city that's been taken over by ghosts and demons and you fight possessed items rather than monsters. The final boss on the first level is a movie poster where a actor and actress' face jump out of the poster and attack you. The second level is a restaurant where you fight flying plates and coats.

Brian Katcher

Answer: Maybe "Laser Ghost" (1990)?

Bishop73

There was a TMNT video game maybe sometime in the 90's. One of the levels takes place in Central Park and is completely covered in snow. The main boss of the level was a giant Arctic Wolf who would throw huge snowballs.

Answer: TMNT 2: The Arcade Game (1987). He was actually supposed to be a giant polar bear from another planet. He's throwing ice blocks that fall from the sky.

Bishop73

Looking for a specific PS4 game. In the game, an abandoned ship is at a dock and a young woman climbs on board to investigate. While on the ship, she travels back in time at different points and even sees shadows of monsters that she has to avoid.

Answer: Maybe "Return of the Obra Dinn"? It's set in the past where a ghost ship appears that you investigate the crew's death. It's 1st person so you're the one who goes onboard. You have a pocket watch that allows to travel back in time to the moment of a crew member's death.

Bishop73

It's not this game. The main protagonist is a woman and she witnesses a man stabbing another man to death.

Are there any notable examples of a TV character being written out/killed off because viewers hated them?

Answer: Roseanne Barr was killed off from the second version of "Roseanne" when she became too controversial.

Leicaman

She wasn't killed off because viewers hated her. The show's target audience quite liked her. She was the main character after all. She was killed off after ABC fired her over racist tweets.

Phaneron Premium member

It was never stated that she was fired because she was hated by viewers.

Answer: Nicolette Sheridan, who portrayed Edie Britt in the TV series Desperate Housewives was considered a diva and didn't get along with the shows creator Marc Cherry. Her character was killed off when she swerved to avoid hitting Orson. Unaware that there was water under the car and that a powerline had snapped, Edie gets out of the car, is electrocuted and killed.

Answer: During the season 4 run of "Moonlighting," Cybil Shepherd was pregnant in real life, so it was written into the show. During her paternity leave, her character, Maddie, was having mixed emotions about the baby and her relationship with David. She goes home to do some soul searching. She's still unsure, when on the train ride back to L.A, she meets a man. Walter Bishop, actor turned director Dennis Dugan, on impulse she marries him. Viewers thought this was the dumbest mistake, since the "Dallas" it was all a dream season. Everyone waited with baited breath on how they were going to fix this. Finally the character, Walter, realised the whole thing was a mistake and got an annulment. He says goodbye to everyone and as he walks out the office door, he turns toward the camera and says, "Are you happy now."

Answer: I think the character Seven was written out of "Married with Children" because viewers disliked him so much. He was an example of "Cousin Oliver Syndrome" - an annoying younger child character who is added to a show after a few seasons. He basically disappears. The neighbors mention that he is staying at their house, but eventually, he is never mentioned again.

There was a movie about a girl who entered a gaming competition. While playing, she has an energy drink that slows down everything around her, and she wins the competition. As her boyfriend congratulates her, the energy drink is knocked to the ground causing her to suddenly find herself twenty years in the future and married with three kids. When she walks outside of the house she sees the entire world is practically desolate.

Answer: Doing some research, it appears you are referring to an episode of the science fiction black-comedy series "Dimension 404." It's an anthology series where every episode told an original story. The sixth and final episode, "Impulse", seems to match your description almost 100%. The show was produced for Hulu (where it is still available to stream, at least in the US) and seems to only have one season.

TedStixon

Thank you.

I watch a lot of 80s and 90s shows. I've noticed that when two characters sit on a couch, they often sit close beside each other, in the couch's center. It's not so unrealistic for a dating/married couple, a parent and young child, or times when a character needs to hug and comfort another. But in real life, if there is plenty of room on a couch, many teens and adults don't choose to sit so close together. Is this done for a filming reason? Or is my real-life experience odd?

Answer: It's usually done that way for framing/composition reasons, since it looks more aesthetically pleasing to the eye to see two people beside each other than on opposite ends of a couch. Things that may seem more natural, like sitting on opposite ends of a couch, just don't often look good on camera. Plus, it subtly indicates that they are close in some way, making it a good storytelling shorthand. (It's kinda similar to how in TV shows, if a scene is set during the morning, there's usually a giant, ornate breakfast out on the table that nobody actually touches, save for maybe grabbing something before they run out the door. Totally unrealistic, but it looks good on camera and is a visual shorthand to indicate it's the morning).

TedStixon

I'd imagine with older 4:3 ratio TV screens if people were at opposite ends of a couch the camera would have to be quite far back to see them both (easier on 16:9 widescreens), so it's easier to have them in the middle with a bit of space either side to make it symmetrical.

Does anybody know the name of this 90s TV movie? A woman's mother-in-law is controlling and possessive of her son/the woman's husband. The woman eventually leaves her husband because of it. I remember in one scene, the mother-in-law is displeased because the couple named their son Matthew instead of Nicholas (after the man's late father). Eventually, the mother murders the wife or hires someone to do it. The husband's brother had a blonde wife, who the mother didn't approve of either.

Answer: It could be "The Perfect Mother," (1997) TV-Movie based on a true story, Tyne Daly plays a controlling possessive mother, who rules her family with an iron fist. When her daughter-in-law leaves, taking her grandchild, she has her murdered.

Thank you. That is the movie.

I am trying to remember an episode of a show that I watched at my Grandparents house one summer. I want to say it was Stargate but I'm not so sure. I remember a lady takes a baby boy and later discovers that he is sick with something. She is told that all of the baby boys in this specific dimension have something in them that makes them sick and eventually die. I remember she fights to have him saved and I think her father is able to get him the antidote to make him better. What was this from?

Answer: I found it the show was called Sliders.

Was it "Mother and Child", s04e14?

Bishop73

Answer: If you're looking for a Stargate SG-1 episode, maybe s02e20, "Show and Tell." The Reetou are an incest-like race out of phase and thus invisible to the unaided eye. One of the Reetou, referred to as Mother, genetically engineers a human boy and sends him to SG Command to warn them. But because of his rapid growth, he is quickly dying. He develops a bond with Jack and takes the name Charlie, the name of Jack's (now dead) son. By the end off the episode Charlie's organs are shutting down and the Tok'ra agree to take the boy and blend him with a symbiote to heal him. Although we never discover if it works or not.

Bishop73

I checked it out and that isn't it. This is driving me crazy. I remember that people travelled through tunnels or something to get to different dimensions or alternate worlds or something like that. I remember the baby receiving the medicine and I think he lives as well. I remember when he gets the medicine it is through a weird looking syringe that was put flat against the baby's arm and then a man injecting it into him. I want to say it was around 1999 maybe 2000 if that narrows it down.

Are there any bloopers available online from VERY serious movies, like Schindler's List or 12 Years a Slave? Actors must slip up when filming them like anything else - is the subject matter just serious enough that they don't laugh about them at the time, making the bloopers nothing worth watching, or are they just never compiled and released because it's felt to be too inappropriate?

Jon Sandys Premium member

Chosen answer: From what I've seen, in serious films, or scenes, when actors mess up their lines, they're more apologetic and what they said wasn't funny or outrageous. I feel like serious films have more rehearsal times as well, where comedy films are often shot quickly with a lot of ad-libbing or improv. So there's less slip ups during the actual shoot. Similar to how a play has a lot of rehearsals, but improv shows won't have as much. There's are some outtakes of "Silence of the Lamb." This is something that I've wondered too though and tried to search for. I had a chance to go to a Q&A session with Cary Elwes and wanted to ask him if he had as much fun making "Saw" as "Princess Bride" and "Men in Tights" and were there "Saw" outtakes, but we ran out of time before my question could get asked and I've always regretted it.

Bishop73

Answer: Youtube has plenty. Simply enter "serious movie bloopers." You'll even find some for "The Silence Of The Lambs."

I remember seeing a movie about 10 years ago, I think. I wanna say it was a heist movie or something along those lines, and it may have been a British film, but I was honestly deathly ill at the time and can't remember too much. All I remember is that there was a team of criminals, and one of them was an amateur adult-film actor, and I think there was a scene where he was tortured (and possibly threatened with castration if not castrated?) and killed for information. Ring any bells?

TedStixon

Answer: The Bank Job (2008) based on a true story. A femme fatale, Saffron Burrows, convinces Jason Statham and his crew to rob bank full of safe deposits, not knowing it's a cover to retrieve some photos of a royal family member in a "Fifty Shades" situation. It takes place during the 1970's. Unfortunately, the other boxes belong to the mob. They capture and torture the adult film actor for information and as a hostage.

In the 90s, I was watching a TV show about a summer camp. This episode involved a new camper who was a "bad girl"/punk type. At one point, she was sitting at a table, lifted the cover/cloth, and used a knife to carve marks into it. A guy - not sure if he was a counselor or another camper - approached her and said "You were carving the table." This might have been on Nickelodeon.

Answer: Sounds like "Hey Dude", s03e12, "The Bad Seed."

Bishop73

Thank you, I think that was it.

I'm trying to find a TV show or movie where a girl is in a friend group that are all seniors except for one girl, who is a sophomore. That sophomore loses her "virginity" to the f boy or douchebag of the school. The douchebag or the guy keeps spreading rumors about the sophomore girl to the point where the girl is in an emotional mess. The main character, the senior girl, stands up to him asking him why he has to prey on little girls like her friend. She says something like this after, "Is it because of the inferiority complex you have because your father doesn't come to your games?" and then she tells him to grow up in a growling, in rage tone of voice. She then leaves him speechless. The boy was shocked, which is probably why he begins to talk to the main character more and tries to get to know her better. He then starts liking him. The main character also starts liking him learning that he isn't a total douchebag. Then they both fall in love at the end. What's the name of the show?

There was a movie from either the 50's or 60's. The only thing I know about it is that a married couple commit suicide by sitting in a car with the engine running.

Answer: There is a 1983 TV-Movie, "Right of Way," an elderly couple, Jimmy Stewart and Bette Davis, decide to make a suicide pact. She has a terminal illness and realises that the health care would not only be expensive, but would put a strain on their children. He does it because he won't live without her.

Thank you. That's the movie.

I remember seeing a sketch show in the US in the late 90's or early 2000's. There was a sketch that was parodying James Bond where the villain was going to kill the Bond character, but realised Bond always had an out for everything. (Ex. "I can't feed you to alligators because you'll just run across their heads like a bridge!" etc.) At the end, the villain got so frustrated, he just killed himself by grabbing onto an electrified panel. Does anyone know what sketch show this is from?

TedStixon

Answer: I found my answer. Evidently it's a skit by Hale and Pace, an English comedy double-act, and it's on YouTube if you search "Hale and Pace Bond." Some of their skits were shown in the US in the 90's as part of the "Ohh, Nooo! Mr. Bill Presents..." comedy show, which was a show that aired comedy skits and shows they licensed from overseas, and were introduced by the character "Mr. Bill." (A little man made out of clay who would comedically be injured and squashed in every episode while screaming "Oh nooo!"). That's where I saw it.

TedStixon

Answer: I don't know about a sketch, but in an episode of "The Simpsons," a character Frank Grimes gets so frustrated that Homer is so dumb but yet archives so much acclaim, becoming an astronaut, winning a Grammy and becomes friends with celebrities. He sets Homer up to fail, but yet wins an award. Frank throws a tantrum, doing dumb things like Homer but ends up electrocuting himself. There have also have been several episodes spoofing James Bond.

Definitely not that. This was a live-action sketch show specifically parodying James Bond.

TedStixon

When animated shows are recorded, do all the voice actors record lines together, as the plot happens? Or does each person record all their lines at once? And if a character only says a few words in an episode, is some of their previously-recorded dialogue just re-used (if the script would allow it)? If it matters, I am mostly thinking about half-hour shows like The Simpsons, King of the Hill, South Park, Family Guy, etc.

Answer: To add to Bishop's answer, some shows occasionally do have multiple (or all of the) actors working together, but it's typically pretty rare for that to happen. As for the second part of your question, audio clips and lines do get reused sometimes. It just depends on the circumstance of the episode.

TedStixon

Answer: Generally each character's lines are recorded separately where the voice actor reads all their lines at once. There may be other voice actors in the studio with them to read their lines as a prompt so the actor being recorded has something to play off. Also, in the examples you give, one actor voices multiple characters. It would be very difficult for even a seasoned voice actor to have to switch between characters in a scene if the lines were recorded together. And impossible to do if two characters voiced by one actor were both talking at the same time.

Bishop73

I'm trying to locate the name of an afterschool special film I haven't seen in over 40 years. The plot as I remember it was a kid in school who liked his teacher, but was way too young for her, somehow became an adult (I forgot how exactly) and finally had a chance to date her. Near the end of the film, he had to become a kid again and now was worried he couldn't date her anymore. Suddenly, she surprised him by entering the classroom now as a kid herself, making him happy. Film name?

Answer: Yes, that was it. I always thought it was a much earlier year than 1988 though, but thanks.

Answer: Sounds like the 1988 made for television film "14 Going on 30."

Bishop73

In some movies/shows, a "bad guy" will visit someone in the hospital with the intent of killing them. One method is to smother them with a pillow until they die. Often their death is signified by us hearing the heart monitor beeping normally and then flatlining. But in reality, if someone was hooked up to hospital monitors, wouldn't other alarms go off as they struggle to breathe before they die? Wouldn't their heart-rate increase in the panic? Doesn't disconnecting monitors set off alarms?

Bishop73

Answer: Absolutely. If the person is awake whilst being smothered and hooked on to a monitoring machine, both heart rate and blood pressure will skyrocket whilst the smothering is taking place. This will send nurses rushing in. It's a common mistake in movies. Unplugging the devices will also indeed trigger alarms. Only thing you can do is turning the machine off properly (if possible without triggering anything) and do the deed before people come to check. If someone is in a coma though, the only alarm that might go off is the heart monitor when the heart stops. Then again, a coma patient usually is attached to a breathing apparatus. Detaching that also gives off alarms. Another far fetched solution is putting the devices on yourself before killing a patient. Or simply setting off a bomb or something.

lionhead

Answer: They could time it so no-one would be at the nurse's station, do it quickly before anyone arrives or have someone stand outside the door as look out. Also make it look like a natural causes.

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