Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

This page is for general questions - if you've got a question about a specific title, please check the title-specific questions page first. Members get e-mailed when any of their questions are answered.

I remember seeing part of a movie years ago and I'd like to revisit it. It had a TV movie feel. I remember a woman in a gallery or museum, following a man around trying to catch sight of him (I think he had picked up a glove she dropped?) and she eventually followed him outside. He was in his car, and I think he was holding the glove out the window. She got in his car, and they started fooling around, the scene cut to his place, they had obviously had sex, and she was nosing around his stuff, and found a medical letter which revealed he had recently been diagnosed with VD. She is horrified, and I'm pretty sure he appeared and killed her. Any ideas?

Answer: That's Brian DePalma's "Dressed to Kill." An erotic thriller about a crazed slasher. Starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson and Nancy Allen.

Why is it that recent movie adaptations of old TV shows (specifically Starsky and Hutch, Baywatch and 21 Jump Street) were turned into parodies? Why weren't any of them played straight?

Answer: Because the filmmakers of today view therm as parodies. I admit the writing and directing style is not as sophisticated as today's work, but they told good fun stories. Back then they tried to keep costs down by any means necessary.

Answer: It hedges bets in case the action doesn't work, studio can claim they meant for this all along. Also the Mission Impossible films are played straight.


Answer: I'm not claiming to know the definitive answer, but I suspect it is for the same reason there have been remakes of old movies: Hollywood is out of ideas for original movies, tries to keep a steady supply of releases to make money, and it is easier/quicker. Playing them "straight" would require creating a new, meaningful story which is much more demanding than "making fun" of something already done. Moreover, the old TV shows turned into movies probably will do better (make a higher profit) if the audience is not largely limited to the older generation who may have watched the old TV shows. Presumably, the younger generation doesn't find old TV shows appealing and may even already make fun of them. Others do not even know what the TV shows were about, so making a contemporary version would not have the same meaning (or nostalgia) for those viewers. Comedy is something all generations can enjoy... or find more interesting than a lame story about old TV characters who have been forgotten.


I'd concur with this - it's the "four quadrant" idea: movies which appeal to both male and female audiences, and both over - and under-25s. An action-comedy has broader appeal than a pure action/drama, and especially given the three examples referenced are viewed as somewhat cheesy throwbacks now, regardless of the appeal at the time, it makes sense to take a more light hearted approach. Miami Vice is once example that was played straight which could have been ripe for mockery - it got mixed reviews and didn't set the box office aflame.

Jon Sandys Premium member

I saw an old black and white movie back in the early seventies on a late, late show that involved a woman going to the hospital for a face lift. I remember two scenes vividly: one where the doctor and his team cut, then peel off her face, and a scene where a woman (the same?) wakes up with surgical clamps and forceps still attached to her face, and she is confused and frightened, calling for a nurse's help. Anybody have an idea what was the title of this old movie?


Answer: Sounds like the 1960 French film "Les Yeux sans visage" (Eyes Without a Face). The American release version was named "The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus."


I'm trying to remember a movie I watched in 1987-88 either on TV or VHS where a lead character danced to a song by himself in a bedroom. He was jamming laying on the bed. I'm thinking a Motown song and a bratpack actor. But not sure because I can't find anywhere on Google or YouTube. Help! Thanks.

Answer: I believe it's from the movie, "St. Elmo's Fire." Andrew McCarthy does a "Risky Business" dance in his room. I haven't seen the full movie for awhile, but I remember seeing the scene in the "Man in Motion" music video.

What movie has a police sting to catch criminals by inviting them to a Yankees meet and greet, a man and his son are late, the cop feels sorry for him and tells him to get lost?

Answer: "Sea of Love" (1989) staring Al Pacino. The "meet the Yankees" is the opening scene. After the sting, the man and his little boy show up and Pacino (Detective Keller) doesn't want to arrest him in front of his boy. He tells him they're all booked up and flashes his badge as he gets in the car to give the man a hint.


I've noticed that, on a few sitcom TV shows, a mother character will become pregnant again - and the show is cancelled that season or the following season. A few examples are "Boy Meets World" (Cory's mother), "Grounded For Life", "Dharma and Greg" (Dharma's mother), "The Jeff Foxworthy Show", and the original run of "Roseanne." Is there some reason for this?

Answer: It could just be coincidental. It could also be a way of changing things up for the show without having to commit to it long term. TV shows often introduce drastic changes in their narrative when nearing the end of their run, such as characters moving away, dying, or getting married in order to help provide a sense of closure, or tug on the viewers' heartstrings.

Phaneron Premium member

There is a movie about a girl who is raised by the murderer who killed her parents in a car accident. Then she married him, I am not sure about the marriage part. I am trying to find this movie, can anybody please help me?


Answer: If the girl had a younger brother and the man had a physician/addict wife, it is probably The Glass House (2001?). The man made sexual advances toward the girl and set her up to look guilty and making false reports, but there was no marriage.


What is the name of a Woody Allen movie containing a bird and a snail? I saw a few scenes in this over 20 years ago but don't really remember the film.

Answer: Broadway Danny Rose (1984)?


I've noticed that in some TV shows, District Attorneys have the authority to investigate cases and make arrests - that's not the case in real life, is it?

Answer: The answer depends on jurisdiction and such things as the statutorily defined duties of the District Attorney (DA), population, amount of criminal activity in the area and resources. I can provide a partial answer using general information about DAs in U.S. counties. The DA is the elected prosecutor and known as The Chief Law Enforcement Officer. The DA is usually quite busy deciding whether to prosecute and, if so, trying the case in court. Both of these depend on whether there is sufficient evidence to go to trial and get a conviction. The DA usually relies on police to investigate crimes and acquire evidence, but it is the prosecutor's (DA's) ultimate responsibility to investigate criminal activity - so the DA could investigate/participate in collecting evidence. Almost anyone can make what is known as a citizen's arrest. The police are armed/better prepared to make arrests and there's little reason for a DA to risk injury/death by making arrests. In movies, it's all about drama.


What is the name of the movie about children who are at summer camp pretending to be Indians and cowboys?

Answer: I can only think of one movie about kids at a summer camp and there was a counselor for an Apache Tribe: The Rainbow Tribe. I doubt this is what you are looking for, but no-one else has given any suggestions.


I saw a movie years ago that had two main characters and there were background plots of someone stealing from (I think) the mafia and a serial killer on the loose. I think they ended up at a motel together and the twist at the end was that the one you thought was the killer was the thief and vice versa. I was sure it was called hatchet man but I can't seem to find anything about it.


Answer: Sounds like NATURE OF THE BEAST Starring Eric Roberts and Lance Hendrickson.


That's the one! Thank you.


Glad I could help. That's actually one of my favorite movies.


When I was a small boy (born in 1942) my mother took me to see a black and white WWII movie about a small group of servicemen, and one woman, who were survivors of an airplane crashed at sea. Most of the film was about the survival adventures while floating in a rubber raft in the open sea with a developing romantic interest between the lead hero and the lone woman. At the end, after they are rescued, he discovers she is a nun. I thought the film was called "Seven Who Returned" but can't find anything with that title. Can you tell me the name of the film? Many Thanks, Ken.

Answer: There is a film called "Sea Wife" (1957) which is set during WWII and has 4 survivors on a raft and one of them is secretly a nun. It's not B&W though and they were survivors of a ship that was torpedoed by the Japanese. The main story is told as a flashback because the man who fell in love with the woman is looking for her. There does happen to be a B&W British film about survivors on a raft called "Seven Waves Away" (1957).


Looking for a movie from the 80's - it starred Bette Midler and (I think) Lily Tomlin as two mismatched pairs of twins, and had Steve Winwood's Higher Love in the soundtrack.

Answer: Is it "Big Business"? That film stars both Midler and Tomlin and features "Higher Love."


I'm looking for a movie probably in the 90s, a black female celebrity was held hostage and chained in a old abandoned apartment at ransom. In her spare time she paints and she eventually fell in love with her kidnapper who was white. They end up sleeping together.

Answer: Except for the painter part, it describes "Prisoner of Love" Naomi Campbell plays a Supermodel/Party Girl who witnesses a mob hit, The Mob Boss hires a Hit Man to take her out, but falls in love with her. He holds her prisoner, but she doesn't believe she's in real danger.

What songs have been the theme song for more than one movie? ie. September was the lead song for both Last Vegas and Night at the Museum.

Answer: The song "We Could Be Heroes" was used in "Godzilla" (1998) and "The Replacements." (2000). The song "I Got A Name" was in "The Last American Hero" and "Invincible" (2006). The song "Mama Told Me Not To Come" was used in "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" (1997), "G.I. Jane" (1998), "Boogie Nights" (1998), "The Sweetest Thing" (2002) and "Joy" (2015).

What was the name of the movie about a young boy named Matt and his neighbor who was an old woman recluse? He broke her fence and she made him repair it, and little by little they became friends - she taught him many things. She dies at the end of the movie.

Answer: Sounds like "A Rumor of Angels" starring Trevor Morgan and Vanessa Redgrave.


It seems some TV shows, especially in later seasons, will include a version of their own show or movie into the show itself. "Seinfeld" had "Jerry." "Stargate SG-1" had "Wormhole X-Treme." "Monk" had an episode where they were going to make a movie about Monk and the show "Crime Lab S.F." (but that's might have been more a parody of "CSI"?) And now "Lucifer" has "Diablo." What are other examples of TV shows doing this? And this is different then the normal show within a show trope, like "Home Improvement" having "Tool Time" or "Full House" having "Wake Up, San Francisco").


Answer: Supernatural famously had at least two instances of this. There's a running plotline through the series where they discover a series of "Supernatural" books based on their antics, which end up being written by God himself. Even more meta, in the episode The French Mistake they end up in an alternate reality on the set of a show called "Supernatural" where everyone starts referring to them by the real actors' names, their angel friend Castiel is now a goofy actor called Misha Collins (the real actor) and their demon foe Ruby is now actress Genevieve Padalecki, married to one of them (as she is in real life).

Jon Sandys Premium member

Looking for a film I saw a few minutes of, probably early 90s. A woman (I think the actress was Michelle Pfeiffer) is in a multi-storey car park and witnesses a man having his throat cut. She escapes in a car with another man, and as they are driving down a road in a long shot, she asks him to pull over, and she rushes out of the car and throws up over a fence. Not much to go on.

Answer: It's most likely, "Into the Night." Jeff Goldblum plays a man who leads a boring life. He heads to the airport, thinking of flying somewhere for an adventure. In the airport parking garage, a screaming Michelle Pfeiffer, jumps into his car begging for help. She and her partner, who was murdered by Israel mobsters, were smuggling gem stones.During the night, it's one adventure after another, as he helps her get out of her predicament. A romantic comedy, directed by John Landis (Trading Places, The Blues Brothers). Lots of cameos by famous actors, singers and movie directors.

I remember a film I saw many years ago. A reporter (Kathleen Turner, perhaps?) was doing several interviews with an older man, who I think was on Death Row. He was also a magician, and at the end, as he is being executed, he is covered over with a sheet. When they remove the sheet, he has disappeared.

Answer: "Switching Channels" (1988). Although the inmate, who is strapped into the electric chair, escapes when the power goes off.


I'm looking for a movie from years ago that has a scene where a truck driver makes a scared woman take her clothes off. Might be from mid '80's.


Answer: There is a scene like this in Thelma and Louise, guy isn't a truck driver but they are next to a truck in a car park.

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.