Questions about specific movies, TV shows and more

These are questions relating to specific titles. General questions for movies and TV shows are here. Members get e-mailed when any of their questions are answered.

Question: Why does the air traffic controller call Maverick "Ghostrider"? Surely that isn't his call sign?

Macalou

Chosen answer: The term "Ghostrider" refers to the squadron name. There used to be a Tomcat squadron called the Ghostriders. Usually in a radio call, the squadron name is followed by a number. For instance, in the first fight where we see Cougar get into a spot of trouble with the Mig on his tail, he radios "This is Ghostrider 117 this bogey's all over me, he's got missile lock on me, do I have permission to fire?" That is normally the correct term as to who is on the radio.

Question: I'm doing horror movies in my Media Studies course and we're looking at this film in great depth. There were many themes that came up a lot in the film, mainly mirrors, birds and eyes. I've had loads of interpretations of all of these, but does anyone know what they symbolise?

rabid anarchist

Chosen answer: Birds are just a favourite choice of spooky animal that Alfred Hitchcock seems to use hence the film "The Birds". Eyes show the window to our soul where our deepest fears originate and who isn't scared of getting knifed in the shower. The mirrors i can't explain but I can suggest that it just looks creepy.

Question: I know that the images in the tape represent things that happened to or around Samara, but what is the point of the nail going through someone's finger? I know they can't show every second of Samara's life so we might not see a connection, but that part of the tape really grossed me out and so I want to know if someone knows why it was put there, or was it just the gross-out factor?

troy fox

Chosen answer: Samara broke her finger nail clawing at the walls of the well... I guess that's why it's on the tape also.

Paul Plesser

Answer: In the movie Rings, the main girl gets her finger nail stabbed by a nail.

Question: I hear that elves live forever - if this is true how do they actually AGE? For example, Elrond is obviously older than legolas, but if they live forever how do they get older?

Chosen answer: Elves do not live forever - it's a misconception that they're immortal. To quote Tolkien, "The Elves were sufficiently longeval to be called by Man 'immortal'. But they were not unageing or unwearying" (taken from his Letters, dated 1963). They do age, just extremely slowly, hence the appearance of older Elves, like Elrond, or the oldest Elf seen on screen, Cirdan the Shipwright, who appears receiving a ring in the Fellowship prologue, and leaves on the ship with the other Ringbearers.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: After the car crash near the start, Riggs finds that the driver has disappeared, and says "This guy's Mandrake." What does that mean?

Jon Sandys Premium member

Chosen answer: 'Mandrake the Magician' was a comic strip that was popular (at least in Australia) in the 1970s. It featured the title character that was able to perform very elaborate magic tricks (including disappearing acts).

david barlow

Question: I realise that a lot of US schools look similar but would this be the same school used in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (by the same director)?

Phil Watts

Chosen answer: According to the IMDB, the answer is yes. Both movies used the same two high school locations: Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, Illinois; and Maine North High School, Des Plaines, Illinois. The director, John Hughes, directed both movies and decided to use the same school. He also uses the name Shermer for the name of the high school in Breakfast Club and for the name of the suburb in which the Bueller's live.

J I Cohen

Question: During the scene when Naomi Watts allows her ex boyfriend to watch the video for the first time, she wanders out to her apartment balcony. She observes several neighbors in the apartments surrounding her. At this point the music becomes intense - is there a hidden message or hint that we are supposed to see here?

Sharon Murray

Chosen answer: The Samara virus is transferred through the televison. See how the televisions are on in each of the apartments? This is a bit of forshadowing to the end where Rachael realizes that the only way to avoid death is to make a copy of the tape and show it to someone else.

Timothy Cheseborough

Question: How come I never saw how Charlie's thumb got retrieved from the water? Is this another deleted scene or part of some director's cut?

NancyFelix

Chosen answer: If you watch until after the end credits, you see it get eaten by a fish.

J I Cohen

Question: In Roger Ebert's review, he says "...Mathayus intones, 'As long as one of us still breathes, the sorcerer will die.' See if you can spot the logical loophole." I can't - what's the problem with that line?

Jon Sandys Premium member

Chosen answer: By the way Mathayus is saying it, it sounds like he is saying as long as him or the sorcerer still breathes, either he or the sorcerer will die, but he is trying to say as long as one of the Akkadians are breathing, they will not stop trying to kill the sorcerer until he is dead.

T Poston

Question: Does anyone know why this is the only Tim Burton film for which Danny Elfman hasn't written the score? All I can think is that time-wise it might have clashed with Black Beauty, but I'd like to know a definite reason.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Chosen answer: According to Tim Burton in an interview at the time, they were "taking a little vacation from each other", - he also said that he was not sure what the situation between them was, which certainly implied a falling out. Danny Elfman is a bit more open, describing what happened as "a family feud" - he says that after working on six films together in ten years, they had a bit of a creative fallout, which led to Howard Shore doing the music for Ed Wood. Afterwards, according to Elfman, they realised that they missed working together and went back to collaborating happily.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: After Nemo fails to jam the gears and is moping around, the fish that is obsessed with being clean says, "Whatever you do, don't mention d-a-r..." What was he spelling?

sdgirl98

Chosen answer: Darla, the dentist's niece, known to them as the fish killer.

Super Grover Premium member

Question: Maybe I need to read the book, but can someone explain the whole ending sequence to me. Why all the flashy over dramatized pictures? It's artistic but is there some other meaning to it?

iceverything776

Chosen answer: All the flashing images are supposed to represent Bowman travelling past far and distant galaxies, this is what happens in the book, where he travels to that white house place.

troy fox

Answer: At the end, in the Arthur C. Clarke's story, both Dave Bowman and Frank Poole (who survived) went to a moon of Saturn to investigate the second Monolith. Dave Bowman tried to touch the Monolith with his space pod and was sucked into a wormhole that transported him to a star on the other side of the universe - at which point, Dave's last transmission is "My God, it's full of stars!" All of the "slit-scan" visual effects by Doug Trumbull (based on effects created by John Whitney years earlier) represent an almost instant voyage to the other side of the universe. Whether this is supposed to be a quantum-jump is not explained, but it's millions of times faster than anything ever depicted in Star Trek or other space fantasy knockoffs.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: No matter how many times I watch this, I don't count all 10 plagues. Do some end up on the cutting room floor?

ChiChi Premium member

Chosen answer: The plagues stop when they 'destroy' the mummy's powers. The good guys are trying to stop the mummy before the death of the first-born plauge (which they suceed in doing, as Jonathan survives the movie), as well as preventing the mummy from becoming all powerful and impossible to destroy - which would happen after the tenth plague. Some of the plagues, too, could have been happening while the good guys are in Hamunaptra and therefore not experiencing them themselves, bringing the total of plagues experienced by the outside world closer to nine.

Kaite13

Show generally

Question: What is the "Spcial Meat" that is sold in the butchers? Most people believe it to be human flesh, but it's never specified.

Scrappy

Chosen answer: The members of the League refuse to admit what it's actually supposed to be, but have stated that it's possible to work it out from clues in the series. Human flesh seems like the most likely candidate, probably supplied by Edward and Tubbs from their general butchery of any non-local who sets foot in the place. Another theory is that cocaine is involved in some way as its effects seem to match most of the things that the special stuff is supposed to cause. So, combining the two, and why not, the "special stuff" is non-local human meat sausages impregnated with cocaine.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: I listened to the scene where Harry goes to visit Ron and Hermione at the end after he gets out of the hospital wing. Ron and Hermione apparently have a conversation that's not appropriate for a PG rated movie, and I turned it up as loud as I could, and I heard Ron say something like, "I have this black shirt." Can anyone tell me what he really is saying?

leyesalot82789

Chosen answer: While he stands at the top of the stairs with Hermione, Ron says, "I had a resurrection!!", referring to his 'near death' experience on the chess board earlier in the film. Some people mis-hear it as a reference to "an erection" which is why you may have heard people think it's inappropriate.

Super Grover Premium member

Question: Why all the build up of John having sent the Russian eye-surgeon guy to jail, suggesting that he will hurt John; only to have him successfully complete the operation, and take care of John afterwards?

Nick N.

Chosen answer: It's what's known as a McGuffin; a plot element that seems to be important when introduced, but serves no purpose other than to intrigue/distract the audience. The term was popularised by Alfred Hitchcock.

J I Cohen

Well, according to the doctor when the operation is beginning, the doctor reveals that in prison, he spent all of his time in the library, including books on medicine and technology. As a result, he found his "true calling", and is thankful to John for helping him see that.

That's not *quite* what a MacGuffin is. A MacGuffin not only seems important, it *is* important; in fact, one of its two diagnostic characteristics is that a MacGuffin is something around which the entire plot revolves. The other property fundamental to what makes something a MacGuffin is the fact that the origin, purpose, function, and, in some cases, even identity of the object is left either vague or completely undefined. The briefcase in Pulp Fiction is a classic example (although there *is* a compelling argument that the object in the briefcase is in fact a specific artifact).

Question: Why is your face blurred in pictures one you've seen the tape? Just a sign that you'll be dead soon?

Ral0618

Chosen answer: Yes, the blurred faces do indicate that you've been cursed by the video. It has to do with Samara's face always being covered by her hair, which is also the reason behind infected people unconsciously scribbling over the faces of people in pictures. It also foreshadows the victim's fate (hence the distorted face) if they don't copy and send the cursed tape to someone else.

Shay

Question: What was the deal with all the horses drowning? Was it just because Samara was evil and she was causing it? What about the horse Rachel sees on the ship that freaks out? Is it scared of Rachel because she's been "infected" by the tape? She's already showed the tape to Noah, so she should be okay at that point, right?

Krista

Chosen answer: When Samara was sent to sleep in the barn the horses kept her up at night. Therefore they have ended being negatively affected by her and the video.

wolfchild

Question: The phantoms can kill with the merest touch and can reach through any material - floors, walls, aircraft fuselage etc. Why then do the soldiers bother to don heavy, clunky body armour whenever they go out to battle? They'd do just as well in T-shirts and fatigues.

Oscar Bravo

Chosen answer: The environment has become too hazardous for humans to tolerate.

Paul Plesser

Question: When Michael is doing his first "godfather-job" they are in a very big church/cathedral. Does anyone know what that is named?

don_corleone

Chosen answer: The church is St Anthony's in Staten Island. It's no longer in use.

Answer: Mount Loretto Catholic Church. It burned down in 1973 and rebuilt later on with just the front stone kept of the original structure.

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