Reel Life

IT’S AWFUL TO HAVE A SUSPICIOUS MIND. While other people are enjoying the film, you’re sitting there wondering, “Couldn’t Dorothy have avoided a lot of this trouble if she’d just taken Toto to a dog trainer?” or “Did Selina know how to do those gymnastic flips and bullwhip tricks before she put on her Catwoman suit?”

It’s a curse. Of course, nearly everyone has questions when watching most films — wondering who is responsible for that script and that casting, and what must have been going through studio executives’ minds when they were looking at the rushes, that kind of basic stuff — but on certain films, other, somewhat subtler questions occur.

For example:

WARNING: Certain plot points are revealed, so if you haven’t seen the film, don’t read this. Oh, well, OK, go ahead and read it if you want.


After Kevin has the crooks saying on tape that they’re going to rob the toy store on Christmas Eve at midnight, why doesn’t he go to the cops? Is it possible that, after his last “Home Alone” experience, Kevin is feeling a little bloodlust?

You mean that on the entire flight from Chicago to Miami, Catherine O’Hara didn’t go back to check on her children at least once? Is it possible she has an unconscious desire to lose her kids?

After Kevin’s family buys plane tickets to Florida for 14 people and then to New York for 13, and Kevin stays at the Plaza and runs up a $ 900 tab for room service and the family gets scads of presents from Eddie Bracken, why is homeless woman Brenda Fricker so thrilled when Kevin gives her a $ 2 Christmas tree ornament?


How come after one practice session in a treehouse, a 10-year-old can land a jet by himself, but a 32-year-old can never quite get the hang of using an answering machine?


With all the money Al Pacino is spending on his suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, couldn’t the hotel have furnished a rollaway bed for Chris O’Donnell?

If Al Pacino really wanted to test-drive that Ferrari, couldn’t he have saved his $ 2,000 bribe and just given the car salesman a $ 2 Christmas tree ornament?

During his Big Speech, why did Al Pacino suddenly have a Southern accent?


I know this is fiction, but how did Robert Wuhl get to host the Oscars?

If this Oscar ceremony had happened in real life — with Whitney Houston running offstage in the middle of a presentation, a shootout in the theater, audience pandemonium, blood splattered all over the people in the first few rows — would TV viewers generally concede that, as awful as all this was, it still wasn’t as bad as the Oscar ceremony that Allan Carr produced?

And what the hell was Debbie Reynolds doing there?

The Guilty Party hired a paid killer in a bar, but was too stoned to remember which one. L.A. has tons of dance bars, singles bars, gay bars and neighborhood bars, but are there that many professional-assassins bars?


At the end, the narrator says, “Eventually, all things merge into one and a river runs through it,” but if everything merges into one, how could the river run through it if it’s a part of it?


After watching what happened to that lovable toy factory, and then seeing that Thanksgiving scene in “Scent of a Woman,” who would you rather have for a relative: Michael Gambon or Al Pacino? Write a short essay, and use specific examples.

How come Robin Wright had a Southern accent?


Since Aladdin’s first wish is to become a prince, but he later confesses to Princess Jasmine that he’s not really a prince, does that mean none of the three wishes is really effective? Is it possible Aladdin had an unconscious desire to be found out?


Near the (you should pardon the expression) climax, when Michael Douglas is pointing a gun at Jeanne Tripplehorn demanding she take her hand out of her pocket, why doesn’t she? (Unless, in this highly sexed movie, she’s doing what the nuns always suspected us of doing when they told us to take our hands out of our pockets?)


How come Nick Nolte had an AustroHungarianTransylvanianItalian accent?


Who the hell was Howard?

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