Tip of the Hat – “The Reference Bit”

In Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World there is a scene when Scott dreams and enters a world that is desert much like what was seen in “Wayne’s World 2” which actually was a reference to the Oliver Stone classic “The Doors“.  This is what I like to call a Nod wrapped in a Reference.

There are so many pop culture references in movies today.  I wouldn’t call it a bad thing at all.  It’s wonderful… if you are catching them.  But for those that don’t catch them, don’t feel bad.  One day after the fifth time you watch “Vanilla Sky” you might catch 15 of the supposed 429 pop culture references in the movie.

A great way to explain or define a Reference is:  A scene or part of a dialogue bit that is being used as a referral to something whether it be in another movie, book, or anything in pop culture, and there isn’t any break in storyline or pace.  A perfect reference can be used and most people who didn’t recognize it wouldn’t even know the difference.  But for the people who did then it is almost like an inside joke for them.  It’s something special that is shared between the audience member and the director/screenwriter.

So many to mention but to help you get a better understanding let me help.  In the movie “Paul” starring Seth Rogen as the alien nicknamed “Paul”, Agent Zoil (Jason Batemen) is driving his car trying to track down Paul.  He is talking on the CB radio with his superior.  He doesn’t like how the conversation is going so he throws the mic down, grabs his gun and shoot’s the radio.  Following this he says “Boring conversation anyway.  Which to most may seem like a normal reaction by a secret government agent.  To anyone that has seen Star Wars should know that it was a reference to a scene in Episode IV:  A New HopeHan Solo, Luke Skywalker, & Chewbacca break into a detention cell dressed as Stormtroopers (except for Chewie) to rescue Princess Leia.  With all the commotion Han jumps on the intercom and try’s to divert the incoming alarm beeping over the dispatch.  He reply’s back with “everything’s under control… situation normal” and then add libs a bit to continue the diversion of any attention that may be placed on them breaking out the princess.  But when the empire doesn’t buy his “babbling” about reactor leaks he then takes a step back grabs his blaster and shoots the intercom.  He then says “boring conversation anyway”.  It might seem like a feeble thing to get all “girly giggle” about but with me… it’s classic!

You can’t go wrong referencing Star Wars.  It has been a million times and it will continue  in everything you see for many, many years to come.  Just ask the creator’s of “Family Guy“.  1 out of every 3 episodes references something Star Wars related.  Even so much that they were able to make 3 spoof’s based off of the movies.  Which brings me to an important misconception.

Spoof’s or Satire’s cannot be confused with referencing.  A spoof is not trying to be subtle or even hidden.  Scary Movie, Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie… pretty much all the “Movie” movies.  There isn’t anything special to be shared for those that secretly know something others do not.  Basically they take parts from each script and throw them together hoping to make some sort of storyline.  For the Record “Superhero Movie” was crazy horrible.  It’s like they took the Spider-Man script and changed a couple things and called it a spoof.  Horrible.

Easter Eggs:

An Easter Egg is hidden within a movie that you most likely won’t catch the first time or even 6th time you see it.  It is in fact a hidden reference.

Example 1:  In Iron Man (2008) Tony is testing his Mark II suit by seeing how high he can go.  On his HUD (heads up display) you can see that the altitude record is held by the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”.  The Blackbird is the name of the X-Men’s jet.

Example 2:  In Finding Nemo (2003) while Gil is explaining the escape plan you can see the Pizza Planet truck drive past.  As seen in Toy Story 2.

Why do these Easter Egg’s even hold importance?  Well, it’s mainly for the hardcore fans.  That reason alone is good enough for me.  It does other things as well.  1.  It gives the movie a “re-watch” value.  2.  It shows that the director is creating more depth in his film.  Meaning that there is something going on off-screen.  A bigger universe than what we are being shown is always more exciting.  For me anyway.

“Tipping of the Hat” or a “Nod” to someone or something is generally a director saying “hey, I really like what you did with (insert random thing here) so, here I am paying homage to that.  This can be done in so many ways that I couldn’t even begin to touch upon or even break the surface.  But to give you a taste there’s always…

Quentin Tarantino.  He loves to Tip the Hat to Blaxploitation movies.  Using the old 70’s film reels for the gritty-ness and horrible sound quality.  Only Tarantino can get away with something like this.  Ha!  Actually if you hang around him enough you might too.  Eh?  Robert Rodriguez.  Robert has continued on with this certain Homage but I can’t figure out if it’s an Homage to 70’s flicks or if it’s a tribute to Tarantino.  I guess we’ll never know.  Or until it get’s placed on a special edition DVD/Blu Ray combo as an Easter Egg.  🙂

So, let’s hear what your favorite references, easter egg’s or even Tip’s of the Hat are.  There are ton’s out there that I know that I haven’t seen.  Let’s hear it!!

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2 thoughts on “Tip of the Hat – “The Reference Bit””

  1. Nice Easter Egg Catch on Iron Man, I didn’t even catch that. Very nice John Bra-vo…Tip my hat to you sir, ha get it….SICK BURN!!!!!

    1. It’s funny because Tony even ask’s Jarvis “What is SR-71’s record?… records are meant to be broken.” and it’s on the right side and it’s so big after you see it the first time it’s hard to miss after that.

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