Small Details We Still Don't Understand In These Movies

Even the best laid plans go awry, and that's definitely true for movie scripts. Even the biggest and best movies have moments that will leave you saying, "Hey, wait a minute" if you think about them too hard. Well, we've done that hard thinking for you. We're not here to ruin any childhood favorites for you, but we do feel it's our duty as good citizens to point out these details. They're details so small you probably didn't even notice them, but once you see them, you won't be able to un-see them. We'd apologize, but hey, you're the one reading the list.

What's up with the timeline in The Empire Strikes Back?

Yes, The Empire Strikes Back is the best of all the Star Wars movies, so we can forgive almost anything. But ... come on. 

So Luke is hanging out in Dagobah learning all about the Force, and Han and Leia are somewhere around Nowhere, Deep Space. They decide to head to Cloud City, and the next thing we know, they're there and Luke's heading off to save them. True, his training isn't complete, but given he's a lot more proficient with using the Force, it's safe to assume some time has passed. Not to mention the fact that he's going through physical training, too, and you know it would take you years just to master the flips.

But back on Bespin, the interactions of the characters seem to imply that barely any time has passed. While we're at it, we also want to know how far it is between Hoth, Dagobah, and Cloud City because you have to factor in travel time. Sure, Luke abandons his training early to save his friends, but how long is it before he can realistically get there? How long have Han and Leia been held prisoner? How long can Vader afford to just hang out and chill on Cloud City? The man's got other things to do, after all. Also, how much torture has been going on and why are they still squeaky clean and freshly showered? Inquiring minds want to know.

Why didn't Ariel just write a note?

Disney's The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, and if that doesn't make you feel old ... maybe you aren't. Bully for you. In case you haven't seen it recently, we'll remind you that Ariel wants to give up being a mermaid and live on land, where they have neat things like silverware. She trades her voice for legs, so she can't explain to her prince what's going on.

Only, she totally could, if she only wrote him a letter. We even know she can read and write because she signed the contract with Ursula to seal the deal in the first place and she even has better penmanship than you'll ever have. It's made even more annoying by the fact this would have been an easy logic hiccup to fix. If she'd just signed her name with an "X," we could have given this one a pass. We can't.

Where did the chicken come from?

The Hangover is a modern classic, and it's an impressive bit of storytelling. By the end of the movie, everything about the introduction is explained in a way that's far-fetched but still makes sense. Except for the chicken.

And seriously, that's not the most complicated thing they had to explain. They even manage to put together a coherent story explaining how a tiger gets in the bathroom, but not a peep about a lowly chicken. We're not the only ones wondering about the chicken. According to Ed Helms (via ThoughtCo), they don't know why the heck it was there, either. Helms said, "It's just one of the great McGuffins of the movie, and I love it." That's great, but we'd like an explanation, please!

Caring for the gremlins

First off, Mogwai are adorable, and you know you'd get one if you could. They come with a few rules, and while they seem fairly straightforward, there's nothing about the Mogwai care guide that actually makes sense. You're not supposed to feed them after midnight, but when does it stop being after midnight? At 6 a.m.? At sunrise? That's important because sunrise changes a little bit every day. Are they reacting to a certain amount of time passing after midnight? Sunlight? The Moon? Tides? Does it matter what time zone you're in, or what your latitude is? Details matter, and ignoring them is how you kick-start the apocalypse.

There's also the other no-no: getting them wet. This isn't as straightforward as it seems either because we see the gremlins out happily caroling away in the snow. Last time we checked, snow melts into water, and this whole scene seems like it should have more consequences than it actually does.

What was the original plan to rescue Han?

The question of Han's fate helped make The Empire Strikes Back one of cinema's great cliffhangers, and by now, we all know what happened at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. But look at the set-up, and you'll have to wonder what the heck the original plan was.

The droids are sent in and captured, and they're carrying Luke's lightsaber. Lando is working as a guard. Leia is dressed as a bounty hunter, and Chewie is in chains. Luke knocks on the front door.

Even if you accept the logic behind Lando being sent in ahead as a scout party, there are so many questions here. Doesn't this plan just mean Luke now has to rescue the droids and Chewie as well? Why would Luke not just keep his lightsaber on him, if he was planning on walking right in through the front door, and why wouldn't his droid "gifts" be outright sold or crushed? Also, why send Leia in disguised as a bounty hunter when Lando was already there in disguise? Couldn't Lando have just freed Han? It's a good thing Return of the Jedi had Ewoks.

Why didn't Indy kill Hitler?

We talked about how Indy's interference in Raiders of the Lost Ark actually kept Hitler alive and led to that whole World War II thing, and you could maybe sort of justify that. Given how dedicated Indy is to his relic-hunting, he might not have wanted to put a valuable artifact like the actual Ark of the Covenant in Hitler's greasy little mitts, even if it was just long enough to melt his face off, and even if he probably could have gotten it back. A flimsy bit of reasoning (that makes Indy look kind of terrible), but you could make the argument for it.

There's another chance Indy had to do some serious damage, though, and this one can't be explained away. In The Last Crusade, Indy has to choose the real Holy Grail. The right one heals and gives immortality (as long as you don't go past the seal), but the wrong one kills. There's nothing that says the fake grails can't be removed from the chamber, so why not fill your bag with fake grails then start sending them off to the likes of Hitler and Mussolini? Keep some in reserve for emergencies. There were a ton of fake grails, and Indy could have saved the world from a whole lot of hurt if he'd thought ahead.

Where does the red brick road go?

Let's talk The Wizard of Oz, also known as the movie that gave you nightmares about flying monkeys. You know the general story, but there's a little detail in the beginning you may have missed. When Dorothy first sets off on her journey, she's told to follow the yellow brick road. Repeatedly and creepily, to a song that should actually make no one in their right mind want to dance.

But check out the road, and you'll see she's actually at the start of two separate roads. Given how important the yellow brick road is, it seems like that would be something of a big deal. Where does the red brick road go? We don't know, but we want to.

The unfortunately named Tin Man

Watching The Wizard of Oz as a child was terrifying, and watching it as an adult is unsettling at best. Now that you've grown up, sat through a few science classes, and been around the block a few times, you know a little more about how the world works. But you probably also never thought about the story behind the Tin Woodman because you've been hearing it since you were a wee tyke and we tend to just accept those things.

When Dorothy meets him, he's frozen in place, and once she oils him up, he tells her it happened when he was caught out in the rain. But tin doesn't rust. Not only does it not rust, but BBC Bitesize also notes it's so resistant to things like rust and corrosion that it's often used to coat and protect other, more susceptible metals. Oz's Tin Woodman does the exact opposite of what tin is literally used for, so why not use any other metal? L. Frank Baum could have beat Marvel to the creation of Iron Man by decades, and he would have been more scientifically accurate.

What's up with the bear man?

The Shining is consistently rated among the scariest movies ever made, and it's a well-deserved badge of honor. It's generally accepted that it's packed full of imagery and hidden meanings, and we could talk about it all day, but there's just one blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment we do want to talk about: the man in the bear costume, glimpsed through an open door and caught in a compromising position with a snappily dressed man. What the literal heck is going on there?

Well, OK, we can guess what the literal heck is going on, but we want to know what it means. Stanley Kubrick doesn't do anything without having a good reason. There's a similar character in the original book, but for some reason the movie changes the dog costume to a bear costume, then shows the guy only once. One theory (via Collative Learning) suggests the repeated imagery of the bear is a sign little Danny is being abused by his father. So yeah, it can get a lot darker than you thought it was.

John Connor's father

This is one small detail the movies seemed to notice they screwed up, then tried to fix in the same way your 5-year-old self once tried to clean up spilled ketchup by putting it all back into the bottle. Stick with us here, because this is a weird one.

In Terminator, Kyle Reese tells Sarah Connor he was sent back in time (by John Connor) to protect her and, in turn, the child she was going to have — John. Along the way, Kyle and Sarah did what all heroes and heroines are required to do by Hollywood Law: They hooked up. John is the result.

Here's where the "but" comes in. (No, time travel doesn't actually exist, but it still has to obey some kind of logic.) If Kyle is John's father and John was only born because he sent Kyle back in the first place ... see the problem? It's an infinite loop that's impossible, sort of like what would happen if you went back in time to kill one of your ancestors. Little Baby John couldn't have existed without Kyle being sent back from the future, and that couldn't have happened with Grown Up John being around to send him back. Oops.