The oddly specific Deadpool 2 reference that meant a lot to Ryan Reynolds

If you like enough obscure references to make Dennis Miller look like a vainglorious town cryer on a slow news day, Deadpool 2 is your flick. There are so many subtle nods that are oddly specific that it might take quite a few watches and pauses and rewinds just to get them all. Plus in the theater some went by so quickly that, with the rest of the crowd laughing, you might have missed a gem. Deadpool 2 definitely notched up the sly callouts to 11 — which, actually they did that too with Cable's gun setting going to 11, a reference to Spinal Tap and their special amp. Is there any rhyme or reason to these obscure references? Surely some are just there to invoke a laugh, but are they all merely for yuks, or do some of them mean something more? One specifically seems to be very close to Ryan Reynolds' heart … or his leg, at least.

What Would You Say?

As Deadpool and Weasel pore over the superhero interviews — thanks to Linkedin (another oddly specific joke), they talk about Bedlam. According to Marvel's official site, Beldam is a mutant with electromagnetic powers, including those that can affect the human brain. Deadpool 2's Bedlam (Terry Crews) has the same powers — and even messes with Mr. Pool and Weasel's craniums to show 'em what he's got. After shaking off a brain trauma, Deadpool quips, "So, basically, you're Dave Matthews." Unless you're a crazed DMB fan who purposely rounds up tips to hit $41 so you can take a picture of it and share on social media with a DMB hashtag, it's a pretty funny line. It's also the epitome of low-hanging fruit; many comedians take shots at DMB, some more successfully than others. Sure, it's not a flattering line for the band from Virginia, but Reynolds did his own little mea culpa a few scenes later that most everyone missed…

Broken Things

If you've made it this far and didn't realize there are spoilers for Deadpool 2, well … maybe you don't deserve a warning. Sorry! Anyway, after the X-Force wannabes gather and Deadpool and Weasel choose who to keep (ironically everyone shown on camera — must've been a tight budget), the crew goes on its first adventure. They parachute into battle to rescue Russell from his transport vehicle/moving prison. Nothing goes to plan, and just about every one of 'em kicks the bucket in the most creative and hilarious ways possible — even Peter! 

When the Vanisher slams into a power line, revealing a cunning cameo by Brad Pitt, the entire audience howled. In the chaos of everyone saying "Was that Brad Pitt?" you may have missed Deadpool's exclamatory sentence: "Tripping f*cking Billies!" If it went right by you, that's okay. If you heard it and thought, "That will never replace Superman's classic 'Great Caesar's Ghost' in my lexicon," you are also correct. However, that is a specific reference to the Dave Matthews Band song "Tripping Billies." It's not the most obscure DMB song in the world, but also might not be the one that pops into your head when you think of 'em. He didn't scream "Crash f*cking Into Me!" — although it totally would've worked there.

You And Me

So what kind of reference are we dealing with here? It's not just some line a hack writer threw in to be funny. There's a specific connection between (one of) Canada's favorite sons and (one of) America's favorite touring bands. You see, Reynolds is a huge DMB fan. How huge? Well, do you have a DMB tattoo? Ryan Reynolds does. Suffice it to say he's pretty inked up. In the 2015 movie Mississippi Grind, one scene captures the full extent of what the deal is with Reynolds' right leg. Among the beguilingly vast collection of tats are two "coffee stains" (references to the cover art for the DMB album Before These Crowded Streets) and a "Firedancer" (a DMB symbol akin to the famous Grateful Dead "Deadhead") right next to the coffee stains. 

Look, if you get a DMB tat, you're a big fan — that's all there is to it. And there's freaking website dedicated to those tattoos, complete with all the people who didn't get the Deadpool role yet have coffee ring tattoos that they have to explain to 90 percent of the people they meet. "Well, yeah, I like coffee, but it's for DMB. You know, Dave Matthews Band … Yeah, but I don't really like that song, you see, I'm a true fan so I only like songs you've never heard of." (Probably a real conversation.)

Round And Round

If you want to get hyper technical — and we know you do — the Deadpool 2 DMB references are the second and third in the series. In the first Deadpool, when Wade contracts cancer, he takes the extraordinary step of literally signing up for a dangerous way to stay alive despite the consequences, just so he can be with this beloved Vanessa (even though one theory says she might be the cause of his illness). That means enduring unspeakable torture at the hands of Francis … er … Ajax. If you want to classify this as an Easter egg you certainly can, but it's a real-life Easter egg. Wade endures torture in a variety of ways (ice bath, stomach punch, electrocution), and in one scene he's sprayed with a firehose. If you look real close, you can see Ryan Reynolds' real-life tattoos — including the coffee rings and firedancer. It's not as easy to spot as the scene in Mississippi Grind, and maybe it's not a specific DMB reference, but if you weren't so busy staring at Ryan Reynolds' naked body you might have caught that yourself.

The Deed Is Done

So perhaps the "Tripping f*cking Billies" line was simply Reynolds' subtle way of letting the Dave Matthews Band fans know he meant no harm in striking down their idol just a few minutes earlier. Or maybe it's just a new expression that will one day be hip to rival all the other hip vernacular. Go ahead, try it out a few times and see if it sticks. (Probably won't.) Regardless, Reynolds' ink reveals the true meaning of the line, and it went over 95 percent of the heads in the audience. That's just one of the incredibly specific references in Deadpool 2 and the real reason behind it. It does lead to other obvious questions: Is Reynolds packing a Wham! tattoo as well? Is that why Careless Whisper got so much play in the first Deadpool? Only candid beach shots or an official word from Reynolds will tell us the truth.