Bruce Wayne shuns his role as the masked crusader "Batman" in favour of international travel after cleaning the city of a mysterious fog and receiving no thanks in the process.
May 21, 2006 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Backward Movies. When you play a movie backwards, what you get is not creepy messages, but rather a new movie. For example:
An enormous iron ship surges up from the vast depths of the ocean in order to save a large number of people who are inexplicably, and somewhat foolishly, floundering in the water near an iceburg. It then kindly takes them back to Southampton.
posted by CrunchyFrog (53 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Logan's Run: Young white people flee the neighborhoods of Washington D.C., seeking out an existence of mundane jobs, cookie-cutter housing, conformity, and consumerism. (This isn't the first time it's happened, either)
posted by rolypolyman at 9:09 AM on May 21, 2006

A great white shark reconsitutes off the shores of Montauk to repair a boat and to vomit tourists onto a beach.
posted by horsewithnoname at 9:10 AM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

So, who wants to try Memento?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2006

Actually, the ending of Jaws is rather poignant: The mighty shark regurgitates a pretty young woman who, without thanking him, runs away to get drunk. Tchah! Typical.
posted by Jofus at 9:18 AM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

rolypolyman: The truly bizzare thing about Logan's Run backwards (Run's Logan?) is that people are born fully-grown, by exploding into existance floating above a spinning carousel to the cheers of thrilled onlookers.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2006

So, who wants to try Memento?

Remind me what that was about?
posted by scottreynen at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

I thought that the DVD of Memento had an option to watch it backwards which really would be forwards.
posted by octothorpe at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2006

Star Wars: A New Hope - Young Boy helps rebuild a world destroying space station, hands princess over to the bad guys in exchange for an old man. Old man and boy lose their friends, ditch some robots and then go and live seperately on a dusty planet and forget about each other.

You don't want to know what happens after that, it's rubbish.
posted by Navek Rednam at 9:54 AM on May 21, 2006 [4 favorites]

Time's Arrow

Remind me what that was about?

plot hole: he did remember that he had amnesia
posted by matteo at 9:57 AM on May 21, 2006

Four hobbits travel to a city in the south. Two of them are flown by eagles to a mountain, where they retrieve a ring, a finger, and a creepy creature from a fiery pit. They climb down the mountain on foot, rejoin their other two companions and some other friends, and go home, where they give the ring back to its owner.
posted by jellicle at 10:02 AM on May 21, 2006

Actually, some of those rewrites would truly make a better movie than the original. I can think of a couple of movies: Hudson Hawk and Swordfish. Sadly I can also think of a flick which would be the same forwards or backwards: Lost in Translation
posted by pezdacanuck at 10:05 AM on May 21, 2006

The incessant fun of inversion ! You invertite !
posted by elpapacito at 10:16 AM on May 21, 2006

Waiting for Godot:
Two people wait for Godot.
posted by I Foody at 10:18 AM on May 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

Not only do they get taken back to Southampton, but Kate Winslet ends her fling with a lower-class paisano and hooks up with a rich guy.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2006

If you read MetaFilter backwards it's just like watching Fox News.
posted by HTuttle at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2006

Ahead to the Pasture?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:31 AM on May 21, 2006

Then there's Strain Andromeda The, which is a reworking of The Andromeda Strain. The title explains the concept exactly: The original scenes appear in reverse order, but are played normally (forwards).
posted by xil at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2006

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorite literary passages by Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five, where planes fly over a city retrieving bombs that bring people back to life and rebuild buildings. They are then transported safely back to factories where, ironically, women take them apart and everything is broken down and put back into the earth.

That's just a fuzzy recollection, but that was a great part.
posted by unixrat at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2006

"It's true! Once you get over the initial shock, things actually make a lot more sense this way 'round. There's no death here. You start off dead, you have a funeral, then you come to life! As each year passes you get younger and younger until you become a newborn baby. Then you go back inside your mother, who goes back inside her mother, ans so on, until eventually we all become one glorious whole!"
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:22 AM on May 21, 2006 [3 favorites]

Complete Vonnegut ripoff.
posted by batou_ at 11:27 AM on May 21, 2006

The Da Vinci Code:

A couple of blissfully aware people sacrifice their respective transcendent knowledge and lineage to bring about the resurrection of two religious types, one of whom is inspired to repair the floor of a Parisian church as an act of gratitude and homage to the continuing glory of god. A deranged gay member of the British aristocracy is let out of prison to live a life of quiet retirement, and in a sensational reversal of France's relaxed labour laws, an art curator rushes back to his post from the maw of merciful death.

Film critics rejoice.
posted by paperpete at 11:36 AM on May 21, 2006

Star Wars - Episode III

A group of assorted humans and aliens come out of hiding to begin to reform the Republic. Anakin Skywalker is foolishly removed from his evil mechanical coccoon by Emperor Palpatine and, after a ceremony not unlike Baptism, returned to full health. He goes on to heroically restore a number of Jedi children to life. His wife is also restored to life, and he and she fall more and more in love. In the meantime, Yoda attempts to overthrow the evil Emperor Palpatine and fails. (but does manage to reconstruct the destroyed Senate Chamber in the process)

Anakin comes upon the Evil Emperor and Mace Windu fighting and, through his timely intervention, strips the Emperor of most of his powers. They spend quite a lot of time discussing what should be done about the split Republic. Finally, Anakin and Obi-Wan conspire to deliver Palpatine into the hands of the heroic Separatists, thus ensuring the Republic is put back onto a path to full reunification.

The end! Hooray!
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2006


Lister: ...Or take Santa Claus! What a bastard!
Rimmer: Eh?
Lister: He's just a big fat git who sneaks down chimneys and steals all the kids' favorite toys!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2006

How do you get line breaks in your MeFi FPPs like that? I can only get one big ol' paragraph.
posted by ktoad at 11:56 AM on May 21, 2006


A benevolent alien resuscitates the emotionally unstable crew members of a space ship, who upon being brought back to life start running around and screaming their heads off. Despite this apparent ingratitude, the alien heroically sacrifices itself to revive the last crew member. The people then look at some eggs and fall asleep.
posted by epimorph at 12:13 PM on May 21, 2006

The Passion of the Christ

A man awakens to find himself nailed to a cross without knowing how he got there, possibly after heavy drinking. Of course he is let down shortly after and the Romans tend to his wounds with a whip of +5 healing after he helped them get the cross back to storage. They parade him in front of a crowd as thanks, before re-arresting a criminal who had been mistakenly released in the man's place, despite the consternation of the crowd. He walks away with some of his friends, one of them lies about having said he didn't know him.

He gets to the peaceful garden of Gethsemane guided by Jewish escort and one of the man's friends leaves with them after kissing him goodbye, as per the custom.

The man cries to the lord about how he doesn't want to face agony for his divine plan. The Lord say k, n prblm. The guys friends go to sleep because it's been a long fucking day

posted by Stauf at 12:14 PM on May 21, 2006

A Prince brings his bride from their castle to a clearing in the woods where he kills her with a kiss. She is revived by an old crone's magic apple and is taken in by seven kindly dwarves who grow increasingly afraid of her until a Woodsman retrieves her on behalf of the Queen, who it turns out was the old crone all along. The girl meets the Prince once more only to turn him away and live happily ever after with the Queen.
posted by unsupervised at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2006

Complete Vonnegut ripoff.

You don't seriously think Vonnegut invented the idea, do you? I don't imagine you've heard of Arkady Averchenko, but:
One of his stories, β€˜The Secret of the Great Cinema', takes advantage of the trope of reverse projection. It opens with a description of a picture already mentioned, Back, Back:
The sea appears, and some cliffs. . . One of the cliffs is absolutely sheer, about seventy feet high. . . Suddenly the sea beneath the cliff foams up, a head shoots out of the water and a man soars up seventy feet into the air, like a gigantic bouncing ball, and stands on the edge of the cliff β€” quite dry. He crosses himself in reverse order: first his fingers touch his left shoulder, then his right shoulder, then his chest, and, finally, his forehead.
There follows a detailed description of the well-known reversed episodes of the cigar being smoked and the chicken being devoured. Averchenko then wonders what would happen if one could do the same with recent historical events:
Oh, if only life were as passive as a ribbon of film! If only you could make it run backwards just by pulling a lever...

[...]Now it's September, the year before last. I am sitting in a railway carriage; the train lurches off backwards and rushes towards Petrograd. Marvellous things are going on there: traders are packing up their stalls and leaving the Nevsky Prospect; peasant women selling herrings, gherkins, and apples; non-combatant soldiers soldiers selling cigarettes β€” they're all disappearing. Bolshevik decrees are flying off the walls of the buildings like scales, and the walls are neat and tidy again. Look, there's Alexander Kerensky's car charging up at full speed. Has he returned? Turn it, Mishka β€” faster! He's just driven into the Winter Palace. Look, the film is still flashing past; Lenin and Trotsky are coming backwards out of Kshesinskaya's villa [...]
(From Early Cinema in Russia and Its Cultural Reception, by Yuri Tsivian, p. 64.) The story was written, as you can see, in 1919. And the backwards-running movie whose title is translated "Back, Back" (it's been lost, but was probably French) appeared no later than 1905. So the idea goes back a ways.
posted by languagehat at 12:38 PM on May 21, 2006

Waiting for Godot:
Two people wait for Godot.
posted by I Foody at 12:18 PM CST on May 21

Oooh, I get it! Post-modernism!
posted by ninjew at 12:56 PM on May 21, 2006

The Great Escape: WWII's biggest prison break-in.
posted by cenoxo at 1:24 PM on May 21, 2006

Madre Sierra of the Treasure :

Three Friends realize gold is driving them crazy, so they strap it to donkeys, march it up into the mountains, and bury it back in the ground.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2006

The Shining: A lazy hotel caretaker wakes up surly, with a terrible hangover and nearly frozen to death (he tried to escape his hotel responsibilities and nagging, emotional wife by hiding in the big hedge maze and passing out drunk). His wife and son are looking all over for him, obviously very worried. Meanwhile he grabs his axe and goes looking for some firewood so he can heat up his hidy spot, but his family catch up to him and chase him back into the house, where he can finally do his chores, such as helping an injured black worker and fixing a cracked door. He gradually gets out of his pissy mood as winter ends, and eventually the family goes back to wherever the fuck.
posted by dgaicun at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2006

War and Peace: a bonanza for the producers. All they need to switch is the title, plus they get to re-release it to new audiences every couple of years.
posted by cenoxo at 1:51 PM on May 21, 2006


Hamlet restores his own faith in humanity by administering an antidote to his poisoned friends and family, jumping out of a grave, curing his girlfriend of severe mental illness and furthering his own grasp on sanity in time for his long-lost father to return in triumph as King.

posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:54 PM on May 21, 2006

Easy Rider as I saw it at Ohio State University in 1975 in a crowd of redneck students:

Open with loud applause and cheers from the actual movie audience, as rural doctors in a pickup truck use a complicated medical device to suck poisonous lead pellets from the bodies of two motorcyclists who have crashed their bikes on a rural road. The motorcyclists revive and ride home to California, gratefully.

Most of the motorcyclists' activities on the way home are booed by the Ohio State students, who are of course eating their words.
posted by hank at 2:07 PM on May 21, 2006

Inspired by reading a copy of 'Getting Things Done' given to him by a woman he met at a bar, a nervous young man covered in tattoos decides to improve his organisational skills and get rid of the clutter in his life. He starts by getting daily laser treatment to remove the old tattoos one by one. Then he gets a hipster PDA and stops taking so many damn polaroids. He also learns to memorize all phone numbers of people he meets in motels and inns while on his way back home and to his job with an insurance company. After many happy encounters with long lost friends and new lovers, he is reunited with his wife and they go shopping for a new security system for their apartment. The End.
posted by funambulist at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2006

From a completely incomprehensible chaos a boy forges a modern city. The humans therein are still pretty agitated, however, so they chase him around with tanks and laser guns and whatnot. This gives the boy terrible headaches. But, patiently, he reconstructs the people, one by one, until there's enough of them to staff a hospital and treat his condition. Once the boy is released, he returns to the exciting high-school-delinquent life of his dreams. Sure, there's a little violence, and the best friend somehow wound up with the cool red bike, but that's just enough to keep things interesting. Not perfect but it'll have to do.
posted by furiousthought at 2:10 PM on May 21, 2006

King Kong:

An escaped Gorilla (suffering from gigantism) from New York City's Zoo climbs down from the top of the Empire State Building, and after running amok, the city authorities decide to find a perfect natural habitat for the beast. His handler, a blonde bombshell, accompanies Kong, communicating his route through screeching noises, until he's planted on a boat, and taken to Skull Island.

Once released, the human philanthropists undergo several hardships, as Kong gets confused in his new surroundings, and goes slightly berserk on them, smiting a few in an inappropriate game of 'roll the log'. He is distracted from them to play with other native island creatures, dinosaurs. The islands' natives perform an elaborate ritual to welcome Kong to their Island, at the end of which, Kong bids farewell to his handler, placing her on a pedestal and saunters off into the jungle.

The humans get lost trying to find the boat again, but eventually make it back to NYC, where the lead philanthropist can turn to a new career of filming wildlife.
posted by Busithoth at 3:27 PM on May 21, 2006

12 Monkeys:

A political leader from the future successfully proves a time machine works by going back in time and saving a scientist who has a cure for billions of people. Meanwhile, a man is revived, but is a little confused and tries to heal the already saved scientist with a heal-gun. Embarrassed, he stashes it and leaves the airport, meeting up with his girlfriend. The two are surprised when a group calling themselves the Army of the 12 Monkeys captures previously free-ranging animals and puts them all in zoos. Intrigued, they decide to look for the leader of the group.

The revived man and his girlfriend search for the leader, but become increasingly distant and wary of each other as their leads dry up. Meanwhile, the leaders from the future pull the revived man into the future several times to convince him to quit looking (they even try singing him to sleep once with a song he hates). Eventually, the man loses his girlfriend and is thrown into a mental hospital- he now fervently believes he actually comes from the future. The guards grow disgusted with him and throw him out; the future leaders drag him into the future and toss him in prison for being such a jerk.
posted by Maxson at 3:32 PM on May 21, 2006

The Exorcist:

Devil possess girl. Once she manages to get the priests to leave her alone, she's just fine. Priest departs to mope in desert.
posted by yoink at 3:51 PM on May 21, 2006

Any of the Fred and Ginger movies:

Ginger is still wearing heels, but now Fred's doing all the backward dancing and the following, and Ginger is getting top billing.
posted by paulsc at 4:18 PM on May 21, 2006

For Strain Andromeda The, are the scenes shown in reverse order or the shots? The description here says scenes, but the one on the linked webpage says shots.
posted by ODiV at 4:38 PM on May 21, 2006

Bull Durham:

A catcher comes out of retirement to play in the minor leagues. He has a brief but intense fling with a woman who, despite her age, still has an amazing rack, but she leaves him for a dense young first-year pitcher with control problems. After he retrieves many home run balls from over the fence with his magical bat, his contract is purchased by a triple-A team. He leaves the bus leagues in pursuit of a major-league career.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:43 PM on May 21, 2006

Magnolia: Frogs jump into the sky, the cock begins respecting people, and a guy un-suicides himself in an unlikely sequence of events.
posted by Clamwacker at 5:18 PM on May 21, 2006

related: Adam's Orange Stand
posted by paul_smatatoes at 5:40 PM on May 21, 2006

Fight Club

A man and woman hold hands one evening while watching three large buildings suddenly sprout from the ground. This inspires Brad Pitt to stand up and watch a large-cheeked Ed Norton spit a bullet into a handgun and the run backwards through the city until he finds himself on a table in his skivvies, until some helpful police detectives force him to put his pants back on.

Pitt and Norton spend some time melting bars of soap in a pot and watching lye make scars on their hands go away. Then they spend time walking backwards. Pitt spends time smoking cigarettes that leap into his hand form the ground.

Of course, all this backwards-walking and cigarette flying into their hands, and of course, Pitt constantly sneaking into movie theatres and making the movies play backwards stuff makes people angry, which leads to a lot of fistfights.

However, for some unknown reason, these fights actually heal the participants, making bloody noses and black eyes just disappear.

#8 - If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight.

#7 - Fights will go on as long as they have to.

#6 - No shirts, no shoes.

#5 - One fight at a time.

#4 - Two guys to a fight.

#3 - If someone says stop, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.

#2 - The second rule of Fight Club is, you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

#1 - The first rule of Fight Club (unexplicably given last) is, you do not talk about Fight Club.
posted by 4ster at 6:40 PM on May 21, 2006

John Carpenter's The Thing: A bunch of aliens, stuck in the Antarctic, turn into humans.
posted by brundlefly at 11:05 PM on May 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Scanners: Michael Ironside jumps back into his own brain, ressurects people with his mind, puts a bald guy's head back together, then finally gets around to fixing that darned hole in his own forehead.

Birth of a Nation: The KKK destroys itself.

This thread is spoilerific!
posted by brundlefly at 11:22 PM on May 21, 2006

Picnic at Hanging Rock: Schoolgirls mysteriously appear out of nowhere on top of Hanging Rock & somehow integrate themselves into another group of schoolgirls on excursion. The group, with the imposters now firmly entrenched, returns to the school. To add to the eerie mystery, nobody ever wonders where these girls came from, or even seems to notice that they are out of place.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:04 AM on May 22, 2006

Hi Fidelity.

Grouchy DJ breaks up with his girlfriend shortly before her fathers funeral. To discover why girls are always breaking up with him, he tracks down and talks to his top four heartbreaking girlfriends. After discovering that his girlfriend is now going out with the guy from "Shawshank redemption" he tries and succeeds in getting her back.
posted by seanyboy at 12:29 AM on May 22, 2006


The English assemble the ultimate Scots warrior, based on the visage of that guy from Lethal Weapon. He proceeds to resurrect army after army, before some nice english guy unslashes his wife's throat.
posted by hnnrs at 1:45 AM on May 22, 2006

Harold and Maude: old woman is revived from near-death, continues relationship with her much-younger boyfriend. She makes him more and more depressed until he breaks up with her and develops an unhealthy preoccupation with death.
posted by johndog at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2006

The Dude and Walter (and their friend Donny, who was somehow mystically constituted from dust blowing near the seashore, and who always enters conversations a beat ahead of everyone else before leaving early to reverse-bowl) receive a briefcase full of worthless paper from a nihilist German synthpop band. They try several unusual methods to dispose of this material, before finally trading it to a paraplegic millionaire who arranges the delivery of a rug.

The rug really ties The Dude's room together.
posted by arto at 7:34 PM on May 22, 2006 [2 favorites]

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