Total Nerd

Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things  

Donn Saylor
1.2k votes 330 voters 13.8k views 12 items

List Rules Vote up the leaps in logic that are too big to ignore.

All movies require a bit of suspended disbelief, but some stories wrap up with a few too many unanswered questions. There are some major plot holes in '90s movies, for example, that fans have let slide for decades. These leaps in logic aren't limited to just bad or subpar films either; movies now recognized as modern classics are often affected as well.

From a suspense masterpiece whose central plot point is easily unraveled, to surprising head scratchers planted in several sci-fi epics, the things '90s movies didn't explain are more than a little mind-boggling upon closer inspection. How did so many people miss such a significant problem for so long? Were the filmmakers even aware of them? And does our willingness to overlook such glaring overreaches put into question the status of these now legendary films?

These are questions viewers have to answer for themselves. For now, let's look at plot holes fans have noticed in our favorite '90s movies.

Toy Story is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things
Photo:  Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Toys in the Toy Story universe automatically freeze when humans are present. Buzz Lightyear is no exception. But Buzz doesn't see himself as a toy; he's convinced himself he is a human space ranger. Yet, still, he freezes when humans are around.

There are multiple theories as to why this plot hole exists: Buzz is being cautious; he's copying others as a way of being accepted; or it's a psychological reaction like a fight, flight, or freeze response. But fan theorist Ben Carlin posits that it's a way of showing that Buzz can't escape the fact he's a toy and not a human being.

According to Carlin: "No matter how hard you believe it, it doesn't stop the truth from being true."

Actors: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Penn Jillette, Annie Potts, + more

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Lasseter

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Godzilla is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things
Photo:  TriStar Pictures

In Godzilla, biologist Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) confronts "the dawning of a new species" when a monster 20+ stories tall wreaks havoc across the South Pacific Ocean. Although it's revealed Godzilla made its way from an atomic test site in French Polynesia, it's unclear just how the 500-ton beast managed to elude worldwide detection, considering the prevalence of satellites. Even if Godzilla burrowed into the ocean floor, the activity should have alerted oceanographers.

One possibility is that the French government attempted to cover-up the creature's existence - not just its part in Godzilla's creation. When Godzilla takes down the Japanese ships, the French feigns surprise. But where was Godzilla in the three decades after the testing and before its discovery? French secret service agent Philippe Roaché (Jean Reno) eventually discloses his country's plans to conceal the 1968 testing when the skyscraper-sized monstrosity rolls up in New York City, so it's likely his government was behind Godzilla's total MIA from all surveillance satellites. 

Actors: Matthew Broderick, Hank Azaria, Jean Reno, Harry Shearer, Lance Reddick, + more

Released: 1998

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

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Independence Day is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things
Photo:  20th Century Fox

David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) puts a stop to a massive alien incursion by sending a computer virus from his Mac PowerBook to the extraterrestrial computer network that's powering the aliens' spaceship. Somehow, his run-of-the-mill Mac is compatible with the otherworldly - and presumably much more advanced - system. And the aliens can download the virus with no issue at all.

One possible solution for this was put forth by the film's writer-producer, Dean Devlin, who explained in a Reddit AMA:

What Jeff Goldblum's character discovered was that the programming structure of the alien ship was a binary code. And as any beginning programmer can tell you, binary code is a series of ones and zeroes. What Goldblum's character did was turn the ones into zeroes and the zeroes into ones, effectively reversing the code that was sent.

Actors: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, Harry Connick, + more

Released: 1996

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

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The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things
Photo:  Gramercy Pictures

At the end of The Usual Suspects, Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey) is revealed to be Keyser Söze in a composite sketch given by Kovash. Kint was at the police station moments before they received the composite, but he disappeared just as the revelation that would have nailed him occurred. 

Kint is supposed to be this criminal mastermind who has orchestrated a grand and sweeping plan to conceal his identity. It defies logic that he would play it fast and loose when talking to the cops. If he'd stayed at the station even a moment longer, he would be toast. It seems a little too coincidental that he disappears just as the fax comes in. 

This puzzle is not easily explained away, mainly because it's the central conceit upon which the whole film turns. One fan theory suggests that maybe Kint isn't Söze at all, but rather a trusted accomplice. As an accomplice, he would be more open to the public, possibly as the man who does the work Söze can't - like speak to the police. 

Actors: Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Giancarlo Esposito, + more

Released: 1994

Directed by: Bryan Singer

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