Classic ‘90s Movies That Got Away With Not Explaining Major Things
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.
- Photo: Warner Bros.
First off, we love Heat. It's a stone cold classic featuring powerhouse performances from Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, buttressed by a fantastic supporting cast that somehow includes Natalie Portman, Danny Trejo, Tone Loc, and Hank Azaria (just for starters).
But. The engine that drives much of the plot is something that doesn't make a ton of sense. And that engine is named Waingro.
Waingro's itchy trigger finger is the reason the opening armored-car heist turns into a much more serious triple homicide. Later, when McCauley tries to do him in as payback for the screwup, Waingro escapes and joins forces with McCauley's mortal enemy, the money launderer Roger Van Zandt. He then informs on the cops, foiling McCauley's bank job and leading to the demise of his crew members Trejo and Cherito. Finally, it's a last-minute decision to get revenge on Waingro that leads to McCauley getting trapped by cops when he otherwise could have escaped with his girlfriend and millions of dollars. We won't even get into Waingro's hobby of committing serial slayings on the side.
In short, this dude is bad luck for McCauley's crew. So why did they even hire him for that opening heist? You'd think a thief as exacting as McCauley would only hire help that he could trust, someone who came with solid references. It's hard to see how Waingro would pass muster even if he was needed - and he's not needed! The crew has one guy (Shiherlis) to blow the truck and grab the bearer bonds, and another (Trejo) to drive the getaway vehicle (Trejo also seems to be the one who lays down the tire-puncturing spike strip, although we don't get a good look at that character). The remaining tasks - watch for cops, and control three shell-shocked guards - seem quite manageable for the other two, McCauley and Cherito, to handle themselves. Essentially, McCauley sets his own downfall in motion - for nothing.
- Actors: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore
- Released: 1995
- Directed by: Michael Mann
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, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn
- Released: 1995
- Directed by: John Lasseter
- 31,063 VOTESPhoto: TriStar Pictures
According to Terminator logic, living tissue is necessary for the time machine to work. T-1000 uses time travel technology without a problem, but he is made of metal and is not an animated being. How can he travel through time if he does not have any human tissue to activate the machine?
The visual effects editor for Terminator 2, Van Ling, says that this concept is purposely ambiguous. His theory suggests that the android was covered with a "flesh cocoon" to make time travel possible. The T2 creators "thought it would be too confusing to show visually" and decided to leave the question to the fans.
- Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen
- Released: 1991
- Directed by: James Cameron
Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) skillfully sculpts ice on a suburban Southern California front lawn and in the attic of his mansion, but the huge blocks of ice seem to come out of nowhere. Because he has, well, scissors for hands, Edward can't hold things. There's no way he could have called someone to bring the ice, nor could he have moved it onto the lawn or into a freezer by himself. Being that the movie is set in a warmer climate, a freezer would be a necessity here.
One fan theorizes that perhaps the inventor has a temp-controlled storage room - since he makes large quantities of food - where Edward could keep the ice. And it isn't much of a stretch to then assume that the neighbors who enjoyed his hedge designs would have purchased and moved the ice blocks onto the lawn before turning against him.
- Actors: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Alan Arkin
- Released: 1990
- Directed by: Tim Burton
- Photo: Universal Pictures
During a climactic escape in Jurassic Park, the Jeeps are stuck as the T-Rex moseys up to the fence, snaps it open, and barrels out onto the road. But seconds later, in the same spot, there is a huge ravine that wasn't there when the T-Rex came plowing through. Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) has to repel down a concrete wall to get to the bottom.
One astute observer found the answer to this mystery in Michael Crichton's original novel. Crichton explained that moats were surrounding all the enclosures, so the T-Rex stepped over the moat (they were big 'saurs, yo) and waltzed off. But what was a tiny little step for a T-Rex was a deep ravine for humans.
- Actors: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck
- Released: 1993
- Directed by: Steven Spielberg
- Photo: Warner Bros.
To enter the Matrix, an operator has to jack you in, monitor you, and jack you out, but Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) was able to get in and meet with Agent Smith all by himself.
In seconds, Cypher goes from conversing and drinking with Neo (Keanu Reeves) to jacking himself into the Matrix and eating a steak at a fancy restaurant. Cypher is supposedly familiar with how the Matrix works, but it is never explained who got him jacked in. If he had no accomplice, then Cypher was much more of a mastermind than we ever gave him credit for.
The Wachowski Brothers, who wrote and directed The Matrix, explained: Cypher set up "an automated system to allow him to go meet with Agent Smith." He prearranged his exit from the Matrix to occur at a certain point in time.
- Actors: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano
- Released: 1999
- Directed by: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski