Movie Jokes That Went Over Viewers’ Heads for Years

Film fans list their favorite personal ‘whoosh’ moments in movie history
Movie Jokes That Went Over Viewers’ Heads for Years

Realizing a joke from Dumb and Dumber went over my head made me feel like the title of the movie.

But sometimes, a comedy is so dense with jokes that it’s nearly impossible to pick up on every callback, background gag and Easter egg on a first viewing — and, other times, we, the audience, are just dense. While there are films like The Big Lebowski that are layered with secrets and between-the-lines brilliance, everyone has a blind spot where obvious jokes in a movie script simply slip past us. Whether we’re too young to pick up on an innuendo or too European to get the American reference, at some point, a joke is going to fly over everyone’s head. Sometimes, one specific joke flies over everyone’s head until decades later when we find out that Guns N’ Roses wrote a song for Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the disguise that the T-800 used for his signature shotgun was actually a wink to those in the know.

Over in the r/Movies subreddit, cinephiles recently came forward with their favorite movie jokes, subtle or otherwise, that went over their heads until embarrassingly recently. Here are their top picks…

“The first several times watching ‘Grease’ when younger, Rizz says to her friend that she skipped a period and they were all concerned. I always took it as she skipped one class period and everyone was concerned for her academically.” — Rallye_Man340

The Goonies: The pirate name One-Eyed Willy is a pretty dirty name, and I had no clue ‘til I was like 35 years old.” — ecdc05

“In ‘The Mask’ when Jim Carrey was making balloon animals for the gang members he reaches for another one and pulls out a condom instead. ‘Whoops, wrong pocket.’ I thought it was just a defective balloon.” — beelzybubby

“I was far older than I care to admit before I realized that Michael J. Fox played both of his children in the ‘Back to the Future’ sequel. I watched that movie so many times with no idea that he played the role of his daughter. Slightly embarrassing.” — ArchonOfThe4thWAH

“The line in ‘Beetlejuice,’ where a character says, ‘Shes still upset because someone dropped a house on her sister. I saw the movie when it came out, only realized that was a reference to The Wizard of Oz a couple of years ago. A three decade long doh moment for me.” — GondorHasNoPants

“In Dumb and Dumber’ when they were trying to think of Mary’s last name. They looked at the briefcase and saw the brand name ‘Samsonite’ and figured that was her last name. Then later in the movie, the kidnapper pointed a gun at them and said he was the rightful owner of the briefcase… so they called him Mr. Samsonite!!! I crack up every time I see that part now.” — crazycarl36

“In ‘Toy Story 2,’ Al says ‘don’t touch my mustache’ to the Japanese business guy because that’s him mangling ‘doitashimashite,’ which is ‘you’re welcome’ in Japanese.” — whitepangolin

“In ‘Mean Girls,’ Regina stops being friends with Janis after thinking she’s a lesbian. At the end of the movie we find out that Janis is Lebanese. Which means Regina is so dumb she confused Lebanese with lesbian.” — soCalifax

“The scene in Terminator 2 where Arnie pulls his shotgun out of a box of roses. Its guns and roses, who provided the soundtrack songs. Took me a while to notice that pun.” — GondorHasNoPants

“Men in Black’ — ‘Gentleman, congratulations! You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training.’ (realizing that he’s throwing major shade at the other candidates)” — outofmymind85

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