Years ago I was a founding member
of the Internet Movie Database. The other team members and I were distributed around the globe. We coordinated our efforts by e-mail and the occasional crowded conference call. In 1999 we finally all met for the first time, gathering for a memorable weekend in L.A. At that meeting one of our geeky pastimes was to quiz one another about movies. In person, and in real-time, this was a fun challenge; but when we got back home to our computers it was too easy to take a question from e-mail and use our own database
to answer it. (Today it would be even easier, with Google.)
Then one of the members hit on an interesting kind of quiz that the database could not help with: he sent sheet music snippets in e-mail and challenged us to identify which movie’s theme music it was! Brilliant. I came up with my own solution to the problem: finding connections among multiple movies involving descriptions of scenes or other unsearchable aspects that require you actually to have seen the films. For a while I challenged the team with one such question each week, and it was a popular feature while it lasted. I have since used the questions at parties, shared them with trivia buffs, and mailed them hither and yon, but never posted them here despite promises to do so; so here is the first one. The answer appears below. See if you can solve it without peeking!
Believe it or not, there’s a top Hollywood actress who, in the space of two years, was in two otherwise unrelated major films in which her male costar’s lower jaw fell off! Who is she, and what are the films?
Here’s a hint if you need it:
In the second movie, this actress played newlywed to the actor in question; but in real life she was newly wed to the actor from the first movie!
The answer is:
Geena Davis, in The Fly (where it’s Jeff Goldblum’s jaw that drops) and Beetlejuice (Alec Baldwin’s). My canned wrap-up to this question is: “What a weird connection, eh? Too bad the trend didn’t continue. It could’ve become her trademark, like ‘Ah’ll be back,’” to which Ken Jennings replied, “It definitely would have improved Stuart Little.” Several months after I originally created this question, I saw another film in which a character’s jaw falls off. But it was a minor character and I could find no other interesting connection to Geena Davis or these two movies. The movie was The Frighteners with Michael J. Fox (and the underappreciated Trini Alvarado).
When I posed this question to the denizens of Ken Jennings’ site, one of them reported that it’s now easy to answer this one “from scratch” via Google. Oh well. I’ll post a hard one next.