Answered general questions about movies, TV and more

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Around ten years ago there was a made-for-television movie shown in the U.S. The movie was shown mostly like "news reports" about a meteor heading to Earth (which I believe was actually supposed to be some kind of alien spaceship). There was something of a controversy about the movie, and the network constantly showed reminders that it was a movie, not a real news broadcast. I can't remember the network it was on, though it was definitely a broadcast network, as opposed to cable. And it is not "The 4400" (which is a much more recent cable program), nor "War of the Worlds".

Answer: It was called Without Warning.

Bowling255 Premium member

A long time ago, maybe six years or so, I saw a little bit of a movie that has stuck in my mind. I think it might be The Spiral Staircase, but I've read summaries of that and it doesn't mention the scene I saw. In the scene, there was this huge spiraling staircase and this man and older woman, maybe two women, were running up it. The staircase was collapsing as they were running and the man ended up trying to save the older woman, even though I think the older woman might have been bad. Does anyone know?

Answer: This sounds like "The Haunting" to me (the good one from the '60's, not that junk from '99). In the scene I think you're referring to, the character Eleanor has climbed up this huge rickety staircase, in her sleep I think. Everyone else in the house (3 other people, two men, one woman) gathers around the bottom, trying to figure out how to get her down. Finally, one of the men - a doctor - climbs the staircase to rescue her. It starts collapsing and they both nearly fall. Hope this helps!

Can someone explain why special effects (namely digital ones) are so expensive in many movies? It seems many films have monstrous budgets due to their large number of special effects.

Lummie Premium member

Chosen answer: Digital special effects are expensive for a number of reasons; to get good believeable CG (computer graphics) they need to use a very good, fast, computer and a fair amount of software - each computer could cost about $10k or more. Multiply that by the 40-50 odd computers that a SFX company may have and that's a LOT of money, so the SFX company needs to make that investment back, plus there are the 50 odd staff needed to actually use the computers, and they tend to be highly trained in a particular area or program, and so they tend to charge a fair amount of money per hour. Plus you would probably find that big movie studios pay the SFX companies incentives to work on their next big budget film as opposed to a smaller film.

What was the title of a movie where the lead character picks up a rather nervous looking man with a duffel bag? During the conversation that follows, the nervous guy says that he's invented his million dollar idea. It's six minute abs. The lead character replies that it sounds great, but what happens to his market if someone invents five minute abs. At which point the nervous guy gets completely thrown off track. I think in the next scene they pull over and the nervous guy gets out of the car because there's a cop nearby but leaves his duffel bag.

Answer: There's Something About Mary.

Grumpy Scot

I've always wondered this, but in the credits of a movie they have the director of photography's name with A.S.C. next to it. And I'm not sure but I think the editor has A.C.E. next to it. What do these mean?

Answer: The A.S.C. is the American Society of Cinematographers. A.C.E. stands for American Cinema Editors. Both of these are organisations dealing with the respective professions - education, quality and so on.

Tailkinker Premium member

I am trying to find the name of a Nicholas Cage movie. It was a film related to boxing and Cage was a body guard protecting a woman. That's all I can remember, it was a great movie but forgot to notice the title after it played on TV.

Answer: The movie is "Snake Eyes". Cage is a corrupt cop that must solve a murder at a boxing match, and protect a woman that knows everything.


I remember watching an old TV show, time period I think similar to 'Who's the Boss' and 'Three's company', but i can't remember the name. About a family, the dad built a robot daughter. She had dark hair, they had a real son too, the neighbour's daughter (red hair, I think) had a crush on him. Episodes include the robot girl going in the swimming pool and breaking, and the boy making a black and white film for class.

Answer: The show was called 'Small Wonder'. Check out the IMDb page for more info:


I remember a television sitcom as a kid (I'm now 30), about a family. The dad is a doctor and I do not remember the actor. The mom is a lawyer played by Patty Duke. They had two teenage kids. Anthony Edwards played the son and Helen Hunt played the daughter. Grandma lived with them. Anyone else remember this sitcom?

fan before the site

Chosen answer: Yes, the series was called "It Takes Two", and also starred Richard Crenna. It aired from 1982-1983. More information can be found at

LuMaria 1

I remember a cartoon when I was younger, around the same time as watching Battle of the planets. I'm sure it was 3 people (2 men and a woman) in a space ship or something that was at the bottom of a huge hole. I think they used to change into things, the woman used to change into a large black cat I think. Anyone else remember this?


Chosen answer: This was called "Space Sentinels". The two men were called Hercules (he had super strength) and Mercury (he had super speed). I forget the name of the woman but she could change into any animal. They got their orders in each episode from a huge face on a computer screen which may or may not have been their ship's computer. I am amazed that I have finally found someone else who remembers this show as everyone I have asked pleads ignorance.

This applies to all of the Star Wars films: I know that Denis Lawson is Ewan McGregor's uncle, but which side is Lawson related to, McGregor's father or mother?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: Denis Lawson is the younger brother of Ewan McGregor's mum.


There was a cartoon programme years ago, and I really want to know the title. All I know about is the main character is a fat lady in a pink dress, who is in the woods mostly. I remember her saying "Coo-ee, Arthur." alot, and I'm sure she had a pet dog.

Hamster Premium member

Chosen answer: The show was the excellent 'Willo The Wisp' voiced by Kenneth Williams. The fat lady was Mavis the fairy, Arthur was a caterpiller and the dog was the Moog. Check out for more.


When I was a little kid in Ukraine, late 80's, I saw a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in which he was a detective or a police officer. Anyway, the only scene I remember was at the very end when he was executed at a kindergarten playground, or just a back alley. In the movie there was also kids, but this wasn't Kindergarten cop, because he doesn't die at the end of it. Does anyone know this movie? Or at least any movie where Schwarzenegger is killed at the end, excluding Terminator.

Kirill Ostapenko

Chosen answer: The only movie that Arnie dies in (except the Terminator movies) is End of Days, but he died in a church, protecting the heroine. It must be another actor.

There was a show on PBS that was on when I was a kid and I don't remember the name. It was about kids who ran a TV show and I think they may have sang songs on it. What is the name of that show?

Bowling255 Premium member

Chosen answer: The show is called Kidsongs, the premise being that some kids are given the opportunity to run a show of their own. Kidsongs really started as a set of home videos and then had a brief run on the Disney Channel in 1992. It later ran on PBS for about eight years, with some changes to the format during that time, until 2002. There are some episodes available on DVD at, including 'A Day at Old MacDonald's Farm' and 'Play Along Fun'.

Super Grover Premium member

Maybe an older member will be able to help me out. Circa 1975, there was a original Ghostbusters cartoon that aired. It was not the one we all know today with 4 guys and Slimer. In this one, there were two ghostbusters, and they had a gorilla that would help them. Does anyone know where I could get a copy of it on VHS or DVD? I have tried looking, but the only place that seems to have even heard of it is

T Poston

Chosen answer: In 1975, there was a live action TV series, 'GhostBusters', starring Forrest Tucker (Jake Kong), Larry Storch (Eddie Spenser) (both of F-Troop btw) and Tracy the Gorilla. In 1986, Filmation's animated 'GhostBusters' starred the two sons of Jake Kong and Eddie Spenser, with Tracey the Gorilla, Jessica (a TV reporter), Futura (a girl from the future), and Belfry the Bat. There are animated episodes available only on VHS at, and they are: 1. Prime Evil & The All Ghoul Band; 2. Heroes Haunts & Hilarity; 3. Revenge of Prime Evil; 4. Second Chance; 5. Ghosts Coast to Coast; 6. Ghoul in Every Port; 7. Outlaw Inlaws; 8. Ghost of a Chance; 9. Spirits Spooks & Specters.

Super Grover Premium member

Can you give some examples of other films with deliberate 'additions' to them? For example the 'ghost' in Three Men and a baby. Do the film makers put these in to encourage people to buy or watch the film or are they genuine mistakes?

Sarah Davis

Chosen answer: The ghost in Three Men wasn't actually a deliberate addition, more rumour than an addition. An example of a supposed addition was a munchkin that had supposedly commited suicide on the Wizard of Oz set and was captured on screen. Many of these high profiled additions are not usually put into films. Most who claim they have stumbled upon something of great interest will generally make something out of what is usually nothing there (like the Virgin Mary in the cheese sandwich). Much like how many people claim to hear and see things in many Disney films. Filmmakers sometimes put little fun additions in their films like visual items or using lines from previous films. However its not their main priority, as I said most of these additions are just coincidence. For more rumours or supposed additions is a great site for urban legends.

Lummie Premium member

I'm after the title of a film about a boy obsessed with a horse. He rides out on them at night and then stabs them in the eyes. Very weird, black film. Sure the title had Phoenix in it?

Sarah Davis

Chosen answer: I believe the film you're referring to is "Equus", from 1977, which received three Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for Richard Burton. I might add that before the film this was originally a play at the National Theatre and then an acclaimed Broadway show, which earned quite a few awards, including awards for Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Super Grover Premium member

What is involved in the process of principal photography?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: Principal photography is simply the shooting of a film, whether on location on city streets, on an island somewhere or on set at a studio, etc., during a specific number of months - for instance beginning in the summer of 2005 carrying into the spring of 2006. Many times the production can be halted or pushed ahead because of actors' and crew's schedules or even strikes. Once principal photography is wrapped the actors go on to their next project and post-production attends to things like CG work, numerous sound effects - like foley and special effects, and if necessary (usually it is) actors come to the studio for looping/ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) or pickup shots - usually close-ups for a particular scene, which means that the actor's 'look' in the film has to be duplicated.

Super Grover Premium member

I watched this film ages ago but I have no idea what it's called. It is about a young girl who discovers she has leukemia and the only blood donor available is her brother. She goes through all sorts of complications with her Mum and at school. Does anyone know what the film is called?

Answer: I think possibly the movie you are thinking of was called "Desperate Choices." Reese Witherspoon played the girl with leukemia, and the issues with her mom were that if her brother donated the bone marrow there was no guarantee it would work. The procedure was risky and they might both die. This was a made for TV movie and I am unsure if you can get it on DVD or VHS.


I used to watch a show either on Disney (before it was free) or Nickelodeon, it was about two store mannequins that would come to life every night when the store closed and then do crazy things and have to be back before the store opened the next day. The title or any info would be great.


Chosen answer: "Today's Special" - the mannequin was Jeff, and there was a woman who set up displays. There was also a small mouse named Muffy, and a night watchman who was a puppet type figure, Sam. Jeff wore a special hat that allowed him to become human, and if it fell off he was a mannequin again.


In many films where the makers wish to show a character as having gymnastic skill, they include a shot of them doing a sequence. In many films this sequence is the same: a cartwheel, followed by a back handspring, followed by a back somersault. Is there any reason why this sequence is used so often (is it well-rehearsed by stuntmen or something)?

Moose Premium member

Chosen answer: As a gymnast I can tell you why - it's one of the first (and easiest) things to learn that still looks hard to do.

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