Star Trek (2009)
The In-Joke: Kirk refers to Spock as a “pointy-eared Bastard” only for McCoy to retort, “I kinda like him.”
Why It’s Great: It’s a subtle reversal of the traditional TV dynamic, in which Kirk would forever be defending Spock to an increasingly frustrated McCoy. Nice switcheroo.
If It Was Reversed: McCoy would hate Spock, subverting the subversion of their initial dynamic. Put simply, nothing would change!
Toy Story (1995)
The In-Joke: The appearance of the Pizza Planet truck, which goes on to appear in every single film released by Pixar.
Why It’s Great: The pizza truck offers fans a neat game of eye-spy to pursue throughout the Pixar canon. Have you found them all?
If It Was Reversed: One day we’ll get a Pizza Planet movie, featuring appearances by every one of Pixar’s characters to date. Maybe…
The In-Joke: Lotso the bear can be spotted in a child’s bedroom, presumably before he found his way to the daycare centre…
Why It’s Great: Pixar movies are groaning with in-jokes, but this one actually feeds into the plot of Toy Story 3 , giving us a look at Lotso’s former life.
If It Was Reversed: Unsurprisingly, there’s already a reference to Up in Toy Story 3 , with a postcard from Carl and Ellie pinned to Andy’s notice board.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The In-Joke: A tattered poster for The Hills Have Eyes can be spotted in the basement of the old cabin.
Why It’s Great: Legend has it that the torn poster is a jibe at Wes Craven, who included a torn Jaws poster in the aforementioned horror flick. Either way, it’s a cool reference.
If It Was Reversed: As mentioned before, Nancy attempts to watch The Evil Dead to keep herself awake in Nightmare On Elm Street . What can we read into the fact that she fails?
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory #1 (2005)
The In-Joke: During Wonka’s childhood flashback a trio of children are spotted wearing Halloween outfits. They are replicas of the costumes worn by Lock, Shock and Barrel in The Nightmare Before Christmas .
Why It’s Great: References to cult films are always pleasing, especially when they’re on the subtle side as this one is.
If It Was Reversed: There would be a Wonkabar poking out of one of the children’s stockings.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory #2 (2005)
The In-Joke: The group walk past a room full of pink sheep, to which Wonka snaps, “I don’t want to talk about it.” It’s a reference to his character in Ed Wood , a cross-dresser with a predilection for pink woollen sweaters.
Why It’s Great: It would have flown way over the heads of the younger audience, but is a nice reference for the movie-savvy parents in the cinema.
If It Was Reversed: Ed is seen to be keeping an orange midget locked in a cupboard.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)
The In-Joke: In the midst of Indy’s escape from the Russians, a jeep hits a crate, revealing the Ark of the Covenant for a split-second.
Why It’s Great: It recaptures the spirit of the original trilogy, something the rest of the film singularly fails to do.
If It Was Reversed: Indy would mention the existence of bizarre, large-skulled aliens before pissing himself laughing.
Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (1991)
The In-Joke: The Ark of the Covenant makes another appearance, this time in a secret government warehouse full of interesting artefacts…
Why It’s Great: A scene like this basically gives the makers free reign to cram in as many movie references as they can. Rosebud the sled is in there too!
If It Was Reversed: A filler story about a man shrinking his child is spotted in an inside column of a newspaper Indy is reading.
Jason Goes To Hell (1993)
The In-Joke: The Necronomicon is spotted in the Voorhees household, as is a crate marked Arctic Expedition Julia Carpenter Horlicks University, previously seen in Creepshow .
Why It’s Great: The Voorhees home is the perfect setting to crowbar in a whole host of horror references. Creepy stuff.
If It Was Reversed: We wouldn’t be surprised to see a hockey mask hanging in the toolshed alongside Freddy’s glove.
Superman Returns (2006)
The In-Joke: Perry shows Clark an image of Superman lifting a car over his head, a scene that apes the cover art of the edition of Action Comics in which Superman appears for the first time.
Why It’s Great: Every self-respecting Superman fan would recognise that reference. Good work, Mr. Singer.
If It Was Reversed: Superman’s latest adventure would see him save a couple of honeymooners named Brandon and Ruth.