Can You Name This Movie?

New questions/solutions added Nov 11/03

Each week I seem to get more and more vague descriptions of movies asking me to identity them. So lets set that record straight. I can't do it. And I won't. I just don't have that kind of time. I also don't believe that it is humanly possible to identify many of these films. Not just because they are rarities that I may have not seen, but also because the descriptions are just SO vague. If a person remembers that little of the plot and the cast, why bother? BUT, I decided to compile a list of all these "indistinguishable movies" and post it up for readers to take a crack at. It will be updated weekly with new forgotten films and, hopefully, solutions.

Indistinguishable Movie List

#1 "This movie is probably from the 60's; I saw it on TV probably sometime during the 70's. The plot involves a wealthy man who invites several internationally famous thieves to his palace to try to steal some artifact from a heavily booby-trapped vault. One by one, they fail and are killed in the vault. The only scene I recall in detail occurs near the end and is set in the vault, which has a black and white checkerboard floor. The only successful thief wears a black-and-white costume that allows him to blend in to the floor and escape detection while he scans the floor for mines. That's all I know."

#2 "The second film is more recent, perhaps from the early 90's. It involves a couple from the suburbs who drive into the city (unnamed, but it looks like Chicago) for the day. The husband has an interview for a job and the wife plans to spend the day shopping and meet him later. The husband misses his appointment by going to the wrong restaurant in a seedy part of town, but he has to wait there for his wife. Every place in that part of town closes up at 6:00, so he is kicked out of the restaurant and finds his car has been locked up in the closed parking lot. After his wife is dropped off at the restaurant, they find they cannot get a cab to come. There's no one else around and they wander through the darkened streets looking for some way to get home. The film becomes more surreal as they simply cannot find their way out of the neighborhood and they never encounter anyone else. Eventually, they encounter a gang of ruffians whom they then try to avoid while trying to find their way back to a populated area."

-- Could this person be thinking of the [fairly recent] remake of The Out of Towners ? It almost sounds like a combination of that one and the classic "After Hours" with Griffin Dunne. [Thanks Jeane]

#3 "What movie featured gambling and had shots in slow motion of dice bouncing up a table (from a dice point of view) and featured extreme close ups of a roulette wheel as well?"

-- I would suspect the film is Casino. I at least remember the dice. I've been kicking around if I want to re-watch it, now I just may. [Thanks Evan!]

#4 "I am trying to find the name of a movie in which these kids learn of a monster that lives in a flooded quarry. It turns out that the monster is actually a crane that was left there when the quarry flooded, and when air bubbles get trapped in the scoop, it rises to the surface, all covered in weeds, looking very much like a monster. One poor guy dies of fright when he sees it. One of the kids dives down to investigate, and gets trapped in the scoop part, and can't get out. That's all I remember, please help me find the name if you can!"

-- The movie was called "The Quest", and starred the kid from "Flight of the Navigator".

#5 "There are 3 films I remember watching when I was a child, so probably between 1970 and 1975, (i'm 36 now), so these films are all probably from the 1960's or earlier, I can just remember snippets from them, hope you can solve the mystery for me:

a) This movie had the feel of a kind of Bond movie, and the thing I remember most about it was a fight scene where a gun was wrestled from the goodie by the baddie and shot, but the bullet came out backwards from the gun, shooting the baddie!

-- This was one of the four Dean Martin "Matt Helm" movies, possibly "The Silencers" [Thanks Wil]

b) This film had an egyptian or a kinda aztec warrior tribe feel, where a means of execution or perhaps ritual sacrifice was to sit the unfortunate protagonist at the top of a device shaped like a childs slide, but was instead a sharp blade from top to bottom, thus slicing the guy in two from the "goolies" upwards when he was pushed onto it!

-- I think this movie might be "The Long Ships, about a Viking quest for a golden bell, starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier [Thanks Sandy]

c) This is the vaguest of the three, had a WW2 or espionage feel to it, all I can remember was what seemed all the way through the film it showed the slow, constant "drip, drip, drip" of water presumably into some vessel, and at the end of the film, a massive explosion at some secret installation!"

-- This was probably "Das Boot." [Thanks Wil]

#6 I have been trying to find the name of a movie for over a year and this has finally led me to you. It is a movie probably released in the 1980s. It begins with a city bus ride, the kind that have electric cables on top. The scene is at night and it is raining. The bus crashes and all the people on the bus 'die'. But they each have unfinished business to take care of and they are allowed to do one thing to make it right. I really loved this movie and it did impact me. I have mentioned it to many friends and they recall it too. None of us can remember the title or who starred in it! Help us Movie Guru, you are our last and only hope! lol

-- The movie is called "Heart & Souls (1993)" and stars Robert Downey Jr, Charles Grodin, Alfre Woodard and Kyra Sedgwick. -- Thanks to Chris, Kimball, Mitch, Rafael & Liz for sending in their solutions

#7 My son remembers me watching a movie sometimes between 1990 and 1996 that involved a woman who was stranded on the higher floors maybe the top floor of a building in a city and she's unable to break out. He tells me that he thinks the furniture was nailed to the floor so she was unable to use them to break a window to escape. He thinks he remembers a bird being involved or entering the room where she was captive. He's not sure but he thinks that the bird may have attacked her.

#8 This movie had Demi Moore, Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Dan Ackroid. It took place in New Jersey. The travelers get pulled over and get taken off to traffic court. Traffic court is held in this HUGE old house. The judge appears and his nose looks like a penis. John Candy plays a dual role as the cop and the judge's daughter. They end up spending the night and the house is just crazy. I remember them taking a ride on a little roller coaster that is in the house, and they end up in a pile of bones.

- The movie is Nothing But Trouble (aren't they all?) [Thanks Andrea, Brooke & Jones]

#9 I used to watch this movie as a child I had it on tape. I kind of know its name in a different language in a free translation it's called "stack in gravy." It's a bunch of no good gits that are made to go on a rafting contest and the movie tells of their journey hope you'll know it. I'm looking for 2 years if not more.

#10 Need help finding name of old B&W movie where a group of researchers find a tribe with a women that has eternal youth as long as she takes potion from a ring mixed with men's blood. The female researcher brings this ring back with her and starts killing men to stay young. She ends up dying twice as old and wrinkled because she couldn't get to a blood source in time. Does anyone know the name of this movie?

#11 (new) I saw a movie on AMC about 6 months ago with John Cusack. I believe the female costar was Reese Witherspoon. It looked like it was made in the mid to late 90s. Cusack was trying to sell an antique document and had to arrange the theft to look like a murder had taken place. He was a college graduate who had returned to his home town and was working in a recycling plant and met up with an old friend who was now a college professor. Please tell me the name of the film if you can. Thank you.

#12 Hi....can you please help me with a movie title I can't remember. The movie is probably about 10-15 years old (maybe more). I can't even remember who the actors were that played in the movie. The only thing I remember about the plot was this:

There are two married couples that live next door to one another. The two husbands become pretty good friends. One husband suggests to the other husband that the two should have a secret affair with each other's wife. They both agree to. On the night that this has been planned, each husband gets out of bed in the that this has been planned, each husband gets out of bed in the middle of the night and secretly goes to the other's house and slips into bed with the other's wife. One husband actually goes thru with the plan while the other doesn't. The next morning the husband that actually followed thru with the plan finds out that the wife he secretly slept with is now dead. If you can help, I would greatly appreciate it!!

-- The movie was called 'Consenting Adults' (1992). The couples in question were Richard (Kevin Kline) and Priscilla (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) whose

new neighbors are Eddy (Kevin Spacey) and his beautiful wife (Rebecca Miller). Directed by Alan J Pakula. [Thanks to Mark from New Zealand & others]

#13 (new) A creepy sounding flick from "Donna P": This is not going to be a vague description so please read and try...

the plot is about a young black boy who is running drugs for a dealer that is also dating the young boys' sister. the young boy recruits his young white friend who brags about all the money he is making and ends up getting shot when a car falls on his hand and he cannot escape. there is a scene in the movie where there is a pit bull fight. the young boy gets mad at the way the dogs are treated so he takes his dog and leaves. then he hangs his dog from the fire escape and shoots him 3 times so he doesn't have to fight anymore and kill anymore dogs. anyway, they boy gets tired of all the deaths caused by his sisters boyfriend ( the dealer) so he sets him up with the law. the law comes in the sisters apartment where the young boy has planted alot of evidence against the dealer. the boy is there and tells the cops where the drugs and guns are hidden. as far as i remember that is the end of the show. this movie was on just last night (11-10-03). on direct T.V.

#14 (new) From Rich D: I have been looking for this movie for a long time. The plot goes something like this. A rich man befriends a poor man and takes him sailing. The poor man kills the rich man and assumes his identity. All is going well for the poor man until the remains of the rich man is found in the boats rigging at the end. It is an older movie that I watched some time ago I would appreciate any help.

#15 (new) From Scott T: Dear Movie Guru,

I have tried finding out the answer to this question for awhile now with no luck. Maybe you can help. I remember a scene that made me cry I laughed so hard:

Two guys are eating at a restaurant and one of the guys gets what I think was a kernel of corn on his chin, his friend looks at him and points to his chin without saying a word to let him know he had something on his face. The guy then wipes his face and looks up at his friend to see if he got it but the piece of food has now moved to his cheek, this goes on for 3 or 4 more times with the food ending up on his forehead and his friend is now tired of trying to help him and finally says "you got it".

Any help you can offer would be great.

#16 (new) Jennifer B. writes: Please help!!! This movie was a kid movie back in the 80's. This little girl goes to this make believe land (almost like a tella tubby land) to try and steal this fruit from a witches tree to keep her grandma young. She goes through a mirror in her room.

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}#17 (new) My name is Joya and I am trying to find a movie to purchase for my parents as a gift. The only problem is I don't know too much about it and was hoping you could help me. This movie is supposedly where my name came from. It is an old movie that stars Anthony Quinn and an actress by the name of Anna Manianni ( I don't think that is spelled right). Anna was the character Joya I believe. The movie is about a man who is married and his wife dies, so he sends for his sister (Joya/actress Anna). This sister is full of life and beauty etc. In the end the two fall in love. My mom thinks the movie was made in the fifties but is not sure. I would greatly appreciate any information you could provide me with in this search; I know I don't give you much help. Thanks,

: o)

#18 (new) Ok, I saw this movie on HBO or HBO2 about a week ago in the morning. It was this horror film that was kind of cheesy about a man that is paralyzed and gets a helper monkey. the monkey turns evil on the guy and tries to kill him. the ending is hilarious he gets this operation to fix his back so he wont be paralyzed anymore and when he goes under he has this dream that the monkey just pops out of his back when the doctors are about to operate. You gotta find the name of this movie it is so hilarious. I'm pretty sure the name of the main character is ace. This query comes from "Dilapidated Youth." Really.

#19 (new) This film gets me a tad curious also. Katey L describes it as follows: I have been trying to figure out the title of this movie that I saw back in a high school law class. It would be a mid to late 1980's movie that dealt with a panel of judges who essentially "take matters into their own hands" when certain cases are thrown out of court on minor technicalities (i.e. a guy who commits this horrible murder is freed due to the fact that a key piece of evidence is obtained by law officials by searching through the guy's garbage without a warrant). A new judge is brought into the "circle" and has problems with the ethics of this group. I want to say it is called "The Pyramid" or something like that, but can't figure out the exact title to find it in a movie store. Can you help??

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}#20 (new) Amy says that she needs our help: "I need your help!"

The movie is 7-12 years old. Murder mystery. A man is accused of killing someone. A lawyer comes to defend him and is doing a good job when he starts to wonder about the guys innocence. He is trying to defend his client but figures out he did kill someone. He goes to where he thinks the murder weapon is and finds it. I think it is a swampy area and I think he finds a knife or gun. The murderer figures out that his lawyer is on to him and shows up. There is a struggle

and some hide and seek and I think the murderer loses. Maybe even gets it by a gator in the swamp. I think both actors were big names but cant be sure as I can't remember who they were. Can you help? [Can YOU?]

#21 (new) You'd think that an Optometrist, such as Stephen, would have miraculous vision, but no, even eye specialists need a double look sometimes: I was looking for the name of a movie that was supposed to be based on a true story during WWII. Some people became trapped in a fully supplied underground bunker for possibly several months or even years. I think it happened in France.

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}#22 (new) Our next quest comes all the way from Scotland, from a lovely lass named Lorna: Please can you name this film from the 1970's or early 80's, made in the US. Two couples go on holiday in a camper van/Winnebago, and on the first night witness a satanic ritual and murder. They flee, and report it to the police the next day, but when they return to the scene there is no sign of any murder/fire etc. It turns out that the police are in on the satanic cult, and wherever the people go, the locals are all cult members, so the 2 couples spend the movie trying to escape. At the end of the movie, they think they've gotten away when flames spring up all round their Winnebago and the fire is encircled by satanic cult members (in robes?). I can't remember who any of the actors were, but it was an excellent film.

Please please can you tell me what it was called?