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Revision as of 01:59, 30 October 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 0 (0%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

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Movie Folder
That's actually the original Japanese version of A Million Random Digits, which is much better than the American remake the book was based on.
Title text: That's actually the original Japanese version of A Million Random Digits, which is much better than the American remake the book was based on.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Are there more to some of the titles?

Cueball is looking through Black Hat's downloaded movies, which are all adaptations of non-literary works, improbable sequels, and/or crossovers between very disparate properties. Cueball reacts with increasing incredulity to Black Hat's collection, while Black Hat casually responds with equally unlikely (non-)explanations. Knowing Black Hat, his movie folder is deliberately weird just to provoke this kind of reaction.

In the real world, there are movies which can provoke similar shock. For example, many successful films get direct-to-video (or, now, direct-to-digital) sequels and spinoffs, often featuring none of the original cast and which get very little marketing. Therefore, someone might be surprised to know that there's an American Psycho 2, a Starship Troopers 3, a Dr. Dolittle 4, or a Bring It On 5. Randall previously made fun of the proliferation of direct-to-video sequels in What If: Twitter Timeline Height, with at least 27 Land Before Time films (in reality, there were 14).

Another source of weird titles are mockbusters. When a film uses a public domain property as its basis, or a title that is too generic to trademark, other studios will simply create their own films and pretend that they're a sequel to the more famous film. Examples include Titanic II, Troll 2, Troll 3, the other Troll 3, Day of the Dead 2: Contagium, Alien 2: On Earth (not to be confused with the real sequel Aliens) and War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave.

Marketing wheezes have also produced some crossovers almost as unexpected as those in the comic — Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter are all real films.

A similar setting with Cueball and Black Hat also discussing movies was seen in 493: Actuarial. Back then Black Hat was still reading newspapers. Black Hat has previously given similar non-answers to long series of questions from Cueball in 908: The Cloud and 1159: Countdown.

Another type of comic where movie titles needs to be guessed from strange versions of the title was previously used in the Synonym Movies series.

Black Hat's downloaded movies

Title Explanation
Lorem Ipsum: The Movie Lorem Ipsum are the first two words of a common block of garbled Latin filler text used by typesetters to layout pages before real text is available. This title implies that this movie is entirely random filler with no meaningful content, although according to the Internet Movie Database, there is a 2011 movie titled Lorem Ipsum.
Titanic XCVIII The most famous film about the ship Titanic is James Cameron's Titanic from 1997. But there have been several since then (at least five) some of which where probably trying to cash in on the name, especially the one called Titanic II, which is about a ship in 2012 called Titanic II. But the producers probably hoped some people would buy the DVD believing it was a sequel to the 1997 movie, a real mockbuster, originally released directly for TV. Black Hat's dialogue implies the preceding films are about at least 97 different Titanics which all sank, creating an artificial reef, and this film is about the 98th (Roman numerals XCVIII = 98) hitting that reef (rather than an iceberg). As Titanic rests on the Atlantic sea floor at a depth of 3,784 m (12,415 feet), each of the previous Titanics would need to a) settle immediately on top of its predecessor and b) increase the height of the "reef" by about 40 m (128 feet) on average. The original Titanic was 53 m (175 feet) tall and (assuming a and b above), the keel of the 98th ship would sink to a depth of 20 m (65 feet). However, it would be impossible to stack only 97 Titanic replicas in a more than 3 km high pile in this location to reach this height.
Debbie Did 9/11 A combination of Debbie Does Dallas, a 1970s porn film about a cheerleader squad trying to raise money, and a 9/11 conspiracy theory. Actual Debbie Does Dallas sequels include 5 numbered ones, two titled Debbie Does Dallas Again, several with subtitles, and some parodies, unofficial sequels and spinoffs that — like the title quote here — change what Debbie does. IMDb lists, among others, Debbie Does Iowa, Debbie Does Wall Street, Debbie Does 'em All and Debbie Does Damnation. But it is always Does and never Did... However, in this kind of movie when she does something it of course means to have sex, while 9/11 is a historical event. The assertion that she "did 9/11" may be a reference to conspiracy theories attributing the 9/11 attacks to some source other than Osama bin Laden (e.g. an "inside job" designed to rally the public behind the government).
Time Jam: A Connecticut Huskie on King Arthur's Court A combination of the novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain and the 1996 movie Space Jam. Mark Twain's story is one of the first time travel stories, while Space Jam stars Michael Jordan and features the Looney Tunes cartoon characters playing basketball against aliens. The huskie is a reference to the University of Connecticut sports teams called the Connecticut Huskies, most notably their basketball team. So in this movie it is one of these Connecticut players who gets Time Jammed (rather than Space Jammed) back to the fictional King Arthur's court in the late 5th and early 6th centuries AD. An additional basketball reference is the use of "on King Arthur's Court" rather than the original "in King Arthur's Court".
Harold and Kumar Go to Howl's Moving Castle A combination of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle — about the meandering and very adult adventures of Harold and Kumar (a pair of stoners) — and Howl's Moving Castle — a tender, often philosophical children's anime film by Hayao Miyazaki, based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones.
A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates This is actually a real book from 1955 (also referenced in 1210: I'm So Random) — back before scientists had access to computers that could easily generate random numbers, this book was very useful for statistics and for setting up scientific experiments. The book is literally just a list of numbers, so there would be no movie in it except for flashing numbers on a screen. Black Hat comments that the movie came before the book, which was a novelization of the film. The title text says that the movie is an adaptation of Japanese version. But in the modern world 'Arabic' digits are nearly universal, so it is hard to understand how an adaptation would be different from the Japanese original, unless they used Japanese numerals (which are rarely used for mathematical purposes). It is very common that great/successful Japanese movies (and other countries' great movies) get (often mediocre) American remakes, like the famous horror movie Ring from 1998, which was remade in America as The Ring in 2002.
Michael Bay's The Vagina Monologues The Vagina Monologues is a famous play by Eve Ensler. It consists entirely of a series of women talking frankly about their bodies, their sexuality and their lives. There's no place in it for explosions, but Michael Bay (who is known especially for the modern Transformers movies as well as The Rock and Armageddon, and is also known for his rather unfeminist behavior and excessive explosions in the movies he directs) found a way. Black Hat comments that he found it good despite all those CGI explosions.


[Black Hat is sitting in an armchair, with the right arm on the armrest and looking at his smartphone held in his left hand, when a voice from behind him (off-panel left) addresses him. It turns out in the next panels that it is Cueball.]
Cueball (off-panel): Your movie folder is so weird. Where do you find all this stuff?
Black Hat: Dunno.
Black Hat: Around.
[In an frame-less panel Cueball is seen sitting in an office chair at a desk facing left. He is looking at Black Hat's computer while typing on the keyboard which is on a shelve lower than the regular desk surface. Black Hat replies to his queries from behind him off-panel right.]
Cueball: Lorem Ipsum: The Movie?
Cueball: Titanic XCVIII?
Black Hat (off-panel): That series gets good when they start hitting the reef created by all the previous wrecks.
[Cueball leans in closer to the screen.]
Cueball: Debbie Did 9/11?
Cueball: Time Jam: A Connecticut Huskie on King Arthur's Court?
Black Hat (off-panel): Really underrated Space Jam sequel.
[Zoom in on the scene so nothing beneath the keyboard is visible. The screen and Cueballs head almost spans the width of the panel.]
Cueball: Harold and Kumar Go to Howl's Moving Castle?
Cueball: A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates?
Black Hat (off-panel): That's the original-the book was a novelization.
[Back to Black Hat sitting in the chair as in the first panel, but leaning a bit further back and the arm on the armrest has been moved closer to him.]
Cueball (off-panel): Michael Bay's The Vagina Monologues!?
Black Hat: It's pretty good, despite all the CGI explosions.

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