Does everyone these days know what a movie cookie is? I’m talking about the little scene a director sticks at the very end of the credits. They aren’t quite the same as outtakes — those are bits with muffed lines or where props didn’t work, and they’re often shown during the credits. And obviously, both are different from deleted scenes, which are bits that the director artistically excluded from the final product.
For a long time movie cookies were rare and always came at the very end, after all the final credits. They were a special treat (a cookie) for sophisticated movie goers who watch the entire movie rather than heading for the door the moment the final music begins.
Recently, cookies have become common, and are appearing early in the credits!
Which, yes, to give you the punchline, is yet another sign to me that society is turning into something Not Good. Movie cookies have, to me, always been something of a symbol of how impatient and jittery people have become.
For a long time, I’ve shaken my head about the little gems people miss by immediately leaving the theater the moment the movie plot ends. For one example, there is a fun cookie at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and it’s possible many people who have seen the movie have never seen that bit.
One that is mind-blowing is what happens during the credits of Wild Things. Firstly, this is one of my favorite movies! It’s a “Florida noir” type film — a genre more or less started by Key Largo, but which really reached its pinnacle with Body Heat.
Florida noir is film noir set in the tropics, so it’s dark and twisty and sexy plus hot and sultry tropics. Also, Florida noir films usually have a big twist ending, one that — ideally — completely re-writes the film you just saw. (The perfect example: The ending of Body Heat.)
Wild Things takes twisty to new levels. The film shows you what’s going on… and then pulls the rug out from under you. “Nope!” it says, “Fooled you, what’s really going on is…” And then, awhile later, it does it again. And again. And yet again. Several times you find out that what’s really going on isn’t what you thought.
And then the movie ends, and the plot seems wrapped up, so you head out the door during the credits. Except, in this movie during the final credits you see short scenes that completely re-write the plot (again).
If you walked out during the credits of Wild Things, you haven’t actually seen the real movie and you don’t know what really happened!
There are two reasons I began actually watching the credits back in my college days. Firstly, as a film student, I wanted to honor those who’d worked on the movie by reading their names. This reason is part of why I still do it. Those people spent months of their life creating this; I can spend a few minutes watching their names.
Secondly, especially after college, I watched the credits to see if there was anyone I knew, any former classmates who’d made it into the big time. (I never did see any familiar names, and at this point it’s largely moot.)
But I still watch credits to honor those who worked on the film, and because I think it’s nice to sit and reflect after a movie. (I’ve never been the one to rush off to the next experience. I like to think about what I just saw.)
Besides, more often than not, you just end up standing in the line of people all trying to leave. That’s something I’ve never understood when it comes to exiting sporting events, airplanes and other crowded places. That need to stand in line waiting for the line to move. (A situation that often leads to me making cow noises.)
Doesn’t it make more sense to sit comfortably waiting for the crowd to disperse? (When I rant about people being stupid, it’s stuff like this I’m ranting about.)
And the thing is, you never know when you’ll get a really fun cookie. There’s one at the end of another favorite film, Airplane!. It’s a flash back to the taxi cab Ted Striker left at the curb. A passenger has been sitting in it waiting throughout the movie. In the cookie, he says, “Well, I’ll give him 20 more minutes, but that’s it!”
And while that isn’t a great cookie (especially compared to the rest of one of the funniest movies ever made), it taught me early about cookies.
And it isn’t just the cookies you can miss.
Some movies have outtakes during the credits (or go even further as with Wild Things). The early Pixar film, A Bug’s Life, had a bunch of (supposed) outtakes during the credits. Except that, of course, animated films can’t have actual outtakes, so they had to write and animate some. As with Wild Things, it’s an addition to the movie that you completely miss if you walk out early.
Recently, the various Marvel Comics movies have used cookies to foreshadow coming films. Even their TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. uses them to tease future episodes. Cookies have become common.
And they’re coming early now. I’ve noticed at least twice now that a few major credits will roll — then comes the cookie — and the rest of the credits come after that.
Apparently, cookies have become popular, which means they need to be served early to an impatient audience eager to stand in the exit line and looking forward to that fight to get out of the parking lot.
So my little symbol of the general impatience and foolishness of people once again signals a change in social behavior that I really wonder about!
You can head for the exit now, or…