'Midnight Meat Train'-Spotting: The Best Movie In-Jokes

Best Movie In Jokes

Bradley Cooper’s past comes back to haunt him in The Silver Linings Playbook. Check out what’s playing at the movie theatre that serves as a backdrop for an emotional confrontation between Cooper and co-star Jennifer Lawrence. It’s Midnight Meat Train, a pre-stardom cult curio in Cooper’s career. It’s a nifty visual in-joke — perpetrated by Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell — that may escape those unfamiliar with Cooper's oeuvre or are too wrapped up in the intense scene to notice. After the jump you'll find a representative sampling of some you may have missed and things to watch and listen for so you don’t.

Best Movie In-JokesWhat’s Playing?
Movie marquees and posters have long been handy props for filmmakers to sneak in a visual aside. In Lethal Weapon, a marquee displays the The Lost Boys, (“This summer’s hit”), which director Richard Donner executive produced. The Kiefer Sutherland vampire classic would not be release until four months after Lethal Weapon, however.  In Back to the Future Part II, the main attraction in 2015 at Hill Valley’s Holomax theatre is Jaws 19 (“This time, it’s really, really personal”) directed by Max Spielberg, the son of BTTF executive producer Steven. Richard Benjamin paid homage to his wife in Made in America with a theater marquee announcing a Paula Prentiss retrospective. For the “Thriller” music video, John Landis (more on him later) couldn’t resist displaying a poster for his first film, Schlock, at the theatre where Michael Jackson and his date see a horror movie.

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