* ActorAllusion: Richard Kelly explained that every actor in the movie is playing an exaggerated, "dramatic" version of their usual comic persona.
** Creator/CheriOteri, known for playing very manic-depressive characters on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', is a psycho who flies off the handle at the slightest insult.
** Creator/JonLovitz's deadpan delivery is transformed into a dead-eyed racist who speaks in CreepyMonotone.
** Creator/AmyPoehler's [[TheDitz ditzy image]] becomes a neo-Marxist poet who [[spoiler: thinks she can mouth off to a fascist cop and gets shot for her trouble]].
** Christopher Lambert is once again in a plot about a futuristic corporation that devises a planetary energy shield, with undesirable side-effects. The first; ''Film/HighlanderIITheQuickening'' (1991).
* CreatorKiller: The film's divisive reception and box-office failure pretty much destroyed most of the clout that Richard Kelly had built up with ''Film/DonnieDarko''.
* DeletedRole: Creator/JaneaneGarofalo appears dancing with Pilot Abilene at the very end. It's all that's left of her role as General Teena [=MacArthur=], the military overseer of the Utopia tidal generator. Her storyline had her communicating with another victim of the post-Cannes trimming, Simon Theory (played by Creator/KevinSmith), where they discussed some of the more metaphysical {{Technobabble}}-ish parts of the story.
* DeletedScene: A scene that never even made it into the Cannes cut involves Boxer, right after [[spoiler:Starla gets shot]], 'bleeding' back in time to the 1920s and meeting Inga von Westphalen as a young fortune teller.
* ExecutiveMeddling: In [[http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/southland-tales-richard-kelly-interview this interview]], it seems like roughly half of Kelly's answers are "I totally explained that, but the studio made me cut it for pacing". Even Pilot Abilene's cryptic reference to black umbrellas is an orphaned CallBack to a deleted scene where Boxer Santaros becomes unstuck in time and "bleeds" back into the 1920s.
* FollowUpFailure: To ''Film/DonnieDarko''. Some called it Richard Kelly's ''Film/HeavensGate''.
* MagnumOpusDissonance: While ''Film/DonnieDarko'' might have been Richard Kelly's most well-received work, this remains the one that he is the most enthusiastic about.
* PlayingAgainstType: Pretty much the entire cast. See WhatTheHellCastingAgency in the YMMV page for more information.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: ''Southland Tales'' was originally planned to be a 9 part saga, with the film representing the last 3 parts. The first 6 parts were going to be told in 6 graphic novels, but that number was later trimmed down to 3.