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Headscratchers: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • If Flint's spray-on shoes never came off, how come his feet haven't become all gangrenous and rotten from being unable to breathe all those years?
    • He probably created some way to freshen the feet in case that happened. Either way, it's a cartoon- don't take everything too seriously.
    • SCIENCE, that's how. Also, maybe they're like those Geox shoes that breathe?
      • The spray shoes were intended as, well, shoes. He probably had something build-in that would "control" the condition of his feet.
      • Skin doesn't need to breathe. It does exfoliate, which is precisely the reason a permanent skin adhesive is impossible.
      • Skin doesn't need to breathe, true. However, spraying on an impermeable coating would presumably trap ambient anaroebic bacterial spores next to the skin, and give them the most perfect environment imaginable to grow and thrive—moisture from sweat, high-protein dead skin cells as a culture medium, and body temperature to incubate them. Very Bad Things would begin happening pretty soon, I think.
    • I think the spray-on shoes did eventually come off...Flint just had to spend hours scraping the stuff off.
      • The movie makes a big point of the fact that his feet are still encased in the spray-on shoes through adulthood, and several scenes in the movie depend on this.
    • And how the hell did his feet grow? Was it like Chinese footbinding and his feet are just wrecked, or what?
      • I always figured the spary-on shoes could stretch.
    • I had figured that he had come up with a way to get them off, but wears them out of habit (or because he doesn't like shoelaces). He can just spray on a new pair every day or two.
    • He does tell Sam right after he meets her though, that they don't come off. The fact it is so strong, after all, is the way he destroys the machine by plugging it up.
      • In the sequel, the spray-coating DOES come off....but only after it suffers from a massive explosion as a result of millions of tons of pressure from food. Besides Flint Lockwood is a person who invented a freakin PORTAL for groceries! He can probably invent a special disintegrator to take off shoes.

  • Where did Flint get a pet monkey, anyway?
    • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter — The Guild of Calamitous Intent has an outreach program for budding Mad Scientists in the hope they go bad, or net them a neat patent. He wasn't very well funded though, the secret base of his was still mostly scrap material.
    • Monkeys are a fairly common research animal due to their biological similarities between humans, and because they're pretty intelligent. It's really not that unusual for him to have a lab monkey of sorts. Likewise, while the ethics of keeping a monkey as a pet are debated, the concept is not unheard of even today. Not to mention that there are monkeys that are specifically trained to help people with performing certain tasks (Though, it's usually people with disabilities who have these specially trained monkeys, not scientists). Most likely he got said monkey from either an exotic animal salesperson (Let's not get into the legal issues regarding this, ok?) or from another laboratory that was willing to donate one of their test animals.

  • How in the hell did the mayor get into Flint's lab?! The tube/tunnel thing was obviously not made for people who have been gorging themselves 24/7. His own dad barely made it in there without getting stuck. Plus, if it's password protected, the mayor shouldn't have been able to get in, skinny or not.
    • One door is a rusty sliding door that has a lightup game that just blinked to look like a keypad, the other is a sheet with a pattern dyed/stitched onto it. he typed codes because it made him feel cooler not because they did anything.
    • Chalk this one up to Rule of Funny. Flint even lampshades it by asking this question himself.
    • Could also cross into Fridge Horror.
      • How? I just assumed he had gotten in through the roof or something, if he hadn't been there the whole time and gotten stuck up there (was that your Fridge Horror?) He's the mayor, they have helicopters.
      • Proposing Fridge Horror is the funniest thing this troper has read all day.

  • World hunger.
    • What about it?
    • ...Averted?
    • Some descriptions of the movie found online say that Flint was trying to create a machine to solve world hunger, when in the actual movie he was working on the FLDSMDFR for the sake of his hometown, not the world. I'm guessing this is left over from earlier versions of the film, where he was actually a government scientist trying to solve world hunger.
    • Given what happened at the end, making the machine produce enough food to avert world hunger would probably be a bad idea. Plus, as stated elsewhere, eventually all the water would be used up and you'd be looking and world thirst instead. Replacing one problem for another doesn't solve much.

  • World drought. That thing sucked up and used enough fresh water to throw off the balance of life on the planet.
    • It could do it eventually, but Flint would have plenty of time to make a version that turns dirt into water. Luckily, you don't need a machine to turn food to dirt.
    • Food turned back into water when the machine imploded. For some reason.
  • How the HELL does the FLDSMDFR just hang there? Flint didn't intend the thing to become what it did... it only took off like a rocket because of how much power it was attached to suddenly, and it doesn't look to be outside the Earth's atmosphere, so it should just fall back to Chewandswallow, right?
    • Suction from pulling in all the clouds, and propulsion from shooting out all the food?

  • Wouldn't dumping a lot of meat products (dead animals) over several square miles result in anything not caught right away rotting; resulting in vermin and plague?

  • "This contact represents you! And my eye represents my eye! I've got" you on my eye! Owww!
    • He's friggen Mr.T, his metaphors don't have to make sense.

  • Why doesn't Flint ever test his inventions? The montage near the beginning implies that all those inventions were applied for the very first time in the presentations! What kind of pathetic scientist is he?
    • Part of Flint's character arc is that he doesn't tend to think through his actions, and he has to learn to do this in order to save the day.
    • He tested the FLDSMDFR. He's learning (or was, prior to Flying Car 2: With Wings, but No Time To Do A Trial Run).

  • When the satellite communication link with the FLDSMDFR is destroyed, why does Flint build Flying Car 2, and, not, say, another satellite communication linking device? It'd probably take about the same amount of time, and he doesn't need to draw up any new blueprints or designs for the latter.
    • Yeah I thought this, we have it established that it would take Flint three hours to build another one as well which seems reasonable to the ammount of time it took to do things the hard way.
    • Maybe he just didn't have the parts available?
    • Perhaps he didn't write down the frequency and/or protocol he was using.
      • It was very likely he didn't have one when he started work on it in the first place, remember it was not meant to work that way.

  • Meta one, here: Neil Patrick Harris. In a show about a Mad Scientist. Neil freakin' Patrick Harris. And he plays a monkey.
    • I actually thought Neil was Flint, and was internally squeeing because it seemed like a Dr. Horrible AU with a happy ending, and then...yeah. In my head he IS Flint.
    • Hey, there's a trope for this! Something of an inversion, but still...
    • I loved him as the monkey. He would have been great as Flint, but the monkey was perfect. It would have been perfect and great if they'd used him for Flint and Steve (and possibly Flint's Dad's translated voice), with a nice helping of "oh, that's so cool" because the translator voice should have been expected to have been based on recordings or synthesized imitations of Flint's phonemes, but oh well. Although I'd really enjoy if RiffTrax happened to do this movie with NPH as the guest, and as a side thing dubbed his voice for the scientist into a bonus track.

  • How did the mayor order all of the food? Earlier on in the movie it showed Flint actually having to code the food into the computer. I highly doubt the mayor knows how to code...
    • During the "Bigger is Better" scene, the mayor watches as Flint types in the menu for the next day (light apps, spaghetti and meatballs). So he picked up enough then, probably.
      • Yep. He may be a jerk, but he's not an idiot.

  • Flint's indestructible shoe gel should have enough practical applications to win him a Nobel prize, yet somehow everyone fails to see the larger picture.
    • Although in the credits, it's revealed that he uses it to repair roofs, and he and his dad start a new business. Not only that, the shoe gel is what earns his happy ending for the whole film!
    • The fact that Flint's spray-on shoes are not being appreciated the way they should be is lampshaded in their very first appearance. Elementary School Brent's mockery of them is made deliberately as nonsensical as possible. The Rule of Funny and all that.
      • It's nonsensical to wonder how to take something off?
      • No, and arguably it's was quite a smart question. Beyond that, the most bugging thing is Tim. His boy has a degree or did go to university or whatever, has invented stuff that would make an Heterodyne cry with envy, and he can't think of a better fate for his son than helping him at the store? Even if Flint is weird and not very well adjusted, anybody with a particle of common sense would realize the guy is destined to do great things.
      • Not necessarily. Many cultures in the world have the attitude "Don't try/pretend to be better than your elders" aka "If it was good enough for me, and my father, and his father, it's good enough for you".

  • If Sam didn't want to wear glasses, and is Blind Without 'Em, then why didn't she get contacts? Granted she looks a lot better with them on, but still. And they're obviously made in this world, as Mr. T puts one on an eye in his introduction scene.
    • This troper is aware of several friends who need their glasses (to Sam's effect, even) but never wear them, and never opt for contacts. It baffles her IRL just as much as it does here, but it's a pretty common thing.
    • Truth in Television. Some people just don't like to poke themselves in the eye.
    • Some of us glasses wearers are also aware that we don't keep our glasses clean. As in, with glasses, it's an minor annoyance. With contacts it's possible that it'd blind you.
    • Forget that. Answer me this: according to my memory, Sam stopped wearing glasses when she was little. Now she's an early adult. Yet the glasses still work. If you're confused, let me tell you that a person's eyes change constantly, requiring people who wear glasses to get new prescriptions every one or two years, mainly as a teen. But Sam's old glasses still do the trick, despite having the prescription that she had as a little kid. Clearly, the writers don't wear glasses or know anybody who does.
      • After some serious thought, Flint completing Sam's makeover by dragging her to a store to buy new glasses would have been hilarious, but badly paced.
      • Maybe Sam just didn't wear her glasses in public. (sure, there was that scene when Flint was on the phone, but she was probably just getting ready for a weather report.) She probably DID get her glasses upgraded. I know that if I didn't wear glasses in public, i would at least wear them at home to do things like watch TV or read a book.
    • Some people either can't have there vision problem corrected by contacts, only eyeglasses: severe near-sightedness, or may have hypersensitivity to the lens solution, plastics in them or have irregular shaped eyes which are difficult to fit.
  • Another Nobel Prize missed. Nobody even seems to realize that Flint's invention could effectively solve world hunger. Kids don't need to worry about things like that during a movie, but still....
    • Screw World Hunger! If Flint's Machine can turn water into organic and semi-organic matter as diverse as the food presented, it could probably transform any material into a different one, like I don't know dog poop into gold
    • And thus, through simple economics, devaluing every piece of gold avialable!

  • What was up with Chicken Brent? There should be bones in the way, aside from the lower legs which seem to have been used either as stilts or some sort of thigh-high boot, but he apparently plans (and succeeds) in living that way? Was the chicken still alive?
    • This troper reckoned that Brent had hollowed out the chicken.
      • I was asking because it would almost definitely rot if it was dead, whether it was hollowed-out or not. Although it's possible that they had somehow grafted the internal life support systems together...
      • Perhaps all the microbes that cause things to rot died of heart organelle disease after gorging on the mountain of leftovers.
      • So many reasons why that fails biology forever.
      • This is the troper who posted the original JBM, and if you're talking about the decay-causing microbes dying of gluttony, I wholeheartedly approve of that explanation!
      • Oddly enough, I've read of something like that actually happening in Real Life. Wish I could link to the Cracked article, but some obese lady survived a flesh eating bacteria because she was too fat to eat through. Who knew?

  • How on earth can the FLDSMDFR "rearrange molecules" into food when there's no carbon (which all food has, BTW) to be reconfigured?
    • Science.
    • Because it's not rearranging the water molecules into the molecules of which food is composed, it's arranging the water molecules into molecules called food molecules, which are either shaped like hot dogs and can simulate any range of flavors, or have a varying flavor depending on the shape. Did you pay no attention during the slide show?
    • This troper stopped caring about reality at the point where it is explained that Swallow Falls is under the 'A' in the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The whole thing makes kinda sense if they changed "genetic" into "nuclear" however that was too edgy for a children's movie.
      • That makes no sense. How can "nuclear" be too edgy when there's already all kinds of other big word Technobabble in the film?
    • It could always get carbon from carbon dioxide in the air.
      • Exactly what I was thinking. Ditto nitrogen. That's why it needs so much energy, because turning nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide into food requires a massive energy input. The better question is where is it getting the minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, chloride, iodide, etc.) from? Also, where's it getting the energy from after getting cut off from the power grid?

  • The machine can turn water into any kind of food. Last time I checked, metal pie tins aren't food...
    • While it was explicitly designed for food, Flint's description of it appears to indicate that all the machine does is turn the hydrogen and oxygen molecules into different molecules, thus producing the food. If we accept that Flint's machine works the way he explained (which we should), then it would seem reasonable that the machine could also rearrange molecules into a pie tin as well. In fact, it seems feasible that, given his description, the machine could produce whatever Flint wanted.
    • Maybe they were edible pie tins for decorative purposes only, and nobody in Chewandswallow likes silver fondant? (What? Fondant's made of food molecules!)

  • The thing I laughed over the whole time: How did he EVER figure making ratbirds was a good Idea.
    • but...but...they're so adorable!
    • He was probably hoping that it would solve the rat population problem by making them fly away to another place. Thinking things through is not really Flint's strongest suit.
    • Truth in Television. Scientists today genetically engineer animals that serve no apparent purpose other than For Science!, such as glow-in-the-dark mice. Maybe Flint thought they'd make neat pets?
      • Glow in the dark mice do serve a purpose, the glow gene was linked to the gene of interest meaning you can see which mice carry the gene and which don't. These days system wide changes aren't as useful, but we can and do make mice whose individual cells types glow different colours, to see in vivo cellular interactions.
      • You can track proteins by making a glow in the dark animal to see where a protein is expressed. The end result is a glowing mouse, but work like this makes understanding gene expression so much easier. That's why scientists got a Nobel Prize for the glowing organisms.

  • Why did Flint give up on marketing his Monkey thought translator? The only thing that went wrong in the presentation was Steve flipping out, nothing related to the machine. And judging how it also works on his dad at the end, it's probably a universal device that can translate anything's thoughts. The machine worked perfectly fine and would be a giant breakthrough for animal/human relations.
    • All of Flint's inventions are actually functional and would be quite useful...if he had applied them differently. The permenant shoes, the hair regrowth, the monkey translator, all of them would have useful applications in Real Life. I think the moral of Flint's character, however, is that he more-or-less gives up and gets down on himself when the testing/presenting of them doesn't go smoothly, so he is never takes the time to fully develop them.
      • What practical purpose does the remote control television have?
      • Again, right idea, wrong application. He seems to have invented the world's first functional AI and the mechnical legs and arms that allowed it to walk around and carry things were quite novel. The entire point is that Flint has the capability to invent wonderful things, but is a bit of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander when it comes to envisioning how to use them. Plus it's a kid's movie, so don't read into it too much...
    • Even the original flying car. Obviously it fails as a flying car, but based on his apparent budget of almost nothing, he managed to essentially build a car with a jet engine. Though jet powered cars are probably best not given to the general public.
      • The hair regrowth WAS a complete success, I mean, there is nothing that happened in the demonstration that couldn't be fixed with just a good shave and a haircut.
      • I wouldn't say a complete success. It's not permanent, since we see his dad is later bald again.
      • To be fair, that flashback was probably a good 10+ years before the events of the movie. He could've just lost all his hair again. Barring that, he might have shaved his head.
    • Maybe he could go work for Aperture Science.

  • Where did the Doppler Weather Radar 2000 Turbo come from? Sam seems surprised by its presence, so its probably not hers. Could it have been in the Weather Van the whole time, but she just never saw it because she wasn't wearing her glasses?
    • This troper assumed Flint gave it to her.
      • They actually do state (or at least, this troper remembers it that way) that Flint did indeed buy it for her.

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