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Western Animation: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
It's a MEATIER shower!
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a 2009 CGI animated film loosely based on the children's book of the same name. In a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean named Swallow Falls, Flint Lockwood always dreams of "inventing something AWESOME," but his inventions never quite work the way he wants them to. Even when he grows up, he still prefers to invent more and more things instead of getting a suitable job at his father's sardine bait shop.But when all the residents have to eat around the island are sardines, Flint becomes a hero when he invents a machine that can convert water into any kind of food the user wants! This makes him world-famous thanks to the coverage of junior anchor-woman Sam Sparks, who Flint forms a crush on. But can he keep the machine under control, get his father's approval, and win Sam's heart?Created by Sony Pictures Animation, who also made Open Season and Surf's Up. Written and directed by the same two guys from the short-lived animated show Clone High, and would go on to make 21 Jump Street (and its sequel) as well as The Lego Movie. Cloudy has had the biggest opening week for Sony Animation until Hotel Transylvania beat that in 2012, and it stayed in 3rd place in the box office after a month in theaters. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe award.A sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, was released on September 27th, 2013.Now has a character page.
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Bittersweet Ending: The people of Swallowfalls have to abandon the island they called home after the food weather grows unexpectedly out of control and too dangerous. But they manage to create a new town and learn to start shopping at grocery stores.
Scenery Porn: With a premise like raining food, and illustrations as detailed as these, it's expected.
Adaptation Expansion: The book was a story about a grandpa telling a tall tale about an island that had significantly different weather where it rained food. The movie is about a scientist who invents a method that turns water into food, and it affects the weather across the world.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Remote Control television which runs off, & is then seen at various points throughout the movie doing its own thing. Also the FLDSMDFR at the end of the film won't allow anyone to interfere with its endless food production to the point of creating a massive floating food fortress around itself which is manned by sentient food programmed to defend it.
Although it's destroyed, the food turns sentient in the sequel and begins to inhabit Swallowtail Falls.
All of the Other Reindeer: No one in the town (except his mother, but she's dead anyway) accepts Flint Lockwood and his Mad Scientist demeanor until he creates a machine that makes it rain delicious food, meaning that they no longer have to suffer through eating their disgusting sardines. Flint must also use his mad scientist skills to save the town (and the world!) from this same machine when it starts malfunctioning in disastrous ways.
Also applies to Sam Sparks, who was teased for being a nerd when she was younger, but she reverts back to her openly nerdy demeanor just in time to save the world alongside Flint.
All There in the Manual: The mayor's name (Shelbourne) is only given in the credits, and Brent's last name (McHale) doesn't even get that much. Earl's last name (Devereaux) is only shown on a computer monitor for a few seconds, so you'd be forgiven if you had to look it up later.
Almighty Janitor: Manny. Doctor, pilot, nuclear physicist... and comedian. Because he was kidding about being a nuclear physicist.
Almost Kiss: Lampshaded repeatedly to great comedic effect.
Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Shoko Nakagawa wrote "Rainbow Forecast" as the Japanese ending theme, differing slightly from Miranda Cosgrove's "Raining Sunshine". If you picture the ending credits with this, the song actually fits pretty well.
Anthropomorphic Food: Toward the end, giant roast chickens and walking gummi bears appear. Also, the anthropomorphic food is key to the sequel film.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Almost literally. When we are first introduced to Officer Devereaux, he is stopping Flint from hooking up his food machine to the town's electric generator to power it. Flint distracts Devereaux with a jaywalker.
Artistic License - Chemistry: This film depicts a storybook world that runs on the Rule of Funny. Any scientific errors are probably as fully intentional as everyone in Swallow Falls being forced to eat sardines 24/7 just because the plant closed down.
Mutating the water with microwave radiation is not possible as microwave radiation only speeds up the movement of atoms, causing it to heat up. However, it could be a form of elemental fusion/fission. Remove two protons from an oxygen's nucleus and you get carbon... but even this would still be failing physics unless note you consider "mutation" simply a change in basic structure or reasons of this structure and not necessarily DNA, then you can mutate water if you employ strong electromagnetic field or somehow manipulate vacuum polarization effectiveness or even change universal constants, but effects wouldn't generate meatballs, only possibly make existing ones inedible. However, if one would want to make food from thin air (or water), one would have to transmutate a lot of atoms and combine a lot of molecules; the process could also provide enough energy to self-sustain the machine's work (if fusion and not fission is the dominating process), which happens in the story. This might be partially intentional.
Author Appeal: Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the writer/directors, are total nerds, hence the whole film is about how awesome it is to be nerdy.
Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The sole content descriptor for the film (rated PG) is "brief mild language." "Hellhole," "crabballs" and "crotch kick!" (when Brent first starts attacking the chickens) are probably what qualified the film for the rating.
In the UK release, the language is still there, but the film is certified U (The UK equivalent to a G) with the content descriptor reading 'Contains one use of mild language and scenes of mild comic threat'.
Bathos: The scene where Flint takes his father to the Roofless. It's a sad and serious scene, but you can't help but laugh when the steak lands on Flint's head, and the commentary to the movie reveals this was intentional.
The idea was to achieve an extremely clean silhouette while treating the mouth as a two dimensional element. If you could see the other side of Flintís face its terrifying, the skin is pulled back almost to his ear wrecking all the geometry on that side of his face. In the end it didnít matter as long as you could see clearly through his mouth.
The peanut allergy, while it does come up, isn't as important as one would guess from the first time it's mentioned.
Chekhov's Gag: Another example is the "Remote Controlled TV" Flint invented as a kid. In the opening, it kicks open the door and runs away. Later, during the giant food storm, a cherry smashes the window of a TV store and someone takes the opportunity to loot it. The RCTV then appears, smashes another window and steals the store clerk.
Chekhov's Gunman: Sam's cameraman, who doesn't even speak until the last third of the film, turns out to be a doctor, pilot and Comically Serious comedian. Parodied when he jokes that he's also a nuclear physicist.
Chroma Key: Used by the mayor in his commercial for the unveiling.
Circling Monologue: Done very amusingly when the mayor, so obese as to need a cart, wheels around Flint and magically alternates whispering into his right, then left (then left again) ears. And then, slowly rises up from below(!).
Deceased Parents Are the Best: Flint's mom was loving and supportive of Flint's inventive ways. She died off screen before Flint grew up, leaving the more distant and less supportive father behind to deal with Flint.
Does This Remind You of Anything??: During the massive food storm across the world, pies are seen striking the faces of Mt. Rushmore, except one that strikes the Lincoln head from behind, which begins leaking custard out its eyes and nose. Lincoln was killed by being shot in the back of the head.
Swallow Falls seems to be based off of Flint, Michigan.
Dub Name Change: In the Latin American dub, Flint's surname has been changed from Lockwood to Loko (as in "Krazy" in English), while Officer Earl's name was changed to Elias.
Eiffel Tower Effect: Lampshaded when a news reporter mentions how all the national monuments are all getting hit before the rest of the world. Heck, the Eiffel Tower itself is turned into a giant sandwich!
Eldritch Abomination: When the Fldsmdfr turns into a supermassive black hole made out of food. And that's just the OUTSIDE... The inside is some giant...THING that repeatedly says, MARSHMALLOW in a distorted voice, before...well, it looks creepy, okay?
The End Is Nigh: Two men with signboards in New York, one proclaiming "The End of the World is Today!" and the other "The End is Tomorrow!" the second guy gets crushed by a giant hot dog, and the first guy gloats, "I was right!"
Fat and Proud: While proclaiming to Flint, "Bigger is better," the mayor slaps his enormous belly.
Fat Bastard: The originally svelte and short corrupt mayor becomes morbidly obese after eating too many raining snacks, and remains that way through the end of the movie, except during the credits sequence, where he becomes skinny again.
Foreshadowing: One of the many that immediately comes to mind is the Mayor wanting to become big... and he does. He gets really big.
Gaze upon the sunset cresting over Mount Leftovers, from which we are protected by a presumably indestructible dam!
And one that's easy to miss if you're not paying attention: When Flint is speaking voice-over in the beginning, there's a short scene that shows the present-day Flint, and can be written off as drama. That same screenshot can be seen at the climax of the movie, when Flint stops the FLDSMDFR.
Sentient Pizza and Gummy Bears sent to stop the heroes. Foreshadows the fact next film has living food.
Former Child Star: "Baby" Brent is a parody of this. At least, he is until his climactic rebirth as Chicken Brent!
From Bad to Worse: Since the giant meatball appears, the entire end of the movie proceeds through this course. It Gets Worse at least five times. It's like the writers DON'T want Flint to win or something.
Gone Horribly Right: The machine converts water into delicious food, and there's a lot of water in clouds...
Gone Horribly Wrong: ...unfortunately the machine has limits and when it reaches them the results aren't pretty.
Groin Attack: Surprisingly effective considering it was done to a mutant roast chicken.
Hammer Space: Brent shoves the giant golden ceremonial scissors somewhere behind his back. Subverted when they don't disappear, but are shown to be in his pants when he turns around. Double subverted when the viewer realizes that the blades seem to have vanished.
Sam spends about half the movie carrying a bulky glasses somewhere on her, despite wearing tight clothing.
Flint shoves a can into his lab coat, and it immediately vanishes.
Hartman Hips: Sam Sparks and a lot of background female characters
The looming shadow from Independence Day also counts as an homage.
Homemade Inventions: Flint's inventions are functional some of the time, but they are all clearly a conglomeration of household accessories, with the exception of the DNA-spliced rat-birds. His lab is also functional, but looks like an 80's-style futuristic computer made of flat cardboard in his own backyard, which he enters and exits through a porta-potty.
Hope Spot: When Flint destroys Sardine Land, the world's biggest sardine screams "Yay!" as it falls from its tank, through the flaming hoop, into the ocean to freedom... just before a ratbird catches it in its talons.
Also, near the end of the film, Flint's dad survives the flood of food and sends the e-mail to Flint, only to send the wrong file by mistake.
In Name Only: Inverted. This is what many thought the film was going to be once they saw the trailer, but it actually retains many elements from the story book!
Those who really know the book will be able to see illustrations lifted directly from the book during the good times montage.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: A possible aversion: In order to win Sam's affections, Flint says that he is allergic to peanuts like she is. Later, in the Radioactive Meatball, they encounter a cavern full of peanut brittle:
Sam: If either one of us touches it, we'll go into anaphylactic shock!
Flint: Actually, I'm not entirely allergic to peanuts. I... might've just said that to get you to like me.
Sam: ...So you really thought having allergies would make you more attractive?
It might not fit perfectly, but the question of why Flint thought the Ratbirds would save the town comes to mind.
Kick the Dog: Flint tells Sam to "report the weather" when she tried to warn him about the weather during the ribbon cut. In his defense, he wasn't really thinking clearly at the time, since he was already angry and frustrated about his dad not appreciating him.
Kids Are Cruel: And woefully uncreative: Sam: "They made a song about me; it wasn't even clever!""Four-eyes, four-eyes, you need glasses to see!"
Kiss Diss: When Flint tries to complete the Almost Kiss earlier in the film; a bitter Sam stops him flat.
Kitschy Local Commercial: The Mayor's commercial for Sardine Land. The animators went the extra mile to make it look as cheap as possible, even faking the worst blue-screen effects possible in a medium that doesn't even require it.
Lampshade Hanging: Throughout the entire film. Any plot twist or action has at least one character (often more) do this. They also enjoy Playing with a Trope, mainly those usually seen in animated comedies.
* The Last Straw: A cherry descends from the sky, lands on top of the leftovers pile... and makes it heavy enough to break the dam and flood the town.
Like a Son to Me: The mayor uses this line on both Brent and Flint. Subverted in both cases as the mayor feels no actual affection for either of them. With Brent, it was solely to placate him after the mayor insulted the populace of the town. With Flint, it was to manipulate him into going along with the mayor's desires.
Joe, the redneck citizen, is particularly guilty of this,as he appears in almost every scene of the movie.
This may have been intentional, as he's one of the few background characters to get a last name: Joe Towne. Joe is also the only extra to be voiced by a celebrity: Will Forte, who played Abe in Clone High and the eponymous MacGruber.
A Minor Kidroduction: The first scenes show Flint (and Brent) at eight-years-old, before skipping ahead to present day.
Miraculous Malfunction: Flint hooks up his machine to the town's power station to give it enough electricity to create food from water. Instead, the extra power makes the machine take off like a rocket and start orbiting in the lower stratosphere, creating food that comes down in showers using moisture from the clouds. Later, being overworked makes the machine start overmutating the food and it eventually gains sentience.
Missing Mom: Flint. She did have a brief scene with him as a kid, and they mentioned she died. We just don't know how. She even appears as a ghost during the end credit montage.
Mood Lighting: Mentioned in the Audio commentary that the Flint's lab changes color lighting based on the mood of the scenes; example includes when Sam comes into the lab with a slighty warm purple-pinkish color, and when the Mayor come in with a stark contrast of threatening Orange-Blue Lighting.
National Stereotypes: When the populations of various countries around the world are shown, all of them are wearing the same hats respective to their nation; i.e. the English wear bowler hats, the French wear berets.
Never Trust a Hair Tonic: One of Flint's failed inventions is "Hair Unbalder." A little bit squirted on the scalp causes his dad to burst out with hair on his entire face.
Never Trust a Trailer: Minor animation and editing tweaks in some shots were changed after the trailer was made.
Nobody Can Die: You'd think that food raining down at terminal velocity would hurt someone even before it got worse, but despite spaghetti tornadoes and avalanching leftovers, the only serious injury in the entire movie is a child going into a "food coma" from eating too much candy. (He's revived by waving celery under his nose a la smelling salts.)
Official Couple: After their Big Damn Kiss and judging by some of their scenes with them in the credits, it's safe to assume that Flint and Sam are now in a relationship.
Offscreen Teleportation: A minor example, when Flint & Sam are talking about what kind of food the machine can produce, they are standing facing each other about a yard apart with the camera cutting back & forth between them. When Sam says Jello, he sidles up to her from off camera & Sam briefly looks puzzled glancing from him back to in front of her where she was addressing a second before.
"Sorry old friend...kitchen's closed!" (jams his phone into the FLDSMDFR, but it's the wrong file.)
(While hanging under the machine with it preparing to blast him with food) "When it rains, you put on a coat...of Spray-On Shoes!" (blocks the machine's output hatch with the spray.)
Product Placement: The video equipment in the weather van and the ads in the production magazine all all Sony equipment. It is a Sony film.
Professor Guinea Pig and Guinea Pig Family: Flint is shown testing out his inventions himself (and spraying his own feet to demonstrate the spray-on shoes), but his dad is also involved with the Remote Control Television and Hair Unbalder.
Science Is Bad: Unusually for a film with the premise "new invention nearly dooms the world", mostly averted. Yes, Flint creates an untested machine with the potential to become dangerous, but he's wary of not pushing it past its safety limits (perhaps not as wary as he should have been due to Acquired Situational Narcissism) and when he first notices it's about to go critical, he immediately goes to shut it off. Unfortunately the Mayor, blinded by the economic boost the machine is providing the town, gets there first and pushes it way beyond capacity. In short, science provides a good for humanity; politics ruins it; science ultimately saves the day.
Skewed Priorities: The news anchor laughs at Sam looking like a nerd in the midst of a giant food storm. Later, the station would rather broadcast "Otters get wet" rather than what's happening to the weather.
This leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny during the ice-cream day when she describes Swallow Falls as being "truly a la mode". This is shown being translated into several other languages in various places until it is translated in London as Swallow Falls being "truly topped with ice cream".
The mayor gets one too. "Nice to beet you!"
"That's a radish!"
Spider-Sense: Officer Earl's chest hairs... which are really creepy when you actually look at them.
Spot of Tea: During the destruction of landmarks around the world, London experiences a rain of hot tea. Which leaves the Londoners in muddle of terror and delight running around with cups held to the sky.
Sam: So when you shot it up into the stratosphere, you figured it would induce a molecular phase change of the vapor from the cumulonimbus layer?
Flint: That's... actually a really smart observation.
Sam: I mean, the clouds probably have water in them, which, uh, I guess is why you shot it up there in the first place.
Flint: Right, right, that's why I, I did that... on purpose... right.
Stepping Stones in the Sky: After falling out of the spaghetti twister, Flint grabs around for anything to break his fall, only for each successive thing he gets hold of to blow away or fall apart seconds later. Eventually he notices he's three feet off the ground, and just climbs down the flying ladder he's standing on.
Strange Minds Think Alike: At the start of the movie, Flint introduces his Spray-On Shoes explaining that they'll "end the untied shoelace epidemic". When Sam takes notice of them the first time they meet and Flint explains them, she says the exact same thing in response.
Take That: At the end of the film, when most of the damaging weather is being undone, we get a view of London as the shockwave passes over it. Beforehand, it's dark, grey, raining, and generally looks depressing. Afterwards, it's... dark, grey, raining, and generally looks depressing.
Tempting Fate: Far more examples than can readily be listed, with almost every form of this turning up at some stage. Put simply, seconds before anything remotely construed as negative happens, someone will suggest everything is great or that nothing can go wrong.
"This is a great idea."
"Thank goodness you only caused minimum damage to Sardine Land!" Cue the rolling fish bowl of death...
The Theme Park Version: The major cities of the world (and their inhabitants) as seen in the film are deliberately simplified, exaggerated stereotypes. It fits with the storybook illogical logic seen throughout the entire movie.
Title Drop: Played around with but never actually said.
Toilet Humour: When Flint confesses he's never been in a snowball fight, Sam reacts with surprise and says "Even Steve is throwing chocolate snowballs!" Cut to Steve on a patch of vanilla ice cream throwing "chocolate snowballs." Sam reacts with appropriate disgust.
Toon Physics: Flint survives many things that would kill a normal human, such as the electric jolt from the substation and crashing into many things. He also shows incredible reflexes when he reaches the tornado.
Troubled Fetal Position: Flint's father finds Flint in this position in a trashcan containing all his previous failed inventions, suffering a Heroic BSOD due to his food machine causing disastrous food weather and him feeling powerless to stop it. Flint is in the trashcan since he now considers himself "junk", like all his failed inventions.
Ultimate Authority Mayor: Lampshaded. The mayor mentions spending the entire town budget on Sardineland "without consulting anyone", and later funds the revamping of Swallow Falls as Chew'n'Swallow by taking out a "very high interest loan".