- Award Snub: Laura Dern didn't receive any recognition from The Academy for her starring role in this film which brought about a good backlash on the internet from viewers that believe she at least deserved a "Best Actress" nomination. Critics agreed, calling it possibly the best performance in her career.
- Bizarro Episode
- Crazy Awesome: The "Do The Locomotion" scene, as well as the ending.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: Kingsly yelling at Bucky, the lighting technician — played by the man himself.
- The beginning of the credits is filled with strangely hilarious callbacks and visual puns.
- Arguably, the scene where the Phantom menaces Nikki with a lightbulb in his mouth. Yeah... what.
- The slow, awful buildup of tension throughout the movie makes the occasional cheeky reference to Sunset Boulevard that much more effective.
- In Real Life, David Lynch sat on Hollywood Blvd. with a cow in an attempt to get an Oscar nom for Laura Dern's performance. He also has a sign that said "Without cheese there wouldn't be an Inland Empire".
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The ending scenes before the credits.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: "Ghost of Love".
- Love It or Hate It: Any film by David Lynch is subject to this, but Inland Empire is divisive even amongst Lynch fans. It's either his Magnum Opus or Shark-Jumper.
- Mind Screwdriver: sort of (it's in the movie, not in bonus material). in a possible pun version: a lady in the movie thinks she has been hypnotized to kill someone, she is asked what she is going to use as a weapon, she replies that she is going to use a screwdriver. If you can just figure out what the screwdriver might represent (hint: not a literal screwdriver) along with who this killer is, and their relation to the target of the murder, the mind screw of at least some of the film may be explained.
- Nightmare Fuel: The whole movie. David Lynch seems to specialize and making things creepy that shouldn't be creepy, and this movie could be called Nightmare Face: The Movie. The whole thing is packed to the brim with Jump Scares, Hell Is That Noise, and Surreal Horror. And while the whole film is full of Nightmare Faces, the one in the climax (if you've seen it, you know the one) is an example. As mentioned under Dream Sequence, the film is quite possibly the closest a film will ever come to emulating a dream, and much of the horror comes from the realistic and striking resemblance of a terrifying dream that you can't escape. It's considered by some to be one of the most terrifying films ever made.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: Oh so very incomprehensible
- Uncanny Valley: The remarkable thing is that David Lynch managed to create this effect just by manipulating light and sound (with...at least one exception...). Subtle things like sound and lighting manipulations make everything feel so wrong. At one point, just the location of the lighting make Nikki's eyes appear to just be black holes. Nothing else scary happens in the scene.