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Film / Shorts

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A 2009 film by Robert Rodriguez. The film follows the adventures of a group of children living in the neighborhood of Black Falls, Texas and a rainbow-colored rock that grants any wish. The movie is comprised of a series of shorts told in non-sequential order by the narrator and protagonist, Toby "Toe" Thompson. There are 5 "episodes", not including Episode 0, played just before the film begins, with each episode focusing on a different set of characters and their experience with the wishing rock.

This movie provides examples of the following:

  • Anachronic Order: The structure of this film is told in this way, jumping back and forth through time since the narrator can't "remember the order of events".
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Helvetica, in spite of her age.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Stacey's boyfriend after she wishes he would grow up.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Easily the main theme of this movie. Many of the wishes granted don't turn out as well as the wisher hoped, with results ranging from inconvenient to disastrous.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Subverted numerous times by Mr. and Mrs. Thompson when they keep trying to go for one (implied to be their first in a while) but their Black Boxes with all the connecting features you can think of continuously distracting them. Very nearly played straight until Toby stops the movie and fasts forward to the final chapter.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Helvetica gets one (aptly called Helvetica Rocks) when she gains control of the rock. Notable more since she is the only character who gets her own song.
  • Brainy Baby: Loogie accidentally wished his baby sister to become one of these. She could speak telepathically, and even displayed an ability to use Telekinesis on objects to stop them in midair.
  • Body Horror:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Thompson after Mrs. Thompson wishes that they could be closer together while holding the wishing rock. Their bodies merge into each other from the waist down.
    • Stacey's ex-boyfriend, after she tells him that she wishes he would just grow up. He ends up being 50 feet tall, and the process of getting there is implied to be extremely painful.
  • Bubble Boy: Nose and his father live in a completely sterile house, afraid to travel outside without full-body suits.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Nearly all the wishes or themes in the previous shorts show up in the final segment, including Cole turning into a giant beetle (on purpose), Toby's alien friends attacking en masse, and the germs Dr. Noseworthy was experimenting with.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Black. (Though he's not actually corrupt in the "breaking the law" sense, just extremely ruthless and power-hungry.)
  • Drunk with Power: Helvetica name calls this when her dad uses the stone to "become the most powerful thing in the entire world" (a giant black box-constructed robot).
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Toby hates when Helvetica calls him "Toe". Naturally, he's delighted, and she mortified, when her father calls her "Hel" in front of him.
  • Every Device Is a Swiss-Army Knife: The Black Boxes are extremely versatile, being able to morph into nearly any tool to fit their user's needs, from toasters to fans to video screens.
  • Everyone Can See It: Helvetica’s obvious crush on Toby, and vice versa. Toby knows it. Even Toby’s parents know, and they haven’t even met her.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: After Stacey faints at the sight of her now 50-foot-tall ex John, Loogie tries to take advantage of the situation by running up to her, setting his Black Box to fan mode and blowing it on her while seductively introducing himself. She wakes up...and just gets confused.
  • Fainting: See above.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Toby's flying saucer shirt foreshadows Toby's wish that his friends are aliens.
  • Handy Feet: Helvetica is very talented with her feet.
  • Indy Ploy: To prevent Toe from getting eaten by his giant booger, Nose quickly thinks to take another out of his...well, you know...and threatens to eat it if the booger eats Toe. Nose probably does this all the time, so he's not bothered by it and it works.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The group of kids that bully Toby.
  • Lilliputians: The aliens Toby wishes for.
  • Literal Genie: The wishing stone. It doesn't help that one of the kids, despite falling victim to this multiple times, continues to make extremely vague wishes.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Toby.
  • Loving Bully: Helvetica towards Toby.
  • Maybe Ever After: At the end, Toe implies that he and Helvetica will marry in the future.
  • Mad Scientist: Mr. Noseworthy.
  • Magic Pants: Stacey's boyfriend, John, is magically induced to grow out of his room but none of the clothes he's wearing.
  • Mind over Matter: Loogie wishes for telekinesis in order to escape from the mutant man-eating crocodile army.
  • Missing Mom: Neither Nose nor Helvetica appear to have mothers.
  • One-Eyed Shot: There is a closeup of Stacy's eye while she's going through the decontaminator in the Noseworthy house.
  • Pac Man Fever:
    • Various characters are often shown playing Spore. Normally this wouldn't be all that bad, but the characters are shown playing it multiplayer (Spore is a single-player game), on a PS3 (Spore is PC exclusive, you can even see an (unmoving) mouse cursor in the game) and while randomly mashing buttons all while showing the Creature Creator on screen. To top it all off, nothing was even happening on the screen while said button mashing was happening, the creature clearly in its idle animation.
    • Another instance was when they were shown playing Fable II, it looks like they were playing the game, but then it shifts to a different scene much like a trailer to a game.
  • Product Placement:
    • Loogie's endless supply of chocolate bars consists entirely of Reese's Nutrageous. Also, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are referenced once.
    • An Ikea van can be seen in the background as Toby, Stacey, Loogie, and Nose are escaping the Noseworthy house.
  • Punny Name: Both of the Black kids. Cole (Coal) Black, and Helvetica Black, an allusion to the font. And their father's first name is Carbon.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Lampshaded. When Loogie holds the wishing stone, one of his brothers suggests feeding the hungry, curing cancer, or creating world peace. Instead, Loogie wishes for a fort, a moat, man-eating crocodiles, venomous snakes, an unlimited supply of candy, telephonisis, and telekinesis. In the end, they decide to get rid of the rock by placing it on a catapult. Just before they launch it, Loogie suggests taking care of the world peace problem before they get rid of it, but it is accidentally launched before they get the chance.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Implied to be the reason why Toby endures the bullying he suffers at the hands of Cole and Helvetica, cause he knows standing up to them could jeopardize his parents’ jobs.
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: A common fate for Toby who is constantly bullied by Helvetica. He eventually gets his revenge when Helvetica ends up upside down in a trashcan after crashing her rocket bicycle.
  • Swallowed Whole: Loogie by a giant crocodile. He is spewed out once he gets the stone from inside.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Lug, Loogie and Laser have only one baby sister, whose name is never revealed and is only addressed as "The Baby".
  • Terrified of Germs: Dr. Noseworthy and Nose. On another level - he specializes in their extermination. There's a decontamination chamber that all guests have to go through to enter. They wear full bio suits upon exiting their house; the house and almost everything in it is covered in plastic wrap.
  • Tsundere: Helvetica is type A towards Toby.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Seriously, Loogie, Lug and Laser? Their infant sister only known as "the Baby"? With unusual names for kids though hopefully they could've been nicknames.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In the end, one of the kids says that he wishes they were in a Hollywood movie. The other kids tell him how stupid the idea is.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Subverted. Toby suggests to Helvetica that she's only bullying him because she has a crush on him and is antagonizing him in order to hide these feelings. While he gets his ass handed to him after doing this, his prediction ends up coming true as it's shown Helvetica indeed has feelings for him by the end of the movie.