“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: Easter eggs from the film that you may have missed

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: Easter eggs from the film that you may have missed (photo)

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The new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” isn’t connected in any concrete way to the original five film series that ran from 1968 to 1973 or Tim Burton’s reboot from 2001.  But even though “Rise” establishes its own, new continuity (of the apes), it still contains a ton of references, shout-outs and easter eggs to its old school brethren (or simian, in this case).  Here are all the ones this long-time “Ape” fan caught. And be aware that this piece may contains extensive SPOILERS for every film in the series.

1. Character Names (of the Apes)
Most of the main cast of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” are named with a wink to the past.  The leader of the ape rebellion, Caesar (Andy Serkis) shares his moniker with the similar character, played by Roddy McDowell, from “Conquest of” and “Battle For the Planet of the Apes.”  Scientists at the GenSys lab nickname Caesar’s mother Bright Eyes — which was one of the ape’s nickname for Charlton Heston‘s Taylor in the original “Planet of the Apes.” After Caesar is sent to live in an ape sanctuary, he’s repeatedly abused by a guard named Dodge Landon, an amalgam of the names of two of Taylor’s fellow astronauts, Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Landon (Robert Gunner), from “Planet of the Apes.” And the lone female ape at the sanctuary is named Cornelia, a riff on Roddy McDowell’s character Cornelius in “Planet of the Apes” and “Escape From the Planet of the Apes.”

There are even a few names that recall the creators of the first “Apes” series: James Franco‘s Will Rodman takes his name from “Twilight Zone” creator and “Planet of the Apes” co-screenwriter Rod Serling, whose full first name was Rodman. Will’s boss at GenSys is Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo), a nod to franchise producer Arthur P. Jacobs. Caesar strikes up a friendship with an orangutan named Maurice — an homage to actor Maurice Evans, who played the sinister orangutan Dr. Zaius in the first “Planet of the Apes.”

2. Famous Lines (of the Apes)
If some of the dialogue in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” sounded familiar, there’s a reason for that. Several of the big zingers are taken from the 1968 “Planet of the Apes.” Listen carefully for Dodge to shout “It’s a madhouse!” during one moment of ape rebellion: that’s an echo of an identical exclamation by Chuck Heston when some apes spray him with a fire hose (more on that later). Dodge also gets the honor of reciting one of Heston’s most iconic lines, when he yells “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” after Caesar confronts him in a hand-to-paw fight.

In response, Caesar screams “NO!” — his first words — and smacks Dodge in the face. This might be a stretch but Caesar’s “NO!” reminds me of the repeated uses of the same word in “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” where apes are trained to be slaves in a dystopian future, and are conditioned with electroshock therapy to fear and hate when a human says the words no.

3. Recurring Motifs (of the Apes)
A few of “Rise”‘s signature images have earlier origins as well. The aforementioned fire hose makes a return appearance, when Dodge sprays Caesar with one after he throws his food in the guard’s face. So does the sight of an ape on horseback (mirroring the famous introduction of the “Planet of the Apes”‘ titular stars in this brilliant scene) when Caesar leads a charge against the San Francisco police atop one of the mounted cops’ ride.

Of course, the most famous visual from “Planet of the Apes” is that legendary twist ending that reveals the decayed ruins of the Statue of Liberty. “Rise” is set in San Francisco so we didn’t get to see the real Statue, but in the scene where Caesar watches John Lithgow’s Charles Rodman get attacked by an angry neighbor, the chimp is playing with a Statue of Liberty toy. It’s a cute reference, but the timing of the Statue’s appearance in this particular scene is also a clever bit of foreshadowing. During this sequence Caesar leaps to Charles’ defense and gets into a fight with the angry neighbor. That leads directly to the chimp’s imprisonment, which leads directly to his ape uprising. So you could say that the entire rise of the planet of the apes — the death of a whole species and the ascendancy of another — dates back to this singular moment. And in that singular moment, director Rupert Wyatt inserts this brilliant reference to the single image most associated with the “Planet of the Apes.” In other words, it all started here. It’s a nice touch.

4. Space Flight (of the Apes)
While events surrounding Will and Caesar continue in the foreground of “Rise,” the media makes several background references to a spaceship named Icarus. A briefly glimpsed news report announces “Icarus Entering Mars Atmosphere” and a few scenes later, a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the same vessel was “Lost in Space.” In the ’68 “Apes,” the Icarus is the ship that Taylor, Landon, and Dodge take to the year 3978; two movies later it’s also the ship Cornelius, Zira (Kim Hunter), and Milo (Sal Mineo) take back to 1973. If we get direct sequels to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” you can expect to see more of that spacecraft.

5. Charlton Heston (of the Apes)
The man, the myth, the grumpy, sweaty, intensely-tanned, loincloth-wearing legend makes a very brief cameo, on a television screen at the ape sanctuary. Regrettably, no one says they’ll only change the channel when they pry the remote control their cold, dead hands.

Catch any references we missed?  Tell us about them in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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