The hit 1990s comedy that inspired ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’
(Credit: Netflix)

Films

The hit 1990s comedy that inspired 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'

Knives Out might have endeared an entire new generation to the murder mystery genre, but the sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, ended up drawing inspiration from a variety of different areas to create a sequel that was both fresh and exciting while remaining loyal to its predecessor. Despite following a similar format, Rian Johnson’s second instalment ended up incorporating a homage to an iconic 1990s movie for the all-important climax.

Johnson’s original ode to the classic whodunnit endeared audiences with its stylish and humourous execution, enjoying monumental silver screen successes such as accruing a lot of praise and a handful of accolades, including the Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Original Screenplay’, Golden Globe recognition for ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actor’ for Daniel Craig, and ‘Best Actress’ for Ana de Armas in the ‘Musical or Comedy’ category.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that the sequel far exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, achieving an eye-watering $15million. All of these milestones make complete sense when you evaluate contemporary cinematic tastes: Glass Onion not only picked up where its predecessor left off but did well to expand on the themes and appeal of the original in an array of fresh and original ways.

The film’s glossy sheen, of course, also significantly contributes to its appeal, particularly considering that it is underscored by themes of wealth, power, and the complexities of human relationships coupled with a natural and necessary dose of comedy sprinkled throughout. This actually became a focal point during the film’s climactic ending, which not only brought the movie to a blood-pumping conclusion but also reimagined a classic comedic scene from almost three decades ago.

Towards the end of the movie, Janelle Monáe’s Helen Brand causes an explosion that ends up blowing up the lavish compound owned by Edward Norton’s Miles Bron, completely destroying all of his possessions, including the original Mona Lisa painting that he had been looking after on loan from the Louvre.

Comedic fictional destructions of legacy paintings often immediately bring one iconic 1990s movie to mind, but if you haven’t guessed it already, the entire montage was inspired by the 1997 comedy movie Bean, in which the titular character Mr. Bean accidentally ruins James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s 1871 painting Whistler’s Mother and attempts to scrub it in a desperate urge to fix the issue.

Obliterating the Mona Lisa might seem like a shocking move, even in today’s landscape, but Johnson was convinced it would deliver the perfect comedic moment to wrap the entire storyline together. However, not everybody seemed on board initially. Discussing the scene during Empire‘s Spoiler Special podcast, the director said: “Daniel [Craig] was a bit worried that we were ‘killing the puppy’ by upsetting people as we destroyed the Mona Lisa.”

He added, “But the scene in Bean where he destroys Whistler’s Mother is one of the funniest scenes in cinematic history, so I figured we’d get away with this… That scene is so good.”