Here at MTV News, we like to cover the story from all angles, which is why, one day after publishing our high-culture cheat sheet for Kanye West's "Runaway" film, we're back with the lowbrow accompaniment. It's somewhat fitting, because while West's film is no doubt arty and abstract, it's also a big-budget, popcorn event too, the kind of thing that's littered with fast cars and explosions and lyrical nods to the Kings of Leon and Alec Baldwin.
So, really, we'd be doing a disservice — to West, his fans and Alec Baldwin — if we didn't do a pop-culture cheat sheet for the film. So here, alphabetized for your perusing pleasure, is our list of the films, fruits and, uh, fleshy abdominals that are referenced in "Runaway." And though our list is extensive, it's probably not perfect, so if there's something we missed, let us know in the comments below!
"Armageddon": The 1998 Michael Bay blockbuster about a team of deep-core drillers hired by NASA to save the earth from a rapidly advancing asteroid. Shockingly not based on actual events. The film is loaded with special-effects shots of fiery bits of space ephemera rocketing through the atmosphere, just like the opening scene of "Runaway." You could just as easily put "Deep Impact" in here too, since they're basically the same film.
"Bambi": Classic Disney film from 1948 about an orphaned deer and his adorable pals Thumper and Flower. The scene in which Bambi's mother is shot by a hunter is credited by some for helping the animal-rights movement gain traction around the world. None of that really applies to "Runaway," but there are plenty of cute little deer in it.
Blueberries: Antioxidant-rich flowering plants of the genus vaccinium. For reasons clear only to West, the table in the "Runaway" dinner sequence is covered in blueberries, though, according to some, they symbolize eternity and optimism of the future. Also, they are delicious.
"The Brother From Another Planet": Odd 1984 film from director John Sayles about a mute alien who crashes in New York City. The fact that "the Brother" is only distinguishable from other men by the three large toes he has on each foot seems to have been echoed in the phoenix's large golden claws.
Every single action movie ever: Over the past two decades, nearly every action movie made has featured a scene in which the hero turns his or her back and strides confidently away from a gigantic explosion (usually, this scene is shot in slow-motion). It's gotten so bad that the Lonely Island comedy troupe even released a song called "Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions." And, well, in "Runaway," Kanye is guilty of the same thing, scooping up Selita Ebanks and walking away from a massive fireball — in slow-motion, of course.
"The Fifth Element": Tongue-in-cheek 1997 Luc Besson sci-fi film about a cab driver (and ex-special forces soldier) who rescues a mysterious, childlike alien/ "supreme being" with bright orange hair. Turns out, she's the key to saving the entire universe from destruction. Also turns out that like the phoenix in "Runaway," she spends a whole lot of time sniffing stuff and pawing at inanimate objects.
"Marie Antoinette": Eye-catching, vaguely anachronistic 2006 Sofia Coppola film about the teenage bride of Louis XVI, who eventually becomes the very frivolous queen of France. The elaborate dinner scene in "Runaway" — and, in particular, West and Ebanks' stilted interactions at it — remind us of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI's initial meeting at an equally lavish dinner party.
Rose, Amber: Bodacious model and socialite/ former paramour of West. Their relationship made headlines, and West makes a joking reference to the tabloid coverage of Rose's sexual preferences in "Runaway," when, during the dinner scene, a guest compliments him on the phoenix's beauty, then rhetorically asks, "Do you know she's a bird?"
"Splash": The 1984 romantic comedy about a New York City man who falls in love with a mermaid; the parallels between it and "Runaway" should be fairly obvious, though the dinner scene — in which the phoenix sniffs at a terrine, dips her claws in a glass of champagne and fumbles a loaf of bread — instantly made us think of the famous bit in "Splash" where the mermaid is invited to a White House dinner and proceeds to horrify guests by devouring a lobster, shell and all.
Situation, the: Bulgy, egomaniacal star of MTV's "Jersey Shore" most famous for his rippling abs and for being on "Dancing With the Stars" for about three minutes. His six-pack makes an appearance in "Runaway" on the midsection of Selita Ebanks' phoenix, who, moves it, shakes it and just ... wow.
Tarantino, Quentin: Academy Award-winning writer/director who is also an unconscionably bad actor. We're not saying West's directorial chops are quite to Tarantino's level just yet, but acting-wise, well, the two are pretty much on par.
"Under the Cherry Moon": Slightly disastrous 1986 Prince vehicle about a gigolo who scams rich women out of their inheritances. Presented in black-and-white and featuring lavish sets, costumes and musical numbers, it was arty, ambitious and a total flop at the box office. Fans who saw advance screenings of "Runaway" in New York mentioned "Cherry Moon" as an obvious reference point for West's film, and we tend to agree. In particular, the dapper tuxedo 'Ye wears during the film's centerpiece musical performance seems to be a loving nod to the Purple One's outfit in "Moon."
What did we miss? Share the pop-culture references you noticed in the comments!