RDJ finds himself tossed into a strange room, facing (semi-)solitary confinement.
Influence: The Prisoner, the 1967-68 cult TV series about a former secret agent named Number Six who finds himself detained in a strange seaside community
Rocked by enemy fire, the hero awakens in a bunker and gets a bright idea.
Inspiration: The Tropic Thunder making-of mockumentary Rain of Madness, which purports to do the same type of exploration Hearts of Darkness did with Apocalypse Now.
Unable to beat a confession out of Downey, Bunny Man lets down his ears (and guard).
Influence: 1950’s Harvey, a whimsical comedy starring James Stewart and a giant rabbit nobody else can see.
He types his way into the realm of pulp fiction.
Influence: The 1955 film noir Kiss Me Deadly, directed by Robert Aldrich. One of the Mike Hammer mysteries adapted from the work of Mickey Spillane.
The hero cannot resist tormenting the merman as he basks in the moonlight.
Influence: Filmmaking pioneer Georges Méliès’s 1902 silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune (a.k.a. A Trip to the Moon,) which featured the Man in the Moon getting a rocket ship to the eye.)
The merman is back for revenge, but the hero sits at a tiny piano and discovers music soothes the savage fish.
Influence: 1996’s Shine, starring Geoffrey Rush as a piano player with a troubled history who finds peace amid the black and white keys.
You’ve heard of Pop Art. Now combine that with baseball and a pop fly.
Influence: Andy Warhol’s portrait of Pete Rose, a 1985 four-quadrant screen print of the baseball great as he neared the record for baseball’s all-time hits record.
In which the hero reflects on the infinite depths …
Influence: Cinefamily’s “A Night With Robert Downey Sr.,” a series of screenings held last December as tribute to the actor’s father and his surreal films.
Thing get freaky…
Influence: 1977’s Eraserhead, David Lynch’s debut feature film, about a man and a mutant baby in a blighted, industrial landscape.
The hero discovers the key to unlocking the loop.
Influence: 1936’s Modern Times, a comedy from Charlie Chaplin (whom Downey Jr. played in a 1992 bio-pic) about the desperation of a working man.