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22 Questions

Is Lance Bass from space? Is Nelly menopausal? ‘Signs’ made us explore Hollywood’s bizarre phenomena.

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This Summer, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs grossed $227 million on the strength of a simple, seductive question: Where do those mysterious crop circles come from? But Shyamalan needn’t have ventured to the Pennsylvania countryside to find bizarre or unexplained phenomena; the entertainment industry produces plenty of head scratchers. Herewith, some examples. — Tim Carvell

— What sort of mass hypnosis did the makers of Punch-Drunk Love perpetrate that made people (albeit briefly) use the words ”Adam Sandler” and ”Oscar contender” in the same sentence? Was it the same kind of mind control that made everyone suddenly agree that Vin Diesel is now a movie star?

— How do the producers of The Anna Nicole Show manage to survive despite the removal of their consciences?

— Taking into account his first name, his throaty voice, and his recurring hot flashes, is it possible that Nelly is, in fact, a menopausal woman named Helen?

— Where did Swept Away disappear to after three weeks in movie theaters? Did it go to the same corner of the Bermuda Triangle where David E. Kelley’s girls club, the Baha Men, and Kim Delaney’s character on CSI: Miami reside? If so, is it possible to transport Christina Aguilera there?

— What sort of brain-eating parasite disabled the long-term memory of Universal Pictures executives, leading them to turn The Rock’s villainous character from The Mummy Returns into the hero of The Scorpion King? (Or is it just that the filmmakers — like the audience — had completely forgotten every single minute of The Mummy Returns by the time its credits rolled?)

— In what alternate universe is the conduct of any of the participants in The Bachelor considered acceptable?

— The Tuxedo grossed $50 million in the U.S., meaning that at least 5 million people put on shoes, left the house, and paid money to see it. Who are these people? Are they the same ones who voted for Nikki over Tamyra?

— Having read the book and seen the movie, we’d still like to know: What are the divine secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood?

— Michael Jackson greeted cheering fans in Germany by dangling his child out of a hotel window, prompting the question: Michael Jackson has fans who stand outside his hotel and cheer? Are they real people, or do they come from the same secret laboratory where Jackson’s facial features are manufactured?

— What otherworldly force propelled not one but two (two!) recent Oscar winners, Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Coburn, to star in Snow Dogs?

— What psychotropic substance was in the watercooler on the day CBS executives decided to kick off the show Bram and Alice with the lead character accidentally trying to seduce his own daughter?

— Why are we completely unable to remember A Walk to Remember?

— How many times can executives at independent movie studios hear the words ”the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding” from filmmakers before their heads explode?