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My assessment on Season Three

2020.11.26 01:57 ISayNothingOfValue My assessment on Season Three

This line, and the first two paragraphs will be copy and pasted to three posts in total.
Hello Twin Peaks fans! I just got done binging Twin Peaks Season 1 + 2, FWWM, and Season 3. I did not watch Missing Pieces, however, I at some point later I might have to go back and watch, since it sounds like that provides more Twin Peaks that I like. I watched Twin Peaks because I was bored, and I know it is popular, and it seemed like a show that was right up my ally. I have not seen any of David Lynch's other work. I am not a film nerd. I am not an atomic history expert. I do not specialize in Greek mythology. I do come from a small town that has been struck with tragedy before. That is pretty much all of the context you should need about me that would be relevant to the conversation.
I want to discuss all of the parts of Twin Peaks that I've seen. I will create separate posts for Seasons 1 + 2, FWWM, and Season 3 just to organize the conversation better. I understand that there are books for Twin Peaks. I do not plan on reading them, and therefore, go ahead and reference it if it is relevant to the discussion. I personally do not care if the book is spoiled for me.
What I liked
  1. I did not have a hard time whatsoever adjusting to Season 3. It was a little slow to begin with, but I'd imagine after 25 years just about any TV show would be slow to begin with
  2. This point should be in the other posts as well, but Kyle Maclachlan. I guess this post gets it though because of the diversity of the roles he played this season. All for a perfect resolution and payoff near the end. My only wish was that we got a little bit more time with him doing real detective work.
  3. Audrey's storyline. It wasn't much. It didn't change anything. However it gave insight to our beloved character. I was extremely disappointed with the character, but it makes entire sense and I appreciate it. At first, I guess it doesn't make it sense. Isn't Audrey suppose to be the smart and successful one of the three young ladies? She had the best taste in guys. However, "Cooper" betrayed her trust, which from her perspective and frankly everyone's, is super nonsensical. It makes sense that it would lead to later marital problems. I don't understand her end scene, but I don't care. Her end hasn't come yet it seems like.
  4. The Nadine, Ed, and Norma love triangle. Nadine somehow grew as a character in a good and bad direction. It allowed Ed and Norma to finally get married which is absolutely awesome.
  5. The scene in the diner between Becky, Shelly, and Bobby was so well done. While Bobby wasn't the greatest guy in the beginning, he was still incredibly protective of Shelly. It seemed like his worst nightmare as a father, person, and police officer happened for his daughter. You could see the hurt in his face. And then for Shelly to sucker punch him during that moment with Red. Poor guy. And poor gals too. So well done.
  6. Lucy shooting Dopplecooper was awesome. Enough said.
  7. Andy also being a hero. Enough said.
  8. I loved the fight between BOB and Freddy. Could they have literally had anyone else serve Freddy's role? Yeah, but I don't care. I've heard it wasn't suppose to serve as a parody for Marvel movies, but honestly, it may as well have. It was stupidly simple, but hell, we could at least tell what was going on.
  9. I loved every single Dougie scene.
  10. I liked the progression of Ben Horne as a character.
  11. There is probably more, but there was a lot going on this season, and I am not sure if anything else would add to the conversation.
What I disliked
  1. I wouldn't necessarily call this a dislike, but the atmosphere is definitely different, and I feel that part of that has to do with the technology used to film. However, this is probably entirely dependent on when you watched the show. If you watched in when it came out, it probably wasn't as jarring, because that is simply the "best" that TV looked back then. But for me, not only did I not watch it when it came out, I wasn't alive then, so I wasn't even use to cameras of that time regardless. Basically, that technology has always been dated to me. Not bad, just dated.
  2. Catherine didn't have a role, and the excuse was because they couldn't find a role for her? Really? You can't possibly find a role in the town of Twin Peaks for the person who arguably has the most capital in Twin Peaks? Considering that one of the characters had a story line where their business was expanding. Would Twin Peaks even exist as it had without the lumber mill? How many jobs were lost? What happened with the development of the Ghostwood land or the former mill? It is just incredibly lazy and brushes a huge plot line under the rug. Not even a potential mention from her main business rival about how he defeated her?
  3. This one is also less of a dislike, and something easy I can forgive. I understand Harry couldn't physically reprise his role, however, why couldn't he also skype? His brother becoming sheriff doesn't make much sense. We've never heard of his brother. But it doesn't really matter, because I think the alternative to him would have been Hawk and Hawk still would have done everything he did anyways.
  4. Diane. I really don't like Diane in any way shape or form. I didn't like Dopplediane or real Diane. Diane didn't seem like the type of person Cooper would like, and there wasn't any on screen chemistry either. It would have been better if Diane was simply a vocal Diary that he called Diane for whatever reason.
  5. Now, here comes the match to the gas fumes. Season 3, Episode 8. I honestly should make a separate post for it, and perhaps I will, because this is the main reason I wanted to make these posts. Perhaps if this post doesn't gain traction, I will make a separate post for it.
Season 3 Episode 8. It is extremely overrated. Specifically the middle 40 minutes of the episode. Two things I've heard from commentors on this sub were that it was the greatest hour of television and that this episode in particular would be written about in doctoral dissertations. Why? Visually, I don't think it is anything special. If you disagree, please explain why. It isn't like there is a groundbreaking score to accompany the episode. When I think about Twin Peaks or the episode, I don't hear anything from that episode specifically. But for example, when I think Jurassic Park, I hear Jurassic Park. There isn't anything special about the origin story. It reminds me a lot of Men in Black. And frankly, it doesn't shed new light on anything in previous episodes, and I don't think it changes anything in future episodes. I guess it serves as one standalone episode of Twin Peaks, but I think if most people only watched that and had to determine if Twin Peaks was good or not, they would say it is not good. For people who love it, do the Slow Mo guys on youtube scratch that same itch that this episode does? Is there any music that scratches the same itch? I want to understand what you guys love about it, so that perhaps I can appreciate it more. Obviously I don't "get it." But what is there to get? What is the thing that I am missing? Am I expecting it too much to be Twin Peaks, and it simply isn't Twin Peaks and shouldn't be regarded as such?
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2020.11.25 19:29 Shagrrotten New York Times - The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century (So Far)

The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century (So Far)
Chameleons or beauties, star turns or character roles these are the performers who have outshone all others on the big screen in the last 20 years.
By Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott Nov. 25, 2020
We are in a golden age of acting — make that platinum — as we realized when we decided to select our favorite film performers of the past 20 years. There’s no formula for choosing the best (just squabbling), and this list is both necessarily subjective and possibly scandalous in its omissions. Some of these performers are new to the scene; others have been around for decades. In making our choices, we have focused on this century and looked beyond Hollywood. And while there are certainly stars in the mix and even a smattering of Oscar winners, there are also character actors and chameleons, action heroes and art-house darlings. They’re 25 reasons we still love movies, maybe more than ever.
25. Gael García Bernal
MANOHLA DARGIS When Alejandro González Iñárritu’s thriller “Amores Perros” and Alfonso Cuarón’s road movie “Y Tu Mamá También” were released in American art houses a year apart, the shocks were seismic. Their directors were soon racing toward international renown and so was Gael García Bernal, their shared star. He was gifted, held the screen and had a face you kept looking at, partly because — with his doe eyes and lantern jaw — it seamlessly fused ideals of feminine and masculine beauty.
This contrast wasn’t especially obvious in “Amores Perros” (2001), but it helps enrich the warmer “Y Tu Mamá También” (2002), a soulful coming-of-age story that opens with a whoop and ends on a sigh. García Bernal plays Julio, a working-class teenager on a journey of discovery (of the self, of others). Along with his best friend (played by Diego Luna), Julio tumbles through life heedlessly until he doesn’t. As the story’s raucousness quiets, Julio’s adolescent machismo fades, replaced by pensiveness that the actor makes so physical, you see the character retreating inside himself.
By 2004, García Bernal had appeared in Walter Salles’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” as the young Che Guevara and played a duplicitous chameleon in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Bad Education.” Almodóvar put the actor in heels to play a noirish femme fatale, a role that García Bernal apparently didn’t much like doing so but that deepened his persona with a smear of lipstick and a psychological coldness that created new shocks.
A. O. SCOTT In Pablo Larraín’s “No” (2013), García Bernal plays Rene Saavedra, a hotshot young advertising creative in 1980s Chile, with his usual charm. He’s cool but not intimidatingly so; good-looking in the same measure; funny but not to the point of obnoxiousness; self-confident but not a jerk. At first, it’s easy to underestimate both Rene and García Bernal, to mistake their casual, unassuming naturalness for a lack of gravitas or craft. Rene is enlisted by a group of opposition political parties to produce television spots supporting a “no” vote on a referendum extending the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Rene’s job is to sell rejection as an upbeat choice, to acknowledge the brutality of Pinochet’s regime while focusing on the happy future without him. Though Rene believes in the cause, he also views it as a marketing challenge, and there is a bit of a “Mad Men” vibe to his wrangling with clients, colleagues and rivals.
It’s up to García Bernal to provide the dramatic link between the banalities of the media business and the terror of political repression, and he does it almost entirely with his eyes. One night, the apartment he shares with his young son is vandalized while they sleep, and in that moment Rene’s chipper resolve liquefies into pure fear. The next day he is back at work, and both he and the audience have a new and profound understanding of what the work means.
24. Sônia Braga
MANOHLA DARGIS I just recently rewatched “Aquarius” (2016) for our ode to Sônia Braga. For those who haven’t seen it: Braga stars as Clara, a writer whose apartment faces the Atlantic. Most of the story follows Clara just living her life while swatting away her landlord. Braga fits seamlessly into the director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s wonderful, unfussy realism. This time while viewing the movie, though — partly prompted by, ahem, a chapter title called “Clara’s Hair” — I noticed how Braga kept rearranging her opulent curtain of hair. And, as she swept it up and let it down, I realized that Mendonça wasn’t just presenting a character but also the legend playing her.
A. O. SCOTT It’s a reminder — subliminal and brazen at the same time — that Braga was a big deal in Brazil and beyond in the 1970s and ’80s, her nation’s answer to Sophia Loren. Her films with Mendonça (“Bacurau” this year as well “Aquarius”) draw on that history and exploit her old-school charisma. But they aren’t just late-career star turns. Clara isn’t Sonia Braga: She’s a highly specific woman with her own history of achievements, love affairs and regrets. But only a performer with Braga’s utter self-assurance, her heroic indifference to what anyone else thinks of her, could bring Clara to life.
DARGIS Yet what I found fascinating about “Aquarius” this time is that Clara is alsoBraga, in the sense that the character’s meaning is partly shaped by everything that Braga brings whenever she’s onscreen, including her history in Brazilian cinema as a woman of mixed ancestry as well as her adventures in Hollywood. There’s something fantastically liberating watching Braga play this majestic woman, who has visible wrinkles and never had breast reconstruction after her mastectomy. That’s especially true given how Braga was once slavered over as a sex star. “There is nothing else to call her,” a male critic once wrote — well, you could call her an actress.
SCOTT Her skill manifests itself in a totally different way in “Bacurau” this year, a crazily fantastical (and violent) science-fictionish allegory of Brazil in crisis that departs from the realism of Mendonça’s other films without abandoning their political passion or their humanism. Braga, part of a sprawling ensemble that includes nonprofessional actors, is essential to this. She plays Domingas, a small-town doctor with a drinking problem and a sometimes abrasive personality — a deglamorized, comical role that no one else could have managed with such depth and grace. Or as Mendonça put it, “In a symphony, she’d be the piano.”
23. Mahershala Ali
A. O. SCOTT Mahershala Ali has one of the great faces in modern movies — those sculpted cheekbones, that high, contemplative brow, those eyes tinged with melancholy. His presence on camera is magnetic, but also watchful and sly. His characters tend toward reticence, guardedness, but their reserve is its own form of eloquence, their whispers more resonant than any shout.
Ali has won two Oscars for best supporting actor. The first was for “Moonlight” (2016), in which he quietly demolished a durable Hollywood stereotype. Juan is a drug dealer, a figure of community destruction and implicit violence. What defines him, though, is his gentleness, the unconditional kindness he bestows on Chiron, the young protagonist. Juan listens to the boy; he answers his questions; in one of the film’s most moving scenes, he teaches him to swim.
And then, between the first and second acts, he vanishes. But Ali haunts the film even after his departure. He’s both its tragic, nurturing image of manhood and the first man worthy of Chiron’s love.
MANOHLA DARGIS Ali first got my attention in the Netflix series “House of Cards.” He played Remy Danton, a Washington lawyer whose knowing little smile could flicker like a warning, signaling the danger in his world. Remy entered in the second episode in a scene at a restaurant, where the lead character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), is eating with two other power brokers. Remy doesn’t stand over the seated men, he looms. You know Underwood is bad news, but when the director David Fincher cuts to Remy’s face, Ali abruptly changes the temperature by dropping his affable facade for skin-prickling wariness, making it clear that he isn’t talking to a man but to a predator.
I was so accustomed to seeing Ali in a bespoke suit (and sometimes out) that I didn’t recognize him at first in “Moonlight.” It wasn’t simply the different wardrobes, but the precise bearing that Ali gave each man, variations in bodies, yes, but also in how those bodies move and signify. In “House of Cards,” Remy flows and there were moments when I thought I was looking at the next James Bond. In “Moonlight,” Ali creates a titanic character whose force, even after he disappears from the movie, continues to resonate. The actor creates a very dissimilar character in “Green Book” (2018, his second Oscar winner), this time with a performance — as the musician Don Shirley, whom Ali plays as a man and a defended fortress — that surpasses the movie.
SCOTT I would almost say that the performance is the opposite of the movie. Ali is graceful, witty and self-aware while “Green Book” is clumsy, jokey and blind to its own insensitivities. I’m not sure any other actor could have handled the notorious fried chicken scene with such sly dignity. That “Green Book” and “Moonlight” were both best picture winners speaks to the contradictions of our cultural moment, but it’s proof of Ali’s talent that his subtle craft and unshakable charisma can anchor two such divergent films.
22. Melissa McCarthy
MANOHLA DARGIS When critics anatomize comic performers like Melissa McCarthy, we often touch on familiar qualities like timing, grace and elastic physiognomy. But we’re also talking about acting. Since making the transition from TV to movies, McCarthy has repeatedly demonstrated her range and exhilaratingly helped demolish regressive ideas about who gets to be a film star. No movie has served her better than “Spy”(2015) in which she plays Susan, a timid C.I.A. analyst who’s sent on an outlandish mission that allows McCarthy to mince and then delightfully swagger.
Essential to the subversive fun of “Spy” is how it deploys genre conventions to showcase McCarthy’s talents while also blowing up stereotypes. Susan contains multitudes, first as self-protection (she dampens her fire) and later as an expression of her humanity. In the field, she unhappily assumes several frumpy, tragically bewigged disguises — variations on how others see her — before transforming into a sexy, trash-talking fantasy of her own design. As Susan lets down her hair and inhibitions, McCarthy cuts loose. Her voice booms, her fluttery hands ball into fists, her Kewpie-doll face goes full-on Medusa. McCarthy isn’t playing one woman — she’s all of us, with a vengeance.
A. O. SCOTT Lee Israel is funny. She shares a fast and furiously aggressive verbal wit with some of McCarthy’s other creations, like Tammy in “Tammy” (2014) and Mullins in “The Heat” (2013). But Lee was a real person, and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”(2018) isn’t exactly a comedy. It’s not quite a biopic either, but rather a highly specific slice of late-20th-century New York queer and literary life threaded through a misfit buddy picture and twisted into a caper film.
Lee is not easy to like or root for. She’s abrasive, self-absorbed and self-sabotaging. She alienates friends and maintains as tenuous a grip on ethics as on sobriety. McCarthy resists turning her story — which involves trading a faltering career as a writer for a lucrative stint as a forger of famous writers’ letters — into a parable of recovery or redemption.
It’s about how Lee and her sidekick (the wonderful Richard E. Grant) gamble on survival, rebelling against the fate that an indifferent world has prepared for them. The movie’s title poses an honest question. Maybe you can’t forgive Lee for her lapses and lies, her lack of consideration for other people’s words and feelings. But there’s no way you can forget her.
21. Catherine Deneuve
By MARJANE SATRAPI
In a lengthy career working with a who’s who of auteurs, Deneuve has stood for a certain kind of elegant Frenchwoman whether she’s playing an ordinary wife, a down-on-her-luck bistro owner or even an Iranian mother. For that last role, in the animated “Persepolis”(2007). Deneuve voiced a character based on Marjane Satrapi’s mom. We asked Satrapi, who directed the film with Vincent Paronnaud, to explain why she sought out Deneuve.
If you live in France, Catherine Deneuve is the symbol. When I was growing up, she was the dream. She always made choices that were too advanced for her time, more anarchist than bourgeois. She has always looked like a very bourgeois Parisian woman, which is absolutely not true. She is a rebel who looks like a grande dame.
The first time I met Catherine Deneuve was like meeting God in person. I was so impressed. And yet, I had to direct her, and I didn’t dare tell her a thing. The first two hours, I was completely paralyzed, and she calmed me down. She told me, because she’s a very generous woman: “You’re the director and I’m your actress. Tell me what to do and I will do it.” She didn’t do it in front of other people. She said, “Let’s go have a cigarette,” and she said it to me privately.
For the character of the mother, I needed to have someone who is not this eternal mother who is very lovely, because this is not my mom. My mom is a very lovely person but she is like: “You do this. You do that.” I needed somebody who had the power of a woman that wants her daughter to [make her life] better and be more emancipated. Catherine Deneuve has this way of talking that is not playful, because she doesn’t try to be likable. She’s very frank. When she talks to you, she looks straight into your eyes.
She doesn’t try to be likable. She’s very frank.
There is this scene when I come home and my mom starts yelling at me: “You know what they do with young girls in Iran? You have to get out of this country.” I remember when she played it, she was a little bit off. She tried to contain herself as she normally does. I was like, “No, Catherine, you’re really out of your mind.” She did it and she actually cried. That was extremely moving.
And still, after all these years, each time I see her, I have the heartbeat. She is like a lion. She is not loud, she does not make gestures. But even if she is behind you and you don’t see her, you feel that a feline is in the room. It feels at the same time very exciting and very dangerous. She is ferocious and she is fearless, and I love that about her. — Interview by Kathryn Shattuck
20. Rob Morgan
A. O. SCOTT The great character actors are masters of paradox, at once indelible and invisible. You don’t necessarily recognize them from one role to the next, but they leave their stamp on every film, enhancing the whole even in small parts.
If you saw “Mudbound,” “Monsters and Men,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”and “Just Mercy” — four movies released between 2017 and 2019 — you are aware of Rob Morgan, whether or not you know his name.
As a death row prisoner in “Just Mercy,” he is a notably undramatic presence, a quiet man haunted by remorse, helplessness and fear whose plight encapsulates the film’s humanist argument.
In each of the other movies, he plays a father, in the Jim Crow South and the modern urban North — a man who knows more than he chooses to say. The sons in those movies do most of the talking, but Morgan gives eloquent expression to experiences that lie outside the main story even as they ground it in a larger history. In “Last Black Man” he appears in a handful of scenes and utters just a few lines, but everything that movie is about — the pleasures and disappointments of life at the margins of an idiosyncratic, rapidly changing city — is written in his face. He listens, he chews sunflower seeds, he plays a few chords on an old pipe organ, and after a few minutes in his presence you understand exactly what you need to know.
MANOHLA DARGIS Every so often, a small movie gives an actor a chance to go bigger and hold the center, which is what Morgan does in Annie Silverstein’s “Bull” (2020). He plays Abe, a former rodeo bull rider with stiff joints, blood in his urine and a fragilely held together life. His bull riding days over, he now works on the ground as a bullfighter, helping protect fallen riders. The role of Abe, mercifully, isn’t overwritten, which allows Morgan to define the character with a persuasively embodied performance, one whose head tilts, sideways looks and withdrawn presence expresses a bruising past and the self-protecting instincts of a man in emotional retreat.
“Bull” should be only about Abe, but it instead focuses on his relationship with a white, rootless 14-year-old neighbor, Kris (Amber Havard). Their fates sourly cross after she’s caught trashing his house, and is shaped by the unearned optimism that’s foundational to American cinema. In other words, Abe and Kris save each other. What saves the movie, though, is the window Morgan opens onto the Black cowboy and how the performance complicates America’s favorite myths, including the figure of the hard, stoic loner. Abe doesn’t ride in from John Wayne territory; Abe rides in from an entirely different land that Morgan makes visceral, haunted and wholly alive.
19. Wes Studi
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Wes Studi has one of the screen’s most arresting faces — jutting and creased and anchored with the kind of penetrating eyes that insist you match their gaze. Lesser directors like to use his face as a blunt symbol of the Native American experience, as a mask of nobility, of suffering, of pain that’s unknowable only because no one has asked the man wearing it. In the right movie, though, Studi doesn’t just play with a character’s facade; he peels its layers. A master of expressive opacity, he shows you the mask and what lies beneath, both the thinking and the feeling.
He shows you the mask and what lies beneath.
Studi vaulted into cinematic consciousness as the vengeful Huron warrior in Michael Mann’s epic “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992), a character the actor conveys with powerful physicality and intensities of contempt, impatience, resentment, fury. Doing a lot with a little has been a constant in Studi’s movie career, which includes signifying roles in “The New World” (2005) and “Avatar” (2009). Like many actors, he has done his share of forgettable work, made exploitation flicks and TV fodder. Often specifically cast as a Native American, he has played Geronimo and Cochise; he might right more film wrongs if westerns were still popular. And if the industry were adventurous, he might also play more types like the supervisor of a homeless shelter in “Being Flynn” (2012), a man who doesn’t wear what Studi calls “leathers and feathers.”
Instructively, he wears neither in Scott Cooper’s “Hostiles” (2017), about life and death in late-19th-century America. Studi plays Chief Yellow Hawk, a dying Cheyenne prisoner whom the federal government has agreed to return to his ancestral lands. The movie is largely interested in his escort, a war-ruined Indian hater played by Christian Bale, the star. Once again, Studi delivers a supporting turn that complements the leading performance — his character’s indifference to the escort’s rage is a wall that can’t be breached — and helps equalize the story’s balance. Yellow Hawk has survived long enough to die on his terms, survival that Studi makes a final act of self-possession.
18. Willem Dafoe
By JULIAN SCHNABEL
The actor has been a vital presence in movies as different as “Shadow of the Vampire”(2000) and “The Florida Project” (2017), for which he received Oscar nominations. He was also nominated for playing van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s biopic, “At Eternity’s Gate” (2018). We asked Schnabel why he turned to Dafoe.
Willem and I met more than 30 years ago. He has always lived in the neighborhood, and we had a lot of friends in common. Oliver Stone was shooting “The Doors” in New York, and we were standing around the set one night and that was the first time we really started to talk.
One thing that’s super-important is he’s a very generous actor. He cares about other people’s performances and about helping them by being available in whatever he is doing. He’s very, very loyal and very, very smart. If you’ve got somebody who’s smart, they can make it better.
He’s a very generous actor. He cares about other people’s performances.
[For “At Eternity’s Gate”] I needed somebody that would have the depth of character to play van Gogh. And it wasn’t about just looking like him. It was somebody that could have enough life experience to be that guy. People thought, well, Willem is 60 years old, van Gogh was 37 when he died. That was irrelevant to me. You just have to have a hunch about trusting somebody and thinking that they can do something. I trust Willem implicitly. And that level of trust goes both ways.
There’s stuff we shot in Arles after he arrived that we couldn’t use. He was wearing the same clothes, had the same hairdo, but he wasn’t the guy yet. Then there was a certain moment when all of a sudden he was. He was transformed, transfigured. He was somebody else.
One of my favorite scenes is where he’s talking to the young Dr. Rey, who is seeing him after he’s cut his ear off and he is guaranteeing him that he’s going to get to paint when he’s in the institution. That interaction is extraordinary, what Willem does there. He’s basically sitting at a table and there’s not a whole hell of a lot of room for movement. But what goes on in his face in his response to what the young doctor is saying to him — and also in response to whatever other thoughts seem to be traveling through his mind at that time — is a landscape of events and an interior life like foam coming to the top of a vanilla egg cream. — Interview by Kathryn Shattuck
17. Alfre Woodard
By A. O. SCOTT
In a just world, there would be a bursting roster of great performances to fill this entry, a collection of matriarchs, romantic heroines, divas and villains to reflect the full range of Alfre Woodard’s gifts. Such roles are always in short supply for Black women, but even in small parts in minor movies or television series, Woodard is an unforgettable presence, at once regal and utterly real.
The two films that have given her the most room — Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave”(2013) and Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency”(2019) — both place the question of justice front and center. In each, Woodard must assert her character’s dignity and ethical integrity in the face of impossibly cruel circumstances. Bernadine Williams, the prison warden in “Clemency” whose job includes supervising executions, finds her professionalism increasingly at odds with her humanity. In “12 Years,” Mistress Shaw, an enslaved woman whose relationship with a plantation owner has brought her a measure of privilege, has bargained with a system built on her dehumanization.
Woodard’s art, her commitment to truth, is what you see.
The contradictions that Bernadine and Mistress Shaw contend with are larger than any individual. What Woodard does is make them personal. Self-control is a matter of survival, and Woodard sets her face into a picture of proper decorum, impersonating the genteel Southern lady or the efficient bureaucrat that the situation requires. She doesn’t so much let the masks slip — except perhaps in the devastating final scenes of “Clemency” — as show the cost and care that go into wearing them. The characters are also performing, playing their roles for mortal stakes, and Woodard’s art, her commitment to truth, is what you see in the space between how they seem and who they are.
16. Kim Min-hee
By MANOHLA DARGIS
In Hong Sang-soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then” (2016), a woman and man meet. They drink and drink some more and testily part ways only to meet in the movie’s second half as if for the very first time, a setup that evokes “Groundhog Day.” Once again, they go to a cafe, a studio, a restaurant. Yet while their actions generally remain the same, as does the overall arc of the evening, enough has changed — how they look at each other, the inflections in their voices — to turn this second encounter into something different.
Kim Min-hee’s exquisitely nuanced performance is at the center of the movie, and the actress herself has been at the heart of Hong’s work ever since, appearing in most of his ensuing movies. An established art-house auteur, Hong tells modestly scaled stories that are formally playful, sensitive to human imperfection and drenched in soju. Familiar things happen, sometimes unfamiliarly. Repetition is often a narrative focus, one that is grounded in life and beautifully served by Kim’s lucid expressivity.
In Hong’s minimalist canon, life is condensed in everyday moments, in conversations and the way bodies lean toward one another. The differences in the two halves of “Right Now, Wrong Then” reveal new facets of the characters and create new tensions between them. They also give free rein to Kim’s range, allowing her to play with intonation, gestures, flickering looks. Yet while the movie’s two sections feel like variations of the same story, her performance feels more like it’s coalescing as — smile by smile, with deflected and fixed gazes — Kim gathers the character into a whole.
She goes big and small, veers from monstrous to mousy.
She went for baroque in Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” (2016), her best-known movie. In this outlandish, often perversely funny drama set in Korea in the 1930s, she plays a Japanese noble who’s saved from her deviant uncle by her wiles and by another woman. The story’s flamboyant excesses and narrative twists allow Kim to use every tool in her workbox. She goes big and small, veers from monstrous to mousy, and alternately hides her character’s feelings and lets them run amok. Her body rocks and her face distorts as fear and pain give way to ecstasy and release. The character is a mystery that the movie teases but that Kim deliriously unlocks.
15. Michael B. Jordan
By RYAN COOGLER
Michael B. Jordan has played lawyers, athletes and superheroes, but even before his range became clear, the director Ryan Coogler wanted to work with him. Coogler has made three features (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and “Black Panther”) and Jordan stars or co-stars in all of them. We asked the director to explain just what it is about the actor that draws us in.
I met Mike in 2012 when I was doing research and working on the script for “Fruitvale.” He was who I decided would be best for the role before I met him, based on the other work that I’d seen him do — a couple of movies that year, “Red Tails” and “Chronicle,” and a bunch of stuff in the TV space. But I thought that he could play Oscar. He looked like him, but also what I saw was this ability to make you empathize with him. Not all actors have this thing, when you immediately care about somebody right offhand and that triggers an empathetic reaction. He had that. He also has a very advanced tool kit as an actor.
What I saw was this ability to make you empathize with him.
He’s been in all the feature films I’ve done. And I keep casting him because he’s the best person for the job. “Creed” [2015] had another character I thought he could play well. Before Mike was an actor, he was an athlete, back in elementary school and high school. He had played athletes on TV, the most famous being on “Friday Night Lights,” so some of the things we knew his character would have to do in “Creed,” Mike felt right for it. It was a part of him that wasn’t a big reach.
And [in] “Black Panther” [2018], with him and Chadwick facing off and going toe to toe, it felt like an event. Their stars were rising. They were both leading men by the time we shot that movie.
Now, what’s exciting about us getting older in the industry is getting to work together in different capacities. He’s doing a lot of stuff behind the camera now. And we have some opportunities to work together beyond actor and director.
He’s very ambitious in a way that’s endearing. He always wants to push and challenge himself further. And that comes across in his performances, but also in the business sense. That ambition keeps him open-minded. He watches everything and doesn’t want to cut himself off from certain genres or opportunities. So I think the sky’s the limit for him and his career. — Interview by Mekado Murphy
14. Oscar Isaac
A. O. SCOTT While I can take or leave the recent “Star Wars” movies, I do have a fondness for some of the characters, in particular Poe Dameron, the resistance flyboy who is the third trilogy’s designated charmer. As Poe, Oscar Isaac is an appealing, easygoing presence in those movies, a guy who seems to know what he’s doing.
His characters aren’t always as lucky, or as sure of themselves, but the man himself operates with the precision of someone who is confident enough in his skills to push himself into risky new territory. The summer before “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013) was released, Joel and Ethan Coen told us that they had originally wanted to cast a well-known musician in the title role. Instead, they found Isaac, who told them (according to Joel) that “most actors, if you ask them if they play guitar, they’ll say they played guitar for 20 years, but what they really mean is they’ve owned a guitar for 20 years.” Isaac could actually play. When I think about what makes him so credible as an actor, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Not because it’s such a big deal to play guitar, but because whatever Isaac is pretending to do onscreen — selling heating oil (in the underrated “A Most Violent Year,” (2014); inventing sexy robots (in “Ex Machina”); flying X-wing fighters — I always believe that he really knows how to do it, and that I’m watching some kind of authentic mastery in action.
MANOHLA DARGIS When actors make a profound first impression, they sometimes get bound up with your ideas about what they can do. After “Llewyn Davis,” I associated Isaac with soulful defeat, with an undercurrent of grudging resentment. A few other roles shored up this idea of his innate mournfulness, including his performance as a besieged mayor in the HBO series “Show Me a Hero” (2015). This partly has to do with his broody, romantic looks and how his brows frame his luxuriously lashed eyes. And then there’s his voice, its pretty sound but also how its resonance creates intimacy. Even when he puts nasal in it, his voice retains a quality of closeness, one reason it often feels, sounds, like Llewyn is singing more for himself than the audience. Isaac’s voice also softens his beauty, drawing you in. Sometimes, though, as in “Ex Machina,” he uses that intimacy for something insinuating, sinister.
Isaac has a supporting role in “Ex Machina” (2015), but he’s vital to its vibe and power. He plays Nathan, a Dr. Frankenstein-like tech billionaire involved in artificial intelligence who’s building (and destroying) beautiful female androids. A savagely critical stand-in for today’s masters of the digital universe, Nathan could easily have dominated the movie. Isaac instead keeps his own charm in check, letting the character’s creepiness poison the air. Nathan’s mercurial moods and surprising looks — his shaved head and full beard, eyeglasses and cut muscles — make it difficult to get a bead on him. But when he suddenly boogies down, executing an amazing dance, Isaac lays bare all you need to know about Nathan in the geometric precision of his choreographed moves and the madness in his eyes. It’s 30 seconds of pure genius.
13. Tilda Swinton
MANOHLA DARGIS The woman of a thousand otherworldly faces, Tilda Swinton has created enough personas — with untold wigs, costumes and accents — to have become a roster of one. She’s a star, a character actor, a performance artist, an extraterrestrial, a trickster. Her pale, sharply planed face is an ideal canvas for paint and prosthetics, and capable of unnerving stillness. You want to read her but can’t. That helps make her a terrific villain, whether she’s playing a demon, a queen or a corporate lawyer. In “Julia” (2009), she drops that wall to play an out-of-control alcoholic and child-snatcher, giving a full-throttled performance that is so visceral and transparent that you can see the character’s thoughts furiously at work, like little parasites moving under the skin.
A. O. SCOTT We like to praise actors for “range,” but that’s an almost laughably inadequate word for the radical shape-shifting that Swinton accomplishes. Just look at one strand of her career: her work with Luca Guadagnino, a filmmaker who shares her delight in self-reinvention. In “I Am Love” (2010) she played the Russian wife of an Italian aristocratic, giving a performance in two languages and in the key of pure melodramatic heartbreak. In “A Bigger Splash” (2016) she had barely any language at all: She decided that it would be interesting if her glam-rock diva character had been struck mute by throat surgery. In “Suspiria” (2018) she executed one of her many self-doublings, appearing as a member of a balletomaniac coven of witches and also as an elderly male Holocaust survivor.
DARGIS That doubling shapes her most androgynous performances, where she effortlessly blurs gender, confirming (yet again) the inadequacy of categories like “man” and “woman.” She’s both; she’s neither. A different doubling happens when she plays twins, in the 2016 “Hail, Caesar!”(as rival gossip columnists) and in “Okja”the next year (as visually distinct very cruel captains of industry). In each, Swinton shows us two sides of the same person, much as she does in “Michael Clayton” (2007) when her lawyer rehearses a duplicitous spiel in front of a mirror. As the lawyer talks, pauses and drops her smile, you see her desperately trying to control a reflection that is already cracking.
SCOTT Those roles can be theatrical, but they almost never feel gimmicky. Swinton has roots in an avant-garde tradition — earlier in her career, she worked with Derek Jarman and Sally Potter — that emphasizes the mutability of identity and the blurred boundaries between artifice and authenticity. Over the past 20 years she has brought some of the intellectual rigor and conceptual daring of that work to Hollywood and beyond. She’s not only a uniquely exciting performer, but also one of the great living theorists of performance.
12. Joaquin Phoenix
By JAMES GRAY
Joaquin Phoenix has appeared in four of the director James Gray’s movies, starting with “The Yards” in 2000 and including “We Own the Night” (2007), “Two Lovers” (2009) and “The Immigrant” (2014). We asked Gray to explain how the actor has expanded — and improved — on his own vision.
When I saw “To Die For,” I said, “That actor” — I didn’t even know his name yet — “is unbelievably good at conveying his internal life without dialogue.” That’s a really important thing in cinema, because the camera reveals everything. Here was an actor who had so much going on and you could tell. I thought, “That’s a very interesting actor. I’d love to meet him.” And I did.
We were on the same wavelength, instantly. We liked the same things. We thought about things the same way. And I just immediately liked him. He had that dimensionality to him. The first film we did together [“The Yards”], I’m sure that I pissed him off a lot. I have a very direct way. Sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s not so good. I’m better at it now. Let’s just say that I wasn’t always willing to say, “Yeah, that’s interesting, but let’s try this.” I was more into, “Joaq, what are you doing? That sucks, try another one.” And I know I would frustrate him because his talent was so vast.
He has a limitless ability to surprise you in the best ways and inspire you to move in a direction that you haven’t thought of originally, better than what you have in mind, and expands the idea. He’s extremely inventive. He’s always thinking and actually has gotten more so over the years. I’ve never said, “I want my vision on the screen.” I want something better than that. You want to lay down the parameters of what it is you have in mind, and then surround yourself with people who will make it all more beautiful. Not different, necessarily, but more intense, more vivid.
He has a limitless ability to surprise you in the best ways.
You want the actor to surprise you, and to do so in a way that seems consistent with the character but also very interesting. Joaquin was absolutely fantastic at that. That’s inspiring. You don’t know what to expect in the best sense. Joaquin Phoenix is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. If I have any regret at all, it would be that he’s not in every single movie I made. — Interview by Candice Frederick
11. Julianne Moore
A. O. SCOTT The unhappy American housewife — smiling to keep up appearances in the face of domestic tragedy and inner turmoil — is a durable movie archetype. It’s one that Julianne Moore has both explored and exploded, in “The Hours” (2002) and especially in her collaborations with Todd Haynes like “Far From Heaven” (2002).
That film is set in Connecticut in the 1950s, but it’s a pointedly stylized landscape, evocative of the Hollywood melodramas of that period. Cathy and Frank Whitaker (Moore and Dennis Quaid) are each pulled away from their stifling marriage by forbidden desires: Frank for other men, Cathy for Raymond Deagan, a Black landscaper (Dennis Haysbert). These transgressions aren’t symmetrical or intersectional. In their heartbreak, humiliation and longing, Frank and Cathy have no consolation to offer each other.
Moore could have placed Cathy’s anguish in quotation marks, evoking the suffering divas of ’50s cinema while winking at a modern audience contemplating the bad old days from a safe aesthetic distance. Instead, she goes all the way in, staring out from the soul of a woman who is rooted in her time and absolutely modern, trapped by rules and appearances and also — terrifyingly and thrillingly — free.
MANOHLA DARGIS Unhappy or not, wives can be dead ends for actresses and for too many there comes that time when they’ve been forever banished to the kitchen. Moore has played plenty of wives and mothers, but hers are sometimes more complex and surprising than her movies, an index of her sensitivities and talent. One reason she lifts her characters out of stereotype is that she plays with codes of realism, whether she’s delivering a naturalistic performance (“Still Alice,” the 2014 melodrama about a professor with Alzheimer’s) or a hyperbolic one (David Cronenberg’s 2015 satire “Maps to the Stars,” where she’s a Hollywood hyena). Moore can externalize a character’s interior state beautifully, so you see feelings surface on her skin. But she’s an artist of extremes, and she and Cronenberg have fun playing with her gargoyle faces.
For the most part, her work in “Gloria Bell”(2019) is in a realist key. She plays the title character, a generous-hearted divorced insurance worker with two adult children, an ex she doesn’t hate and an achingly lonely apartment. The movie itself is modest, intimate, thoughtful and rich in human detail. Gloria starts an affair with a man. It goes badly, they break up. Not much happens in ordinary movie terms, yet everything happens because Gloria loves and is loved in turn. It’s a story that could have led to buckets of snot and empty showboating. But Moore and the director Sebastián Lelio transcend obviousness. They don’t merely create a story about a woman’s feelings — and being — as she falls in love; they create a landscape of emotions, the texture and shape of a sensibility. Moore’s Gloria doesn’t cry and laugh; she shows you what love looks like from the inside. It’s a miracle of a performance.
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2020.11.25 13:27 finnagains Netflix: Trial 4: A shameless police frame-up in Boston 1993 - Directed by Rémy Burkel

Trial 4 is an eight-episode documentary television series, currently streaming and enjoying a wide viewership on Netflix.
Directed by Paris-based filmmaker Rémy Burkel, the series examines the case of Sean Ellis, a Boston teenager wrongly convicted of the 1993 murder of police officer John Mulligan. Ellis spent nearly 22 years in prison after the prosecution finally managed to obtain a conviction in his third trial. His first two trials had ended in a hung jury. The docuseries chronicles Sean’s fight to prove his innocence, while exposing the rampant police corruption involved in his frameup.
On September 26, 1993, Boston police detective John Mulligan was shot in the middle of the night in a Walgreens parking lot where he was sleeping in his car. Mulligan’s gun went missing and there were rumors that his pants were found around his ankles.
Two years later, Sean, a black teenager who was 19 at the time of Mulligan’s murder, was convicted of the crime. He admitted he was at the drug store that night with his co-defendant, Terry Patterson, then 18, but insisted he had entered the store to purchase diapers and then left. Authorities eventually claimed the teens saw the sleeping officer and decided to take his weapon as a “trophy.”
After more than two decades behind bars, the three trials and two hung juries and a release on bail, Sean faced a fourth trial that would determine whether he would be sent back to prison for life.
The series focuses on the upright, endearing protagonist and his remarkable Boston attorney Rosemary Scapicchio, fearless in her quest to prove her client’s innocence. Five months after Sean was convicted, the Boston Globe’s investigative Spotlight Team broke the story of corruption in Boston’s Area E-5 station house—the base of operations for Mulligan and task force investigators Kenneth Acerra, Walter Robinson and John Brazil (until 1992).
Acerra, Robinson and Brazil were exposed as dirty cops—extortionists, robbers and perjurers on a massive scale. Acerra and Robinson were indicted on federal charges and convicted; Brazil turned state’s evidence and escaped charges.
In the immediate aftermath of Mulligan’s murder, as the eight-part series reveals, Acerra and Robinson, who tellingly were not homicide but drug detectives, inserted themselves into the murder investigation. The two had been scrutinized multiple times by the city of Boston for stealing the money of drug dealers. Strong evidence existed that Mulligan, who owned various cars and properties, was also involved in their criminal schemes. Their star witness, Rosa Sanchez, claimed she saw Sean next to Mulligan’s car on the night of the shooting. She also picked him out of a photo array, and a suspect lineup. It came to light that Acerra lived with Sanchez’s aunt and had a child with her.
Sean’s girlfriend at the time, Letia Walker, testified for the prosecution after they threatened to take away her child.
In 1997, Acerra and Robinson pleaded guilty to their various crimes. Related to that, the following year, Sean filed a motion for a new trial, but it was denied. He put forward a second retrial motion in 2013, and in 2015 his conviction was overturned. In December 2018, the acting District Attorney John Pappas announced his office would not be pursuing another trial, but still maintained that Sean was guilty. The vindictive, face-saving action means that Sean will not face another trial, but has not been declared innocent by the state.
“If there was any question about my exoneration we would be heading to a fourth trial,” the victim pointed out following the news.
During his own trial, Patterson, who maintained his innocence, was found guilty and sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Following an appeal and the undermining of the fingerprint evidence used to convict him, he agreed to take a plea deal in order to be released from prison. His counts were reduced to manslaughter, armed robbery and gun charges, and in 2006 he was credited with time served and freed.
Footage of Sean’s legal and personal ordeal over two decades forms the basis of Trial 4, along with animated reenactments of the crime and interviews with Sean’s family members. It is a thorough and well-organized documentary. Sean comes across as an admirable figure, extraordinarily resilient in the face of a state-organized nightmare. His tough, highly principled attorney Scapicchio is a fount of energy and compassion.
In February 2018, she issued a press release rejecting the idea she was a potential candidate for district attorney:
Nothing could be further from the truth. I have spent my entire adult life DEFENDING individuals accused of a crime and prosecuted by that office.
Not for a single moment have I considered such a career change as there is not a single fiber in my being that desires to stop DEFENDING people.
I can only surmise that the source of this falsehood are the very people that want me to stop the successful zealous advocacy I have practiced for now over 26 years.
In the documentary’s closing moments, we see Sean addressing an audience: “No one is speaking about the fact that wrongful convictions are an epidemic. No one is speaking about the fact that wrongful convictions are a catastrophe. You are dealing with somebody’s life. ... Part of what I’ve been doing since I’ve been home is social justice, criminal justice reform. ... What happened to Sean Ellis is not just about Sean Ellis. It happens on a daily basis throughout this country and probably throughout the world.” Trial 4 (netflix)
Trial 4 is a conscientious, valuable series. It is a further exposure of police corruption and brutality. The number of such documentary films and series is growing and each of these efforts is needed and welcome. However, what is absent from every such exposure is any examination of the character of the police as an institution and its relationship to society as a whole.
If medical researchers or public officials became aware of a thousand cases in which the victims showed similar symptoms, they might reasonably conclude that a generalized problem existed, which needed to be treated at its source. Reports of police killings, brutality and corruption are daily occurrences, yet no one will offer any broader diagnosis.
The police do not exist to provide directions to tourists, help little old ladies across the street or solve “especially heinous” crimes. The police force, whatever the social background of its individual representatives, essentially defends the property and interests of the rich on behalf of the rich. It forms part of the capitalist state apparatus, courts, prisons, etc., “special bodies of armed men,” in the famous phrase, whose function, in the final analysis, is to intimidate, terrorize and suppress the working class.
In the Ellis case and beyond, all talk of systemic racism as an explanation of injustice misses the mark. Racism exists and fascistic sentiments are widespread in police forces. But the police function not as an instrument of racial oppression but of class rule.
The particularly homicidal brutality of the police in the United States is to be explained by the particular brutality of class relations in America—a land of monstrous inequality dominated by an anti-democratic and authoritarian oligarchy.
Two additional points along these lines. First, a certain sort of upper-middle-class liberal, including those who live in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and elsewhere, like to console themselves by imagining that frame-ups of the Sean Ellis variety occur only in “backward” Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia or the more remote rural regions of Texas. That this travesty of justice occurred in Boston, home to Harvard and MIT, the enlightened birthplace of the American Revolution, should be a useful slap in the face and further proof that this is a social and institutional question, solvable only by the end of the profit system.
Second, the filthy and accurate picture of the police that emerges from the Ellis case and others like it should be a further corrective to the fantasy presented on network television in series such as Chicago P.D., Blue Bloods, S.W.A.T., Law & Order: SVU, The Rookie, etc., etc. In these programs, the producers and screenwriters subscribe to the “bad apple” theory—the occasional rotten cop proves by his or her malfeasance and punishment that the exception proves the rule. The affluent layers that churn out these series are responding on the basis of class instinct in creating their mythologies of the hard-working, “blue collar” cop—they see the police as a crucial line of defense of their wealth and privilege.
Leftwinger
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2020.11.24 21:30 AustralianChrono Virtual Drag Race Season 13: Episode 4- Twinklight

Virtual Drag Race Season 13: Episode 4- Twinklight
It starts it like a normal lip sync. Everyone dancing around, and Creola giving her best. She’s a fun lip syncer, and has the perfect Primadonna flair. Damo is nervous- desperate to prove himself. He goes to do a split… then YELPS in pain.
“ARGHHHHH!” He screams.
Suddenly, the lights turn on.
Is everything okay?
“I’ve BROKEN MY LEG.” Damocles screams. “It…”
Someone, call an ambulance. NOW!
Quickly, Damocles is escorted out, and filming is stopped.
2 Hours Later….
Ladies, Gentlemen… I have some news.
Damocles has broken his leg. He will now be leaving this contest, effective immediately.
Everyone gasps.
With that… Creola, Shantay You Stay.
Creola exhales.
Creola Serpentine-Blac: “I wanted to win… but like this?” Creola exhales.
Damocles writes a message. “I am heading over now. I wish you all luck… and love. Always.”
~
https://preview.redd.it/z0wh63mqz8161.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=bfd9fa57e349c7dddc6866bdb381835bb637f083
The Monarch’s enter the werkroom.
“I am so hot…” Tropicana takes off her wig. “Damn Sweaty…”
“God, that was traumatic.” Creola exhales. “Damocles… may you be okay.”
“He’s not dead, this isn't’t a fucking eulogy!” The Aspect of Gambles chuckles.
“Truth.” Britt grins and raises a drink. “Damocles… you were… a good character based actor.”
“And now, there’s only 1…” Francesca turns to Joan.
“Oh my, who is the actor?” Joan looks confused.
Everyone smiles.
“Can we also say congrats to Fransesca for winning this challenge, though?” Pranav grins, and everyone claps.
“The Tea is, I wanted to be high…” Ina laughs. “But you three slayed it.”
“This episode was made for you, Fran.” Tropicana smirks.
“I think this leaves…” Pranav ponders. “Me… and Britt left without a critique.”
“God…” Britt rolls her eyes. “Don’t TELL the camera that…” She looks into the camera. “This is the start of my redemption, okay?”
“It’s all getting tighter and tighter.” Xena nods. “Everyone here is phenomenal…”
“And each week, girls will keep going home…” Gun Anna shrugs. “And ya’ll, we best be ready.”
“Or we’ll break our legs.” Dahlia winks.
Everyone gasps.
“What, too soon?!”
~
The next day, Ina twirls into the room.
“It’s time for you… to give your all… and lip sync… for YOUR. LIFE!” Ina yells.
“Practicing what Sophie will be saying to you this week, Ina?” Britt smirks.
“No, I’m just planning on how i’ll say this statement when I win this season and then all winners.” Ina smirks. “Because we know… I am the one.” Ina puts on her sunglasses.
Britt laughs. “I had no idea that was the joke, and my entire name is a Joke.”
“Wait, what?” Ina looks at Britt, what does your name mean?”
“That’s not safe for tv.” Britt winks.
Oh, Sophie!
I know what you are.
Say it.
SAY IT OUT LOUD.
“Oh my GOD.” Gun Anna yells. “YES YES YES.”
“What?” Dahlia looks confused.
Anna yells. “I LOVE TWILIG-
Hello Beautiful People!
For Today’s Mini Challenge, it’s time for you to… dress up one of these nightgowns and give us RED CARPET.
~
Pranav Tigress, you’re a winner baby!
“My first!” Pranav yells. “It’s my first!”
My Monarch’s, for this week’s maxi challenge, it’s time to over-act your way through the world of TWINKLIGHT, a world of vampires, werewolves… and one, human… girl. In 3 teams of 4, each of you will need to put your comedy skills to the test in this hilarious movie!
Xena Von Hall: “I am in a tough spot after last week. But I need to step it up, and show them… what I can do. I know this is a challenge I can work out well. I mean… twilight was a movie… I did indulge in my youth.” Xena smiles.
Pranav, as the mini challenge winner, you get to assign the teams.
“I think we’d work well with Joan.” Fran smiles. “And Gambles. Creola deserves a strong team… Xena, Omega and… hmm Dahlia?”
“That leaves Britt with Gun Anna.” Pranav looks nervously.
“I think they’re okay now.” Fran nods.
“True, let’s go with it.” Pranav smiles.
Pranav assigns the teams:
Team 1: Twinklight
  1. Pranav Tigress as Eddie Ward
  2. The Aspect of Gambles as Daddy Vampire
  3. Francesca Cartier as Stella
  4. Joan of Snark as The Big Bad Vamp
Team 2: Twinklight: Bloodmoon
  1. Creola Serpentine-Blac & Xena Von Hall as The Werewolf Twinks
  2. Omega Maddorfu as Jacoba White
  3. Dahlia Diamondix as Stella
Team 3: Twinklight: She Breaks the Dawn
  1. Tropicana as Stella
  2. Gun Anna as Eddie Ward
  3. Ina Only as Jacoba White
  4. Britt-Maj Canth as the Weird Vampire Baby
Xena smiles at Creola. “I want to slay this with you. We need to step it up.”
“Oh, darling… I’ve acted for a living.” Creola grins. “We can do this.”
~
Team 3 is filming their scene.
“And IIIIII-” Britt yells. “WILL RIP MYSELF FROM YOUR BONES, AND EAT YOUR GUTS, AND… Fall in love with you!” Britt hugs Ina.
“And I love you, Stella, but I am…. Now in love with your daughter.” Ina nods.
“Oh, this is so HAAAAAARD…” Tropicana yells. “I HATE IT.”
Britt-Maj Canth: “She’s a yeller. Jesus.”
“NO, STELLA, IT’S TIME FOR A DEMONIC ABOR-” Gun Anna stops. “Ya’ll, I’m not Saying this.”
“What do you mean?” Ina looks at Anna.
“Well first of all, i’m pro-life, and secondly-”
“Gun Anna, say the damn line.” Britt exhales.
“I’ll be honest. I don’t know how to do this. I am not the most literate Queen.” Gun Anna shrugs. “I look at this damned script, and I see NOTHING easy to understand.”
“You didn’t… read it girl?” Tropicana looks at Anna.
“Of course I DID. Do I understand it? Hell naw.” Gun Anna shrugs.
“What do you… mean. You don’t read?” Britt looks at Anna.
“Unless it’s facebook, I don’t read this stuff. Siri does it for me.” Anna shrugs.
Ina looks confused.
“Let’s just improv this. I’ll make up lines.” Anna smiles.
“That’s not the point though.” Ina looks at Annie. “We need to deliver.”
“Sure, SURE… girl… I’ll deliver. Don’t worry.” Anna winks.
"I sure hope you do. I don't want to be lip syncing for your mistake." Britt looks annoyed. "Because I will Lip sync against you... and send you home."
“Sure. Think that.” Anna smirks.
~
As they get ready, Pranav chats with Creola.
“I love that you are so culturally proud of yourself.” Creola smiles at Pranav. “There’s a lot of history to your drag, and that’s important, I feel. Something I wish I could do more.”
“It was something that took time for me, because.. I didn’t have a strong indian identity when I was young.” Pranav sighs. “Partly because… I couldn’t afford it.”
“Oh, really…?” Creola frowns. “I’m sorry about that.”
“I was born to a Single Mother, who died young. I lived… years in an Orphanage, poor… and growing to be gay.” Pranav laughs. “So… it wasn’t fun.”
“As a trans woman of colour… God, I can relate.” Creola laughs. “But you’re here now.”
“It was hard work. I moved to America to study, lucky to get a scholarship. I studied hard. Got my degree… and began to earn money. I did drag on the side… and eventually, got into the pageants.” Pranav grins.
“And look at you now. Fucking Superstar.” Creola grins. “I get… scared to present my identity sometimes. I feel like as a trans woman of colour, I am… too much, sometimes?”
“I get that.” Pranav nods. “But you should be proud to do so.”
“I think… wow, she’s too much now. I love to tell stories through drag… expressions of gender… but never… really race.”
“Why not?” Pranav looks at Creola.
“Judgement. Fear of judgement.” Creola sighs.
“I see a superstar here with you, Creola. But I think there’s one thing we should all do… and that’s embrace our truths. You’ll be stronger when you do that.” Pranav grins.
Creola smiles. “I never thought of it like that…”
~
Who Wins?
Spreadsheet
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2020.11.24 07:40 Worldly_Werewolf_444 Gemma Arterton

Gemma Arterton
Gemma Arterton is a stunning and delightful Hollywood entertainer cherished by a large number of fans far and wide. She is known for her dynamic parts in endless hit films like Quantum of Solace close by genius Daniel Craig, Clash of Titans, Prince of Persia, and so on She has likewise functioned as a film maker in number of movies.
Early life
Gemma Arterton was conceived in the year 1986 on February 2. Her ethnicity is English as she was brought up in the antiquated town of Ken district, Gravesend, in England. Her mom, a Sally-Anne store, brought forth her in North Kent, a Hospital, and she was brought into the world with an additional finger in her grasp yet was taken out not long after her conveyance. Arterton's conceived an offspring name is Gemma Christina Arterton, and had a pretty normal life. Her dad, Barry J. Arterton, used to function as a welder in an iron production line while her mom used to maintain a cleaning business.
After the division of her folks during her youth, she was raised by her single parent. She is the more youthful sister of an entertainer, Hannah Arterton. Arterton joined the Gravesend Grammar School for Girls, where she began acting. She substantiated herself a decent entertainer in the wake of winning the best entertainer prize for her presentation in the play called The Boy Who Fell into a Book.
To become familiar with acting, she left her school and joined the North West Kent College and in the end got a full grant to examine acting in show school called Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from the public authority.

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Vocation
Gemma Arterton began her expert acting vocation from the TV arrangement called Capturing Mary. She was still in her show school during recording for that arrangement. The very year, she made her stage debut by showing up in the play called Love's Labor's Lost of Shakespeare, where she depicted Rosaline's character. She likewise made her film debut the very year by showing up as Kelly, a Head Girl in the British satire film named St Trinian's.
Not long after her film debut, she showed up in the film Quantum of Solace, which is one of the James Bond motion pictures and Casino Royal arrangement. She played close by star Daniel Craig depicting the personality of Strawberry Fields for which she won the Empire Award for Best Newcomer. The very year in 2018, she showed up as one of the heroes in 4 hour TV transformation, Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Following month, she showed up in the TV sequential called Lost in Austen, depicting the personality of Elizabeth Bennet.
Gemma Arterton made her featuring job debut in 2009 in the spine chiller film, The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Her job was profoundly applauded and gotten a few decent surveys from the crowd. In 2010, she began playing many promising situations in the activity dream films, Clash of the Titans, and a featuring female lead function in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. She likewise assumed the lead function in the play considered The Master Builder the very year, for which she got the assignment for the Rising Star Award of British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
In 2013, Gemma Arterton featured in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters depicting Gretel's character close by entertainer Jeremy Renner. The next year, she assumed the lead function in another play considered The Duchess of Malfi and assumed a featuring part in a frightfulness parody film called The Voices. She delivered another featuring film called Gemma Bovery in 2015. She took in the French language only for the film. For her presentation, she won Glamor Awards for Women of the Year-Film Actress and The WIFTS Foundation International Visionary Awards for The Barbara Tipple Award for Best Actress. From that point forward, she showed up in the play called Made in Dagenham for which she won 2 honors and two assignments.
In 2016, Arterton was selected as Best Actress for her exhibition in the play called Nell Gwynn. She was additionally named in British Independent Film Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her function in the sci-fi film, The Girl With All The Gifts. From that point forward, Arterton has showed up in incalculable hit motion pictures, and starting at 2020, her forthcoming film will be Summerland, where she is going to assume a featuring job and be simply the leader maker.
Individual life
Gemma Arterton has dated a few entertainers previously, and the majority of them were the ones she met during the film sets. She began dating John Nolan subsequent to meeting him in the film set of Quantum of Solace. Following a year, she dated a stand-in named Eduardo Munoz which just went on for a half year. By 2015, Arterton was at that point a separated from lady. She was hitched to Stefano Catelli for a very long time. During their separation cycle, she expressed that her next marriage choice will be simply after she achieved something more huge in the acting profession.
In the long run, she got hitched to Irish entertainer Rory Keenan in 2019, and we should accept that she is as of now carrying on with her upbeat existence with him.
Gemma Arterton is anything but a web-based media client hence, it is generally additionally trying for fans to think about her every day life and the occasions she's spending. Be that as it may, she has huge number of devoted fan accounts by her name who posts about her every film and impending motion pictures.
Actual insights
Every individual who realizes Gemma Arterton knows how wonderful woman she is. She has an attractive form body with the tallness of 5 feet and 7 inches. Her body weighs around 68 kg. She has dim earthy colored hair tone and eye of a similar shading. Her body estimates 34-28-37 inches.
Her identity is white, and her particular element is her voice and highlight that recognizes her from each different entertainer out there.
Total assets
Gemma Arterton is an effective entertainer; in this way, her net big name worth is assessed to associate with 13 million dollars. She has additionally marked a few agreements with renowned brands like G-Star Raw, an attire organization, and makeup organization like Avon. These supports summarize to her net income.
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2020.11.22 02:40 Born-Beach Lullabies and November Ashes [Part 2]

She never did.
The sun rose, and with it came the sound of cars in the street and dogs barking in their yards. I nervously stepped out of bed. My feet were cold against the hardwood, but I barely noticed. All I could think about was my mother, and how she would react this morning. Usually she was full of smiles and affection after she’d slept off the booze, but after last night I wasn’t so sure. Something seemed to have changed in her.
When I made my way downstairs for breakfast, she wasn’t there. Normally she was eating her porridge and ready to grab my cereal of choice from the cupboard. This time it was just me. The house felt empty. Lonely.
I clambered onto the countertop and opened the cupboard, pulling out a box of Frosted Flakes. I did my best to remember what Mr Gilad had told me the day before. It doesn’t matter what my parents think of me, I thought to myself. I need to forge my own path and listen to my heart. I have to do what I think is right, and not let anybody, my parents or otherwise, get in the way of that.
I thought about his words over my bowl of cereal. Even if my dad didn’t love me, and even if my mom wished I’d never been born, I could still find my own path in life.
As I ate, I monitored the digital clock sitting on our kitchen counter. It was a habit I picked up because my mom was always very strict about ushering me into the car by 7:15am, so she could drop me off in time to get to work.
Right now it read 7:45am. She was nowhere in sight.
A minute later I heard the familiar creak of footsteps on the stairs, and my mood picked up. Even after everything that had happened last night, my mom hadn’t hurt me, and I still had my trivia competition with Mr Gilad and Oscar to look forward to. Maybe mom realized she loved me too much to hurt me.
The creaking stopped as the footsteps reached the landing, and my dad bustled around the corner, adjusting his tie. He paused, seeing me at the kitchen table. “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for mom,” I said quietly.
“Excuse me?” he said, his voice rising.
I swallowed. My father always had a way of making me feel smaller than I already was. “Waiting for mom, dad.”
He stared at me with something between irritation and disbelief. “Your mom’s not home.”
“What?”
“I said she’s not home. Do you need a fucking hearing aid now too?”
I looked down, eating another spoonful of Frosted Flakes. Where did she go? I wondered. She was here last night.
My eyes drifted to the digital display. The clock now read 7:50am. Class was starting in ten minutes, and so was my trivia competition. It took at least ten minutes to drive to school.
“Dad?” I asked.
“Have you seen my briefcase?” he said, impatiently.
“No, sorry.”
“Fuck!” he snapped. “That stupid bitch probably took it!” He adjusted his collar and reached for the coffee pot, before realizing it was empty and then flung it across the room, where it shattered on the wall. “Everything I do!” he screamed. “Taken for granted!”
Mr Gilad’s words echoed in my head. To believe in myself. To trust in my instincts. To do what I felt I needed to. I cleared my throat. “Can you drive me to school, I have a trivia compet--”
“Do I look like your mother?” he said incredulously. I stared at him, feeling tears welling in my eyes. Eventually, I shook my head.
“I have a real job,” he said, grabbing his jacket from the wall and opening the front door. “I don’t have time to play at being a parent.” He muttered something about ingrates, and then disappeared through the doorway, shutting the door behind him.
I sat at the table for a few more minutes, too stunned to do anything. My mom was gone. My dad was gone. It was just me in the house now. My family didn’t care about me. Nobody gave a damn.
No, that wasn’t true.
Oscar cared. Mr Gilad cared.
I snatched my jacket from the coat rack beside the door and exited after my father. I used the key we hid under the rock in our garden to lock the house behind me, and I started jogging toward the school. Usually, when I walked home with Oscar it’d take us just over an hour. Unfortunately for me though, Hillcrest school lived up to its namesake.
My school sat perched atop a large hill, overlooking the rest of Plumberry township. At the top, it was really a spectacular view. To the north you could see most of the local streets, all the way up to the city hall, downtown. To the south, you could see far down the country road, all the way out to Lake Tyler and Gefferson forest beyond.
Still, it was uphill. Which meant it would be a longer walk to than from. I was determined though. Mr Gilad’s words recited themselves in my mind like a mantra, pushing me ever forward.
I kept my eye on the watch on my wrist, figuring if I could get there before 8:30, I’d be in the clear. In both third grade classes, we did a sharing period from 8 till 8:30, where we talked about our day or new things we found interesting.
My sneakers pounded along the sidewalk, my backpack bouncing up and down with my binder, pencils and markers. I made good time getting to the bottom of the hill, and at the distant top I could see the gates that marked the entrance to Hillcrest elementary.
I started my ascent.
It was slow going. As I went, I kept track of the watch on my wrist. 8:20am. I had ten minutes to reach the top, and I was barely a quarter of the way there. My breath was coming in big heaves and my legs, tired from jogging for so long, burned with soreness. I felt lightheaded and wobbly -- out of breath.
I continued to climb, more slowly now. I didn’t have a water bottle, and I was beginning to feel incredibly thirsty, but I knew I needed to get to the top before the trivia competition started.
Somehow, even after everything that had happened with my mom and dad, I felt like if I could just win that competition, then everything would be alright. My mom would come home, and she’d realize how smart I was and decide that drinking wasn’t worth it, and my dad would be so proud of me that he’d start taking an interest in my studies.
My eyes drifted back to the watch on my wrist, and my heart fell. 8:45am. How had I been walking up the hill for so long already? I stopped, catching my breath and realizing none of it mattered anymore.
I was way too late for trivia, and I was probably going to end up in detention besides that. There wasn’t any point in rushing now.
My day was already ruined.
I took the rest of the hill at a slower walk, and my legs thanked me for it. I hated my mom for leaving last night, and I hated my dad for not driving me to school. I hated both of them for making me miss out on trivia, and disappoint the one adult who seemed to care about me: Mr Gilad.
Tears tugged at the corners of my eyes as I considered how ashamed of me he probably was. He went through all the trouble of securing me permission to attend his class this morning, and I gave him my word I’d be there. Then I didn’t show up at all, and my dad didn’t so much as call the school and let them know I’d be late.
He probably thought I was just as much of a lost cause as my parents by now.
“There he is!” a shrill voice shrieked. “Oh my god, he’s here!”
I looked up as Mrs Applefig came stampeding toward me, her lined face filled with concern and her tone thick with relief. “Walter, are you okay?” she wrapped me into a tight hug. “Thank goodness. Thank goodness.”
I’d been so absorbed in my own thoughts that I hadn’t even noticed I’d crested the hill and come up in front of my school. Mrs Applefig smothered me with her hug, and all I could see was the blue fabric of her blouse. “I’m fine, Mrs Applefig,” I lied. “I’m sorry for being late.”
“It’s okay, sweetheart. It’s okay,” she said, pressing her face to mine. I felt something wet on her cheek.
“Gloria, is that Walter Thimby?” a man bellowed, and I recognized it as Principal Patel.
She wheeled around, nodding fiercely. “It is, Uday! It is!”
Freed from Mrs Applefig’s all-encompassing blouse, I became acutely aware of something very strange: my entire school was staring at me.
“Bring him over here,” Principal Patel called out. “Everybody triple check your students and make sure everybody’s accounted for!”
Mrs Applefig ushered me into a line with the rest of my classmates, and I plunked down on the grass beside Jessie Wilson, a blonde kid who held the record for most school suspensions in third grade. He leaned over and whispered into my ear.
“Whew,” he said. “Gotta say man, for a while there you had us worried.”
“Had you worried?” I said, feeling too depressed to chitchat.
“Yeah,” he said. He thumbed over his shoulder, back toward the school behind us. “We thought you were still inside.”
Still inside? I turned around, and gazed at the school with narrowed eyes. Beyond the belltower in the center, I saw a dark cloud billowing into the sky.
Smoke.
“The south wing caught fire early this morning,” Jessie explained. “We cleared out all the classrooms, but I guess we’re still missing some students. You were one of them.”
I swallowed. The smoke was pitch black, and heavy. It looked like it was growing thicker.
“Firefighters are on the other side,” Jessie continued. “They’ve been fighting the blaze for twenty minutes now, but it keeps getting bigger. They’re calling in fire trucks from the next town over.”
I stared, transfixed at the pillar of shadow rising from the school. Beneath it, faint in the brightness of the morning sun, I spotted the flicker of flames.
The school was burning.
Just then, a cacophony of sirens sounded in the distance. A handful of seconds later, and two fire trucks roared over the crest of the hill, through the school gates, and swung around the parking lot toward the south side. I gazed after them in awe. I’d never seen fire trucks in action before.
“Mister Thimbly,” Principal Patel said firmly. I blinked, returning my attention to the front of me. He crouched down, meeting me at eye level. “I need to know if you were with Mr Gilad’s class this morning.”
“Mr Gilad’s class?” I said, confused. “No, I was late. I was supposed to be but--”
“Jesus,” he muttered, shaking his head and standing up. “He wasn’t!” he shouted to somebody I didn’t recognize. They were in a suit and on a cellphone, and their lips were moving fast.
“That’s not good,” Jessie said beside me.
“What’s going on?” I asked, fear beginning to take seat in my chest.
“We’re missing twenty two kids still, and one teacher.”
I swallowed, a piece of me already knowing the answer to the question I was about to ask. “Who?”
“Mr Gilad,” Jessie said darkly. “Nobody knows where he is, or his class.”
“They’re two doors down from us,” I argued. “How can they not know where he is?”
Mrs Applefig appeared in front of us, her finger pursed to her lips. “Shh!” she hissed. “It’s important that we’re all quiet. This is a very serious situation and it’s crucial that Principal Patel is able to hear what’s going on.”
Jessie and I closed our mouths, nodding in acknowledgement. As soon as Mrs Applefig shuffled out of earshot though, he leaned over and resumed his whispering.
“That’s the thing, they cleared the entire school. The fire alarm went off as soon as the smoke detector caught whiff, and Patel himself made sure to double check every classroom to make sure they were clear. All of them were empty.”
I shook my head. “That doesn’t make any sense,” I said, defiance leaking into my voice. Oscar was in that class, there was no way Patel would miss Oscar. He was the loudest kid I’d ever met. “They had to have been there. We were doing a trivia competition today.”
Jessie shrugged. “Don’t know what to tell you man, that’s just what I’ve heard.”
My mind raced. Where could they be? Mr Gilad had promised me there would be a trivia competition today. He hadn’t told me to meet the class anywhere special. They had to be here.
My eyes scanned the crowd of assembled students. Each class was separated into small ranks, with their teachers standing out front. I went over every single one of them twice, then once again to be certain. No Oscar. No Mr Gilad.
Once again I felt my emotions getting the better of me. Tears began welling in the corners of my eyes, but I took a deep breath. Maybe they had met up at the school, and then gone for a walk? I looked up at the near cloudless sky, and the warm sun. It was an uncharacteristically nice day for November. Maybe Mr Gilad took them outside for the trivia competition, so that they could enjoy the weather?
A crash sounded behind me, and myself, and every other students’ heads turned in near unison. I watched, transfixed in horror as the bell tower, now almost entirely enshrouded in thick black smoke, sagged, and then with a loud groan fell backwards, onto the blazing south wing. The resultant collision was deafening. The roof of the school caved in instantly, and in its wake exploded an inferno of fire and smoke.
Screams erupted from the students.
My jaw dropped. I was watching my school, the one place I truly felt at home, be destroyed in front of my very eyes. It felt surreal. Like I was dreaming, and couldn't wake up.
It was Mrs Applefig’s crying that brought me back to earth. She had a hand covering her mouth, and she kept muttering the words “Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.”
A moment later a school bus arrived, and all of us whose parents hadn’t picked us up yet were loaded into it. I remember resisting at first, telling Mrs Applefig that I needed to wait for Oscar, but she kept crying and telling me I had to get onboard. “Please,” she said. “Please, Walter.”
I relented, and fifteen minutes later the bus dropped me off at home. I used the key in the garden to get back inside, and when I did, I called out for my mom. She didn’t answer, so I went into the kitchen and picked up my phone, calling Oscar’s house. Maybe he was home sick.
The ringer rang once, twice, three times and then a voice picked up. “Hello?” it said breathlessly. “Sarah? Matthew? Is Oscar at your house with Walter? Please we need to--”
“No,” I said. “This is Walter. Oscar’s not here.”
The line went quiet on the other end.
“Is he not at home?” I asked.
“No,” said his mother’s voice, though it was broken, and filled with sadness. I heard her stifle a sob. “I’m sorry, Walter. I have to go.”
“Okay, Miss Cortez.”
The line went dead, and I hung up the phone. I looked over to the clock. It read 10:54am. My dad wouldn’t be home for another six hours, so in the meantime I made my way to the living room and turned on the TV, hoping maybe there was something on the news.
I flicked through the channels until I spotted a newscaster in front of my school.
“-- Here in front of Hillcrest elementary, where a vicious fire has caused the bell tower to collapse upon the South Wing. The blaze has finally been out and overhauled by firefighters, and efforts to locate survivors, as well as fully assess the extent of the damage have begun.”
The woman speaking, dressed in a nice business suit, turned her attention to somebody off camera. They exchanged a few words with her microphone down and unable to pick up more than faint mumbles of sound. A moment later, she looked back at the camera and raised her microphone to her mouth.
“I’ve just received word from the fire department that several remains have been located within Hillcrest. These remains are suspected to belong to the missing third grade class, taught by Mr Heinrich Gilad.”
An emptiness stole through me. The news lady continued speaking, but her words washed over me like white noise. Several remains have been located within Hillcrest. The words haunted me, replaying over and over again in my head. It wasn’t until my father came home that I realized just how long I’d been sitting there.
“Walter?” he said, before rushing over to me. He pulled me into a tight hug. “Oh, god, Walter. I was so worried for you. I was in a meeting and I didn’t hear until twenty minutes ago, once I did I came right over--”
“It’s okay, dad,” I said, though my voice was void of emotion. It was such an odd sort of feeling. All of my life I had craved this sort of attention and affection from my father, and yet now that I was receiving it, it didn’t mean anything to me.
I felt empty inside.
My dad took me upstairs, ordered me my favorite pizza and rented the newest Harry Potter movie for me. He sat with me all night. Every so often he would ask me if I was okay, and apologize for yelling at me earlier, but I hardly registered it. My thoughts were consumed with thoughts of Oscar, and Mr Gilad.
They were gone.
The next morning school was predictably canceled. My father stayed home with me, and put on another rented movie in my room. This one was Monsters Inc. I only watched it for twenty minutes or so before I wandered downstairs. I found my dad on the couch in the living room, his back facing me, watching the news lady I’d watched yesterday.
She was in front of the scorched remains of the south wing of my school, and it looked like a windy day, because her blond hair was blowing all over the place.
“-- I'm again in front of the wreckage of Hillcrest Elementary’s South Wing, where twenty two children and one man are believed to have lost their lives early yesterday morning, in what can only be described as the greatest tragedy in Plumdale history...”
My dad reached for his mug on the coffee table and took a sip. It occurred to me that he must have taken the day off of work to stay home with me.
“...Yesterday morning a fire blazed, quickly spreading through the South Wing and eventually reaching the bell tower. An old school, built in the early 1900s, Hillcrest Elementary was built primarily of highly flammable lumber, and the bell tower was no exception. At 10:13am it fell backward, onto the South Wing, collapsing that section of the school and dooming the individuals trapped inside.”
She touched her ear, and her eyes looked sideways, as if somebody was speaking to her.
“I’m just receiving word that the investigation has determined some rather disturbing details. I… I should caution viewers at home that what I’m about to say is not for the faint of heart.”
The news lady cleared her throat, and I drew closer behind my father.
“Investigators have located two thick wooden doors in the wreckage. The deadbolts belonging to these doors were discovered in the outward, or locked position. According to blueprints, these doors lead into the basement of the school, where the Hillcrest archive was held.”
“Jesus…” I heard my father mutter, leaning forward and setting his mug back down on the table.
“The twenty two students and teacher, who we have now positively identified as one Mr Heinnrich Gilad via dental records, appear to have been locked inside the school’s basement at the time of the blaze. Details pertaining as to why are still unknown. The stunning ferocity of the blaze, according to investigators, is due to old film reels located in the school’s archive. These reels contained nitrate, a substance which burns hotter than gasoline...”
I swallowed.
“One aspect of the tragedy that school Principal Uday Patel is wrestling with, is that he never physically cleared any of the school’s basement areas.”
The camera cuts out, and I see my principal giving an interview on the school grounds, but in a different location during a different time of day.
“I checked everywhere,” he said, adjusting his glasses and keeping his voice level. “Every classroom was personally cleared by myself, as well as a team of three other faculty members. We ensured to check all of them. I double checked them personally, and suffered severe smoke exposure in the process. Of course, in the interest of protecting my students --”
“What about the basement?” the interviewer asked from off screen, and I recognized the voice as the news lady from earlier.
Principal Patel's voice cracked as he began his reply. “I saw no need to physically check the basements. It seemed a dangerous task, given the relative size of them, and the speed at which the blaze was spreading. As I walked by the basement areas in each wing, I called down and asked if anybody was down there and needed assistance. I heard no response, and so I continued on. There simply wasn’t any time.”
The screen cut back to the news lady, and a small icon in the corner reads LIVE.
“Strangely enough, despite Principal Patel’s calls, nobody answered. Given the amount of remains located within the school’s archive, it seems as though such screams would have been loud and plentiful. One theory as to why Patel didn’t hear any of the victims, was that they had already suffered from toxin inhalation due to the nitrate film off-gassing. It's highly likely they'd already passed out --- sorry?”
The news lady brought a hand to earpiece again. Seconds ticked by in silence, and I realized somebody must be speaking to her on the other end, because her expression slowly became more and more disturbed. Finally, she cleared her throat and brought the mic to her lips.
“For those watching at home, particularly family members of the suspected deceased, your viewer discretion is advised."
Her voice trembled and she readjusted her grip on the mic. She cleared her throat.
"I can hardly believe I’m about to say this in sleepy Plumdale, but investigators have just determined that, based on observed damage to a child's hyoid bone, their throat is presumed to have been slit."
The news lady closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "According to dental records, one Oscar Cortez appears to have died prior to the start of the blaze.”
I gazed, transfixed in horror at the television screen. My father was too stunned to notice me creeping ever closer, drawn toward the scenes on the display. “It is now being posited that perhaps this young man was killed in an attempt to scare the remaining twenty-one children into silence.”
“Oh my god,” my dad muttered. He ran a hand through his mess of hair, and I can tell by his sleeves that he’s wearing his housecoat. He didn't even bother getting dressed today.
I took another step closer and the floorboard croaked. My father turned around. “Walter?” he exclaimed. “Jesus, Walter! You shouldn’t be watching this!”
He rushed around the couch, and the news lady's words became muffled against his chest as he lifted me up and carried me back upstairs.
“You need to take it easy, alright?” he said, ferrying me through the hallway. “I know you’re going through a lot right now, and I know your worthless joke of a mother abandoned us, but the two of us gotta stick together, okay? And that means you gotta trust that I know what’s best for you. Now I don’t want to see you out of your room again today, alright?”
He gently lowered me onto my bed, and hit play on the Monsters Inc movie. “You need to take some time for yourself. Don’t worry about the news. This is all just conjecture right now anyway.”
He paid me a remorseful smile and closed my bedroom door behind him. I laid there, staring at my wall and oblivious to the sounds of Sully and Mike from the movie. All I could think about was Mr Gilad’s words, playing on repeat inside of my head.
"I never felt fulfilled, because each day I felt like I was a part of a play, or an act. I felt like I was fighting tooth and nail against my instincts, and it was only making me more desperate to see them through."
Tears slipped from the corners of my eyes. Thanks to the news lady, I finally knew the answer to my trivia question.
Nitrate burned hotter than gasoline.


[x.x]
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2020.11.21 16:06 DrewbitTaylor [MF] Landfall With Lloyd

1:01pm August 17th, 2021Eileen Court Okahumkee, FL
Gertie Samms, age 74, stands on her front porch next to Bay News 9 correspondent, Kim Meridian. Sandbags line the perimeter of her two-bedroom brick house, plywood covers the windows. If it weren’t for the manicured lawn and the clearly tended to flower beds hanging off the porch’s bannister, one might mistake it for another Okahumkee trap house. Kim checks her makeup one more time and signals for Steve to roll the tape.
“I’m here with Gertie Samms who tells me she’s lived in this home for over fifty years, and she isn’t about to leave it behind. Despite a mandatory evacuation order for one million residents on Florida’s Gulfcoast, thousands are defying the governor’s order and staying in their homes.” She turns to Gertie. “Ma’am, do you feel prepared to weather Hurricane Earl if the storm makes direct landfall in Okahumkee?”
Gertie nervously adjusts her glasses and speaks into Kim’s mic, “I feel prepared as I’m going to be. My late husband and I—well, we always stayed. Always. Irma was the last bad one they told us to evacuate from, and the last one he got us ready for. But you know, they always seem to change direction at the last minute. Irma got my orange tree.” She pauses and looks out in the yard at a conspicuous bare patch.
“—But we’ve always been fine. These nice young men across the street helped me with all this yesterday.”
“Neighbors have to stick together during hurricane season,” says Kim. “It looks like they’re hunkering down as well?” The camera pans to a nearly identical house across the way; shuddered, lined with bags, and made of bricks. There’s a lifted truck just shy of twelve feet tall in the driveway and an unattended charcoal grill just starting to smoke on the front walkway.
“They told me they’ll be here if I need anything,” Gertie responds. “They said our neighborhood isn’t under mandatory evacuation or in a flood zone or anything so we should be okay.” She notices the grill and adds, “Why, it looks like they’re having the party after all.”
“Party?”
“They said something about a hurricane party. I say let them have their fun. We were young once, right?”
“Ma’am, this is a potentially deadly storm, I hard—”
At the house across the street, the door flings open and a lanky fellow emerges carrying a tray of assorted meat in one hand and a PBR tallboy in the other. He stops to yell something indistinguishable over his shoulder to someone inside. He wears an apron, mirrored aviators, and not much else.
Kim wrinkles her nose and scoffs. “Sorry ma’am,” she says to Gertie, “Do you mind if we redo that last part?”
“No, that’s okay,” says Gertie, waving to the man grilling across the street.
The cameraman chimes in, “Kim, maybe we should get an interview with that guy. Ratings much?”
Kim knows these types. They’re liable to put on the mask of good manners for fifteen seconds and then, when they’re sure the footage is live, say something like “then I fucked her right in the pussy.” But, reluctantly, she agrees, thanks Gertie and wishes her good luck.
Rolling.
“Good afternoon, sir. Your neighbor tells me you’re hunkering down as well. Are you concerned for your safety?”
Lloyd takes a swig of beer and says, “Concerned? About the Cat 3 in the Gulf of Mexico at -83.6, 24.8 traveling at under fifteen miles per hour less than ten degrees west from due north?”
Kim looks at her cameraman with an ‘I told you this interview would be unairable’ glare. Steve shrugs and keeps filming.
“Nah, not really,” says Lloyd. “I’m more concerned about my boys not showing up to the party. I got food and beer to last a fortnight, but everybody’s skipping town. P–I mean, wussies.”
Close one, thought Kim. So far so good; she could wrap this up and head back to the studio where a helicopter would fly her and the remaining field team up to Jacksonville. How brazen can people be? Hurricane Earl would be ripping palm trees clean out of the ground tomorrow evening, and here was a whole cul-de-sac spitting in Mother Nature’s angriest of faces.
“I take it this is something you’ve done before?”
“Oh yeah,” says Lloyd, smiling like a baleen whale. “We had a five day rager during Irma. Went through six kegs and two hundred gallons of gas to keep the generators going. For some reason, everyone thinks this storm is going to be the ‘one.’ I’ve been hearing that for years; ‘oh this area is way overdue for a direct hit. It’ll be underwater if a cat five makes landfall!’ But I think it’s fear-mongering. We’re protected.”
“Protected?”
“It’s the Tocobaga spell. It’s basic Tampa Bay history! Never heard about the sacrifices?”
“No, I–”
“They sacrificed people they captured from other tribes, probably hundreds–who knows? Basically they conjured a forcefield on this side of our great state from lat 27.7 to 28.3. We’re all good, baby!” At this, Lloyd chugs the rest of his beer and crushes the can. He pushes the aviators down on his nose, revealing grey eyes full of guile and regards Kim’s tight-fitting blouse. “Hey, you wanna come to the party? We’ve got plenty of liquor if beer ain’t your thing.”
“No, thank you. By the way, it was nice of you to find time to help Ms. Samms across the street in between all the party planning.”
Lloyd laughs and flips a burger. “Of course,” he says, “what are neighbors for?”
“There you have it, folks. In a community that has been so lucky for the past century, it’s easy to see why people believe this hurricane is just another storm, destined to veer off at the last second. Perhaps there is an unseen force protecting the Tampa Bay area. This has been Kim Meridian with Bay News 9. Stay tuned for more on Earl.”
The news van tears off south on US-19. Kim makes sure the last part of that interview—Lloyd undressing her with his eyes—wasn’t shown on the air. Lloyd continues grilling, periodically drinking PBRs, lighting cigarettes (A lot more than usual. Was it nerves?), and checking his phone for “yeah man, I’ll be there” or “how much beer should I bring?” And despite the unprecedented cyclonic force sustaining 185 mile per hour winds west of Naples, Okahumkee is all blue skies. The storm has pulled every little hundred gallon cloud over the peninsula into itself, growing ever stronger.
3:30 pm August 18th, 2021Eileen Court Okahumkee, FL
Hurricane Earl wasn’t really meant to be. The National Hurricane Center detected a disturbance about fifty miles east of The Keys a week ago. The Caribbean was so preternaturally warm that fish were dying in putrid droves. Discovering the disturbance baffled meteorologists and technicians at the NHC; why didn’t radar pick anything up until it was so close? Or had the low pressure system actually developed in the Caribbean? But before they could even analyze what the hell was happening, the disturbance fizzled out into an afternoon shower.
Then, two days later another disturbance just to the south of Florida. The NHC speculated it was a continuation. It was as if the storm retained a memory of itself before dispersing into the upper atmosphere, like it was hesitating to be so audacious. It intensified to category 3 in less than 24 hours. The storm traveled slowly, gathering power in the hot August gulf. Earl would be a cat 5 by the time it made landfall.
All the charismatic weather guys on local news channels who usually read sunny seven day forecasts with cheesy grins and affectations were suddenly the harbingers of death. They told those who stayed they’d be lucky to survive. It had been a long time since Florida’s Gulfcoast got a mandatory evacuation order, and about half of those in the red zone paid it no heed. Some were calling Earl the perfect storm, the teleporting hurricane, the Earl of Destruction. There was a general consensus that it would break the Saffir-Simpson scale and necessitate a sixth category.
Thing is, Okahumkee’s residents largely didn’t give a shit. The city of 10,000 was in the path of all but two spaghetti plots and though it looked like a ghost town (the evac was sort of enforced), people were home watching their fate inch closer on the Weather Channel or Bay News 9 or any nationally syndicated news broadcast. Everyone in America was waiting for the carnage, praying for Florida but also kind of hoping the state would be cleansed of its lunacy.
Lloyd Lassiter and Kirk Laramie were among the apathetic. Lloyd, about 14 tallboys deep, absently scrolled through his phone, secretly kindling a desire to get out of Dodge but knowing it was too late. Any path of egress would be jammed with traffic for dozens of miles. It wasn’t that he feared for his life or property, but it was increasingly clear that nobody was coming to the hurricane party. It was just him and the perpetually stoned Kirk, watching mindless reality television on the flatscreen in their dark, smoke-filled, shuddered up living room. What a great way to spend the day before meeting your maker.
“You wanna hit this?” Kirk asked, holding back a rattling cough.
“I’m good,” said Lloyd. “You want another burger? There’s like twenty left.”
“Man, I already had twelve. I could go for a beer though. You alright, dude? Don’t tell me you’re scared.”
“Pssh, not at all. Worst comes to worst, we can get out of here in the truck. I took her through that retention pond the other day down by Tillion Greens.”
Lloyd stood up to get some beers and a pounding at the door stopped him in his tracks. A voice from outside: “Guys! Fuck me up! Get me fucked up!” Goddamnit, thought Lloyd, of course Jim would show up. He wasn’t even invited—he never was in fact. Anywhere. Kirk probably posted about the party on Facebook again.
“He’s not gonna leave,” said Kirk, not breaking line of sight to the television.
“I guess not,” said Lloyd, and he opened the door.
Jim barged past Lloyd, shedding his backpack and retrieving something from his sock. It was evident by his sweaty white t-shirt he had pedaled here like he was trying to outrun the impending rain. Jim looked like he’d been up binging adderall and malt liquor for the past three days straight.
He held up whatever was in his sock. A single nugget of marijuana. “It’s Northern Lights. Saved it just for the party. But uh, where is everyone?”
Lloyd shrugged. “Who knows? Want a burger?”
“Fuck yeah.”
As long as Jim was fed and stoned, his obnoxiousness was halved. Lloyd put a burger in the microwave while Jim sat his corpulent ass next to Kirk and fired up the bong. In an unsettling sequence of events, the microwave dinged, The Real Housewives of Compton cut out, the TV blared a distorted tone hailing an emergency message (surely not a system test given the circumstances), and the first drops of rain started to fall.
6:50 pm August 18th, 2021Eileen Court Okahumkee, FL
The planter on the back porch Lloyd used as an ashtray was almost full. Hurricane Earl had diverted slightly from its expected course. Landfall was going to happen just five miles north of Okahumkee proper. Lloyd could see the highway, the infamous US-19 beyond the fence in his backyard. Normally it’d be bustling with diesel trucks and old sedans sans mufflers, but it was eerily quiet save for the occasional emergency vehicle, sirens blaring. Traffic lights blinked yellow. No one in their right mind would be out there two hours before the storm came to land. They’d be a hundred miles north evacuating towards Georgia or Jacksonville or any other place as northeast as possible.
Jim and Kirk were inside trying to resurrect an old karaoke machine. Probably moot since the power would almost certainly be out by sundown. Lloyd took a quick mental inventory. He had enough beer for a week at the rate they were drinking, ample bourbon as backup, and half a dozen 5 gallon water jugs in the garage. Nonperishable food items? If it came down to it, they’d be eating an all-bean diet, perhaps cooked over a butane torch and a couple candles.
Lloyd noted the Waffle House was still open across 19. He could’ve hit their front door with a full beer from where he stood. He’d been to that Waffle House in the middle of a tropical storm before. They were brazen. Part of what makes their food so good, he thought. In case of natural disaster, sit down and get yourself an All-Star Special. Even now, someone was getting out of a minivan and strolling in as if this was just a Florida afternoon shower.
Lloyd heard the sliding door behind him and Jim came out. His eyes were redder than Satan’s sack and he’d managed to stain half the surface area of his shirt with mustard and PBR.
“Hey man, lemme bum a smoke,” he said miming a lighter flick.
Lloyd rolled his eyes and handed him one.
“We can’t get the Karaoke thing hooked up,” he added.
“I’m not surprised. You two are too stoned to figure out how shoelaces work and I’m too drunk to care,” said Lloyd.
Then Jim noticed the open Waffle House in the hazy distance. “Dude. Is that for real? This thing can’t be that bad if they’re still over there slinging hash browns!”
“Waffle House stays open until a storm surpasses cat 4. They’re doing the lord’s work over there.”
“We should go!”
“Haven’t you eaten enough already?”
“Yeah, but I could really go for some fully loaded hashies. On me if you take us over.” Jim put out his cigarette and checked his wallet. The generosity wasn’t like him. He usually pretended to lose his wallet and Kirk or Lloyd would end up paying for whatever; drinks, smokes, and food.
Lloyd considered it. After all, the taste of coffee was enhanced threefold in weather like this. He inhaled deeply, taking in a mixture of petrichor and lingering tobacco smoke. The darkening sky held terrors miles high, churning ever faster. It wouldn’t be long.
Suddenly there was a deep fizzling sound above them, like thousands of bottles of tonic being opened at once. The hairs stood up on the back of Lloyd’s neck and a single bolt of lightning cracked the atmosphere over the Gulf. The bolt crawled through the clouds, as if in slow motion and hung there frozen. There was no thunder, just the sound of millions of angrily persistent volts.
“What the fuck?” Good, so Jim saw it too. I’m not losing it yet, thought Lloyd.
“That about sums it up.”
They yelled for Kirk to come out and look at the suspended lightning bolt, but it was gone by the time he got up. What property of electricity would cause such a thing? It was like a glitch, like something was breaking through this plane of reality. Lloyd felt a sense of dread he’d only ever read about, followed by the strongest craving for hash browns and coffee he’d ever had.
“Alright. You fuckers ready for some Waffle House?”
7:15 pm August 18th, 2021 🌀 Waffle House #57 Okahumkee, FL
The trio sat in a booth by a window so Lloyd could keep an eye on his truck. It’d take a serious squall for anything to happen to it, but who knew if a wayward branch would go flying through the windshield? The palms in the median of US-19 were straining against mounting winds, and still—someone was out there in a poncho pedaling a beleaguered bicycle upwind. A man resembling Captain Ahab sat at the counter making some contraption out of toothpicks and sipping decaf. The cooks were joking through the apprehension they wore on their faces.
“Hey, my name’s Trish. What can I get you boys?” Their waitress didn’t break her gaze from the tempestuous scene outside. All three of the lads ordered an All-Star Special.
“And how would you like your hashbrowns?”
“Load ‘em up! Make ‘em filthy as possible. Throw them on the floor if you have to,” Jim said. Trish looked at him like the idiot he was.
“Okay then. Just to let you know, the power might go out here soon. We have a backup generator, but our boss forgot to order gas. So if it cuts out, we’ll have to close up here.”
“Makes sense,” said Jim. “I’m surprised y’all are open right now anyway. I mean, I’m glad you are. Don’t get me wrong.”
Trish flashed a fake smile; as if to say “we wouldn’t have to be open if brazen morons like you guys didn’t show up to restaurants while a hurricane was making landfall.” But she pointed to a chart above the entrance. “Waffle House emergency guidelines. We stay open until it’s a cat 5 or the place catches on fire, or, you know, we lose power.”
“Told you,” said Lloyd.
Captain Ahab paid his bill and left. One of the cooks scoffed at the toothpick structure he’d left on the counter and swept it into a garbage bin. The trio watched him through the window struggling to deploy an umbrella. When he finally got it, the umbrella immediately inverted as a gust of wind shook the building. He tossed it aside and got into an old Camry. Where would he go? US-19 was already flooding. Only the most robust of vehicles with excessive lifts and oversized tires would be able to traverse it now.
8:10 pm August 18th, 2021 🌀 Waffle House #57 Okahumkee, FL
“Guess we’d better head back,” said Kirk, noting how dark it had gotten since they’d arrived. He’d planned to ride this thing out from the beginning. Him and Lloyd always had. Ride together, die together. Besides, the pot was wearing off and he intended to smoke enough to sleep through the storm. But before Trish could come collect her tip, the lights flickered. Once, twice, and then they were out for good. Something beeped loudly from the kitchen. Lloyd could make out the silhouette of a cook throwing off his apron and heading toward the door. Trish ran over to their table.
“Alright boys. Thanks for coming in I guess. That’s it for tonight.” She groped for the cash on the table in the dark, nervously dropping the stack of quarters Jim had so kindly paid with. A yellow emergency light pulsed at a gas station across 19, illuminating the night in two-second intervals. In one of those intervals, Lloyd saw something that nearly loosened his bowels of the fully-loaded hash browns he’d enjoyed like a last meal on death row. But, it couldn’t be, could it? They were loud, like the cacophony of a hundred freight trains—so he’d read. It was eerily quiet but for the rain. Then a burst of violet lightning confirmed the worst, revealing nature’s most angry of outbursts. Oh yes. A wicked funnel loomed 300 yards away. This was no merry waterspout disrupting a school of Snapper. This thing had teeth.
Jim and Kirk finally noticed what Lloyd was looking at, and Jim really did crap his pants.
“Ah, shit,” said Trish, defeated.
There was another factoid Lloyd remembered about tornadoes. If they looked like they were standing still, they were coming towards you.
“Shit is right,” he said. “Hey Trish, does this place have a walk-in cooler?”
“No, honey. This ain’t a Denny’s.”
“Well then, we may be truly fucked. Let’s get behind the counter.”
“What about your truck?” asked Kirk.
“It’s gone. Even the Behemoth would be tossed in the air like a Hotwheels car by that thing.”
Now the building rattled. Now they could hear it; a high-pitched howl at first like wind caught in a chimney, and then the low ominous rumbling of a pissed-off god. The four of them got behind the counter, huddling on greasy tile. Lloyd peeked over one more time. The street lights along 19 had all gone out. Flashes of lightning lit up the twister with a horrifying strobe effect. It was right across the highway chewing up the neighborhood. Lloyd’s neighborhood. Gertie’s neighborhood. The place he’d lived nearly his whole life gone in half a minute. He crouched back down, took out a pack of cigarettes and passed it around.
Jim and Trish shrieked as a window shattered. The howling wind was so loud now Lloyd covered his ears. It felt like all the blood in his body had rushed to the sides of his head in a deafening whirl. Ceiling tiles were shaken loose and falling to the floor around them. The aluminum in the roof started squealing horrifically as pressure built rapidly inside. Nature doled out particularly harsh fury on Waffle House #57. It was foolish to regret not evacuating now, but it was all Lloyd could think about. He had defied the insurmountable power of the tropics and he would die here on this dirty diner floor.
Bolts holding the roof on gave out with several loud pops and the Waffle House was suddenly open to the tumultuous sky. Its inhabitants were drenched instantly. Anything not affixed to the floor was thrown high into the air and the rest of the windows exploded. Lloyd balled himself up as tightly as possible with his arms over his head. He felt Kirk and Trish shaking next to him, crouched in the same futile position. It’s what they taught in elementary school during severe weather drills. Get in the hall. Cover your head. Back to the sky. Lloyd remembered those drills feeling claustrophobic and nerve-racking. They’d never actually prepare someone for a real tornado.
Usually tornadoes lasted a few minutes—maybe 15 at most. The worst was over in seconds. This one, of course, was merely a byproduct of a much larger cyclone. An appetizer if you will. So, even if they survived in this utterly devastated restaurant, the worst was yet to come. Lloyd didn’t get a chance to ruminate much more on that subject. His mind raced with too much panic to think clearly anyway. Something metal and heavy careened out of the twister as it retracted back into the hurricane and hit Lloyd in the small of his back. Phosphenes erupted behind his eyelids. A second later, he blacked out from the pain.
6:42 am August 19th, 2021Somewhere Okahumkee, FL
A Coast Guard helicopter flies low over rivulets of filthy flood water and sprawling debris. This is Okahumkee. At least it was yesterday. Storm surge and cosmic winds rendered the little coastal city tragically unrecognizable. The helicopter makes its way up and down a three mile stretch of a highway underwater in widening arcs. US-19 could pass as a canal.
A petty officer sees movement through his binoculars and tells the pilot to get lower. He can’t believe his eyes. It’s an old lady floating in an inflatable kiddie pool using a Monet painting as an oar. She waves at the helicopter with all the enthusiasm she can muster. They lower a rope ladder and bring her aboard.
She’s handed a chilled bottle of water and chugs it like a college freshman. Her glasses are broken and blotches of blood are coagulated in her hair.
“Hey! Go up this way a bit further,” Gertie tells the officers, shouting over the din of the rotors. “I saw a man on a table. I couldn’t paddle to him to see if he was alive—couldn’t bring myself to see that—but I think he might be my neighbor. He was floating towards the treetops.”
The pilot does as Gertie tells, and sure enough, there’s a man on a floating grey table near a clump of oak trees. Miraculously, a napkin dispenser and salt shaker are on the table as well. It’s a Waffle House booth table. The man certainly looks dead. His shirt is tattered and blood-stained, and his right leg is at an unnatural angle. But he stirs as the helicopter flies directly over him. He turns his head with labored effort.
“It is him! It’s Lloyd! Oh, he’s gonna hear it from me. The wood he put over my windows blew off the second the storm started!”
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2020.11.21 09:13 kaleviko [All] Ruby

In P13, it was night, and Hutch and Chantal were driving. She was snacking her crackers and turned to look at something outside. Right then, there was a cut to traffic signs to Provo and Orem that we got a good look at. Both are real places in Utah, but since it was not likely anyone had ever heard of either unless they were already familiar with Utah, Chantal said it aloud they were in Utah which was followed by their awkward Mormon talk.
Indeed, with all due respect to Provo and Orem, why were these obscure places picked to represent Utah? The filming crew was not far from Salt Lake City that is much better known, so why not just use some other sign saying something about Salt Lake City? Or, find a sign saying, "Welcome to Utah". Instead, they opted for Provo and Orem.
Since it seems that anything can have been anything in season 3, these ordinary signboards become suspect of having extended purposes. Both were real traffic signs that are easily verified in Google Maps to be exactly as shown in the scene. Perhaps Lynch had once been driving on the same road. Maybe he had noticed the signs, got an idea and written it down at the first opportunity, like he loves to tell he always does (and we should too). And then along came a day he had a chance to put that idea in use.
What might he have had in mind? The sign to Provo instructed to go straight ahead "189". The sign to Orem urged to take a turn "52 to 15". These are all road numbers for sure, but since the Log Lady urged Hawk to "watch and listen to the dream of time and space", they could also be seen as yet more meta pointers to certain moments in certain episodes, that seemingly being the double duty of all kind of numbers attached to locations throughout the season, weaving a secondary level of very unusual storytelling to make sense of the wild, dreamlike plot.
Let's see now. The boards were shown to us at 27:18. If we went straight ahead 18 minutes and 9 seconds - following the "189" instruction to go straight ahead in the Provo sign - we got to Nadine being interrupted by Doctor Amp who rang the doorbell of her store exactly at 45:27. The two had a chat that ended abruptly when he recalled he had last seen her at a supermarket, where she had been on her hands and knees, looking for a potato.
Conveniently, "Orem" is an anagram for "more". Taking the turn "52 to 15" to Orem might then mean there was something more at exactly 52 minutes to P15. Right then, some young girl credited as Ruby started crawling on the Roadhouse floor. Having been on all fours for a minute, increasingly anxious for unknown reasons, she started screaming, in extreme unease. And that was the end of the scene there as well.
So, we got to Doctor Amp arriving to tell Nadine a story how she had crawled on the floor and then to some Ruby starting to crawl on the floor, both bewilderingly disconnected scenes, seemingly having nothing to do with the overall narrative.
Ruby herself had never been seen before, and she was never seen again. Apparently introducing her character was not the purpose of the scene.
Earlier, I proposed that P15 was the episode where Nadine, Chantal and Naido were connected to each other to the extent that they may have been the same character, each incarnation isolated to her own parallel storyline that together complemented her still fuzzy overall story. Ruby appearing in P15 as well and linking to both Chantal and Nadine might then imply she was there to help us make more sense of this strangeness.
Before Ruby found herself on the floor, she was sitting in a booth by herself. Two men came by, willing to get the booth for themselves. She protested meekly, giving her one and only line in the season.
Ruby: "I'm waiting for someone."
The men lifted her to the floor and sat in the now free booth.
Before driving through Utah, Hutch and Chantal's earlier scene was in P12 when they were staking out Warden Murphy's house, waiting for him to arrive so that they could shoot him dead, which Hutch then did.
Earlier, I wrote how Lynch's word games with "someone's on the way" led me to wonder if the indefinite pronoun "someone" was in fact used in a definite way for a certain character who appeared in the season at least as the Warden and Red, both of whom seem to have been incarnations of one Leo Johnson that himself was probably only shown to us briefly as the dead man on Carrie's sofa in the finale. Thus, "someone" would refer to all and any of them whenever the word was used. Like Nadine, Chantal and Naido, also Red and the Warden were isolated from each other to their own distinct storylines, respectively, never having any direct or indirect interaction with each other.
And so, if the Warden was "someone", then Chantal and Hutch were waiting for "someone", just like Ruby was. Later in P15, Chantal seemed to confirm that the Warden had indeed been the "someone".
Chantal: "But my fun's over when we actually kill someone."
Let's also take a better look at the scene between Doctor Amp and Nadine. After praising her window installation, the Doctor told a random story that concluded his presence in the season in a perfectly anticlimactic manner.
Doctor Amp: "You were down on your hands and knees, looking for a potato."
Nadine: "Where was I?"
Doctor Amp: "It was, uh, you know, in the supermarket. You ... you had dropped it. It ... There was a ... a big storm that day."
Nadine: "Oh."
As the chat cut back and forth between two angles, Nadine's arms failed to be in synch with a single cut even if great care had been taken to keep the automated drapes moving in perfect harmony in the background. "Looking for a potato" was followed by a broken cut. "In the supermarket" was followed by another broken cut. The cut after "there was a big storm that day" seemed ok at first but then she moved her arms to a position she had already had before which was again followed by one final broken cut to end the scene.
Potatoes, supermarkets and big storms didn't seem to play any role in the season, and each was followed by a broken cut. But the fact that Nadine had been on her hands and knees did come up two episodes later when also Ruby was on her hands and knees, for a full minute. There was no broken cut when the Doctor said that, and these two scenes were linked through the traffic sign.
It looks like Lynch had manufactured Ruby for a purpose - so to say - to add further credence to the understanding that Nadine and Chantal were the same character and that the "someone" was in one way or another a part of her story.
Using the names from the original run, this might translate to Nadine and Leo Johnson having had some unknown mutual drama, the story just ramped up to surreal heights the way Lynch seems to like having it. These two characters had nothing to do with each other in any known plot line, but both had poorly written stories in the second season. This might have prompted Lynch to create a belated course correction for them, if not for any other reason then for his own sake.
It is also something to keep in mind that in the season 1 finale, Nadine committed suicide and Leo was shot. Miraculously, both were shown to have survived their respective predicaments when season 2 got going, however having changed significantly. But death was just a change, the Log Lady revealed to us, possibly hinting what Lynch has had in mind here.
That said, first we should have another look at Ruby, since there was something on the table in front of her that seems like worth thinking about.
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2020.11.19 13:30 readingrachelx Housewife highlights/Daily shit talk - November 19th, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY
"Meredith Marks might be The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's "ice queen," but she's ready to let her walls melt down a little bit and share some reality on reality TV. Meredith's marriage to her husband of more than 25 years, Seth, becomes a central story in season 1, starting this week, as Meredith reveals she and Seth are separated.
"Seth and I have had a long history of separations and reconciliations over the years," the jewelry designer confesses to ET over video chat. "It was not something we were ever public about, because our children never knew -- we were separated, we had dated other people at times -- our children did not ever know. We were always living in the same home. Becoming empty nesters kinda put us in a place where we were really forced to evaluate what path we were going to go down."
"People question, is reality TV real? And there is nothing more real than what I went through on the show," she shares. "I'm getting a little teary saying it even. It's real and it's intense and you'll see it all play out. Yeah, it was daunting and … I had really not told any of my friends, and my children just found out when they left the house, which was probably six months or so before we started filming."
Meredith says her and Seth's 2019 separation was their most serious separation to date, as it was the first time they actually lived apart, in separate houses. She says by season's end, viewers will get resolution when it comes to her marriage, whether that be divorce or deciding to stay together.
"This is really the time where the kids are gone and we can now be in our own homes and sort of try to figure out what direction we want to go. Can we make this work? Or can’t we?" she ponders. "Should we move forward with the divorce? Should we be seeing only each other? Should we be dating other people? Should we separate?"
It's worth noting, Seth petitioned for divorce (and then dismissed that filing) before RHOSLC cameras even went up, and the couple regularly poses together on Instagram.
"Seth and I met, we met when we were 23 years old," Meredith notes. "We have grown up together, so no matter what happens between us, we are always, like, childhood friends almost, in a weird way."
The Marks have ground rules for when they're separated, and Meredith advises other couples to do the same if they're looking to evaluate the state of their marriage: "If there's a question mark about what your rules are, set them straight. It's a lot easier that way, when you kinda are thinking one thing and the other person is thinking the other, and it's sort of murky and unclear, that's kind of a recipe for disaster, and things just escalate."
Meredith admits the hardest part of figuring out the future of her marriage was telling her and Seth's kids about their marital troubles for the first time. The couple is parents to three grown children: Reid, Chloe and Brooks. She says if she could go back in time, she would’ve been honest with them sooner.
"It's a very emotional thing because you sometimes look back and you say, 'Maybe I could have done this differently, maybe I could have done that differently. Did I screw this up? Did I screw that up? Is shielding my children from all this a horrible mistake all along?' You know, you just start to question every choice you made, because these are all life-changing, huge choices that don't just impact me. They impact my entire family … and that's the process I've been going through, reevaluating my decisions, all my choices, and questioning them."
Adding pressure to an already stressful situation was Meredith's choice to sign herself up for reality TV. While she's navigating her personal troubles, she's also navigating a relatively new group of friends who all have questions about Meredith's personal life. As teased in the season 1 trailer, co-star Whitney Rose questions Meredith and Seth being affectionate in front of the group, when there are rumors floating around that Meredith is seeing someone else.
"That was something that was very upsetting for me," she says. "To be throwing things out there when you don't know if they're true or false, you don't know what's going on, you don't know what's rumor, is upsetting, very upsetting."
"There's a lot of conversation that went on about me behind my back," she adds. "I'm very curious to see who's responsible for what."
Meredith credits her son, Brooks, with being her "pillar of support" while she was balancing both home and friend drama. The 21-year-old took a semester off from college to work on his own line of athleisure wear (which both Meredith and co-star Jen Shah sported in the premiere) and to be around for his mom as she took on the challenge of Housewives.
"Brooks, really a big part of the reason he did come to Utah for the winter was to be there for me, because he knew I was really going through a hard time and, you know, starting a television show at the same time you're going through all of this is a lot, to say the least," she says. She does concede, though, that reality TV cameras entering her life may have played a small role in his decision to hang out with her in Utah for a bit.
Brooks was arguably the premiere's breakout star, a badge of pride for Meredith. Fans will get to see Brooks put together a fashion show before season’s end, which Meredith teases as an "absolutely iconic" event.
It seems safe to say that RHOSLC will provide viewers with iconic moment after iconic moment. The premiere alone introduced two unprecedented feuds in the world of Real Housewives, the first being Jen and Mary Cosby's falling out over hospital smell and a double amputation.
"I would imagine that's a first for many, certainly a first for me," Meredith quips. "So, obviously I knew that there was an issue and that there was a conflict between Mary and Jen -- there was nobody who wasn't aware of it, let me just put it that way -- but I don't I don't think any of us really realized the level that it had escalated to. … So the whole thing, it was a bit surprising where it went and I guess it makes a lot more sense to me now why they were so angry at each other, because I didn't really get it to be honest."
In the coming weeks, viewers will see Meredith pulled into the orbit of Jen and Mary’s fight, with Jen seemingly wanting the ladies to pick sides (aka, her side). As Jen so eloquently put it in the trailer, "You're going to go with Mary, who f**ked her grandfather?"
"What I can say that's just true of me and in life in general is, I don't believe that anyone should dictate who someone else can or cannot be friends with, that's just not my vibe,” Meredith muses. “I believe that you could be a supportive friend to people who may not care for one another, and that's how I've lived my life, usually very successfully. I've been friends with a lot of people who don't care for one another and I don't engage in nasty conversations about the other, that's just not my vibe. It's not my energy."
Then there's the "I don't know her" issue in the group, between Heather Gay and Meredith’s BFF, Lisa Barlow. Lisa claims she doesn't remember Heather from their time together at Brigham Young University, though she does have a (vague?) memory of Heather being a “good time girl” who liked to break the school’s strict honor code, an allegation to which Heather takes much offense.
"That one, I think I can't really comment on without going too deep into too many things I probably shouldn't be discussing right now," Meredith offers. "I have to kind of bite my tongue on that one. I don't know how I can go down that path without disclosing things I shouldn’t be talking about yet, but we’ll get there."
"You will see tensions running through the course of time with everybody," she promises. "This is just the beginning."
Meredith says she finds herself in some of her co-stars' crosshairs this season, too, but won't name names. Half of her wants to keep the mystery alive as the season unfolds, while the other half is waiting to see if her assumptions about her friends (or maybe, frenemies) are proved true by what plays out on TV.
"I think there may be multiple liars," she proclaims. "There's one that is 100 percent confirmed for me, because I caught a multitude of lies, but there's still some other things that aren't adding up. So, I think that there's probably at least two liars out there. I don't know who the second one is, but we shall see and, again, if I'm wrong on the first -- which I'm 99.9 percent sure I'm not -- I will own it and apologize, but there's definitely a lot of lying."
Meredith says this friend circle was her first time spending time with so many women at once, and she quickly learned that her one-on-one experiences with her castmates looked quite different from the group gatherings.
"I was actually pretty much shocked by everyone at some level about something I'll be honest," she says, but qualifies that by saying it's more about true colors shining through than finding her co-stars to be two-faced.
"I mean, there's definitely some two-faced stuff, too -- don't misunderstand me," she adds. "I'm not denying that."
Meredith says she’s already making "a long list" of issues she hopes to resolve at the reunion, which won’t film for months.
"There is a lot to button up," she says. "I don't know how we can possibly get this reunion done in a single day. I think it should be a week-long affair. I have a lot of issues, and just knowing what I do know, what's gone on in between all the other women, I’m barely scratching the surface with my issues. There are way more than what I have alone, so it's going to be interesting and telling."
"I'm going to be watching along with the rest of the world trying to decipher who is a friend and who's not," she adds.
Meredith says her tagline, "Jealousy is a disease, to which I say, 'Get well soon,'" is a direct message to more than one of her co-stars: "Jealousy brings out an ugly side of people."
The mom of three says she's always dealt with jealousy, but Housewives took things to a new level. There was a learning curve to the tense arguments that are commonplace on the franchise.
"I guess for me, by virtue of my business, I am traveling a lot ... and I think a lot of the time, before the s**t hits the fan, so to speak, I'm already on to the next city,” she postures. "That didn't happen here. It’s like, you gotta deal with it -- and that's fine. I can hold my own. I'm not a pushover by any stretch, but I do demand that people speak to me with a certain level of respect and self-control, and if they are not going to do that, I am going to leave. I will not allow somebody to yell, scream, and swear at me. That is not acceptable."
The teasers for the season show Meredith storming off a few times, once while declaring, "I'm disengaging." She says she's waiting on pins and needles to see how those moments translate to the small screen.
"Obviously, any heated moments with the women, I may not particularly enjoy," she says, "but that won't be as trying for me as watching arguments with my family. That will be difficult."
Meredith says she already got a pit in her stomach just seeing flashes of her and Seth's arguments in the sneak peeks that are out so far, so she’s bracing for impact in the coming weeks. Still, a small sense of relief washed over her once episode one was out in the world. It was like ripping off a Band-Aid.
"There's a lot of anxiety …. 'cause you don't know what it's going to be like and you don't know what you're going to be received as by the rest of the world, so it's definitely a little bit daunting to say the least," she shares, admitting that she's well aware of her Dorit Kemsley-style accent of many origins. She chalks it up to a subconscious habit of picking up others' vocal inflections, and says the more she drinks, the more British she becomes.
"I feel a huge sense of relief having the first episode out," Meredith adds. "It was amazing for me to just be like, check that off. Done.”
NEW JERSEY
"Teresa Giudice is taking her time when it comes to love.
The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star, 48, is currently dating businessman Luis “Louie” Ruelas, but a source told Page Six on Wednesday that the new couple isn’t rushing into anything serious just yet.
“It’s new,” the source said. “They are taking things very slow. They are both happy. Right now it’s very low key and casual. One step at a time.”
While Ruelas, 46, has two children of his own and Giudice has four daughters, it does not seem like the holidays will be a blended family affair.
The source said that the couple is “not that far ahead yet planning wise.”
ORANGE COUNTY
"A topless portrait of Real Housewives of Orange County star Jeana Keough has sold at an auction for $350,000.
On Oct. 16, Jeana, 65, announced that a painting of herself by artist and illustrator Patrick Nagel, titled Jeana, 1983, was up for auction after being hung in her bedroom for 30 years.
"This Patrick Nagel of myself has hung in my bedroom 30 years today," she captioned an Instagram photo of the art piece. "In an hour it’s being sold at live.ha.com live auction at heritage auctions lot 8027 bring your a game!"
As to why she decided to part with the image, the mother of three added in the comments that "it’s something the kids don’t care about. I have more."
The portrait features Jeana crossing her arms and covering her breasts while wearing earrings, a bracelet on one of her wrists and a purple fabric around her lower waist — nearly identical to a model shot of her that was captured when she was 27 years old.
That same day, following her announcement that the auction would be taking place, the portrait — which is 40 x 25 in., acrylic on canvas and signed and dated on the lower right — sold for a record-breaking $350,000 after it sparked a bidding war and shattered the previous artist auction record, according to Heritage Auctions.
"It has hung in my bedroom and my best friend wanted it and I almost gave it to him because my kids had no interest in it," Jeana tells PEOPLE. "Haha, glad I didn’t!"
Ed Jaster, vice president of Fine Art at Heritage Auctions, said in a statement: "We could hardly believe our eyes as the bids came in so fast and so strong."
Three years ago, the auction house set the previous auction record paid for a Patrick Nagel portrait in 2017 when it sold Bold for $200,000.
Prior to her time on RHOC, Jeana (née Tomasino) was an elite model who was named the November 1980 Playboy Playmate of the Month. Jeana and the 11 other 1980 Playmates caught Nagel's eye, according to Heritage Auction, and he began making large acrylic portraits of each of the women.
Following Nagel's death in 1984, Jeana received a call from the late artist's wife.
"She said, 'I know he'd want you to have it,' " Jeana recalled to Heritage Auction. " 'Come and get it.' "
"I wanted this pose. My boyfriend at the time wanted a (portrait with a) similar pose in a swimsuit, but it wasn't signed," she said.
Although the portrait sold for a large number, Jeana said she would miss owning it.
"I'm moving – downsizing – and I don't want my kids to have to deal with it," the former Bravo personality, who listed her Orange County mansion for $2.9 million last year, told Heritage Auction. "I have other photos and pieces of art, but this one hung in my bedroom. I'm going to miss it."
DALLAS
ORANGE COUNTY
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2020.11.19 11:30 NintAndo64 Nanami Mami: The Essential Antagonist

You know what really grinds my fucking gears? Mami hate. And not just standard “Oh I don’t like Mami, she’s a bad person” hate. I mean the absolutely fucking putrid and toxic approach this sub has to Mami. You can’t fucking discuss her or express a positive opinion about her character or impact in the series or you get downvoted to oblivion. Every meme has some element of either pretentious righteousness or downright fury. People circlejerking the fucking shit out of the Mami hate. “HuRr DuRr MaMi TrAsH!” kinda fucking bullshit.
Mami’s one of the best fucking characters in this show. She’s a bad person, she’s manipulative, she’s vindictive, she’s probably psychopathic. And you know what? She’s fucking heart-pounding to watch. Because she’s a fucking antagonist, and a damn fucking effective one at that. She hasn’t shown up in almost a hundred fucking chapters and people are still shitting their pants about her. That's impact! That’s narrative weight! That makes her a great fucking character.
Last time I spoke about a girl who wasn’t essential to the plot. Today I’m talking about a girl whom the plot can’t exist without. If I needed to reduce the series down to three characters, it would be Kazuya, Chizuru, and fucking Mami.
And there’s gonna be spoilers for the fucking manga. I don’t know how much yet because I’m writing this with a goddamn vengeance. So go read the fucking manga. I’m gonna make you think about shit, appreciate more than just “durrrr cute girl cute” or “me hate girl because me no like girl”. You’re going to develop some big brained fucking takes after this piece.
Sit down, we’re going on a fucking ride.
Remember those three questions I brought up in the Ruka article? The one where I called her a shitty Mami knock off? Let's look at what happens when you can sweep the board and answer yes to all three. Here’s a refresher.
Let's start with the first question, shall we?

Does Mami advance the plot?

Mami advances the plot more in one fucking arc that any other character who isn’t Kazuya or Chizuru. Which I mean you’d fucking hope those two would have the biggest impact, but I don’t think you realise just how much Mami is playing in the big leagues. To show you that, we’re gonna take a look at “The Girlfriend and the Sea”
So, we just got done with the izakaya scene, and now we’re all heading to the sea. Kazuya, Kibe, and all his university friends are going to the beach. That means Mami’s coming along for the ride. You also know who that means isn’t coming along? Chizuru. Because this is early KanoKari and Chizuru has no friends. You know what that means?
The Threat of Nanami Mami.
Can we look back on the izakaya scene again for a bit? Need a refresher? Here you go. What can we tell from one minute of Mami? She’s a manipulator, and a skilled reader of people. She knows exactly what buttons to push to really break someone, to bend them to her will. She absolutely minces up Kazuya and manipulates him into apologising for her. Am I going to go into depth? No. Because I linked the fucking anime for a reason. Yuuki Aoi elevates the texts and explicitly shows you every detail just how Mami operates. The facade of a bright, bubbly personality. The raw malice layered in her delivery. Her flawless, non-stop execution of a verbal beatdown. Her ability to be utterly unflappable in the face of a screaming Chizuru.
Nanami Mami is a force of nature.
And what does she want to do during the beach trip? Break Kazuya and Chizuru up. Her aim is to get between the two heroes' budding relationship. And how does she do that?
First, she gets in Kazuya’s head. She gets him alone, and puts herself front and centre. She then appeals to him. Mami knows just how effective the nice act can be, and she deploys it to ruthless effect. She “apologises” about the izakaya incident, ruminates on their “enjoyable memories” and plants the seed of her manipulation. One quick conversation and she has Kazuya right where she wants him.
Oh, look who shows up, with friends too. But with this, brings the arrival of Kazuya’s friends. That's no good for Mami, and she immediately seeks to isolate him again. We also get in on the plan. She wants dirt. Thankfully Kibe gets him out of there and yadda yadda yadda Chizuru. Smelling blood in the water, Mami refuses to let them get out of it that easily. Exerting control over the situation at all times.
Regaining control over the situation, she isolates Kazuya again. Planting the second seed of her manipulation. Now, all she has to do is wait. Now all she has to do is wait. For this. All she has to do now is sit back, wait, watch the fireworks. And this is where her manipulation really pays dividends. Confused and overwhelmed at what's happened, Kazuya breaks again. Now everyone, including Chizuru, knows how much real estate Mami occupies in Kazuya’s mind. And she gets to maintain the high ground.
The Impact of Nanami Mami.
Chapter 12. Keep that in mind. Chapter 12 is the moment when Mami leaves her mark. One of the best ways to really gauge how much of an impact a moment has is to see how long it reverberates throughout the plot. Think Nina Tucker from FullMetal Alchemist. What happens to Nina sticks with Ed and All all the way up to the final encounter with Truth. So, how long does this one Mami moment reverberate throughout KanoKari?
Your ex, Mami, was it?” When discussing Kazuya’s Girlfriend Quest™, Mami is still the serious contender. Kazuya still places high emphasis on the feelings he had for her, and it's clear to both of them how much she still matters. While Kazuya’s own feelings are morphing from love and infatuation to obligation, Chizuru’s still clearly shook. After Kazuya declares that his feelings aren’t ones to be thrown away lightly, Chizuru hides her face from us and moves to leave. That's visual medium speak for bothered.
Kazuya is serious! Are you?” Still thinking that Kazuya is serious about Mami, Chizuru gives us a rare outburst and pleads with Mami to be serious about Kazuya’s feelings for her. The normally composed and well kept Chizuru is moved to an emotional outburst, still under the impression that this is what will make Kazuya happy.
What do you think?” Now, this ones gonna take some context. End of chapter 137, we see that Chizuru is once again, bothered. She can’t get to sleep, and is implied to have not been able to get much sleep, if any. Whatever is bothering Chizuru, it’s serious. We can tell because we get what many leading KanoKari experts are terming “That fucking look.” Then she brings up Kazuya’s Girlfriend Quest™. No prizes for guessing what’s eating Ichinose Chizuru. And after a bit of waffle about how not loved Ruka is. Kazuya drops an interesting line. “The next person I introduce to [his family]... will be someone I love from the bottom of my heart”. Now, Kazuya knows who he’s thinking about. We know who Kazuya’s thinking about. Who does Chizuru think he’s talking about?
... What about Mami-san?
That's no coincidence. Kazuya talks about someone he loves deeply, and Chizuru’s mind goes to Mami. In chapter 138, 126 chapters after The Girlfriend and the Sea (hell, a full 60 chapters since her last actual appearance), and Mami is still affecting the plot and the characters around her. How much? Guess what happens after Kazuya finally writes her off with a “I hope she’s happy”. Happy, sleepy Chizuru.
And this isn’t even Mami’s stand out moment. The izakaya scene, the Rental date with Chizuru, whatever the fuck the payoff for Mami following Nagomi on Twitter is gonna be, all far more memorable moments than The Girlfriend and the Sea. But even her quieter moments are felt throughout the series.

How does Mami build on the themes of the series?

If you’ve read anything I’ve written about this series, you’ve probably figured out I’m crazy that for me, the core themes of KanoKari are the importance of vulnerability; the role of, and what it means to be, family; and mutual support and growth. Themes that are explored brilliantly through our main cast. Kazuya shows how allowing yourself to be vulnerable lets you grow closer to others; the loving and enriching nature of family; and how by giving and receiving support, you can better yourself and those around you. Chizuru shows how difficult being vulnerable can be, and what it takes to allow yourself to be vulnerable; the importance of family and how critical it is in one’s life; and how it’s impossible to make it through life alone.
What does Mami say? Mami shows the dangers and effects of rejecting all of these (mostly). Mami shows what happens when you close yourself off and refuse to be vulnerable; she shows what a toxic family life can breed; and she shows that only looking out for number one gets you nothing. To be fair, there are assumptions in there. A lot of them. Because above all else, and probably the biggest testament to how well she showcases not being vulnerable, Mami is a mysterious character. She plays her cards tight to her chest. She never shares, never reveals.
Nanami Mami is an enigma.
The Mystery of Nanami Mami.
So, what do we know about Nanami Mami? Like, really? Well, we know one thing. Nanami Mami has one singular weakness.
Kinoshita Kazuya.
Now, I’m not saying that just in the “Nanami Mami is in love with Kazuya” sense. Because I mean, yes. She is. I’m talking in the sense that Kazuya gets to Mami. He gets under her skin. The character who has everyone, including the readers, quaking in fear and shitting their pants, is susceptible to Kazuya.
I mean, seems odd saying that a couple paragraphs after showing off the video where she verbally flays him and breaks him. But the only times Mami has ever been thrown off, the only times we’ve ever seen anything other than the cold-hearted operator that is Mami, it’s been because of Kazuya.
When her friends tease her about not being over Kazuya, she reacts very defensively. When Kazuya brings Chizuru to the izakaya, it’s the event that provoked her whole outburst. When Kazuya stands up to Mami, we get one of her very few instances of the white eyed surprise gaze, and as Kazuya storms off, her emotions are shown on her mouth. We can see how much that whole night really gets under her skin here. When Kazuya doesn’t come to see her at the pool for the completely rational and sane reason of being hospitalised after saving Chizuru from falling off the boat, she is obviously bothered by it. And when Ruka goes on her “Stay away from my boyfriend” rant and she leaves the karaoke place, she looks like she’s about to kill someone.
Actually, can we talk about that Ruka beatdown for a second? As much as I wanted her gone, now that she’s here, it does offer us some insight into just how much Kazuya, and Kazuya related topics get to Mami.
The claim that Ruka and Kazuya are a couple (which, highly debatable), is one of the few things that surprises Mami. While she is able to regain her composure quickly, Ruka is able to follow up with the blow that puts her properly off kilter. “You’re his ex, aren’t you?! Too bad! Because I’m his girlfriend now!
Nanami Mami is shook.
As the Mami clone Ruka deals out some high quality whoop ass, Mami remains stunned, unable to get her composure back until Ruka finishes. While the blacks are able to return to her eyes, she still takes the entire rant caught like a deer in headlights. She’s forced to sit there and take it while Ruka unloads. “What’s your problem?!” “Having second thoughts? Regretting how it ended?” “You’re over and done!” Scathing words, words that attack the one thing we know is important to Mami, her obsession with Kazuya. After Ruka finishes up, she attempts to throw out one last Hail Mary. But when Ruka doesn’t budge, Mami… gives up.
Let me repeat that. Mami gives up. And that’s the last Kazuya sees of her (as of chapter 165).
The Consequence of Nanami Mami.
Of all the themes we notice in the series, the importance of family, mutual support, how difficult it is to properly connect with other people. There’s one theme I put front and centre in all of my analysis, in all of my readings, in every aspect I view the series from.
The key to connecting with people is Vulnerability. Only when you open up, can you let someone in.
You may think that’s because of the success Kazuya has when he opens up. You may think it's because of the struggles Chizuru has with Vulnerability. You may think it’s because Ruka misunderstands how to be vulnerable and struggles with considering others, which stagnates her. You may think it’s from the fast friendship Sumi and Kazuya form, where assured spaces of vulnerability allows the two to grow and help the other process their emotions. But you’d be wrong.
The reason why I believe it's such an important theme is all because of Mami. Nanami Mami is the only character in the series who refuses to be vulnerable. She even rejects the suggestion that she should be vulnerable. When Chizuru confronts Mami about Kazuya’s feelings for her, she pleads with her “Did you ever actually let him love you?” She’s directly confronting Mami about whether she gave Kazuya an honest chance, whether she properly opened up to him. Mami’s response is to actively shut Chizuru out. To Mami, not being vulnerable isn’t a struggle, it isn’t something she can’t do. Not being vulnerable is a decision she makes. That decision has a consequence.
Nanami Mami is the only girl who grows apart from Kazuya.
Think about it, at the start of the series, Mami is the most important person to Kazuya. In the early stages of the story his struggle is coming to grips with his lingering feelings for Mami. Even as far as the beach arc, we can see how much of an effect Mami has had on Kazuya.
It’s starting at The Girlfriend and the Impulse, where we see just how big the series intends to make this theme. Starting off Kazuya’s… period of self reflection. His feelings of lust and infatuation for Mami dominate the pages and have presence in the panels they’re shown in. Once Kazuya’s feelings for Chizuru manifest, they shrink, becoming almost insignificant. As Kazuya tries to fight his rising feelings, they overwhelm the page, and his fantasies about Mami, reflecting on shared moments of vulnerability, moments of caring, kindness and mutual support. Until one person dominates his thoughts.
The next time we see Kazuya reflect on his feelings for Mami. “To be honest, I don’t even understand anymore, you know… if I like her or what…” Kazuya doesn’t speak highly of his feelings for her, but of his sense of obligation to his promise to make her happy. He speaks more towards his sense of obligation to the promise he made.
The next time after that. “To be honest, part of me is happy. I really feel like I’ve shed some baggage.” While Ruka expresses concern that she may have offended Mami, thinking she might have hurt one of Kazuya’s friends (aside: it takes Nanami Mami to make Ruka think of Kazuya’s feelings for once). Kazuya’s focus is on reassuring Ruka that things are fine. His final thoughts? “Meh, either way, I’m glad Ruka is back to normal
The last time we see him think about Mami (as of chapter 165)? “I hope she’s happy.
I hope she’s happy.
Damn.
And what is she left with? Regret. Ruka’s words echoing in her mind, she shuts them out. Mami won’t even let herself be vulnerable with herself.

Does Mami offer additional insight into existing characters that no other character possibly can?

It would be quicker to list the number of named characters Mami doesn’t shed some light on. We even gain insight into minor characters like Kibe through Mami. But, most importantly, we learn so many things about our main characters through Mami.
The Infatuation of Nanami Mami.
One thing to keep in mind is that Kazuya isn’t in love with Mami. Kazuya is infatuated with Mami. It’s not that he constantly has fantasies that are pornographic in nature, it’s that they’re his only real fantasies about her that he has on his own. The only thought he has about Mami that looks towards the future is one that Mami planted in his head. When Kazuya reflects back on the time they spent, it focuses on the attempts at connection, rather than what is to be gained from those connections. When we see him reflect on his feelings about her, it’s all about his connection to the relationship. “This is my soulmate sent by fate’s hand’ When he blows up at Kibe after “breaking up” with Chizuru, it’s about how he was hurt when Mami dumped him.
Just like someone else. Kazuya’s feelings for Mami are Fish Love. Which is ironic because Kazuya properly cares about his fish.
This is why I was so fucked off during my Ruka rant. The arc of infatuation vs love was Kazuya’s arc. He struggles to understand what love is. His feelings for Chizuru are different in a way he can’t understand. While he recognises that he can change through Chizuru, he still attempts to reject and deny his feelings. Then when Ruka shows up, he just… gains the understanding. Nothing changes about Kazuya, he just suddenly knows.
But let’s not get sidetracked. This is about Mami and Kazuya. So what else do we learn about Kazuya through Mami? His growing steadiness.
In their early encounters, it’s easy to see just how much Mami can turn his world upside down. We’ve seen what she can do in the izakaya, but even on the walk home when she has her pleasant act up again, he still crumbles into a bubbling mess. At the sea, we see the full extent to which she has him wrapped around her finger as discussed above.
Their next encounter is during the date with Sumi. While he’s still obviously unsettled and uncomfortable around Mami, we see him starting to show signs of his steadying feet. He’s bothered, but he still has his own sense of self. He’s able to keep rational and come up with an explanation to smooth things over. It’s Sumi not getting the hint that undoes him in this encounter.
Their next encounter is at the start of The Girlfriend and the Night. While she surprises him by popping the fuck out of nowhere, he’s able to brace himself for the attack. When that doesn’t come, for the first time around Mami, we see him relax. He’s able to calm down and compose himself, confronting her with his honesty and sense of justice by calmly apologising for lying to everyone and putting himself in a position to accept all the blame. Look at his eyes. Those are strong, resolute eyes.
Their final encounter (so far), we see him surprised she one again appears the fuck out of nowhere. However, once it’s explained how she knew about his work and what she’s doing here, he’s completely fine. We can tell that because we get a couple glances at him through Ruka’s eyes. Outside of Ruka acting like a loose cannon, he handles Mami completely fine.
Through Mami, we’re able to see clearly and unambiguously how much more confident and self assured Kazuya is able to act and present himself. While he still has a long way to go, Mami allows us to see just how far he’s come.
But Kazuya isn’t the only character who gets the Mami spotlight.
The Reflection of Nanami Mami.
I’m sure by now you understand how I feel about how Mami is an integral and influential character when it comes to Kazuya. How I feel the plot line of infatuation vs love is much stronger when portrayed through Kazuya and his feelings for Mami, as opposed to with Ruka and her feelings for Kazuya. How Mami feeds into the core messages of vulnerability and opening up and connecting to people. But I haven’t touched on the crux of why I believe it really, truly would work so well.
Nanami Mami is a distorted reflection of Ichinose Chizuru.
What, were you too busy being pissed off you couldn’t waifu the blonde girl that you didn’t fucking notice? Were you too busy screaming “NO MAMI GO AWAY” at your precious screens to pay attention? Good fucking thing nothing gets past this bitch.
Nanami Mami is an actress.
And probably the best one in the series to boot. Thats right, shots fucking fired Chizuru. Now, when I say Mami is an actress, I’m not saying that in strictly the same sense that Chizuru is an actress. Mami isn’t auditioning and trying to star in any films. To Mami, life is an act.
There are three times in the series that we’ve seen an honest Mami. Two of those are when Mami is alone. Everything else is an act. A performance. A facade. The bright and cheery girl at the izakaya. The concerned girl at the beach. Kazuya’s cheerful college friend. The inquisitive ex-girlfriend. The girl who blames herself. The comrade-in-arms. All a fake performance. A means to an end.
And what does she hide behind this performance of the approachable, kind, concerning girl? Jealousy, vindictiveness, anger, regret. Mami uses her performance to hide all of her negative emotions. To hide her desire to lash out and hurt. Is she driven by kindness? By concern for others? Fuck no, it’s the complete opposite.
But using a fake persona to mask your real emotions… remind you of someone? Chizuru is everything that Mami is not. The girl who relies on the cold, strong persona. The iron lady. And what is she trying to hide? Kindness, selflessness, affection.
Which is why the most exciting, revealing, and insightful scene in the manga, is the third time we see the real Nanami Mami. The first time she shows her real self to another person.
Butt out. You mind your own business, and we will mind ours.
Oh, you thought it was a fucking coincidence the two actresses would reveal so much of their true selves to each other?
Let's rewind a bit. Back to when These two reminded Ruka who the real plot relevant women in this series are. Starting off the encounter proper, Chizuru is trapped. Cornered like a rabbit. Completely at the mercy of Mami. And Mami is going to Make. Her. Sing (in case you didn’t get the symbolism of the karaoke scene). And, after some literal singing, she tries to get just that. Only Chizuru’s got a nice fallback. This puts Mami on the attack. She directly calls out the lie. Directly attacking the lack of intimacy between the two in this make believe game of pretend lovers. “You don’t even love him.” “Kazuya pays you money,” “Then you go and plaster that fake, lying smile on your face.”
Ichinose Chizuru is called the fuck out. And it cuts deep. The loss of words, the clenched fists. Chizuru is bothered. Mami fleeces her and displays to us just how much, this early in the story, how Chizuru is fuelled by her own misconceptions about the rental relationship. She can’t respond because she can’t deny it. She doesn’t think Kazuya loves her. She thinks she’s holding him back from getting a real girlfriend. She thinks nothing can come from this make believe game of pretend lovers. And Mami shows us all this before the text spells it out for us.
Pleased with herself, she leads them to the bridge. She takes one last opportunity to gloat. This allows Chizuru the chance to bring up the one guy who gets behind both of their facades. Kazuya. Trying to wring the others feelings for Kazuya out of them, we get this absolutely haunting line from Mami. “I’m just thinking that maybe while you were pretending to be Kazu-kun’s girlfriend.... You actually fell for him?” An absolutely haunting line that calls back to back at the Karaoke parlour. And we see Chizuru’s patterns come out to play. She hides her eyes, showing she is struggling with her emotions, and she dodges the question, hiding.
Nanami Mami has Chizuru’s number.
Chizuru can’t hide around Mami. So she says fuck it. Which leads to one of the most revealing outbursts from Chizuru this side of The Girlfriend and The Boyfriend. We learn the importance she places on love. We learn she views the concept of forming deep emotional connections as a struggle. We learn just how dedicated she is to pursuing happiness for Kazuya (even if she is barking up the wrong fucking tree for that). We also get the one quote that will be called back for the rest of the fucking series whenever Chizuru struggles to open up to Kazuya. Oh, and we also get her finally calling Mami the fuck out on her own struggles to be vulnerable and open up to people.
That’s when we get the third time Mami has shown her true self, and the only time it’s been shown to another person. What, you thought this wasn’t symbolic? The two actresses letting down their act around each other? Don’t need to put up an act when you’re looking in the fucking mirror.
And here we have two incredibly similar characters given the same advice. They both perform fake personas in their real lives, they both to some degree want the same thing, but they have different approaches to vulnerability.
Guess which one gets closer to Kazuya?
The series just taught you a fucking message that no other character could.
So many Mami scenes, and not a single one of them is inconsequential. Not a single one doesn’t explore our two leads in more depth. Not one of them doesn’t further along the plot. Not one of them doesn’t enhance the themes of the series.
Nanami Mami is the Essential Antagonist.
Now. I’m not saying you have to think Mami’s a good person. I’m not saying you have to want to waifu Mami. But I will not sit here and fucking watch this incredible fucking antagonist get fucking dragged because “mean girl makes your dick limp”.
You will respect just how much she adds to the series, how integral she is, just by existing.
You will respect how complex and deep she is as a character.
You will respect Nanami Mami.
submitted by NintAndo64 to KanojoOkarishimasu [link] [comments]


2020.11.19 02:16 killa5abi Mccabe and Mrs miller part 3

The Turning Point: the Major Opponents Arrive
Once this summation line has been said explicitly, the writers proceed to show the audience precisely how Mrs. Miller's fear is realized. The turning point sequence of the film is a classic comedy of errors that leads to disaster. This sequence is also the fullest expression yet of the structure of this film in which scenes of simultaneous action and subsequent action are cut together with no apparent seams or signals.
The sequence begins when someone in the brothel turns the hand crank of the music box and the song, "Silent Night," plays. Immediately, a fight erupts outside when someone mistakes Bart's mail-order bride for one of the prostitutes. Ironically, this is the same mistake, in reverse, that Bart made when his wife and Mrs. Miller first arrived. Bart is the same man who fought for a chair when McCabe came to town, but this time he gets his head cracked open on theice,andinside"SilentNight"isstillplaying. Whenemotionsand money mix, people get hurt.
Looking on disdainfully are two well-dressed men in a horse- drawn carriage. These are not simply two strangers. They are the future historical stage, men who dress and travel in citified ways, who disdain the rough pioneer ways, and most importantly, who represent the interests of a mining company. The indirect modern world, with its agents and companies and specialists and layers, has come to the direct world of the West. And already these agents have bought out allofSheehan'sholdings. Ironyislaidonirony. Sheehanisthesame man who came to McCabe with a plan to keep anyone else out. Now that anyone else has arrived. And these men plan to buy out McCabe, consolidate ownership, in short do exactly what Sheehan had suggested. These men are not just the future society, they are the inevitable future of business in a place where capitalism is a natural law and survival of the fittest is the mechanism.
The second major opposition for McCabe in the story has now arrived. And indeed the story has shifted back from the love story line between McCabe and Mrs. Miller to the main line of McCabe building and fighting for value in the West. But again the writers are not just interested in a single line story with scenes that only play out the opposition. They go inside to show a birthday party for one of the prostitutes. In spite of the business that goes on here, the whorehouse has become a fun, communal place, and these are real people who age and mark birthdays like everyone else. But as always, Mrs. Miller, after showing her affection by putting on the birthday party, retreats to her room.
Downstairs, the second and main opposition for McCabe finally begins in earnest. The difference between the two sides is immediately clear. McCabe is a direct, one-on-one man, an individual who represents only himself, who lives in a small town where everyone knows each other and does business in a direct face-to-face way. As a result, a certain morality of operation - albeit with some bluff - is required.
These two agents, on the other hand, are people of indirectness: they represent a distant unseen firm, they are long-standing company men whose work is devoted to the benefit of the company. They are not the company itself; rather they are empowered by the company and the distance and indirectness of their operation means that there is no requirement that they act and do business in a moral way. McCabe is not just fighting two men or even a company, he is up against the future.
Once again there is a negotiation, but this time McCabe is out of his league. McCabe is drunk and insults these two mild-mannered men. He cannot shove his way into getting what he wants with these men of nuance and innuendo who are backed by a tremendous unseen power. McCabe tries to use his normal method of fast-talking to succeed. He says, "If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass so much." This non-sensical line, which McCabe has used many times before with some effect on the less intelligent of this town, has no meaning and no effect on these men. And then McCabe tells a story which becomes a second code for the entire film. In the story an eagle eats a frog, and when the frog reaches the ass of the eagle he looks out and sees that he is miles up in the air. And he says, "You ain't shittin' me now would ya?" These men are the eagles, and McCabe is the frog and all he can hope for is that they ain't shittin' him. Unfortunately, McCabe is not smart enough to see his own analogy. He turns down their offer.
McCabe goes upstairs to make love with Mrs. Miller. A true romantic, he has washed up, sobered up, and brought flowers. But sheisangrybecausehefailedtoshowupatthebirthdayparty. When he tells her about the negotiation, he thinks he has done well. But she knows differently. She knows he is in big trouble. Her biggest fear is being realized, yet she is incapable of acting to prevent it.
McCabe goes back downstairs to continue the negotiations, still unaware of the trouble he is in. And so too is the audience. There is no indication that these men can be harmful to McCabe. They tell McCabe, "We represent one of the finest companies in the United States. We will give you a substantial increase in capital." They give no sign to McCabe that if he doesn't take their offer, they will take action that may lead to McCabe's death. McCabe continues to negotiate in his bumbling way. He tries to give them two of the prostitutes, totally misunderstanding who these men are. In a nice detail, Sheehan is there with one of the women, happily spending his profits.
By making these agents intelligent, soft-spoken, and mild- mannered, the writers make a great choice in presenting McCabe's main opposition. The audience does not know at this point how dangerous the company is that these men represent. So the audience discounts Mrs. Miller's fears and enjoys watching McCabe stick a pin inthesepompousEasterndudes. Theaudienceinshortmakesthe same mistake as McCabe, misunderstanding the future and underestimating someone based on appearance and false creation. Filled with a sense of rightness and American fair play, the audience assumes that any company that is turned down will simply look elsewhere for a business deal. But in real America, that is not necessarily the case.
Back upstairs, Mrs. Miller is now high on opium and a lot nicer because of it. The opium is a symptom of a much deeper problem that even now, downstairs in the saloon, is repeating itself. Because she is a woman in the West, she has no power. Because she is a smart tough woman, she will not bend her life to a man. The cost of that combination is that she is alone, a drifter, a prostitute, powerful only when she is whoring. And that too means she cannot forge an emotional bond with any man, since the bonds always begin with money. In dope, she can return to some innocent self, even if just temporarily.
McCabe asks her to trust him - the old male line with which she cannot abide because she is much smarter than he. He is in love with her and wants her respect, but he has just shown emphatically that she cannot trust him. If she ran the show, the deal would already have been made, they would have gotten their money, and no one would be in trouble. But she cannot act, and in her drugged state she has lost her awareness. The third Leonard Cohen song, "Traveling Lady," plays, with the words, "Traveling lady, stay awhile until the night is over." It is a pleading for a moment of community, a moment of love, which is all that these characters in this world can achieve. This too is a soft creation that will not last. And even here, with Mrs. Miller at her nicest, she makes sure that McCabe puts five dollars in the heart-shaped box.
In all of the films that I have seen, I cannot remember a better use of music that the three Leonard Cohen songs in this film. Some critics hold the mistaken notion that great film music is necessarily classical music. Nothing could be further from the truth. This film is unequaled in putting the audience in a special mood, in a special world. WhenIwatchMcCABEANDMRS.MILLER,Iaminthatworldas I am in no other film. Part of that power comes from the extraordinary camerawork by Vilmos Zigmond. But much of it comes fromtheequallyextraordinaryscorebyLeonardCohen. Icannot imagine this film without the three songs that are repeated throughout. The melodies seem to come out of the screen like the breath of the lush wilderness. And the words are nothing less than a complex Greek chorus commenting on the very complicated action of the film.
Off at Sheehan's saloon, the two business agents have dinner anddiscussthenegotiation. Theyoungeronestatesthattheycanstill make the deal, that McCabe is just negotiating. But the older one says, "I've been working for this company for eighteen years. I deserve better than to go on some snipe hunt." This is not a pioneer or a cowboy. He is a company man, acting as though the only thing at stake here is whether this business deal is made. What the audience learns is that by walking out, this man has doomed McCabe to die. Because now the company will send killers after McCabe to get the transaction done.
This is the height of immorality. Not just because the agent's company will kill a man who does not do business with them. But because this agent actually feels he deserves to place his comfort above the life of a man. As the two agents leave, they wonder whether the meat was good. Like two Americans in some "backward" foreign country, these company men on a business trip think that anything from this frontier place must be bad.
False Showdown
With the closeup shot of the gravestone marking Bartley Coil, the viewer sees the conclusion to another one of the minor story lines inthiscommunity. Thecommunityisgatheredaroundthegraveas the brooding character of the preacher gives the eulogy. He delivers it very quickly as though it is a useless string of words, a format that mustbegottenthrough. Itissomethinghumanbeingsdowhen someone dies.
The camera crosscuts among the various faces the viewer has come to know, focusing most especially on Mrs. Miller and Bart's wife, Ida. The two women exchange glances and the irony of Bart's death and the similarity between the two women is brought to the fore. Bart, the pushy man who at the beginning took someone else's chair, has died because he was too quick to take offense. Mrs. Miller and Ida had been confused that first day when both arrived into town and Bart thought Mrs. Miller was his mail-order bride. Now the frail, bird-like Ida looks toward Mrs. Miller, the strongest woman in the town and Mrs. Miller looks back with some sympathy on this woman who is once again alone and without support.
More details assault the viewer. Again the seasons seem to have changed; it appears to be early spring and by this the viewer gathers that some time had passed before Bart's injury finally led to his death. But more important the year on the gravestone says 1902. It is indeed later than the period of the classic Western. This is the turn of the century when the frontier is over and the free open land is gone. With it too is gone the human ecology that went with that open land, that is, the pioneer individualist who goes out on his own and creates value from his own hands.
But now the world is finally closed. And growth can only come vertically into larger and larger groups and organizations and scales of action. Sure enough, in the very scene when the viewer sees that this is 1902 the apparent gunfighter sent from "above," from the large mining corporation of Harrison and Shaunessy to kill McCabe and take over his property, arrives. Mrs. Miller of course notices the mantoo. Andinadisturbedstatesheleavesthefuneralandheads back into the building. The viewer senses at this point that Mrs. Miller might finally be returning at least the concern that McCabe feels for her.
The stage is set for the classic Western showdown between hero andopponent. Thecharacter,playedbyKeithCarradine,sitsatophis horse with his tall Western hat silhouetted against the low winter sun. But the audience is fooled. Just because a man wears a hat and a gun doesn't mean he is a gunfighter. He says he's just looking for the whorehouse for some fun. McCabe isn't a gunfighter either. False reputation and false definition of manhood is again ridiculed.
Some time later, the Keith Carradine cowboy comes downstairs inthebrothelinhisunderwear. Nowfullystrippedofhisbig- gunfighter, tough-man persona, he now appears to be just a kid in his underwear. Like many of the other men in this film, he's a person of false pretense. He tells the women downstairs that he is going to have every one of them, as though he is the world's greatest lover. Nearby a woman is vacuuming the floor, again showing the time period and the onslaught of machines and the modern age onto the frontier life. Much like the entrance of the mechanical fire engine, the sudden presence of this vacuum cleaner is a shock to the viewer and exactly imitates the onslaught of the larger, more powerful outside modern world onto the limited frontier world of McCabe.
The false stature of the young cowboy as lover is immediately undercut here when two of the whores begin to whisper about him andlaugh. Thisisaveryshortsequenceandyetitservesthe important purpose of bringing this minor character to the fore and showing him to be playful and innocent just before a climactic moment. The scene immediately flips to a second action line when McCabe enters with a package for Mrs. Miller and is told that she is with a customer. Again McCabe's softness and his care for Mrs. Miller are apparent and his frustration and disappointment at being in love with a whore are clear.
The Destructive System
Another community moment begins the next scene as a group of the townspeople surround a frozen pond and the town drunk dances on the ice to the sound of a fiddle. Winter is back and the viewer realizes that the apparent early spring of the burial scene was only a warm lull before the depths of winter. The opening of the scene is distinctly cinematic, both because of the community spirit and because of the unique use of the weather and the landscape.
Again there is a crosscut to a simultaneous activity in another part of the community. At the whorehouse, Mrs. Miller is getting Ida ready to be a whore, the very thing against which her now-dead husband had tried to defend her honor. Implied of course is the fact that Bart's death and his wife's new profession have a reality that far outweighs a simple misunderstanding and the silly masculine idea of protecting a woman's honor against a few words.
The absurdity of this idea of feminine honor is explored in the discussion that follows. Not only does Mrs. Miller tell Ida that being a whore won't be so bad, she states that being a whore is really no different than being a wife except that it is more honest and allows the woman the freedom of having her own money to spend. This justification is yet another instance in this film in which history is used as an abstract against which a current problem can be compared and clarified.
With this scene the film starts to expand beyond particular characters to an entire system of thought and action - one of the marks of a great film. Prostitution is shown to be the inevitable result of a system based on money and based on the rule of men simply because they are male. For men, the same system inevitably results in actions based on the expectations of others, in the onslaught of a more powerful and aggressive male force, and in the humiliation and death of the weak.
But the extreme naturalism and physicality that underlies virtually everything that goes on in this film also implies that this system is a natural tendency of human beings. As such, the system can only be partly changed, and even that can only happen when everyone involved is aware of the tendencies and takes steps to counter it. So much of the struggle that goes on in this film, struggle deeper than man against killers and woman against prostitution, is the struggle for awareness of the system and the tendencies which lead these people to act the way they do.
In this scene between Mrs. Miller and Ida, Mrs. Miller's awareness of her situation, of the system that rules her, is at a fairly low level. She is the realist who is at least able to justify her job. But while she is attempting to help this widow, she is also passing on her limitedawarenessandperpetuatingtheparalysis. Allalongthesetwo women have been placed together as almost identical: they were confused by Bart looking for his mail-order bride, they trade glances at the funeral, and now Mrs. Miller looks at her body and says, "You really are small, aren't you. Just like me." So following Mrs. Miller's philosophy and lead, Ida may free herself enough to "actually get to like it," but she is also learning to become a lonely, drifting whore just barely running her own life and able to connect with men only through money.
So the cycle continues as men and women continue to do their part in a destructive system. Because Bart was too quick to take offense at a man thinking his wife is a whore, his wife is widowed and forced to be a whore. Mrs. Miller's realistic response to the harsh West helps Ida in the short term, but the cycle of Mrs. Miller's despair is passed to the next generation, and the possibility of breaking the cycle is gone.
After this female expression of the destructive system, the scene cuts back to the male expression of the system as three cowboys ride into town. The community members, in high spirits from the dancing and the fiddle playing, suddenly grow quiet when they see a rifle strapped to the saddle of one of the cowboys. Unlike communities in other westerns, this community is not used to seeing guns. Guns are an ominous invasion. And these strangers, these new members to the community, cause the old members not only suspicion but fear. In a fitting little epiphany, this temporary community of dancers and music-makers breaks apart and separates when the gunmen from the outside arrive in their midst. And the largest man of the three, the man with the rifle, smiles and takes pleasure in the power he has to destroy the fun of this community.
With the entrance of these three gunmen, the representatives of the large mining company, McCabe gains his third and final desire in the film: the desire to escape death at the hands of the killers. Significantly, this is the first desire that McCabe appears to hold intensely. Andnotsurprisingly,thefilmimmediatelypicksuppace and intensity.
The entrance of the three representatives of the mining company also marks a subtle shift in genre as well. The gangster story is the direct descendant of the Western. The social stage has shifted to the city world, a place of vertical power, hierarchy, and rigidity. The American dream of the Western has soured, and now the hero joins an organization and uses corrupt methods - particularly murder - to succeed.
At this moment in the development of this particular town, the city world, the East, has arrived. So within the larger Western genre, there is a genre shift to match. McCabe in effect is a Western man coming up against gangsters. And the film becomes a kind of gangster story in which the company uses violence to grab business and grow. By connecting the gangster methods with a legitimate company, the writers show that this step is inherent to an uncontrolled natural capitalism and is not just some story convention.
Once the killers arrive, McCabe and Mrs. Miller argue whether McCabe's stature and value should be based on the image that others have of him. Until now much of the action, by the men in this film especially, has been based on false reputation and pretense. But in this scene with Mrs. Miller, she for the first time argues against action of that sort. She suggests that McCabe can just hide in a wagon and get away, and then says, "Anyway, what the hell do you have to answer to anyone for. You bloody well own this town."
This is the classic masculine/feminine argument inherent in the Western genre: the woman concerned with creating family and civilization places life above duty and honor; but the man whose stature is defined by his job of defending the weak against men who humiliate and kill chooses duty, honor and freedom for others over avoiding the risk of losing his own life.
But in this film, the issue is far more difficult and realistic than in the normal Western. The classic Western superhero leaves no doubt about what his choice will be. And his incredible ability as a gunfighter means that he is really in little jeopardy. But McCabe has no one to defend but himself and apparently he is far from being a fast gun. In this way the dramatists have ingeniously shown that what McCabe chooses will be based on his own sense of manhood. And they have heightened the power of that choice because he is obviously a man in great jeopardy.
With this scene the question of how McCabe determines his own manhood is brought to the fore. At this early stage of his awareness, he continues to act as he has in the past. He says, "They the ones that got to make a deal...They come up against a dude like McCabe, I feel sorry for 'em...I know what I'm doing." Mrs. Miller wants him to save his life and get him to base his own sense of value on the fact that he has built the town. But McCabe wants to continue to base that value on standing firm and on what others think of him. And for that, he will die.
Just as he was unable to expand his sense of awareness of the larger world and the future when dealing with the agents, so now is he unable to expand his awareness of himself. On his way out the door he says, "Well I guess if a man is foolish enough to get into business with a woman she won't think much of him." This line has a double power: first, it indicates that McCabe has a false sense of personal value; second, it brings home the point that if Mrs. Miller, who is his partner, had not been a woman and had been able to make the deal instead of McCabe, the deal would have been made and this confrontation with killers avoided. In short, the masculine-feminine system of value and action is destructive both to men and women.
The scene between McCabe and Butler - the biggest of the killers - repeats the humiliation scene that is so common in Western films. But here there's an important difference: in most other Westerns one of the weak members of the community is the one who is humiliated or the bad gunman tries to humiliate the Western hero and fails; here theWesternherohimselfishumiliated. Thehumiliationbeginswhen McCabe first walks through the door and Butler makes him wait there like a little boy. Then the dramatists stop the narrative so that the storycanexpandandgofarbeyonditsownlimitedparticulars. The dramatists have the Butler character go through a long explanation of how the miners can increase their profits by blowing up Chinamen in the zinc mines.
This unusual breaking of the narrative line accomplishes a number of purposes. First, it establishes the quality of McCabe's opposition. Butler is a ruthless man. And not only is he immoral, he is amoral, which is to say that he is so primitive, so animalistic that the very concept of morality is beyond him. Second, Butler is shown to be the extension of a capitalistic system in the extreme. When the quest for profit is not only the highest value but the only value, the value of human life is destroyed and men can murder each other without compunction.
The humiliation continues when McCabe bends down to pick up the tray that Butler has purposely shattered. McCabe then asks Butler if they can step into another room for some privacy. Butler refuses. Butler then leads McCabe into thinking that they might be able to negotiate. McCabe grovels by continually lowering his asking price without any prodding from Butler. This is a very powerful scene because all through the movie the dramatists have set up the two sides of the same coin: on the one side is the positive effect of a close community; on the other side is the negative effect of having a person's sense of personal value determined by what the other members of the community see and think of him.
Now the effects of that negative side come out in full force. First, McCabe is without privacy. He must undergo his ordeal under the gaze of others. Second, McCabe is deeply shamed because his sense of personal value is flimsily based literally on how others see his actions and accomplishments. So when others in the bar see him fail, see him show fear in the presence of a physically larger man, he is devastated.
This scene, which is a kind of climax to the film so far, leads the viewer to a number of insights that go far beyond this particular story. One realizes, first of all, that a sense of shame is possible only to the extent that one allows his sense of personal value to be determined by others. But one also realizes that being determined by shame is probably somewhat inherent to living in a close-knit community.
Second, one senses that this false reputation/shame approach to living is the necessary emotional expression of the relatively early social stage of small-town frontier life: of direct person-to-person dealings and the high value that is naturally placed upon physical ability.
Third, one realizes that the Western genre, that has so often shown this situation of humiliation, has itself sown the seeds of shame and humiliation in its viewers. How? By its continuing glorification of physical strength and martial virtues and by its failure to connect the idea of physical heroism with the devastation that results when the physical hero runs up against someone who is physicallystrongerthanhe. ThisisoneoftheonlyfilmsIknow which shows this fallacy of basing heroism on martial ability.
Sheehan's presence in the scene is a crucial detail. Throughout McCabe's humiliation, Sheehan and the others - who are just like McCabe in gauging their personal worth on what others think - are pleased when they see McCabe, a bigger man than themselves, cut down to size by Butler. At the end of the humiliation, Butler questions McCabe about Bill Roundtree, the man Sheehan had said in the beginning of the film that McCabe had shot. Sheehan has in effect turned McCabe in, just to prove his own value, to make himself look like a big man.
What is also interesting is the rapid flip that McCabe undergoes inthemindoftheaudience. InitiallytheaudiencethinksMcCabe never was a gunfighter who shot Bill Roundtree; that was just Sheehan talking. Then, when Butler questions him about the incident, McCabe admits that he actually did shoot Roundtree, though not in the
"heroic" way that Sheehan had described. After McCabe leaves in shame, and Butler states that McCabe "never shot anybody," the audience assumes that not only is McCabe not a gunfighter, but he is a coward.
What is fascinating about this double flip is that the writers are getting the viewer to participate in the same process that the men in that room and in that town are doing as well. The viewer is assessing value based on physical stature and another man's opinion.
Self-Questioning
In a rare soliloquy in movies, McCabe's struggle for awareness is made explicit for the first time. First he complains that he never did fit into the town; this of course is self-confirming and simply perpetuates his life as a lonely drifter. Then his attention shifts to Mrs. Miller. He states how much he wants her and complains about his inability to declare his love to her. He wishes they could have a real love relationship, one in which money did not exchange hands. And then for the first time McCabe declares a sense of his own personal value based on himself. He says "I've got poetry in me. I do. I really do." But he feels that, because he's not an educated man, he can't put his feelings down on paper. He wishes that just one time he could be in control. He claims she's freezing his soul and then berates himself for falling in love with a whore saying, "What the hell. I never was a percentage man."
In these short phrases, McCabe is struggling to self-awareness, trying to pinpoint the causes of his troubles and frustrations. Though Butler and his fellow killers are after him, McCabe can only think of his troubles with Mrs. Miller. His thoughts are scattered and his solution is simply for her to let him be in charge for once. His frustration at falling in love with a whore is certainly real and powerful. But he has no sense of the deeper causes of her actions or her position or the part that his approach to her has played in the situation. He also has no sense of the larger forces that have put him in danger with Butler and have made any love between a man and a woman under those conditions so difficult. Still McCabe's feelings are touching and heartfelt. And it is the first time the viewer has seen McCabe question his situation.
Expanding the Story
McCabe's meeting with a lawyer marks another expansion of the story, in this case to the national level. Like all great films, McCABE AND MRS. MILLER begins at the particular and then extends its scope andimpactuntilitisanationalandevenuniversaltale. Notablythe scene does not begin with McCabe explaining his problem to the lawyer. This makes the scene more economical but it also serves to set the lawyer's remarks aside, to put them up on a pedestal, so to speak. And that is precisely what the content of the lawyer's remarks do as well. Until now McCabe has been seen from the bottom up: that is, he seems to be a real person with some big problems.
But in the lawyer scene, McCabe for the first time is seen from the top down: McCabe is described in the general terms of the sweep of American history. And his simple act of building a whorehouse is idealized as the American dream. Says the lawyer, "When a man goes into the wilderness and with his bare hands gives birth to a small enterprise, nourishes it and tends it while it grows, well, I'm here to tell you that no dirty sons of bitches are going to take it away from him." He says further, "The laws are here to protect the little guy like yourself, McCabe...Now you take that there company Harrison and Shaunessy. They have stockholders. You think they want their stockholders, their public, thinking that their management isn't imbued with all the principles of fair play and justice? The very values that made this country what it is today? Busting up these trusts and monopolies is at the very root of the problem of creating a just society. Damnit McCabe, I'm here to tell ya that this free enterprise system of ours works. And working within it we can protect the small businessman and the big businessman."
This remarkable sequence, delivered beautifully in a glib style by William Devane and expressed without any introductory comments by McCabe, has a stunning impact on the viewer in a number of ways. First and most obviously it underlines the tremendous gap between the reality that the viewer has seen all along in this film and the idealistic vision of America that Americans like to think about their country and themselves. Second, and far more importantly, it makes the viewer suddenly realize that the ideals of the American dream and American justice that this lawyer believes and delivers so easily are in that same category of false creation or soft creation that has already included false reputation, hearsay, lack of evidence, the story about the Chinese princess, cliches and funny parables.
Third, the viewer calls into question all history and all historical American films, not simply in their content of presenting an America growing ever greater all the time but in their formal technique of looking at America from the top down. These are films of huge generalities, of presidents, senators, generals, etc., responsible for "making the country."
When the lawyer says, "It would be an honor for the next Senator from the state of Washington to be your servant before the scales of justice," the viewer also realizes that here again the true motive for action is not the usual line about building a town of schools and churches or helping the little man prove that the system works. The true motive is a simple matter of self-interest. Just as the town has grown and prospered because McCabe wanted to make money from a whorehouse, so will the lawyer take this case for no money because he wants to use it to become the Senator of the state. As it goes in economics, so does it go in politics.
Blinded by generalities of what American justice ought to be, this lawyer can only suggest useless methods to help this particular American with his particular and urgent problem. His suggestion that they use the newspapers and the courts to make the mining company afraid to act against McCabe makes the classic error that says that all Americans are necessarily moral, that the opposition will be affected bysuchpropriety. Thelawyeralsofailstounderstandthatthe mining company in an indirect entity using direct methods that will destroy McCabe long before some court can proclaim that McCabe is justandright. SmalltimerMcCabeisbefuddledbyallthegrandtalk, but he is still skeptical enough to say, "I just didn't want to get killed."
Living in his own world of false mental creations, the lawyer has already made of McCabe a symbol of a just society and has forgotten thatMcCabeisalivinghumanbeingabouttobekilled. WhenMcCabe claims that he just didn't want to get killed, the lawyer responds with another idealistic but meaningless cliche saying, "Until people stop dying for freedom they ain't going to be free." Of course this is nonsense; a dead man cannot be free. The final conclusion that the viewer draws from this line of argument is not simply that the institutions that the lawyer wants to use to protect McCabe will not work. More importantly, the viewer must conclude that putting one's faith in these institutions and believing and acting upon these high- sounding idealistic phrases is actually destructive to people like McCabe. Thedramatistsarearguingthattruthisnotsimplyvaluable for the sake of truth, but that truth is necessary to live.
The viewer's sense of the destructiveness of these idealistic phrases is confirmed in the next scene when McCabe uses those same phrases to justify his actions to Mrs. Miller. He begins fittingly with a cliche: "There's a time in every man's life when he's just got to stick his hand in the fire and see what he's made out of." Mrs. Miller, continuing to cut through pretense, says, "What are you talking about?" McCabe then runs on with the same nonsense that the lawyer gave him. He talks about busting up trusts and monopolies, protecting the small businessman from the big companies, standing up for principles and once again protecting the reputation he has gained in the town. With that Mrs. Miller explodes. She asks him, "What's Presbyterian Church to you? All you have to do is sell out, just sell out, and go some place where people are civilized." Of course, she is right; McCabe's decision to stay in the town and fight the killers is an act of foolishness, not heroism. But the viewer may also question Mrs. Miller's solution. This place - where a company can kill a man who will not sell to it - is not civilized. But how can McCabe go somewhere else that is more civilized when the company that's doing the killing is from a more "advanced" social stage than the one he lives in now?
With her last comment, Mrs. Miller begins to cry. This is the first time that McCabe has seen her express any deeper feelings for himinthisway. Foramomenttheemotionsthatthismadamehas repressed for so long come out when a surprised McCabe goes to comfort her. But when he tries to reassure her, the closeness is too great and she is again offended by his foolishness and her own frustration at not being able to make a deal because she is a woman. She says "Don't you give me any of that little lady shit. I don't care about you. Just give me my $1500. I'll make a deal with them - if you're not going to make a deal with them I'll make a deal with them."
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2020.11.19 02:01 killa5abi She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Part 2

The Captain's Lowest Point
Back at the fort, the value and the state of mind of the duty ethic continues to play itself out when the Captain pleads with the Major to allow him to rest the troops for a few hours and then ride back to save Cohill and his men. But the Major too is a commander and refuses the request, insisting that Ross, not the Captain, will be leading the men back, that the men will need extra rest if they are goingtobeservingunderagreenhornlikeRoss. TheCaptainpleads his case based on the emotion he feels for his men. But the Major, always the commander, argues that Ross and Cohill, like children, would be helped far more by having to handle the situation on their own than by having someone like the Captain come to their rescue. He points out that the Captain and the Major had to take their
chances in their day as well and now it is time to train the new group of leaders that is coming up and will take over when they, the older ones, have retired.
Though he has trained his subordinates well, the Captain experiences his moment of apparent defeat. With his retirement only a day or so away and his last mission a failure, he can only walk off feeling that he has no way of making an heroic statement, an heroic act before his days are done.
With the depiction of events the next morning, the writers finally bring the deep underlying emotions to the surface and the effect is extremely powerful. In a brilliant stroke, the writers place this most highly emotional scene within a larger comical situation. Blustery Sergeant Quincannon awakens the Captain, at which point the Captain shows that he has known where the Sergeant has hidden his bottle of whiskey for at least ten years. And the Captain suggests that the Sergeant try on the Captain's civilian clothes to get an idea of how they'll fit when the Sergeant too becomes a civilian in a couple of weeks time. There is a sense that the Captain has some kind of plan underway,buttheSergeantquietlyhasaplanofhisown. Hesuggests the Captain wear his fancier dress uniform coat and when the Captain steps outside, he sees that the men are all lined up on horseback waiting for his inspection.
Now one of the great scenes in movie history plays out. With the various members of the community looking on, the Captain tells the men that he won't be going with them on this mission, but he is sure that they'll make him proud of them by what they do. But the troops have their own ceremony in mind. In this closest of all communities, but one in which emotion is kept deep below the surface, the men on this painful occasion present their beloved captain with a gold watch andchain. Inanicetouch,theCaptainisforcedtoputonhisreading glasses to read the inscription which says, "To Captain Brittle from C Troop -- Lest We Forget." In such rituals with everyone in the community looking on, and with such sentiments as "lest we forget," this community, which is part of the larger institution of the army, is reaffirmed for its members and goes on even as its individuals grow oldandpassaway. TheCaptainbidsthemenfarewellandridesback to his quarters.
At this point comes one of the most emotionally wrenching moments in all of film. And it is a particular moment that I think only film could achieve. The key to the moment rests in the set up which the writers have done impeccably. They have created a great but aging leader whose impending retirement has been known from the beginning. Thentheyhavetakengreatpainstoshowthisleaderwith all of his command ability leading his men through a difficult mission, showing the tremendous respect that his men have for him. And finally, showing him returning after a last mission that has failed and making it clear to the audience that he must end his entire career, as fine an officer as he is, having failed his last time out and being unable to fight in the upcoming Indian war. Earlier in the film the writers have the men riding out of the fort singing the cavalry song "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," playing the moment as an exciting communion of fighting men going off to do their job.
Now that same moment of the men riding off is repeated, but this time it comes after their beloved leader has said farewell and is unable to go with them. Now instead of singing, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," they sing the far more poignant song, "The Girl I Left Behind Me." Suddenly all of the story elements come together along with the visual of the large number of cavalry men riding out in formation combined with the beautifully haunting melody and words of "The Girl I Left Behind Me." That moment literally brings shivers to my spine. As the men ride out, the young, newly-committed greenhorn makes a final salute to the great old soldier who is passing on and the old soldier looks on as if seeing his entire life and all his achievements passing before his eyes.
Watching this sad moment, the viewer becomes fully aware, if he or she has not already, of the masterful and deeply affecting performanceofJohnWayne. Wayne'simagehadformanyyearsbeen that of the strong, confident, classic hero of action. He'd always been a bit rigid in his acting, partly because of his body type and partly because the roles he played called for a very simplistic, narrow range of human response. But with his Tom Dunson character in RED RIVER and later with this characterization in SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, John Wayne finally got roles with the breadth, complexity, uniqueness and humanity necessary for an actor to move from craftsman to artist. WithSHEWOREAYELLOWRIBBON,evenmoresothaninRED RIVER, John Wayne was allowed to play a complete human being.
Here Wayne begins his role from the standard position of the strong Western leader. But right away there are signs that far more aspects to his character than the classic hero will come out. He has a
tinge of white in his hair, and he is playing a man who is about to retire, a man who is growing old and has to admit it. In the early scene when he settles the quarrel between the young lieutenants and Olivia, he asserts what could be the credo of most John Wayne characters: "Never apologize - it's a sign of weakness." But in that same scene, Wayne solves the quarrel by using a little trickery and plays the scene in a comic, light-hearted way. In the scene where the Captain is talking to his dead wife's grave, Wayne is the image of quiet sensitivity, carefully restrained but nonetheless very real. As the film progresses, Wayne covers a broad range of scenes flawlessly, moving from strength as a leader of men in mortal danger to anger and disgust at seeing people killed and tortured, to comic jousting with Olivia, the young lieutenants, and his compatriot in arms, Sergeant Quincannon, to moments of deep sensitivity and sadness when speaking at his wife's grave and watching the troop he has commanded for years ride out without him.
As the Captain watches his men ride away, he gives one last salutetoLieutenantPennell. Thefeelingtheviewerhas,then,isnot simply one of sadness at seeing the end of this man's career. Because of the breadth of this role up until now, and because of John Wayne's detailed performance, the observer at this point gets a tremendous chargeinsensingthatthisisarealhumanbeing. Inshort,this moment is one of the few moments in movies where the viewer feels trueempathywiththecharacter. Andtheidentificationwithhispain and with this man as a complete person being forcibly diminished when his mind is reaching its fullest power is profound. This is one of those times when "has-been" becomes the source of tragedy.
The Comic Return
But as fine as this character is, he is not the stuff of true tragedy. And for the rest of the film the writers trace the path that this character takes back from despair to final success. They begin in the very next moment after the men have ridden away by following this sad scene with the broadest comic scene of the film. Not only does this scene begin the process back to success but it also makes the poignancy of the goodbye scene less sentimental, more real, more powerful.
The writers have set this scene up beautifully. Before the goodbye scene, they have the Captain suggest that big Sergeant Quincannontryonthecivilianclothesandhaveafewdrinks. That
plan is then picked up again after the goodbye scene when the Captain is sitting sadly and looking at the watch that his men have given him, and Sergeant Quincannon emerges from the other room in thecivilianclothes. TheCaptainimmediatelypullsoutofhisdespair and sends the Sergeant over to the bar for a few drinks. Then the Captain tells another of his men to round up some allies and arrest the Sergeant for being out of uniform and drunk on duty.
Here the writers play up the stereotypes once again, first of all with the happy-go-lucky Irishman who loves to drink and fight, and the Western barroom brawl where just about everyone gets beaten up but nobody really seems to be hurt. The scene was probably a cliche even in its own time and is certainly not altogether successful when any viewer, attuned to the terrible costs of stereotyping, sees it today. But even here, the writers, Frank Nugent and Lurence Stallings, and the actor, Victor McLaglen, add some touches that make this scene more than a simple stereotypical fight and a comic break in the action. McLaglen's great physical stature and his exceptional good spirits and spontaneity as an actor make this stereotypical image of a hard-drinking Irish Sergeant a real if perhaps limited man.
Here, as in GUNGA DIN years before, McLaglen portrays the epitome of the career enlisted man, the man for whom male comeraderie, hard drinking, and the family-like community of army life on the distant outposts of an empire means everything. He, like the Captain, is faced with the prospect of imminent retirement from the world he loves. But the writers give him the far more comical approach to such an end. This choice is ironic because this kind of man is probably far less able to deal with the loss of structure in his life than the Captain is. But in this scene, Sergeant Quincannon gets an opportunity to have a brawl just like in the old days.
Expanding the Story
The writers add some beautiful touches to this scene when they cut into the brawl with comments from the Sergeant. After first thrashing the five men who have come to arrest him, the Sergeant, with a glint in his eye, tells the bartender, "The old days are gone forever." He says, "Have you heard about the buffalo coming back...herds of them". This event is yet another of the superb details that grow in significance over the course of the film. Like Sergeant Tyree's comment, "That's not my department," and the Captain's signature line, "Don't apologize - it's a sign of weakness," the
momentary return of the buffalo is a detail here that begins as just a moment of passing interest but eventually grows to great meaning. Here, the return of the buffalo comes to represent the Indian Summer of a great way of life that is passing forever from the face of America. The viewer has first seen the herd of buffalo when the captain's troop comes across them early in their patrol. Now the Sergeant mentions it, along with the line, "The old days are gone forever," and in association with the fact that he soon will be retiring. Later the Indians use the event as a sign that their efforts to go to war will bring them victory and return them to the life they had before the white man came.
Of course the viewer knows that the return of the herd is only a momentarything,thattheoldwayoflifewillneverreturn. The Captain will finally have to retire and with him the old sergeant, who hasmadethearmyhislife. TheIndianswillbedefeatedforeverand theirdignitytakenaway. Throughthissimpleeventofthereturnof the buffalo, this story of a few men on a single outpost, some 100 years ago, becomes the representation of the great social and historical forces that are constantly at work on these people and that will eventually change their lives forever no matter what choice or effort they make.
The importance of this reference to larger outside forces cannot be overestimated. Had this film simply been about a soldier who is retiring or about a fight against Indians, the film would have been immeasurably less powerful. But instead the writers have set up a unity between the personal problem of a man, the war of a nation, the efforts of entire people to fight against extinction and a massive, proud-looking animal, also struggling in vain against extinction at the handsofapeopleinexorablybuildinganation. Theparallelbetween these four forces not only gives the viewer a greater understanding of the truth about how peoples and animals grow and die, it gives the viewer a synergy of emotions in which his response to each story is strengthened by his response to every other story line, until he feels an intense sense of loss at beings unable to affect the forces of change caused by so many other people. Parallels, or clusters like this, done with such well-executed structure and such rich detail are one of the marks of a great movie.
But for now in this comic brawl, the reference to the return of the buffalo herds is only another thread briefly raised up in the tapestry. The brawlers pause one more time to drink a toast to
Captain Brittle and on it goes again until finally the big sergeant has knocked all of his opponents unconscious and out the door. Then in stereotypical fashion, the only person who can possibly subdue such a massively powerful man, the Captain's wife, Abby, leads him away.
In a final comic touch, she scolds the defeated men for ganging up on such a poor defenseless soul as the sergeant, claiming that eight of them are too many for one man. In a double joke, the sergeant on his way to the brig, corrects her, saying that there were in factonlyseven. Thisisfunnynotonlybecauseitshouldmatterlittle whether it was seven against one rather than eight against one, but also, because there were only five men trying to arrest him. Later the Captain asks the Major to make sure that the sergeant stays in the brig for his last two weeks, and will be retired as a sergeant. I suppose that the Captain wants to get the Sergeant thrown in jail to keep him out of battle for his final two weeks. But I have never really understood the Captain's motivation.
The Captain, ready to head to the new settlements farther to the west in California, bids everyone goodbye. But Abby, ever the soldier's wife, says, "We don't say goodbye in the army. Till the next post, dear," and gives him a kiss. He rides off towards the sunset, and the omniscient narrator, for the first time since the opening montage, provides information about the larger battle, about the plans of the Indians to attack. He speaks of the new messiahs of the Indian tribes ready to hurl the finest light cavalry in the world against Fort Stark. The young warriors have shouted down the old and the implication here, just as throughout the film, is that youth brings with it impatience, inexperience and foolishness that lead to destruction, and only the wisdom of the old can bring peace. Of course precisely the opposite is the case when most wars break out: the old send the young off to fight and die. But in this world that celebrates age and experience, that fact is not considered.
So once again the writers, with their leapfrog structure, return the story to its major story line, that of the cavalry versus the Indians. Againtheycutagainsttheinitialplanofthefilm. Insteadofreturning to the place where the reserve troop is in need of being saved, instead of following the Captain out west, they have the Captain return to his troops. The troops have already engineered the rescue of Lieutenant Cohill's column, the young having already proven that they are well on their way to leadership. But they are not there yet. And the
Captain is not done using all of the tricks he has learned in his many years as a leader.
After returning to his men - who have orders not to attack the Indians mobilizing nearby - the Captain rides into the Indian camp along with Sergeant Tyree. There the Captain tries to persuade one of the old chiefs, Pony-that-Walks, that there should be no war. While nothing is changed as a result of this meeting, the scene is very important thematically. And because of the casting and direction by John Ford, and the acting work done by the man who plays the Indian, this is probably the most memorable scene between a white man and anIndianinmoviehistory. Thetwomenareobviouslyoldfriends, with the mutual respect that warriors tend to develop for one another afteryearsoftoughfighting. TheCaptaintriestoconvincetheIndian chief that there should be no war, that in fact old men should stop wars, not start them. Once again, the writers refer to the supposedly greater wisdom of those with age. But the Indian replies that the young warriors have made this decision and they have made it based on some great signs. The famous Indian fighter, Custer, is dead, and thebuffaloherdshavereturned. Perhapstheyoungwarriorssense the time of the Indian has come back.
But what is stunning about this scene is the look and especially the voice of the Indian chief. It is obvious from the beginning that he is a real Indian. And instead of talking in deep somber tones with the carefully chosen words of an actor trying to sound like an Indian, this man speaks in a strange high voice of a very old man who has never been part of the modern white man's world. That bit of authenticity, which is just another in a long list of authentic moments in this film, gives the dialogue between these two men tremendous power. It seems totally new and totally real and for once in this film a stereotype has been shattered.
The Non-Battle
But the old Indian cannot stop the young warriors from wanting to fight. And so the viewer is set up for a great final battle. But again the expectations of the classic epic are undercut and, instead of the classic battle, the writers come up with a unique solution that is totally in keeping with the moral argument they have made so far. That night, with the Captain still legally in the army and therefore able to command the troop, the cavalry men line up on horseback ready tochargetheIndiancamp. TheCaptainpullsouthiswatch,findsout
that it's ten minutes to midnight, at which time he will lose his commission in the army, and then he gives the order to charge. The cavalry men charge through the Indian camp, driving the Indians horses before them so the Indian warriors are effectively deprived of theirmeanstofight. Inthisfilmthatpurposelyundercutsdramaat every turn, the main goal of the film - stopping the Indians and allowing Western expansion to continue - is accomplished in a deciding battle that isn't really a battle.
In this "non-scene," the writers pull together all of the elements that they have created so far. The small personal problem of the Captain having to retire now only ten minutes away is connected with the large problem of defeating the Indians. That in turn is connected to the idea that old men should stop wars, not start them. When the Captain pulls out the watch his troops have given him for his retirement, he uses it to help him in his final battle. When he states that it is ten minutes to twelve, the viewer immediately has a sense of Cinderella in which the great carriage will turn into a pumpkin at midnight. SimilarlytheCaptainwilllosehiscommandandhiswayof life in ten minutes. But in that last ten minutes, the Captain is able to redeemhisearlierfailureandendhisarmylifeasahero. Andwhatis more, he has been able to defeat the Indians without either side suffering a single casualty. So the older men have indeed succeeded in keeping the young hotheads from killing themselves.
After the horses have been driven away, the Captain tells Lieutenant Cohill to follow behind the Indians as they make their way back to their homes. He says that walking will hurt the Indians' pride andwatchingthemwillhurtitevenmore. AndthentheCaptain hands the torch of the command over to the younger Lieutenant and at two minutes past midnight, he finally rides off to the West.
But since this is a comedy, and since this is one view of a perfect world, the writers cannot allow a man at the peak of his abilities, no matter what his chronological age, to be retired from action. And so the narrator's voice returns to say that the army is not throughwithCaptainBrittle. SergeantTyreecatchesupwithhim, that being "his department," and presents the Captain with a letter saying that he has been named chief of scouts and given the rank of LieutenantColonel. TheCaptainisproudofthethreenorthernCivil War generals who signed the nomination; Sergeant Tyree mentions that it would have been nice had he had the full deck with the signature of General Robert E. Lee.
In the next scene the personal strands of the film are all tied up. The Captain, now Lieutenant Colonel, and Sergeant Tyree return to the fort where Lieutenant Colonel Brittle receives an ovation from the officers and ladies at the dance. Lieutenant Cohill announces his marriage to Olivia, to which Lieutenant Colonel Brittle replies that everyone else on the post has known the news all along. Second Lieutenant Pennell says that he'll soon reach First Lieutenant, and every man there happily chimes in, "Yeah, in another ten or twelve years." Once again, the men make light of the fact that in this army advancement is rare. Lieutenant Colonel Brittle then goes out to speak at his wife's grave and the officers and their wives begin a waltz to the tune of "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon."
At this moment the comedy comes full circle. There has been a marriage, though not by Lieutenant Colonel Brittle. As the practically perfect man, Lieutenant Colonel Brittle ends up as something of a travelling angel. The viewer senses that this man will go on forever doing his job for the United States in an impeccable way, deeply appreciated by the younger ones following after him and by the Generals in the highest command.
The Epic Ending
But the authors do not end their story there. In a brilliant stroke, they return once again to the omniscient narrator and expand the story out to all of the men who wore the uniform of the U.S. cavalry. Against a shot of a troop of cavalry men riding patrol across a barren, unsettled land, the narrator says, "So there they are - the fifty cent a day regulars. Men in dirty-shirt blue whose names merit only a passing mention in the cold pages of the history books." As the words, "merit only a passing mention in the cold pages of the history books," are spoken, the song, "The Girl I Left Behind Me," comes in very strongly.
At that moment, the film once again explodes in power. The story has shifted from one man who is not forced to retire after all to a vast group of regulars, men without names who have been largely forgotten and have passed away. At that moment, the film does in fact become an epic by talking about men who are true heroes because they were unheroic, because they were all the same, because they did their job without acclaim. And in the process of doing that job, they helped create what we now know as the United States.
When the song "The Girl I Left Behind Me" comes in at the very moment that the narrator is speaking of men whose passing has only been recorded in the cold pages of the history books, the film also shifts from its comic tone to the sense of sadness and loss which has alwaysunderlaidthestory. Havingjustseeninclosedetailwhatfine people these men were, the viewer is deeply struck by the unfairness oftheirpassingandhowithasbeenremembered. Partlybecause their story has been told as a comedy, the poignancy of the passing of the cavalry men is made even more touching. This is not the story of a single man who has fallen. The single man of this story succeeds in the end. This is the story of a group of men. While it is told as a comedy, it ends in the pathos of their passing.
The Quality of the Film's Argument
This film, like all other great films, continues to make its argument after the last frame is gone. Then all of the scenes, actions and words can be seen together. And the unique picture of value as depicted by the writers can be determined. Ironically this story of the impending retirement of an old soldier and the passing of the cavalry way of life is not an old viewof the world as it is or as it should be. It is the image of the way the world ought to be as seen by a child. Not that a child could create this vision. But this is how a child would like to live.
When seen in total, the world of this film is a stoic world. All action by these individuals takes place within the firm structure of the army institution. There is the fort with its walls that cleanly separate the civilized world from the world of rough nature and terrifying savages. Within those walls is the clear-cut chain of command. And within that chain of command lies the clean distinction between officers and enlisted men, and the women who eventually marry them. It is a world of outposts where advancement takes a long time and is based on a long list of accomplishments.
The primary value in this world, the value that dictates all action, is duty: to the army, to the government, and most of all, to the nation. As each of the individual members of the nation try to go their own way, a smaller group of men, of much tighter organization and restriction, protects them. As men who must always do their duty, these soldiers are above all professionals. Not only in the sense of being extremely able technically to do their job, but also in their
commitment to do the job day in and day out no matter what the obstacles, no matter what the consequences.
Within this rigid duty-bound world necessarily lies the strength of community. Because in a world which must constantly fight against the outside, in a world in which only the strongest teamwork can lead to success, a tremendous community spirit is created which binds people together out of desire. It binds them out of having worked together, suffered together, helped one another, and seen one another die.
As in all such extremely close communities and worlds where men are clearly divided by rank, the people in this fort take on the roles of father, mother or child. The father is the clear-cut leader making all of the tough decisions, teaching the young men how to lead, and always keeping uppermost in the minds of his men the thought of protecting those in their care. The women are the mothers, the ones who need to be protected from the physical assaults from outside. They relish this protecting while at the same time cursing the fact that they need to be protected and therefore do everything in their power to support the work of the father. And of course those in the lower ranks, because they have little power but will have greater power later on, are the children learning to grow up. They quarrel not simply because young people tend to quarrel, but because they know that the father or mother will eventually come in to settle the dispute.
In a world such as this the highest level of character that one can achieve is that of the leader. Because upon the leader rests the success and freedom of everyone. Taken altogether these elements lead to one thing that is valued above all: the epic endpoint of creating a nation of one people living together in safety.
This extremely detailed, stoic vision of life is a child's vision because it emphasizes above all the value of security. The child has almost no power, so he wants above all a father and mother who can protect him and a community that will make him feel strong. He is deeply aware of rank because he cannot avoid seeing the difference of power and rank in his family. Because he has little power when pain is inflicted upon him, he has no way to fight back: he can only cryandeventuallyaccepttheblow. Ifheisluckyenoughtohavea strong community with a father who is benevolent, he experiences a feeling of profound peace and well-being. It is the feeling of a Saturday morning when school is out, the family is together and there is much activity yet to come. It is the moment of Christmas eve when the family is most together, when the father and mother are most benevolent. And when the anticipation of an exciting future is at its highest.
But as well argued as this stoic vision is in SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON,theargumentisnotquiteconvincing. Andthemoviefinally does not reach the highest level, measured by what it can do for our own lives. It has moments that touch a viewer as deeply as any movie hasorcan,butfinallyitenlightensinonlyalimitedway. Thefilm presents the stoic world of this army outpost in a very positive way. But it cannot hide, as it seems to do, or seems to try to do, what is lost in this stoic world. I'm not speaking here of what is probably lost in any stoic world. But rather what seems to be missing from the world presented in this particular film.
This film presents a hero who is an ultimate example of the benevolent dictator, though limited in the sense that he too has men who command him. This view is extremely appealing. But there is a sense, especially deep when the men mention how long it will take to get promoted, that this benevolence could easily turn negative. In this particular story the good works of the captain are finally recognized by those dictators farther up the line, by the generals who finally bring him back from retirement and promote him to lieutenant colonel. But what justice would there be in this world were that last minute reprieve not sent? Is it likely that the three generals at the top of the pyramid are that aware of the quality of the work done by all of the men in the army in even the lowest ranks?
In this rigid stoic world there's also the unsettling spectacle of adults who not only act as children but somehow seem to be induced to act that way by virtue of their rank. A quarrel waiting for father to step in, a man always looking to this "father" for the gaze of respect. There is then the implication that adults, in particular young adults, must try to reach a second adulthood. And that second adulthood is based entirely on chronological age. Only the elders here have wisdom. The young adults quarrel, fight and try to make war.
This stoic world is also a place where people accept the playing of roles in place of creating and using their own personalities. In a world where everyone has a clearly defined place, people tend to accept the thoughts and behaviors that go with that place rather than come up with thoughts and behaviors unique to themselves. And not only do they prefer to play roles rather than create their own personalities, they prefer to play the particular roles that have been set for many years and which they must perpetuate regardless of their individuality.
But perhaps the most telling criticism of all is that this stoic world is a place of limited freedom: of behavior, of individual opportunity, of thought, and of what is valued. When everyone is ranked and when all must pull together for a single goal, and when that goal is to commit one's life to the physical protection of other people, the result is that there can be little difference among people. Surely one way to define a happy life is a life without great differences. But if differences are prevented too much, uniqueness, originality, a sense of free spirit, a free mind, and going a different and possibly better way are made impossible.
The writers here are saying that only by living in a world like this is such a great and noble endeavor as the making of the United States possible or even likely. The power of this film comes from the fact that this is true. These men are heroic; they do touch a viewer profoundly. Their effort is a noble one. It is a mark of the strength of this film that it forces the viewer to ask the question, "What is noble?" Surely the definition that it gives, that of men sacrificing together in order to create a great country like the United States, is one correct definition.
But it is only one definition. And a question that Fredrick Jackson Turner asked after the end of the frontier is valid here as well. That is, what sort of world, what sort of values, and what sort of people must we be once the United States in its basic shape has been formed? In a sense, this movie is a false epic because the collection of the Indians after Custer's defeat was not really so terrifying after all. Surely the United States could not have been prevented from being formed by the simple act of chasing away the horses of nine hundred Indians.
But in a deeper sense this film fails to reach the highest level possible because it doesn't present an America after its physical boundaries have been set. That would require a greater, far more complicated, far more diverse world than the one shown here. It would require a world in which the ideas of what it means to be free, what it means to express one's own personality rather than take on the roles of others, to be an adult based on one's maturity rather than one's age, to be a collection of free citizens rather than followers of a benevolent dictator. That would in short require an adult vision. And this vision - that comes from a child and appeals to the child in us - simply cannot begin to meet that task.
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2020.11.19 02:00 killa5abi She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Part 1

SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON by Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings from a story by James Warner Bellah
SHEWOREAYELLOWRIBBONremindsmeofatime. Itreminds me of a way of life in which a strong and good father worked hard so thathisfamilycouldbesafeandhappy. Inwhichamotheraccepted life's hardships but worked to bring a gentleness to life. In which boys tried desperately to learn how to be leaders and earn the respect of their father, and in which girls looked pretty and fell in love and learned never to prevent their father from making the tough decisions that had to be made.
It would be wrong to call the way of life depicted in SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON something that happened long ago or, even worse, something that never existed, that is simply the product of nostalgia. But it is a way of life that exists only briefly. On a Saturday morning, perhaps on Christmas Eve, on a family outing in which everyone has a good time. But even if it does exist, finally this way of life is not a reality that can be lived. It is a boy's dream of how life ought to be lived, which is why this is ultimately a film of great longing.
The Opening
SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON is one of the most deceptively simplefilmsevermade. Theopeningcreditsplayoveracavalry banner fluttering in the breeze against a brilliant yellow background. And out come the powerful lusty voices of the male chorus singing the songs, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me." These songs appear to be simply the musical background for a film about the cavalry and they promise an exciting action story where the hero succeeds and everything's right in the end.
But actually these songs are the foundation of the entire film. The first song, "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon," suggests the love story that will be at the heart of this film, and the second song, "The Girl I Left Behind Me" suggests the premiere emphasis that the men place on duty, even above the personal feelings for the girl they left behind.
But even more important than the foreshadowing of plot and values and the energy and good feeling with which the songs are sung, these two songs serve as a time machine for the viewer. The viewer is transported back, not simply to the distant American past when the cavalry rode the West, but far more importantly to the past of the viewer's own life when he first heard these songs and when their rousing words and music inspired thoughts of heroic action and a world where everyone worked as one.
The deceptive simplicity of the film continues with the opening montage shots and an omniscient narration in which the context of the story is presented. With the death of Custer, says the narrator, the plains Indians are gathering to mount a great war against the United States and if there is another defeat like Custer's, Americans know it will be another 100 years before another wagon train crosses theplain. Thisopeningsequenceusestheonegreatcavalrydefeatin the Indian wars to create the sense of danger and trouble necessary to give the story a running start. But it also presents the larger impersonal forces that will affect the personal life of the hero and makethelifeofdutyunderstandabletotheaudience. Finally,this opening montage and narration is the first sign that this simple story about a captain on a far away outpost is actually an epic of America in which the making of a nation is going to be founded upon what one man does.
The use of an omniscient voice-over narrative merits special attention. It is a rare technique in movies, finding its most famous expression in the Orson Welles's narration of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. Therarityofthetechniqueispartlyduetothesilly notion that movies are a "visual medium," and to the mistaken notion that the story-teller is a literary technique. Of course, literature borrowed the technique from the original story-tellers whose entire effects were based on the human voice. In fact, the story-teller is a technique which movies can use more effectively than any other medium.
In SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, the narrator is not simply a device for giving necessary exposition to the audience. The narrator is the primary method the screenwriters use to expand a story of a relatively minor skirmish into a story that marks a turning point in the making of a nation. In other words, it provides a public element to these personal lives. But perhaps even more important than this, the narrator, with his beautiful voice and his somewhat poetic description, becomes the primary way that the writers, Frank Nugent and Laurence Stallings, have of creating a love between the audience and these no-name, long-forgotten men. And indeed the final words of the narrator in the setting of the opening context are, "On some lonely army outpost there may be one man, one captain, fated to wield the sword of destiny."
The inciting event that will take this general need of stopping the Indian problem and force the hero to find a specific solution, that will connect the larger forces to the personal story, is nicely embeddedwithintheopeningmontage. Acavalrypatrolstopsa runaway stage, the voice-over pauses momentarily and a cavalry man, finding that the paymaster has been killed and the money taken, says with a Southern accent, "It looks like we won't get paid for another six months." Within the montage context that has been set up, this appears to be simply another example of the Indians on the war path. However, in the next scene, this same stage coach is brought in by the same patrol to a small, lonely cavalry outpost called Fort Stark. Still the main character of the drama has not been introduced.
It is in the introductory scene of the main character that the central concerns of this film are first shown. The scene opens with a large, fat sergeant, an Irishman named Quincannon, played with his usual perfection by Victor McLaglen. He enters the outer room of the quarters of Captain Nathan Brittle, and while taking a swig of whiskey from a bottle that he has hidden away, he makes his daily report to the captain who is getting dressed in the next room. Immediately, the viewer's expectations are reversed; apparently this is not going to be an epic in the usual sense. This is going to be a comedy, with the emphasis probably on the continuation of life, the strength of the group and the sense that everything will turn out right in the end.
A second unique element of this scene is the fact that the hero, Captain Brittle, is not the classic hero - which John Wayne so often played - but in fact an aging man who is very close to retirement. Writers Nugent and Stallings, instead of taking the usual approach of having the hero's need be to defeat of the Indians, have given the hero a separate personal need, that of facing his upcoming retirement from the life and work that he loves. The hero certainly wants to solve the problem of the Indian uprising. But the dramatists have purposely underplayed that desire and have shown it to be part of the hero's job. The hero is intensely driven to do that job but he is essentially a professional working on a team with other professionals who constantly have to face this kind of problem. So the writers have set up a gap: on the one hand the strength of the Indians is growing rapidly while at the same time the hero's job of dealing with the Indian uprising is about to end.
A third unique detail in this introductory scene of the hero comes in the sergeant's daily report. One moment he mentions the runaway stage and the death of the paymaster and in the next breath mentions the birth of a child. The child that is born is "a little trooper." Aboywhomaygrowuptotaketheroleofthecaptain,a role the current captain is about to leave with his retirement. The man who was killed was, according to the captain, someone who would have made sergeant in another few years if he had lived. Which is to say that in this outpost community the chances for individualadvancementareslim. Andfinallythesergeantmentions that he too will be retiring in a few weeks and says that the old days arechangingandthearmywillneverbethesamewithoutthem. The captain wisely replies that the army will always be the same, that the army is like life, something that continues and only the individual members, who take up the reins momentarily, come and go.
The short, simple dialogue between the sergeant and his captain, the voice-over montage and the visual context have given the audience an extremely detailed view of the values, problems and patterns of the world of this hero. The viewer learns that this is a complete society in miniature, where a man dies and a baby is born on the same day. It is a place of hierarchy where personal advancementisdifficultandthegroupiseverything. Anditisaplace of extreme danger in which duty then becomes the primary value.
The Inciting Event and the Second Story
Into this orderly, professional, dangerous but also somewhat comic world enters the inciting event of the stagecoach. The captain walks outside to investigate and once again more details surprise the viewer. This is not a fort as it is usually depicted, not a fort in the realm of myth. Outside the weather is cold. Smoke can be seen, the breath of the horses can be seen, the ground is not flat, but rather hilly,andbehindthefortisarockyhillside. Thisinshortisareal place in real weather with a group that is the real cavalry.
As the captain and his friend and superior, the major, investigate the stagecoach, they try to make out the source of the Indianraid. Suddenlythesergeantfromtheopeningmontage,who before had been anonymous, becomes an individual, a unique minor character named Sergeant Tyree, as he makes his report. When the captain and major can't determine what kind of arrow killed the paymaster, Sergeant Tyree points out that the arrow is from the southernCheyenne. WithhisextremeabilitytounderstandIndian ways, Sergeant Tyree begins to establish his position to the audience as an extremely able professional much like the captain. He is in many ways the double of the captain, but simply a generation younger and very importantly, a man with a southern accent.
It is here that the sergeant first uses what will be his tag line, his signature, throughout the film. When pressed for more information by the captain looking to get every judgment before making the command decision, the sergeant answers, "That ain't my department." The sergeant may be extremely knowledgeable as a soldier, but he is not an officer. He is not paid as an officer and so he will not take the role of an officer. Having a minor character who is a double of the hero, and giving him a tag line, is the mark of writers who know how to create real characters and real worlds in a short period of time.
In the next scene, the film again takes a strange turn when young Second Lieutenant Ross Pennel tries to take the Major's pretty niece, Olivia Dandridge, out of the fort for a picnic. First Lieutenant Cohill will not allow them to pass. Obviously the two young officers are competing for the affections of the young lady. Again the central and supposedly pressing problem of an Indian uprising, which is to be the main story line of the film, is put on the back burner so that a comical tale about love between young people can be played out.
Having a scene like this at this point of the story is quite a change from the normal method of telling a story along a single main line. The scene isn't simply humor stuck in to the cracks and edges of the story. And this love triangle is not simply a sub plot: it has no intimate connection to the overall problem of solving the Indian uprising and entirely too much time is being spent on it to call it a subplot.
The scene, then, signals the audience that a unique structure is going to be at work: the film will not have a single line drive, but rather will have a major story line and a minor story line which will leap-frog one another all the way to the end. On the one hand that means that the film will lack an overall power and urgency. But on the other hand, it will present a fuller and probably far more realistic view of human life on the plain.
Much of the quality of a film is determined by the import of the story line. Here the writers have chosen two story lines of great power. The first story line presents the first problem of civilization, that of defeating the outside forces and creating a world of safety. The second story line presents the central problem of a civilization at its more advanced stage, that of determining how different people with different social positions are going to reconcile their differences, marry and have children.
In this comical scene at the front gate, Olivia explains to Captain Brittle, who has come to settle the dispute, that she knows Lieutenant Cohill's father, General Cohill, and has great respect for his family. She accuses Lieutenant Cohill of being jealous because she wouldn't go with him a few days before on a date, and now supposedly he is takingouthisangerupontheyounger,lessseniorRossPennel. With this simple piece of information, the writers have added a whole new scope and opposition to his story. The more simple horizontal opposition of the cavalry versus the Indians pales compared to the more complex vertical opposition in which rank, family tradition, wealth and so on come into play in creating differences within the fort. The Captain shows his leadership ability in a social as well as a military way when he allows the young lieutenant to go on a picnic, butinsiststhathedosowithoutOlivia. ThenasRossPennelisabout to drive out of the fort, the junior officer promises it won't be long before he gives up his blue suit, his position in the cavalry, to become a civilian in a few months time.
So within a very few scenes, the cast of characters, the central conflicts and the basic story-telling strategy of the film have been set. On a large scale, the fort, led by aging but very able Captain Brittle, is opposed to a rising tide of Indians determined to make war on Americans. And on a smaller scale is the detailed hierarchy of command: the Captain's superior, the kindly Major, Captain Brittle's next in command and the one most similar to him, 1st Lieutenant Cohill, the Major's niece, Olivia Dandridge, whom Lieutenant Cohill loves, Second Lieutenant Ross Pennell, also in love with Olivia and unsatisfied with army life, head of scouts, Sergeant Tyree, also a double of the Captain but a non-commissioned officer from the recently defeated South, the old Irish sergeant, Quincannon, also similar to the Captain in that he too will be retiring soon and is probably the Captain's closest friend. The final minor character, who will be introduced shortly, is the Major's wife, Abby, a tough veteran of army life who is a bit saddened by the hardness of the army but who believes in what the army stands for and is determined to help in whatever way she can.
Conflict will come not only on the large scale between the cavalry and the Indians, but also on the smaller and more intimate scale between those who see the army world as a family, a community and way of life in which duty to country and to others is all-important and those who see the army as a place of hardship, rank, little or no pay, lack of individual advancement and violent and early death.
The Hero's Desire Line
The dramatists tie these two main story ideas together by introducing the main desire line of the Captain: he will lead his troop on a mission outside of the fort in order to check on the Indians and also escort the Major's wife and his niece, Olivia, to the stage back to the safety of the East. Once again the dramatists choose to undercut the epic set up by having the main story line revolve around a routine patrol outside of the fort. If something happens that is going to change the direction of the nation, it will come not because of great meetings, or great plans, or battles that were destined to take place. But rather because one leader out on a routine patrol saw an opportunity and made a difference. This choice by the writers, although anti-dramatic in some ways, is a profoundly important thematic point that will resonate throughout the film in every detail.
Not surprisingly, the beginning of the expedition is not presented in the usual fast-action way. Rather, the writers take a tremendous amount of time to show the comical side and to give each of the minor characters time to interact and show the audience who they are. Upon learning that he is going to be taking women along on the patrol, Captain Brittle goes into the Major's office and writes up the latest in the long line of protests that he has written about similar decisions that his commanding officer has made. Instead of having a classic conflict in which differences come to heated argument, the differences here are filed through channels with good feeling underlying what is happening and with a sense on the part of both men that a command decision has been made that has certain costs that simply can't be avoided.
At this point the final minor character, the major's tough wife, Abby, who calls herself "Old Iron Pants," emerges. The captain turns awaywhileAbbykissesherhusbandgoodbye. Thislongsceneof preparation is crosscut with two other bits in which the minor characters are the center of attention. In the first, the blustery Sergeant Quincannon tells the men to watch their language and someone from the ranks tells him to watch his grammar. Then Lieutenant Cohill spots Olivia wearing a yellow ribbon and thinks that shemayhavebeen"branded"byRossPennel. Shesuggestthatshe may be wearing it for him and he tells her that he would be very pleased if she was. At that moment their increasing intimacy is interrupted first by Captain Brittle, who jokingly wishes that the yellow ribbon is being worn for him, and then by the Major's wife, who grabs Olivia's arm just as she and Lieutenant Cohill are about to kiss. Then everyone mounts up and the patrol rides out of the post while the men sing the title song, "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon."
All of these sequences of course contribute little or nothing to the overall story line. However, they extend the breadth of the story and they deepen the emotion that the audience feels towards each of the characters. In each of these sequences, the general strategy of emotion by which the writers gain the audience's sympathy for their characters is quickly becoming clear. The dramatists portray an organization - the army - in which everyone is tough-skinned and hard-nosed and emotion has no place when it comes to doing what has to be done. Using that as foundation, the dramatists then show people who are in fact highly sentimental, who wear ribbons, fly flags and banners and always act to protect and care for the people they love.
In fact, it is becoming clear that the entire film uses a strategy of opposition to make its central points in the most powerful way possible. A story with national consequences is placed on the shoulders of a few people in a small fort who are totally unaware that any such consequences will take place. An epic has been placed on a story with almost no plot, an intensely romantic film is grounded in military details that are extremely realistic and tactically sound. Unlike other films that remain narrow because all of the elements are so similar, this film has already begun to expand in its power because it keeps within its boundaries elements of greatest contrast.
With the column leaving the fort, the unique visual elements of the film begin to exercise their power. This fort is not on the usual Hollywood backlot, but has been built in the rocky, rust-colored Monument Valley where director John Ford shot so many films. The realistic setting is then supported by the use of deep focus and the extensive use of long shots, which place these characters within a larger world. This is not simply the story of a group of human beings who are self-sufficient. It is an ecological story in the largest sense of that word, in that these people and their values live in and come from alargernaturalworld. Thelandishardandbleakwithdeathclose by. But the people who live here know their business. And there is a strong sense of harmony between the soldiers and the land even as the soldiers are in deep conflict with the Indians.
But again this is not a film of simple realism. Just as the story places romantic characters in a realistic context, the stark vistas and long shots are seen through Remington colors and Remington style. The cinematographer, in coordination with John Ford, emphasizes the greens, greys, and reddish browns that Remington used so effectively in showing a romantic, never-to-be-seen-again world of the West.
As the column proceeds on its mission, the writers continue to cut against the drama. Instead of wild chases, the writers show the routine of army life, the technical ability of the soldiers and the general boredom that goes with being in the army. Heroic action, if it is going to happen at all, will only happen with men steadily doing their job correctly. The soldiers ride a while and then walk their horses. TheyspotinthedistancealargegroupofIndiansriding toward their own destination, Sudro's Wells. They see a large buffalo herd that is back after years of absence. They guess that the Indians are probably talking about war, and that their own Indian agent, Rinders, is probably going to be selling them some guns.
Meanwhile, this lack of sensational action allows the dramatists to continue to explore the personal feelings that the minor characters havetowardseachotherandthearmy. Abbysaysshehasplanted twenty-four gardens in her army life and never seen one of them bloom. The spat between Lieutenant Cohill, Ross Pennel and Olivia grows hotter as Lieutenant Cohill criticizes Olivia's shallow, romantic approach to army life and urges her to leave greenhorn Ross alone so that the army can turn him from a spoiled rich child into a man. Ross, meanwhile, lives up to that reputation as a spoiled child when he again tells Cohill that he will be leaving the army since he doesn't need the army pay.
Playing Out the Oppositions
It is during this period that the Captain makes his first command decision. Seeing the Indians in the distance, he decides that he can't risk the women's safety and orders a detour which will cost them a half a day's ride. The costs of that decision are soon apparent when the column comes upon a patrol that has been decimated because the column did not reach the rendezvous point in time. The Captain is confronted by a second command decision when the doctor asks him to halt the column so that he can perform an operation on one of the wounded men from the patrol.
It is here in the dialogue that the captain first expresses the ethic of the leader and the man who must do his duty. He says he can't stop the patrol even for a second, even if it were for his own son because he has to be concerned with the success of the mission and the safety of the overall column. He says that the trooper ran the risks of being a soldier and knew those risks, and therefore has to take responsibility for them. But having said all that, he does agree to have the patrol walk their horses so that the doctor can have a less bumpy ride with which to operate.
In the wagon during the operation, the duty ethic by which all of these men and women live is shown in microcosm. The wounded trooper sings heartily in spite of the pain, Abby helps out by giving the man whiskey and taking a swig herself, and the doctor, in spite of terrible conditions, dives into his work. The result is a successful operation, which the captain announces to the troops by saying that the wounded man will "live to make sergeant."
Olivia, like everyone else, is pleased that the soldier will be all right. But Lieutenant Cohill quickly changes her mood when he accuses her of being a hypocrite, of not really caring anything about the soldier when he was alive because he was much below her station. Once again the story's concern has shifted from the first concern of the soldiers against the Indians to the later concern of the differences and privileges that separate people within "civilization." This status difference is among the most negative aspects of army life. And one that, for the first time, has really been brought to the surface in a direct way in dialogue without any humor attached.
The constant reference to how much time it takes for everyone to get promoted is usually said in a comical way. Everyone seems to believe that that is simply the way things are in a small army without a big war. But here finally the clear class difference between officers and enlisted men and the women who are connected with them is mentioned directly. In part the accusation strikes home because, up to this point, Olivia has acted like a spoiled Eastern girl who "ain't army," who sees army life as romantic but too difficult a world in which to spend one's life and who is going back to the more comfortable and safer life in the East.
But Captain Brittle immediately arrives, sends Olivia back to be withAbbyandchewsoutLieutenantCohillforhisrudebehavior. This partly undercuts the accusation. But the accusation has been undercut in a far deeper way all along by the fact that the most handsome actor in the film has been cast as Lieutenant Cohill and he is clearly going to win the affection of the very pretty Olivia Dandridge. So by his casting of the two second leads - the young first Lieutenant and the pretty niece - with the most attractive people possible, the director has justified the class difference between officers and enlisted men and implied that with rank goes physical beautyandsocialmastery. Throughoutallofthishumandrama,a thunderstorm has been threatening with big fat white clouds rumbling overhead. This bit of natural realism gives a tremendous anchor to what is going on between the characters.
In the next scene, an even worse consequence of the Captain's command decision is shown. The destination of the column, Sudro's Wells, has been burned, some people killed, and now the women cannot even get back East on the stage. All because the column was not able to reach its destination in time.
In this scene the film's power again expands by going into details. Whileinvestigatingtheremnantsofthewaystation,the Captain is called over by Sergeant Tyree to speak to Trooper Smith. Trooper Smith is an older man, very dignified, who, like Tyree, speaks with a Southern accent. Trooper Smith commends Sergeant Tyree's actions to the Captain, and then calls out to "Captain Tyree." The Sergeant looks at Captain Brittle, and the Captain tells him to answer. But when he does, Trooper Smith is already dead. The audience now realizes that yet another division exists within this larger social unit of the army. Those who are from the South are all enlisted men, and even the oldest and most experienced are simply troopers. Suddenly the viewer realizes that men like Sergeant Tyree and Trooper Smith,
good men and great soldiers who fought for the wrong side, are now paying the price as soldiers at a reduced rank.
Also in this scene, Olivia begins to change and learn her "proper" identity, what it means to "be army." And what the terrible consequences are when someone fails to do so. She feels responsible for the deaths at the waystation. But the Captain accepts full blame; he tells Olivia that only the commander can be held responsible for what happens in his command.
Structurally, this scene between Olivia and the Captain is crucial because the audience now knows that whatever character change that occurs in this story will happen to one of the secondary characters and not to the main character himself. For the first time the major theme of the film starts to become clear. This is a story in which young people must marry, and must learn from their elders - the experienced ones who command - what is means to always do one's duty, to think of the welfare of the whole group, and to take full responsibility for one's decisions and actions.
The two young lieutenants and Olivia are adults, but they have still not yet grown up. Captain Brittle, on the other hand, is the practically perfect man. Not because he never makes mistakes, or because he is serious and looks off heroically into the sky, but because he is a consummate professional, he is a leader, he has a sense of humor, he is sensitive to the desires and pains of others and yet never lets that deter him from the difficult decisions that he has to make. Once this change - and lack of change - is made clear, the viewer knows that for the rest of the film these characters can only play out and add further layers to who they are and who they have become.
Removing the possibility of moral change in the main character is a major and often fatal decision for a writer. But this is a story of continuity,group,andcommunity. SotherealizationthattheCaptain will not change does not remove the tension in this film. Instead the tension becomes: how can a man of such great talent, obviously at the peak of his ability even though he has had this one failure, how can such a man be forced to retire? From here on the apparently divergent problems of the troop having to stop the Indians and the Captain having to retire within a few days suddenly reconcile.
The central question of the film now becomes: how can this great soldier do something heroic to redeem himself before he is forced to leave the army for good. And a new major theme comes clearlyintofocus: howcanthisleaderusehisagetoadvantagein order to stop the senseless killing of war?
That night the personal conflict between the two lieutenants and Olivia comes to a head as well. Lieutenant Cohill apologizes to Olivia for his behavior in spite of what Captain Brittle always says about not apologizing, and he declares his love. But again Olivia and the First Lieutenant are prevented from kissing when Ross shows up and, still thinking he is the object of Olivia's affection, challenges Lieutenant Cohilltoafight. AtthatpointtheCaptaincomesinandfulfills another obligation of leadership, that of controlling the conflict between his men. Again he educates them, this time by scolding them for fighting while a trooper is being buried. Here, as in many good films, the exposition is presented powerfully through conflict. The Colonel points out that Ross is barely out of West Point and that Lieutenant Cohill, who's been an officer for nine years, should know better. At the end of the scene Cohill and Ross apologize to each other.
The troop rides out under cover of darkness and once again the film leap-frogs back to the other main story line, this time concerning theIndians. TheCaptain,SergeantTyree,andRosslookonasthe corrupt Indian agent, Rinders, and his men are brutally murdered and torturedbytheIndians. Intypicalunderstatedarmystyle,the Captain simply offers his two subordinates a chaw of tobacco. Tyree refuses, but Ross accepts the offer. With this bit of comeraderie in the face of the barbarism of their opponents, Ross too undergoes his major change. He decides then and there that he will not become a civilian but will instead reenlist. A second minor character has undergone change: Ross is a man converted to a holy cause.
To criticize this depiction of Indian-as-savage-torturer is not really a case of a more recent mind criticizing the state of mind and viewpoint of America some thirty-five years ago. Stereotyping is not an historical phenomenon, but a failure of mind. This film has not one but a number of examples of this kind of lazy, or in some cases, wishful thinking: all Irishmen are happy-go-lucky, all Indians are savages, all white men, especially officers, are strong, handsome and moral, all women are weak but willing helpmates who try to put on a strong face.
This movie about the value of age, experience, duty and leadership is also, perhaps unknowingly, about the value of firm roles. Not so much the value of the particular roles the characters have in this story, but the value of simply having a role and of having that role determine one's actions, personality, and even one's sense ofindividualism. Thisisafilmthatbelievesintheteam,inhaving clear enemies and in living life for the most part to fight and defeat those enemies.
The next day the Captain makes his third command decision of the mission. He leaves a rear guard under the command of Lieutenant Cohill. Then, with the women and the rest of the column, he fords the river and heads back to the fort. Before leaving, the Captain promises the rear guard that he will return and, in saying goodbye, calls Lieutenant Cohill "Flint." Cohill says that that's the first time in nineyearsthatthecaptainhasevercalledhimbyhisfirstname. At this moment Cohill makes his final change as a character, having earned the respect of the Captain. Moreover, the relationship between the fatherly Captain and the dutiful son is completed with the "father's" recognition of the "son's" first name. Immediately thereafter the relationship between Cohill and Olivia is completed as well when she kisses him and lets Ross know that that's the way it is.
At this point the story within the story is concluded. The individual relationships within the troop have reached fruition - the young have grown through the wisdom of the elder - and now the main story line is the sole source of attention.
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2020.11.19 01:49 killa5abi King Kong (1933) Part 1

KING KONG by James Creelman and Ruth Rose
KING KONG is a classic fun time at the movies. The Saturday afternoon matinee with thrills and chills, just what Hollywood is all about. What is often overlooked is that this film is also a twentieth century, world fairy tale, a science fiction story in the largest sense of that term. KING KONG sets the standard of the great film, not because it was the first to show a vision of the world while entertaining its audience but because it continues to set the boundaries by which we can understand the natural world, evolution, our own futures, and most importantly, ourselves as the human animal.
All great films set up a series of patterns that allow the audience to understand a group of people and their world in a deeper way. The patterns set up in this film begin with the title. "Kong" is a word of mystery, one the audience hasn't heard before and must wait to have uncovered. "King" is a word filled with expectations. It conjures up a sense of rule, of governance, but also of an old form where the ruler has absolute power. Perhaps this is a story of a mysterious absolute ruler.
To this title is added what is supposedly an old Arabian proverb: "...And lo the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead." Immediately the audience is reminded of the fairy tale, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. But this presumably will not be that story. In that fairy tale, a beast is transformed into beauty by love. Beauty resides within. But here a beast is killed by beauty, which is a very negative view. The audience also senses from this proverb that KING KONG will deal in large, fairy-tale contrasts, raw distinctions. This is probably a fairy- tale based film, and one that will deal in grand opposites. And it will deal with the disturbing idea that gaining sensibility means death.
The Opening
Unlike many great films, KING KONG does not have an opening that telegraphs the structure of the entire film. The story begins in New York City, a place of ultra-civilization. Here is a social stage that is as far advanced as a place can be. Whether it is too advanced is unclear at this point. In the first dialogue of the film, the audience gets an outsider's view of the man who will be the main character. A dockworker says to a theatrical agent who has come to meet with Carl Denham, "Are you going on this crazy voyage?..... Everybody around here is talking about that crazy fella that's a runnin' it. " This appears to be a throwaway scene, but actually it serves the valuable purpose of giving an unbiased, and unflattering, view of the hero.
In the ship, that view is immediately proven by the main character himself. Carl Denham is eager to get on with the voyage because his ship is carrying explosives, which are illegal. The theatrical agent enters, and Denham tries to hire one of the agent's actresses for a movie he is about to make. But the agent refuses. Denham, he says, is reckless and crazy.
This is a fast opening. Yet it establishes a tremendous amount of important information. The audience clearly knows that Denham's desire line is to make a movie. That is the track on which this film will run. The audience also knows that the main character is a man with a moral need. He has a well-established history of jeopardizing the lives of others. He will do anything to make a movie, to put on a show, to make money. He will even break the law and possibly hurt someone to reach his goal. Denham is an extremely selfish man, willing to use anyone for his ends. Painting such a picture of the main character of a film is rare, though the mark of good drama. Of course, the great risk of this strategy is that the audience will lose empathy for such a hero. Here the writers, James Creelman and Ruth Rose, overcome this problem by making Denham forceful.
Another strength of the opening is that it establishes a mystery. The audience knows that Denham wants to make a movie. That is the endpoint of the film. But what the audience doesn't know is what sort of movie it is going to be, why Denham is bringing explosives, and why he is going off to some mysterious place. With such questions in mind, the audience members are immediately engaged in the story, ready to follow Denham even though they know that he is an unscrupulous man.
Before Denham can go off on his main desire, he must detour to a secondary desire; he must find a woman to be in his picture. Strapped for time, Denham goes out into the streets of New York. This trip allows the audience to get a fuller picture of the context of this early part of the story. Immediately, it is clear that this is a city in late stages of development. Denham goes to a home for women, but they are all standing in a food line. This city is a place of poverty and depression, an indirect world where people are specialized and have no sense of how to fend for themselves when some strange complex process called a "depression" happens.
Denham sees no one there he likes, so he goes to a nearby fruit stand. A desperate young woman is about to steal some food, but decides against it. Then the proprietor accuses her of stealing anyway. Denham steps in on her behalf because he sees that she is the woman he has been looking for. In this short scene, the character of the woman, Ann Darrow, is established, and she is quite different than Denham. Here is a woman who is starving but will not steal a piece of fruit. Unlike the sleazy Denham, this woman is moral to a fault.
With his female lead in tow, Denham is off on the voyage. Now, within the overall desire line of Denham making a movie, the writers set up a second story line. Ann meets Jack Driscol, the first mate. In some silly dialogue, Jack makes clear that he is a classic hero, strong, silent, and tough. He is a man who doesn't like women because they are just a nuisance. Jack is a chauvinistic, protective male who would rather spend all his time doing his job on the ship.
Obviously a love story is being prepared. What is unique structurally is that the love story will not be between the main character and the leading lady. A second male character has been introduced, which means that the film will have a split story. This normally is a big mistake, but the writers here tip off that they may be after bigger game. Jack, like Ann, is quite different from Denham. But as a man, Jack provides a clearer opposition to his boss, Denham. Denham is a showman, full of bluff, and willing to toss aside what is right to get what he wants. But Jack is a man's man - at least for that time - and has no false quality at all about him. Moreover, he, like Ann, is good in the old-fashioned, honest-and-true way. In one sense, the writers cannot have a love story line between Ann and Denham because Denham is immoral. But more importantly, Jack is introduced to give a new opposition to the main character.
The first opposition between the two men becomes clear when Denham cautions Jack about falling for a pretty girl like Ann. Bringing up the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST concept, he warns Jack that a girl will make him go soft, and then the little guys can get him. Especially in light of the proverb in the opening shot, this line immediately takes on the quality of a coda. Here in one line is the action of the entire story. The full significance is not clear yet, of course. Nor is the irony. For when Kong falls, it is because of Ann, and the scheming Denham is the main "little guy" who gets him.
The line has another value. It signals to the audience that this film will be about strength and manhood, and to a lesser degree about the effect a woman has on that.
Up until this point, the hero has a goal but no specific plan. Finally the Captain asks about the ship's ultimate destination, and Denham pulls out a map. Denham asks the Captain, "Have you ever heard of Kong?" Now the mystery of the title returns. Denham describes Kong as a god who holds an island in terror. Kong, he says, is a tyrant using fear to control people, and no white man has ever seen him. Because of Denham's showman quality, the audience doesn't know how much of this is believable. But now the specific goal of Denham's quest is clear, and this Kong figure, whatever he is in particular, is most probably the main, and quite terrifying, opponent.
Even without showing the actual opponent, the writers are drawing many layers, many distinctions, in the back of the audience's mind. And all of these layers, when seen together, make up a chain of being and power. In this story is a god, a king, a tyrant, human beings, a classic hero like Jack, and a sleazy man like Denham. These are oppositions on the grandest scale possible, suggesting that this story will try to present fundamental philosophical distinctions.
Traveling Back in Time and Space
So far the ship has been traveling in space from modern, civilized New York to some mysterious place far out to sea. But after Denham's explanation of the ship's destination, it becomes clear that the trip is traveling back through evolutionary time as well. The island, says the Captain, is difficult to get to, cut off by reefs and surrounded on all sides by high precipices.
Here, the dramatists combine the two areas that define this film, the laws of fiction and the laws of evolutionary science: the island's remoteness gives it mystery and makes the viewer want to reach there and see it for himself; this same remoteness is what, in evolutionary terms, allows ancient and unique species to exist in the modern age. The audience also learns that the island has a wall that was built so long ago that the natives have slipped back and forgotten the higher civilization that built it.
The trip back through evolutionary time is a foreboding one. The ship travels through a dense, night fog. The fog is like a gate into a forgotten world. The crew members hear the ominous sound of drums and the next morning they awake to the presence of a wild, craggy island and the face of Skull Mountain. To go back in evolutionary time, the dramatists suggest, is to face death.
The first sight of the island with the great wall and the high, craggy precipices is a classic example not only of the brilliant art direction in this film, but also of the value of the created real world of film itself. The shot is powerful first because, as a movie shot, it is an extremely realistic view within which living, moving things exist. But the shot's power is further magnified by being a created world full of philosophical implications. Here is the essence of a brutal natural Wildness which dominates the man-made wall and the puny village trying to keep the Wildness in check. The unique power of film to create through animation a real human world with intense philosophical implications can rightly be said to have begun with the art direction and animation in this film.
The crew's entrance into the native village is the first clear instance of an animalistic basis for the human actions in the film and is also a continuation of a central theme - the effect that viewing has on behavior. Jack wondered earlier what would happen if Kong didn't like his photograph being taken. Here, Denham tries to photograph the tribal dance and this act of viewing causes the dance to be stopped and the witch doctor to claim that the white intruders have spoiled the ceremony. Denham's response is to stand firm and pretend he is not afraid. This bit of bluster both defines his character and stature and is a case of the classic bluffing and prancing that all animals use to declare their strength and their territory.
The tribal dance of the natives is also an expression of the blend of the animal and human and of the film's trip down the cultural evolutionary ladder. The natives, dressed in ape hair, dance as monkeys and prepare to sacrifice a young woman. To modern moral sensibilities this is a barbaric, immoral act. It is a case of an animalistic mind trying to remain in harmony with the natural forces by sacrificing one of its individuals so that the group can live. However, from the perspective of the natives, the ceremony is not animalistic but totally human. These people are confronted by something that demands a young woman or it will kill. For the natives, it is totally rational for them to give that something the woman. Moreover, this ritual, repeated in exactly the same way at regular intervals, is a way in which this human unit maintains order and sanity.
The chief's offer to buy Ann with six of his own women may or may not be another example of a common response by someone from a primitive culture, much like the human sacrifice itself. But it is also an example of the strong cultural chauvinism and racism that the dramatists seem not to notice. That blindness - if it is blindness and not intended - is one of the things that mars this film. The final case of the clear animalistic basis for the human action in this scene takes place when the crew members turn down the chief's offer and leave. Denham, the last to go, tips his hat forward over his eyes in a gesture of nonchalance and bravado, a gesture that might well be understood and be effective in any culture of the world.
In the next scene where Jack and Ann declare their love, one of the central themes of the film - what constitutes masculine strength and greatness - comes into focus. Once again, Jack is concerned about Ann's safety and calls Denham's moral qualities into question. Ann continues to misjudge Denham and sticks up for him. Then she makes fun of the thin veneer of masculine toughness that Jack has used as armor all along. Suddenly, Jack's emotions come to the fore and he not only discovers that he is in love with Ann, but he realizes that he is a little bit afraid of her as well. Here the dramatists begin to show the opposite side of the viewpoint that Denham and the story of Kong represent. That view says that when a tough guy falls for a "dame' and goes soft the little guys get him. Jack, unlike Kong, declares his love and becomes a hero. But while the dramatists do present a positive love story and do make fun of the so-called "tough guy" who is actually a bit afraid of the women he hates, they still place this tough, manly man as the ideal hero of the film.
Setting the Grand Oppositions
Once Ann has been kidnapped by the natives, the huge wall that separates the native village from the natural world of Kong takes on philosophical proportions and the grand distinctions of the film begin to become clear. The scene in which Ann is sacrificed to Kong is brilliantly staged and shot. As the natives dance excitedly and wave their torches above their heads, the camera cuts beautifully in and out of the action to build suspense and show the spectacle. But always the great Wall and the two vast doors stand towering above the action. The Wall becomes the ingenious human construction that has been built to keep the Inhuman out, to keep the terrifying assault of the state of nature away from the order of the human world.
Only by reaching mass hysteria can these people find the courage needed to open the great doors and to venture even a few feet into the thick, terrifying natural world beyond the wall. The doors, as massive as they are, are still the unstable, soft distinction between the human and the natural worlds. As such, the opening of these doors is one of the great dramatic moments of the film. Suddenly, the natural world can get through. Beginning in long shot from up and behind the action, the camera on a crane seems to be sucked forward as the natives rush through the gates to tie Ann to the altar, then quickly escape back to the other side. With incredible finality, the natives slide the huge, wooden bars back into place and make the massive wall secure against nature once more.
Again, the act of seeing becomes crucial for the perpetuation of the human world. The natives rush up to the top of the wall and all stand together to watch as the latest sacrifice unfolds. By this sacrifice, the natural forces will not only be appeased, but the intelligence, dominance and security of the human world over the natural world will be made clear to the people who watch. In this divided world, the organized human side must appease the wild animalistic side in order to continue to live in peace. The human world placates the animal by sacrificing part of itself to wildness and terror. And it must continue to do this at intervals or the animal side will explode. Clearly this is a schizophrenic world of huge proportions. It sets an opposite between what is human and animal, controlled and wild, and it will not or cannot integrate.
Throughout this early part of the sacrifice, the camera looks back at the wall and the human world. The audience can't see the animal world. The suspense builds. And then the audience hears the sounds. And finally Kong, the great animal, appears in all his ferocity. At the same time, the men from the boat arrive at the base of the other side of the wall. Suddenly the massive oppositions in this film begin to become clear. The people of the "advanced" civilization oppose the "primitive" natives who oppose the animal Kong. These are oppositions not only of culture but of evolutionary time. Jack is the first man from the ship to look through the portal at what is happening in the animal world. And what he sees truly horrifies him. This is not just a monster. It is a monster who has a woman, who has his girlfriend. An animal has crossed the farthest boundaries into the civilized world to take a woman and be part of that human community. If this is allowed to happen, then what is human no longer has meaning. Then we are all animals.
So Jack and the other crew members open the massive doors and chase after this beast who has a woman. But in so doing, they must reverse the process of Kong. As the most "civilized" humans, they must venture into the darkest world of the animal. They must go into a terrifying state of nature and killing in order to reestablish the difference between the animal and the human.
The act of the crew members rushing through the door into the natural world after Ann and Kong is decisive. Unlike the natives who are terrified of going any more than a few feet into the natural world, these more "modern," more "civilized" people from the city have extreme confidence in their man-made ability to defeat anything in nature. They go not only to get Ann back, but to redefine the clean difference between man and animal. The question is: once the interpenetration has been made, once Kong has seen the delights of the human, civilized world, and once the civilized men have delved so deeply into the animal world, can the clear difference between man and animal ever be reasserted again?
Jack Versus Kong
Once Kong in his awful terror and tyranny has appeared and the sacrificial ceremony has taken place, the viewer becomes aware of another myth at the base of this modern story. The ancient Greeks told the tale of the tyrannical King Minos of Crete who forced the Athenians to send him seven youths and seven maidens each year. The King then sacrificed these fourteen Athenians to the Minotaur, the terrifying half-man, half-beast that lived in a maze. Similarly, Kong is "between man or beast, a king who holds the village in fear," who is regularly given a maiden by the chief of the village he terrifies. This tale of political tyranny ends when the hero, Theseus, finds a way into the maze to kill the Minotaur. When the men enter the jungle, they enter a world that is the most extreme opposite of the city they left. This place is an opposite physically - the jungle versus the city. But they soon find it is an opposite in time as well. Immediately, a massive stegosaur charges, and only by using their advanced technology, their weapons of the future, do the men destroy it.
But their weapons are limited in value. The men go out over a pond in a raft, and suddenly a brontosaur rises beneath them, tipping them into the water. The brontosaur eats one of the men in the water, then grabs one who has foolishly run up a tree. Throughout this sequence, the men are under constant attack. This is one of the few films that makes the horror of a state of nature real. Rarely is mankind this vulnerable to nature. At the same time, by making these men miniatures compared to the animals, the writers show the animal source of homo sapiens.
This is the same strategy that Jonathan Swift used in GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. First the men are made small compared to the animals, which immediately places man in the evolutionary chain. Later that miniaturization process will be reversed when Kong is brought back to New York.
The men's quest for Kong isn't simply an opportunity to contrast man with extreme nature. It also allows the writers to define Kong, as both the supreme animal but also as different from animals. When the men try to cross a log, Kong is intelligent enough to shake them off into the ravine far below. Only Jack is smart enough to climb down into a crevasse. Clearly the opposition between Jack and Kong is being highlighted. Kong tries to grab Jack, but Jack uses technology again, in this case a knife, to stab Kong's hand. Suddenly Jack sees that another terrifying animal is coming up the vine from below.
The onslaught is incessant. While Kong is after Jack, a tyrannosaur tries to get Ann. Now, in an extremely powerful battle scene between Kong and the tyrannosaur, Kong shows his true ability and almost human-like intelligence. In this gargantuan battle, one king is fighting another. At first, Kong is losing. The dinosaur is larger and has massive jaws. But Kong uses his brain. First he boxes the dinosaur, then, incredibly enough, he uses a kind of judo. He lets the dinosaur come at him, swings around behind it, and climbs on its back. Kong has found the weakness of the dinosaur. He rides the great lizard like a cowboy riding a bull, then rips the dinosaur's jaws apart and kills it.
Throughout this series of conflicts that Kong has with the men and the other killers of this world, the writers are establishing both a terrifying, prehistoric animal world but also setting up the audience to feel sympathy for Kong. This shift of sympathy hasn't occurred yet because Kong is taking Ann into this scary world for apparently awful ends. But the audience now knows that Kong will protect this woman from all attack, and is the intellectual equal of every man there except Jack.
Denham's return to the village after his men are killed by Kong is the clearest expression yet of Denham's moral position and lack of stature. Excited by what he has seen rather than depressed at the death of his men, Denham states, "I tell you Skipper, this Kong is the biggest thing in the world. Why it shook those men off that log like they were flies." He furthermore has no thought of bringing one of the negative products of civilization, gunfire, to the world of the natives.
Finally Kong, with Ann still in his grasp, reaches his lair at the top of Skull Mountain. Here the imagery perfectly supports Kong's position as the King of beasts, the greatest killer of this state of nature. Jack follows him up there and makes a noise. Kong goes to investigate, but even here in his lair he is not safe from attack. A giant snake encircles his neck and Kong struggles to kill it. Then, out on a ledge where Ann is waiting, a huge pterodactyl swoops down and starts to fly off with her. Again Kong must come to her rescue.
In the sequence where Ann is attacked by the pterodactyl, the director uses a crucial shot to establish the vertical as well as horizontal oppositions in this remarkable film. Ann is sitting on the ledge of Kong's lair in the foreground, while in the distance down below is the natives' village, and out at sea is the ship. In this one shot, the three distinct worlds of the film, and the five levels of evolutionary life suddenly come into focus in a single moment. The three worlds are the state of nature, the primitive world of the natives and the modern world of technological civilization. The five levels of life represent not just a physical evolution but a cultural evolution as well: the world of dinosaurs, Kong, the natives, Jack and Ann, and finally the over-civilized Denham.
The ideal level, the hero of the story, is not the most "highly evolved," that is, Denham. Rather the ideal position, according to the dramatists, is Jack, who is the unpretentious, strong, silent man of honesty and action. But if Jack is the one with whom the audience is meant to identify, the one whom the audience comes to love, even in his destructiveness, is the passionate, powerful, half-ape, half-human King Kong.
The scene in which Jack rescues Ann from Kong's lair makes the viewer suddenly realize that the dramatists have based part of the story on yet another myth or fairy tale, in this case, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK. As in that fairy tale, Jack Driscol climbs high up into the sky, enters the "castle" of the tyrannical giant, steals what he came for, in this case Ann, and climbs down a long vine. But Kong is a superb opponent. Much as he did when he tossed the men off the log, Kong shows an intelligent, almost human mind when he grabs the vine on which Jack and Ann are escaping and begins to pull it upward toward the cliff. But Ann and Jack counter by releasing their hold and falling into the water below.
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2020.11.19 01:33 killa5abi Touch of Evil Part 2

Escalating the Moral Argument
As Hank declines and Vargas becomes more powerful, the moral argument between them escalates and is explored in more detail. Pete finds his old friend Hank getting drunk in a bar in Mexico. Not sure if his friend is right but wanting to help him anyway, Pete tries to sober Hank up so that he can confront Vargas. At that moment Vargas is across the street trying to convince the D.A. and the police chief that Hankmighthaveplantedtheevidence. InthescenewithPete,Hank talks about his ghost, how his wife was strangled and how Hank, as just a rookie cop at the time, was unable to catch the murderer. Hank says strangulation is the perfect way to commit a murder; that is the last murderer he ever let get through his hands.
This ghost, as in all great writing, is the source of Hank's moral need, his character flaw. The audience does not know who actually killed Hank's wife and that is the point. Hank doesn't know either, but he believes a particular man did the job. That flaw, of thinking that believing constitutes knowing, is what has made Hank determined to destroy whomever he believes has committed a crime rather than let the system, created to uncover the truth, make that judgment. Then Hank goes back on the attack, justifying his actions by accusing Vargas of what he himself is guilty of when he says, "He wants to fight dirty? Well that's the kind of fight he's gonna get."
In the incredibly difficult challenge of showing the tragic fall of a modern man, this scene is very important. If the audience is to care for a man who is becoming corrupt, they must have information about his past, about the ghost that drives him and helps cause his flaw. Without this information, Hank is not human, and ironically, he is not great. Only by showing the tremendous pain that Hank feels, by showing his deep feeling for what is good and what has been wasted by brutality, can the audience see this hulking surly man as great. And only by giving Hank a series of justifications can the audience see that this man is not evil but rather is working from his own moral laws, however flawed.
For the second time Vargas and Hank come into direct moral argument. Vargas is arguing to the Chief and the D.A. that some cops do take bribes, that some cops do abuse their power. The exchange comes right to the point, and is a classic presentation of a strong moral argument in dialogue. Quinlan: "Your friend Vargas has some very special ideas about police procedure. He seems to think it don't matter whether a killer is hanged or not so long as we obey the fine print in the rule books." Vargas: "I don't think the policeman should work as a dog catcher putting criminals behind bars, no. In any free country a policeman's supposed to enforce the law. And the law protects the guilty as well as the innocent." Quinlan: "My God, it's tough enough." Vargas: "It's supposed to be. It has to be tough. A policeman's job is only easy in a police state. That's the whole point, Captain. Who is the boss, the cop or the law."
Here, as throughout the film, the two men argue against audience expectation: the investigator from the home of modern democracy, America, argues that the end is what is important while the investigator from Mexico, the new democracy which is not yet a democracy in practice, argues the case for putting the law above the enforcer. This is one of the marks of great writing that the audience's expectations can be undercut and the audience forced to realize that such terms as democracy and freedom have no meaning except as how individuals live them.
Vargas' case is too strong, but Hank is far too smart to be stopped by a direct argument. In the first example in the film of connecting Vargas' righteous investigation of the crime with his failure to take care of his wife, Hank makes an extremely subtle, perhaps too subtle, attack on another moral aspect when he says, "Where's your wife?" Vargas: "What do you mean? You know where she is as well as I do. Sgt. Menzies drove her. She's at the motel." Quinlan: "Oh? And you're still here?"
But Vargas comes back on the attack when he says that a ranch hand of Hank's says they used 15 sticks of dynamite out of 17 sticks that were bought. Hank is rattled. Now he is clearly on the defensive, but he is not beat. He immediately takes the one recourse open to him to check the attack of his opponent. He accuses Vargas, a foreigner, of spying on him at his ranch. Surrounded by weak men, Hank pulls out his badge and tosses it on the table. He goes on about thirty years of crummy pay, giving his life to the job, and then says he won't take his badge back until the people vote it back. The ploy works for a while. But Vargas will not be stopped by a simple appeal to emotion.
Crossing the Third Moral Line
When Vargas leaves, Hank crosses the third moral line. To the Chief and the D.A., Hank accuses Vargas of being a dope addict and of hooking his wife as well. All he asks is to be given a chance to prove his claim. The next moment, Vargas continues his attack on Hank by searching old police records of Hank's past cases. Vargas tells the Assistant D.A. that he can handle the investigation on his own. This independent, loner mentality is Vargas' strength, but as the cut to the next story line shows, it is his weakness as well. For at that moment, the young hoods at the motel attack Susie in her room and once again Vargas is not there to help her.
When Sgt. Menzies arrives at the police hall of records, he and Vargas have another direct moral argument. Vargas has uncovered the cases in which either Hank or Pete uncovered the principle evidence in a case and in each instance the defense denied the existence of the evidence. Naturally, Pete's first concern is for his friend, Hank, even though he himself could be guilty and in danger of losing his reputation. Pete can't stand to hear such talk about his idol.
The exchange between Pete and Vargas points up the two approaches to what Vargas has found, the personal and the professional. The difference in the two approaches, expressed beautifully in the dialogue, highlights a difference so vast it is almost an evolutionary difference. Vargas: "It's all there in the record." Pete: "All these years he spent building his reputation." Vargas: "All these years he spent planting evidence, preying on suspects." Pete: "That's a lie." Vargas: "I think I can prove it, Sergeant." "Sure you can smear him. Ruin his whole life's work. I don't even know where he is. That's what you've done to him." Vargas: "What I've done to him." Pete: "He's on an important case and he's disappeared. Good and drunk probably. After twelve years on the wagon. That's what you've done to him." Vargas: "What about Quinlan, Sergeant? What's he done? What about all those people he put in the death house.
Save your tears for them." For Hank Quinlan, down the road of good intentions is hell.
Decline into Hell
But at the moment of his triumph, trumpeting the law and a human process over personal feeling, intuition and revenge, Vargas discovers that his own house is out of order. When he reaches the hotel where his wife has been staying, he walks into a hellish place: darkness, the wind blowing, empty rooms, presided over by an idiot, his wife gone, her clothes strewn about and even the gun he left with her gone. And then he learns, to his horror, that the motel to which his wife had gone for comfort and probably safety is owned by the Grandy family.
Hank Quinlan has also entered his personal hell. He goes to the hotel room in town where Grandy's men have left a drugged and unconscious Susie on the bed. Grandy is there alone waiting for him. But Hank will have no partners in crime. Hank is about to take another step in his moral decline, cross another border to a place wheregreatnessisonlyamemory,onlyapossibility. Withagun,he forces Grandy to call the police station so that he can talk to Pete, who is presiding over the interrogation of Sanchez. Hank tells Pete that Vargas's wife has been found drugged and tells him to pass the tipalonganonymouslytotheviceboys. Andthen,inabeautifully shot sequence, with an outside light flashing on and off, the huge, intimidating investigator becomes a terrifying killer.
Like a frightened animal in a state of nature, Grandy runs desperately about the locked room, trying to escape the predator. But the beast is upon him and Hank uses the method he has always said makes the perfect murder, strangulation. Presumably, Hank kills Grandy to hide his own corruption and to implicate Vargas in a revenge killing for what has happened to his wife. Or perhaps he is just concerned to erase anyone who knows of his complicity. Susie finally wakes up and stares at the dead, bug-eyed, Grandy, hanging directly over her face. Half naked and screaming, she climbs out the window onto the fire escape and the people in the noisy town below canonlylookupandlaugh. Continuingthelinesetfromthevery beginning of the film, Vargas passes by in the car and doesn't hear whenSusiecallsouttohim. Typically,heisdoingthewrongthingat the wrong time.
VengeanceisverydefinitelyonthemindofVargas. The upstanding policeman, who has been criticizing Hank for improper procedure, has now experienced a personal attack on his own wife.
The mirror image of Hank's past is unmistakable. And like Hank, Vargas goes outside of the law to achieve personal justice. He charges into a Mexican bar, beats one of the Grandy boys unconscious, attacks another and trashes the bar before the assistant D.A. arrives to tell him that his wife has been picked up.
This scene has strong dramatic punch, but it lacks thematic power and points out what has been a major flaw throughout the film. The script has tried to show Vargas guilty of a sin of omission by simply cross-cutting his scenes of investigation with his own wife's jeopardy. But a simple cross-cutting of story lines is not enough to make a strong, thematic point. Vargas has always been shown to be a good and right man doing a job that has to be done and if his wife happens to go to a motel that the Grandys own and if Grandy is, himself, planning to ensnare her in a trap, Vargas has no way of knowingthatordefendingagainstit. ThroughoutthefilmVargashas never questioned himself nor has anyone else. Only Hank has mentioned that Vargas may be putting his own wife in danger by what he is doing.
So when Vargas attacks one of the Grandy boys in the bar and says, "Listen! I'm no cop, now, I'm a husband...where's my wife?" he appears to the audience to be a righteous victim and not a man with a moral flaw. This is why Vargas has never been the main character of the film. The tone and the structure of the film have shown him to be a good man who is unaware of the plotting of those around him while his opponent, Hank Quinlan, has been shown to be a man whose moral decline is the product of his own choice. Upon learning that his wife is also in jail on a murder rap, Vargas runs to her and says only, "Susie, forgive me." The apology is a passionate one, but not nearly enough.
Shift to A New Main Character
Atthispoint,TOUCHOFEVILdoesacuriousthing. Thefilm shifts its main focus to a minor character, Sgt. Pete Menzies. On the one hand, this shift allows the film to close with tremendous power. On the other hand, the fact that this shift is necessary points up the greatest flaw of the film - the fact that Hank Quinlan is too opaque a character. Hank is clearly the main character in the film in that he is the one who has chosen to take a number of immoral decisions that have led to the fall of a respected and powerful man. But while the audience has seen Hank's stature and ability, they have never seen his
heart. He has mentioned losing his wife once, and while that scene is necessary it is not sufficient. Hank is such a gruff man, even when drunk, talking to Menzies, or when talking to his old friend, Tanya, that the audience has difficulty feeling his pain and sympathizing with his motive.
The shift to Menzies is also necessary because Hank's desire in the story has been reactive, that is, to stop Vargas from uncovering his own corruption. The structural decision at the beginning of the film to make Vargas the apparent hero takes its toll at the film's conclusion. With Grandy's murder, Hank has completed his series of actions. Now Hank can only wait and the great struggle, choice and action of the film, must switch to Pete.
Relative to Vargas, Pete might be considered an ally/opponent. That is, a man who has been in opposition to Vargas for most of the film, only to gain sympathy for Vargas' plight and become his ally at theend. WhenPetelooksinthecellandseeswhathashappenedto Susie, he appears to be a man whose world is falling apart. Unlike Hank, this is a man whose feelings are in his face and he, too, is a victim,avictimofhisownidolatry. Nowheispayingthepriceand he must make a tough decision. He takes Vargas into another room where he shows him Hank's cane, found in the hotel room where Grandy was killed.
The cane has always been the link between Hank and his partner, Pete. Pete is always bringing the cane to Hank, who once stopped a bullet for him, or so he thinks. It has become, over the course of the film, a significant object, the symbol, not only of the relationship between the two men, but also of what was best in Hank. No one has spoken of Hank's greatness more than Pete. And no one has been more concerned about his physical and moral deterioration than Pete. And now the cane is the object that convinces Pete that Hank has gone over the greatest line of all, that he has not simply planted evidence that will convict someone else of murder, but that he has actually committed murder himself. The choice of whether to help Vargas against the man he has idolized is perhaps the greatest personal and moral dilemma of the film. And it is given not to the main character, but to the man whose sense of decency and love will give it the most emotional impact for the audience.
Pete chooses the law above his friend. As Hank sits in Tanya's house listening to the player piano, Pete and Vargas set up a wireless microphone tape-recording system to get a confession from Hank. Pete begs Vargas to let him handle the operation alone. But Vargas will not relinquish the investigation. He must have the confession, he says, to clear his wife's name. Neither man likes what he is about to do. Vargashatesthespyingandthecreeping. Petehatesacting against the best friend he ever had. In a crucial final exchange, Pete argues one last time for his friend and bares his soul.
Pete says, "No doubt about it. Hank is the best friend I've ever had." Vargas: "That's one reason for my staying." Pete: "Oh, you don't trust me, huh. Don't forget I was the one that showed you that cane. I didn't have to do it, you know." Vargas: "Yes you did Sergeant." Pete: "Somebody could have planted it there..." Vargas: "You're an honest cop." Pete: "Sure I am. And who made me an honest cop? Hank Quinlan...I am what I am because of him."
In his final exchange with his old friend Tanya, a drunk Hank asks her to read the cards. Quinlan: "Come on. Read my future for me." Tanya: "You haven't got any." Quinlan: "Hmm? What d'ya mean?" Tanya: "Your future is all used up." Tana's final line is a comment pregnant with meaning. It focuses in a natural and unassuming way the central question of the tragic fall of this man. He has been a man of great potential and great ability whose life choices have destroyed his future. A man's past and present affect his future and, at least for this man, make freedom and greatness impossible for him.
The Battle
Pete goes to the house and calls his old friend outside. Hank questions him about Vargas' missing gun. Hidden in the background, Vargas follows with the receiver and tape recorder. Hank, ever the capable detective with his famous hunches, seems to know that Pete is carrying a microphone when he asks about the thing he's wearing. But it turns out that Hank is accusing Pete of wearing a halo, of talking too much to Vargas. Now begins the final moral argument.
Hank says, "Watch out...Vargas will turn you into one of these here starry-eyed idealists. They're the ones making all the real trouble in the world. Careful. They're worse than crooks. You can always do something with a crook..." Pete: "Sometimes you can turn into a crook yourself. Look what happened with Grandy." Quinlan: "Partner, nobody ever called me a crook...Look at that oil well.
Pumpingupmoney. Money. Don'tyouthinkIcouldhavebeenrich? A cop in my position. What do I have?" Pete: "I'm talking about Grandy." Quinlan: "After thirty years. A turkey ranch, that's all I got. A couple of acres...An honest cop, then this Mexican comes along. Look at the spot he puts me in." Pete: "You can't blame Vargas for what happened to Grandy."
The moral argument is extremely tight here, filled with meaning and justification. Welles, the writer and director, wisely stops the talk by having Vargas' malfunctioning tape recorder whistle. The moment is tense, but Hank doesn't quite catch it. Quinlan: "I blame Vargas for everything...Do you think I'd be in a situation where Grandy could blackmail me? And then of course when I had to defend myself..." Pete: "Hank. You murdered Grandy...You're a killer, Hank." Quinlan: "Partner, I'm a cop." Pete: "...I guess you were somehowthinkingofyourwife,thewayshewasstrangled." Quinlan: "Always thinking of her. Drunk or sober. What else is there to think about, except my job. My dirty job." Pete: "You didn't have to make it dirty." Quinlan: "I don't call it dirty. Look at the record. Our record. All those convictions." Pete: "Convictions, sure. How many did you frame?" Quinlan: "Nobody. Nobody that wasn't guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Every last one of them." Pete: "All these years you've been playing me for a sucker. Faking evidence." Quinlan: "Aiding justice, pardner."
Thisissimplysuperbmoralargumentinthebattlescene. For the first time Hank presents his credo. The other man made him do it. The man he killed was scum. His job is to stop murderers. He is alwaysthinkingofhiswifeandhowherkillergotaway. The convictionsjustifytheaction. Finally,theargumentthatwhetherany evidence was found, the men convicted were guilty. That's justice. In this scene Welles brings together, as a writer, a director, and an actor, all the elements of a great climactic battle, not of physical strength but of ways of thinking, acting, and living.
And now that he has made his confession but also his justification, Hank notices the echo of the tape recorder under the bridge. This time his hunches are right. Hank senses that Vargas is close to him. He becomes furious. He wants Vargas. Pete insists that he is not working for Vargas, he is working for the department, he is working for the law. He demands that Hank give him Vargas' gun.
At that moment, Pete gets the biggest shock of his life. His old friend, the man he has idolized, the great cop, shoots him. To the pain of the bullet is added the pain of what his old friend has done. He reaches for Hank's hand as he collapses to his knees, his face the face of ultimate disillusionment and horror. His bloody hands leave blood on Hank's hand. Hank pushes past Vargas, past the bridge - yet another borderline - and walks down the slag heap to the water. Like Lady MacBeth, Hank tries to wash his hand clean, but he is washing in scummy, polluted water, and is surrounded by garbage. Hank collapses amidst the ruins of the junk heap and a tear rolls down his cheek.
But Hank is proud even to the end. When Vargas says this is one time, one thing, he will not be able to talk himself out of, Hank responds that he is always able to talk himself out of things. Vargas, he says, will take the rap. Hank lifts his gun, ready to shoot Vargas as well. A car, carrying Susie and assistant D.A. Schwartz, approaches the bridge. Vargas starts to run, but a shot rings out and Vargas stops. Hank says he only wanted to turn Vargas around so he wouldn't have to shoot him in the back. Vargas, too, is a proud man, probably too proud, and he turns to face the bullet. At that moment Pete shoots his old friend, Hank Quinlan, and dies. As Vargas runs to be with his wife, assistant D.A. Schwartz plays back the tape, and Tanya rushes up.
Self and Thematic Revelations
With Shakespearean density, tragedy is piled on tragedy in the final battle. And then, in the mark of a great writer, Welles gives Hank a stunning moment of self-revelation. Listening to the recording, Hank is brought face to face with himself. He hears the false justification for his corruption in his own words and the moment when he shot his best friend, a wonderfully decent man who worshipedhim. Hewalksunderthebridgebeneathhisdeadfriend and says, "Pete, that's the second bullet I've stopped for you." And Pete's blood drips down and once again splashes on Hank's hand. Then, perhaps in horror, perhaps in despair, Hank backs up and falls dead in the water.
In great writing the theme explodes as the crucial oppositions take their toll and the audience experiences a thematic revelation that perhaps can affect their lives. Here, the tragedy is underlined and extended by an ironic twist. Schwartz says to Tanya, "His famous intuition was right after all. He framed that Mexican kid Sanchez, but he didn't even need to. The kid confessed about that bomb. So...it turns out Quinlan was right after all." Then Schwartz says, "You really liked him, didn't you?" Tanya: "The cop did. The one who killed him. He loved him." Schwartz: "Yeah...Hank was a great detective, all right." Tanya: "And a lousy cop."
With just a few lines the power of the tragedy explodes. Hank was a man who was loved, but it did not matter to him. In many great films, the thematic revelation gains its impact from a single line. Such films bring together all of the arguments, justifications, and points of view that have led people to do what they do and then they express those in a single, powerful distinction that presents two entire courses of action in life. Hank was "a great detective, all right...And a lousy cop."
In a place where people must live together, one must not only be able to uncover the truth and fix blame when someone has hurt someone else, one must also be able to do that with justice. One must be able to do that with a method that tries to transcend prejudice to have the best chance of finding the truth and convicting those who are actually guilty. Otherwise the hurt is compounded, the tragedy grows and those people called cops who are given the power to right the wrongs, to defend the innocent, to imprison, maim and sometimes kill by common consent, these cops can themselves become murderers. It is not a small point. Rather, it is a point so significant to how we live our lives that a detective who was a bad cop had to kill and be killed by a decent man who loved him.
The tragedy is deepened further in the next few lines. Schwartz asks Tanya if that's all she can say for Hank. We the audience have a sense, perhaps from Shakespeare, that tragedy can be affirming if those who remain after can say something ennobling about the one who has fallen. But as befits the tragedy of a common man, Tanya can only make the ambiguous comment, "He was some kind of a man."
This single line speaks volumes about the unknowability of a person. This is a story about a man who lived behind a facade. People idolized this false man and others died because of him, and even his closest friend didn't know who he really was. That sense of separateness permeates this film in so many ways. The separation between people, even lovers and friends. Two countries on either side of the border, neither respecting the other. Two different views of the law. So much of the tragedy in our lives comes from that separation, and from the unknowability of one person toward another. This is also the great weakness of the film, because while Hank is ultimately unknowable to all of us, still his opaqueness deprives us of the total power of the fall of this man.
In the next line Tanya says, "What does it matter what you say about people?" Ironically, that line of despair deepens the audience's sense of loss of this common man. Indeed the line seems to explode into metaphysical significance. With her line, Tanya points out that the act of saying something good or saying something significant about people after they are dead is simply a false romanticism to give us a sense that in some way they are not really dead. But they are dead and what we say about them will make no difference. There is everything to lose by saying something good for this man even though thismanmayhavedonemuchgood. Thereisonlygainfromknowing that entire lives are wasted and lost because of a way of thinking and living. Tanyaturnsandheadsoffintothedarknessandthepumping oil wells and the barren landscape and Schwartz says, "Goodbye, Tanya." She turns and says, "Adios", and walks away. The borders dividing Mexico and America, man and woman, friend and enemy, person and person, still there, always.
submitted by killa5abi to FivePlotPoints [link] [comments]


2020.11.18 14:55 awookiewarrior (OFFER) Come Trade With the Wookiee

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Kingsman 2-Movie Collection HD (MA/Vudu)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle 4K (iTunes)
Kingsman: The Secret Service 4K (iTunes)
Knives Out 4K (Vudu/iTunes) x2
Knives Out 4K (iTunes)
Knock Knock HD (Vudu)
Kong: Skull Island 4K (MA)
Krampus HD (MA)
Krampus HD (iTunes)
Kubo and the Two Strings HD (iTunes)
Kung Fu Panda 3 HD (MA) x2
Lady and the Tramp HD (MA)
Lady and the Tramp HD (GP)
Lady Bird HD (Vudu) x2
Laggies HD (Vudu)
La La Land HD (Vudu)
Leatherface HD (Vudu)
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League HD (MA)
Life of Crime HD (Vudu)
Life of Pi 4K (iTunes) x4
Life of the Party HD (MA)
Lights Out HD (MA)
Lion King (2019) 4K (iTunes)
Lion King (2019) HD (GP)
Logan 4K (iTunes)
Lone Survivor 4K (iTunes) x2
Lone Survivor HD (MA) x2
Long Shot 4K (iTunes)
Love, Simon HD (MA)
Lucy HD (MA) x2
Lucy 4K (iTunes)
Machete Kills HD (iTunes)
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers HD (MA)
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers HD (GP)
Mad Max: Fury Road 4K (MA) x3
Magic Mike HD (MA)
Maleficent 4K (iTunes)
Manchester By The Sea HD (Vudu)
Man of Steel HD (MA) x2
Mary Poppins Returns 4K (MA)
Mary Poppins Returns HD (GP)
Maze Runner 4K (iTunes)
Maze Runner: The Death Cure HD (MA/Vudu)
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials HD (MA/Vudu)
Mechanic: Resurrection 4K (iTunes)
Midway 4K (Vudu/iTunes)
Minions HD (MA)
Mission: Impossible - Fallout 4K (iTunes)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol 4K (iTunes)
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation 4K (iTunes)
Mission: Impossible 2 4K (iTunes)
Mission: Impossible 3 4K (iTunes)
Mission: Impossible 4K (iTunes)
Moneyball HD (MA)
Monsters Inc 4K (MA)
Monsters Inc HD (GP)
Monsters University 4K (MA)
Monsters University HD (GP) x2
Monsters and Men HD (MA)
Moonrise Kingdom HD (iTunes)
Mr. Poppers Penguins SD (iTunes)
Mud HD (Vudu)
Mud HD (iTunes)
Mulan (1998) HD (GP)
Mulan (2020) HD (GP)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 HD (MA)
My Cousin Vinny HD (MA/Vudu)
Nebraska HD (Vudu) x2
Nebraska HD (iTunes)
Need for Speed HD (MA) x2
Need for Speed HD (GP) x2
Neighbors HD (MA) x3
Neighbors HD (iTunes) x3
Ninja Assassin HD (MA)
Noah HD (Vudu)
Noah HD (iTunes)
Non-Stop HD (MA)
Non-Stop HD (iTunes)
Now You See Me HD (Vudu)
Oceans 8 4K (MA)
Office Christmas Party HD (Vudu)
Office Christmas Party 4K (iTunes)
Oldboy HD (MA)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood HD (MA)
Onward 4K (MA)
Onward HD (GP)
Orange is the New Black Season 1 HD (Vudu)
Orange is the New Black Season 2 HD (Vudu)
Pacific Rim HD (MA) x2
Pain and Gain HD (Vudu)
Patti Cake$ HD (MA/Vudu/iTunes)
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 HD (MA)
Paul HD (iTunes) x2
Penguins of Madagascar HD (MA)
Peppermint HD (iTunes)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower HD (Vudu)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower HD (iTunes)
Pet Sematary (2019) 4K (iTunes)
Pet Sematary (2019) HD (Vudu)
Peter Pan HD (GP)
Pete’s Dragon (2016) 4K (iTunes)
Phantom Thread 4K (MA)
Pillow Talk (1959) HD (MA)
Pinocchio HD (MA)
Pitch Perfect 3 HD (MA)
Pitch Perfect HD (MA/Vudu)
Pitch Perfect 4K (iTunes)
Playing With Fire HD (Vudu)
Point Break (2015) HD (MA)
Power Rangers HD (Vudu)
Predator (1987) 4K (MA)
Predators SD (iTunes)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 4K (MA)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies HD (MA)
Prisoners HD (MA)
Project X HD (MA) x2
Pulp Fiction (Vudu)
Rambo 5-Film Collection 4K (Vudu)
Rampage HD (MA)
Ratatouille 4K (MA) x2
Ratatouille HD (GP)
Ready Player One HD (MA/Vudu) x3
Red 2 4K (iTunes) x2
Red 2 HD (Vudu) x2
Resident Evil: Damnation SD (MA)
Riddick Unrated Director’s Cut HD (iTunes)
Ride Along HD (MA)
Ride Along HD (iTunes)
Ride Along 2 HD (iTunes)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes SD (iTunes) x2
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4K (iTunes)
Pitch Perfect 3 HD (MA)
Rob Zombie Trilogy HD (Vudu)
Robin Hood (2010) 4K (MA)
Robin Hood (2010) 4K (iTunes)
Robocop HD (Vudu) x3
Rocketman 4K (iTunes)
Rocketman HD (Vudu)
Rogue 4K (iTunes)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 4K (iTunes) x2
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story HD (GP) x3
Run All Night HD (MA)
Rush HD (MA)
Russell Madness HD (MA/Vudu)
Safe Haven SD iTunes
Safe House HD (iTunes)
San Andreas 4K (MA)
Sausage Party HD (MA) x2
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World SD (iTunes)
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World HD (iTunes)
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse HD (Vudu)
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse HD (iTunes)
Seal Team Eight: Behind Enemy Lines HD (MA/Vudu)
Serenity (2005) 4K (MA)
Seven Psychopaths HD (MA/Vudu)
Seventh Son HD (MA)
Shaft 4K (MA)
Shaft HD (MA/Vudu)
Shameless: Season 3 HD (Vudu)
Shark Night SD (iTunes)
Shaun of the Dead HD (MA)
Shaun of the Dead 4K (iTunes)
Shazam! 4K (MA)
Sherlock Holmes 4K (MA)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 4K (MA)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows HD (MA) x2
Shooter HD (Vudu)
Shutter Island 4K (Vudu/iTunes)
Sicario HD (Vudu)
Sicario 4K (iTunes)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado HD (MA) x2
Sinister HD (Vudu)
Sinister HD (iTunes)
Sinister 2 HD (MA)
Sisters Unrated HD (iTunes) x2
Sixteen Candles HD (MA)
Sixteen Candles HD (iTunes)
Skyscraper HD (MA)
Sleeping Beauty HD (GP) x2
Sleeping Beauty HD (MA) x2
Snitch HD (Vudu)
Snow White and the Huntsman Extended HD (MA)
Snow White and the Huntsman 4K (iTunes)
Solace HD (Vudu)
Solo: A Star Wars Story 4K (MA)
Solo: A Star Wars Story HD (GP)
Sonic the Hedgehog 4K (iTunes) x2
Space Jam HD (MA)
Spider-Man HD (MA)
Spider-Man: Far From Home 4K (MA)
Spider-Man: Far From Home HD (MA) x2
Spider-Man: Homecoming HD (MA) x2
Split 4K (iTunes) x2
Split HD (MA) x2
Spotlight HD (MA)
Spotlight HD (iTunes)
Spy 4K (iTunes)
St. Vincent HD (Vudu)
Star Trek (2009) SD (iTunes) x2
Star Trek: Into Darkness 4K (iTunes) x2
Star Trek: Into Darkness HD (Vudu)
Star Wars: A New Hope 4K (MA)
Star Wars: A New Hope HD (GP)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 4K (iTunes) x4
Star Wars: The Force Awakens HD (GP) x3
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 4K (iTunes) x4
Star Wars: The Last Jedi HD (GP) x4
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 4K (MA) x3
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 4K (iTunes)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker HD (GP) x4
Step Brothers and Step Brothers Unrated HD (MA)
Storks HD (MA)
Straight Outta Compton 4K (iTunes)
Straight Outta Compton Director’s Cut HD (MA)
Stuber HD (MA)
Sucker Punch HD (MA)
Suicide Squad HD (MA)
Suicide Squad HD (Vudu)
Sully HD (MA) x2
Super 8 HD (Vudu) x2
Super 8 HD (iTunes) x2
Taken HD (MA/Vudu)
Taken 3 HD (MA/Vudu/iTunes)
Tammy HD (MA)
Ted Unrated HD (MA)
Ted HD (iTunes)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4K (iTunes) x2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles HD (Vudu) x2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 4K (iTunes)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows HD (Vudu)
Terminator: Dark Fate 4K (iTunes)
Terminator: Dark Fate HD (Vudu)
Terminator: Genisys HD (Vudu) x2
Terminator: Genisys 4K (iTunes)
Texas Chainsaw HD (Vudu)
Texas Rising HD (Vudu)
Thanks for Sharing HD (Vudu)
The 15:17 To Paris HD (MA)
The Age of Adaline HD (Vudu)
The Age of Adaline HD (iTunes)
The Amazing Spider-Man HD (MA) x2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 HD (MA) x2
The Art of Racing in the Rain HD (MA)
The A-Team SD (iTunes)
The Avengers 4K (MA)
The Avengers HD (GP)
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Eighth Season HD (Vudu)
The Big Lebowski HD (MA)
The Big Lebowski 4K (iTunes)
The Big Short HD (iTunes)
The Big Short HD (Vudu)
The Big Sick HD (Vudu)
The Big Wedding HD (Vudu)
The Big Wedding HD (iTunes)
The Blind Side SD (iTunes) x2
The Blind Side HD (MA)
Boss Baby HD (MA/Vudu)
The Book of Eli HD (MA)
The Boss Unrated HD (MA)
The Boy Next Door HD (MA)
The Bride of Frankenstein HD (MA)
The Bride of Frankenstein HD (iTunes)
The Cabin in the Woods 4K (iTunes)
The Cabin in the Woods HD (Vudu)
The Campaign (MA)
The Counselor HD (MA)
The Dark Knight Rises HD (MA) x3
The Dark Tower HD (MA)
The Devils Rejects HD (Vudu)
The Divergent Series: Allegiant 4K (iTunes)
The Divergent Series: Allegiant HD (Vudu)
The Divergent Series: Insurgent 4K (iTunes) x2
The Divergent Series: Insurgent HD (Vudu) x2
The Doors 4K (Vudu/iTunes)
The Expendables 1-3 Collection HD (Vudu)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift HD (MA)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift 4K (iTunes)
The Fate of the Furious Extended Director’s Cut HD (MA/Vudu) x2
The Fate of the Furious HD (MA/Vudu) x4
The Fate of the Furious 4K (iTunes) x2
The Gambler HD (Vudu) x2
The Gambler HD (iTunes)
The Goonies 4K (MA)
The Greatest Showman HD (MA/Vudu)
The Great Wall 4K (MA)
The Grinch 2018 4K (MA)
The Hangover Part 2 HD (MA) x3
The Hangover Part 3 HD (MA)
The Happytime Murders 4K (iTunes)
The Hateful Eight HD (Vudu)
The Haunting in Connecticut SD (iTunes)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey HD (MA) x2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug HD (MA) x2
The Host HD (iTunes)
The House HD (MA)
The Hunger Games 4K (iTunes) x2
The Hunger Games HD (Vudu) x2
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 4K (iTunes) x2
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire HD (Vudu) x2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 4K (iTunes) x4
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 HD (Vudu) x4
The Incredible Hulk 4K (MA)
The Interview SD (MA)
The Land Before Time HD (iTunes)
The Legend of Tarzan HD (MA)
The Lighthouse HD (Vudu)
The Longest Ride 4K (iTunes) x4
The Lovers HD (Vudu)
The Lucky One HD (MA)
The Magnificent Seven HD (Vudu) x2
The Man With the Iron Fists HD (iTunes)
The Martian 4K (iTunes) x2
The Mummy Returns 4K (iTunes)
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 4K (MA)
The Nice Guys HD (MA)
The Peanuts Movie 4K (iTunes)
The Princess and the Frog 4K (iTunes)
The Princess and the Frog HD (GP)
The Purge 4-Movie Collection HD (MA)
The Purge: Anarchy 4K (MA)
The Revenant 4K (iTunes)
The Rocker SD (iTunes)
The Secret Life of Pets HD (MA)
The Secret Life of Pets 4K (iTunes)
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water HD (Vudu) x3
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water HD (iTunes) x2
The Star (2017) SD (MA)
The Twilight Saga Extended Editions HD (Vudu)
The Vatican Tapes HD (Vudu)
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season HD (Vudu) x2
The Walking Dead: The Complete Ninth Season HD (Vudu)
The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season HD (Vudu)
The Walking Dead: Season Seven HD (Vudu)
The Wedding Ringer HD (MA)
The Wolf of Wall Street HD (Vudu)
The Wolverine Extended HD (MA/Vudu/iTunes)
The Worlds End 4K (iTunes) x2
The Young Messiah HD (MA)
Think Like A Man Too HD (MA)
This is the End HD (MA)
This is Where I Leave You HD (MA)
Thor SD (iTunes)
Thor: Ragnarok 4K (MA)
Thor: Ragnarok 4K (iTunes)
Thor: Ragnarok HD (GP) x2
Thor: The Dark World 4K (iTunes)
Thor: The Dark World HD (GP)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri HD (MA)
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie SD (iTunes)
Tomorrowland HD (MA)
Top Five HD (iTunes)
Top Gun 4K (iTunes)
Top Gun HD (Vudu)
Total Recall (2012) SD (MA)
Toy Story 4 4K (MA)
Toy Story 4 4K (iTunes)
Toy Story 4 HD (GP) x2
Toy Story That Time Forgot HD (GP)
Trainwreck HD (iTunes)
Transformers 4K (iTunes)
Transformers: Age of Extinction 4K (iTunes) x2
Transformers: Age of Extinction HD (Vudu) x2
Transformers: Dark of the Moon 4K (iTunes) x2
Transformers: Dark of the Moon HD (Vudu) x2
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 4K (iTunes)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen HD (Vudu)
Transformers: The Last Knight 4K (iTunes) x4
Transformers: The Last Knight HD (Vudu) x3
Transporter 3 SD (iTunes)
Trouble With the Curve HD (MA)
True Grit HD (Vudu)
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 HD (Vudu)
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 4K (iTunes)
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 HD (Vudu)
Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 4K (iTunes)
Unbroken HD (MA)
Unbroken HD (iTunes)
Unstoppable SD (iTunes)
Upgrade HD (MA)
Up 4K (iTunes)
Up HD (GP) x2
Us/Get Out 4K (MA)
Vacation HD (MA)
Vendetta (2015) HD (Vudu)
Vendetta (2015) HD (iTunes)
Venom SD (MA)
Venom 4K (MA)
Venom HD (MA)
V For Vendetta 4K (MA)
Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts Collection HD (GP)
Walt Disney Animation Studios Shorts Collection HD (MA)
Wanted SD (iTunes)
War for the Planet of the Apes 4K (iTunes) x3
Warcraft 4K (iTunes)
Warcraft HD (MA)
War Room HD (MA)
We Die Young HD (Vudu/iTunes)
We’re The Millers HD (MA) x2
When the Game Stands Tall HD (MA)
Whiplash 4K (MA)
White Boy Rick HD (MA)
White House Down HD (MA)
Why Him? 4K (iTunes)
Willow HD (MA)
Willow HD (GP)
Wonder 4K (iTunes)
Wonder Woman 4K (MA)
Wonder Woman HD (MA)
Words and Pictures HD (Vudu)
World War Z HD (Vudu)
World War Z HD (iTunes) x2
X-Men: Apocalypse 4K (iTunes)
X-Men: Dark Phoenix 4K (MA)
X-Men: Days of Future Past 4K (iTunes) x3
X-Men: First Class SD (iTunes)
Zootopia 4K (iTunes) x2
Zootopia HD (GP) x3

ISO

Cats Eye
Oz The Great and Powerful
Project Almanac (iTunes)
City of God
Grease 2 iTunes
Public Enemies
The Sandlot
Eddie the Eagle 4K
Dolittle 4K
Save Yourselves!
The Eagle iTunes
Army of One
Dark Skies
Lion
Killing Jesus
Zookeeper's Wife
Last House on the Left
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Band of Brothers (Vudu/iTunes)
Pan 4K
Everybody Wants Some!!
The Hundred Foot Journey
101 Dalmatians 2
The Bling Ring
Southpaw
The Silencing
Jumanji: The Next Level 4K

Interested in your lists and prefer iTunes or MA codes

submitted by awookiewarrior to uvtrade [link] [comments]


2020.11.18 13:30 readingrachelx Housewife highlights/Daily shit talk - November 18th, 2020

NEW YORK
"I think Aviva — I would love to film with her again on The Housewives because I feel like we would have a lot fun," Thomson said during an appearance on RealiTea with Derek Z.
"She's had a lot of time to think about her time on the show. Even though maybe some of the things that happened I didn't agree with, I know her intention was not to be a big, bad girl," she continued. "She's got a really good heart and she's a kind person."
"She helped make me iconic," Thomson said on RealiTea with a laugh. "I mean, I was the one that got the leg thrown at the head."
"I really feel lucky that when I had to make the decision to leave the franchise, that everybody got it," she said. "[I was able to leave] an open door to make cameos and continue to show my true relationships on the show."
"I feel like I get the best of both worlds because I can dip my toe in the water, but I don't really need to stay in the kitchen," she added."
"That’s one hot B.
Bethenny Frankel is embracing her single life and dressing to impress.
The former “Real Housewives of New York” star, 50, showed off her body on Instagram, posing in a Tom Ford leather corset skirt and a very revealing black cutout top by Balmain.
“Casual Monday,” she captioned the pic, for which she also sported square sunglasses, Jennifer Fisher hoop earrings and pumps. She finished her outfit with a cheeky lip-print face mask and clear Chanel clutch.
“It’s several years old. I buy and just sits with tags and waits,” Frankel explained of her designer look in the comments.
The sunglasses, she revealed, are her own Skinnygirl design, coming soon.
It’s unclear why the B got so dressed up, but she recently broke up with her boyfriend of two years, Paul Bernon, and has been embracing her new podcast with high-profile guests like Hillary Clinton.
She may not be a “Housewife,” but she is real."
BEVERLY HILLS
SALT LAKE CITY
POTOMAC
"When asked, “How do you fold your napkins to blot your tears? I want specifics for the folding,” Candiace followed up with an expert demonstration.
“OK, so this is toilet paper. I advise against toilet paper because it gets real balled up in your face and in your tears. But you fold it until you can get into the triangle,” explained Candiace, holding up a sample. “Then, you keep folding until you can get it as sharp as possible. And then you just stick it in the duct.”
BRAVO
"Maria Laino DeLuca, Senior Vice President, Consumer and Social Marketing, Bravo and Universal Kids: We had brought Watch What Happens Live to L.A., and just seeing the fans online and seeing the interactions — it was like Beatlemania. People were screaming, went wild. I had never felt that kind of fan energy in my life. And I’ve been to a lot of concerts and experiences. I’d never felt that before, and that really was the moment where we looked at each other and said, ‘We need to do this.”
Deirdre Connolly, Executive Producer for Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at Embassy Row:
It was just really special [that weekend]. And then to see it on a scale like that just made us feel very rewarded by the planning that went into it.The detail that Bravo put into BravoCon was just amazing. I was blown away from each part of it. It was just really, really a very memorable weekend for participants... It was just a really inclusive, celebratory experience.
Laino DeLuca: [We wanted to] really bring our Bravo wink and personality to life and make it feel fun and make it feel like an escape from your life which, thankfully, we were able to achieve.
Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen: There were so many great memories. I love a destination wedding. And this was like one big destination wedding.
That BravoCon experience included panels which put Bravolebs on stage in front of their fans to not only spill secrets, stories, and insights from filming their lives, but to give viewers the chance to ask them, literally, anything.
Emily Simpson, The Real Housewives of Orange County: I did not anticipate [when a fan asked about Shane’s bar exam results]. His bar results came out the day I was on a panel and I didn’t know what [the result] was. I anticipated what it was because I hadn’t heard from him. Someone right in the audience [said], "I can pull up his [results] because it’s all public information." And I was like, "Really? You don’t have to... Do we have to do this in front of like 5,000 people?" [laughs] But it is what it is. I think that’s the assumption of risk, that’s probably what I signed up for. I don’t think I ever told [Shane the fan asked].
I think I was only like a week or two out of surgery from having my hip replaced. So, it was really hard for me to get around. I really could only do like the panels and the meet and greets and stuff. And then I had to go back to the hotel and lay down.
Gizelle Bryant, The Real Housewives of Potomac: The panels were up close and personal. It was a meet and greet on steroids. So I actually liked those a little bit better because you’re able to really connect with the people that week after week are sitting home watching the show. I love them and I appreciate them. And you have to understand our Potomac fans are Potomac fans — meaning they’ve been with us since Day One.
Sezin Cavusoglu, Vice President, Bravo Current Production: Porsha’s foot was in a boot [because she just had surgery]. We wheeled her on to the stage and we wheeled her off the stage. There was a huge line [with RHOA fans for the meet and greet]. The Porsha [and] Kenya [Moore] photo op was definitely one of the highlights for me. For Porsha to make that kind of time while she was standing on one foot, basically, and allow her fans to come in — that was a very special moment.
Lorraine Haughton Lawson, Executive Producer on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Potomac: I was worried about Porsha and her foot. I think Porsha and Kenya kind of carried it — that’s what they do. They never surprise me because those girls are like bonafide stars.
Cynthia Bailey, The Real Housewives of Atlanta: For the Atlanta Housewives [panel], it was really cool for us to be together to represent our franchise together. It felt good to be with my [Atlanta] girls.
And then in terms of the fashion one [with Bravo's Project Runway designer and judge Brandon Maxwell], my background before I was a Housewife, I was a model. So, it was great to be on the panel with the ladies like Dorit [Kemsley] from [The Real Housewives of] Beverly Hills, who I just live for. She’s so cute, so sweet. Her fashion is off the chain.
Laino DeLuca: We talked about a lot of different things [for panels]. We tried to be as creative as possible. I remember saying, ‘What would I really want? I [want to] see Teresa [Giudice] and some of the other New Jersey ladies come together. We know on Sundays they’re probably making their sauce with their family and they’re eating their meatballs. I want to see them making meatballs or making a dish and just having a casual conversation and cooking.
Dolores Catania, The Real Housewives of New Jersey: People know the history between Teresa and I [when we appeared on panels together], and it’s natural to speak about our lives together. I always stay true to who I am because I feel like the fans deserve it from me.
While most of the casts on Bravo shows are filmed at home and on the town in their street clothes, that isn't the case for the yachties of the Below Deck franchise, who are mostly captured working in uniform. BravoCon weekend took them off charter and planted them on land.
The weekend gave fans the chance to live out moments they've seen or heard about on their favorite Bravo shows over the years, and that included an event hosted by The Real Housewives of New York City alum Dorinda Medley, who taught a BravoCon edition of her aerobics class in front of a room of ready, willing, and able fans.
Cohen: Dorinda was so good and it was so fun. I had a blast. It was the perfect kind of final morning activity. I was up for it. Dorobics was pretty nuts.
Connolly: [It was] very celebratory. It was really sweet. We had some concerns about how it was actually going to play out, but Dorinda came with her partner [John Giswold, who passed away earlier this year] and they were just dressed to the nines in ‘80s gear and then we looked out in the crowd and people are in their ‘80s gear. I’m sure they were hungover from the night before, but they showed up. There was a conga line of people doing her aerobics and it was so sweet and fun and lively, and just light. It just kind of summed up the whole experience because it was a Housewife doing what she loves to do and they were loving like every single second of it.
Laino DeLuca: It ended up being just so incredible. [Andy] had planned it all, he had his outfit. He was like, ‘I wanna do this. I wanna get on stage,’ and that was, again, sort of another nice surprise [for fans]. Those surprise and delight moments were very important as a part of this whole weekend, whether it was, I’m waiting in line and it’s really cold outside and bringing the talent out there to have those moments or Andy coming on stage in the middle of Dorobics. Those things contributed to the success of the weekend.
During the weekend, several big announcements were revealed. During WWHL, it was confirmed that Leah McSweeney would be joining The Real Housewives of New York City cast. But that wasn't all! Two big shows were announced as well: Below Deck Sailing Yacht and The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
Laino DeLuca: It felt like a great opportunity to reward our fans and really make it feel even more exclusive by letting them hear it first. Those announcements just felt so right for that audience, not only because of the talent that was present, but again, it just felt like the right time.
Cohen: That was fun [announcing RHOSLC]. I think it really took people by surprise. They were expecting Chicago, or they were expecting everything but that so it was great.
Bryant: [It felt] like we’re no longer the baby of the bunch [when RHOSLC was announced]. We are now O.G.
And while the RHOSLC cast wasn't there in person for the news, believe us, they heard about it.
Meredith Marks, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: It was surreal. To think of how long ago we started the whole process of meeting with producers about the show and to have it finally announced, it just didn’t seem real. The fans seem just as excited as we are for the show to debut. I was in my Chicago home at the time. I don’t think any of us expected such a splashy announcement or a better way to introduce us and the show to the world of Bravo. I love how passionate the fans of the Real Housewives franchise are.. . and at the first BravoCon ever! I could not have ever imagined it!
Whitney Rose, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: It was everything [to have Real Housewives of Salt Lake City announced at BravoCon]! An epic Housewife moment that I am so grateful to be a part of. I was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on vacation just after Justin and I celebrated our vow renewal. No, [I did not expect to get a launching pad like BravoCon for the show]! We were definitely #blessedonthatone.
Heather Gay, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: [It was] totally thrilling to hear Andy say the words Salt Lake City and to hear the Bravo fans be shocked and thrilled simultaneously! [When the announcement was made,] I was at work at Beauty Lab & Laser and had employees monitoring Twitter and IG to watch for it! It was amazing and made it all become very real very quickly. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I knew that saying it to the Bravo fans on such a huge platform meant that it was all happening.
Lisa Barlow, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City: [It was] crazy, exciting, surreal. I was in the car [when the announcement happened at BravoCon]! It was the BEST launching pad.
In addition to teasing the future of Bravo, the weekend also celebrated the network's storied history, including appearances from alums.
Cohen: I would describe it as a big family reunion. My highlight beyond doing Watch What Happens Live was getting together with Caroline Manzo, Jill Zarin, Kim Richards, Kim Zolciak, and the other OGs that were in that first OG panel that I did. I loved it. I go back so far with those women, so that was really cool. It was just great to see them, and it reminded you of why you fell in love with them in the first place.
I think that people feel like they’re friends. They know them really well because they bare everything on camera. I think for that reason people just seem to feel that they know them — it’s like seeing old friends.
Cavusoglu: The fact that two of the panels that Andy hosted on Friday and Saturday mornings with the quote unquote, retired Housewives, there’s a reason those were so popular. It’s because our audience has been watching them for such a long time and they feel like they’ve been on a journey with these people. They see them through divorces, pregnancies, miscarriages, new houses, moves, whatever a person can go through, that are those landmark moments in life. We’ve been watching these people do all that. So, to suddenly be face to face with the person, I get it. I get the thrill. At my core, I’m still such a fan of our shows. I think that it was really thrilling, both for our fans and for our cast members.
And to celebrate the history of the Real Housewives franchise, memorabilia from across seasons, casts, and cities was brought to NYC and put on display in the Real Housewives Museum, giving fans an immersive experience like no other.
Laino DeLuca: We had been talking about doing some sort of curated collection around Housewives for a while, and we really talked and collaborated with all of the groups across Bravo to identify what are those big, buzzy moments from the franchise that we can bring to life. We started there, and did a process of elimination because we only had a certain amount of space to do this.
The museum included all sorts of iconic items from reunion dresses to the RHONJ sprinkle cookies to Kenya Moore's Gone with the Wind Fabulous dress to the RHOBH bunny to, yes even, Tamra Judge's implants.
Bailey: I had one of my reunion dresses there. They asked me for one of my memorable outfits. I chose to send my red [dress]; it was very big gown. I decided to send that one because I actually still had it and I could find it in my garage [laughs]. I didn’t even know they were doing the Friend Contract. I almost passed out when I saw that. It was hilarious. It just lives on and it just never goes away. And now people are doing friend contracts all the time, so it just kind of took off.
BravoCon was, in some ways, not only a romantic getaway for Bravo couples, but also a testing ground for several boyfriends who had yet to get fully immersed in the experience. They learned first-hand how big of a deal their significant others are while attending the event.
Bailey: I think honestly what meant the most to me was that my now-husband [Mike Hill] was able to go with me. Before he met me like he was a fan of the show; he used to watch the show. But he’s never been seen Bravolebrities everywhere. He’s never experienced anything like that. So, it was just really cool to take him out of the sports world and just bombard him with a true Bravo experience. If there was ever a way to kind of explain my life to him, and for him to get it, taking him to BravoCon pretty much said it all in a nutshell.
Gina Kirschenheiter, The Real Housewives of Orange County: It was so cool to be able to show [Travis Mullen] this whole world. It just made it that much more special and fun for me. For me, personally, it felt really good because I stepped into this Bravo world, I’ve had to do it by myself. And it felt really nice to have somebody there that I loved that was so supportive. Trav is a cool cat. He doesn’t crack under the pressure. It is crazy and overwhelming to him, but he’s totally OK in kind of any situation that I put him in. So I think I was more nervous than him. I think he is the person that helps me stay calm. Because even though he isn’t a part of this, and he recognizes that obviously there was a lot going on, he’s not really like fazed by it.
As if BravoCon wasn't enough of a unique experience, a Bazaar curated with products sold by Bravolebs was also a highlight of the weekend.
Laino DeLuca: I have to say when you plan events, especially large-scale events like this, sometimes you don’t know what to expect, and I feel that Bazaar Marketplace was one of the things that we kept changing. One of the things that we didn’t expect was the talent enjoying it so much and telling us that they really enjoyed it and interacting as much as they did. They went really above and beyond, and I think that speaks to sort of the passion that was exuding from these consumers. It was very clear that it was just a positive good group of people that ended up being a really nice surprise.
Bailey: It was awesome. I really wanted to make sure that I had a presence there. My CB Vior line has been around for a couple of years now and I rock it a lot on the show. So a lot of my fans were excited to really see everything in person. Anything I pretty much sell, I really wear it. So it was just great to really mingle with [the fans]. Just to see the love and support coming from my fans — it’s one thing to have a bunch of followers, but it’s another thing to actually have followers and fans that actually support your businesses and buy your products. So, it was just really cool to really be able to hang out with them and get to meet them.
The weekend ended on Sunday, November 17, in a truly legendary fashion. Luann de Lesseps took the stage for a special performance of her #CountessandFriends cabaret show.
Luann de Lesseps, The Real Housewives of New York City: Performing Countess and Friends, of course [was my favorite memory]! It was nice to have a whole group of people who are just huge Bravo fans. There was so much love in the room. It was just so incredible to have all my peers in the room. It was an enormous honor.
Laino DeLuca: Her show has become so iconic and has really gained a following and was exciting. We thought our fans would really enjoy experiencing that and making that part of the weekend. We felt like it was a great way to end it all.
Kate Chastain, Below Deck: We hear so much about it on [The Real] Housewives of New York City. So, to go there and be sitting in an area next to a few Housewives, Andy Cohen’s assistant Daryn [Carp] was up there, it made it pretty special. I’m glad that was the cabaret show that I attended.
In the end, though, BravoCon was really about the fans and celebrating their devotion to the people they watch every week. And that is a love that is very much reciprocated by the Bravolebs.
Bailey: It’s amazing [and] a little overwhelming at the same time because our [RHOA] fans are so diehard and so loyal. They just freak out. They literally are shaking when they take pictures with us. So it’s really cool to actually meet the fans because they only see us on television, so when they are in front of us they just pretty much freak out.
Bryant: Those ladies [from the other Real Housewives franchises] have been around for at least a decade. And here we are — just me and Ashley off of this little show — and what I did love was that we got just as much love and respect from the fans that those ladies did. And on top of that, the other Housewives gave us so much love that that’s what really did it for me.
It was beyond loving. I had no concept for the magnitude to what I was walking into. I remember going into like the main ballroom and it was pandemonium. I was very humbled to be a part of it, to be honest.
Catania: Pulling up not knowing what to expect, and having streets full of people screaming my name [was the craziest moment]. Getting to meet and greet all the fans who were standing in lines for hours and support us [and] connecting with our extended Bravo family [and] fans [is a favorite memory]. I felt like I was a part of something so much bigger than the Housewives of New Jersey. Even though people came from all different parts of the world, it felt like one big family reunion.
Cohen: It was great. It was full throttle. The other thing I loved is that fans who came alone or fans who came with friends, they were just all with like-minded people. So I feel like people who attended BravoCon actually made a lot of friends. They all spoke the same language, it was very cool.
Kirschenheiter: It’s always so nice for me to do anything with Bravo because everything is usually in New York. It’s a bonus for me [being from here] because I get to see my family and my friends when I'm there. And I think it just means so much more to me. It feels like coming home. And there were so many fans that came out from Long Island specifically. The whole BravoCon, it was so electrifying, and full of energy and fun.
Catania: Meeting fans from all around the world, seeing them in person and getting to take photos with them [still stands out to me]. BravoCon today, next to Andy Cohen’s baby shower, is the most iconic thing in Bravo history.
Cohen: I would say it was euphoric. It was like a reunion of all reunions. It was interactive and it was just a total success."
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2020.11.18 01:43 Born-Beach Somebody tried to kill me when I was young. A monster saved my life. [Part 2] [FINAL]

Read the first half here.

Then, she turned on her heel and left my room, closing the door behind her.
I lay there, sat-up in bed, my body too awash with adrenaline to even dream of sleeping or thinking or doing anything. I just waited, wired and awake.
I waited for her to come back and kill me.

She never did.
The sun rose, and with it came the sound of cars in the street and dogs barking in their yards. I nervously stepped out of bed. My feet were cold against the hardwood, but I barely noticed. All I could think about was my mother, and how she would react this morning. Usually she was full of smiles and affection after she’d slept off the booze, but after last night I wasn’t so sure. Something seemed to have changed in her.
When I made my way downstairs for breakfast, she wasn’t there. Normally she was eating her porridge and ready to grab my cereal of choice from the cupboard. This time it was just me. The house felt empty. Lonely.
I clambered onto the countertop and opened the cupboard, pulling out a box of Frosted Flakes. I did my best to remember what Mr Gilad had told me the day before. It doesn’t matter what my parents think of me, I thought to myself. I need to forge my own path and listen to my heart. I have to do what I think is right, and not let anybody, my parents or otherwise, get in the way of that.
I thought about his words over my bowl of cereal. Even if my dad didn’t love me, and even if my mom wished I’d never been born, I could still find my own path in life.
As I ate, I monitored the digital clock sitting on our kitchen counter. It was a habit I picked up because my mom was always very strict about ushering me into the car by 7:15am, so she could drop me off in time to get to work.
Right now it read 7:45am. She was nowhere in sight.
A minute later I heard the familiar creak of footsteps on the stairs, and my mood picked up. Even after everything that had happened last night, my mom hadn’t hurt me, and I still had my trivia competition with Mr Gilad and Oscar to look forward to. Maybe mom realized she loved me too much to hurt me.
The creaking stopped as the footsteps reached the landing, and my dad bustled around the corner, adjusting his tie. He paused, seeing me at the kitchen table. “What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for mom,” I said quietly.
“Excuse me?” he said, his voice rising.
I swallowed. My father always had a way of making me feel smaller than I already was. “Waiting for mom, dad.”
He stared at me with something between irritation and disbelief. “Your mom’s not home.”
“What?”
“I said she’s not home. Do you need a fucking hearing aid now too?”
I looked down, eating another spoonful of Frosted Flakes. Where did she go? I wondered. She was here last night.
My eyes drifted to the digital display. The clock now read 7:50am. Class was starting in ten minutes, and so was my trivia competition. It took at least ten minutes to drive to school.
“Dad?” I asked.
“Have you seen my briefcase?” he said, impatiently.
“No, sorry.”
“Fuck!” he snapped. “That stupid bitch probably took it!” He adjusted his collar and reached for the coffee pot, before realizing it was empty and then flung it across the room, where it shattered on the wall. “Everything I do!” he screamed. “Taken for granted!”
Mr Gilad’s words echoed in my head. To believe in myself. To trust in my instincts. To do what I felt I needed to. I cleared my throat. “Can you drive me to school, I have a trivia compet--”
“Do I look like your mother?” he said incredulously. I stared at him, feeling tears welling in my eyes. Eventually, I shook my head.
“I have a real job,” he said, grabbing his jacket from the wall and opening the front door. “I don’t have time to play at being a parent.” He muttered something about ingrates, and then disappeared through the doorway, shutting the door behind him.
I sat at the table for a few more minutes, too stunned to do anything. My mom was gone. My dad was gone. It was just me in the house now. My family didn’t care about me. Nobody gave a damn.
No, that wasn’t true.
Oscar cared. Mr Gilad cared.
I snatched my jacket from the coat rack beside the door and exited after my father. I used the key we hid under the rock in our garden to lock the house behind me, and I started jogging toward the school. Usually, when I walked home with Oscar it’d take us just over an hour. Unfortunately for me though, Hillcrest school lived up to its namesake.
My school sat perched atop a large hill, overlooking the rest of Plumberry township. At the top, it was really a spectacular view. To the north you could see most of the local streets, all the way up to the city hall, downtown. To the south, you could see far down the country road, all the way out to Lake Tyler and Gefferson forest beyond.
Still, it was uphill. Which meant it would be a longer walk to than from. I was determined though. Mr Gilad’s words recited themselves in my mind like a mantra, pushing me ever forward.
I kept my eye on the watch on my wrist, figuring if I could get there before 8:30, I’d be in the clear. In both third grade classes, we did a sharing period from 8 till 8:30, where we talked about our day or new things we found interesting.
My sneakers pounded along the sidewalk, my backpack bouncing up and down with my binder, pencils and markers. I made good time getting to the bottom of the hill, and at the distant top I could see the gates that marked the entrance to Hillcrest elementary.
I started my ascent.
It was slow going. As I went, I kept track of the watch on my wrist. 8:20am. I had ten minutes to reach the top, and I was barely a quarter of the way there. My breath was coming in big heaves and my legs, tired from jogging for so long, burned with soreness. I felt lightheaded and wobbly -- out of breath.
I continued to climb, more slowly now. I didn’t have a water bottle, and I was beginning to feel incredibly thirsty, but I knew I needed to get to the top before the trivia competition started.
Somehow, even after everything that had happened with my mom and dad, I felt like if I could just win that competition, then everything would be alright. My mom would come home, and she’d realize how smart I was and decide that drinking wasn’t worth it, and my dad would be so proud of me that he’d start taking an interest in my studies.
My eyes drifted back to the watch on my wrist, and my heart fell. 8:45am. How had I been walking up the hill for so long already? I stopped, catching my breath and realizing none of it mattered anymore.
I was way too late for trivia, and I was probably going to end up in detention besides that. There wasn’t any point in rushing now.
My day was already ruined.
I took the rest of the hill at a slower walk, and my legs thanked me for it. I hated my mom for leaving last night, and I hated my dad for not driving me to school. I hated both of them for making me miss out on trivia, and disappoint the one adult who seemed to care about me: Mr Gilad.
Tears tugged at the corners of my eyes as I considered how ashamed of me he probably was. He went through all the trouble of securing me permission to attend his class this morning, and I gave him my word I’d be there. Then I didn’t show up at all, and my dad didn’t so much as call the school and let them know I’d be late.
He probably thought I was just as much of a lost cause as my parents by now.
“There he is!” a shrill voice shrieked. “Oh my god, he’s here!”
I looked up as Mrs Applefig came stampeding toward me, her lined face filled with concern and her tone thick with relief. “Walter, are you okay?” she wrapped me into a tight hug. “Thank goodness. Thank goodness.”
I’d been so absorbed in my own thoughts that I hadn’t even noticed I’d crested the hill and come up in front of my school. Mrs Applefig smothered me with her hug, and all I could see was the blue fabric of her blouse. “I’m fine, Mrs Applefig,” I lied. “I’m sorry for being late.”
“It’s okay, sweetheart. It’s okay,” she said, pressing her face to mine. I felt something wet on her cheek.
“Gloria, is that Walter Thimby?” a man bellowed, and I recognized it as Principal Patel.
She wheeled around, nodding fiercely. “It is, Uday! It is!”
Freed from Mrs Applefig’s all-encompassing blouse, I became acutely aware of something very strange: my entire school was staring at me.
“Bring him over here,” Principal Patel called out. “Everybody triple check your students and make sure everybody’s accounted for!”
Mrs Applefig ushered me into a line with the rest of my classmates, and I plunked down on the grass beside Jessie Wilson, a blonde kid who held the record for most school suspensions in third grade. He leaned over and whispered into my ear.
“Whew,” he said. “Gotta say man, for a while there you had us worried.”
“Had you worried?” I said, feeling too depressed to chitchat.
“Yeah,” he said. He thumbed over his shoulder, back toward the school behind us. “We thought you were still inside.”
Still inside? I turned around, and gazed at the school with narrowed eyes. Beyond the belltower in the center, I saw a dark cloud billowing into the sky.
Smoke.
“The south wing caught fire early this morning,” Jessie explained. “We cleared out all the classrooms, but I guess we’re still missing some students. You were one of them.”
I swallowed. The smoke was pitch black, and heavy. It looked like it was growing thicker.
“Firefighters are on the other side,” Jessie continued. “They’ve been fighting the blaze for twenty minutes now, but it keeps getting bigger. They’re calling in fire trucks from the next town over.”
I stared, transfixed at the pillar of shadow rising from the school. Beneath it, faint in the brightness of the morning sun, I spotted the flicker of flames.
The school was burning.
Just then, a cacophony of sirens sounded in the distance. A handful of seconds later, and two fire trucks roared over the crest of the hill, through the school gates, and swung around the parking lot toward the south side. I gazed after them in awe. I’d never seen fire trucks in action before.
“Mister Thimbly,” Principal Patel said firmly. I blinked, returning my attention to the front of me. He crouched down, meeting me at eye level. “I need to know if you were with Mr Gilad’s class this morning.”
“Mr Gilad’s class?” I said, confused. “No, I was late. I was supposed to be but--”
“Jesus,” he muttered, shaking his head and standing up. “He wasn’t!” he shouted to somebody I didn’t recognize. They were in a suit and on a cellphone, and their lips were moving fast.
“That’s not good,” Jessie said beside me.
“What’s going on?” I asked, fear beginning to take seat in my chest.
“We’re missing twenty two kids still, and one teacher.”
I swallowed, a piece of me already knowing the answer to the question I was about to ask. “Who?”
“Mr Gilad,” Jessie said darkly. “Nobody knows where he is, or his class.”
“They’re two doors down from us,” I argued. “How can they not know where he is?”
Mrs Applefig appeared in front of us, her finger pursed to her lips. “Shh!” she hissed. “It’s important that we’re all quiet. This is a very serious situation and it’s crucial that Principal Patel is able to hear what’s going on.”
Jessie and I closed our mouths, nodding in acknowledgement. As soon as Mrs Applefig shuffled out of earshot though, he leaned over and resumed his whispering.
“That’s the thing, they cleared the entire school. The fire alarm went off as soon as the smoke detector caught whiff, and Patel himself made sure to double check every classroom to make sure they were clear. All of them were empty.”
I shook my head. “That doesn’t make any sense,” I said, defiance leaking into my voice. Oscar was in that class, there was no way Patel would miss Oscar. He was the loudest kid I’d ever met. “They had to have been there. We were doing a trivia competition today.”
Jessie shrugged. “Don’t know what to tell you man, that’s just what I’ve heard.”
My mind raced. Where could they be? Mr Gilad had promised me there would be a trivia competition today. He hadn’t told me to meet the class anywhere special. They had to be here.
My eyes scanned the crowd of assembled students. Each class was separated into small ranks, with their teachers standing out front. I went over every single one of them twice, then once again to be certain. No Oscar. No Mr Gilad.
Once again I felt my emotions getting the better of me. Tears began welling in the corners of my eyes, but I took a deep breath. Maybe they had met up at the school, and then gone for a walk? I looked up at the near cloudless sky, and the warm sun. It was an uncharacteristically nice day for November. Maybe Mr Gilad took them outside for the trivia competition, so that they could enjoy the weather?
A crash sounded behind me, and myself, and every other students’ heads turned in near unison. I watched, transfixed in horror as the bell tower, now almost entirely enshrouded in thick black smoke, sagged, and then with a loud groan fell backwards, onto the blazing south wing. The resultant collision was deafening. The roof of the school caved in instantly, and in its wake exploded an inferno of fire and smoke.
Screams erupted from the students.
My jaw dropped. I was watching my school, the one place I truly felt at home, be destroyed in front of my very eyes. It felt surreal. Like I was dreaming, and couldn't wake up.
It was Mrs Applefig’s crying that brought me back to earth. She had a hand covering her mouth, and she kept muttering the words “Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.”
A moment later a school bus arrived, and all of us whose parents hadn’t picked us up yet were loaded into it. I remember resisting at first, telling Mrs Applefig that I needed to wait for Oscar, but she kept crying and telling me I had to get onboard. “Please,” she said. “Please, Walter.”
I relented, and fifteen minutes later the bus dropped me off at home. I used the key in the garden to get back inside, and when I did, I called out for my mom. She didn’t answer, so I went into the kitchen and picked up my phone, calling Oscar’s house. Maybe he was home sick.
The ringer rang once, twice, three times and then a voice picked up. “Hello?” it said breathlessly. “Sarah? Matthew? Is Oscar at your house with Walter? Please we need to--”
“No,” I said. “This is Walter. Oscar’s not here.”
The line went quiet on the other end.
“Is he not at home?” I asked.
“No,” said his mother’s voice, though it was broken, and filled with sadness. I heard her stifle a sob. “I’m sorry, Walter. I have to go.”
“Okay, Miss Cortez.”
The line went dead, and I hung up the phone. I looked over to the clock. It read 10:54am. My dad wouldn’t be home for another six hours, so in the meantime I made my way to the living room and turned on the TV, hoping maybe there was something on the news.
I flicked through the channels until I spotted a newscaster in front of my school.
“-- Here in front of Hillcrest elementary, where a vicious fire has caused the bell tower to collapse upon the South Wing. The blaze has finally been out and overhauled by firefighters, and efforts to locate survivors, as well as fully assess the extent of the damage have begun.”
The woman speaking, dressed in a nice business suit, turned her attention to somebody off camera. They exchanged a few words with her microphone down and unable to pick up more than faint mumbles of sound. A moment later, she looked back at the camera and raised her microphone to her mouth.
“I’ve just received word from the fire department that several remains have been located within Hillcrest. These remains are suspected to belong to the missing third grade class, taught by Mr Heinrich Gilad.”
An emptiness stole through me. The news lady continued speaking, but her words washed over me like white noise. Several remains have been located within Hillcrest. The words haunted me, replaying over and over again in my head. It wasn’t until my father came home that I realized just how long I’d been sitting there.
“Walter?” he said, before rushing over to me. He pulled me into a tight hug. “Oh, god, Walter. I was so worried for you. I was in a meeting and I didn’t hear until twenty minutes ago, once I did I came right over--”
“It’s okay, dad,” I said, though my voice was void of emotion. It was such an odd sort of feeling. All of my life I had craved this sort of attention and affection from my father, and yet now that I was receiving it, it didn’t mean anything to me.
I felt empty inside.
My dad took me upstairs, ordered me my favorite pizza and rented the newest Harry Potter movie for me. He sat with me all night. Every so often he would ask me if I was okay, and apologize for yelling at me earlier, but I hardly registered it. My thoughts were consumed with thoughts of Oscar, and Mr Gilad.
They were gone.
The next morning school was predictably canceled. My father stayed home with me, and put on another rented movie in my room. This one was Monsters Inc. I only watched it for twenty minutes or so before I wandered downstairs. I found my dad on the couch in the living room, his back facing me, watching the news lady I’d watched yesterday.
She was in front of the scorched remains of the south wing of my school, and it looked like a windy day, because her blond hair was blowing all over the place.
“-- I'm again in front of the wreckage of Hillcrest Elementary’s South Wing, where twenty two children and one man are believed to have lost their lives early yesterday morning, in what can only be described as the greatest tragedy in Plumdale history...”
My dad reached for his mug on the coffee table and took a sip. It occurred to me that he must have taken the day off of work to stay home with me.
“...Yesterday morning a fire blazed, quickly spreading through the South Wing and eventually reaching the bell tower. An old school, built in the early 1900s, Hillcrest Elementary was built primarily of highly flammable lumber, and the bell tower was no exception. At 10:13am it fell backward, onto the South Wing, collapsing that section of the school and dooming the individuals trapped inside.”
She touched her ear, and her eyes looked sideways, as if somebody was speaking to her.
“I’m just receiving word that the investigation has determined some rather disturbing details. I… I should caution viewers at home that what I’m about to say is not for the faint of heart.”
The news lady cleared her throat, and I drew closer behind my father.
“Investigators have located two thick wooden doors in the wreckage. The deadbolts belonging to these doors were discovered in the outward, or locked position. According to blueprints, these doors lead into the basement of the school, where the Hillcrest archive was held.”
“Jesus…” I heard my father mutter, leaning forward and setting his mug back down on the table.
“The twenty two students and teacher, who we have now positively identified as one Mr Heinnrich Gilad via dental records, appear to have been locked inside the school’s basement at the time of the blaze. Details pertaining as to why are still unknown. The stunning ferocity of the blaze, according to investigators, is due to old film reels located in the school’s archive. These reels contained nitrate, a substance which burns hotter than gasoline...”
I swallowed.
“One aspect of the tragedy that school Principal Uday Patel is wrestling with, is that he never physically cleared any of the school’s basement areas.”
The camera cuts out, and I see my principal giving an interview on the school grounds, but in a different location during a different time of day.
“I checked everywhere,” he said, adjusting his glasses and keeping his voice level. “Every classroom was personally cleared by myself, as well as a team of three other faculty members. We ensured to check all of them. I double checked them personally, and suffered severe smoke exposure in the process. Of course, in the interest of protecting my students --”
“What about the basement?” the interviewer asked from off screen, and I recognized the voice as the news lady from earlier.
Principal Patel's voice cracked as he began his reply. “I saw no need to physically check the basements. It seemed a dangerous task, given the relative size of them, and the speed at which the blaze was spreading. As I walked by the basement areas in each wing, I called down and asked if anybody was down there and needed assistance. I heard no response, and so I continued on. There simply wasn’t any time.”
The screen cut back to the news lady, and a small icon in the corner reads LIVE.
“Strangely enough, despite Principal Patel’s calls, nobody answered. Given the amount of remains located within the school’s archive, it seems as though such screams would have been loud and plentiful. One theory as to why Patel didn’t hear any of the victims, was that they had already suffered from toxin inhalation due to the nitrate film off-gassing. It's highly likely they'd already passed out --- sorry?”
The news lady brought a hand to earpiece again. Seconds ticked by in silence, and I realized somebody must be speaking to her on the other end, because her expression slowly became more and more disturbed. Finally, she cleared her throat and brought the mic to her lips.
“For those watching at home, particularly family members of the suspected deceased, your viewer discretion is advised."
Her voice trembled and she readjusted her grip on the mic. She cleared her throat.
"I can hardly believe I’m about to say this in sleepy Plumdale, but investigators have just determined that, based on observed damage to a child's hyoid bone, their throat is presumed to have been slit."
The news lady closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "According to dental records, one Oscar Cortez appears to have died prior to the start of the blaze.”
I gazed, transfixed in horror at the television screen. My father was too stunned to notice me creeping ever closer, drawn toward the scenes on the display. “It is now being posited that perhaps this young man was killed in an attempt to scare the remaining twenty-one children into silence.”
“Oh my god,” my dad muttered. He ran a hand through his mess of hair, and I can tell by his sleeves that he’s wearing his housecoat. He didn't even bother getting dressed today.
I took another step closer and the floorboard croaked. My father turned around. “Walter?” he exclaimed. “Jesus, Walter! You shouldn’t be watching this!”
He rushed around the couch, and the news lady's words became muffled against his chest as he lifted me up and carried me back upstairs.
“You need to take it easy, alright?” he said, ferrying me through the hallway. “I know you’re going through a lot right now, and I know your worthless joke of a mother abandoned us, but the two of us gotta stick together, okay? And that means you gotta trust that I know what’s best for you. Now I don’t want to see you out of your room again today, alright?”
He gently lowered me onto my bed, and hit play on the Monsters Inc movie. “You need to take some time for yourself. Don’t worry about the news. This is all just conjecture right now anyway.”
He paid me a remorseful smile and closed my bedroom door behind him. I laid there, staring at my wall and oblivious to the sounds of Sully and Mike from the movie. All I could think about was Mr Gilad’s words, playing on repeat inside of my head.
"I never felt fulfilled, because each day I felt like I was a part of a play, or an act. I felt like I was fighting tooth and nail against my instincts, and it was only making me more desperate to see them through."
Tears slipped from the corners of my eyes. Thanks to the news lady, I finally knew the answer to my trivia question.
Nitrate burned hotter than gasoline.

[x.x]
submitted by Born-Beach to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.11.17 22:26 hi_me_use_reddit9559 Someone really doesn’t like Home Alone 2...

Home Alone 2 is fucked up. It is a degenerate's holiday film.
Kevin McAllister is a rich, white, suburban American kid whose stupid family is obscenely wealthy. Not just his immediate family, but his extended family as well. Not only is the McAllister dynasty wealthy enough to support a Parisian vacation over the holidays with 11 horrible children, but the other McAllister terror cell they are visiting is rich enough to be kicking it back in Paris while their entire multifloor Manhattan townhouse undergoes extensive renovations. This is a family whose wealth knows no measure or limit. The financial security Kevin enjoys as an upper class young boy cannot be overstated. Kevin McAllister is a boy with no concept whatsoever of want besides superficial desires like cheese pizza.
In Home Alone 2, Kevin finds himself lost in Manhattan with his father's credit card. For all intents and purposes, Kevin has unlimited money to do whatever he wants. So he does. He goes to The Plaza Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, and tricks the staff in to giving him a room. While we are meant to be impressed with Kevin's antics, this is only the beginning of a long series of humiliations he exerts over the service workers at this hotel as Kevin lords over them all with his generational wealth.
While Home Alone 1 has Kevin defending himself from would be home invaders in a life threatening situation, the service staff at The Plaza poses no such threat to him. They are not invading his space, he is invading theirs. Every single one of them are there because it's their job to be. They are doing their jobs - over the holidays no less - as Kevin manipulates them to fulfill his luxurious whims. We are meant to find it hilarious how he degrades and debases them. He doesn't tip them, he subjects them to repeated embarrassment, and ultimately makes them afraid for their lives as he simulates a mass shooting. We saw a glimpse of this in Home Alone 1 with the pizza delivery boy, but in Home Alone 2, Kevin's treatment of the wage staff at this hotel is inhumane. What we see here is that upper class Kevin exerting unearned dominance over the working class with extreme prejudice.
There is not a single hotel employee that has done anything to earn Kevin's abuse beyond do their jobs. Yet he makes them afraid they will be murdered if they dare step out of line. This is shameful.
However, where the movie is really beyond the pale is in regards to Kevin's relationship with "the pigeon lady." This homeless woman isn't even given the dignity of a name in this film. At first, Kevin perceives her with fear and disgust. He attempts to run from her but fumbles and becomes stuck. She helps him and Kevin momentarily shows a glimmer of humanity as he realizes it was wrong to be afraid of her. This moment of empathy is brief however as Kevin's selfishness and sociopathy does not allow for any actual understanding of anyone below his social class.
This woman explains that she wasn't always homeless. She once had a home and a man she loved very much but it ended badly. This incident gave her PTSD and now she is distrustful of others and is unable to function in society. She calmly and bravely opens up to Kevin about her past trauma and her subsequent dehumanization in an uncaring society that forsakes the mentally ill. And do you know how Kevin responds? He says yeah, he gets it, because he's the youngest in his disgusting family. He then tells her to get over it and that only by opening herself up to love again will she ever not be a homeless lady covered in bird shit again. Straight up, to her vulnerable face, Kevin tells a homeless woman that she is responsible for her own prolonged destitution and that if she wants people to treat her better she needs to get over her mental illness. Kevin then goes home to his luxury hotel where he has every whim of his indulged by service workers he humiliates.
Seriously, he has unlimited money. He couldn't have gotten her a place to stay? Or invited her to stay with him? He couldn't share his unlimited food with her? He didn't even offer to let her take a shower. He descends from his nearly-llteral ivory tower, blames a shit covered mentally ill homeless woman who suffers nonstop dehumanization that she needs to get over her PTSD, and at the end of a movie he gives her a fucking bird ornament to show her how much he cares about her. How does he sleep at night in his king size bed at The Plaza Hotel knowing that someone who opened up to him about her inescapable poverty and trauma is sleeping on the street in the cold? What is wrong with this monster?
Home Alone 2 is a perverse Christmas Carol. It is the story of a spoiled rich young boy whose time with the working class and the poor motivates him to torment or abandon them. Even his supposedly virtuous gesture of preventing the toy store robbery costs him nothing. It's not his money. It's not his donation. Kevin does nothing except take a tour of what it's like to be less fortunate than him and live it up in a Trump Hotel. The Wet Bandits were right to want to kill Kevin and I always hope they catch him.
It is a disgraceful film and I hate it with my life. It is perfect that Trump is in this movie. Perfect.
submitted by hi_me_use_reddit9559 to copypasta [link] [comments]


2020.11.17 21:29 jensyao Guide to Mos Def

Resurrected from: https://www.reddit.com/hiphopheads/comments/2182of/guide_to_mos_def_yasiin_bey/
The unofficially official guide to Dante Terrell Smith, aka the Mighty Mos Def, aka Yasiin Bey, aka Black Dante, el Guapo, Pretty Flaco, Flaco Bey, Boogie Man, the Chief Rocker, fuel-injected Zulu horse proper, love boogie beybeybeybey.
Note, this is meant to be more of a listening guide. Some of the links are missing due to space restrictions but they are only a Google away
As a Mos stan and fellow Brooklynite, I put this together before his Top Ten Tuesday post tomorrow. In this post I've tried to highlight his critically acclaimed works, some of my personal favorites, and some lesser known tracks in an effort to paint a clearer picture of Mos Def's diverse style and skills. I commented on the older tracks more to throw in some historical context... it was a big deal to get a Busta Rhymes feature in 1999, not so much in 2009.
Mos grew up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; the same neighborhood as Biggie, JayZ, BDK, and countless other rappers. He's simply the the native son, speaking in the native tongue.
Straight out the gate on Universal Magnetic, he defines his style perfectly: "I'm tryna keep it eye level. I ain't trying to beat nobody in the head". Mos continues to put out 'conscious rap' tracks that are easy to listen to but carry a deep meaning. He may be one of the founders of conscious rap, but that's not where it stops. Mos's lyrical and technical skills, combined with his smooth and fluid flow have resulted in a diverse range of music.
The Beginning
His first two songs (along with his work in UTD) are cocky, intellectual, and insightful:
Universal Magnetic (Single, 1997) - Mos Def's first track afaik. Makes references to Brooklyn and b-boy culture. You can already tell he has worldly knowledge from his references. He also mentions the five percenters (Yasiin accepted Islam at 19). Reflection Eternal ft Mos Def & Mr Man - Fortified Live (Feature, 1997) - Another track that put Mos on the map and united him with Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek, artists he continued to work with for years. Talks about being black, living in poverty, crime, police, and Islam. Bonus hot fiiya guest lyric: "I'll cut your ass in half and leave you with a semicolon" - Mr Man. Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (1998)
Mos teams up with Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek again, this time putting out one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. They're self-proclaimed real life documentarians with a responsibility to shine the light into the darkness.
First solo album, critically acclaimed.
Second solo album, positive reviews. I can see how tracks like "The Rape Over" and "War" could rub critics the wrong way.
Heavy influences from blues, jazz, and rock. Marvin Gaye and Jack Johnson mentioned throughout the album.
Mixed reviews. What do I think? "Little homie you can call it what you want, But you can't call it weak, And you can't call it chump" (Undeniable)
Latest album. Once again critically acclaimed, nominated for a Grammy Award. "Definitely out of dopeness, sketch another opus."
Has some crazy samples, and shows heavy influences from blues, funk, jazz, Arabic, and Latin music. There's even a whole track in Spanish.
Current Project - Live music from all over Africa
Side Projects
He's in a rock band called Black Jack Johnson. Designed some converses and has a clothing line.
Film
Y'all thought I was finished?
I am, actually. Ran out of space. Been nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe, has been acting just as long as he's been rapping. Check out his work.
Post your favorites fam
submitted by jensyao to 90sHipHop [link] [comments]


2020.11.17 21:10 getyaisha "I started the Zombie apocalypse" (Fiction)

What you’re about to hear are pirated broadcasts recorded by different sources and archived by an agent Foster who’s exact designation is unknown. The tapes were found in an abandoned storefront in Seattle Washington October 8, 2020.
Recording: audio file 1 December 15, 2019 This whole thing started a few years ago when I bought a book from a local resale shop, the book was “The Zombie Survival Guide” now I know what you’re thinking. Here we go another one of those survivalist nuts. To be honest you’d be right to think that, because I am. I have undergone weapons training and multiple survival camps but none of that is why I chose to do this. In the book I mentioned before there’s a part that references a film, “The 1965 Lawson footage”, this caught my attention and instantly put me on the path that led me here. The internet will tell you it’s make believe, that it doesn’t exist and it was just a part of a silly book. But what else would they tell you about something they don’t want you to know? It took two years of dead ends and dark web searches before I met Martin Lang, I met Martin through a Wilderness survival forum on Reddit. He claimed to have the original film. I couldn’t convince his to sell it but he agreed to meet with me and let me watch it. The only problem was Martin lived in Telluride and I was living in Arizona at the time. It’s about an eight hour trip, add in traffic and stops more like nine or ten hours. We agreed to meet on a Saturday that way neither of us had to miss work. I remember hoping this wasn’t going to another bullshit blank trip and it wasn’t. We met up at some grill on the corner of north Fir and Columbia. Martin was an older guy early fifties ide guess, tall around six two, clean shaven with short cropped grey hair. It’s hard to describe his demeanor, in a word I would call it paranoid. He never really looks directly at you when he speaks, he’s always scanning the area and talking under his breath as if someone might be listening. “Dave it’s good to finally meet you in person”, he said nervously reaching out to shake my hand with a slight chuckle. “There’s a library four blocks from here on Pine Street, they have a film room, I’ll meet you there in the morning there’s a hotel one street over get a room, get some rest”. I had to stop him right there, the way he was acting was starting to freak me out a little bit. I was starting to wonder if we were in any real danger. “Is everything alright, you’re acting a little sketchy right now. Should I be worried or what?” He stopped scanning the area and looked me directly in the eyes, “We’ll talk about it in the morning.” With that he gave me that same nervous smile, got in his car and drove away. I could’ve just gone home, but I didn’t. Since I was already at the grill I grabbed a burger and a beer then headed over to the hotel. I woke up the next morning feeling like a kid on Christmas, like I was about to unwrap the best gift ever. (Worst day of my fucking life.) When I got to the library Martin was already there, as soon as I walked into the film room Martin jumped as if I had caught him doing something wrong. “Jesus, you scared me Dave, sorry if I’m a little jumpy this shit makes me nervous. There’s a lot to cover and once you see what this really is, you’ll understand.” Taking a deep breath he started feeding me what he knew, “There are different stages of the virus, stage one only effects one super rare blood type and even then most people’s immune system destroys it. But there are some the virus thrives in, once they’re infected they lose their minds, they start doing crazy shit like locking their children in cars or walking into malls shooting everyone in sight. From what I can tell this virus is responsible for every serial killer and mass shooting since 1966. The zombie part is real but typically the infected party is either captured or killed. If the infected person is killed and the body isn’t disposed of the virus reanimates the corpse in an attempt to keep itself alive. Then and only then can the virus be passed to any blood type through saliva.” It was too much information, I cut it short trying to get to the point. “Look Martin, what you’re saying sounds great and all but I’m not in the mood for fan fiction. Can we please watch the film without the bullshit?” He looked a little disappointed by my reaction but then he said something I’ll never forget, “Just because you don’t believe it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” it wasn’t so much what he said but how he said it that stuck in my head. As it turns out there were actually four cans of film, hours and hours of footage. Grainy 8 millimeter home movies chronicling Harry Lawson going insane and killing three people before he was shot and killed by the town’s sheriff. The body was kept on the scene a little too long and he reanimated then infected several others. The part of the Lawson film everyone knows about is only a small part, the family trying to escape on a school bus was a small exert from the end of the film. Hours came and went as we sat in the dark watching the film, I must have dozed off at some point because a loud pop sound woke me up, the coppery smell of blood and gunpowder filled my lungs as I turned to see Martin propped up against the far wall sitting on the floor, his blood and brains now dripping from the sealing. Before I had the chance to process what I was seeing the door flew open and two police officers came rushing in. I was taken into custody and questioned about Martin and what happened, but in the end the security footage proved it was a suicide and I was able to go home. I was on the highway for about an hour before it hit me,” the film!” I pulled off the highway and grabbed my phone then called the Telluride police department. I told them I had purchased the films from Martin but with the situation being what it was, I forgot to pick them up before leaving. It worked, I got the films and was back on the road in no time. Now I know, it’s a shitty move, but those films were potentially worth millions. It took a while to line up serious buyers but when some Asian rich kid from Virginia offered me two thousand dollars just to watch it, I took the money. That kid went on to gun down 32 people at his college before being killed by the police. My next buyer some lady from Delaware, she came with two other guys, they said they were all film students. After they watched the films they went home and executed three of their classmates before being taken into custody. At this point all I wanted to do was get rid of the films. It was about four months before I saw another buyer the guy seemed normal enough to me, he told me he worked for some midrange production company and if the film was legit they would make an offer on the rights to the films. The deal never happened. The day after seeing the film that asshole went out and killed nine people in a shopping mall somewhere in Nebraska. Because of that another rep from that same company came by a few weeks later and asked to view the films. This time I said no I tried to stop it, but after rejecting their deal several times they offered half a million dollars for a copy of the films. And on Christmas Eve that same rep killed her entire family before committing suicide by hanging herself. That one led to the first mini outbreak of the virus, I believe that was in Washington, but the CDC and a few other government agencies got that contained and eliminated in no time, blaming the deaths on some horrible strain of the flu. I wouldn’t see another customer till the following Christmas. A business man from California, he watched the film and bought a copy. He went home and invited a few people over for a Christmas party, then get this, the guy dressed up as Santa and proceeded to murder everyone at the party before he set the house on fire and committed suicide by cop. This process goes on for years from 2007 to 2019 but as of a few months ago I’ve finally done it. I spent all the money I’ve made from viewings and copies spreading the virus to small isolated areas all over the world, places where no one could get there in time to stop the incubation period. South America was first to fall why do you think all those people walked from Ecuador through Mexico to the border? It wasn’t seeking the American Dream, they were running for their lives and soon everyone will be. My name is Dave and I started the zombie apocalypse. You’re welcome……………….
Recording: audio file 2 May 4, 2020 Hello everyone, Dave here, it’s been a long time since my first post and oh my have things picked up. As I’m sure all of you have noticed the world has gone nuts, and not to honk my own horn but I feel I’ve done a fantastic job to this point.
The government and mass media have done a superb job at covering up my handy work, they play off the outbreaks as riots caused by civil unrest over police brutality and if you can believe it “Race relations.” I mean seriously, they couldn’t have come up with something better than that, and just when I thought they were about to shut me down there was a major outbreak that’s currently being sold as a global pandemic.
Not to be rude, but before I go on I’d like to address a couple of frequently asked questions. The first of which is, “What is it that’s causing the virus?” I actually discovered it by accident, while I was tracking out the sound from the film I isolated a frequency that was being broadcast in the area at the time. I don’t know who was broadcasting it or why, but it is what causes the virus. I know this because I sold some copies with it and some without, in every single case the ones without it led to nothing. The others, well they made the news. I won’t drag you through the details of it because you’re all seeing it for yourselves every day in the media.
The only other question I’m going to answer is, “Why?”…… I’m doing it because you all deserve it, you’re all greedy, self-serving, egotistical leaches feeding off the blood sweat and tears it took to get you to this point and it makes me sick. You steamroll over the little man, crushing his spirit smashing him down to nothing, then tell him it’s his fault for not working hard enough. Or you tell him he’s too old, too slow, too ugly, too stupid or just plain not good enough to fit into your picture perfect reality. So I made it my goal to destroy your perfect picture, and this is how.
Now that that’s out of the way I can move on to the reason I’m sending this out. I’m currently in a small town in the middle of nowhere working at a local radio station, I’ve been broadcasting the signal to the entire town for close to a month now and let me tell you the view from here is beautiful. The first to turn were the sheriffs and firemen along with the paramedics I have to say I couldn’t have planned that if I tried, it was technically an accident but hey I’ll take it as a win.
There was an unexpected twist or two that had me a little worried for a while, early on the infected acted completely normal right up until they hit a trigger event then all bets were off. One lady killed her children and cooked them for her husband’s dinner, when he got home she fed it to him then stabbed him to death before butchering her next door neighbors. Someone eventually shot her and that’s when the real fun started, I discovered a few things that night. For instance, did you know zombies don’t start off slow and easy to kill? When the virus takes over a dead one it has 4 or 5 hours before it slows down due to rigor. Here’s another fun fact depending on how damaged the host body is, some of the dead ones will pretend to be alive for the first hour or so before they lose the last of their normal brain function. I learned both of these things in the first few days, the really crazy part of all that is, this was the first time I’d seen these things happen, in every other place I’ve been it was completely different.
In any case most of the people here are dead now, I guess you could call them zombies, they’ve been leaving in packs for days. I believe they’re spreading, I’ve been hearing great news from surrounding counties and it makes me feel like it’s time for me to be moving along. I’ve decided I’ll leave the station broadcasting on a loop, I picked a great old song to mask it, so if you’re ever driving through the middle of nowhere and catch a station playing the same song over and over, turn it up and enjoy the ride. Till next time this is Dave, and I hope you all die slow……….
Recording: audio file 3 October 1, 2020.
No introduction, sorry guys I don’t have much time, there’s someone following me, I’ve seen him at least four times now. Last night I was uploading a batch of different movies to free sites when I spotted him. I’m not sure who he works for but it doesn’t matter, I’ve finally done it, I found a way to get the signal broadcast on national television, it took a lot of work and I nearly got arrested a few times but the signal is now airing on several networks and the majority of sports broadcasts. The mortality rate is 100%, why do you think the government is suddenly so interested in long term space travel? This is it, and I for one won’t shed a tear when you’re all gone, there’s still lots to be done so my journey doesn’t end here but for most of you this will be the last time you hear my voice. Oh before I go you should probably know that the frequency has been playing throughout these recordings, so congratulations, you’re infected…….
 Dave. 
No other recordings have been discovered, the whereabouts of agent Foster are unknown. There were no official records to positively identify who Dave may be and as of two days ago all official information about this file have vanished. According to officials this case doesn’t exist.
submitted by getyaisha to RyizineReads [link] [comments]


2020.11.16 22:13 Rocknocker OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL…Lights, camera, carnage!

That reminds me of a story…
OK, OK.
I know it’s been like, forever, since I posted an updated Demolition Days entry. Plus, I still have to finish the saga of how Esme and I escaped from the Middle East. However, these past few weeks really deserve their own entry.
So here it is.
So there.
Anyways…
I’m sitting in my office over betwixt the Geology and Petroleum Engineering Departments as I’m currently under contract for both.
Oh, and here’s a bit of an update: so is Esme.
Yep. She decided that she has way too much free time on her hands around campus so she’s going to go after her very own geology Ph.D. Just think, she finishes and the Rocknocker household will hold a real paradox.
Pair o’ docs…get it?
Really?
Some days it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps…
Continuing.
Khan is growing like a weed and often accompanies us to our office in the departments.
He’s been accepted by everyone as one rather large, outsized, and rambunctious Rig Dog; sort of the Geology and PE Department’s unofficial mascot. I have no lack of volunteers when it comes time for Khan’s walkies. He’s such a lovable, slobbery doofus, everyone’s kind of taken with him.
So, we’re sitting in our office, Khan wandering the halls looking for scritches and I’m working on my next article for Fuel Magazine, while also working on a fresh Greenland coffee.
“Rock”, Esme states categorically, “I’m not like you. I can’t sit and hammer a keyboard eight hours straight. I’m going to the house and start dinner. Should I take Khan home or will you bring him along later?”
“Hell if I know where he even is right now, Dear”, I reply, as Khan has wandered off again and is probably slathering over some brontosaur femur in the school’s vertebrate paleontology museum.
“Fair enough, Hon”, Es states, stands and cracks like a stack of tinder. “I don’t know how you can sit there, slurp Greenlands all day and still be able to move at night.”
“All part of being an ethanol-fueled, carbon-based organism,”, I smile back. “Plus, the more I write now, the less I’ll have to do over the holidays; so there’s that dynamic keeping me going as well.”
“OK”, she agrees, “Don’t stay too late. I’m planning on Ossobuco tonight. Can you drop by the bottle shop and pick up a nice red for dinner?”
“Chinese or Soviet?” I asked.
She simply ignored the feeble joke and told me to use my better judgment.
I was going to ask her which, but I decided to just smile and tell her I would and I’d be along in a few hours.
I’m working on some of the more unconventional aspects of a very large asset here is one of the local sedimentary basins. It’s one where they have to drill 10,000 feet deep, turn sideways and drill another 15,000 or so feet, then hydraulically fracture the living fuck out of the reservoir because it’s tighter than Dick’s hatband. Just another day in the trenches.
Suddenly, Dean of the department wanders in and fixes his own Greenland coffee from my supplies.
“Y’know Roc”, Dr. Per says, “It’s weird having a 60+-year-old doctoral candidate here.”
“Oh?”, I innocently ask, “How so, Junior?” as I’m at least 20 years his senior.
“Well, for some reason”, he continues, ignoring my comment after slurping at his soupçon, “Many people in the department have taken to keeping bottles of booze in their desks and the rate of cigar smokers around here has skyrocketed.”
“I see no obvious correlation between the two events”, I replied modestly.
“The hell you don’t”, he laughed. “You’re a perambulating bad example. You swear, you smoke, you drink and you make no bones about it.”
“That’s all very fucking true”, I snicker back, “And…?”
“And we wouldn’t have it any other way.” He laughs. “Once the news hit that you were going to be studying for your DSc here, we’ve had all sorts of inquiries. Many from prospective students, a load from the Oil Patch, and even one or two from the government, if you follow the way I’ve drifted…?”
“Oh, you mean Agents Rack and Ruin of the Agency?”, I replied, “Did you finally meet them?”
“Oh, I spoke with them months and months ago.” He explained. “But it’s the calls from Russia, China, and North Korea asking about you that gives me just the slightest bit of pause. Do you really know someone from the NKVD named ‘Olga the KGB Lady?’”
“Olga called?” I started, “And you didn’t tell me?”
Dr. Per sighs. “Damn, I knew it just had to be true. It’s too weird to be make-believe.”
“I’m the original prototype.” I smile as I drain my coffee, “A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
“And well-read, evidently”, Dr. Per chuckles.
“Of course”, I replied. “There was something else you wanted?”
“Oh, yes.”, he replies, “We’ve got a request from the Humanities Department. There’s a bunch of fourth-year film students doing a movie. Evidently, they got a grant from some crowd out of Hollywood. Gave them a load of dosh to make their student film, which from what I understand is a cross between ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Godzilla’; but much artsier, of course.”
“Of course”, I replied.
“Anyways”, he continued, “They’re going ‘old school’, as they put it. ‘Man in rubber suit-mation’. That means detailed miniatures.”
“And…?”, I smile broadly, hoping he’ll fill in the rest.
“Explosions”, he finally says, “Lots and lots of explosions. But they need someone who’s licensed…you see where this is going. Right?”
“Let’s see”, I summarized, “They want the kindly, wizened old Dr. Rocknocker to provide the pyrotechnics for their film extravaganza?”
“Yeah, that’s it in one”, Dr. Per replies, “But remember. This is all in miniature. The pyrotechnics here are going to be seriously fractional to what you’re used to.”
“Dr. Per?” I asked, “Are you a fully licensed and tenured master blaster?”
“No,” he replies truthfully.
“Then leave the explosions to me”, I snickered.
“Gladly”, he smiles back, shakes his head in mock disbelief, and refills his Greenland coffee mug before departing.
The next day, I have several visitors from the Film Department.
Now, far be it from me to cast any sort of aspersions or bow to stereotypes, but at this particular university, we have an outsized Asian population. Which is especially weird considering the currently frosty climate here.
Decidedly most un-Asian. Not a single jungle or rice paddy to be seen.
Ahem.
No, I’m not trying to be stereotypical, or racist, just truthful. As the film crew consists entirely of Asian students. A group of mainland Chinese, one Vietnamese, a couple of Japanese, and one or two odd Koreans.
There’s Xuan Jiahao, Fan Ling, Wan Yating, Geng Zhelan, Yin Zexi, and Duan Zedong. Then there’s Nguyễn Xuân Hãn, Tatsuno Miyuki, Fukutsuchi Yoshimatsu and Ya Na-Woon, and Pang Byeong-Cheol.
And that’s just for starters.
We’re all assembled in the main conference room, and it looks like it’s going to be a multi-media spectacular. They’re going ‘Full Monty’ on us, showing us all they’ve got, figuratively speaking, to try and entice me to work with them.
Plus, they want me to do it for cheap or free. Preferably the latter.
Hell, any chance I get to blow shit up, that’s payment enough. But I’m not about to tell them that, at least, not yet.
Once we’re all settled in the conference room, I decide I’ll be the Master of Ceremonies, for at least the beginning.
“Well”, I began, “Good day and welcome to the University’s Geology and PE Department. I’m, as you already know, Dr. Rock, and I’m the one that will potentially be handling all the pyrotechnics for you during the filming of your latest epic. Please, just call me ‘Rock’, if you don’t mind. Also, please state your name or nickname before replying. Sorry, but I’m a tad bit overwhelmed with your numbers. Just for a while until I get you all in some sort of order.”
“I’m Fan, sir”, Fan Ling began, “I am the group leader here.”
“OK, Fan”, I reply, “It’s just ‘Rock’, as I’ve never been knighted. Yet. Please tell me about your project and what small part I can play.”
So, over the next three hours, several Greenland coffees and tots later, I have a pretty firm grasp on what they are setting out to do.
Gad.
They are a batch of senior year film students from around the globe, as there is another mob, sort of more behind the scenes, whom I haven’t yet met. They somehow got the attention of a bunch of big film producers in Hollywood and wrangled a fairly hefty grant from them so they can complete their picture.
It’s going to be a kaiju/superhero/animation/folklore/anime/manga mash-up of some sort or other; I really didn’t follow whatever was considered to be the plot. However, it’s going to have some pretty nifty CGI, “Suitmation” for some of the kaiju, and some incredibly ethnic superheroes; like “Sushi Man”, “Mao Man”, and “ARVN Man”.
It has elements of comedy, horror, gore, giant monsters, and miniatures; all being stomped and blown up. If one looks at the thing for a sort of skewed meta-viewpoint, it does have things to say about racism, bigotry, and prejudice today, just delivered with a soft double-tap to the head.
All in all, I can’t wait to both be a part of the flick and see the thing when it’s finished.
The trouble is, none of them have the foggiest notion of what pyrotechnics are nor how they are handled.
“Doctor, sir Rock, you can help us?” Duan asked hopefully.
“Just try and hold me back!”, I grinned widely.
They all laughed and clapped. They were happy I was on board. They were happy their movie could go ahead. They were happy they could report to their investors that they had a pyrotechnician.
I was happy I could go out and blow the living shit out of things again. Hell, it’s been almost solid months…
But first, some ground rules. If I’m going to be handling the pyros, and yes, I looked into the legality of all this. I sent off for the proper tests and accreditations, found that I was heavily overqualified, and brought into my blasting portfolio the necessary documents to be included in the credits of this mainstream extravaganza.
However, if I’m to be working on the set as a pyro wrangler, then I’m the boss. The hookin’ bull. You all know the drill. I am the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, and things that go boom are my sole bailiwick.
Everyone readily agreed as I set down some ground rules. In fact, one clear Saturday morning, I took my little crowd of lens-folk out to a local limestone quarry, which was now defunct, unfortunately.
As a bit of an aside, when I got here to university, I made myself known to the locals. I personally know every rancher, oilfield operator, and owner of sand pits, gravel pits, peach pits, limestone, granite, or serpentinite quarry. Ditto with the many farmers possessed of recalcitrant glacial erratics out in their fields of plowed Pleistocene glacial alluvium. I’ve already removed several large erratics for Farmer Bowen and in fact, his north 40 was going to be transformed into a movie set soon.
But I found some scenery that’s even better.
Nonetheless, today it’s “Let’s all get acquainted while Dr. Rock blows a lot of shit up for your education, edification, and entertainment” field trip.
We wheel the two 15-seater university vans into the old limestone quarry. I know the owner of the land, one stodgy old curmudgeon by the moniker of Augie Steinhauer. We get along famously. He doesn’t give two furry rat’s asses what I do out in this old quarry; as long as I keep him in the loop.
“However, Dr. Rock”, he says to me the other day over shots and beers I brought with to smooth the way, “If you could prune up that jagged east wall, I’d be most appreciative. My damned blighted fool of a brother-in-law goes in there to try and find crystals; and some moron sold him dynamite. I’m afraid that bonehead’s gonna bring down that entire east wall on his fuckin’ noggin. Plus, I could use a couple-few yards of gravel as well, if you know what I mean…”
“Sure, Augie”, I say as I lean over and hand him a lighter for the Cuban he filched out of my vest pocket. “Next Saturday, I’ll clean up that east wall and make a bunch of little ones out of big ones for you.”
I continued with the movie angle and he sort of glazed off into the ether. He wasn’t concerned with movies, but he desperately wanted a pond out back where he could water his herds of horses and dairy cows.
“OK, Augie”, I say, “Here’s the deal. You let me and the kids shoot their movie out on the south pasture, particularly on the oxbow in Steinhauer Creek you’ve got over there.”
An oxbow is a really tight bend in a river, creek, or brook. This one out in the south pasture covered about an acre or so, about equal to 43,560 square feet, 160 square rods, or 4.25x10-30 square parsecs. One acre is equivalent to 0.4047 hectares (4,047 square metres).
A nice size for a stock pond.
However, it was currently occupied by an unruly acre of sand, gravel, sneezewort, itchweed, and crawdads. Which was just the right place for all the miniatures to be placed and have some of the Suitmation guys go a-stomping.
See? Everyone benefits.
So, back to the quarry and I’ve brought along a traveling case of some of my more usual and unusual noisemakers.
Of course, I’ve got dynamite. I also have some home-brew nitro, complete with my special additive that makes it 75% less twitchy and 100% just as boomy. I’ve got PETN, RDX, a little gelignite, some Seismogel, a couple of different binaries, some C-4, of course, and all the adjuncts: Primacord, caps, superboosters, demo wire, my galvanometer, and Captain America with the big, shiny, red button.
Just the necessities, don’t ya’ know?
So, as usual, everyone in the quarry is wearing their PPEs, which I insisted upon and also which they thought were very cool and were destined to make it into the film one way or another.
I had set up a folding table with my traveling case, and a huge sign which read in great garish red letters, “BLASTING ZONE : HAPPY HOUR 1400-1800 HOURS”.
I let folks mill around and get the feel of a quarry. I pointed out some hazards, like loose rocks, talus slopes, and the occasional irritated rat, badger, and weasel.
They thought it was all great fun to be in the wide-open outdoors with some gonzo chap who wandered around wearing a very cool, highly polished aluminum hardhat, smoking a huge cigar, and wearing field boots, shorts, field vest, and a Hawaiian shirt in -30C weather.
I called the meeting to order and decided on some small demonstrations.
Blasting caps go “Pop”. Caps and super boosters go “BLAM”, Primacord goes “ZZZZIZIP! KERPOWIE!” and C-4 makes quarry walls echo and people’s ears ring.
However, before all this, I got their universal attention and ran through the usual pre-blast folderol.
I told them how to clear the compass.
North? CLEAR! And all that.
I told them how to look for any sort of organic lifeform that might be in danger’s path when the blast was initiated.
I told them all about “Look once, look twice. Then look again.”
I showed them the blaster’s airhorn and how it blares.
Then I told them all about “FIRE IN THE HOLE!”
With that, I explained we were good to go and I hit Captain America’s big, shiny, red button.
A 12-ton block of dolomitic limestone was rapidly and noisily reduced to a couple of cubic meters of nicely shattered high-magnesium limestone gravel.
I accepted applause munificently.
They were all scribbling like mad when I showed them the difference between 60% Extra Fast dynamite and 40% regular stick. They oohed! And ahhed!
When I set off a 2-kilo charge of C-4 to prune that east wall of the quarry, and like Shaka, the walls fell; they whooed.
They kept writing and asking for more demonstrations.
So, I took this as the opportunity to go big or go home.
Next was a solid 3-kilos of PETN. Great for really good vibrations. I gave them excitations…
Then, RDX, or “Torpedo-charge”. I decided to spread it around and clean up the talus slope at the foot of the east wall. With a couple of pounds of liquid binaries, I pruned that east wall back about 2 or three meters. Now, Mr. Steinhauer will have all the gravel he needs for some time to come.
Finally, the finale. I ran some primacord around an old, dead jack pine that’s been giving me the metaphorical red-ass since it’s always one way or another in my way. I placed some of my special nitro concoction around the base of its dead roots interwoven, bifurcating, and anastomosing through the cracks, fissures, and fractures of the dolomitic limestone.
Funny enough, 60 seconds later, that old jack pine was gone, as were its roots and the stranglehold it had on hanging a hard right turn and getting equipment to the backside of the quarry.
The crowd went wild.
I packed most everything up and was ready for Q&A time.
“Dr. Rock!”, Nguyễn asked, “Those were great effects. Can you make them smaller?”
“You know, no one’s ever asked me that before, “ I admitted in full Burt Gummer mode, “Sure. I suppose I could.”
“Can you show us?” he asked.
“I’m a little uncertain what you want me to do.”, I replied, “Smaller explosions? Why?”
“Oh, our miniatures”, he responded, “And our actors in the suits…”
“Of course”, I said, realization hitting, “But, I think it would be better to use bigger explosions and just add them in post-processing, don’t you? Little explosions have such a tinny sound to them. It really makes the effect look really cheesy.”
There was a lot of conversation and I realized that I was only the pyrotechnician, not the film producer. It’s their show, so I should do what they want, right?
In the end, it was decided to try both. We’d meet the next day out in the south pasture oxbow and they’d bring along their cameras, suit guy, and some miniatures. We’d blow them up as they thought; with little, itty-bitty explosions, then, afterward, we’d set off some proper blasts. They’d film them in slow motion, or fast motion, I forget which, but whatever, they’d run it eventually at normal speed and it would look all that much more momentous.
It’s all jargon and gobbledygook to me. I’ll make big booms. I’ll make little booms. Just tell me where and when.
So the next day, there’s a mocked-up generic city on the sand of the oxbow. Some guy in a pseudo-Godzilla suit, complete with shiny back fins, was going to stomp his way through town. They wanted smoke. They wanted explosions. The wanted fire. But they wanted it all in miniature.
Where’s the fun in that?
It was a bit of a wiring clusterfuck, but some balloons filled with gasoline, some with acetylene and some mighty light blasting caps later, we're ready for some test rolls.
Fakezilla starts stomping his way down the mini-avenue. Crunch goes one model car and I flick a switch. Flame erupts from the smooshed car and there’s a cheery little pop as the mini’s gas tank explodes. A model train gets derailed into a fuel depot and I had a pretty good time, in spite of myself, setting off a load of little charges.
POP!
PTWEU!
KER-pow!
All very cinematic and fake, if you asked me.
Then, there’s the finale of the scene where the monster is herded into a cul-de-sac of high rises by the wildly firing military. All the huge skyscrapers are blasted at their base to fall inward and bury the poor, misunderstood monster under huge piles of building rubble.
Those scenes were in the can, as it were, so we reset the set, as it were, with my take on what explosions and fire should really look like.
We watched the rushes on one screen and as the monster virtually trampled the buildings again, I set off my charges.
OK, a gallon of 100-octane flight fuel was a wee bit much perhaps, but damn, that lens flare of the refinery going up would have done J.J. Abrams proud.
I used superboosters, C-4, and primacord around the base of the skyscrapers and set them off one after another. I had timed it so they would first go into slow-motion explosions, then all about meet halfway and well, let gravity take the rest onto the monster to bury him; at least until the next scene.
They had to admit, the acoustics were much better with my explosions. They decided to go for a mixture of miniature explosions, primarily for close-ups, and my explosions, run in slow motion in the film, for the general carnage and destruction establishing shots and slightly more distant scenes.
The grand finale of the movie was the total destruction of the city, much to the alarm and remorse of the creature as well as all the inhabitants of Mini-City, SE Asia. They wanted total destruction. An ‘Age of Ultron’ finale-sort of blowing up the entire city and putting it into low earth orbit.
Which would work out well with my creation of a stock pond for the landowner.
I called in a few markers and had some of the geology department, who wanted some time drilling, to bring the VibraCore unit out to the Steinhauer place and meet me at the south 40 pasture.
We took several VibraCore cores cross-sectioning that classic oxbow. We extracted the 15-meter long cores and properly laid them into the appropriate core boxes.
We had great core recovery numbers, over 98%. I told them to leave the thin aluminum pipe sleeves in the oxbow as I was going to need that next week. The aluminum pipe had a wall thickness of slightly more than industrial-grade tinfoil, but since we buzzed them down some 45 feet or so, they’d serve as very useful conduits for the AFNO I planned to have pumped into the ground over the next couple of days.
Some of the guys in one or another of the oilfield service companies owed me a favor or 12 and had some leftover AFNO from a couple of jobs that screened out. Knowing how much of a pain in the ass the paperwork is for returning unused explosives, they naturally turned to me and asked if I wanted any part of it.
I sent them maps and specific details of what I needed to be done. The AFNO was to be cut to slurry grade so it would flow easier; basically, all they needed to do was add a bit of extra diesel. Then, they could just hook up a Coflexip hose and pump the slurrified explosive down one or more of the 4 aluminum pipes that we had vibrated down to clay level.
This worked a treat, as the first truck, and only one I had thought, pumped away over 1,500 pounds of AFNO.
Told me “It flowed like melted butter”.
So much so, that back at base, word got around that I was hosting a home for wayward explosives. Over the next week, no less than 6 trucks had come over to Mr. Steinhauer’s south pasture and emptied the remnant slurries out of their tank trucks.
Free explosives! All well and good, but I was pleased with the first bill of lading. The second was not too terribly disconcerting. The third, fourth, and fifth gave me pause. By number seven, my calculator was having a meltdown as I realized they had pumped over 8,500 pounds of ANFO away and it was all sitting there waiting for an initiator.
Luckily, the oxbow was basically an acre-wide bowl or more precisely, basin, first lined with nicely impermeable clay. Filling that is was the 50 or so vertical feet of fine fluvial sands, gravels, and conglomerates. So, through thorough testing, I found that no ANFO had leaked out of the closed oxbow, but I was still standing on 4.5 tons of deflagrating explosive.
Now AFNO may be a crackerjack explosive, but it’s lazy as hell. It needs one hell of a good short, sharp shock to initiate. As I noted, it’s a deflagrating, not detonating, explosive. I told my film guys that there was a “fair amount” of explosives under the place where the set was to be placed and where filming of the finale was going to happen.
They decided that if I said it was safe, then they could take that to the bank. There really was no danger, it’s not like they’re tromping around on nitro or anything so twitchy. Still, I made certain to shield all the smaller explosions at the surface just to be extra sure. Sheets of corrugated tin floored the set, so we were doubly insulated from any untoward accidents.
The shoot of the almost-finale went off without a hitch. Buildings were destroyed, refineries were blown up, there were cars stomped and trains derailed. It was all filmed with multiple cameras, multiple types of cameras: slow-motion, thermal, high definition, and the like.
They were shooting hundreds of miles equivalent of whatever the hell they store film on nowadays. We all sat in the gazebo that had been set-up off-site so we could review the rushes and re-film any scenes that didn’t quite come up to snuff.
There were a couple of scenes that needed some re-dos, but now the set was mooshed well and proper, now they needed to be really blown the fuck up so we can proceed right to the ultimate shot where I set off the AFNO.
Before that, but after filming some smaller explosions in the ersatz city, I instructed everyone to get back.
Way back.
I had them set up cameras at 1 kilometer.
I had them set up cameras at 500 meters.
I had them set up unmanned cameras 50 meters from the oxbow.
They groused, the bitched, and they kvetched; but they listened.
I went over the safety dance with the whole crew right after lunch and before any of them took off for distant locales. I impressed upon them that this was going to be a one-hit-wonder.
There are no re-takes.
“But Dr. Rock”, Fukutsuchi asked me, “Why not?”
“Several reasons, Mr. Yoshimatsu”, I replied, “Chief among them is that it’s going to be a huge explosion and by this time tomorrow, the only thing left of the set will be a lake.”
“Oh, jolly joke Dr. Rock!”, he replies, not realizing that I was quite serious.
“Live and learn, Herr Yoshimatsu”, I mused quietly to myself.
We spent the next couple of hours filming some small, infill explosions. Since we had some time to waste while the director waited for the ‘perfect time, right when the sun eclipsed the treetops’, the guys out on the remote cameras were getting antsy.
“Camera 1 to base! Camera 1 to base! Systems status. What’s happening?” came a frantic call.
“Base to Camera 1, hold your water. It’ll be a little while.” Came the response.
“Camera 2 to base. I need relief, right now. Can’t wait.” Came another frantic call.
“Base to camera 2. Use the pucklebrush 20 meters to your north. Then get back on camera!” Came the exasperated reply.
“Camera 3 to base! Camera 3 to base! I’m being attacked by cows. What should I do?”
“Relax. Guernsey cows aren’t carnivores. Give them a good tip and be ready to roll!” came our reply.
Novices.
Finally, time and tide aligned and the director decided it was showtime. After radio checks and to ensure Camera 3 wasn’t consumed by an errant Black Angus or Hereford, everyone was ready and rolling.
“3…2…1…Firing!”
“Well, that was different”, I replied once I found the director and disinterred him.
Seems that Late Pleistocene clays are a great refractory material. The 4.5 tons of ANFO went off without a hitch. A good portion of the blast energy went up. A bit went sideways, but a fair amount went down, struck the impermeable clay layer, and rebounded upward with a newfound zeal.
In other words, there was a smoking crater left that measured some 10 or so meters deep and with a nominal diameter of approximately 27 meters.
Great huge throbbing clouds of sand, gravel, and creek mud were thrown, well, one fuck of a large distance from ground zero. Camera 1 at one kilometer distant reported dodging high-velocity dirt clods immediately after the explosion.
Fully 21 cameras caught the explosion from an amazing number of angles and in a variety of styles. Infrared, false color, high-speed, 3-D…the whole Megilla.
The director was incredibly excited once his hearing returned. He was in the gazebo, once we unburied it and set it up again, seems they can’t handle shock waves worth a shit.
However, he was slavering over the footage the different cameras had recovered.
“This will be great for the finale! We can use this shot here, and cut to the infrared, then cut over to …” and so on and so on.
I pulled out a flask, took a healthy tot, and sparked a fresh cigar.
“Yeah. It was a good gig.” I muttered to no one in particular.
I was pleased to see that Mr. Steinhauer’s pond was already filling. Should be good for rock bass and crappie by spring.
So, we packed everything up, replaced some of our smaller divots and headed back to our normal lives. Me at the Geology/PE Department and them at the Humanities ward or wherever the hell these characters hang out.
A few days later, I get a call. Seems that a letter had arrived for me via the Film Department.
Would I want them to bring it to my office?
“Sure”, I replied, “I’m here all day”.
A short while later, Ya, Pang, and Geng drop by and present me a letter, handwritten, all the way from Hollywood, California.
I zip the envelope open and see it’s on the stationary of one of the larger, meaning that I’ve actually heard of it, production companies out there on the Whack Coast.
The letter, in brief, was thanking me for my participation in the student’s film. The author of the letter said he was particularly impressed with the “reality” and “impressive results” of the practical pyrotechnic effects; particularly the film’s finale.
“Well, that’s nice”, I smiled quietly to myself.
Then I read the closing comments.
“We are looking into getting our pyrotechnicians blaster’s permits and having them spend some time in local oilfields.”
Guess my reputation precedes me here as well.
“We are also looking into what brands of vodka and cigars are preferred there in [redacted state].
Very truly yours,
James F. Cameron.”
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