• Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Good take on Hammond – the character of the novel is more outright villainous but softening his portrayal for the movie is actually far more interesting to me as it twists our sympathies. When I was a kid I liked Hammond because he was such a cuddly, kind guy but as an adult you see more of the flaws and how he can’t comprehend why anything he’s doing here would be a problem, which is such a classic little kid thing. I’m playing, why wouldn’t what I’m doing be fun for everyone?

    Also I’ve been warned off Jurassic World by like everyone and one part I literally do not understand is how a theme park WHERE DINOSAURS WALK AROUND AND FEED could possibly have a decline in ticket sales. I don’t give a fuck how long its been around, it is literally impossible for people and especially children to lose interest in living breathing fucking dinosaurs (would I buy a ticket? HELL YES).

    • Babalu-ghost

      Always a great idea to start your movie by telling the audience that the thing they paid to see is lame and nobody would be interested in it.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The existence of Jurassic Park sequels (three of them!) is proof that people like to go see dinosaurs.

        • GhostZ

          I remain oddly fond of Jurassic Park III, despite the unbearably precocious-and-competent child. William H. Macy! A clumsy-but-resonant emotional arc about betrayal, redemption, and scientific priorities! Pteranodons!

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Its exactly what it needs to be!

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            “Don’t move.”
            *everybody runs*

          • GhostZ

            “No power in earth or heaven could get me on that island.”
            *goes to island*

          • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

            YES!!! THIS!!!

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            Not enough silly blockbusters use the Gilligan Cut.

          • Miller

            Yay pteranondons and finally filming one of the book’s great sequences! Boo to Vince Vaughan totally getting people killed and … nobody really cares?

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            Isn’t Vince Vaughan in the second one?

          • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

            I love Sam Niel’s baffled reaction towards all the standard sequel plot structure stuff (It’s happening… AGAIN!). He is my favorite.

    • Crimson Pico

      However bad people told you Jurassic World is…

      … it’s somehow worse than that.

      • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

        I’ll second this. I never planned on watching it, but there are consequences for choosing to hang out with your family, and it was so much more plastic and boring than I anticipated.

      • glorbes

        It delivers monsters eating people. But everything else is hot, steamy garbage.

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      He even has a kid-like sense of priority – he spends the whole movie chortling over how he ‘spared no expense’, and the plot is kicked off by the fact that he underpays Neddry and then expresses no sympathy.

      • Cennywise The Ploughn

        What if the 1% could make dinosaurs? would be the modern-day pitch. As he himself points out, only the blood-sucking lawyer can get on his side.

  • Babalu-ghost

    Other things Jurassic Park does well that modern blockbusters would be wise to imitate;

    Vary your tone. Too many movies work in monotone. Whether it’s ironic detachment, grim darkness, or affected gravitas, it wears thin if stretched over an entire feature. Jurassic Park has drama, humor, horror, action, it has emotional peaks and valleys. And that creates a complete and satisfying experience.

    Be sincere. The humor in Jurassic Park is rooted in character, it isn’t fourth wall breaking self mocking jokes that shatter any suspension of disbelief. When Spielberg wants you to feel awe, he goes all out. When he wants to scare you, he comitts. If you can’t be assed to take your own movie seriously, don’t expect me to.

    Cast for variety. Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L Jackson, Richard Attenborough, Wayne Knight, B D Wong, even Bob Peck and Martin Ferrero. These actors look different, and talk different, and move different, and carry different histories with them. When you put them together interesting dynamics develop. It makes your world feel more fleshed out. The audience will fill in gaps in the characterization, or at the very least, remember who is who. You just can’t get that effect when every character in your movie is a jacked Australian with a crew cut and an unconvincing American accent.

    Do more than one thing at a time. Exposition through action. Spectacle advances the plot. The plot reveals character. Look at the T-Rex escape. It’s not just the showstopper, it’s also the lynchpin of the plot, and it reveals the core of nearly every character. The kids are terrified and completely ill equipped to handle it. The lawyer is a coward, Grant is heroic, Malcolm heroic but also reckless and ineffectual. Every scene should be doing two or three things. It makes the movie feel denser, tighter, and more propulsive. It holds up better to multiple rewatches. It also allows you to tell a complete story, with complete characters, without pushing a three hour runtime.

    Try to fit your biggest piece of spectacle around the midpoint of the story. Cause it works.

    • GhostZ

      As far as tone goes, I would also add, at least for science fiction/fantasy blockbusters, “Respect all the implications of your plot device.” Jurassic Park understands both the terror and the wonder of the dinosaurs and gets that both are equally true, whereas bad movies too often come down firmly on one side. The beauty was a charade all along/the danger was a charade all along. The tone changes depending on the vantage point of the characters at that time in the story–the dinosaurs are consistent, but our reactions aren’t, and shouldn’t be.

      • Miller

        “the dinosaurs are consistent, but our reactions aren’t, and shouldn’t be”

        Great observation, and it sets up the most Spielbergian moment in the movie — the T. Rex “rescuing” the group at the end and that balls-in-your-face shot of it roaring as the “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” banner slowly falls, the audacity of that always makes me laugh in admiration. T. Rex is doing what he does, chowing down on smaller things, in this instance the smaller things happen to be things that are threatening our heroes so yay T. Rex!

        • Cennywise The Ploughn

          The suddenly stealthy T-Rex is my candidate for the most ridiculously implausible movie moment that still somehow works. I can understand keeping focus on the raptor, but I think a T-Rex in my peripheral vision would still turn my head.

        • HypercubeVillain

          *she

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            Any list of favourite female characters that doesn’t include the T-Rex can go straight to hell.

    • Miller

      Really good observation on the cast. Outside of possibly Knight (who had Seinfeld), this was probably the first movie I saw any of these people in, despite their long and varied careers, and they all seemed like they belonged in these differing roles and all performed the crucial pop entertainment role of creating a character with minimal opportunity to do so.

  • GhostZ

    Love this, both as an appreciation of a movie I’ve always liked and as a handy craft guide. And it draws my attention, in particular, to how great the exposition in this movie is. Even the included informational videos work as an illustration of Hammond’s character: his affability, his engagement with science on a oh-boy-wow level that intuitively understands communication with children but not with adults, his belief that he can control the experience of the park when he can’t even control the experience of the informational “ride.”

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      I was really genuinely surprised by how complex a character Hammond was (and he’s really just the most complicated character in a movie where everyone has their own emotional arc), and how every moment of exposition he delivers right down to his first scene is part of his arc.

  • glorbes

    Nicely done. It’s a wonderful critical articulation of why this movie works (and stands in contrast to the ugliness of Jurassic World).

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Jurassic World just LOOKS fucking gross.

      • glorbes

        Chris Pratt looks good in it. But his character is a shit-stain. That’s about it.

      • glorbes

        Also, I find it so weird that Dean Cundey lensed Jurassic Park. Did he and Spielberg collaborate on any other films?

        • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

          Hook, plus the Spielberg-produced Back to the Future (and its sequels) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

          I also just saw what he’s done over the past two decades and I’m depressed.

        • Miller

          He was the original DP for E.T. but left over creative differences, he was adamant that the alien constantly change shape and murder everyone.

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            One of my favourite bits of Carpenter’s commentary for The Thing was over E.T., released the same year – “Theirs was nice, and ours was mean.”

          • Well, that was a missed opportunity. The Reese’s Pieces could have been what gave it away.

          • Miller

            It’s probably for the best it didn’t happen, the recut version where the government tries to kill E.T. with walkie-talkies would be ridiculous.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            E.T. did scare the shit out of me as a kid I won’t lie.

          • Miller

            NECK EXTEND

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I see the arguments that E.T. is cute and still think a bulbous headed bald alien with giant eyes and a reedy cigarette smoking voice is inherently very, very creepy.

          • Miller

            Oh, wholeheartedly agreed. He is a creepy-ass motherfucker and I am positive that’s why the movie works so well, he is not intrinsically “cute” the way a certain knockoff alien tried to be and that means the affection people come to feel for him feels very real.

          • Guillermo Jiménez

            Which knockoff alien?

          • That…would never be a Spielberg movie.

          • Miller

            I dunno, I believe that was Kushner’s original draft for Lincoln.

          • Guillermo Jiménez

            He must have loved The Thing.

      • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

        We talking about visuals? Like CGI?

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Photography and general vibe.

          • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

            ahhhhhhhh now i understand

  • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

    Now that I’m completely comfortable doing this on my own posts, what did we watch last night?

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      LOST, Season Two, Episode Two, “Adrift”
      “You always try to be funny when you don’t want to answer a question.”
      “TRY to be funny?”

      “Oh, I’ll just stop bleeding then!”

      I’m going to stop saying how great the episodes are now, because they’ve hit a consistency. We all know who these people are, we all know how this show works, and the mythology is doled out at a perfect pace, so it’s starting to hit some deeper highs, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron. The only weak point is the flashbacks, which can still be emotionally resonant but don’t always click in with everything – in this case, we see the moment Michael let go of Walt, and while I get that it’s in contrast with him vowing to save him, I just don’t care.

      In contrast to that, you have the simple pleasures of seeing Jack’s assault on the hatch from Locke and Kate’s perspective, with the blackly comic reveal that when Desmond fired his gun in the air, he inadvertently nearly killed Kate, or the little moment where it turns out the shoes Jack saw were Locke’s, who for some reason chose to be polite when entering the mystery hatch of doom. We see more of the personalisation of the hatch when Locke notices marks on the wall indicating the passage of time, and in fact our first shot of Desmond this episode is him, holding the gun, framed by the marks.

      Locke’s character is tested/revealed this episode. Desmond’s first question is “Are you him?”, and Locke confidently says yes, only for Desmond to figure out pretty quickly that he isn’t (“What did one snowman say to the other snowman?”). Locke tries to be the mystical shaman to Desmond, but it fails because Locke is so clearly out of his depth and Desmond knows a hell of a lot that he doesn’t.

      Meanwhile, we get a big development of Sawyer, even if it’s not telegraphed to us. Sawyer is suicidal, and he figures that if something good can only be done in a suicidal way, he’ll be the one to do it – either he succeeds, or he dies; either way it’s a win. I believe doing this enough is what will turn him into a good person.

      Joke of the episode is when Kate realises she’s locked in a food storage, and loads up on chocolate while she can.

      I believe this is the first time we see the Dharma tag – we saw the Swan’s tag before, but now we see the general Dharma one applied to both the hatch in general, and to the food, and crucially to the shark that threatens Sawyer and Michael. Once again, mythology implies a character (in this case, the Dharma Initiative), and all the clues are to that character’s motivation. The Dharma stuff was always the most compelling part of the mythology to me, moreso than the mystical stuff (though not nearly as much as Smokey, though admittedly I assumed for a long time that Dharma created it), so I was disappointed when it was subsumed into Jacob, plotwise. The idea of a corporation with hidden motives studying the magic island really tickled me, and the clues about what they were up to were really cool.

      (Thinking on it, an organisation has exactly the same study-the-psychology appeal as an artform like the mural, because organisations usually have a mission statement of some kind behind them (at minimum: make money doing X) and allows for enough people to find enough variations to scatter a wide variety of clues for the audience to have to put together.)

      Ownage: Nonviolent, but Michael gets completely owned by his wife’s lawyer.

    • hellgauge

      Good Time: Oh it’s a Good Time alright, but only for the audience.

      This is a non-stop roller coaster thrill ride of a film, but despite its frenetic energy, it’s really under tight expert control at every instant. With cinematography that summons forth the glowing beauty of the street side by side with the unpolished squalor of a world fallen outside any kind of system; that keeps to close-ups and super-wide shots almost entirely, maintaining the idea that events like this is something that either happens to you viscerally or you’re a far away disconnected observer, there’s no middle ground. With editing and a score that keeps the tension so astonishingly tight that breathing and relaxation become luxuries. The Safdie brothers understand their subject matter very well, giving it every respect it deserves, but they also respect the film form. Neither overshadows the other. We’re never so oppressed that we’re not entertained, but we’re never so entertained that we’re not horrified. It’s both a Good Time and not. There’s so much texture and density in the shots, but the world depicted is clearly studied and unromantic. This is how these people live, the lack of the usual space that Hollywood affords even those living in ostensible poverty being used as a strength in the visual construction. The film ultimately crafts itself an unexpected middle ground between colorful 1970s street aestheticism and modern empathetic realism.

      Pattinson gives another of his, at this point patented (sorry), chameleon performances. Though it’s not just that he disappears into the role, it’s that he plays it so well. Normally, I’d praise everyone in this film (so many amazing supporting roles), but Pattinson owns this so much that everyone else becomes an afterthought. However, this has no bearing on the imprint each character leaves on the story, which is considerable. There are no small roles here, whatever their screentime, and every performer is more than up to the task. Jennifer Jason Leigh should certainly be on the list of everyone’s favorite bit parts this year.

      Among my favorite small details here are the fact the film somehow pulls off an out of nowhere storytelling scene in the middle of the action, one that goes on for several minutes, one that by any right should stop the film dead, destroying the pacing, but is instead just this wonderful interlude that works so well within the established world and gives so much to the upcoming plot. It’s almost the filmic equivalent of stopping a sprint to do standstill backflips. Another detail that I loved are some of the helicopter shots (I don’t think they used drones), especially those that are very close to the subject, combining in-motion camera panning with moving subjects in a way that is strangely thrilling. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the use of ultraviolet light, which is just one of the many thrilling and inventive ways this film uses color.

      It’s hard to end such a highwire act in a satisfying way, and it seemed for a second that the Safdies would screw it up just a little bit, but the very end is such a heartbreaking instance of a lose-lose situation. The character in question being better and worse off than before. The film’s ambiguity towards social institutions functioning both as a nice bookend and as a sigh of an ellipsis. As the amazing score blasts its final notes over the last bits of the credits, we’re left extremely satisfied as an audience, but extremely unsatisfied as observers of a life gone wrong.

      • This is my favorite movie of the year so far. I loved the hell out of it.

        • hellgauge

          Same. After a bit of back and forth this one just edged out Nocturama for the number 1 slot so far, though they’re about equal in my mind.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Rick and Morty finale. I both enjoyed this one as its the typical mix of wildly entertaining and provocative, but it felt like the ending was just sputtering to a halt and they’d kinda run out of ideas for how to end the season, especially compared to season two. Still Beth questioning whether she’s a clone is a great bit of poignancy and I think there’s something very true about the idea that intelligent people tend to question their own happiness and sense of self related to that.

      • Yeah, it was a good episode but it feels odd that they had a few ideas this season that could have been explored in more depth but they opted not to do it, for whatever reason. It made the season as a whole feel slightly undercooked (albeit still consistently fun).

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Now I’m wondering if Harmon’s shows as a whole have this issue, where they’re so gloriously high concept that at a certain point in their run they can’t keep all their plates balanced in the air without one or two collapsing. This isn’t even to say the guy isn’t enormously talented (you’d have to be to run season two of Community) but its like he’s setting up challenges that his series can’t quite meet. The problem of high concept art is that you have to run serious risks and have ambition and sometimes your work can’t totally meet that level.

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            I’ve been wondering since just before the finish if Harmon’s best quality is his absolute discipline and his worst quality is that the discipline falters once he gets far enough in.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Its like he reaches a peak then his series can’t quite ever hit there again (I’d almost say Hannibal has that issue but then the ending is just perfect).

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            I think part of it is that he just can’t NOT listen to criticism (positive or negative), and once the show goes long enough and gets big enough he ends up collapsing in one himself.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That’s true as well!

    • The Old Dark House – a really fun bit of early horror, with screwball energy and dialogue. Great characters, although Boris “KARLOFF” Karloff is somewhat wasted in a mute, alcoholic butler role (despite being top billed). I had issues with the way individual humorous scenes are shoehorned into James Whale’s Frankenstein films (sorry) but letting the comedy run riot through the whole film worked a lot better for me.

      Also there was an extra on the DVD of a British TV interview done by Ian McKellen around the time that he played Whale in Gods and Monsters – it’s somehow more dated than the film, because they spend about half of the interview talking about the FUTURISTIC NOVELTY of the internet. I love that kind of thing.

      Oh, and Broad City, last week’s half-animated episode – this was great, the animation style reminded me of Yellow Submarine, and made for an unusual episode despite the fairly standard plot. Great use of music, too.

    • GhostZ

      Vice Principals, “Think Change” and “A Compassionate Man.” Lee Russell’s awfulness is contextualized, and perhaps over-explained, by some time spent with his family. He’s a very apparent cuckoo in the nest–it’s not just the obvious though still painfully funny gag of his sisters dwarfing him, it’s also that Walton Goggins’s coloring is absolutely nothing like theirs–and there’s a nice sense of history in how that difference was reinforced and widened over the years. (An understandable sense, anyway: it’s obviously shitty parenting to let two of your children mercilessly bully the third and then criticize and emotionally ostracize him because he responds to all that in a way that you yourself wouldn’t.) Anyway, “Think Change” has two bittersweet moral triumphs, with Lee making a heartfelt, gently sad speech at the funeral and with Neal standing up for the teachers. And, because it’s Vice Principals, both triumphs are hilariously counterpointed by recognizable spitefulness, with Russell smashing up the model airplanes in secret and Gamby throwing the water in Seychelles’s face when he gets insistent on a particular brand.

      And then “A Compassionate Man” is an agonizing horror-of-manners, as Christine realizes the extent to which her adult life has been founded on a lie, Gamby becomes an unlikely-but-convincing toastmaster and sponsor of propriety (his reaction to Abbott humping the parrot sculpture is one of the best things) though not morality, and someone gets roofied. Random jabs to the heart: Gamby’s underplayed, sincere, “I’m sorry your birthday wasn’t what you wanted it to be” and “I cleaned it up, Christine.”

      • If Woody Allen had continued with what Husbands and Wives had opened up, maybe, just maybe, one day he’d come up with something as scorching, complex, and hilarious as “A Compassionate Man.” And in all the disaster we’re actually seeing Gamby stumble his way towards becoming a better person. Of course, in the Jody Hillverse, that means bonding with the woman who just roofied your apparent rival, because that’s really who’s right for you, but that’s what “better” means here.

        • GhostZ

          At the end, when Gamby was driving away with a drunk Abbott in his passenger seat and a sulky Robin in the back, it felt like a scene from the world’s darkest and most dysfunctional family sitcom, and I adored it.

          I also like that Gamby is evolving into someone who is drawn to crazy amorality but more able to recognize that and be philosophical about it. He definitely knows what he’s getting into with Abbott, and at this point knows perfectly what he’s involved with in Russell (his “yes, that’s absolutely accurate” moment when Snodgrass theorized that Russell would creepily notice and punish anyone who didn’t attend his birthday party was golden). He goes for it anyway, but now he’s someone who knows himself enough to aspire to actually do better where he wants to do better, while early season one Gamby would have just convinced himself that he was already fine.

      • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

        I came back to my “one decision too late” thesis for this show thinking about Russell, and Gamby, and the job of principal. It strikes me that, between Gamby sticking up for the teachers in “Think Change,” and Haas’s presence at the party (where it would be unavoidable that he noticed Gamby was constantly putting out Russell’s fires), I think Haas is going to conclude soon that Gamby is better for the job.

        And he’s going to offer Gamby the job right after Russell realizes he needs to be a better person and starts acting like one.

        As I said in my writeup– it looks like everything is falling apart for Russell; all he really has left after this episode are the job of principal (tenuous now) and his friendship/alliance with Gamby. He might lose those both soon in one fell swoop, and then what will he do?

        • GhostZ

          Haas brilliantly also ups the “one decision too late” factor: Gamby impresses him, but only after Gamby has already lied to cover up for Russell blowing the budget.

          And I went back and read your write-ups! Awesome, as always. 😀 Although I was 100% behind Russell smashing the model airplanes, admittedly. Since his sisters always had more clout, physically and via family relationships, I don’t see his sneakiness around them as that much of a moral failing–it’s emotional guerrilla warfare. The problem is that then he just continues that behavior regardless of target or situation, imagining that he’s always at the kind of disadvantage that would make that action anything other than appalling, and treating Christine’s affection as something he’s just as entitled to as the love of his own family. Like you pointed out: “here’s to never growing up!”

          And Gamby does grow up, and I’m liking the arc of his relationship with Robin in that respect (covering in part for the absence of Janelle–I’m assuming the actress was less available). He looked back, addressed a mistake, noticed the humanity of a “fallen foe,” took action to make things better, and again noticed when he was unjust and apologized for it. (I do kind of now want to describe someone as looking like a person who would defecate on other people’s belongings, though.) There’s a basic honesty to him. He was always unconvincing even when lying to himself, and he’s slowly gotten better at not even doing that.

          Which makes me wonder if he didn’t partly reject Snodgrass after the shooting because of residual guilt over his part in Brown’s departure. Snodgrass was an aspirational girlfriend, someone both nicer and more put-together than he is, and I think he may have had a moment of “I don’t deserve this” clarity.

          • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

            Haas brilliantly also ups the “one decision too late” factor: Gamby impresses him, but only after Gamby has already lied to cover up for Russell blowing the budget.

            That’s right! I had forgotten about that. I figured Gamby could play it off, though– Russell did tell him to tell Haas the Sweat Dogs worked pro bono; it’s not necessarily in Gamby’s purview to know that. And when Haas finds out they didn’t… Gamby could easily say “Well, sir, Lee Russell lied a lot, it turns out.” (Would Gamby do that to Russell? I guess it depends on how things shake out there.)

            Although I was 100% behind Russell smashing the model airplanes, admittedly. Since his sisters always had more clout, physically and via family relationships, I don’t see his sneakiness around them as that much of a moral failing–it’s emotional guerrilla warfare.

            Yeah, his sisters are awful and I don’t really blame him for acting out. That said, I thought the point of that scene was that after giving that great eulogy at the funeral, plus telling his mother he wasn’t that kind of person anymore, to show that he hadn’t actually changed at all.

            I like your thoughts on Gamby, too. I hope he can grow up in time to avoid the kind of fate I’m sure Lee Russell has coming.

    • glorbes

      Two old episodes of Seinfeld. The one where George gets a massage from Raymond, and the one where George breaks up with his “pretentious” girlfriend, thus endangering Jerry’s tax papers. The first one about the massage has to be one of the defining moments in pop culture of “gay panic”, but it manages to explore it entirely at the expense of the character experiencing it. Also, Joe DiMaggio dunking his donut in coffee.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I’ll still make a case for ‘Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That’ as being almost entirely about straight people NOT wanting to seem gay but not knowing how to say that without making that seem like a problem. It’s still a weird issue though where it’s nevertheless othering homosexuality, like most gay jokes as a whole. I never know how to deal with that.

        • thesplitsaber

          ‘My Fathers gay!’

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Oh and oh my god George being totally honest with her is so weirdly relatable. Who hasn’t wanted to go off on someone like that?

      • Miller

        ‘ The first one about the massage has to be one of the defining moments in pop culture of “gay panic”, ‘

        SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
        I’m sorry, it’s just been so long…

        • glorbes

          I’m just glad I gave you the opportunity.

    • This week’s Flash – well, if the choice is dour and consequential or silly but lots of fun, I will take the latter. But surely there is a middle ground. For now, we have Barry and Iris in couples therapy, Cisco and Gypsy dating, Barry’s over-accessorized new suit (Cisco must have seen Spidey Homecoming too many times), and a lot of laughs (including one that briefly references the plot on tonight’s Arrow).

      Oh, and there was a bad guy with an ok but familiar story. Fanboy note: the villain was named Kilg%re, very loosely based on a Flash comic foe who was a major threat in the late 80s but who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. In the comics, the name was apparently pronounced Kil-gi-e-ir or something, but here it was just Kilgore, like in Trout.

    • Defender Of The Dark Arts

      Jacob’s Ladder. Psychological horror doesn’t come much more psychological or horrific than this. It says something about the power of the film that I knew the ending before going in and I was still enraptured by the mood and the visuals. And regarding the ending, it can be interpreted multiple ways, in fact the whole movie can be interpreted multiples ways. I’ve gone through multiple interpretations since viewing it last night. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

      • Although it does definitely still pack a punch, the biggest shock when I watched this recently was that Macauley Culkin was in it! I had no idea.

        • Defender Of The Dark Arts

          Speaking of Mac, did you think he ever existed? I’ve been going over it in my head and I don’t think he or the family he believed he had existed at all. I would have to give it another watch to see if my suspicion is correct.

          • I think I ended up feeling like at least some of his pre-war memories must have been real, but it’s pretty ambiguous. I’d probably have to watch it again too…

      • My favorite horror movie.

    • Dispatches From Cleveland is an unusually positive documentary about race relations in Cleveland. In the wake of Tamir Rice (the 3-second assassination of the 11-year-old Black boy playing in a park) and County Prosecutor Tim McGinty’s refusal to prosecute or arrest or even fire the responsible officers, the community rose up to form a coalition with other marginalized groups (women, LGBTQ) launching a GOTV campaign to get rid of McGinty. This coalition passed off the homophobic black elders who believe in the Bybel even as the younger generation was like shut the fuck up or get the fuck out. They cited statistics like of 30,000 in a black neighborhood, only 12k were registered and only 3k voted in the primary. Which made for something interesting because I think it was a run off primary and there were two staunch Democrats in the general, one of which was McGinty. There was a sign that said “get rid of McGinty and [opponent] was no better,” but they never delve into that idea. Actually there’s a lot of glossing over that they do. There was like a 3 minute “history of Cleveland’s racial divide” that jumps from the Hough riots in 1967 to today; a 50 year gap that gets called “a decline.” It’s a nice positive fluffy activist doc that shows the power of the people. It neglects most things.

      In The Dark – Also, my horror shorts program went on last night, and there was a minor change due to some stupid technical error. The whole program was designed to ratchet the pace from fast down to a crawl. Except, the final two videos got swapped. This was a problem because the the third to last short, La Sirena, was, imho, the weakest of the bunch and it was mainly a long slow drama of almost 20 minutes. This was supposed to be followed by an intense fast paced fairly dense short called Breathing Through A Straw, and then the 27 minute long abstract horror Rute which crawls until the final moments which are the most transcendently tragic and blissful moments in ages. Seriously, you all should check out Rute. But, in the new lineup, La Sirena and Rute formed an almost 50 minute block of not much happening, which made so many people impatient with Rute. It’s frustrating because those final two were the most place-sensitive shorts. Ah well, at least everybody went out with a bang.

      If you can find them, the final lineup was:
      Demons
      The Curse
      Iconoclast
      La Sirena
      Rute
      Breathing Through A Straw

      • I was trying to figure out whether there was a pattern to the shorts at my local festival’s program on Saturday. They started with a funny one, then went slow-and-creepy for quite a while before busting out some more energetic and humorous stuff towards the end, then (I think) tried to finish with a scary one. But it wasn’t very good.

        In a two-hour block, all the best ones were in the 10-15 minute range, with none of the shorter ones really clicking with me. No crossover with your list, incidentally. I’ll have to see if any of those are available online yet…

        • Ours was only 90 minutes. I was trying to push for a longer block because there was a couple of other shorts that I thought could be good, but I’ll have to come back with those.

          Since this was a queer festival, ours were only queer identified horror shorts (only one, The Curse, was locally based). I bet these are still running the festival circuits right now, so they may be hard to find online (even as a rental).

          Rute really is almost a non-burn, the movie literally stops for a period of time. At 27 patience testing minutes, the short is one of the most touchiest shorts to program (put it behind a slow one, it seems like dead air, put it behind something too fast, it seems even more dead in response). But, in all honesty, it’s one of my favorite shorts of the festival.

          • I found trailers for Rute and La Sirena and they both look great – La Sirena looks to have some similar imagery to Evolution, which I loved.

    • Spooky Narrator Man

      Jaws: Hey, this movie owns.

      Quiz Show: I can daydream about what Soderbergh would have done with this material, but I was impressed by the terrific, unshowy, beautifully-acted movie Robert Redford made with it. I especially liked its focus on Jewish assimilation, with Rob Morrow as the WASPiest Jew ever who still can’t skate by entirely easily, to say nothing of Turturro as the unapologetic working-class Jew who gets railroaded at every turn.

      • Delmars Whiskers

        Between Quiz Show, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink and his rather unfortunate turn in Mo’ Better Blues, Turturro had a weird run as everyone’s go-to Jewish guy. I kept wondering when someone would cast Woody Allen as a Sicilian.

  • Defender Of The Dark Arts

    If there’s one thing Jurassic Park taught me it was to hold on to my butt. Just to be safe, when things get crazy, I hold onto other people’s butts too. It’s cost me dearly in legal fees, but it doesn’t diminish the wisdom of this advice.

    • GhostZ

      Stroke ’em if you got ’em.

    • glorbes

      Vogt-Roberts couldn’t resist making Sam Jackson say “hold onto your butts” in Kong: Skull Island. He said Jackson read the script and delivered the line with no comment whatsoever. Jackson was there to get the pay cheque, and probably figured if this kid wants him to say the line, he was gonna say the line and get paid while doing it.

      • “I’ve had it with these motherfucking skulls on this motherfucking island!”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        You gotta wonder if Roberts regrets that. He’s been SUPER candid about the flaws of Skull Island and I genuinely appreciate that about him.

        • glorbes

          Do you have a link to an interview? I’d love to read that. I have a low level obsession with that weird, tossed salad of a movie. It’s all over the place, but it does certain things really well, and I can see hints of greatness in its structure and themes. But it’s too beholden to self-conscious referencing, and has one of the weirdest tones of a blockbuster movie I have ever seen.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            He did a twitter thing shitting on CinemaSins for Skull Island (which fuck CinemaSins right?) and pointing out that their critiques don’t even work compared to the actual issues, THEN narrated the Honest Trailer for the movie and ripped right into it. Compared to Colin Trevorrow, who by all accounts lost SW because he’s an arrogant jerk, he seems pretty humble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saTFPCuQfvw

      • Defender Of The Dark Arts

        Jackson likes making movies (and money) so that leads him to be in a lot of clunkers, but he’s in some good ones too. I was surprised how much I liked The Hitman’s Bodyguard.

    • thesplitsaber

      Man has anyone ever made chain smoking as unpalatable as Jackson and Spielberg. Also thats a reteam i would kill for.

      • Defender Of The Dark Arts

        I’m surprised it hasn’t even happened accidentally:

        Spielberg: “Oh, hi Sam. I didn’t know you were in my movie.”
        Jackson: “Yeah, I’m in a lot of movies.”

        • thesplitsaber

          Its astonishing how many movies hes made and how rarely (unfortunately) hes reused actors. Id be fine with him only working with people hes worked with before for the rest of his career.

  • Confession: I have never seen Jurassic Park. I hated the book – couldn’t even finish it, in part due to Crichton’s anti-science bias – and dinosaurs have never done it for me. There was a very brief time it was on Netflix and I told myself it was time to watch it, but the window closed too fast.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      I’d STRONGLY recommend it sir.

    • thesplitsaber

      Jurassic Park is Kubrickian in its adaption-everything that works in the book is kept and made better, everything that doesnt work is chucked.

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Question of the day: Favorite jokes in movies post 1990?

    I really love in There’s Something About Mary when the cops pick up Ben Stiller, think he’s a serial killer, ask him how many, and he thinks they’re talking about hitchhikers he’s picked up (“I dunno, ten, twenty…”).

    • “37?”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The cop getting enraged and attacking him is perfect.

        • We’re actually talking about different movies–I was thinking Clerks, still my favorite comedy on the metric of “film that made me laugh the most.”

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Ah damn it, thats pretty amazing too though. “My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks!” “In a row?”

          • Back when he cared, Smith came up with some great jokes (and drama), stuff that wasn’t just well-written but well-played, -timed, and -framed. “Because the other three are figments of your fucking imagination!

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Affleck exploding with “We should have sex with each other!” is a perfect climax to the movie and one of Affleck’s best line readings in his cheerful enthusiasm about a terrible, terrible idea.

          • Affleck has never, since then, allowed himself to go so far into a character who’s such a complete idiot.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Nick Dunn maybe, I think Affleck’s best performance as a character who thinks he’s intelligent (thinks) and doesn’t know himself in any way shape or form (Amy doesn’t as well, she just knows how to harness her abilities better).

          • thesplitsaber

            Affleck has real talent in playing square jawed heels and dim bulbs. He would have been a massive massive star in the 40s and 50s.

          • thesplitsaber

            I prefer Afflecks exhausted reading of ‘the man hating d*ke?’

      • Miller

        Toward the end of the Cleveland Indians’ winning streak this year, ESPN ran an article speculating if they could make it through the rest of the season without losing. The headline was “Can Cleveland win 37 in a row?” and I nearly died laughing.

    • Miller

      This is incredibly stupid and that’s why I like it, considering who wrote it: When the cops are chasing Owen Wilson through a meat locker in Bottle Rocket and yell “Freeze!” Come to think of it, Max’s “O R you?” in Rushmore is even better as an incredibly dumb joke that just busts me up, especially in the middle of more low-key stuff.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Wes Anderson has some pretty great jokes throughout his movies.

        “I thought I was a fucking f***ot.”
        *pause* “…You’re bisexual then!”

      • YES! That “O R you?” line is pretty much perfect. As is Bill Murray’s reaction to it.

      • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

        “Grace called me a loser!”
        “What? What’s she ever done with her life that’s so great?”

      • Spooky Narrator Man

        The funniest thing in Bottle Rocket is Wilson’s delivery of “That’s Applejack, man!”, which I’m not even sure is a joke.

    • A great joke that’s also characterization from Sideways:
      “It’s called The Day After Yesterday.”
      “Oh. (pause) You mean tomorrow.”
      “. . .yes.” (Miles has clearly never considered this before.)

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        “I’d sue her ass but I wanna protect Christine.”
        “That’s thoughtful of you.”

        • There are some great jokes in there but every beat of the Miles/Jack relationship is so damn funny. The “I am not having any fuckin’ Merlot!” line gets all the attention, but Jack’s reaction is so much funnier–he’s heard this many times before.

    • Miller

      Sorry, nothing in Something About Mary tops “I work with retards.”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Matt Dillon IS the worst guy in the world trying to be charming and its hilarious.

    • Son of Griff

      THE BIG LEBOWSKI is a treasure trove of whimsy that I quote regularly, but for subtlety and ribaldry, nothin’ beats BOOGIE NIGHTS.

      “M.P., Y.P, I don’t understand this Industry jargon”

      “If movies caused violence, then I’d stop making movies. I’ll fuck on my own time.”

      “Genuine imported Italian nylon”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Ya know people think I look like Han Solo.

        • Son of Griff

          Oh.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            “I like simple pleasures – lollipops in my mouth, butter in my ass.” (That’s one of those “Wait hold up, what” moments.)

          • Son of Griff

            That’s one I say all the time.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            “It’s Cosmo. *whisper* He’s Chinese.”

          • Son of Griff

            Rick Springfield…Buddy of Mine!!

          • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

            I love the other actor cracking up in the background.

    • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

      “What the fuck is this!!!”
      “Boy with apple????”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford
        • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

          The fire fights in this movie and Life Aquatic are so fantastic I almost wish he would direct an Expendables movie should the worst case scenario occur and he had to do a franchise film.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Fantastic Mr. Fox too.

        • Keith

          So many laugh at loud moments in this film for me:

          Fiennes yelling “HOLY FUCKING SHIT” as Zero pushed Willem Dafoe over the cliff.

          Fiennes describing his prison fight.

          The whole jail break scene. “I guess we’ll consider that a draw.”

    • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

      Literally the entirety of Black Dynamite.

      The Italian scene in Inglourious Basterds

      Kicking and Screaming‘s discussion of All the Pretty Horses.

      Frances Ha, when she goes to Paris on a whim, sleeps until 3 PM, can’t reach any of the people she thought she’d see there, and finally hits the low point:

      “When did Puss in Boots start?”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Hans Landa knowing perfect Italian is such a great laugh.

      • Cennywise The Ploughn

        No list would be complete without “But Black Dynamite, I sell drugs to the community.” The control that movie has over its tone is fantastic.

        • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

          “Donuts don’t wear alligator shoes.”

          “First Lady, I’m sorry I pimp-slapped you into that china cabinet.”

          “Sarcastically, I’m in charge!”

          “As he laid there, flat on his face, he looked up at me. His little Chinese eyes burned right into my stomach, deep into my soul. He said something to me in Chinese like, ‘Boo coo sow!’, sounded like some cartoon shit. But I understood it to be a question that he was asking me. And I don’t have to know how to speak Chinese to know what that question was. ‘Why, Black Dynamite? Why?'”

          Don’t even get me started on all the visual jokes like the ridiculous trip-all-over-itself editing in the foot chase scene, or reusing the same shot of the car going over a cliff and exploding. That movie has everything and I’ll never get tired of it.

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            Some of the lines don’t stand out on the page but it’s because the whole joke is in the delivery and Michael Jai White’s double-performance as Black Dynamite and as an actor playing Black Dynamite and realizing how poorly thought-out some of the movie is. “Hush up, little girls. A lot of cats have that name” is delivered in a way that conveys nobody – including the actor – is convinced by this line.

          • thesplitsaber

            ‘as an actor playing Black Dynamite’

            per imdb ‘Michael Jai White has stated he was not just playing Black Dynamite, but also the actor playing Black Dynamite. The actor, Ferrante Jones, was a running back for the Baltimore Colts whose career ended due to a broken neck. If you pay attention you’ll notice that Black Dynamite has a hard time turning his neck to one side. This is because of Jones’ neck injury.’

        • That line is a textbook example of why delivery matters to comedy, and the textbook would also include “do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning?” Neither joke looks like much on paper, but the delivery in Black Dynamite makes it just insanely funny–the subtext is “is that gonna be a problem here? I just want us to be clear on this.”

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          That’s the only joke I know from that movie, and it’s the perfect advertisement for it.

        • thesplitsaber

          Mykael T Williamsons ‘Motherfu-‘ then the hard cut after getting slapped is the top for me.

          • Cennywise The Ploughn

            There’s an entire comedy scene contained in that one cut, which makes it a power burst of funny.

      • Spooky Narrator Man

        I don’t think any joke in a Baumbach movie has made me laugh as hard as “Why don’t you put pasta up her pussy?” in Mistress America.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      Nick Frost’s “We’re coming to get you, Barbara” in Shaun Of The Dead–I saw it at a packed theater, and the place exploded at that line. Also from Edgar Wright: Michael Cera jumping out the window in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        All of the Brandon Routh battle. “…Chicken parm isn’t vegan?”

        • Delmars Whiskers

          Everything with Brandon Roth. And Chris Evans, too. And Aubrey Plaza.

          • “Can I have your autograph?” (BAM) (only slightly less earnest) “Can I have your autograph?”

            I can say from an entirely objective perspective that this movie is awesome.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Sadly, I’m still nursing a grudge against Scott Tobias for his review.

          • If I remember correctly, did the site publish an article a few weeks later in which the rest of the staff chastised Tobias, too?

          • Delmars Whiskers

            Yeah, there was a “Tasha vs, Scott” crosstalk, and she made it pretty clear that everyone else on staff loved it. God, I miss the old AV Club…

          • Me too…. *sobs into hands*

            Seriously, though, I’m so unmoored in my pop culture discourse now. At first, I had the AVC, then I had the Dissolve, and now I have nothing.

          • Delmars Whiskers

            If there’s any site on the web with the AVC Classic combo of all-encompassing pop culture coverage and first-rate writing, I have yet to find it.

          • It really was a dream team of writers for a while there.

          • thesplitsaber

            Ill out myself as not being a big fan of it either but everything Culkin says/does is gold.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      “Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is…maybe he didn’t?”

    • “Why do we drink virgin blood?”

      “I think of it like this. If you are going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it.”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The runner that Deacon keeps using familiars then not transforming them into vampires.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Oh god, all of Stu. “We just really like Stu.”

        • Is he just actually some tech from the film crew, and they just threw him into the movie?

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That might be the case yeah, it’s gold.

      • hellgauge

        “We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.”

      • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

        “Leave me to do my dark bidding on the internet!”
        “What are you bidding on?”
        “I am bidding on a table.”

        Hunt for the Wilderpeople is no slouch in this department either, the “pervert” bit gets probably the biggest laughs but I’m partial to the casual chill comedy of this:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AXEzcuMQp4

    • Cennywise The Ploughn

      The Faralley Brothers were underappreciated comedy writing masters. Able to insert funny lines that also lined up with the story and characters. That sounds like the minimum a comedy should do, but how often does it happen anymore? Dumb and Dumber is closer to a classic than it has any right to be.

      “Those your skis?”
      “Yes.”
      “Both of them?”

      “Why would she want to meet you in a bar at 8 in the morning?”
      (concealing anger) “I just figured she was a raging alcoholic.”

      • thesplitsaber

        ‘You gave a dead parrot to A BLIND KID????’

    • PCguy

      A better riff on SOMETHING ABOUT MARY from the under appreciated classic SORORITY BOYS.

      After passing out at a fraternity party one of the sorority boys wakes up with a wad of jizz in his hair. He’s talking to Harland Williams and trying to pass it off as gum.

      [Harland Williams voice] “What flavor is it? Hot buttered cock?”

    • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

      “I work with retards.”
      “Isn’t that a little politically incorrect?”
      “Yeah, maybe, but hell, no one’s gonna tell me who I can and can’t work with.”

      That’s not my answer to this question, but it always cracks me up.

    • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

      My real answer to this would require intense consultation with the scripts of Wayne’s World, Clerks, Billy Madison, The Big Lebowski, Office Space, 10 Things I Hate About You, Super Troopers, and MacGruber.

      • “Denied! No ‘Stairway’!” is haiku-like in its perfection, as is
        “I don’t even own a gun, much less many guns which would necessitate an entire rack.” Like an American version of Joe Orton, who would also appreciate the discussion of when Bugs Bunny dressed up as a girl bunny.

        • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

          IIRC, Dana Carvey improvised the Bugs Bunny question, and Mike Myers is really laughing at him.

          I’m also fond of:

          “Aren’t we lucky that security guard had all that information? It seemed extraneous at the time.”

          And

          “Terry, you’ll be giving the hand cues–”
          “Excuse me, Russell, I believe I requested the hand job.”

          And of course:

          “Why is it when you kill a man on the field of battle, it’s called heroic– but when you kill a man in the heat of passion, it’s called murder?”
          “Uh, hello?! What are you doing? Only me and Garth get to talk to the camera!”

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            The joke about product placement is fairly predictable until it cuts to Garth in full Pepsi merch.

          • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

            I wonder how long it took for people discovering the film for the first time to be like, “What the hell is Nuprin?”

  • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

    Sort of off topic, but do y’all remember the opening to Jurassic Park 2 where the little cute dinosaurs come out, seem innocent, and then more come out and a pack starts forming. The editing suggests the most heinous of kid deaths, but i’m not sure if its ever referenced again in the film. Anyways that is a scene i can never forget no matter what.

    • Jake Gittes’ Doppelgänger

      From what I recall it’s later mentioned that the girl’s in the hospital. This was no longer the Spielberg who’d give a child a gruesome death, though I agree that just the visual of her getting surrounded by the dinos is incredibly unnerving, I haven’t seen the movie in 10-15 years but I still remember that.

      • lowRes_Triangle_Of_+1_Charisma

        As a child it was the most terrifying thing in an otherwise pretty agreeable animals-eating-people sub-genre of disaster movies. (Because the structure is the same, people disrespect nature, nature morphs into a unholy exaggeration of itself and destroys people.)

        • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

          Much like your experience with the child, I get freaked out by what happens to Peter Stormare midway through with the little dinos. Having read the original novel, I knew what those suckers were capable of, which is why those little Compys were so unnerving. (It was only after several years, of course, that I realized the movie never explained how their bite contained a mild anesthetic venom, meaning Stormare stumbling around didn’t make a ton of sense unless you had that knowledge walking in.