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Episode 149 - The Lawnmower Man: LIVE! (w/ Neil Casey, Emily Heller)

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Finally: the VR things in this film made me think of the Def Leppard video for 'Let's Get Rocked', which came out almost at the same time as this. So I hummed that song throughout and that helped a lot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO1Nae_EBvQ Great ep. Looking forward to reading the discussions!

Ugh! I remember every ten-year-old singing "let's get fucked!" like they thought of it themselves. No genius, that is the actual double entendre being made here.

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I'm surprised to learn that the scene where "Cyboman" shows up at Jobe's shack wasn't in the theatrical release, because that's the version I watched over and over as a kid and I'm pretty sure I taped it off of cable. That means Showtime [or whatever channel we had] would have been playing the director's cut?

 

Also it seems like much was made about Jobe's "goal" being able to ring all the telephones in the world at once, but I always took the phones ringing as more of a signal that he had achieved his actual goal of being connected to everyone in every part of the world. I don't think his entire objective was just to ring all of the world's telephones.

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Emily's laugh is so delightful and infectious and I want her on another episode pronto!

 

Also with the theme of VR getting thrown around (I would also love to have them do The Cell), I still think Johnny Mnemonic needs to be covered!

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Emily's laugh is so delightful and infectious and I want her on another episode pronto!

 

Loved it too! Best laugh since Chelsea Peretti on the LOL episode.

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Paul and company apologize in this episode for not knowing the biblical story of Job well enough to compare it to the movie's pilot, but it's worth pointing out that the movie's writers clearly didn't know the story either.

 

Father Abusey McBeating mutters this dubious exposition for the audience's benefit: "He brings the wrath of the Lord on himself, just like his namesake." I know that he's a horrible priest, but even the worst priest wouldn't get the basics of the biblical story of Job so wrong. Job wasn't an object of God's wrath, and he certainly didn't do anything to invite the wrath of God. The entire point of the biblical story is that Job is so blessed and praised by God that he becomes a target of Satan. This isn't a minor detail or a quibble over interpretation. For a bad priest to say Job invited God's wrath would be as plausible as a bad doctor prescribing nacho cheese sauce to treat syphilis or an art historian describing the Venus de Milo as a sculpture celebrating the body of a double amputee. It's not bad, it's flat out bonkers.

 

 

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Awesome episode. On a side note, I saw this turd in the theater years ago, and it was only halfway through rewatching it for this episode that I realized "Holy crap, Frank Lapides is the Lawnmower Man!!!"

 

Not exactly an omission, but one detail I'd have loved to hear you guys talk about was the way the VR "learning interface" thing worked, when Larry Brosnan hooked up Jobe at the institute.

 

I could maybe get on board with the idea that Jobe has to go into VR to experience this super-learning-whatever machine, and that somehow Kabbalistic symbols and other arcane "knowledge-stuff" flying at his face is entering his brain and making him smarter. Suspension of disbelief, sure.

 

But here's the thing -- why did Larry Brosnan have to be in VR too? And in his VR world, he has this image in front of him of Jobe's brain, and he uses his VR hand to grab -- what, some kind of VR stuff? -- and he just starts chucking it at Jobe's CGI brain, like he's throwing Pokeballs or something. Setting aside the total nonsense that is, why does he have to be floating around in VR to do that? Couldn't he have just been at one of the regular computer terminals in the room?

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"Couldn't he have just been at one of the regular computer terminals in the room?"

 

This speaks to Jason's question: why do they have to simulate weightlessness with gigantic cybergyros? The only reason you'd need something like that would be if you wanted to simulate involuntary movements being forced on a subject, like being trapped in a love goo trap or being knocked around by a wrathful cybernetic god creature.

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Finally got to watch the movie and listen to the podcast last night. Wow.

 

First of all I want to mention that when Timms (Mark Bringelson) appeared on screen, my roommate said he looked like Paul lol

 

I also agree I thought it was a bad set up that Jobe can apparently build a working lawnmower, but for all other instances is sort of a dimwit. Also, was it just me, or did he not seem as stupid as people treated him?

 

 

 

Yeah, making Jobe smarter by throwing complex images at him makes no sense. You want to know a movie that had a better computer system for enhancing intelligence? Battlefield Earth.

 

This movie was just way too early for what it was trying to push. I don't care how many phone Jobe rings, his goal was to get everyone hooked on virtual reality and in 1992 you'd be lucky if most families had a PC in home, let alone the internet he'd require to control everyone, and then VR capabilities. I remember my first internet "experience" being circa 1993 with a friend's father looking up video game tips for me and he wanted to print the info and sign off ASAP, because his IP charged him per minute, I believe.

 

I know there's the idea that with the internet Jobe has a wider area of control, but concerning how advanced (or unadvanced) computer systems were at that time, his options would be limited. Sure he could get into databases and stuff, but that doesn't really help him attain the goal of hooking the world up to VR. It's stated once he goes digital at the end that he has no control over the physical world, which basically renders his telekinesis useless (ignoring the bogus door unlocking scene), so that's definitely a step down in his abilities. I guess maybe he thinks he can just use mind control on the people he rings up, but again that seems lacking if those people don't own or have access to the technology to get into his virtual reality world, which would require a specific program too. Nevermind areas of the world that aren't modernized. His goal is very short-sighted.

 

If he is so smart, and smarter than Dr. Angelo as he claims to be, he should switch his VR obsession into technological development. Make VR more advanced and accessible to the everyday person. Patent and monopolize that stuff, while secretly throwing in a bug that will allow him to take control once the world has come to rely on VR as an everyday necessity.

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Great episode, guys!

 

So, like, I get that this movie doesn't take place in "The City" or anything, but are we seriously supposed to believe that there's only one gas station in town? I mean, Irish Dude is supposed to be Jobe's little lawn buddy, but apparently, day after day, he takes him to the same gas station to be verbally and physically harassed. What the Hell, dude? There's got to be a slightly more tolerant Chevron just down the road, right?

 

Also, while I get that the priest is supposed to be an asshole, I loved the fact that when Jobe goes to the church dressed in his Tron cosplay at the end of the movie, just before the Priest recognizes that it's Jobe, he tells him, "The church is closed for the night." Okay, I get it, it's late, but it's a church, man. Are you telling me, that if I'm ever having a severe crisis of faith, I better make damn sure that I'm having it during regular banking hours?

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Great episode, guys!

 

So, like, I get that this movie doesn't take place in "The City" or anything, but are we seriously supposed to believe that there's only one gas station in town? I mean, Irish Dude is supposed to be Jobe's little lawn buddy, but apparently, day after day, he takes him to the same gas station to be verbally and physically harassed. What the Hell, dude? There's got to be a slightly more tolerant Chevron just down the road, right?

 

Also, while I get that the priest is supposed to be an asshole, I loved the fact that when Jobe goes to the church dressed in his Tron cosplay at the end of the movie, just before the Priest recognizes that it's Jobe, he tells him, "The church is closed for the night." Okay, I get it, it's late, but it's a church, man. Are you telling me that if I'm ever having a severe crisis of faith I need to make sure that I only have it during regular banking hours?

You're very right about that dumb gas station! I went to college in the literal middle of fuckin' nowhere and we still had 5 gas stations in town.

 

But to your point about the church being closed. There are a lot of churches that lock their doors after a certain time. Friends and I went roaming in the local Methodist church after school one day because my friend needed to pick up some choral pieces and the entire sanctuary was locked and closed off. We could only get into the rec room and cafeteria area. I think it really depends on the church.

 

Also just remembered that when I went to Notre Dame it was closed too and I was not happy that I couldn't see inside.

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Emily touched on this at the end of the show, but the one scene that really irked me takes place when Jobe is driving the truck and is listening to the first five seconds of each CD he puts in the boombox. I get that this is supposed to be something akin to Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation super speed reading a book, but seriously? Speed listening?!? Even when Data would speed read, he would read whatever he was reading in its entirety.

 

It's as if the movie is telling us all Jobe needs to do to fully comprehend music is to listen to a snippet of it. Wouldn't a true genius listen to an entire song or album to glean the nuances of it? Like say, Jobe listens to Beethoven's 9th Symphony and, using his super genius brain, hears something in each and every note no human has ever conceived of before.

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You're very right about that dumb gas station! I went to college in the literal middle of fuckin' nowhere and we still had 5 gas stations in town.

 

But to your point about the church being closed. There are a lot of churches that lock their doors after a certain time. Friends and I went roaming in the local Methodist church after school one day because my friend needed to pick up some choral pieces and the entire sanctuary was locked and closed off. We could only get into the rec room and cafeteria area. I think it really depends on the church.

 

Also just remembered that when I went to Notre Dame it was closed too and I was not happy that I couldn't see inside.

 

Sorry, I should have clarified my second point. I get churches aren't open all the time. But, seeing as this church obviously has a rectory on site, if the priest is going to take the initiative to investigate who broke into the chapel, he should also be prepared to provide spiritual guidance to a wayward member of his flock. Basically he just told this (possibly) unhinged person, who's already broken in to his parish, please go deal with your demons elsewhere until after I've finished my waffles.

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You're very right about that dumb gas station! I went to college in the literal middle of fuckin' nowhere and we still had 5 gas stations in town.

My home town is like a block long and even back during the early 90s there were at least 3 gas stations. There's no excuse for them going to that same gas station all the time.

 

Or wait... when the lady pulls in and asks whatshisname to check her fluids... does that imply this is a full service gas station? How many of those were still around in the early 90s? Maybe these people are just all too lazy to fill their own gas tanks.

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Okay, I admit, maybe I missed something, but it seems to me that Dr. Larry is stuck in one of those classic "don't want my experiments to be used for evil, but the military's the one writing the checks" scenarios. However, he legitimately seems to only want to increase his subject's intelligence and would prefer to avoid The Shop's warmongering machinations. So, considering computer engineer Dr. Larry's proclivity for peace, how exactly does he know how to arm and set bombs, again?

 

He also manages to punch a guy out with a cigarette in his mouth without losing it or biting off the filter, which, if you consider the mechanics of both punching and smoking, is truly an amazing feat.

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in other countries this movie was marketed differently.

 

30jgrpu.jpg

 

The brain juice shot is what makes him smart, but in order for Jobe Smith to gain new brain development he needs VR computer games to trigger his new powers of seeing the world. the computers games help him learn to learn new brain development.

that or he is just being sexually assaulted and lied too. He was on acid all the time, and rape drugs.

 

BTW I just got done this episode of the show, so that's why I am so late with this poster.

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I had major issues with the hotel worker holding the tray when Larry was making his escape from the hotel. Namely, after Larry steals the pitcher off the hotel worker's tray to smash it on the goon's face, why did Larry give the hotel worker the goon's uzi and tell him to cover him? And why did the fucking hotel worker agree? Wouldn't Larry benefit from remaining armed? Wouldn't the hotel worker have ran away immediately after the dude with an uzi got hit? And why does the hotel worker side with Larry? Wouldn't he have been more trustworthy of the goon given that the goon had been posted in that service hallway in the first place and Larry was clearly not supposed to be back there? Also the hotel worker held onto his tray even while holding the uzi.

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Can we talk about the intelligence drug? In the first 2 minutes of the movie, Larry and bald Ike Barinholtz are in the lab arguing over the chimp. Larry says that his treatments are making the chimp smarter at an "incredible rate," which is more important than training for war. When bald Barinholtz urges him to keep training the chimp in virtual reality, Larry protests and refuses to increase the dosage of "aggression drugs," because the chimp is already showing behavioral instability. Bald Barinholtz adds that the sponsors (the military) don't care about making smarter chimps; they want the chimp's "rage centers fully stimulated." Intelligence seems like it was an unintended side effect of this drug. Knowing this, Larry still injects Jobe with the drug. Gimme a break at Larry acting all surprised when Jobe goes full-on rage mode and starts killing everyone. At some point, when Jobe becomes smarter, perhaps Larry could have warned Jobe that "hey, by the way, this veterinary-grade drug I've been injecting you with might make you go into a murderous rage, so try not to go overdosing on this stuff."

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Hey, Paul! I'm a big fan of the show and also a Christian pastor. And I have to report that the young lady's summary of the book of Job was correct at first, but way off at the end.

 

Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written before the book of Genesis. It also is written in a poetic style, like The Iliad.

 

The book of Job tells the story of a man named Job who was faithful to God no matter what. Satan posits to God that if Job were not so blessed, if his life were not so good, he would no longer praise God. God gave Satan permission to test Job's faith. In spite of losing his wife, children, property, belongings, health, and reputation, job remained faithful to God even when he was on the verge of death.

 

The bulk of the book consists of conversations between Job and four other individuals who are contemplating God and life, and are trying to figure out why God had allowed or caused Job to suffer. In the end, God speaks to Job and commends his faith, meanwhile also putting the other four men in check. Because Job was faithful, God restored Job's position, possessions, and family twice over. At no point did Job kill anyone or exact any kind of revenge.

 

For me there is no solid correlation between the Job of the Bible and the Jobe of The Lawnmower Man. Job was an affluent, successful man whose life was turned upside down for a while. Jobe was a strange, estranged man whose life was ruined and ultimately ended by another's tampering. Perhaps their only commonality is that they were chastised by people in their community, but I think that's grasping at straws.

 

Thanks for another great show! Keep up the good work! -Brian

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Oh my god, I thought the correlation of psychic abilities and alchemy was pulled out of thin air, but Carl Jung apparently thought otherwise.

 

From Wikipedia

Alchemical symbolism has been important in depth and analytical psychology and was revived and popularized from near extinction by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Initially confounded and at odds with alchemy and its images, after being given a copy of the translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese alchemical text, by his friend Richard Wilhelm, Jung discovered a direct correlation between the symbolic images in the alchemical drawings and the internal or psychic processes of transformation occurring in his patients.

 

I mean, I doubt he thought that alchemists could do telepathy or telekinesis but wow. This would probably explain why Jobe was getting bombarded by the circles of alchemic symbols at the beginning of his VR tests. Too bad they don't really explain it clearly to the audience lol

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You're very right about that dumb gas station! I went to college in the literal middle of fuckin' nowhere and we still had 5 gas stations in town.

My father grew up in rural Alberta and in his hometown with population of a few hundred had three if I recall correctly.

 

in other countries this movie was marketed differently.

 

How Did This Get Named

809632_01.jpg

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Hey, Paul! I'm a big fan of the show and also a Christian pastor. And I have to report that the young lady's summary of the book of Job was correct at first, but way off at the end.

 

Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written before the book of Genesis. It also is written in a poetic style, like The Iliad.

 

The book of Job tells the story of a man named Job who was faithful to God no matter what. Satan posits to God that if Job were not so blessed, if his life were not so good, he would no longer praise God. God gave Satan permission to test Job's faith. In spite of losing his wife, children, property, belongings, health, and reputation, job remained faithful to God even when he was on the verge of death.

 

The bulk of the book consists of conversations between Job and four other individuals who are contemplating God and life, and are trying to figure out why God had allowed or caused Job to suffer. In the end, God speaks to Job and commends his faith, meanwhile also putting the other four men in check. Because Job was faithful, God restored Job's position, possessions, and family twice over. At no point did Job kill anyone or exact any kind of revenge.

 

For me there is no solid correlation between the Job of the Bible and the Jobe of The Lawnmower Man. Job was an affluent, successful man whose life was turned upside down for a while. Jobe was a strange, estranged man whose life was ruined and ultimately ended by another's tampering. Perhaps their only commonality is that they were chastised by people in their community, but I think that's grasping at straws.

 

Thanks for another great show! Keep up the good work! -Brian

 

 

I get it if you don't see a correlation between the two, but considering both characters are named Jobe/Job (not exactly the most common name in the world), the screenwriter(s) must have intended some relationship between the two.

 

I don't remember exactly what the audience member said, but I don't think she was implying the biblical Job ever exacted revenge, but that our Jobe may be playing that out in a "what if?" scenario. Why shouldn't Job want revenge on God? He loses his family, health, and livelihood so God can prove a point to his arch-nemesis, Satan--who is somehow just allowed to waltz into Heaven to play a game of Wits and Wagers with the Almighty.

 

No. How I think this movie correlates to the Bible story is that our Jobe is the mirror opposite of Bible Job. He is a man of low intelligence and limited means. He's beaten and tortured by a man who should be protecting him, and is looked down upon by the community at large. In essence, he is a man of few blessings. But, as the movie progresses, rather than have "gifts" taken away, he is granted them. The irony is, as these gifts are bestowed upon him, he is driven further and further from his divine self.

 

Lawnmower Man is not meant to be a literal retelling of the Book of Job, it's more of a companion piece meant to give greater depth to the philosophy behind it. Now, the question is, does it succeed? Of course not. This movie is garbage. But I do admire the screenwriter's attempt at telling a different version of the Job story.

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My father grew up in rural Alberta and in his hometown with population of a few hundred had three if I recall correctly.

 

 

 

How Did This Get Named

809632_01.jpg

 

I love this one too! If it wasn't so visually dependent, I would love to see Cam Bert's 'overseas marketing' posts featured on episodes much in the way the SlashFilm interviews are. So fascinating. Good work Cam Bert!

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My father grew up in rural Alberta and in his hometown with population of a few hundred had three if I recall correctly.

 

 

 

How Did This Get Named

809632_01.jpg

 

Jobe's teeth are way too small in the virtual world.

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