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JulyDiaz

Episode 184 - Johnny Mnemonic: LIVE!

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Jessica St. Clair (Womp It Up!, Playing House) joins Paul and Jason to discuss the 1995 cyberpunk action thriller Johnny Mnemonic starring Keanu Reeves. Recorded live in Boston, they talk about the sentient dolphin, ghost in the machines, robotic street preachers, and much more. Plus, June gives us her best guess of what the movie is about without watching it.

 

Check out new HDTGM merch over at https://www.teepublic.com/user/howdidthisgetmade

Where to Find Jason, June & Paul:

You can see Jason, June, and Paul in The Disaster Artist in theaters now.

Paul’s new comedy Drive Share is available on Go90. Paul can be seen on A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, Opening Night, and Veep. You can see June and Paul on NTSF:SD:SUV:: on HULU. June stars in Grace and Frankie on Netflix, as well as Lady Dynamite alongside with Jason.

Jason can be seen in The Good Place, The House, The Lego Batman Movie, How to Be Single, Sleeping with Other People, and is still indeed in The Dictator.

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Jessica's full on scream at the end was the funniest reaction to a big reveal since Reindeer Games. I had to full on cover my mouth and my boss asked if I was okay because I was L O S I N G IT!

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I've only listened to half this episode, but I'm so happy that Jessica St. Clair got to watch this one with what I think is the most trashcan barrel fires I've ever seen in a movie. I was hoping it would be one of hers.

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The slow reveal of Paul's tragic childhood makes me laugh out loud. Only he could roll with it this well.

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This was the first R-rated movie I snuck into. My cousin and I walked up to the box office, and he was like, "Two tickets for A Goofy Movie, please", and my dumb ass was like, "But I thought we were gonna watch..." and he's trying to shut me up. So we bought the Goofy tickets and saw this movie instead.

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When i saw this as an 11-year-old kid (see my last post), while I knew there was a city called Newark, I'd never seen it spelled, so when the title card announced the location of Newark, I thought it was a biblical reference, like "new ark".

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I fucking love this movie, and no one can convince me that it's not brilliant. I was sad when Jason said he hated it but felt immediately redeemed when Paul said he owned it on Laserdisc.

 

A few random thoughts from just listening to the first half hour or so:

 

1. Why did so many movies have these starting title cards in the 80s and 90s? Part of me thinks it was studio intervention basically saying, "Well, people aren't going to get it unless you explain what's going on first." But I have literally no proof to back that up. I will say, though, that I find it equally frustrating that so many sci-fi/fantasy/comic book movies now need to start with a 10-minute cutscene with a VO telling us backstory that could just as easily be part of the actual story.

 

2. Forget Origin Stories about these movies. Let's get Origin Stories on Zouks' and St. Clair's friendship. I knew they had been friends for quite some time. I assumed it was because they were both UCB people, but I was overjoyed to find out they went to college together. And equally overjoyed to find out about St. Clair's obsession with the Shrek 2 soundtrack. I need to know so much more about their friendship over the past couple decades.

 

3. Let's talk disk space. I know 320 GB doesn't seem like much nowadays, but let's keep a few things in mind. The short story this was based on was released in 1981. The first GB hard drive was released one year earlier. It cost $81,000, weighed 450 lbs, and was the size of a refrigerator. At the time, home computers' hard drives were roughly ~5MB (roughly 0.5% of 1 GB).

 

This movie was made in 1995. The average size of a hard disk drive (HDD) was around 400-500 MB the year before, but higher-end computers were starting to have ~1 GB HDDs. Those HDDs were SUPER expensive, too. For comparison, today you can get a 1 TB HDD for about $50. For comparison's sake, in 1995, a 500 MB HDD would have run you about $380.

 

Enter the Zip Disk. Originally released in 1994, Zip Disks were removable media that held a whopping 500 MB. The drive would run you about $200. But the disks were relatively inexpensive I couldn't find a cost at the time of release, but by the late 90s, you could get a pack of 6 original 100 MB disks for under $15 or a pack of 250 MB disks for under $20.

 

When I entered college in 1999, I bought a new computer. It was pretty decent for the time, and it had a 750 MB HDD. The following year, Dell and Gateway started putting 1 GB HDDs in most of their new computers.

 

Now, that might all seem like a lot of needless information, but I hope it puts into perspective how much 320 GB would have seemed in 1995. It's am almost unfathomable number for the time period. It's like if someone today said they were going to carry around about a petabyte (1000 TBs) in their head.

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3. Let's talk disk space. I know 320 GB doesn't seem like much nowadays, but let's keep a few things in mind. The short story this was based on was released in 1981. The first GB hard drive was released one year earlier. It cost $81,000, weighed 450 lbs, and was the size of a refrigerator. At the time, home computers' hard drives were roughly ~5MB (roughly 0.5% of 1 GB).

 

This movie was made in 1995. The average size of a hard disk drive (HDD) was around 400-500 MB the year before, but higher-end computers were starting to have ~1 GB HDDs. Those HDDs were SUPER expensive, too. For comparison, today you can get a 1 TB HDD for about $50. For comparison's sake, in 1995, a 500 MB HDD would have run you about $380.

 

Enter the Zip Disk. Originally released in 1994, Zip Disks were removable media that held a whopping 500 MB. The drive would run you about $200. But the disks were relatively inexpensive I couldn't find a cost at the time of release, but by the late 90s, you could get a pack of 6 original 100 MB disks for under $15 or a pack of 250 MB disks for under $20.

 

When I entered college in 1999, I bought a new computer. It was pretty decent for the time, and it had a 750 MB HDD. The following year, Dell and Gateway started putting 1 GB HDDs in most of their new computers.

 

Now, that might all seem like a lot of needless information, but I hope it puts into perspective how much 320 GB would have seemed in 1995. It's am almost unfathomable number for the time period. It's like if someone today said they were going to carry around about a petabyte (1000 TBs) in their head.

Yes, let's talk disc space.

 

First, let's agree that "synaptic seepage" is the grossest term ever.

 

Second, one of the audience members talked about how the human brain is estimated to hold 100 terrabytes of info. That's great, but the whole idea of seepage clearly indicates that the data isn't really being stored in the brain, because data getting into the brain is bad (see also: anal seepage being the thing killing Johnny), so that means that the mnemonic memory device is just a hard drive installed into the cranium, presumably after having removed some portion of the brain in which long-term memory is stored. And for as long as I can remember, hard drive space is finite, meaning that you can't even try to put 320 gigs of data on a 180 gig drive because the machine will see that the file is too big as say "Hey bro, I can't do that shit."

 

So, what exactly is "seepage" anyway? Why would there ever be data getting into the brain if the brain, itself, isn't the storage device, in which case data getting into the brain wouldn't harmful since that is the fucking point? Also, Johnny thinks he's getting those childhood memories back, but if parts of his brain were removed to accommodate the hard drive, good luck with that.

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I fucking love this movie, and no one can convince me that it's not brilliant. I was sad when Jason said he hated it but felt immediately redeemed when Paul said he owned it on Laserdisc.

 

A few random thoughts from just listening to the first half hour or so:

 

1. Why did so many movies have these starting title cards in the 80s and 90s? Part of me thinks it was studio intervention basically saying, "Well, people aren't going to get it unless you explain what's going on first." But I have literally no proof to back that up. I will say, though, that I find it equally frustrating that so many sci-fi/fantasy/comic book movies now need to start with a 10-minute cutscene with a VO telling us backstory that could just as easily be part of the actual story.

 

2. Forget Origin Stories about these movies. Let's get Origin Stories on Zouks' and St. Clair's friendship. I knew they had been friends for quite some time. I assumed it was because they were both UCB people, but I was overjoyed to find out they went to college together. And equally overjoyed to find out about St. Clair's obsession with the Shrek 2 soundtrack. I need to know so much more about their friendship over the past couple decades.

 

3. Let's talk disk space. I know 320 GB doesn't seem like much nowadays, but let's keep a few things in mind. The short story this was based on was released in 1981. The first GB hard drive was released one year earlier. It cost $81,000, weighed 450 lbs, and was the size of a refrigerator. At the time, home computers' hard drives were roughly ~5MB (roughly 0.5% of 1 GB).

 

This movie was made in 1995. The average size of a hard disk drive (HDD) was around 400-500 MB the year before, but higher-end computers were starting to have ~1 GB HDDs. Those HDDs were SUPER expensive, too. For comparison, today you can get a 1 TB HDD for about $50. For comparison's sake, in 1995, a 500 MB HDD would have run you about $380.

 

Enter the Zip Disk. Originally released in 1994, Zip Disks were removable media that held a whopping 500 MB. The drive would run you about $200. But the disks were relatively inexpensive I couldn't find a cost at the time of release, but by the late 90s, you could get a pack of 6 original 100 MB disks for under $15 or a pack of 250 MB disks for under $20.

 

When I entered college in 1999, I bought a new computer. It was pretty decent for the time, and it had a 750 MB HDD. The following year, Dell and Gateway started putting 1 GB HDDs in most of their new computers.

 

Now, that might all seem like a lot of needless information, but I hope it puts into perspective how much 320 GB would have seemed in 1995. It's am almost unfathomable number for the time period. It's like if someone today said they were going to carry around about a petabyte (1000 TBs) in their head.

Keanu says something like it felt like they uploaded the Library Of Congress. I was curious how big that is. The common answer is 10 TB but one site said it's probably closer to 200+ TB. Even if we looked at the lowball figure, that's 60 times his doubled memory. I'm too lazy to do the math, but imagine the physical size of that hard drive.

 

I mentioned in the minisode topic that, according to the short story, Johnny had "hundreds of megabytes" stored for Ralfi which seems really laughable now.

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Jessica's full on scream at the end was the funniest reaction to a big reveal since Reindeer Games. I had to full on cover my mouth and my boss asked if I was okay because I was L O S I N G IT!

I've only listened to half this episode, but I'm so happy that Jessica St. Clair got to watch this one with what I think is the most trashcan barrel fires I've ever seen in a movie. I was hoping it would be one of hers.

I love St. Clair's appearances. Her commentary is the best parts of both Jason and June wrapped up into one adorable package.

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The behind the scenes info I want to know about is Spider's Black Flag tattoo on the back of his neck. Did Rollins make an impassioned plea that his character Spider is definitely the kind of guy who would be so into a hardcore punk band from 35 years prior that he'd have the tattoo? Or did the director just not notice?

 

The real heroes of the movie are the guys that hire Johnny and get slaughtered in the hotel room, right? It seems like they are doing something nefarious for money but the buyer of the data at the other end is a group of poor doctors working at a mercy hospital in Newark. The doctors can't have had much money so those guys knew they were risking their lives to cure NAS.

 

I was very relieved when Paul said that Gibson didn't take credit for this movie. Seeing that he wrote the screenplay was shocking to me. I haven't read that many of his novels but they're way better than this. He generally drops you straight into the deep end and you can't really figure out what is going on until about 1/3 of the way through the novel. Then when you get it it is super satisfying. I don't know where the statement about him not using the internet comes from. He is one of my favorite twitter follows. @GreatDismal

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I read the short story because I accidentally reserved the book from the library not the DVD. It does explain the dolphin origin. The dolphin was a cyborg trained by the navy. It was addicted to heroin as a way to keep the dolphins loyal and Johnny trades heroin to the dolphin to convince it to help him retrieve the information.

 

I don't know why the dolphin is able to get the information out of Johnny's brain since it uses a device a human could theoretically use.

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Hi all, I noticed Paul mentioned the splashing-water-on-the-face trope again and thought I'd briefly go over the Mammalian Diving Reflex for everyone. During immersion in water, this relflex works to slow the heart rate, constrict blood flow to the arms and legs, and increase blood flow between the heart, lungs and brain. Now, this reflex is stimulated by nerves in the nasal cavity responding to sudden temperature drop. So, splashing cold water on the face will trick your body into thinking its going underwater, and cause an up to 25% decrease in heart rate, while hyper-oxygenating the brain, creating a feeling of calm. But its still an overused movie cliche.

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I'm no script doctor, but I think the movie would benefit from showing us one of Johnny's data smuggling gigs going smoothly, at least once. It's hard to root for a guy when all an audience knows of his life and motivation is what they're told through exposition. The movie opens with Johnny waking up after a night of hookers and champagne, apparently blowing through all that money he so desperately needs. Instead, it could have opened on Johnny completing a delivery like he's supposed to. Having that context would answer a few questions, like, does Johnny always get nosebleeds he has to tai chi away? How are three screencaps from the TV supposed to act as a password, and what happens if there is no TV in the room? And most importantly, does he have any other getaway disguises besides a driver cap trimmed with fake hair?

 

40807795942_7747f10abf_c.jpg

 

(Incidentally, did anyone else notice that when he puts on the get-up, he's running down a stairwell, but then it cuts to him getting off the elevator?)

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One of the actors in this movie is, in real life, bomb proof. Udo Kier is a German born in 1944, and the hospital in which he was born was bombed moments after his birth. Here's part of an interview from dazeddigital.com (note the seamless transition from "fun" to "Imma get German as hell right now"):

 

D&C: That sounds like a fun night. What was the most fun day of your life?

Udo Kier: Fun? Well, I know the day I was born was the most important day, not because my mother gave life to me, but how dramatic the story was. I was one hour old and the nurse was collecting all the babies – the newborns – from their mothers and cleaning them. My mother said: ‘Could I hold him a little bit longer?’ and the nurse said yes. Then the wall of the hospital collapsed over her – the building had been bombed. My mother was lucky because her bed was in a corner, so it was architecturally protected. She held me with one arm and with the other she made a hole in the rubble until they freed her, with me. I was two hours old. That is how I was born.

 

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/11559/1/20-qas-udo-kier

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I loved this one, although I missed having June being disturbed by the dolphin's living conditions (that was a small-ass tank).

 

I wish they'd mentioned the last few seconds of this movie, when it gave us that fake-out Street Preacher "back to life" moment, only to have it be a pretty well-done sight gag of them removing the body. It seemed really out of place in such a humorless movie. I enjoyed this, but I was really, really glad he was actually dead, and we weren't gearing up for another showdown. You don't top "killed by a dolphin's brain."

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I'm no script doctor, but I think the movie would benefit from showing us one of Johnny's data smuggling gigs going smoothly, at least once. It's hard to root for a guy when all an audience knows of his life and motivation is what they're told through exposition. The movie opens with Johnny waking up after a night of hookers and champagne, apparently blowing through all that money he so desperately needs. Instead, it could have opened on Johnny completing a delivery like he's supposed to. Having that context would answer a few questions, like, does Johnny always get nosebleeds he has to tai chi away? How are three screencaps from the TV supposed to act as a password, and what happens if there is no TV in the room? And most importantly, does he have any other getaway disguises besides a driver cap trimmed with fake hair?

 

40807795942_7747f10abf_c.jpg

 

(Incidentally, did anyone else notice that when he puts on the get-up, he's running down a stairwell, but then it cuts to him getting off the elevator?)

Okay thank you! I was losing it listening to the episode and wondering why no one was bringing up the Asian Dutchboy disguise Keanu used to get out of the hotel. It almost looks like he has yellowing makeup on his face and when he first pulls out the disguise, all he has is the wig, so where the fuck did the rest of the outfit come from?

 

Also, I kinda understand where Johnny is coming from in talking about wanting a club sandwich, as I use the quality of that sandwich to determine if I'll ever come back to a restaurant or eatery, because if they can't make a decent version of something as simple as a club sandwich, then the rest of their menu is bunk in my mind.

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So after learning that Jessica St. Clair is obsessed with soundtracks I felt I needed to share my soundtrack experience with you guys.

 

When watching the movie I heard this really weird song with lyrics that caught my attention enough to search up the song. The song is Complete by a metal band called Helmet. The song has some very interesting lyrics:

 

Ignorance that's absolute

A happy man is ruthless

Experience won't change his life

He works to be approved

He deserves a happy end

Asleep is almost painless

His mouth is always clean and right

He needs his entertainment

 

He's a complete

Feeds twice a day

Eats through his meat

He's always okay

He's a complete

Eats twice a day

Can't keep him down

He's always okay

He's a complete

Reads every day

I never get down

He's always okay

 

Guard the lies

He's a complete

Feeds twice a day

Eats through his meat

He's always okay

He's a complete

Eats twice a day

Can't keep him down

He's always okay

He's a complete

Reads everyday

I never get down

He's always okay

 

 

Lyrics talk about how clean his mouth is, how often he eats, how often he reads!? I hope Jessica downloads this.

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I've only listened to half this episode, but I'm so happy that Jessica St. Clair got to watch this one with what I think is the most trashcan barrel fires I've ever seen in a movie. I was hoping it would be one of hers.

Jessica's distaste for trashcan fires got me thinking. Isn't setting a trashcan on fire something we associate with hobos? Like they did it for warmth during the Depression. I Googled "trash can fire" and discovered that we now have fire resistant trash cans in the world.

 

Which makes me wonder why is it so common for trash can fires to be in "futuristic" movies when it's such an out-date heating technology?

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Jessica's distaste for trashcan fires got me thinking. Isn't setting a trashcan on fire something we associate with hobos? Like they did it for warmth during the Depression. I Googled "trash can fire" and discovered that we now have fire resistant trash cans in the world.

 

Which makes me wonder why is it so common for trash can fires to be in "futuristic" movies when it's such an out-date heating technology?

 

I wonder if it's because a lot of these futuristic movies are dystopian, where there's super rich and super poor. Or people in control and people not in control, like in the Depression.

 

It's also probably super cheap from a set-decorating perspective, in addition to being a visual shortcut for the audience for "these people have it super rough."

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Second, one of the audience members talked about how the human brain is estimated to hold 100 terrabytes of info.

Someone said that? Because that's nonsense.

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I wonder if Jessica has always turned into an old lady every time the internet or sci-fi is mentioned or whether she's been influenced by June's anti-robot agenda?

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One of the audience members mentioned that the brain has no pain receptors, therefore Johnny should not feel anything when they upload info. That is true, but there is still a scalp with skin on it that can cause pain to be felt if you puncture it, plus a skull made of bone where pain can be felt, etc. So maybe it's coming more from the stuff around the brain than from within the brain.

 

https://www.brainlin...tself-feel-pain

 

It's also more that the brain interprets pain than feels pain itself, so it's also very conceivable that Johnny and other couriers could be feeling a kind of mental/emotional disorientation from having so much data uploaded that is simply interpreted as pain.

 

So clearly this movie is airtight and has no plot holes whatsoever.

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