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CameronH

Musical Mondays Week 38 The Singing Detective

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What I'm not sure about is the repeated scene where his father hits a car with a dented wrench. Is this supposed to mean he beat them with the wrench? and then when Dan Dark's mother couldn't find a job, she turned to prostitution, right? Was it stated that she was killed by one of the Johns? And why was she one of the dames in the noir fantasy?

I kinda want to watch that part again because I am of two minds about the wrench. One one hand I think it's just showing that his father was angry at his wife and a possible resentment and distrust of women which Dan Dark displays later on. The boiling rage simmering beneath the surface rising to the top. I don't know if he beat them with it though.

Pretty sure that beating someone with a wrench that big would just kill them. I read it as the sound-and-fury of white guy rage. I'm sure he's punched a few holes into the walls of the house, too.

 

My question is, after they lived in LA and had to move back, where were they moving back to? Surely they wouldn't go back to Dark Sr., and they don't seem to have anyone else in the town. We never really see that part of his life ... they leave LA, go "back," and the next time we see the mom, she's washed up on shore somewhere after drowning herself.

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Also, the two feds/hoods were they guys he saw on the bus for real or is that him putting his characters from his mind into the memory?

 

This is was my take. I think that there were based on real people, but their role in his life/story is more based on the fact that they were present during a significant moment in his life rather than any real significance in and of themselves. For example, Dan Dark can't even remember if they were present on the bus ride to or from his father's service station, but he still remembers them. They are the tiny details that stick out in your memory that really don't mean anything. Consequently, in his book, they are these kind of amorphous, poorly defined characters. He feels like they are important, when in fact, they really aren't.

I'm not sure that they're based off of real people. I agree that they probably weren't on the bus, but I took them for ambiguous manifestations of his paranoia, which he refers to constantly in his sessions with Dr. Gibson and shouting matches with Robin Wright. Feds and mobsters are always the most paranoid movie characters, and stylistically they stand so far afield from anything Young DD is familiar with. There is that line on the bus about how LA is just full of gangsters, which of course is how any bumpkin views the Big City, so I figured that was the inception for his noir-style writing a la The Singing Detective.

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My question is, after they lived in LA and had to move back, where were they moving back to? Surely they wouldn't go back to Dark Sr., and they don't seem to have anyone else in the town. We never really see that part of his life ... they leave LA, go "back," and the next time we see the mom, she's washed up on shore somewhere after drowning herself.

I thought I saw something that said Topeka, but I think that the point is the mom never made it back. I think she was murdered in LA and Dan goes back on his own.

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I thought I saw something that said Topeka, but I think that the point is the mom never made it back. I think she was murdered in LA and Dan goes back on his own.

OH. I totally didn't get that.

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I thought I saw something that said Topeka, but I think that the point is the mom never made it back. I think she was murdered in LA and Dan goes back on his own.

 

I thought she committed suicide rather than go back. But in his fantasy life, she was murdered instead of leaving him.

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OH. I totally didn't get that.

I mean all of that is "I think" cause I could definitely have missed something as well lol

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Here's another question, not as serious as the rest, why did they put Mel Gibson in the bald cap? I mean this is still when he was a sweet heart and darling so there was no need to hide him. Did they think it was a funny joke? Did they think the doctor couldn't be handsome? If that's the case why cast Mel Gibson in that role. You already had RDJ in special make up so was this an excuse for the two of them to spend time together in the make up trailer?

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Here's another question, not as serious as the rest, why did they put Mel Gibson in the bald cap? I mean this is still when he was a sweet heart and darling so there was no need to hide him. Did they think it was a funny joke? Did they think the doctor couldn't be handsome? If that's the case why cast Mel Gibson in that role. You already had RDJ in special make up so was this an excuse for the two of them to spend time together in the make up trailer?

I'd say he was trying to do a "Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder" thing, except TSD came first. Perhaps Cruise was inspired by Gibson on that front.

 

Which is funny because someone has already mentioned that this movie was part of RDJ's comeback, and I'd always held Tropic Thunder responsible for that.

 

I think there are multiple ways we can blame TSD for the existence of Tropic Thunder.

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I'd say he was trying to do a "Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder" thing, except TSD came first. Perhaps Cruise was inspired by Gibson on that front.

 

Which is funny because someone has already mentioned that this movie was part of RDJ's comeback, and I'd always held Tropic Thunder responsible for that.

 

I think there are multiple ways we can blame TSD for the existence of Tropic Thunder.

 

Gibson totally reminded me of Cruise in Tropic Thunder!

 

Here's another question, not as serious as the rest, why did they put Mel Gibson in the bald cap? I mean this is still when he was a sweet heart and darling so there was no need to hide him. Did they think it was a funny joke? Did they think the doctor couldn't be handsome? If that's the case why cast Mel Gibson in that role. You already had RDJ in special make up so was this an excuse for the two of them to spend time together in the make up trailer?

 

I think Mel Gibson was one of the producers, so it was probably his choice. Why, we will never know.

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Here's my (admittedly half-formed) take on the lip-syncing thing.

 

A big part of the movie is that Dan doesn't realize that the characters are subconsciously based on people from his own life. As he comes to terms with this fact, he also starts to realize that he is, in fact, the hero of his own story. The way I viewed it was that TSD was Dan Dark's aspirational self. He was sexy and smooth and didn't take any shit from anybody. Conversely, Dan feels like a monster and that the whole world is shitting on him. Even though we see that RDJ is playing both parts, Dan Dark doesn't see it. He can't fathom that he might actually be The Singing Detective, and because of that, TSD doesn't have Dan Dark's voice. He has a different voice - a "better" voice.

 

But then why is everyone else also lip syncing in his fantasy? :blink:

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Who wore the bald cap better?

 

the-singing-detective-movie-still-mel-gibson_1728933-400x305.jpeg

56bccfe42e52651d008b6a53-750.jpg

 

EDITED TO ASK: What the hell is wrong with just shaving your head?

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So... I watched it....

 

My favorite part was the sex scenes. They were disturbing, sad, unsexy and - best of all - way too long.

 

Jeremy Northam is ruined.

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Who wore the bald cap better?

 

the-singing-detective-movie-still-mel-gibson_1728933-400x305.jpeg

56bccfe42e52651d008b6a53-750.jpg

 

EDITED TO ASK: What the hell is wrong with just shaving your head?

The most logical reason is an actor may have another role before they have time to grow their hair back.

 

I suppose they could wear a wig to cover their shaved head but they are stuck with months of growing their hair back in real life.

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Ok, I don't know how much of this is true, but from the imdb trivia page:

 

At one point, David Cronenberg was in line to direct the film, with Al Pacino in the lead.

 

Dustin Hoffman was initially attached to the role of Dan Dark when the film was in development.

 

The Cronenberg/Al Pacino version could have been so good. I think.

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But then why is everyone else also lip syncing in his fantasy? :blink:

This was the only lip syncing I could actually understand cause he was hearing these really famous songs and just imagining they're actually coming out of the people around him's mouths.

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EDITED TO ASK: What the hell is wrong with just shaving your head?

 

Probably feared it wouldn't grow back.

 

Also, they are both wearing glasses as well. You might not be far off...

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As far as the lip-synching goes, I think it is in-keeping with the themes presented with the rest of the fantasies in the Singing Detective novel. Dan Dark's whole life, his fantasy life and his real life, is all about surface perception. His detective novel writing is self-consciously formulaic and exploitative of genre tropes to such an extent that he himself described it as "trash." The same goes for the songs; they are the most surface-level representations of these cliche show tunes, no personal touches or interpretation necessary, just the barest modicum of lounge-singer rote behavior. His whole purpose in writing this way, in manifesting these songs in this manner, is to keep his psychological damage buried deep within himself, which is why he reacts so strongly when Gibson's psychiatrist points out that the characters in his writing are emerging through the surface into his writing, just like his psychological damage is bursting through the SURFACE of his skin as his arthritic psoriasis.

 

This movie is exceptionally thematically consistent, but it does fall short in developing its narrative and characters enough to make the viewer engage with these themes in a truly meaningful way, in my opinion.

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Probably feared it wouldn't grow back.

 

Also, they are both wearing glasses as well. You might not be far off...

 

Wat. Why wouldn't it grow back?

 

Can we talk about Robin Wright? In the noir fantasy portion, she was drowned, right? But why? Was it to set up Binney? But then Robin Wright comes back to kill Binney. How? Is she the same woman from the beginning? And did she want to kill "The Warbler" too? I really didn't understand any of this.

 

And then in reality, Robin Wright was Dan Dark's ex. I could understand why she came to visit him in the hospital and even looked after his affairs, but why did she get back with him at the end?

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Wat. Why wouldn't it grow back?

 

Can we talk about Robin Wright? In the noir fantasy portion, she was drowned, right? But why? Was it to set up Binney? But then Robin Wright comes back to kill Binney. How? Is she the same woman from the beginning? And did she want to kill "The Warbler" too? I really didn't understand any of this.

 

And then in reality, Robin Wright was Dan Dark's ex. I could understand why she came to visit him in the hospital and even looked after his affairs, but why did she get back with him at the end?

I don't know if this is the same for everyone but I remember an old wives tell about shaving heads and the hair not coming back. I think that's because as it's growing back in you see the hair pattern more which reveals bald sports and receding hairlines that are normally covered.

 

As far as Robin Wright goes IMDB lists her as having three roles, so I'm going to assume that the one that died and the one at the end are two different characters... I guess... and as far as why they got back together, did they ever state why they separated? I don't recall. Maybe it was his caustic personality that drove her away but she still cared about him. As he got better so did his personality, so she went back to him?

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... and as far as why they got back together, did they ever state why they separated? I don't recall. Maybe it was his caustic personality that drove her away but she still cared about him. As he got better so did his personality, so she went back to him?

They never really state but I assumed she had cheated on him by how much he had yelled at her when she was at the hospital and how much he called her a "wh*re." She never really seemed to argue with him about it and instead just runs away, so to be completely honest I'm not entirely sure she really did cheat and she was just relinquishing her guilt or if that had also been all in his mind and she just couldn't stand him wrongfully yelling anymore.

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They never really state but I assumed she had cheated on him by how much he had yelled at her when she was at the hospital and how much he called her a "wh*re." She never really seemed to argue with him about it and instead just runs away, so to be completely honest I'm not entirely sure she really did cheat and she was just relinquishing her guilt or if that had also been all in his mind and she just couldn't stand him wrongfully yelling anymore.

 

I could see him being a jealous control freak before the hospitalization though.

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I could see him being a jealous control freak before the hospitalization though.

Oh 100%

 

He obviously has a skewed vision of women and an overactive imagination so that's why I wasn't even entirely sure if she was ever at fault for their issues. But I think that's where this movie fails and the mini-series probably prevails because that's the kind of information we need and not a really long sequence about Katie Holmes giving him a hand job.... have I mentioned how grossed out I am by that???

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Two musical mondays where I have killed the conversation I am on a ROLL lmao.

 

Zjwo4.gif

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Oh 100%

 

He obviously has a skewed vision of women and an overactive imagination so that's why I wasn't even entirely sure if she was ever at fault for their issues. But I think that's where this movie fails and the mini-series probably prevails because that's the kind of information we need and not a really long sequence about Katie Holmes giving him a hand job.... have I mentioned how grossed out I am by that???

Well, now that you mention that scene, and to keep this thread from dying, let's get INTO IT.

 

I think that scene is important because it's a signal early in the film that he's regressed sexually to a state of adolescence (or never evolved past that point in the first place). He's prone, in bed, unable to even pleasure himself (because of his arthritic hands), at the mercy of his capricious biology, despite his best efforts to spare his dignity. He cannot even enjoy the physical release, it's analogous to the humiliation of nocturnal emissions and uncontrollable erections in front of beautiful girls. He might as well be confined to his room as a little boy, listening to his mother's sexual exploits through the thin walls of their awful apartment.

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I'm sorry, I didn't mean to let the thread die, but I thought taylor's last gif was too perfect.

 

Anyhoo, although that scene was uncomfortable to watch, I thought some of the unsexy things Dan ran through his head was funny like songs from The Sound of Music, 9 grain toast, organic pizza, pina coladas.

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