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Episode 210 - The Secret (w/ Topher Grace, Joel Kim Booster)

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Topher Grace (Minor Adventures with Topher Grace) and Joel Kim Booster (Unsend) joins Paul and Jason to discuss the 2007 french thriller The Secret starring David Duchovny. They do their best to unpack the insane premise of a mother’s spirit going into her daughter’s body. Plus, June shares her own thoughts on the film.

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As a fan of the early X Files I remember the episode when Mulder and another guy switched bodies, and the fake Mulder tried to sleep with Scully but she handcuffed him to the bed. De ja voux for David Duchovney I guess.

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The adaptation of this novel is so much different from the Japanese movie and from the novel itself and is more bonkers then the American adaptation. I will try my best with this convoluted story line. It does play into Japanese tropes of Lolita complex and repression of outward feelings.

 

 

The mother persona never leaves the daughter body like in the American adaptation and the mother takes it as her chance to have a second chance at life and do things should didn't do in her previous life.

 

The mother persona in the daughters starts dating the son of the bus driver that caused their car accident and end up dating him!!

 

Knowing that their relationship wont work with her husband while living in her daughter's body. She fakes a split personality disorder and pretends her daughters persona is coming back and taking back the daughters body so she can then date said son and marry him. 

 

The husband realizes that the mother persona never left and was faking the daughter persona so they can both move on with their different lives. This becomes the secret they keep not telling the other what the other one knows.

 

Wikipedia did it better.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naoko_(novel)

 

 

 I love the author Keigo Higashino, since he is one of the few English translated works I could read while I was living in Niigata, Japan. he is a really great murder mystery novelist (Devotion of Suspect X is really good and won many awards and I recommend reading or listening on Audible) and the book The Secret is based on Naoko is based on Japanese surrealism like any Murakami novel. Thanks Paul, June and Jason, I have been listening to you since Burlesque and it helped when I was living in Japan during the 3/11 quake .

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Ugh, this movie was gross. My wife and I watched it last night. We are very open people sexually, both bi and part of the LGBT community. We also have a significant age difference and understand how people can be into that sexually. In the kink community there are all kinds of ways that people explore and challenge power dynamics, with an emphasis on safety and consent.

But. Honestly, this movie feels like a screenwriter wanted to make a thoughtful movie about incest but the only way he could get it made is by inventing a Freaky-Friday-meets-Lars-von-Trier premise. It has all the classic hebephile fantasies where a teenaged girl aggressively pursues an older man/her own father. Meanwhile the dad is sexually jealous of her peers. It might have actually been a thoughtful exploration of the subject if they had just dropped the device, had the daughter survive the accident as herself and go through an inappropriate attraction to her father as part of her trauma before leveling out and returning to a healthy relationship. Instead it feels like someone watched The Lover and Lolita a bunch of times and said to themselves, "these are great films but the endings are such a bummer!"

So, in summary, fuck this movie. It is very unpleasant to watch, and not really fun in any way.

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I did not watch this movie. I read the summary and was like nope. 

I am surprised, from listening to the episode, how little attention is given to the teenage girl. Not only do the parents not seem to care she is dead. But also, like, would a teenage girl WANT David Duchovny? Because I remember having crushes on boys and feeling like I couldn't control it. (Memorably I worked at a movie theater slinging popcorn and I had a crush on a co-worker who was tall and dumb and hot. It was so annoying and distracting. Eventually he dyed his hair that terrible blonde and it was such a relief because I didn't have to crush on him anymore.) 

It would be more interesting if the wife has an emotional connection to the husband but is physically attracted to Just-In or something. 

But maybe DD doesn't do projects that don't have every character wanting to fuck him? That is all I can figure. 

The Japanese version sounds much more interesting.

ETA: I do agree with June that teenage girls aren't usually (some are) horny. For me, obviously, it was more crush related. Admiring guys and kissing and such. 

It is also weird that she'd be so confident in her sexuality to wear lingerie and such? I suppose that is the mom's influence but I would just be in crush-love with boys and NEVER speak to them.

Obviously, this goes without saying but this would NEVER get made with the genders switched, as June proved.

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38 minutes ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

I did not watch this movie. I read the summary and was like nope. 

I am surprised, from listening to the episode, how little attention is given to the teenage girl. Not only do the parents not seem to care she is dead. But also, like, would a teenage girl WANT David Duchovny? Because I remember having crushes on boys and feeling like I couldn't control it. (Memorably I worked at a movie theater slinging popcorn and I had a crush on a co-worker who was tall and dumb and hot. It was so annoying and distracting. Eventually he dyed his hair that terrible blonde and it was such a relief because I didn't have to crush on him anymore.) 

It would be more interesting if the wife has an emotional connection to the husband but is physically attracted to Just-In or something. 

But maybe DD doesn't do projects that don't have every character wanting to fuck him? That is all I can figure. 

The Japanese version sounds much more interesting.

ETA: I do agree with June that teenage girls aren't usually (some are) horny. For me, obviously, it was more crush related. Admiring guys and kissing and such. 

It is also weird that she'd be so confident in her sexuality to wear lingerie and such? I suppose that is the mom's influence but I would just be in crush-love with boys and NEVER speak to them.

Obviously, this goes without saying but this would NEVER get made with the genders switched, as June proved.

There was a celebrated indie movie in the early 90s (unfortunately titled Spanking The Monkey) where a lonely mom who is recovering from a broken leg develops a sexual relationship with her son. But yeah, not surprisingly it is not high on the list of subject matter for screenwriters.

Except porn, of course. Even an infrequent consumer of PornHub like myself can't help but notice the uptick in recent years of porn that is incest-adjacent, usually about step-siblings or step-parents. Why the cultural fascination with incest in the West lately? No idea. For porn it's not so hard to figure out - they follow the zeitgeist and make more of whatever is getting viewed the most. But why the underlying interest? Some weird fin-de-siecle/fin-de-mille, impending environmental collapse thing? Oppressive religions? It is disturbing, whatever the cause.

ETA: Spanking the Monkey was David O. Russell's first film! Wow.

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I have a question about the end of the movie that they didn't bring up on the podcast.  Was the reveal that Sam was writing in her mother's handwriting supposed to read only as a sweet tribute to her mother?  Or was it supposed to raise doubt about which persona was actually controlling Sam's body?  I would say tonally at that point it didn't feel sinister.  But it also felt like the only reason to bring up the handwriting earlier in the movie was to go out on an ambiguous ending that leaves the audience guessing.  But maybe I am the only one guessing.

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At one point, the mother in the daughter's body says something like, "all I wanna do is get laid but I can't, and I'm married!" It's kinda romantic, because she could easily get laid by someone who the daughter was already sleeping with, but she wants it to be her husband. We can all understand why that's a no-go for DD, but I think we're overlooking a solution that would make everyone happy: if ketamine is readily available to the daughter, getting a hold of a roofie and some Viagra should be no problem!

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After  The first time she tries to sleep with him I think Duchovny should’ve just called an exorcist.

”I’m glad to see there is an afterlife, I will see you there one day, but the power of Christ compels you.”

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Listening to the episode now - +1 to whoever brought up Katie Holmes saying "razor" in Disturbing Behaviour. That would be a pretty good HDTGM movie if memory serves.

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I drove me crazy how little Lili Taylor and David Duchovny seemed to care about their daughter. They took their daughter's absence so lightly that I almost forgot she was a character sometimes. They should both be heartbroken that their daughter was so close yet so far away. I also don't get why both of them just assumed that their daughter would come back one day as if it was a given. Should Lili Taylor just decide what college her daughter is going to? What happens when their daughter gets back? She'll be in a major she never wanted! Lili Taylor was so careless with her daughter's life it was crazy!

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I loved this episode. Them explaining the movie to June may be one of my favorite parts ant episodes. I hope it becomes a thing for all of the movies that June misses, or at least all of the crazy ones like this. 

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12 hours ago, katy4650 said:

As a fan of the early X Files I remember the episode when Mulder and another guy switched bodies, and the fake Mulder tried to sleep with Scully but she handcuffed him to the bed. De ja voux for David Duchovney I guess.

Yeah I came to talk about the Dreamland episodes as well because Duchovny and MIchael McKean were perfect as the swapped characters. Oddly enoughMulder is kinda pervy in those episodes as well because he drive's to McKean's house, goes to the living room, turns on the Spice Channel, and falls asleep. This wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the fact that there are toys all over the room showing McKean's kids are playing in there constantly, a point which his wife makes when she wakes him up the next morning as the hardcore porn is still playing loudly on the TV and if I recall Duchovny's hand is down is pants.

My one question about this movie concerns the idea if they went full tilt and had the dad sleep with the wife in the daughter's body. Does anyone else think that the makers of the film would try and have the characters conceive a child in order to see if the daughter's spirit would inhabit the child? I mean in the spectrum of bizarre movies covered by this show and those that haven't, would that idea be out of place in comparison to movies like Adore?

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Just wanted to drop in to say I’m really annoyed I haven’t had time to listen to the episode yet. I watched this fucking thing, and I need catharsis 😡

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I don’t really have a comment per se other than this movie is gross and weird but after discovering is was a Japanese French movie it did make a little more sense.  I did want to share a link to a 10 minute interview with David Duchovny explaining the movie and his preparation process for the role.  His level of discomfort is palpable and I think he knew this movie was fuuuuged... Thanka guys for doing what you do.

https://youtu.be/QOMEHsvoDGI

 

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All right The Secret let's talk math. When Olivia Thirlby is coming on to David Duchovny she states "You've got a 36 year old wife in the perfect body of a 16 year old." Also at one point it is stated that Duchovny and Lili Taylor have been together for 20 years. Well quick math tells us that they got together when Lili Taylor was 16, and that means she had to have given birth to her while she was 20. This seems fine but it gets more odd when you think of the overall picture. Taylor and Duchovny's first date was to see the cure. The movie I don't think is a period piece which means they went to see a Cure concert in 1997 which is well past the prime of The Cure. They could have been fans but this seems more likely if they had grown up in the mid to late 80s than the late 90s. People can have different music tastes sure. Next, think about the fact David Duchovny is an optometrist. It takes roughly eight years to become an optometrist. So say he did this from 18, that means from 18 to 26 he was in school. Their daughter was born at the start this time. Raising a child is not cheap and neither is med school, so where is all the money coming from? 

This leads me to the more creepier thought. Is Duchovny suppose to be the same age as Lili Taylor? Is he 36 as well? If he's suppose to be just a year or two older, that means he was a high school graduate to a full grown adult taking an under aged high school girl to a Cure concert and making out with her all night. Major creep territory and yet somehow seems to fit the motif of the movie perfectly.

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Did anyone else make the mistake of watching The Secret (2006), the shitty self-help movie based on the shitty self-help book of the same name? What a horrible way to waste an hour and 31 minutes and now I have to watch the real movie. 

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13 hours ago, ChunkStyle said:

I have a question about the end of the movie that they didn't bring up on the podcast.  Was the reveal that Sam was writing in her mother's handwriting supposed to read only as a sweet tribute to her mother?  Or was it supposed to raise doubt about which persona was actually controlling Sam's body?  I would say tonally at that point it didn't feel sinister.  But it also felt like the only reason to bring up the handwriting earlier in the movie was to go out on an ambiguous ending that leaves the audience guessing.  But maybe I am the only one guessing.

I thought that was supposed to show that there was a remnant of the mom in her that she will never lose. The previous comment on how the original Japanese movie has the mom tricking would make your interpretation make sense except that it wasn't really hinted at during the movie.

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It seemed that there were several missing connections which were not shown that would have made more of a movie out of this. The guidance counselor is definitely hitting on Duchovny, which could have made for a jealous 'daughter' plot. The mom-in-daughter could have sowed her wild oats with either of the two losers (both giving intense I want you stares) or with the photography/journalism teacher who invited her over to his house for 'studies' which was then promptly dropped and never revisited.

The French title "Si J'etais Toi" translates to "If I Were You" which makes for a better title.

I ran across the blog of a guy who reviews movies made in or set in Montreal which brings yet another country into this United Nations of what was created where. (He also had a suspiciously similarly titled podcast called "Why Does It Exist").

The original movie "Himitsu" is on Netflix in case anyone wants to check it out.

 

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I forgot to mention the great line where mom-in-daughter and Duchovny pull up to the school and she says something like I can't do this and Duchovny says, "You've read all her books. You're ready." As if she has crammed that in during all this hectic time.

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Several people have brought up the question of the handwriting at the end. I think this movie is pulling a brilliant Minority Report style ambiguous ending: if you want the handwriting to show that the daughter has gained a new respect for her deceased mother, then you can walk away without thinking about it any further. Stop reading if that sounds nice to you.

However, if you want to think about the real consequences of a grown woman who has been trapped in her dead daughter's body, keep reading. So you have just been busted doing drugs by your husband/dad who is having his own emotional breakdown over the question of what is going to happen to his family. You've just had a vision in which you see your own dead body fading out of existence. You now realize there is no going back. You finally understand your daughter's life, and you finally understand that she is gone. What do you do?

Do you try to convince your husband to face this fact? He has rejected your attempts to remain a wife, and he has rejected your attempts to find a new life for yourself with this new body. He'll only accept one way out: the daughter's return. Conveniently, this is an outcome in which he:

  1. Accepts your life choices
  2. Doesn't try to bang you
  3. Supports you financially while you restart your life

Trying to be honest with him would just result in a bizarre divorce, and he would probably try to have you committed to an institution. 

So, you convince your hus-dad that the daughter is back. You don't get hit by  car, or struck by lightning, or anything. You just wake up one morning and pretend to faint dramatically. He wants to believe you, anyway.

And then you carry on with your new life. It's a little tricky that you can't help but use your old-style handwriting, but you pass it off as an homage to your late mother. But at least you can bang that hot photography teacher on the regs.

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:10 AM, katy4650 said:

As a fan of the early X Files I remember the episode when Mulder and another guy switched bodies, and the fake Mulder tried to sleep with Scully but she handcuffed him to the bed. De ja voux for David Duchovney I guess.

They also did this one https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazarus_(The_X-Files) where a bank robber's consciousness transfers into the body of an FBI agent/Scully's ex while both are in the hospital. I was reminded of it when Paul et al. suggested that this would have been better off as an X Files episode without creepy subtext!

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On 4/12/2019 at 8:39 PM, Cam Bert said:

The movie I don't think is a period piece which means they went to see a Cure concert in 1997 which is well past the prime of The Cure.

Sorry to be the one to point this out, but I think you’re math’s off. Twenty years from when the film was released would have put that concert in 1987 or '88. A quick gander at the Cure's discography shows that their album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me came out in ‘87 and featured the hit song “Just Like Heaven” - which I would argue is The Cure just getting to their commercial height. (Disintegration w/ hits “Pictures of You” and  “Lovesong” [their highest charting single] was released in ‘89 and Wish, w/ “Friday I’m in Love,was released in ‘92.)

So, it checks out is what I’m saying. Everything checks out. The whole damn movie checks out. There are no holes.

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