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JulyDiaz

Episode 216 - Serenity: LIVE! (w/ Nick Kroll)

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5 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Just about to start the episode, but in case nobody mentioned

BAKER DILL = BAD KILLER

you win

 

 

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17 minutes ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

This is classic determinist philosophy. Freewill is predicated by one's ability to choose and then act upon that choice. If the choice is made for you and if your actions are not of your volition, you don't have freewill. IRL kid is essentially the god/creator of the in-game universe. Nothing happens in the game that the creator doesn't know will happen. If Dill's awakening is something god knew would happen, then it isn't really sentience. He's still just doing what he's programmed to do. He has the illusion of freewill, but not actual freewill because he doesn't transcend his programming.

In the (psychic, question mark?) phone call at the end, Dill gestures at the moral of the story, which is that the murder wasn't a good thing to do but it was the right thing to do. But if Dill is ultimately the product of a deterministic universe created by the kid, this is really just a post hoc justification for a decision the kid has already made. Are we as an audience supposed think he made the right or wrong choice? Both the Dill construct and the kid are ostensibly rewarded for their parallel murders by being virtually reunited, so I'm guessing Knight's intention was to convey the former but wow is it a mess. 

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7 minutes ago, E.Lerner said:

In the (psychic, question mark?) phone call at the end, Dill gestures at the moral of the story, which is that the murder wasn't a good thing to do but it was the right thing to do. But if Dill is ultimately the product of a deterministic universe created by the kid, this is really just a post hoc justification for a decision the kid has already made. Are we as an audience supposed think he made the right or wrong choice? Both the Dill construct and the kid are ostensibly rewarded for their parallel murders by being virtually reunited, so I'm guessing Knight's intention was to convey the former but wow is it a mess. 

Ultimately, the hero of the movie, and the one that the audience is supposed to really sympathize with, is the IRL kid who kills his stepdad.

The stepdad says that the kid wants to kill him, so that desire already exists. I don't think there is any question that the movie is saying yes, sometimes murder is "Justice."

EDIT: To be fair, art and morality are not the same. A work of art's whole purpose is to just be art, not necessarily to teach a moral ... so maaaaaybe the movie is taking that stance.

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Also, there are a lot of dumb mistakes that can be lampshaded by the universe having being created by a disturbed 12-year-old, but I object to the idea that this kid knows that a Swizzle is an authentic, rum-and-bitters-based Caribbean cocktail, but not enough about it to know it's a tall drink with a lot of ice, fruit juice, falernum and an eponymous stirring stick. Looks like he got his Swizzle recipe from this woman:   

 

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The way they served up the step-dad to be killed was particularly hilarious to me.
Here they were, alone on a boat...He had been beat up all to hell, was drunk as shit, was being a complete belligerent asshole, talked direct shit about Dill's kid, and there was even a line somewhere about the only police being out of town.  The only thing that would have made it better was for him to have gotten accidentally covered in chum while counting a huge wad of cash and spouting off about having no parents or siblings.

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19 minutes ago, PollyDarton said:

The way they served up the step-dad to be killed was particularly hilarious to me.
Here they were, alone on a boat...He had been beat up all to hell, was drunk as shit, was being a complete belligerent asshole, talked direct shit about Dill's kid, and there was even a line somewhere about the only police being out of town.  The only thing that would have made it better was for him to have gotten accidentally covered in chum while counting a huge wad of cash and spouting off about having no parents or siblings.

While wearing a t-shirt with a bulls-eye on it as he lists all of his allergies.

 

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Correction:

The kid did not make the game, but was modding it by adding in characters that represented his dad, mom and stepdad. That's explained when nerdlinger gets to Dill and tells him about the game being basically a bunch of minigames set within this island world, with fishing being one of the more popular ones and the favorite of the son. But with the son modifying the game so that he could play out this fantasy, the game was trying to combat that kind of intrusion by doing things like having the nerdlinger give Dill a uber-fish finder, the son of the store owner coming back to town because he was "lucky," and even Djimon's character paying some locals to beat the stepdad up so he didn't come to the boat. With modding, it can be done so much that the game becomes unplayable because it get's bogged down with extra data and items that it didn't forsee being a part of its coding, and what this kid was doing was basically loading a code from Grand Theft Auto complete with murderous spouses, escorts, drunken tourists, and the ability to kill, into a game of Club Penguin, and the code of the original game was trying to level itself out as to not become unplayable, before whatever gobbledeegook about the kid being god was said to nerdlinger and he decided to help out Dill.

As for the various M. Night clues there were quite a bit of them, and they were pretty easy to see knowing the twist beforehand. Things like the opening scene being an aerial run over the ocean up to Dill's boat was a bad opening cutscene, the camera pans were laggy changes in camera angle due to the modifications to the game, the side mission of finding Diane Lane's missing cat, the offering of better bait or equipment were microtransactions, and how all of the townspeople are NPCs in that they just talk solely in mission prep dialogue to the fact that there are only really maybe 10 people on the island and never more than 4 on screen at once. Even scenes where Dill isn't present like the ones with the mom and stepdad in the hotel are pulled from expansive sandbox games like GTA and Assassin's Creed where expository scenes are shown to the player outside of their character to give them  a bit more backstory before moving forward in the game.

What I found funny was that this movie is basically a film version of a second opinion that was read during the Jack Frost episode where the writer wrote that they put a snowman together in the hopes their dead dad comes back like the dad in that film. It's like Stephen Knight heard that and thought, "I can make that movie but I'll update it with video games."

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5 hours ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

Considering that this movie opened with 5 different production company logos, my guess is that, at one point, the script was pretty good, but as more and more producers were brought in, more things started to change and things deteriorated.

With movies and video games both, the more producers, the more of a mess things become.

I have a few ideas about how the script came to be. 

1) it was a really good script, a throw back to a classic noir type movie, but the studios interfered and wanted to be more modern. 

2) it was a really good script, but the main concept got lost while filming. This happens a lot. 

3) it was a really bad script that, and a producer was like, “man, this is like a 12 year old wrote a noir type movie.” Then someone else in the room said, “what if it’s a video being coded by a 12 year old and that’s why the dialog is bad?” 

4) they filmed Matthew McConaughey without him knowing and they came out with this. 

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Not a criminal law attorney, but anyone here think Patrick could get away with defense of another?

Looking at the laws of Florida, assuming Patrick lives in Florida, I think his actions may constitute defense of another. The rule says you can defend yourself or another with deadly force of you reasonably believe that such conduct is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself/herself or to another. 

Here, his mother was getting beaten and being told, “I’ll put you in a hole.” Through a child’s perspective and experience with this step father, he could reasonably believe deadly force was necessary.

The only issue is he was playing the game for who knows how long before he acted, and he seemingly was hyping himself up to do the kill. This doesn’t make it seem like self defense of another if he had time to think about his action to come, then it comes off as preplanned vs spontaneous self defense. 

In general, defense of another is usually applied when a person sees another person in danger and steps in to help. Self defense is a bit easier to explain as you can generally only strike back if the attack is continuous. Basically, it’s not self defense if you hit someone after they punch you and walk away. 

To me, this situation isn’t exactly the same knowing he essentially planned it out. 

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When Catherine (Diane Lane) visits Baker at his house/storage container, it starts with a wide exterior shot. She says she’s looking for her cat. When they both go inside, the camera returns to the same exterior shot and the cat has suddenly appeared. 

 

I thought this might be a reference to the glitching black cat in The Matrix; a sign of changed or broken code. 

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If the game didn’t want Baker to kill the stepdad at the beginning, why did all the NPCs talk about the terrible things the stepdad did?  After Baker tells The Rules who changed the game and why, The Rules agrees to help him kill. So why do the NPCs suddenly switch to encouraging him to fish?  Shouldn’t there behaviors be reversed?

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There are few top-down shots of boats and cars moving, like the top down angle in GTA 1 and 2. I feel that the director saw GTA 1 and 2, and got his mind blown, thinking to himself: "Wow, video games can do this?! It's...it's like another reality!" 

If the nerdlinger is the "Architect," then he definitely not a very good one. As one of the most core components, he should not have that much trouble of reaching Baker. Yes, the rule has change, but the simulation is not actively trying to stop him from talking to Baker.

And what purpose does Diane Lane's character serve exactly? What does she do for a living? She seems to be a kind of powerful figure of the community...but she does nothing other than having sex with Baker and give him money.    

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2 hours ago, MichaelDeeley said:

If the game didn’t want Baker to kill the stepdad at the beginning, why did all the NPCs talk about the terrible things the stepdad did?  After Baker tells The Rules who changed the game and why, The Rules agrees to help him kill. So why do the NPCs suddenly switch to encouraging him to fish?  Shouldn’t there behaviors be reversed?

The only ones really talking about what a shit Jason Clarke was were the mom, Diane Lane, and first mate, who are secondary characters within the story while the actual NPCs were focused on Justice and Dill continuing to fish. And while Rules may be agreeing to help Dill get rid of the stepdad, the game itself is still combating with the modding being done by the son, so Rules is definitely conflicted about what he's doing and in conflict with the master coding in general, hence the game trying to find a workaround by having others try to entice Dill with Justice since Rules is no longer doing it, as evident by how he's not shown anymore after he agrees to help Dill.

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Why does this movie not know how cars and traffic work? He drives a car with a right-side driver's seat, but since the movie is set in Florida, everyone still drives on the right side of the road. Plus, toward the end of the movie, after he decides to go through with the murder and rushes back to the boat, he stops at a traffic light that turns red-yellow-green, and I've literally never seen that in real life, but the movie makes a point of showing this to us.

On the other hand, one of the best video game world shout-outs is when he gets in the truck and tries to back out and turn around, but ends up having to do about a seven-point turn to get turned. Video game cars can be hell to handle, but any gamer knows that you just hold brake and gas together and do a donut to 180 in a car.

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Any Star Trek: TNG fans on this board? If so, do you remember the episode "The Big Goodbye" when Picard goes into the holodeck to cosplay as a Prohibition-era detective but the holodeck malfunctions and the gangsters become self-aware? At the end the question that gets asked is, "what happens to the holodeck characters once the holodeck is turned off?" Because the gangsters in the simulation are programmed with families and lives beyond the crime that Picard is trying to solve and the characters wonder if they'll just disappear once the game ends. 

I think this movie is positing that once a video game universe is created, it just always exists, whether or not the console or computer is running and the game is being played. Sort of like the old cartoon Reboot, where all the characters are arcade CPU opponents who just live normal lives until a human puts a quarter in the machine. 

The gang was flummoxed by the "In Plymouth, no one ever dies" tagline, but it makes sense if you consider that a video game character's life never really begins or ends, and if the player-character or an important NPC dies in a game, you can just load an old save and restore everything that got ruined. They're sort of like a Mr. Meeseeks from Rick and Morty ... they appear fully formed, ready to perform their task, and then disappear once they're done. 

I'm also not bothered by all the scenes featuring Karen and her husband without Dill because video games these days are so complex that many NPCs can live full lives and run-routines beyond interacting with the player-character. In games like Elder Scrolls, Red Dead Redemption, and Hitman, you can follow just about any NPC around for hours just watching them live their lives without ever interacting with them.

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15 hours ago, RyanSz said:

Correction:

The kid did not make the game, but was modding it by adding in characters that represented his dad, mom and stepdad. That's explained when nerdlinger gets to Dill and tells him about the game being basically a bunch of minigames set within this island world, with fishing being one of the more popular ones and the favorite of the son. But with the son modifying the game so that he could play out this fantasy, the game was trying to combat that kind of intrusion by doing things like having the nerdlinger give Dill a uber-fish finder, the son of the store owner coming back to town because he was "lucky," and even Djimon's character paying some locals to beat the stepdad up so he didn't come to the boat. With modding, it can be done so much that the game becomes unplayable because it get's bogged down with extra data and items that it didn't forsee being a part of its coding, and what this kid was doing was basically loading a code from Grand Theft Auto complete with murderous spouses, escorts, drunken tourists, and the ability to kill, into a game of Club Penguin, and the code of the original game was trying to level itself out as to not become unplayable, before whatever gobbledeegook about the kid being god was said to nerdlinger and he decided to help out Dill.

Maybe.

The movie seems to go out of its way to set the IRL kid up as "The Creator" (just look at that haloed close-up him sitting in the jail cell at the end), not "The Modder." Everything you describe could happen to an original game build. Plus, this movie really wants to explore the whole God-creation-personhood aspect, which I feel like relies somewhat on the IRL kid being the creator. 

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15 hours ago, RyanSz said:

The only ones really talking about what a shit Jason Clarke was were the mom, Diane Lane, and first mate, who are secondary characters within the story while the actual NPCs were focused on Justice and Dill continuing to fish. And while Rules may be agreeing to help Dill get rid of the stepdad, the game itself is still combating with the modding being done by the son, so Rules is definitely conflicted about what he's doing and in conflict with the master coding in general, hence the game trying to find a workaround by having others try to entice Dill with Justice since Rules is no longer doing it, as evident by how he's not shown anymore after he agrees to help Dill.

Not true. The first time Dill goes to the tackle shop the lady talks about how she heard from Consuela how mean the stepdad was.

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I did like how Dill couldn’t get out of bed until the alarm clock went off, reinforcing one of the rules of the game. 

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5 hours ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

Any Star Trek: TNG fans on this board? If so, do you remember the episode "The Big Goodbye" when Picard goes into the holodeck to cosplay as a Prohibition-era detective but the holodeck malfunctions and the gangsters become self-aware? At the end the question that gets asked is, "what happens to the holodeck characters once the holodeck is turned off?" Because the gangsters in the simulation are programmed with families and lives beyond the crime that Picard is trying to solve and the characters wonder if they'll just disappear once the game ends. 

I think this movie is positing that once a video game universe is created, it just always exists, whether or not the console or computer is running and the game is being played. Sort of like the old cartoon Reboot, where all the characters are arcade CPU opponents who just live normal lives until a human puts a quarter in the machine. 

...

I'm also not bothered by all the scenes featuring Karen and her husband without Dill because video games these days are so complex that many NPCs can live full lives and run-routines beyond interacting with the player-character. In games like Elder Scrolls, Red Dead Redemption, and Hitman, you can follow just about any NPC around for hours just watching them live their lives without ever interacting with them.

This is basically the twist of a certain Black Mirror episode, but instead of a holonovel/game, the program is a modeling simulation — calculating probabilities, suggesting possible outcomes, and informing decision-making in the real world. (I never watched it, but the finale of Enterprise takes place in one of these, in the holodeck of the Enterprise D during the events of the TNG episode "The Pegasus")

That's what I keep gravitating to when I try to explain what the kid was trying to accomplish with this game — his way of asking his dead dad what to do about his abusive new dad. But the problem I keep coming up against is whether Dill has agency or whether he is essentially being controlled by his son.  I just don't know if there is an internally consistent answer there.

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Honestly, I didn’t feel like at the end the kid was psychically coding a reunion with his father so much as he was writing code in his head. In the same way a novel exists in the mind before it exists on the page, by the end of the movie, Dill’s son has become so immersed in the game that he no longer needs a computer to “interact” with the it. It all begins and ends with him. He’s the Alpha and Omega. This is why the shot of him running on the dock begins with a camera zoom through his pupil. We are entering his subjective reality. It all exists inside of him.

Also, did anyone else see any similarities between the scene of the son at the end and Norman Bates at the end of Psycho? Both movies end with murderers, both sons, sitting motionless in jail as the camera slowly zooms in on them as their inner thoughts are revealed to the audience. In Norman’s case, we are made to understand that the “mother” personality has fully taken over (spoiler?) and that he has become completely untethered to reality. Likewise, in Serenity, I believe we are supposed to infer that the act of murdering his stepfather, regardless of whether or not it was justified, has caused him to retreat within himself. Essentially, the more he “reconnects” with his virtual father the more cut off he will become to reality.

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June thought it was interesting (I want to say she said “nice”) that the son programmed his decidedly not-Greek father and his mother as being wealthy, but I think it had more to do with the son trying to break the game. Basically, the movie is about predestination versus free will. Dill is programmed to perform certain tasks and only those tasks (i.e. fish for Justice, retrieve cats, and hustle Diane Laine). In order for him to get Dill to perform an action that is not in the game’s initial script, he has to reprogram it. In the movie’s terms, what Dill experiences throughout the course of the film is the figurative reality of what his son is literally rewriting. Ultimately, the son wants Dill the Fisherman to become a Dill the Murderer so he presents a series of “incentives” or “temptations” to do so. Each of these “incentives” can be translated back into the real world as a line of code. So, the ten thousand dollars, the ten million, his partner’s need for money for his granddaughter’s college fund, sex with Anne Hathaway, are all just metaphors for each failed attempt at getting the video game character to do what he wants him to do. When he is finally successful rewriting the code, he gives himself the in-game justification that video game character of “Dad” has just learned his son is being beaten by his step dad; however, that’s not literally what the kid wrote into the game. Like, he didn’t write “stepdad beats me [enter].” That’s just his imagined justification for his video game character doing something that he’s not supposed to be doing. Once he achieves this, not only does it reinforce his own justification to commit murder (i.e. to protect someone he loves) it gives him the courage to break and re-write society’s ethical and moral “codes” for himself. 

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Did it ever say in the movie that Patrick was 12?  If so I missed it.  If the movie was set in 2017 when it was shot and Patrick's real dad died in Iraq in 2006 and there is a memory of fishing with him when he was 3 then Patrick is at least 14 right?  That isn't the most important detail in the movie but it does play a part in my bigger question.  What has Patrick's media diet been that Plymouth is the world he created in his game/mind?  Obviously he has had a very rough life but for a middle schooler to come up with that scummy noir world I think he's got to be almost completely filling it from movies and books and maybe other games.  So maybe if the step dad had taken an interest and steered him to some more age appropriate material he'd still be around.

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5 hours ago, MichaelDeeley said:

Not true. The first time Dill goes to the tackle shop the lady talks about how she heard from Consuela how mean the stepdad was.

You're correct, but after that it's standard NPC talk. It's another clue to the video game-ness of the movie in how sandbox games like GTA or Red Dead Redemption you  can get a mission from an NPC, but once you come back to them after that initial moment, they only talk to you in a generic manner. The first time mentioning the maid would have been included by the son's coding, but after that the seeds had been planted and at this point the game was trying to right the path being taken.

1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

June thought it was interesting (I want to say she said “nice”) that the son programmed his decidedly not-Greek father and his mother as being wealthy, but I think it had more to do with the son trying to break the game. Basically, the movie is about predestination versus free will. Dill is programmed to perform certain tasks and only those tasks (i.e. fish for Justice, retrieve cats, and hustle Diane Laine). In order for him to get Dill to perform an action that is not in the game’s initial script, he has to reprogram it. In the movie’s terms, what Dill experiences throughout the course of the film is the figurative reality of what his son is literally rewriting. Ultimately, the son wants Dill the Fisherman to become a Dill the Murderer so he presents a series of “incentives” or “temptations” to do so. Each of these “incentives” can be translated back into the real world as a line of code. So, the ten thousand dollars, the ten million, his partner’s need for money for his granddaughter’s college fund, sex with Anne Hathaway, are all just metaphors for each failed attempt at getting the video game character to do what he wants him to do. When he is finally successful rewriting the code, he gives himself the in-game justification that video game character of “Dad” has just learned his son is being beaten by his step dad; however, that’s not literally what the kid wrote into the game. Like, he didn’t write “stepdad beats me [enter].” That’s just his imagined justification for his video game character doing something that he’s not supposed to be doing. Once he achieves this, not only does it reinforce his own justification to commit murder (i.e. to protect someone he love) it gives him the courage, to break and re-write society’s ethical and moral “codes” for himself. 

The son has to keep upping the ante as the game is doing just as much in the opposite to keep Dill as a fisherman, so it makes sense in that he keeps climbing and raising the stakes as the game is trying to give Dill what is essentially his endgame in catching Justice. In a large game like the various sandboxes, they give you the ability to fight the big boss early in some instances, but it's near impossible to do so, like in the recent zombie game Days Gone where you can take on the biggest zombie horde at any time, but you will die quickly 9 out of 10 times because your equipment isn't high quality and you haven't really leveled up, but you play a bit longer and eventually when you take that same group on, your odds are flipped and the chance of beating them is greatly increased. So by doing these various things not only is Dill finding more reason to go through with the murder, but the son is as well as it was stated by Jason Clarke that the kid was looking for ways to kill him.

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6 minutes ago, ChunkStyle said:

Did it ever say in the movie that Patrick was 12?  If so I missed it.  If the movie was set in 2017 when it was shot and Patrick's real dad died in Iraq in 2006 and there is a memory of fishing with him when he was 3 then Patrick is at least 14 right?  That isn't the most important detail in the movie but it does play a part in my bigger question.  What has Patrick's media diet been that Plymouth is the world he created in his game/mind?  Obviously he has had a very rough life but for a middle schooler to come up with that scummy noir world I think he's got to be almost completely filling it from movies and books and maybe other games.  So maybe if the step dad had taken an interest and steered him to some more age appropriate material he'd still be around.

It mentioned he was in middle school, so it could be inferred that he was 11 or 12.

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