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

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13 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.

At the end of the movie, there’s a news report that identifies him as thirteen and says he goes to high school. Which is a bit young for High School, but he’s supposedly bright so maybe he skipped a grade?

I think it’s less that he’s been exposed to certain types of media than he’s been placed in a shitty situation. Like, I don’t believe that his mother cheated on his father, but I think their relationship happened too soon after his father’s death (in his mind anyway) that it felt like a betrayal. Regardless, he only has a single, half-formed memory of his real father yelling about a fish and almost a decade of being with a shitty, abusive, alcoholic. It’s kind of the tragedy that Jason touches on in the episode. Without a healthy role model, the dysfunction gets normalized. He doesn’t have any other frame of reference for how a healthy adult functions and that plays out in his version of adulthood in the game.

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2 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

At the end of the movie, there’s a news report that identifies him as thirteen and says he goes to high school. Which is a bit young for High School, but he’s supposedly bright so maybe he skipped a grade?

I think it’s less that he’s been exposed to certain types of media then he’s been placed in a shitty situation. Like, I don’t believe that his mother cheated on his father, but I think their relationship happened too soon after his father’s death (in his mind anyway) that it felt like a betrayal. Regardless, he only has a single, half-formed memory of his real father yelling about a fish and almost a decade of being with a shitty, abusive, alcoholic. It’s kind of the tragedy that Jason touches on in the episode. Without a healthy role model, the dysfunction gets normalized. He doesn’t have any other frame of reference for how a healthy adult functions and that plays out in his version of adulthood in the game.

I was 13 going onto 14 as a freshman basically because of when my birthday falls in the year and the pretty rigid rules for my school district of when you can start elementary school, so I wasn't so surprised about his age. Also the fact that he's a prodigy can further alienate a kid in a shitty situation, further pushing him into the world he was changing to get closer to his dead dad.

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14 hours 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.

I don't have it handy, but I recall the line about the step-father's profession at the end was that he was "in construction." I didn't take that to mean that they weren't actually wealthy, but rather that the step-father was mobbed-up — which would explain his overall affect, propensity to violence, and the inability for the son/mother to seek "justice" through traditional channels.

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1 hour ago, E.Lerner said:

I don't have it handy, but I recall the line about the step-father's profession at the end was that he was "in construction." I didn't take that to mean that they weren't actually wealthy, but rather that the step-father was mobbed-up — which would explain his overall affect, propensity to violence, and the inability for the son/mother to seek "justice" through traditional channels.

Honestly, that was my first thought too. 

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The movie lost me when McConaughey is swimming nude in the ocean and his kid seems him and motions him come closer. There are zero kids on the planet who see their dad naked and think yeah dad why don't you come closer. Ze. Ro. I found this very disturbing. And when I realized the kid is in charge of this world, it was even more disturbing.

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As a programmer, I have a thick skin for software nonsense in movies. So when Mr. The Rules was explaining the twist I was ready for some strained metaphors, and it wouldn't be too interesting to hear about the painstaking process of a thirteen year old googling "how to program a game".

However, one metaphor that drove me crazy was this bit that Mr. Rules shoehorned into his Catch The Tuna explanation: "The lighthouse. Light/dark. One/zero. The fundamental process."

I understand that "ones and zeroes" is a 75% of what people know about computers, sure. What I don't like is how it misconstrues lighthouses! A lighthouse doesn't blink on and off. Even in the background of that scene it's clear that the light is always on while it rotates in a circle. So it doesn't have two states of "one/zero" at all. You could argue it has at least 360 states, one for every degree of rotation, or more depending on how high-fidelity the kid has made the graphics in his MILF-banging simulator.
 

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On 6/21/2019 at 4:36 PM, RyanSz said:

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

This reminds me of a common trope in "Is the world crazy?" plots: the character receives ambiguous information and doesn't ask follow-up questions.

When Daker Bill is unsure whether he's inside a game he has that conversation with the bait shop lady. He asks some abstract, twisty nonsense and she goes back to asking about bait. This could be a sign she's an NPC... or just that she wants this unhinged, rum-soaked soon-to-be-murderer to buy some shit or get out of her shop.

Dill Pickle could ask her follow-up questions to test her sentience. Like how Edward Norton in Fight Club finally starts asking people to explain exactly what they remember about Tyler Durden, instead of speaking in vague, cult-y code words.

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6 hours ago, Doctor Suessicide said:

This reminds me of a common trope in "Is the world crazy?" plots: the character receives ambiguous information and doesn't ask follow-up questions.

When Daker Bill is unsure whether he's inside a game he has that conversation with the bait shop lady. He asks some abstract, twisty nonsense and she goes back to asking about bait. This could be a sign she's an NPC... or just that she wants this unhinged, rum-soaked soon-to-be-murderer to buy some shit or get out of her shop.

Dill Pickle could ask her follow-up questions to test her sentience. Like how Edward Norton in Fight Club finally starts asking people to explain exactly what they remember about Tyler Durden, instead of speaking in vague, cult-y code words.

Dylan Baker is a man of few words; such a man prefers mystery. 

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7 hours ago, Doctor Suessicide said:

This reminds me of a common trope in "Is the world crazy?" plots: the character receives ambiguous information and doesn't ask follow-up questions.

When Daker Bill is unsure whether he's inside a game he has that conversation with the bait shop lady. He asks some abstract, twisty nonsense and she goes back to asking about bait. This could be a sign she's an NPC... or just that she wants this unhinged, rum-soaked soon-to-be-murderer to buy some shit or get out of her shop.

Dill Pickle could ask her follow-up questions to test her sentience. Like how Edward Norton in Fight Club finally starts asking people to explain exactly what they remember about Tyler Durden, instead of speaking in vague, cult-y code words.

They mention in the episode how Jumanji 2 did this better with how Rhys Darby acted as the main characters' guide, with his lines repeating every minute or so. I'd have loved to see this kind of thing in this film where he sees a scene repeat itself in front of him or a character starts repeating a conversation he just had with them, but alas he was a stupidhead.

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There is one shot in the film where the son is looking at a photo of him and Mcconaughey and written on the back it says "me and dad back then"  This phrasing bothers me.  I guess that it is meant to be vague so as not to give away anything, but who would actually write it that way?  No one is going is to confuse the picture as happening in the present or future.  All pictures are of something that occurred "back then". 

Why not write the actual year or date that the event took place?  Or give some sort of additional information about what happened then so that when you or someone else re-visits that picture there is some proper context for what you are looking at?

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Here are some more items that belong on the list of 'Things We're Expected to Believe the Kid Programmed Into this Game':

- Djimon Hounsou occasionally speaks in a foreign language (French, I believe).  Are we to assume the kid knows this language and thought it would be useful for Hounsou's character to sporadically speak in this language?

- The first time The Rules misses Baker Dill, he takes off his shoes and starts walking in the water.  Has the kid only programmed the character to reach Baker Dill in a straight line?

- Unless I misinterpreted things, when Hathaway and Mcconaughey are talking, she makes a comment that he took her virginity when she was 16.  Did the kid choose to give his parents this backstory or were his parents very open with him about how they met?

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4 hours ago, DrGuts1003 said:

There is one shot in the film where the son is looking at a photo of him and Mcconaughey and written on the back it says "me and dad back then"  This phrasing bothers me.  I guess that it is meant to be vague so as not to give away anything, but who would actually write it that way?  No one is going is to confuse the picture as happening in the present or future.  All pictures are of something that occurred "back then". 

Why not write the actual year or date that the event took place?  Or give some sort of additional information about what happened then so that when you or someone else re-visits that picture there is some proper context for what you are looking at?

I was wondering that too, and was expecting them to bring it up in the ep. Nobody says that! Although maybe it was just some shit the crappy kid actor (he did not kill it, even if he did kill his dad) came up with, in which case it would be genuine ;) I think this whole screenplay was written by a 13-year-old.  A 13-year-old who makes his dad into a prostitute and the ex-husband of a woman half his age who claimed to be his high school classmate, who's virginity he took when she was 16. 

Part of me thinks this movie is super fucked-up. Part of me loves it. Part of me is fine just watching those leads in that setting. 

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On 6/22/2019 at 7:52 PM, Cameron H. said:

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.

That's how I viewed it.  Especially because they made a point of saying he hadn't said one word yet.  Kind of like (brace yourselves) Tommy.

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On 6/22/2019 at 5:00 PM, 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.

Did Consuela need more Lemon Pledge?

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On 6/22/2019 at 4:52 PM, Cameron H. said:

Also, did anyone else see any similarities between the scene of the son at the end and Norman Bates at the end of Psycho? 

Ugh! We GET it, Cameron, you listen to that other podcast Unspooled where they watch GOOD movies.

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On 6/24/2019 at 3:55 PM, DrGuts1003 said:

- The first time The Rules misses Baker Dill, he takes off his shoes and starts walking in the water.  Has the kid only programmed the character to reach Baker Dill in a straight line?

 

That's actually (sadly) true to life. I've owned a few games where the NPCs will walk in a straight line toward the player or whichever place they're sent to. Game GPS has also directed me in as straight a line as possible to a goal. Which is great until you reach a steep cliff or unscalable mountainside, insta-deadly water, insanely high-level enemies, or your unescorted NPCs die in the wilderness.

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7 hours ago, muttnik said:

That's actually (sadly) true to life. I've owned a few games where the NPCs will walk in a straight line toward the player or whichever place they're sent to. Game GPS has also directed me in as straight a line as possible to a goal. Which is great until you reach a steep cliff or unscalable mountainside, insta-deadly water, insanely high-level enemies, or your unescorted NPCs die in the wilderness.

Yeah there was some legitimate work in this movie to make the video game connections, but it's just fucking stupid to see in real life. It works in a game because you are suspending a bit of disbelief but investing yourself into your character and anything the NPCs are doing is just frosting on the cake if it's done well or a Youtube video if it's glitchy and done poorly.

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Between this and The Secret, I was very confused upon hearing the title choice of chosen movie.

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Jason's plug for Big Thief's U.F.O.F album was solid.  What a beautiful, amazing, strange album and artist.  I have been jamming that and their entire discography while delivering the mail the last few days.  Thank you Jason!!  I have a new depth of comprehension of your psyche.  Much love. J  

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I was at the Austin show too...

I actually can't help but wonder if the video-game thing was in the first script at all. All the VG stuff was either in cutaway or audio/cgi overlays.  Could they have filmed a "straight" noir where the supporting actors were just stilted because they gave them some kind of "you know, David Lynch the shit out of it" direction and it was so terrible they had to add on the son/video game overlay? Except for shooting some scenes with the Rules non of the VG stuff touched any of the island scenes per se. "This will never sell, let's Matrix this shit up!"

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I haven't finished the episode yet (about 5-10 minutes left) so maybe this gets answered at the end, but what was up with that girls second opinions song?

Does she really think Paul's name is John? Or was it a genuine mistake? (Seems unlikely as she repeated it several times).

Compared to this, the movie makes complete sense.

I came to the forum for answers but it's barely been mentioned. What is happening? 

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13 hours ago, Bruce_Wayne's_Butler said:

I haven't finished the episode yet (about 5-10 minutes left) so maybe this gets answered at the end, but what was up with that girls second opinions song?

Does she really think Paul's name is John? Or was it a genuine mistake? (Seems unlikely as she repeated it several times).

Compared to this, the movie makes complete sense.

I came to the forum for answers but it's barely been mentioned. What is happening? 

Who is Paul? I only know John Scheer.

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13 hours ago, Bruce_Wayne's_Butler said:

I haven't finished the episode yet (about 5-10 minutes left) so maybe this gets answered at the end, but what was up with that girls second opinions song?

Does she really think Paul's name is John? Or was it a genuine mistake? (Seems unlikely as she repeated it several times).

Compared to this, the movie makes complete sense.

I came to the forum for answers but it's barely been mentioned. What is happening? 

It seems like a pretty high-concept joke to be deployed in the middle of a song, but I think there's at least the possibility she was making a reference to Paul's routine butchery of people's names. 

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On 6/22/2019 at 10:07 PM, E.Lerner said:

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.

If anyone would like to try a good version of this kind of thing, may I suggest a novel called Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre?

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4 hours ago, E.Lerner said:

It seems like a pretty high-concept joke to be deployed in the middle of a song, but I think there's at least the possibility she was making a reference to Paul's routine butchery of people's names. 

This probably makes the most sense. If it was a joke, then bravo, that's a deep cut.

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