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Episode 219 - Drop Dead Fred: LIVE! (w/ Casey Wilson)

Drop Dead Fred  

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  1. 1. Which side do you agree with?

    • Team Fred 🤡
      28
    • Team Sanity 🤔
      48


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22 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

The one reaction I really didn’t understand was Carrie Fisher’s excitement over the insurance check. She acts like it’s a financial windfall, but isn’t it just covering the cost of her home and possessions? If your home burns down, your insurance covers the repairs or whatever, but it’s not like you’re suddenly wealthy - you’re still homeless. Even weirder is she says that she had no idea her riverboat was “worth so much,” but wouldn’t she have to be paying the premiums in order to be compensated? Certainly she must have had some idea how much it was all worth. She acts like she was saddled with the property or something. Technically, she could have just sold it at any time and everything would have worked out exactly the same for her. 

They say the happiest days as a boat owner is the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it, so I have to assume she was that excited when she first got the boat.

More to your point, insurance is specifically designed to return you the value of the property that was lost ie 'make you whole' but maybe Carrie Fisher wasn't paying attention to the valuation of her boat when she paid the insurance premium? Or maybe she had that insurance that covers the cost of replacement rather than the value of the original property?

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23 minutes ago, SeaSkunk said:

Insurance is specifically designed to return you the value of the property that was lost ie 'make you whole' but maybe Carrie Fisher wasn't paying attention to the valuation of her boat when she paid the insurance premium? Or maybe she had that insurance that covers the cost of replacement rather than the value of the original property?

Perhaps, but I still find it hard to believe she had NO idea. I mean, boat owners still have to pay a personal property tax, don’t they? Every year, my property is assessed by the county so I have pretty good idea of how much my house is worth. Honestly, the more I think about it, the shadier it all seems - especially when you consider that after the payout, her character completely disappears from the movie. It’s almost like she fled the country or something. 🤔

At one point, I briefly entertained the idea of her character paying off a weird, New Waver English actor to pretend to be her psychologically fragile friend’s long lost imaginary pal to give Liz sort of a “push” in the right direction, but, I mean...that would just be crazy...

 

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Posted (edited)

I was at the live recording of this episode, and found myself surprised by how much of the conversation centered on what exactly this movie was saying, as opposed to how it was saying that. My own interpretation of the movie is a bit different in places from what June and Jason said, but I felt like I needed to come here to provide some counterpoints to what Paul and Casey said. Team "Sanity" seemed to view this purely as a horror story. In doing so, they missed the obviously intended, although less than perfectly executed, message of the movie.

I thought it was clear that the movie was, broadly speaking, the story of a person who had a traumatic, repressive childhood, was forced to abandon her inner child, forced to abandon her means of addressing her issues, and then grew into a repressed adult. As an adult, she recovers her means of dealing with her issues, and escapes toxic influences. While doing so, she is able to reintegrate her whimsical and free-spirited personality traits. Fred, and his intervention in her life, is meant to serve as an allegory of sorts for how this might happen.

Fred is, like Jason said, basically pure id. He also takes on the traits(e.g. the English accent) of the father Elizabeth wishes was present and supportive. He also has the mindset of the 5-6 year old boys Elizabeth would have known at the age Fred first appeared. Thus, he is in some regards tailored toward what the younger Elizabeth would want or expect from a supportive friend. However, as a consequence of being pure Id with a stereotypical little boy's attitude, Fred's attempts to help aren't as productive, exact, or direct as they could be. In this way, Fred and his actions are a metaphor for how a traumatized, repressed person's mind tries to deal with those issues. People dealing with those issues aren't, at least most of the time, going to address them in the same direct and logical way they would address a physical injury. Their brain will come up with ways of coping, but those methods will be messy and often unsuccessful. To wit, the part of them dealing with the issue will be mostly subconscious and similar to Fred in its approach and effectiveness, albeit in a less over-the-top way.

Fred, as Elizabeth's means of helping her resolve these issues and embrace her inner child,  is messy and often misguided in his actions. However, he does eventually lead her towards resolving them. One example of him actually helping her do so was with Mickey. Mickey saw her breaking from the norm and liked it. Although he misunderstood the situation and turned out to be a bit crazy himself, his reaction showed Elizabeth that she could find people to accept and embrace her for breaking the repressive norms forced on her. Thus, he helped her move towards being an independent person who embraced her own weirdness. Paul said he thought it was a bit lackluster that Mickey was only "an option" for her at the end, but his being so was entirely the point. The movie shows Elizabeth becoming an independent woman and, as such, she wouldn't need to go from one guy to another. She would need to be able to accept herself and live on her own. Mickey showed her that she could do so without sacrificing the possibility of relationships, even if he wasn't exactly perfect for her.

As for the issue of what Fred is, I take something of a middle ground between what we heard on the podcast. I think it is undeniable that Fred is tied to Elizabeth's mind. As such, he has taken on her id, repressed whimsical/childlike traits, subconscious impulses to rebel, and some of her memories. One sign of this is in the letter he writes that is supposedly from Charles. In order to write that letter, he would have to know things about their relationship and how Elizabeth would want Charles to view those parts of their relationship. Those things happened while Fred was trapped. If Fred were some completely independent being, he couldn't have known what to write. 

Further, at a salient moment late in the move, we see that he does indeed have traits of Elizabeth's hitherto repressed inner child. Elizabeth breaks a window and says "I love those window breaking noises!" Fred did the same earlier in the movie during a flashback. So, we see that as Elizabeth breaks free from her repressed state, she is integrating and expressing those attitudes that could previously be expressed only by a proxy.

With that said, I think there is also a Monsters Inc.-esqe thing happening here. I think Fred and the other imaginary friends are meant to be independently existing beings that can move from child to child when their job is done, but they take on the attitudes, memories, etc. that the child is trying to deal with. This ties into how they are metaphors for how people respond to mental illness, trauma, repression, etc. Many people have such issues and may react to them in similar ways, but ultimately each individual is unique.  Consequently, their defense mechanisms are tailored to their unique experiences. The imaginary friends similarly tailor themselves to the unique experiences of whichever child they are with. So, ultimately, Fred isn't just some completely independent being, but he isn't just an avatar doing the things Elizabeth was actually doing herself.

This movie had its fair share of flaws in how it attempted to execute the plan its filmmakers had. The film didn't do a good enough job at establishing the "rules" of Fred, and Fred's motive was not always obvious enough through his over-the-top, often destructive actions. The movie is very flawed in that regard. With that said, the movie had more laughs than Paul gave it credit for. The restaurant scene, for example, was comedy gold. Ultimately, the ending left me glad I saw this movie, despite large portions that simply weren't as well executed as they could have been. So... #Team Fred 

Edited by wjd123
Edited for clarity
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8 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I totally agree. Let's face it, Liz's life was already a mess, but what made it worse is she never developed the tools in childhood to deal with life's unexpected disasters. That's part of why getting into trouble as a child is so important. Getting into trouble teaches us how to get out of trouble.

I feel like it's also important to note that Fred doesn't just cause chaos indiscriminately. Whenever he creates a scene in public, it isn't to cause her harm but to take the piss out of the stuffed shirts. He's rebelling against the notion that adulthood means fancy restaurants, board meetings, clean carpets, string quartets, and pretentious wine tastings. He's saying, "You've been raised to believe that when you're an adult these are the things that should matter, but they're not. This is all artifice, and in their own way, just as ridiculous as anything I'm doing." Once she's able to come to terms with that, she is able to free her inner child. Not so that she can be an adult-child forever, but so that she can finally be a complete person.     

Lizzie is more destructive as an actual friend to Carrie Fisher than Drop Dead Fred is as an imaginary one to Lizzie. 

Also agree that the events that Drop Dead Fred "ruined" were all situations that Lizzie shouldnt have put herself in, and almost necessitated his intervention like:

Moving back in with her emotionally abusive mother, and her god forsaken "living room that no one is allowed to live in."

Stealing and piloting a friends home towards a random person on a speedboat she could never possibly catch up to. 

Allowing her Mother to dress her up like a mini version of herself and further convince her that failed marriage to an awful person was not only her fault but that she needs to win him back.

Attending a concert in a mall.

Buying an expensive dress despite her recent unemployment in an attempt to win her god awful husband back, despite the woman he cheated on her with being in attendance. 

And after all this she even invites him back into her home and desperately tries to cook a meal and please him into loving her again.  

Drop Dead Fred might not have the best judgement, but all i'm saying to everyone was Lizzie was making equally bad decisions all on her own. 

 

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25 minutes ago, wjd123 said:

I was at the live recording of this episode, and found myself surprised by how much of the conversation centered on what exactly this movie was saying, as opposed to how it was saying that. My own interpretation of the movie is a bit different in places from what June and Jason said, but I felt like I needed to come here to provide some counterpoints to what Paul and Casey said. Team "Sanity" seemed to view this purely as a horror story. In doing so, they missed the obviously intended, although less than perfectly executed, message of the movie.

I thought it was clear that the movie was, broadly speaking, the story of a person who had a traumatic, repressive childhood, was forced to abandon her inner child, forced to abandon her means of addressing her issues, and then grew into a repressed adult. As an adult, she recovers her means of dealing with her issues, and escapes toxic influences. While doing so, she is able to reintegrate her whimsical and free-spirited personality traits. Fred, and his intervention in her life, is meant to serve as an allegory of sorts for how this might happen.

Fred is, like Jason said, basically pure id. He also takes on the traits(e.g. the English accent) of the father Elizabeth wishes was present and supportive. He also has the mindset of the 5-6 year old boys Elizabeth would have known at the age Fred first appeared. Thus, he is in some regards tailored toward what the younger Elizabeth would want or expect from a supportive friend. However, as a consequence of being pure Id with a stereotypical little boy's attitude, Fred's attempts to help aren't as productive, exact, or direct as they could be. In this way, Fred and his actions are a metaphor for how a traumatized, repressed person's mind tries to deal with those issues. People dealing with those issues aren't, at least most of the time, going to address them in the same direct and logical way they would address a physical injury. Their brain will come up with ways of coping, but those methods will be messy and often unsuccessful. To wit, the part of them dealing with the issue will be mostly subconscious and similar to Fred in its approach and effectiveness, albeit in a less over-the-top way.

Fred, as Elizabeth's means of helping her resolve these issues and embrace her inner child,  is messy and often misguided in his actions. However, he does eventually lead her towards resolving them. One example of him actually helping her do so was with Mickey. Mickey saw her breaking from the norm and liked it. Although he misunderstood the situation and turned out to be a bit crazy himself, his reaction showed Elizabeth that she could find people to accept and embrace her for breaking the repressive norms forced on her. Thus, he helped her move towards being an independent person who embraced her own weirdness. Paul said he thought it was a bit lackluster that Mickey was only "an option" for her at the end, but his being so was entirely the point. The movie shows Elizabeth becoming an independent woman and, as such, she wouldn't need to go from one guy to another. She would need to be able to accept herself and live on her own. Mickey showed her that she could do so without sacrificing the possibility of relationships, even if he wasn't exactly perfect for her.

As for the issue of what Fred is, I take something of a middle ground between what we heard on the podcast. I think it is undeniable that Fred is tied to Elizabeth's mind. As such, he has taken on her id, repressed whimsical/childlike traits, subconscious impulses to rebel, and some of her memories. One sign of this is in the letter he writes that is supposedly from Charles. In order to write that letter, he would have to know things about their relationship and how Elizabeth would want Charles to view those parts of their relationship. Those things happened while Fred was trapped. If Fred were some completely independent being, he couldn't have known what to write. 

Further, at a salient moment late in the move, we see that he does indeed have traits of Elizabeth's hitherto repressed inner child. Elizabeth breaks a window and says "I love those window breaking noises!" Fred did the same earlier in the movie during a flashback. So, we see that as Elizabeth breaks free from her repressed state, she is integrating and expressing those attitudes that could previously be expressed only by a proxy.

With that said, I think there is also a Monsters Inc.-esqe thing happening here. I think Fred and the other imaginary friends are meant to be independently existing beings that can move from child to child when their job is done, but they take on the attitudes, memories, etc. that the child is trying to deal with. This ties into how they are metaphors for how people respond to mental illness, trauma, repression, etc. Many people have such issues and may react to them in similar ways, but ultimately each individual is unique.  Consequently, their defense mechanisms are tailored to their unique experiences. The imaginary friends similarly tailor themselves to the unique experiences of whichever child they are with. So, ultimately, Fred isn't just some completely independent being, but he isn't just an avatar doing the things Elizabeth was actually doing herself.

This movie had its fair share of flaws in how it attempted to execute the plan its filmmakers had. The film didn't do a good enough job at establishing the "rules" of Fred, and Fred's motive was not always obvious enough through his over-the-top, often destructive actions. The movie is very flawed in that regard. With that said, the movie had more laughs than Paul gave it credit for. The restaurant scene, for example, was comedy gold. Ultimately, the ending left me glad I saw this movie, despite large portions that simply weren't as well executed as they could have been. So... #Team Fred 

Agree with everything here, and even though I knew that Drop Dead Fred was meant to be a stand in for her father it didnt even occur to me how on the money they were with both Fred and her father having English accents. 

I also have to commend the movie on its ending being a bit ahead of its time, I feel like it would have been easier for them to wrap things up with Lizzie ending up with Mickey. I really like the fact that the movie ended with her on her own. 

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1 hour ago, Ofcoursemyhorse said:

Attending a concert in a mall.

While I agree no one should trust a mall concert it seemed like she just wandered over there to catch her breath and get away from Fred after the restaurant fiasco?

 

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14 minutes ago, gigi-tastic said:

While I agree no one should trust a mall concert it seemed like she just wandered over there to catch her breath and get away from Fred after the restaurant fiasco?

 

As has been established in previous HDGTM she should have gone into a restroom and splashed water on her face in order to do that. Let's not make excuses for bad decisions. 

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2 hours ago, Ofcoursemyhorse said:

I also have to commend the movie on its ending being a bit ahead of its time, I feel like it would have been easier for them to wrap things up with Lizzie ending up with Mickey. I really like the fact that the movie ended with her on her own. 

Though with this movie I could be equally convinced that they just forgot to film another scene with Ron Eldard.

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1 hour ago, Ofcoursemyhorse said:

As has been established in previous HDGTM she should have gone into a restroom and splashed water on her face in order to do that. Let's not make excuses for bad decisions. 

Truly it's the only course of action anyone should ever take. 

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14 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

To be fair to doxrus, they were responding to my claim that Team Sanity seemed to have a more analytical approach to their criticism and Team Fred having a more emotional approach. In that post, I didn't mean to imply any negative connotations with the use of the word "emotional" - especially considering I'm Team Fred myself :) I just didn't want too much to be laid on doxrus when I was the one who brought it up.

Thanks for this, Cameron! I’m sorry to doxorus and everyone else if I came across too combatively! I meant my response sweetly, but I know it’s easy to come across harshly—and to be unintentionally harsh—on the internet. I’m enjoying the varied and at times vigorous nature of this wide-ranging discussion :D and I’ll be vigilant in highlighting and centering good vibes in future debates here. I see you all as fellow travelers.

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8 minutes ago, questionmarks said:

Thanks for this, Cameron! I’m sorry to doxorus and everyone else if I came across too combatively! I meant my response sweetly, but I know it’s easy to come across harshly—and to be unintentionally harsh—on the internet. I’m enjoying the varied and at times vigorous nature of this wide-ranging discussion :D and I’ll be vigilant in highlighting and centering good vibes in future debates here. I see you all as fellow travelers.

It’s totally cool! Your insights have been spot on and most welcome :)

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On 8/2/2019 at 11:32 AM, JonnyC said:

take a look at what the filmmakers had to say - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpVN5GgydPI

They meant Fred to be a manifestation of Lizzie

Why is more attention not being given to this post?

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I'm just here to say I don't have a dog in this race but I found the episode exhausting. I'm glad they at least acknowledged that they were basically sweating and yelling the entire episode.

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1 minute ago, Yobismycopilot said:

I'm just here to say I don't have a dog in this race but I found the episode exhausting. I'm glad they at least acknowledged that they were basically sweating and yelling the entire episode.

Yeah, I quit about halfway through, haven't tried to pick it up again, and have no plans to do so in the future.

A lot of the episodes where there's some kind of strong disagreement, or an element that's confusing, are delights to listen to.  I just got tired listening to this.

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2 hours ago, Gray Jedi said:

Why is more attention not being given to this post?

That link is a good watch, along with the deleted scenes link DrGuts posted. I got around to watching them all the other day and they made me like Mickey! That version of Mickey should have been in the movie.

On 8/3/2019 at 9:51 PM, DrGuts1003 said:

So has anyone else watched these deleted and alternate scenes?

There is some very interesting and revealing stuff.  Highlights include:

  • A different meet cute scene between Lizzie and Mickey at a bank (after she discovers that Charles has already removed her name from his bank account)
  • Lizzie meeting Mickey’s daughter during the meet cute
  • One of the imaginary friends eating the psychiatrist’s table
  • More upskirt peeping in the ladies’ room at the wine tasting party
  • And most important of all - a scene where Fred takes Lizzie to a place where all the imaginary friends live that VERY much resembles Monsters Inc.  And while they are there a “boss” says on a loudspeaker that Fred needs to report to his next child immediately.

 

 

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On 8/4/2019 at 12:51 AM, DrGuts1003 said:

So has anyone else watched these deleted and alternate scenes?

There is some very interesting and revealing stuff.  Highlights include:

  • A different meet cute scene between Lizzie and Mickey at a bank (after she discovers that Charles has already removed her name from his bank account)
  • Lizzie meeting Mickey’s daughter during the meet cute
  • One of the imaginary friends eating the psychiatrist’s table
  • More upskirt peeping in the ladies’ room at the wine tasting party
  • And most important of all - a scene where Fred takes Lizzie to a place where all the imaginary friends live that VERY much resembles Monsters Inc.  And while they are there a “boss” says on a loudspeaker that Fred needs to report to his next child immediately.

 

These actually made me like the movie more? I would have preferred this version of the film. It even made Mickey likeable

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On 8/3/2019 at 11:32 PM, Cameron H. said:

I saw this on IMDb, and I’m not sure if Team Sanity was trying to suppress to this to strengthen their argument (especially considering some IMDb Trivia was read during the episode), but I think it’s worth posting this:

“There's an alternate ending where Lizzie is at Mickey's house reading his daughter Natalie a bedtime story. And after a few minutes, Natalie comes out of her room where she tells both Lizzie and Mickey that her "imaginary friend" ripped up her teddy bear. Lizzie asks Natalie the name of her imaginary friend. Natalie reveals that her imaginary friend's name is Drop Dead Fred. The scene ends with a shot of a pop-up book opening revealing a pop-up illustration of Drop Dead Fred with a voice over of Fred saying "Playtime". When the film was screened for a test audience, the audience hated the ending because they hated the idea of Fred disappearing forever. This prompted New Line Cinema to cut the ending and reshoot it where Fred is seen with Natalie pulling a prank on Natalie's babysitter. The original ending was included as an extra on the 25th anniversary Blu-ray.”

Clearly this movie would have benefited from a Babadook-style pop-up book for Dropdead Fred.

/disclaimer - I did not actually watch this movie.

I am somewhat confused why Paul said it was like The Babadook and then started describing Hereditary.  Jason asked him if he was confusing the two, but I've already forgotten Paul's answer.  Still seems weird, even in retrospect, making that jump.

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Without seeing the movie I'm #team-I-don't-think-it-matters-if-we-can-go-with-fred-acting-as-a-manifestation-of-part-of-lizzie's-id

and #maybe-the-two-scenes-people-cite-for-team-sanity-are-lot-more-convincing-fred-has-to-be-a-separate-entity-in-execution-but-hearing-them-described-do-not-sound-that-convincing-to-me

I vaguely remember seeing the trailer of this movie way back when.  I do not remember much about it.  I do not think I will be watching it.  I do not think its style would be my cup of tea at my age.

I would put something like Bigmouth (which also hasn't always been consistent with whether the hormone monsters are separate entities as opposed to manifestations of the parts of the children) in a different category than Monsters, Inc., Beetlejuice, and Little Monsters.  Namely because the entities, even if they are separate, act as a manifestation of how the children are feeling/thinking.  Beetlejuice is just more of a separate agent of chaos doing his own thing.  I think people who didn't like the movie and felt they were separate entities, and felt they were completely separate entities like a poltergeist or Beetlejuice, gave ground for Jason to keep arguing the point they were Lizzie in the episode... as most seem to keep arguing it here.

This talk of children's movies as horror movies made me think of this article (mostly unrelated, except, let's look at this movie through the eyes of the other characters):

https://www.theringer.com/2016/9/28/16045542/big-is-secretly-a-horror-movie-95d766715a7b

 

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3 hours ago, gigi-tastic said:

These actually made me like the movie more? I would have preferred this version of the film. It even made Mickey likeable

Right?! He's an actual, grounded person who's okay about his current place in life, and has a super cool job, and his daughter is delightful. I still would have wanted them to just be friends at the end, maybe some implied leaning to an eventual romance, but wow. Wow.

Also, even though it's only like a sentence, Adult Elizabeth talks about and semi-confronts her absentee father. Leaving a lot of these things out was a serious misstep.

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53 minutes ago, muttnik said:

Right?! He's an actual, grounded person who's okay about his current place in life, and has a super cool job, and his daughter is delightful. I still would have wanted them to just be friends at the end, maybe some implied leaning to an eventual romance, but wow. Wow.

Also, even though it's only like a sentence, Adult Elizabeth talks about and semi-confronts her absentee father. Leaving a lot of these things out was a serious misstep.

I completely agree.  I also found Fred to be more tolerable too.  Perhaps we should be Team Movie vs. Team Deleted Scenes.

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5 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

This talk of children's movies as horror movies made me think of this article (mostly unrelated, except, let's look at this movie through the eyes of the other characters):

https://www.theringer.com/2016/9/28/16045542/big-is-secretly-a-horror-movie-95d766715a7b

 

Ha! This is very cute, I can see why this made you think of it.

The points about his mother’s experience are very well taken, and his love interest’s story is also horrifying, but the other characters are all likely either to easily move on (that guy’ll get that promotion now) or better off: “Scotty absorbs what Josh said and realizes that the way he values woman is incorrect and stupid. He becomes profoundly sad.” Great! Now he stands a chance to learn to be a better man! I’d want to slightly add to or emend the argument to be that “Big” discounts the experiences of its women—surprise, surprise. 

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10 hours ago, muttnik said:

That link is a good watch, along with the deleted scenes link DrGuts posted. I got around to watching them all the other day and they made me like Mickey! That version of Mickey should have been in the movie.

Finally got fast enough wifi to watch the deleted scenes. Some of them are great! Agreed re Mickey, several of those scenes humanize him in a big way and also connect a number of important dots. I don’t see how the scene in the imaginary weigh station was supposed to work, though—he says goodbye and then shows up in the dollhouse immediately after? Anyway, thanks to DrGuts for posting that vid. 

I can’t get the link JonnyC posted to open for some reason—maybe country restrictions? But I’ll look forward to that when I’m home this weekend. Thanks, Gray Jedi, for bumping that post.

I don’t think we have to accept  filmmakers’ (stated) intent (art can surpass the limits of the artist), but if they’re as clear as JonnyC says, it’s certainly a strong point in favor of that reading.

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10 hours ago, questionmarks said:

I don’t think we have to accept  filmmakers’ (stated) intent (art can surpass the limits of the artist), but if they’re as clear as JonnyC says, it’s certainly a strong point in favor of that reading.

Though again, the evidence seems mixed here. The filmmakers' words suggest Team Fred (he's just a projection of Lizzie's mind). The deleted scenes suggest Team Sanity (Fred is a separate and unique entity).

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Guys, guys... I'm here to beg you:

Do NOT search Drop Dead Fred on deviant art... Just don't do it.

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I hate to disagree with Jason and June, but I am honestly astonished that ANYONE liked Drop Dead Fred! I couldn't find a single redeeming quality in the entire movie! I found myself checking every few minutes to see how much of the film I still had to get through, because it was so boring! Several scenes were drawn out MUCH longer than necessary, particularly the flashback where Fred and young Elizabeth cause the parents to believe a burglar was breaking into their house in the middle of the night. Even the acting, though a few of these actors have done fine work elsewhere, was painfully stilted and awkward! And am I the only one who found Mickey just... off-putting in every conceivable way? And worst of all for a comedy, I didn't... laugh... once.

On the other hand, this episode of the podcast was one of the most entertaining ones I've heard!

 

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