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  1. Putting all the pieces together, it seems clear the sequel to this movie would've featured a bizarre set of contrived flashbacks to explain that Jennifer Esposito's son actually is a Disguisey because she and Pistachio had an encounter eight years ago that they both sort of forgot for some reason.
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    Episode 220.5 - Minisode 220.5

    This is making me miss my DVD collection!!! It's been very fun to read though all of this. So y'all would put A Clockwork Orange under C (and not A)? Or would some of you say K for Kubrik?
  3. questionmarks

    R.O.T.O.R. (1987)

    I tracked down a VHS of this almost fifteen years ago and used to force gatherings of friends to watch it—but in the end, they were also glad they had. It's a wild ride. I really hope for an HDTGM? episode on ROTOR some day. Robotic Officer Tactical Operations Research? Yes, please!
  4. [Apologies for the formatting! I'm not sure how to do indentation on this thing.] INT. HDTGM STUDIO - UNSPECIFIED TIME PAUL, alias TALL JOHN SCHEER, sits at a microphone looking at familiar ad copy on the screen of his laptop. A couple of producers [Nate? Avril? Cody? Who’s in studio during the ad recordings?] monitor his performance and the audio quality with varying levels of attention. PAUL People! Here’s the deal. I. love. Squarespace. Squarespace— PAUL sighs audibly. PAUL (cont’d) How many times do I have to tell you—you have to have your own website. And there’s no better way to make your own website than by using Squarespace. [How much detail do we want to include here about 24/7 support, ecommerce, and the sites Paul’s made using Squarespace?] The ROBOT CHORUS chimes in to mark a transition. ROBOT CHORUS Howdidthisgetmade. INT. LARGO AT THE CORONET - NIGHT A CROWD of amiable, slightly intoxicated nerds sits in silence punctuated by a smattering of chuckles, giggles, and a single dry couch. The CROWD knows what it’s in store for, and is pleased. On stage, PAUL, wearing light blue jeans and a tucked-in blue check shirt, with the kind of close-cropped hairstyle worn by Jason Statham in CELLULAR, stands in front of three bulky-looking chairs, a small table with PAUL’S laptop, and a projector screen displaying the laptop’s desktop: an image of John Turturo in a leather jacket flanked by two mannequins dressed in old air force uniforms. PAUL clicks on the folder titled “TRANSFORMERS” and opens the file “remixtheme.mp4.” Still vibrant from a well-received warm-up, PAUL delivers the opening monologue he’s prepared for this event. PAUL It’s like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY if 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was incomprehensible garbage. That’s right, we saw TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, and you know what that means! PAUL clicks the play button and saunters offstage. MUSIC CUE: “HDTGM Theme Song - Remix.” A wave of cheers washes over the final few words of the theme song, as PAUL returns from his brief trip offstage. PAUL Hello! people of earth! And hello! people of Largo! The CROWD acknowledges itself with another wave of cheers and applause at the mention of the LARGO theater. PAUL Welcome to “How Did This Get Made?” I’m your host, Tall John Scheer. PAUL pauses for laughter, which the CROWD happily supplies. PAUL This movie... Anxious laughter. PAUL (cont’d) People, I did not want to watch this movie. I tried not to watch this movie. I resisted watching this movie. But one thing is for sure: If I was going to sit through all ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MINUTES of this movie, I was not going to do so without my cohosts. Please welcome my first co-host: Jason Mantzoukas! JASON, alias ZOUKS, wearing dark jeans and a white button-up t-shirt, his hair and beard exploding outward in every direction, shifts onstage and drags his feet toward his chair, visibly sighing and shaking his head as he lifts up his microphone and sits. The initial applause and cheering of the CROWD is quickly overpowered by a roaring welcome. CROWD Zouks! JASON What’s up, jerks! The CROWD, already in the midst of applause, chants of “Zouks,” and loud cheers, lets out a collective whoop. PAUL Jason— JASON Paul? PAUL TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN. JASON Oh boy. PAUL cackles as nervous laughter settles over the CROWD. JASON I'm gonna say it: I don’t think we should be negotiating with terrorists. PAUL Michael Bay has been taunting and threatening us literally for years, and now we’ve finally given in. JASON I am exhausted from this movie! The only good thing I can say about this movie is that I didn’t have to spend any money on it because you already own eight thousand TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN DVDs. PAUL It’s true. JASON My little baby booty boy?! The CROWD erupts. PAUL (laughing) We’re gonna get into all of it. But first, let me introduce my second-cohost. Please welcome: June Diane Raphael! JUNE, wearing blue jean capris and a black-and-white striped top, steps onstage to a boisterous response from the CROWD. First, what sounds like a chorus composed predominantly of the women in the audience lets out a loud, delighted wave of cheering; this is quickly followed by a slightly lower-pitched rumble of hollers and applause; finally, both are drowned out by a forceful roar. CROWD June! JUNE grabs her microphone and sits down, making quick eye contact with JASON, whose smile and laughter elicits the same in JUNE. PAUL Welcome, June, how are you? JUNE I’m fine, Paul, how are you? PAUL I’m great, thanks for asking. Giddy, knowing giggles filter through much of the CROWD. PAUL First thoughts about TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN? JUNE sighs loudly and sorrowfully. JASON lets out a gleeful monosyllabic laugh. JUNE What— JASON (under his breath) Here we go. JUNE (cont’d) —is this? I suppose, technically, this is a motion picture?
  5. People—here's the deal. I don't want Paul and the gang to ever watch "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," but I would also love an episode about it. So I'd like to make a modest—read: insane—proposal for the dedicated weirdos who populate this forum with so much ingenuity and persistence. Why don't some of us fall on the sword, take one for the team, bite the bullet, and sit and watch this very long, almost surely very tiresome movie, and crowdsource a script for the imaginary live taping of the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" episode of HDTGM? Feel free to watch the movie, draft some dialogue, and add it below. But equally importantly: What would be some of the important elements for the script? Do we want to try to imagine the voice of a special guest, or keep it to our three hosts? What are some essential beats that we have to hit? (E.g., Jason interrupting June or Paul to make essentially the same point they're making as if it just came to him.) What callbacks and inside jokes, what schticks and segments, should we imagine? I suppose I should make a google doc or something, but I'm not sure whether anyone will actually be interested in participating in such nonsense. If I get a few takers, perhaps we can set up a google doc and slowly put together something needlessly ambitious. For now, here's a quick draft of the opening few minutes of the episode. (I've only watched the opening few minutes so far...)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 and I’ll be vigilant in highlighting and centering good vibes in future debates here. I see you all as fellow travelers.
  9. This is a noble goal, but I’m not sure it’s as neutral as you suggest. I think this movie is strange and ambiguous enough to simply warrant differences of opinion. It would, then, only be natural for the discussion to be a bit all over the place. You, on the other hand, seem to imply that if I can’t see that this movie is garbage, I’m being blinded by emotion. Funnily enough, I think the concept of a neat divide between emotion and rationality is often a fallacy and a marker of patriarchal thinking rather than a sign of greater objectivity In any case, I’ll restate my earlier suggestion of what I think is a fair and neutral description of the basic divide: “Team Fred says the film more or less succeeds on its own terms, Team Sanity says it fails on any terms.” Yes? No? The next question is what its terms are. Absent any clear genre conventions, the debate would seem destined to be irresolvable. But—more mutual understanding seems possible. Actually, I think a little has already come about! The film is sufficiently ambiguous to cause problems no matter the interpretation, and it seems to go out of its way to cause discomfort. Do the problems undermine the film’s success? Is such discomfort relevant and worthwhile, or grating and needless? We’re not going to agree about such things! It’s okay. But if you think there’s no such thing as a movie that cannot be conclusively said to be “good” or “bad,” then we’re back where we started: with me, from Team Fred, questioning the range of your imagination! Damn, I’m spending all my internet time on the forum. First time posting and I’m already obsessed! I get why the guys are always talking about y’all. This is great stuff. Thanks, everyone!
  10. Thanks for the kind words, but also—wow, this! I couldn’t agree more with this critique. This gets at the heart of why I love the movie and why I think it doesn’t completely get where it needs to go. You mean when she’s a child? But then you’re again taking Fred as something literal, a one-to-one correspondent to a specific mental illness, when her illness may not have appeared until adulthood, and/or may have been created or exacerbated by the trauma of her childhood, no?
  11. Totes, it’s a flaw in the writing one way or the other. My biggest problem with the movie is that it was written and directed by men. We fuck everything up. I’m acknowledging that this is an interpretive leap that speaks poorly for the writing. (One small scene would’ve done.) I’m not aware of any Team Fredster, starting with June and Jason, saying, “This movie works perfectly.” The debate can’t amount to whether it all comes together, because we’re not, I don’t think, arguing that it does. We’re arguing that it more or less works on its own terms, that it resonates powerfully for us, and that both of those things entail regarding Fred as imaginary—as insane and complicated as that makes things (welcome to our world) and even though the writing doesn’t always work. It’s a great point about the implication that the other IFs have moved onto other kids. Nevertheless, if you don’t take that scene literally, it just speaks to the internal logic of Fred’s imaginary existence. He speaks about the metaphysical reality of IFs, ergo such a reality must exist within Fred’s world, but that doesn’t mean it all isn’t still imaginary. My own imaginary friend implied similar things. A good representation of my encounter with him would include the seeming reality of his imaginary life outside of me as if outside my imagining of it.
  12. This is a wild and fun conversation. My sense of the fundamental divide is: Team Fred says the film more or less succeeds on its own terms, Team Sanity says it fails on any terms. You can agree that a film succeeds on its own terms while disliking it, and you can agree that a film fails on any terms and still like it. As a Team Fredster, I’d love for Team Sanity folks to see that the film may, in fact, succeed on its own terms without at all expecting that to mean they’ll come to like it. Hence the debates about Fred’s status and whether the film is a zany comedy or an exploration of trauma, etc. We’re trying to work out what the film’s terms are. I’m happy to accept that some films I love don’t really work unto themselves, but just work for me. Like Hackers. I think DDF actually works for the most part and I like it. But it is very clearly not for everybody—and that’s okay!
  13. I’m currently on a vacation in a tiny town on the coast of Morocco, and I’ve created a forum account so I can post about this movie because this episode got me all riled up. (I assume I’m breaching some forum etiquette, for which I’m sorry—I’ll learn for the future.) I have a lot to say. And, to put my cards on the table right off the bat: Team Fred. I have a few relatively small corrections to June and Jason’s comments—I agree with them implicitly, but in the heat of the moment I think they missed a few things that help explain why Team Fred is the right interpretation—and then a few more serious comments about the deeper dynamics of the discussion. It’s obviously insane that I’m writing this whole big long thing, and I’ll of course understand if it slips everyone’s notice or folks choose not to read this diatribe, but I hope you have a look. It’s not a lark. If anything, skip to the last two paragraphs. First, regarding the gladiolus: This little girl is allergic to one single type of flower and her dismissive control freak mother nevertheless insists on growing them in the backyard and bringing them into the house. Notice that Fred treats the impending sneeze as a very grave situation, but nothing ever really comes of it. He’s not an actual physical being, so the bouncy trip the sneeze sends him on doesn’t do anything, and a moment later he’s perfectly fine—the gravity is about what the flowers represent. (More on this in a moment.) Think of the skirts: Phoebe Cates is not literally looking under these women’s skirts. We see where she is in space in relation to them. She is thinking about what’s under the skirts. But when you grow up in a repressive context, certain thoughts and ideas that are perfectly normal and natural nevertheless feel unacceptable, so we sometimes concoct excuses for them. Fred’s vantage gives her the excuse to think about, joke about, fantasize about, judge what’s going on under these women’s skirts. The logic—the “rules”—have nothing to do with world-building, it’s just the logic of Phoebe Cates’s psychology and imagination. So then let’s get to the one moment when we see the sneeze result in a real-world effect. Put yourself in her shoes. From the jump, her cheating husband is represented as gaslighting her. The first thing we see him do is manipulate her, tell her she said something she didn’t, and use it as an excuse to bully and control her. Gaslighting—and this is very similar to the scenario after which the term was coined—is psychological abuse. So we know from the beginning of the movie that this man is an abusive, controlling bully (just like her mother, by the way), and now, very shortly after they’ve gotten back together after her encounter with Annabella, he’s in the next room—doing what, exactly?—while she has to prepare a salad... again, Fred’s imaginary vantage point gives her an excuse to think thoughts that she is afraid to claim. She (for good reason) suspects Charles is up to something, but she cannot bring herself to consciously own the suspicion. Team Sanity wants to say, “But how does Fred hear what Charlie is saying?” He doesn’t! He “listens in” and tells Phoebe Cates to have a look. We hear what Charles is saying. Fred doesn’t say, “He just said Annabella’s name!” He just tells her to do what she wants but is afraid to do (and afraid even to want to do). Her trauma, and Charlie’s abusive behavior, makes it terrifying for her to just bolt in and say, “What’s going on?” Fred gives her the excuse to pursue her implicit, well-earned suspicion. Team Sanity seems insistent on taking imagination literally. Take the little girl at the end. Now, here is where Jason’s disclaimer about not defending every move the film makes comes into play. I have to take an interpretive leap to explain what’s going on with the little girl. The interpretation flows very naturally from the characters, but the movie could’ve helped us connect these dots. In any case, recall Mickey’s obsession with Phoebe Cates. He is so smitten with her, and with his memory of her effect on him as a child, that he sees her unstable behavior and finds it charming. He’s basically treating her as a would-be Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Only—this isn’t his movie. He encounters Fred’s return to her life and vividly remembers encountering him, albeit indirectly, in their childhood. Do you really think he’s not going to mention this figure, “Drop Dead Fred,” to his daughter when they’re playing? He’s not going to say, when she’s being mischievous, “You know, I just saw an old friend of mine who reminds me of you. She had a friend,” etc., etc., all while wistfully hoping he’ll get to wind up with Phoebe Cates? There is no need to imagine that this little girl has come upon the name “Drop Dead Fred” out of nowhere, or through the intervention of some mystical being. We have a very straightforward character arc to explain the connection: childhood Mickey’s crush on Phoebe Cates and excitement about Fred, and then adult Mickey’s resurgent affection for her and encounter with Fred’s return, and his close relationship with his own daughter who he says reminds him of Phoebe. There’s no reason to take any of the imaginary things literally. I had an imaginary friend named Bombo when I was a kid. In my mind, Bombo had a life outside his relationship with me. When I saw him, it was like an old friend visiting from out of town. But every time he showed up, the implicit presumption was that he had come from somewhere. I didn’t know where, I didn’t ask, I didn’t really care. But the point is, for some kids part of the sense of the reality of their imaginary friends is the implicit assumption that they have their own lives. Why wouldn’t these poor kids—hauled into this crank’s office, being given some bizarre pills that do who knows what—imagine their imaginary friends playing with the other imaginary friends that they know are there in the room? Fred isn’t literally interacting with other imaginary friends because he is imaginary, but his engagement with them—apart from helping us to understand the stakes of the green pills—fairly straightforwardly represents the sense children often have for the fullness of the lives of their own imaginary friends. Finally, and most importantly: Team Sanity seems intent on centering the perspectives of the men in this movie (including the literally imaginary one). Paul, for example, talks about it like it’s a romcom where Phoebe Cates ends up with Mickey in the end. That’s not this movie! They don’t kiss, they don’t hold hands, they don’t go on another date—she doesn’t express any actual romantic interest in him apart from trying to engage with him on their one date. But Paul—you focus on his perspective, on what is happening to him, to the extent that you imagine how good of a step-mom Phoebe Cates will be to his child. As silly as it may be to argue so passionately about a silly movie, June and Jason both spoke eloquently about misogyny and patriarchy, and I think Paul and everyone on Team Sanity (and, I mean, really all of us and especially all of us men) should listen carefully and take that aspect of the discussion very seriously. Toward the end of the podcast, in response to one of the questions, Paul snarkily asks June: “Is this young girl [i.e., Mickey’s daughter] in danger?” Yes, Paul, because in our fucked up world, all girls are in danger, serious, constant danger. (The brief riff on Weinstein was, in this sense, almost ironic.) I don’t care whether you come to appreciate or like this movie or agree with Team Fred’s take(s) on it, but I do care that you recognize that you are centering the male characters in this film. The fact that it’s called “Drop Dead Fred” doesn’t mean it is his story, it just means it centrally concerns him. (It’s also a much better title than whatever Phoebe Cates’s character’s name is...) We all perpetuate patriarchy and misogyny to some extent or another. But it’s not often that we get to see ourselves doing it in subtle, seemingly mundane ways. But that’s the opportunity Paul (and Team Sanity) has right now. You are centering the male perspectives (and the mom’s—women perpetuate patriarchy, too) in a story about a traumatized, abused woman’s journey to come to recognize and accept her own being, her own body, her own mind, thoughts, feelings, in a hostile world... The fact that Paul thought the reveal that she had shut up her emotions and tried to hide her true self from her mother from a very young age, was an unearned twist, suggests that he never really took her character’s perspective seriously. He was convinced by the controlling, bullying, manipulative behavior of her mother, and her cheating, gaslighting husband. (And yes, by the way, her own absent father failed, as well.) A book I’d suggest is “Down Girl” by Kate Manne, which is about the logic of misogyny, the relationship between misogyny and patriarchy, and the effects these ideologies have in our world. It’s a work of academic ethics, so it can be a little heady here and there, but it’s very well written and well researched and thought out, and you can kind of skim over the occasional jargon if you like. There’s plenty more out there to read. The point is that we should all take as imperative the need to educate ourselves about patriarchy, one of the oldest and most pernicious ideologies on the planet. We won’t loosen its grip on us—or on our interpretations of strange movies—so long as we’re ignorant to it, but it is pervasive enough to seem perfectly normal and natural. Listen to June, Paul! This isn’t really about Fred at all. And I should note, obvious though I hope it is, that being Team Fred doesn’t mean being a feminist and being Team Sanity doesn’t mean being anti-feminist. Not at all. It’s just that being Team Sanity may happen to involve, for some folks, an instance of patriarchal thinking.