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Episode 181 - Freejack: LIVE!

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The suicide booth has to be a direct reference to Robert Chambers' short story, "The Repairer of Reputations", which takes place in a dystopian (then)-future New York City. The story comes from a collection with the more familiarly known "The King In Yellow", referenced heavily in True Detective.

I don't know why the "In the future, suicide is an industry" trope was so surprising to the gang. It's everywhere in Sci-fi. My go-to reference is, of course, Futurama:

 

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Rene Russo's hair was amazing in this movie. That's all I want to say.

Rene Russo's hair was amazing in this movie.

 

There ... fixed that for you.

 

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Omission: Any and all mention of Amanda Plummer's badass, shotgun-wielding, ball-kicking, arms-redistributing nun:

 

nun.jpg

 

I feel this was another edit from the 40-minute reshooting. Her part is laughably unnecessary and slap-sticky. The face Michellette makes when she kicks him in tonally jarring. She doesn't do anything for the plot except give Emilio a gun, that he never really uses (save for one awesome moment; see below). And yet, she is my absolute favorite part of the film. I love when she says that Jesus never had to deal with dickheads like Michellette. Um ... does she know Jesus was crucified? She doesn't seem like the best nun. I loved her ... this is what happens to Hunny Bunny after she leaves the diner in Pulp Fiction and then Pumpkin dies in whatever Holocaust the world of Freejack seems to have gone through.

 

EDIT: Someone in the audience mentions her, and they talk about all of this. Well, shit ...

 

Also omitted: This guy ...

 

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... whose only purpose in the film is to nearly draw Emilio back into Billy the Kid mode ...

 

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... for anyone who missed the fairly obvious shout out to his turn in the Young Guns movies, to wit:

 

8ce93b765bf3c03e57b677e2ded0e570--billy-the-kids-young-guns.jpg

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Is Emilio supposed to be a sex symbol in this movie? Or at all? Like I feel literally 0 attraction to him in this and don't understand why he was considered this leading man material for this.

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Is Emilio supposed to be a sex symbol in this movie? Or at all? Like I feel literally 0 attraction to him in this and don't understand why he was considered this leading man material for this.

Dude, again ... Young Guns.

 

In thinking about how to respond to your question, I've recovered memories of my mother talking about how sexy he was as Billy the Kid.

 

Thank you, Taylor. I'm going to go kill myself now. Luckily, since 2009 ...

 

fj22.jpg

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Omission: Any and all mention of Amanda Plummer's badass, shotgun-wielding, ball-kicking, arms-redistributing nun:

 

nun.jpg

 

I feel this was another edit from the 40-minute reshooting. Her part is laughably unnecessary and slap-sticky. The face Michellette makes when she kicks him in tonally jarring. She doesn't do anything for the plot except give Emilio a gun, that he never really uses (save for one awesome moment; see below). And yet, she is my absolute favorite part of the film. I love when she says that Jesus never had to deal with dickheads like Michellette. Um ... does she know Jesus was crucified? She doesn't seem like the best nun. I loved her ... this is what happens to Hunny Bunny after she leaves the diner in Pulp Fiction and then Pumpkin dies in whatever Holocaust the world of Freejack seems to have gone through.

 

Also omitted: This guy ...

 

40013174742_1bd5f12fb3_c.jpg

 

... whose only purpose in the film is to nearly draw Emilio back into Billy the Kid mode ...

 

40013174102_d5816402c8_c.jpg

 

... for anyone who missed the fairly obvious shout out to his turn in the Young Guns movies, to wit:

 

8ce93b765bf3c03e57b677e2ded0e570--billy-the-kids-young-guns.jpg

 

And, not coincidentally, director Geoff Murphy was also behind the camera for Young Guns II. It's surprising he didn't make Freejack 2, since he was the guy who made sequels to Young Guns, Under Siege and Fortress.

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Is Emilio supposed to be a sex symbol in this movie? Or at all? Like I feel literally 0 attraction to him in this and don't understand why he was considered this leading man material for this.

More or less sex appeal than John Larroquette?

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She doesn't do anything for the plot except give Emilio a gun, that he never really uses (save for one awesome moment; see below).

One weird thing about the gun is Emilio and Rene Russo are in the elevator and Emilio says he had one bullet left.

 

So, naturally, you expect him to use it in a dramatic fashion, or kill someone of importance, or save it until he needs it. Instead, he leans out of the elevator in the middle of a firefight and shoots some nobody. In that situation, wouldn't you just let the two gangs shoot each other instead of wasting your one bullet.

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Ok, I'm about to go to bat for this movie in a serious way, because I thought this movie was awesome fun and aside from some poor mis-en-scene choices, bad FX, lazy costuming, tone/continuity problems, and other what-have-yous, it makes perfect sense and hangs together. Allow me to go point-by-point:

 

1. A breakthrough came for me when I realized that Vacendak is not in the same timeframe as pre-crash Furlong, even though they are shown in consecutive shots. Vacendak goes to the point of the crash (which is nothing now, just a bombed-out area) in order to pull Furlong from the past. Just putting this out there since I was confused by this at first.

 

2. I think the central concept of pulling a person into the future just at the moment of their untimely death is actually a pretty interesting idea. Maybe I'm morose, but I get the logic -- pay to have a guy "bodyjacked" from the past just as he dies, so that I can have someone do a Get Out surgery on him and extend the life of my consciousness. I mean, yeah ... I'm on board.

 

3. A "freejack" is therefore someone who was "jacked" from the past and then got "free" in the future/present. Maybe a hyphen would've fixed the confusion (Free-jack). And yeah, I imagine that's a big deal, since they probably morally reason that, well, they were going to die anyway, so no harm, no foul ... but if people who were going on to live full lives were being jacked, that's just kidnapping across time.

 

4. McCandless picking Furlong's body makes sense once you realize he loves Julie Redlund. Here's this woman in his employ who he lusts and pines for, and he learns somehow that she once had a boyfriend who died tragically in a racing accident. And, I just happen to be future-rich and bodyjacking is a thing. So, yeah ... let me just jump into this body and that will make her love me. I mean, that's crazy, of course, and gross, for sure, but rich people in a time travel-equipped future can get that way.

 

5. Ray Kurzweil predicts that we are, max, 50 years away from being able to upload our consciousnesses into virtual afterlife ... so that holds up.

 

6. Finally, this movie fairly accurately predicts the evolution of the auto industry, which seems to have splintered into two camps of environmentally-friendly self-driving minicars ...

 

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and personalized tanks:

 

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Is Emilio supposed to be a sex symbol in this movie? Or at all? Like I feel literally 0 attraction to him in this and don't understand why he was considered this leading man material for this.

 

I don’t think he’s supposed to be sexy. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say he was cast for his boyishness. At one point in the movie, a screen pops up with some of Alex’s stats and it says he was born in 1955. His crash takes place in 1991 (which he confirms for himself by checking his wristband) which makes Alex 36 at the time of his death.

 

In movie, I’d say this might be a commentary on how well kept his body was, and consequently, why he’d be a desirable candidate. As far as production reasons, I’d say that his looks can, in the right circumstances (i.e. lighting, makeup, wardrobe, etc) make him appear older or younger than Rene as the scene required. He’s kind of like the anti-John Hamm.

 

Speaking of their age difference, my guess is, at the beginning of the movie, that Alex was supposed to be considerably older than Julie - say, 36 to her 25. This would make her ~43 (as opposed to ~53) at the end of the movie and actually close their age gap. Of course, I have no evidence to back any of that up, but I do feel like early 90’s movie execs would take real issue with the leading lady being *too* much older than the leading man.

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I mean, we all know that a Wraith is just a dragon that hatches from a Faberge egg. It's simple science. And that's why Charlie Sheen rode one in that movie.

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"I couldn't make heads nor tails out of those foot statues."

"Well, no, you don't have the right body parts for either of those things."

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What is everyone's ethical take on the idea of body jacking if there was never a chance for a Furlong situation where they wake up on the table? And there is never malfeasance of taking a body anytime except right before the instance of death. Ignoring the rich get richer aspect of it (say everyone on Earth gets one body jack to make it even) I feel like it is OK. It is weird because my gut reaction is that it feels wrong but I don't think there is a victim.

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Did anyone else notice that two scenes from this movie are used in the 1993 film True Romance?

 

In that film, during the scene at the Safari Inn where Clarence (Christian Slater) and Dick (Michael Rappaport) discuss selling cocaine to a Hollywood mogul, Alabama (Patricia Arquette) turns on the TV and immediately the scene in Freejack with Renee Russo's closeup during Emilio Estevez's character's car crash blares onto the screen.

 

Later in True Romance, Dick's stoner roommate Floyd (Brad Pit) is zoning out in front of the television to the "mind battle" between Esteves and Anthony Hopkins.

 

When I first watched True Romance, I kind of figured that the producers used footage from Freejack due to solely to economic concerns (both films were released by Morgan Creek a year apart from each other). However, it's possible that the directer, Tony Scott (working from a script written by none other than Quentin Tarantino), was making a fairly pointed, sub-textual commentary on society's mindless, unquestioning consumption of garbage entertainment like Freejack.

 

Having never seen Freejack (up until this point, that is), it's two scenes in True Romance made it look absolutely bizarre and ridiculous (and it also give you a short and accurate synopsis of the film: guy dies, guy fights rich guy). I was pleasantly surprised to see, all these decades later, that Freejack is so, so, so much worse than portrayed in True Romance.

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I was dying at the Fabergé egg bit and then I realized I too have a family member that had "Fabergé eggs". This was twenty plus years ago, and my aunt was probably just joking around with me, but I looked up at her curio shelf full of elaborately painted real egg shells and just rolled with that explanation.

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Did anyone else notice that two scenes from this movie are used in the 1993 film True Romance?

 

In that film, during the scene at the Safari Inn where Clarence (Christian Slater) and Dick (Michael Rappaport) discuss selling cocaine to a Hollywood mogul, Alabama (Patricia Arquette) turns on the TV and immediately the scene in Freejack with Renee Russo's closeup during Emilio Estevez's character's car crash blares onto the screen.

 

Later in True Romance, Dick's stoner roommate Floyd (Brad Pit) is zoning out in front of the television to the "mind battle" between Esteves and Anthony Hopkins.

 

When I first watched True Romance, I kind of figured that the producers used footage from Freejack due to solely to economic concerns (both films were released by Morgan Creek a year apart from each other). However, it's possible that the directer, Tony Scott (working from a script written by none other than Quentin Tarantino), was making a fairly pointed, sub-textual commentary on society's mindless, unquestioning consumption of garbage entertainment like Freejack.

 

Having never seen Freejack (up until this point, that is), it's two scenes in True Romance made it look absolutely bizarre and ridiculous (and it also give you a short and accurate synopsis of the film: guy dies, guy fights rich guy). I was pleasantly surprised to see, all these decades later, that Freejack is so, so, so much worse than portrayed in True Romance.

 

Also in the movie Stay Tuned, in the first few minutes, it's on the TV of the woman who (along with her husband) gets sucked into the TV.

 

I have this as one of the points I wanted to bring to Paul's attention via the paul-ask # ! :)

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I don’t think he’s supposed to be sexy. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say he was cast for his boyishness. At one point in the movie, a screen pops up with some of Alex’s stats and it says he was born in 1955. His crash takes place in 1991 (which he confirms for himself by checking his wristband) which makes Alex 36 at the time of his death.

 

In movie, I’d say this might be a commentary on how well kept his body was, and consequently, why he’d be a desirable candidate. As far as production reasons, I’d say that his looks can, in the right circumstances (i.e. lighting, makeup, wardrobe, etc) make him appear older or younger than Rene as the scene required. He’s kind of like the anti-John Hamm.

 

Speaking of their age difference, my guess is, at the beginning of the movie, that Alex was supposed to be considerably older than Julie - say, 36 to her 25. This would make her ~43 (as opposed to ~53) at the end of the movie and actually close their age gap. Of course, I have no evidence to back any of that up, but I do feel like early 90’s movie execs would take real issue with the leading lady being *too* much older than the leading man.

 

My musical commentary on this theme...

 

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The one bit of weirdness that really stuck out to me was that after Furlong gets the inspirational(?) speech about the eagle he stands up to leave and there is a pair of dangling feet up above him. So while the Oscar worthy monologue was happening there was an extra just sitting up there presumably having no reaction to it whatsoever.

 

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Also I may not remember this right but I think right after Furlong gets fired up by the eagle speech his next action is to go hang out in a homeless enclave and do nothing at all. Julie happens to show up there to keep the plot moving but logically I don't think there was any reason for him to know she'd come there.

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Omission:

 

How was it not mentioned that this was Hopkins' first movie after WINNING AN OSCAR?! Even with that, he is still fourth billed behind Estevez, who just did Men at Work, Jagger who was working on his next solo album, and Russo, who was just in the forgettable film One Good Cop. I would understand if this film had been made a year or two prior and they were releasing it then to capitalize on his success as Hannibal Lecter, but from what I've read, it was made near or after Silence of the Lambs.

 

Also, this isn't the first crazy helmet Jagger has had to wear on film, there was this gem from the 1970 film, Ned Kelly.

3708217d3cfdf364c1b221bc5eef9b44--ned-kelly.jpg

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Am I the only one to have noticed the amazing similarity between Young Jonathan Banks (playing a ruthless amoral bureaucrat with zero regard for human life) and Trump's deporter-in-chief Stephen Miller (a ruthless amoral etc and so on)?

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What is everyone's ethical take on the idea of body jacking if there was never a chance for a Furlong situation where they wake up on the table? And there is never malfeasance of taking a body anytime except right before the instance of death. Ignoring the rich get richer aspect of it (say everyone on Earth gets one body jack to make it even) I feel like it is OK. It is weird because my gut reaction is that it feels wrong but I don't think there is a victim.

I get the rationalization ... the prime directive of time travel is always "Don't alter the past." So if they pull people from the past just at the moment of their deaths, then there is no real effect on the past.

 

The trouble is that the second someone is pulled from the past and survives, all that ethical rationalization is right out the window.

 

Plus, even though they are no doubt using medical records, news reports, archive footage, etc, to determine that they are dead, that can't possibly be fail-safe. What if it was one of those "missing, presumed dead" events, where the person goes on to live life, effecting things, altering the future, and then gets pulled? The consequences might be bad.

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When Vacendek is calculating the moment to jack Furlong from the past, what footage is he using? And, how is that remotely accurate?

 

You see Vacendek telling a guy "back up, zoom in, enhance" as they zero in on the moment just before the car crash occurs. I'm sure there were cameras at the race track that day, but who would have bothered getting a tight close up of the Nissan sign, just in case someone were to shoot up into the air and hit it? Plus, 1992 was before every camera in the world was kept in lock-step time with a central clock via wi-fi. There's just no way Vacendek could use old VHS footage to ascertain the exact moment of anything happening in the past.

 

I think the implication is that time travel technology comes with a window to the past. You can go to the location of any historic event and stream the event. Like a YouTube of the past. (JackTube?) (No)

 

How is this not an entire 2009 industry? "Wanna to watch the 'I Have a Dream' speech live? Wanna see Marilyn Monroe fuck JFK? Wanna witness the moment you beat up that bully in kindergarten?"

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I feel like I completely missed something or the script supervisor did. So after Freejack Furlong decides to not take those suicide ads up on their offer, he wanders through the slums somewhere that (as far as I can tell?) we've never been before in the city. And yet, Rene Russo knows exactly where to take Black Panther Samurai to find him. There's no discussion or explanation or major reveal as to why. Just Furlong walking out of the shadows saying, "Hey girl, let's hug (and it's weird that all they do is hug while Russo's bodyguard makes sure the people don't attack?). I tried to figure it out using geography because maybe it was his apartment in Park Slope, but that doesn't make sense either because Vacendek would have known where he might go, right? Anyways, I'm not sure which bridge he jumped off, but I assume one of the mid-town ones, so 59th street or maybe even as far up as GW. But that would mean he washes up in New Jersey or Brooklyn, right? I'm guessing Brooklyn based on the ground-level being near the water but are they meeting outside his old apartment? That doesn't add up to me--can anyone help?

 

Also, am I correct that the guy who gives the Eagle Speech is an operative for Mike from Breaking Bad? Isn't he in one of the rival gangs in the big warehouse shootup? When Furlong walks away he says something like, "Oh Furlong, if only you knew that we're going to get you," so I assume so. But nothing is ever made of this. And if it is the case, why would he stop him from killing himself? Why not offer to help and then tie him up or something?

 

I actually tried to pay attention to this one, but the only thing I can think of to explain these massive gaps is the reshoots?

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I get the rationalization ... the prime directive of time travel is always "Don't alter the past." So if they pull people from the past just at the moment of their deaths, then there is no real effect on the past.

 

The trouble is that the second someone is pulled from the past and survives, all that ethical rationalization is right out the window.

 

Plus, even though they are no doubt using medical records, news reports, archive footage, etc, to determine that they are dead, that can't possibly be fail-safe. What if it was one of those "missing, presumed dead" events, where the person goes on to live life, effecting things, altering the future, and then gets pulled? The consequences might be bad.

 

I am trying to think about it in a "perfect world" scenario where there is no chance that anything could go wrong. Who has the right to that body in the future? You have Person A pulled from the past where they absolutely would have died without the intervention of Person B from the future who wants the body. You are the technician you can either wake up Person A (leaving Person B to die in the Switchboard) or you can do the transfer and put Person B in the body killing the consciousness of Person A. Maybe it is because doing the transfer is proactive but that one feels more like murder to me. Even so I don't know that it is the wrong choice.

 

Surprisingly deep moral quandary from Freejack. Probably better handled on The Big Ones podcast than a message board.

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I am trying to think about it in a "perfect world" scenario where there is no chance that anything could go wrong. Who has the right to that body in the future? You have Person A pulled them from the past where they absolutely would have died without the intervention of Person B from the future who wants the body. You are the technician you can either wake up Person A (leaving Person B to die in the Switchboard) or you can do the transfer and put Person B in the body killing the consciousness of Person A. Maybe it is because doing the transfer is proactive but that one feels more like murder to me. Even so I don't know that it is the wrong choice.

 

Surprisingly deep moral quandary from Freejack. Probably better handled on The Big Ones podcast than a message board.

I suddenly don't think that a "perfect world" scenario is possible with this.

 

The idea about bodyjacking is that they are getting the person from the past at the moment of their deaths, so no harm, no foul to the future -- everyone will proceed as if the guy dies. But we hear Buster Poindexter say that he didn't get the insurance money from Furlong because they couldn't recover his body from the wreck. This means that Furlong's body being absent after the crash was significant to the events of history moving forward. Therefore, there is likely a timeline where Furlong's kith and kin would have had a normal funeral with his charred remains present. But now, everyone affected by Furlong's death would have a lingering question about what happened and why his body disappeared in the crash, and that absolutely would affect the future. Julie Redlund in 2009 is brooding, sullen, and part of a soulless corporate entity ... who knows just how much of that is based on the lack of closure over putting an empty casket in the ground, but I'd say it has to factor in a little.

 

Not to mention all the other families who knew someone who was jacked ... the more bodies that are jacked, the greater the likelihood of one over-zealous family member seeking answers and altering the past in major ways.

 

There can be no safe bodyjacking if the past is altered even a little bit. The web of human interaction just doesn't work that way.

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