Jump to content
SlidePocket

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

Drop Dead Fred  

79 members have voted

  1. 1. Which side do you agree with?

    • Team Fred 🤡
      31
    • Team Sanity 🤔
      48


Recommended Posts

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

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

Was it just me or did Mickey Buntz look like a young Christoph Waltz?

I get that. I went a different way ... it took me a few minutes to finally see he wasn't Tim Roth. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Larcen26 said:

The same thing happens with Drop Dead Fred.  If you see Fred as nothing more than a visual manifestation of Lizzie’s Id, and she is ultimately the one with all of those thoughts and impulses, it is a nuanced tale of growth and ultimately female empowerment.

If you see it as a world where Imaginary friends truly exist and are there to be friends for the friendless (this would be a world similar to Pete’s Dragon) and can only be seen by the children they accompany, it’s an odd, disjointed and almost bipolar film with unsettling sexual undertones between Fred and Lizzie.

 

I am firmly Team Who Gives A Shit.

What Larcen says above was essentially my whole thesis about why this movie is a trainwreck. Fred is treated as both an absolute independent entity and an abstract representation, and he simply cannot be both. 

Fred clearly exists in certain scenes, especially in the scene where we see other imaginary friends. I also read online that one deleted scene took place at a bar where all the imaginary friends hung out while they were off work.

But in other scenes, things that are perceived as Fred are either meant to represent Lizzie doing these things (the mud pies and property damage) or they are explained away, such as when Lizzie and her husband are in the bedroom and we hear what we think is Fred trying to open the door but then it ends up being the nurse, who gets accidentally bonked on the head. 

This movie is trying very hard to be a clumsy metaphor for growing up and Fred is treated as representation of that, but he is also treated as a real entity, one imaginary friend in a world full of them, in order I suppose to make it more kid-friendly and less deeply metaphorical. 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

Did anyone else notice that this is the sole writing credit ever attributed to Elizabeth Livingston? 

Apparently here is (some) of the story behind that.

 

Quote

New York based screenplay writers Tony Fingleton and Carlos Davis had met UK comedian Rik Mayall in London during Comic Relief. They’d loved to do a film together preserving Rik’s qualities from his British hit tv show The Young Ones, but aimed at an international audience. At that time Carlos and Tony were talking to a mutual friend Elizabeth Livingston who was writing a magazine story based on her little daughter’s imaginary friend Drop Dead Fred. Fingleton’s eldest daughter also had an imaginary friend when she was young. And hence the movie idea was born.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, joel_rosenbaum said:

Did anyone else notice that this is the sole writing credit ever attributed to Elizabeth Livingston? 

Apparently here is (some) of the story behind that.

 

 

YES! Actually, Livingston gets a "Story by" credit, whereas the writers were Carlos Davis and Tony Fingleton. And it blows me away that June would go to bat so hard for a movie that tries to represent the coming-of-age of a young girl which was written by two hack men, one of whom is known more for being a swimmer, and the other who never did anything else of note (EDIT: Aside from Hurricane Heist, I guess). 

I tried to find out more about Livingston and came up with bupkis. She's written a few other short stories, all having some supernatural elements to them, but never made another splash as big as this. I would just hate to think that she had a real bildungsroman that got crapped on by this movie. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Team Sanity. I think June and Jason are defending the movie based on its themes, not on the filmmaking. Because they love the themes so much, they're far too forgiving of the film's lousy writing, acting, direction, etc. And they're also giving the screenwriters too much credit for what they perceive the film to be saying. Do they really believe that the writers of HURRICANE HEIST - and not much else - have this much insight into female psychology and gender relations? And when challenged by Paul and Casey on points they can't defend, they just fall back weakly on "It's only a movie."

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I saw bits of this movie as a kid and I refuse to watch it now because it disturbed me so much.

It seems the biggest demarcation between Team Sanity and Team Fred is if you believe Fred is part of the Phoebe Cates character or not. I would love to believe that he was part of Phoebe Cates, that would make it less creepy. I will say that as I kid I felt like he was a separate being and that he was trying to make her conform to his idea of what "fun" was. I get that June sees it as a woman acting out, and I agree that women are often punished for that so I can see how the Phoebe Cates character would be punished for it. But if that is the case, I wish Fred acted out in a more feminine way. Perhaps like a Melissa McCarthy character? Or the sexuality being more about vaginas than dicks. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I wanted to offer up a defense of the scene with all the imaginary friends. I think it could be explained away with Carl Jung's collective unconscious; that all the kids are sharing their friends like that, but they themselves can't see it because they are conscious.

As for the end, when Fred goes to the other girl, I don't think there is an explanation. It's a flaw in the movie, that I think both sides agree it has flaws.

The makers or studio wanted a dumb Hollywood sentimental ending and that's what they came up with.

Anyways, I think this is a kid's movie (maybe 10-13, where they're old enough to remember being like, 5 but old enough to wonder what the heck it means to grow up.) I think it's important for kids to have a story with some horrific elements in it so they can see that they can be overcome. 

I'd be curious to see what kind of divisions sprang up if they covered Return to Oz.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
27 minutes ago, doxrus said:

Team Sanity. I think June and Jason are defending the movie based on its themes, not on the filmmaking. Because they love the themes so much, they're far too forgiving of the film's lousy writing, acting, direction, etc. And they're also giving the screenwriters too much credit for what they perceive the film to be saying. Do they really believe that the writers of HURRICANE HEIST - and not much else - have this much insight into female psychology and gender relations? And when challenged by Paul and Casey on points they can't defend, they just fall back weakly on "It's only a movie."

Yes, there were times during the podcast when I felt like we were being gaslit by June and Jason.  Two co-hosts of a bad movie podcast were acting like they were unfamiliar with the prospect of a movie undermining its own intentions or being internally inconsistent.  I don't doubt that we were supposed to believe that Fred was an extension of Lizzie's psyche, but as Triple Lindy notes above, the movie is constantly undermining that by portraying Fred as a wacky mischief maker with his own rascally agenda coming from some alternate universe of imaginary friends.  (I would guess it was also on their minds to leave enough existential independence for Fred to do a Drop Dead Fred 2.)

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, doxrus said:

Team Sanity. I think June and Jason are defending the movie based on its themes, not on the filmmaking. Because they love the themes so much, they're far too forgiving of the film's lousy writing, acting, direction, etc. And they're also giving the screenwriters too much credit for what they perceive the film to be saying. Do they really believe that the writers of HURRICANE HEIST - and not much else - have this much insight into female psychology and gender relations? And when challenged by Paul and Casey on points they can't defend, they just fall back weakly on "It's only a movie."

I agree on the assessment that June & Jason are judging themes vs structure/technical qualities.  Regarding the fall back of them saying "it's only a movie"; I have to believe this is a product of their improvisational background.  They (#TeamFred) are fully aware that when people say "it's only a movie", that this is a crutch of all crutches that people use when they know there is clearly no defense.  I believe #TeamFred caught onto how divisive this conversation was getting and just decided to run with it (i.e.; Jason giggles almost every time he tries to defend their position).

These are the mental gymnastics I have conducted to explain their rigidness on the discussion.  Mainly because Jason is my spirit animal.  Therefore, I live and die with him.

Go #TeamFred (?)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I. Have. Never. In 7 years of listening to this podcast (no big deal) stopped an episode before the end, but I was so exhausted listening to this one that I stopped it over 40 minutes from the end. I may return to hear the audience Q & A on my upcoming vacation, but I need some time to rest, do some self-care, reflect on my life choices, and perhaps ingest some edibles to finish it up. I love you all, and if this is the last episode at least it was...well, I don't know what it was. I'm tired

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I think the only movie that could for real kill this podcast would be if they covered Ryan's Babe.

Share this post


Link to post

I know most of the posts on here will be simply be offering their stance on the primary debate (I'm 100% Team Sanity, btw)

But I wanted to focus on a scene before Fred arrives when Phoebe Cates gets fired.  She is a court reporter and after coming back late from lunch gets fired by the judge.  First of all, the judge is not her boss.  Court reporters either work for the court system or are freelance.  That judge would not have the power to fire her.  And even if he did, why would you fire the court reporter in the middle of a trial like that.  All that would do is delay the trial even further until a new court reporter is available.  There's also the possibility that whatever shorthand Phoebe Cates had used when recording the previous parts of the trial wouldn't be understood by anyone else.  She would still be needed to transcribe all that she had already typed/reported.

However, seeing her get fired as a court reporter did make me recall a news story from a few years ago where a court reporter was fired from his job after it was discovered that he would frequently just by typing random keys or typing repeatedly "I hate my job" instead of actually reporting what was happening in the court cases.  Now those cases could be potentially thrown out because lawyers could claim crucial evidence is missing.  If you do not have a consistent, reliable court reported, it could be a real mess. The bottom line is that there is no way she's getting fired mid-trial over being late (for a reasonable reason) from lunch.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post

Team Fred and Team Sanity are BOTH RIGHT.

Paul and Casey were right in pointing out that the movie presented Fred as an external entity who exists independently of Elizabeth. But the movie is from the perspective of Elizabeth. And from her subjective perspective, Fred is an external entity who, at the end of their journey, would go and befriend other troubled girls.

From an objective perspective, though, June and Jason are right. It's simply true that imaginary friends are the projection of the individual's mind, regardless of whether that individual perceives it that way.

The irony is that June and Jason were accusing Paul and Casey (and all of Team Sanity) of losing their view of the world through a child's eyes, but in fact it is Team Sanity who sees the movie through Elizabeth's eyes, and June and Jason who see the movie through the detached, objective lens of reality.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I should also add that "Team Fred vs. Team Sanity" is probably not the best way to phrase this debate because it suggest that the film has a point of view that can be interpreted in different ways.  At its core, the debate is whether or not this movie is a hot piece of garbage (and it 100% is).

There are several pieces of evidence to suggest that Phoebe Cates is insane.  There's even the throwaway line by the guy on trial suggesting that she 'plead insanity' after she returns late from lunch.

But there are also several scenes that point to Fred being his own thing and not a manifestation of Lizzie's mind.

The movie is all over the place and thus has no redeeming value.  I was saddened to see Jason defend it as I almost always agree with him (I hope he just decided to do a bit the whole show by supporting this movie) and I was disturbed by June's infatuation with this movie.  Her love of this movie is more troubling than any story Paul has shared about his childhood.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

My biggest beef with this episode is the "it's only a movie" defense June and Jason kept going to.  They essentially killed the premise of their entire podcast.

They also kind of exposed their "characters" with this episode, at least IMO.  For example, June clearly remembers movies, and plays up her "disgust" of certain things for entertainment value because if she's not "deeply disturbed" by some of the things in this movie, there's no way she actually was with some things in previous episodes.  Jason, I think, simply didn't hate the movie, saw the rift between Paul and June and RAN with it.  I don't think he honestly believed half the arguments he was making, as opposed to "I said I'm team June and I am committing to it"  You hear it in his voice when second opinions are about to start and he realizes he can't rip on any of them because that was just him for and hour and half on stage, so he actually has to say it out loud like "hey guys, I realize I sound like a nut job out here" as a way to almost retcon his entire stance over the podcast.

For anyone who thinks I'm making up stuff that simply wasn't there, or looking for deeper meaning into a podcast that was never intended, congrats! You now know how team Sanity felt listening to Team Fred argue in defense of this movie.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Here's a different way to look at this.  Based on the comments they made, June and Jason seem to feel that Lizzie is better off for having Drop Dead Fred return.  But let's run down the state of Lizzie's life by the end of the movie.

She has:

  • No job
  • No car
  • No place to live
  • Lost her best friend (this is not explicitly established, but why would Carrie Fisher want to be friends with her after sinking her home?)
  • No relationship (she doesn't really seem to want to pursue anything romantic with Ron Eldard)
  • Severed ties with her mother

She's not only worse off than she was when the movie began, but she's probably now ill-equipped to deal with the real world as an adult on her own.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
9 minutes ago, DrGuts1003 said:

Here's a different way to look at this.  Based on the comments they made, June and Jason seem to feel that Lizzie is better off for having Drop Dead Fred return.  But let's run down the state of Lizzie's life by the end of the movie.

She has:

  • No job
  • No car
  • No place to live
  • Lost her best friend (this is not explicitly established, but why would Carrie Fisher want to be friends with her after sinking her home?)
  • No relationship (she doesn't really seem to want to pursue anything romantic with Ron Eldard)
  • Severed ties with her mother

She's not only worse off than she was when the movie began, but she's probably now ill-equipped to deal with the real world as an adult on her own.

Don't disagree with the thesis here.  Just thought I'd note that Carrie Fischer did seem have totally forgiven Lizzie after she got the monster insurance check for her floating condo(?) after it sank. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, DrGuts1003 said:

Here's a different way to look at this.  Based on the comments they made, June and Jason seem to feel that Lizzie is better off for having Drop Dead Fred return.  But let's run down the state of Lizzie's life by the end of the movie.

She has:

  • No job
  • No car
  • No place to live
  • Lost her best friend (this is not explicitly established, but why would Carrie Fisher want to be friends with her after sinking her home?)
  • No relationship (she doesn't really seem to want to pursue anything romantic with Ron Eldard)
  • Severed ties with her mother

She's not only worse off than she was when the movie began, but she's probably now ill-equipped to deal with the real world as an adult on her own.

True, she's out a job, car, and place to live, but Carrie Fisher was still her friend (she had a really weird reaction to losing her houseboat, but was thrilled with the insurance check), and she rid herself of her two biggest abusers. Like, comedy aside, her mother, husband, and in the distance her absentee father, are really, really awful people and the implied notion (not singling you out just in general from the episode!) that these people were beneficial at all to her life is a bad take. Fred or not Elizabeth is definitely in need of a good therapist and a support group.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, Gray Jedi said:

Don't disagree with the thesis here.  Just thought I'd note that Carrie Fischer did seem have totally forgiven Lizzie after she got the monster insurance check for her floating condo(?) after it sank. 

I did think about that and wasn't sure whether or not to add that point because of it.  But you could argue that after Carrie Fisher's embarrassing incident at work where she appears to beat up an imaginary child and exposes her relationship with the wet dreams guy that she may have realized it is not worth it to be friends with Lizzie anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

I get that. I went a different way ... it took me a few minutes to finally see he wasn't Tim Roth. 

Thought the exact same thing.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
2 minutes ago, muttnik said:

True, she's out a job, car, and place to live, but Carrie Fisher was still her friend (she had a really weird reaction to losing her houseboat, but was thrilled with the insurance check), and she rid herself of her two biggest abusers. Like, comedy aside, her mother, husband, and in the distance her absentee father, are really, really awful people and the implied notion (not signalling you our just in general from the episode!) that these people were beneficial at all to her life is a bad take. Fred or not Elizabeth is definitely in need of a good therapist and a support group.

The movie is so muddled it is tough to really debate on either side, but I do enjoy a good debate so I'll just offer a few counterpoints here.  In terms of the two "abusive" relationships - Tim Matheson had tried to end things with Lizzie when he originally got together with Annabella.  It's not like Fred really helped her see that he had feelings for someone else.  As for the mother, I would contend that any malice or abuse that the mother exhibits towards Lizzie is all a result of her bad behavior when Fred is around.  We never (at least I don't recall) see any scenes of the mother being verbally abusive to Lizzie prior to Fred showing.  That doesn't excuse the abuse, just saying that if Lizzie doesn't have Fred in her life, the mother may have acted completely different.

Again, the movie is so poor that it's tough to really figure out what is the correct interpretation, but I enjoy the back and forth nonetheless.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Can we talk about the "imaginary" friend, Velcro Head (played by Clark Niederjohn).  Is it me or was giving the one black kid a white actor to portray their imaginary friend, who appeared to have the most fake looking weave ever, super racist?  They may as well have put him in blackface and called it a day.

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, DrGuts1003 said:

The movie is so muddled it is tough to really debate on either side, but I do enjoy a good debate so I'll just offer a few counterpoints here.  In terms of the two "abusive" relationships - Tim Matheson had tried to end things with Lizzie when he originally got together with Annabella.  It's not like Fred really helped her see that he had feelings for someone else.  As for the mother, I would contend that any malice or abuse that the mother exhibits towards Lizzie is all a result of her bad behavior when Fred is around.  We never (at least I don't recall) see any scenes of the mother being verbally abusive to Lizzie prior to Fred showing.  That doesn't excuse the abuse, just saying that if Lizzie doesn't have Fred in her life, the mother may have acted completely different.

Again, the movie is so poor that it's tough to really figure out what is the correct interpretation, but I enjoy the back and forth nonetheless.

I'd argue Annabella wasn't the only affair prior to the beginning of the movie. The woman in the dealership seemed very familiar to him (very lunchtime liaison), and Elizabeth doesn't recognize Annabella at the wine tasting party at all even though she walked in on the two of them together on the couch. Do we ever see him comfort or show her any genuine love at all? He does end things with her, but as soon as he wants her back (because tight dress and haircut) he continues to lie and manipulate her, and is alright with her being a medicated zombie as long as things can continue on as they were. And this is nitpicking I know, but their apartment looked to be all him. Like she's a husk of a person but that looked like his apartment that she moved into and never got to bring anything personal into.

Since the movie is pretty much all post-Fred there's no way to know how much over-the-top acting out happened before. But from what the movie does give, these were two adults who should not have gotten married (or had a child) based on personality types alone. Checked out, deadbeat father; a mother that needed to be in constant control with everything having the appearance of perfection. Like it makes sense that Fred snowballed out of that. Maybe if the father had been more involved maybe Fred wouldn't exist? If we take out the instances of the mother being passive-aggressive towards Child Elizabeth because of Fred ("I think I love you less", scolding her for ruining her 'long, beautiful hair'), there's still stuff like keeping flowers in the house that she knows her child is allergic to, blaming the child for the father's actions, not playing or acting like the little girl that the mother would prefer. Like that kid doesn't have that bedroom.

Her interactions with her adult daughter are just as bad. When we first meet her she doesn't comfort her daughter or say anything about Elizabeth being better off (which she is). It's very 'your husband left you because you did something wrong, and we need to fix you so he'll find value in you again.' She takes her to the mall and gets her a make-over to look exactly like her (she scolds the make-up woman to do Elizabeth's make-up like hers). The trip to Doctor Feelgood to drown out all the problems with pills which is very on-brand. Yes, Elizabeth deeply needs help, but it all comes across like it's a burden to the mother and not something she's doing out of genuine love. The bit at the end where the mother finally shows some vulnerability really makes me feel like she was also emotionally abused as a child and is remorseful of her actions because it's all she knows.

I do like the small message that yeah, even if you lose everything and have to start over, it's better to do so as you.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×