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EPISODE #223 - Disclosure (1994)

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https://www.earwolf.com/episode/disclosure-w-nick-kroll-emily-altman/

Nick Kroll (Big Mouth) and Emily Altman (Big Mouth) join Paul and Jason in-studio to discuss the 1994 erotic thriller Disclosure starring Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. They talk about the Big Mouth tie-in to the movie, Demi Moore speaking on the internet & virtual reality, Michael Douglas’s character getting sexually harassed, and more.

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace (www.squarespace.com/BONKERS code: BONKERS), SweeTango Apple (www.sweetango.com/bonkers), Simplisafe (www.simplisafe.com/bonkers), Betterhelp (www.betterhelp.com/bonkers), and Hotel Tonight (www.hoteltonight.com).

Subscribe to Unspooled with Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson here: http://www.earwolf.com/show/unspooled/

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The "You're gonna need a forklift to get hard" line might sound weird, but I have a theory about it.

I think the line was going to be "You're gonna need a forklft to get it up!", and then there was a Bill O'Reilly "we'll do it live" incident.  So the line "You're gonna need a forklift to get it up!" is changed because somebody said "What do you mean 'get it up'? Get what up?  His dick?  That makes no sense, why would you need a forklift?  But why a forklift?  But it doesn't "go up" it gets hard!  I've never heard anybody in my life say "Get it up", they say "get hard".  Just change the line!  Change it!  No no, keep the forklift in, are you kidding me, forklift is fucking GOLD!  See, now it's manly, but sexy!"

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After listening to the discussion about it. I might as well add my expriences as a teenager in the age of the "Adult Movie" laden 90s.

Back when I was at school, there was a bustling tape trading scene.  One kid would have "Sliver", and is willing to make a deal to get his hands on "9 1/2 Weeks".  There was the one kid who was trying to palm off "Naked Lunch", but nobody was gonna take that slop. The kid who had Basic Instinct was the hot hand.  If you had that, you can decide your own terms.  But, it was also great, because you weren't bringing porn into school, and because it's being taped off the TV, you just label it something like "WWF SuperStars", because who's getting in trouble for wrestling?

But, all that changed with the advent of a new network channel, Channel 5.  We only had BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, so getting your hands on tapes was much more difficult, because you had to scour the Radio Times, find something that could potentially be considered "dirty", programme it in, hope your mum and dad had gone to bed at that time, and then wake up earlier than everybody else to get the tape out before anybody could catch you, it's especially tricky if you have satellite.  There was a real risk/reward aspect to the operation, but, if you could pull it off, you've got a bargaining chip.

But then Channel 5 happened, and it just turned that shit on it's ear, because Channel 5 changed the game with the Friday Night Dirty Movie.  Or, as it was pronounced where I'm from "The Frahdee Nah't Detty FIlm".  With the Frahdee Nah't Detty Film becoming a staple in the listings, it basically collapsed the tape trading scene, because why would you wait around for someone to bring in a relatively tame Sharon Stone movie, when Shannon Tweed was on every Friday?  The market was flooded, and now there was no bargaining leverage.

And, what happens when an underworld market collapses?  A kingpin rises up, and this kid rose up because he had a TV in his room.  Not only did he have a TV in his room, he had a VCR... and Cable.  British cable channels were weird in the 90s, some of them would just become softcore channels at 10pm. We had this channel called L!VE TV, you ask any man who was a teenager in the 90s, that channel was stuff of legend. You had Grenada Men & Motors, cars in the day, dirty programming at night, whatever took your fancy, cable had it.  The market was back, but ruled by one kid.  It collapsed again because he got taken down when someone snitched on him to the teachers.

Those days were like the wild west, I still miss it a little.

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I’m listening to the episode and had some info on a part of the movie that confused you. When Disneyland first opened you bought ride tickets in addition to paying general admission. So whoever wrote that line(assuming it’s Crichton) was thinking about pre-1981 Disney.

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After a string of live shows it was great to get this in-studio episode. The non-stop banter with Emily and the always-reliable Nick Kroll reminded me of some of the best early episodes before live episodes became more prevalent.

With this appearance, Nick moves into third place as most frequent guest, right behind Adam Scott and Jessica St. Clair tied for 1st (JSC moves into 1st if you count the non-canonical episode about Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets, which I usually don't). Disclosure charts onto the top 25 most profitable movies at a modest #17, nicely nestled in between Spice World and Timecop. Demi Moore also makes it onto the list of stars in most HDTGM movies (for Nothing But Trouble, LOL, Striptease, and now Disclosure).

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So at the start when Douglas is grilling that guy about if he got the promotion the guy asks him if he's ok and needs a Prozac. I don't think that this movie understands how Prozac works. Not that I'm surprised. Not to *brag* but I was on Prozac  and I know for a fact it takes a week( usually 2) to start working. It's not like Xanax or something similar that works instantly. I don't know why but the idea of people just passing out random Prozac to their upset colleagues like fucking tic tacs is both hilarious and worrisome.

Edit: I just started the episode and they also mentioned this. Oops!

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I was a big Michael Crichton fan when I was young, I read a lot of his books. But I stopped when he got on his “global warming is a hoax” era. I believe he served as a consult for the Bush White House. That was very disappointing for me from someone who was into science and was a doctor. This movie makes me think he was very right wing all along. He’d be on TV saying these women are ruining men’s lives and such.

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Ok so let's get to the nitty gritty here. Men can be and are sexually harassed. Much like domestic violence it's 100% something that does happen to men but is not talked about nearly as much as what happens to women. Nearly 1 in 5 ( roughly 17%) complaints to the EEOC are by men.

A survey by Quinnipiac University found 20 percent of men surveyed had been harassed.

While they government does not track the gender of perpetrators researchers say that men are more likely to harass other men then women ( though women can be perpetrators).

The number of men who have reported harassment has stayed pretty steady for the past decade.

The movie is correct in the idea that a lot of sexual harassment is about power. It's also a way to punish people who do not meet the ideal gender norms and for men in particular, those who are not sufficiently like the idealized version of their (perceived) gender.

Many men do not report their harassment much like many  male victims of sexual and domestic assault. they feel they will not be believed because we live in a society that thinks only women can be victims.

A 2014 study found that Canadian woman were twice as likely to report harassment Han their male counterparts( 20% vs just 9 %)

To quote a survivor who told his story in this really great article from the Washington Post :

"Funk, 53, said he was at first hesitant to talk about what he said he was experiencing at work.

“ ‘You are a man. You should be able to protect yourself,’ ” he recalled thinking to himself."

 But even incredibly "masculine" men can be subject to harassment.

In 2016 Terry Cruz says he was groped by Adam Venit  at a party. Venit is a very well known executive who works at William Morris Endeavor. He's not alone. Brandon Fraser claims  in 2003 former HFPA president Philip Berk groped him. These are both famous men, powerful in their own right yet they both have stories about harassment.

While this movie is 100% the panicking of rich  straight white men in the wake of the Anita Hill Clarence Thomas testimony ( yet here we are in 2019 with another sexual predator on the bench. I'm not going off on that rant) there is a germ of truth in it. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone

 

https://www.canadianwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Facts-About-Sexual-Assault-and-Harassment.pdf

https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2502

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/men-account-for-nearly-1-in-5-complaints-of-workplace-sexual-harassment-with-the-eeoc/2018/04/08/4f7a2572-3372-11e8-94fa-32d48460b955_story.html

https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/sexual_harassment_new.cfm

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I think one of the best examples of why this is a good HDTGM movie is that a crucial plot point is a factory that we essentially never visit has changed from a Level 7 to Level 5 air handler.

This movie could have been truly great if it been tweaked so that the sexual harassment was a contrived plot where everyone was a conspirator (including his wife and kids) to give Michael Douglas the crucial motivation to solve the Arcamax problem.

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I don't think anyone denies that sexual harassment can and does happen to men, but horseshit movies like this don't help, and I don't care for the arguments that try to compare the relatively uncommon suffering and exploitation of men under the patriarchy with the extremely common and usually much more severe suffering of women. It's just not equivalent. Unfortunately there are disgusting organizations claiming to fight for "men's rights" who will use these stats and the testimonies of male victims to push their own sexist, homophobic, and often white supremacist agenda. As someone said on the podcast, this film seems like it would be a real favourite with that crowd, pandering to their inflated sense of victimhood and entitlement.

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Haven't listened to the episode yet, but am I alone in thinking that aside from the dated aspects (Virtual Reality!) and the kind of confused take on sexual politics (the movie seems to wander into a good point about sexual harassment as often as it wanders into some total bullshit), it's kind of . . . good? Like, just as a low-key thriller about corporate backstabbing it seems fairly competent to me. Nowhere near as ridiculous as something like Lawnmower Man.

I guess the problem is that in order to make it a good thriller it has to give you a hero and a villain, which undercuts whatever nuance you might have gotten out of reversing the genders from the typical sexual-harassment scenario. And Michael Crichton doesn't write anything that isn't a pulpy thriller.

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52 minutes ago, theworstbuddhist said:

I don't think anyone denies that sexual harassment can and does happen to men, but horseshit movies like this don't help, and I don't care for the arguments that try to compare the relatively uncommon suffering and exploitation of men under the patriarchy with the extremely common and usually much more severe suffering of women. It's just not equivalent. Unfortunately there are disgusting organizations claiming to fight for "men's rights" who will use these stats and the testimonies of male victims to push their own sexist, homophobic, and often white supremacist agenda. As someone said on the podcast, this film seems like it would be a real favourite with that crowd, pandering to their inflated sense of victimhood and entitlement.

I agree that this movie is terrible. I also agree wholeheartedly that so called men's rights activists do not give a flying fuck for male survivors or the  well being of men in general.  For example On International Women's Day many of them demand an International Men 's Day even though that already exists and is November 19. Ironically the day is rarely googled on its actual date. They care about the fact women have a day at all not that they really want their own day.

I also agree that yes women are much more likely to be harassed.   I've had several conversations with other female friends about how we do not know *any* women who HAVEN'T been sexually assaulted or harassed including ourselves.

However I don't think that negates the fact this does happen to men as well and those survivors deserve every bit of respect and compassion as their female counterparts. It could just be my reading but it feels like you're saying that because a smaller number of harassment is reported it means less? That what they went through isn't as upsetting because women face worse? Again this could be my interpretation. I honestly don't think you can compare this kind of thing. It's deeply personal and affects each survivor differently.  I think that our society tends to fail people who speak out but I really think that we fail male survivors in a unique and horrible way. It's bad enough to not think you will be believed because the system is awful. Even worse when you think people won't believe you because of your gender.

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Omission: Dude, totally fuck a hotel room door electric key card reader, for real. I've stayed at a bunch of hotels lately, and the fact that it takes 20 swipes before the door will open is probably the most realistic tech thing in this movie. 

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So what was interesting to me about this was that the movie basically took out most of the reason why Moore did what she did, which in the book is explained as she was getting major kickbacks from the Malaysian government who wanted their own changes made in the factory to aid in cost cutting. In the movie it just comes off as a spiteful kind of "fuck him" type of plan for shits and giggles a la Trading Places or Cruel Intentions. Also the ending of the book is A LOT more bleak in that when the machinations of Moore and her conspirators are revealed, it basically tanks the deal that the company was hoping for and the bad guys basically end up with better offers from other companies elsewhere while Douglass' character is left without the promotion and the future of the company is left in question.

Crichton was kind of like Stephen King in that he would occasionally redo stories from different focal points but with similar plot threads, in this case his book Airframe which follows a female quality assurance executive at a plane manufacturer who is trying to solve a mysterious incident that happened on one of her company's planes that left two people dead, while a giant merger looms. The tension is so much better and the reasoning behind why someone is trying to screw her is more built into corporate espionage which Crichton writes really well about. It also removes a harassment storyline, making the attack on her more mental and work related rather than dong related.

Also hearing that June loved this movie now makes me think there might be some relation to my family as my parents love the most random movies, from classics to utter dogshit.

For June I can recall these for the love list: Daredevil, Odd Life of Timothy Green, Grease 2, Teen Witch, Drop Dead Fred, Disclosure, Crank 2

My family's love list: Godfather part 2, Meet Joe Black, The Postman, Jaws

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1 hour ago, gigi-tastic said:

I agree that this movie is terrible. I also agree wholeheartedly that so called men's rights activists do not give a flying fuck for male survivors or the  well being of men in general.  For example On International Women's Day many of them demand an International Men 's Day even though that already exists and is November 19. Ironically the day is rarely googled on its actual date. They care about the fact women have a day at all not that they really want their own day.

I also agree that yes women are much more likely to be harassed.   I've had several conversations with other female friends about how we do not know *any* women who HAVEN'T been sexually assaulted or harassed including ourselves.

However I don't think that negates the fact this does happen to men as well and those survivors deserve every bit of respect and compassion as their female counterparts. It could just be my reading but it feels like you're saying that because a smaller number of harassment is reported it means less? That what they went through isn't as upsetting because women face worse? Again this could be my interpretation. I honestly don't think you can compare this kind of thing. It's deeply personal and affects each survivor differently.  I think that our society tends to fail people who speak out but I really think that we fail male survivors in a unique and horrible way. It's bad enough to not think you will be believed because the system is awful. Even worse when you think people won't believe you because of your gender.

I don't really care how you interpret my post. I wasn't writing about your post, I was writing about the movie, and the point I was making is that a film like this- which made 300 million dollars apparently, and is still discussed decades after it was made - does more harm than good to male victims.

Suffering isn't a contest. The patriarchy hurts everyone, and must be destroyed if people of whatever gender are to be truly free.

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I grew up in Seattle and I will give Disclosure this much credit: it was actually shot here. Many movies SAY they are filmed in Seattle but are actually filmed in Vancouver, because (a) it’s cheaper and (b) Washington does a terrible job providing tax breaks and incentives for movies to be able to afford to shoot here. 

Basically, that’s a long-winded way to say, when a whole movie is shot here (not just exteriors and shots of the Space Needle) that’s a BIG deal. Especially when that movie stars Michael Douglas, Demi Moore, Donald Sutherland and was directed by Barry Levinson.

I was in between high school and college when Disclosure came to town. Since I had never seen a film shoot before and loved films, I was very excited. The scene where Dennis Miller embarrasses Michael Douglas at a fancy dinner in front of his wife, that was shot four blocks from the house where I grew up! It was filmed at the Volunteer Park Conservatory at a beautiful old greenhouse made up to look like a fancy restaurant (it was also the greenhouse where Annabella Sciora worked in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, BTW). My younger brother and I walked up and stared at all the production trucks lining the street, hoping to get a glimpse of somebody, anybody. Time may have distorted this memory, but I still can picture how all the lights made the park seem like it was glowing.

December rolled around and people packed into the Cinerama (a giant old-school theater that still exists) to see Disclosure on its opening weekend. Me, (now in college), my parents and my brother (now in high school) were among them. The film started, everyone was excited to see our hometown on film. Two hours and ten minutes later, the vibe of the entire theater was “I guess that was ...good...right?”

Rewatching it 25 years later, I can’t even say that. But it is hilarious!

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11 hours ago, gigi-tastic said:

I don't think that this movie understands how Prozac works

I mean, this film doesn't understand how anything works: email, computers, forklifts, corporate structure, Prozac, virtual reality, marriage, the law, sex...

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Let's talk Corridor y'all:

During the climax of the movie, Tom cannot access sensitive business files because his security status has been knocked down to an entry level employee. Since he can't get in on his computer, he goes to where the demo for the Corridor is set up in the Conley's hotel suite. Why in the world would Arcamax allow the guys, who are potentially trying to merge with their company, have such high access? Or why do they keep their actual private business fiiles in the Corridor at all? That seems like it would not be terribly prudent during a negotiation period.

Regardless, Tom accesses the pertinent files while Meredith at the same time has decided to log on in her office and delete incriminating files. Why now? Why not right after these video recordings were made... you know... the videos of private phone calls where two parties are openly talking about sabotaging a colleague. That's like white collar prison type shit.

All of this leads to the true Ridiculous of this movie: When Meredith shows up as an extra from Dire Strait's Money For Nothing video.

She is represented as a physical body in the Corridor itself, stalking Tom like Michael Meyers. There's even a jump scare noise. WTF and Whhhhhyyyyy?

What if... Donald Sutherland (or ANYONE) just so happened to be hanging out in the Corridor in this moment ... wouldn't they see her deleting shit?

That ain't workin... that's the way you do it... get your money for nothing, and your chicks for free...

1bVx0q8.jpg

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Perhaps it is explained better in the novel, but within the context of this movie the reveal that “A Friend” is the son of the other female employee who gets the promotion at the end of the film makes no sense.

There are several scenes where Michael Douglas gets an email referencing things that just recently happened and would only have been known by someone who was near Douglas and working for the company.

How is a student at the University of Washington aware of any of these happenings?  And, more importantly, why would he care?

It even strains believability to assume his mom is telling him what to write in these emails.

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11 hours ago, DrGuts1003 said:

Perhaps it is explained better in the novel, but within the context of this movie the reveal that “A Friend” is the son of the other female employee who gets the promotion at the end of the film makes no sense.

There are several scenes where Michael Douglas gets an email referencing things that just recently happened and would only have been known by someone who was near Douglas and working for the company.

How is a student at the University of Washington aware of any of these happenings?  And, more importantly, why would he care?

It even strains believability to assume his mom is telling him what to write in these emails.

And not only that, but I assumed that when someone signed "A Friend" that they were just being cheeky, but no... it turns out it's actually been sent from "Arthur Friend's" email. As if to say you could only sign an email with the name that matches your email address?

But yeah I figure the kid's mom was telling him what to write, especially since she says something in the beginning about being really close to him or talking to him a lot or something? It's a weird reveal that makes very little sense.

And why do his kids sign their cutesy email at the very end as "A Famiily"? Do they know about "A Friend"?

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1 hour ago, PollyDarton said:

And not only that, but I assumed that when someone signed "A Friend" that they were just being cheeky, but no... it turns out it's actually been sent from "Arthur Friend's" email. As if to say you could only sign an email with the name that matches your email address?

But yeah I figure the kid's mom was telling him what to write, especially since she says something in the beginning about being really close to him or talking to him a lot or something? It's a weird reveal that makes very little since.

And why do his kids sign their cutesy email at the very end as "A Famiily"? Do they know about "A Friend"?

And one other thing...why go through with the subterfuge of blocking your email address, only to sign it with the name of the person whose email address you are using?

And this is 1994...so are you telling me that either this chemistry student or his mom had enough technical know-how to send emails without displaying the sender’s address?

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2 hours ago, DrGuts1003 said:

Perhaps it is explained better in the novel, but within the context of this movie the reveal that “A Friend” is the son of the other female employee who gets the promotion at the end of the film makes no sense.

There are several scenes where Michael Douglas gets an email referencing things that just recently happened and would only have been known by someone who was near Douglas and working for the company.

How is a student at the University of Washington aware of any of these happenings?  And, more importantly, why would he care?

It even strains believability to assume his mom is telling him what to write in these emails.

I think they are definitely saying that his mom was telling him what to write.

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3 hours ago, PollyDarton said:

She is represented as a physical body in the Corridor itself, stalking Tom like Michael Meyers. There's even a jump scare noise. WTF and Whhhhhyyyyy?

I remember this being much better explained in the book, which is that other users on the VR system show up with their whole bodies, but people who are accessing the system from a normal computer show up as sort of mannequins with their pictures pasted on their heads. It's just that in the movie there is only one scene that briefly shows the VR system and doesn't explain any of that, and in the book there are longer chapters where multiple people are using the system.

I mean, the VR system is pretty silly by today's standards anyway, but . . . it was the 90s.

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4 hours ago, RyanSz said:

So what was interesting to me about this was that the movie basically took out most of the reason why Moore did what she did, which in the book is explained as she was getting major kickbacks from the Malaysian government who wanted their own changes made in the factory to aid in cost cutting.

I think she does say this while Michael Douglas is showing everyone the news footage, but it's only one line uttered in quick objection to what he's doing, rather than something that's been detailed and laid out like in the book.

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It’s great that this movie is being turned into a musical in Big Mouth, because my initial comment was going to be that all of the men in this movie act like tweenagers, even though most of them are in their forties.

They also reminded me of Kieran Culkin’s character in Succession (don’t worry, no major spoilers) when he jerks off to his office view as his emails for his new job as COO come pouring in. The guys in Disclosure would have even less privacy, but somehow I think they would be into it with all those windows. 

Taking a step back and being less gross, here are a few of my favorite lines that Paul and everyone did not mention:

Michael Douglas to Demi Moore, after her failed seduction attempt:

“you take those two champagne bottles in your refrigerator and you go fuck them!”

Also, There’s the great line Paul and everyone mentioned when Michael Douglas is having his meltdown:

“Sexual harassment is about power. When did I have the power?”

But then he follows it up with a line I love even more:

“Why don’t I be that evil white male you’re all complaining about? Then I can fuck everybody!”

Then, near the end, Donald Sutherland randomly says to everyone in the office:

“This merger is the most interesting merger Ive had since my second marriage!”

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