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grudlian.

Episode 239 - Cool World

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Paul, June, and Jason discuss the 1992 live-action/animated fantasy film Cool World starring Kim Basinger, Brad Pitt, and Gabriel Byrne. They talk about the rules of the animated realm of Cool World, why Brad Pitt’s character is a police officer, Holli Would wanting to turn human by having sex with a noid, and much more. Subscribe to Unspooled with Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson here: http://www.earwolf.com/show/unspooled/ Check out The Jane Club over at www.janeclub.com Check out new HDTGM merch over at https://www.teepubli…wdidthisgetmade Where to Find Jason, June & Paul: @PaulScheer on Instagram & Twitter @Junediane on IG and @MsJuneDiane on Twitter

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There was a lot of insane stuff in this movie they didn't have time to discuss, like the 2 dimensional sets and the sketchy, half-finished-looking animations that would fly by. There's exposition happening and suddenly a cartoon dog with sunglasses materializes and makes goofy noises.

Incidentally when I was looking for that screenshot I saw there's a short part in Holly's house where Brad Pitt looks in a funhouse mirror and it distorts him to have the a similar look as he does at the end when he becomes a cartoon. That's called foreshadowing and it means this movie is art.

Do we think Brad Pitt's horrible acting was due to having nothing to act against? He was still pretty bad when the other human was around

 

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If there is only one law in Cool World and no one has ever broken it, why do they even have Brad Pitt as a police officer? Why is there even a police department?

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Hi Paul and company. I've been listening to HDTGM since the beginning. (You're one of the first podcasts I downloaded.) I was shocked by your announcement to cover Cool World because this film is particularly traumatic to me. Let me explain. I was in elementary school when this film was released and I saw the previews many times and developed some interest in watching it, probably simply because I had been exposed to it repeatedly. I don't recall ever noticing it in theaters, but maybe half a year later I found it in my local video store and rented it. (My parents didn't notice or care what the film was about.)  There have been several delicately bad films from my youth that you have reviewed - such as Masters of the Universe and Streets of Fire, which I LOVED as a kid, and to this day I still rationalize their flaws because they were so magical and intense to me as a child filled with the wonder of the silver screen.  But when I watched Cool World on VHS, my heart died. It was the first film I watched that was incomprehensibly bad and nonsensical that I was confused, and then relieved when the film was over. Yet it left me with the horrible realization and knowledge that films could be so awful I couldn't understand how bad they were. I know now that children don't have the finest tastes in the arts, but Cool World destroyed my youthful innocence of taking for granted that films would entertain me in a sensible way and taught me that the world of adults was a scary, dark place of nightmares.  I don't think I'll ever forget the fall into Cool World with the weird buildings and scary mouth and the gangster baby who pisses on his chasers to escape them.

Coincidentally, about three movies ago I decided to rent the DVD of Cool World from my local Tsutaya video store to give it another chance and was sadly disappointed to realize the movie was even worse than I remembered as a child!

This is a minor point, but I was surprised that you all didn't mention that the special effects shots of merging the human actors with the cartoons is very low quality, even though Who Framed Roger Rabbit? blended live action and animation much better a few years earlier. (I guess there were too many horrific things already to discuss in the episode.)  The quality of Cool World's process seems to be on par with the poor chemical blending technique used in Jean Claude Van Damme's Double Impact.

 

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15 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

If there is only one law in Cool World and no one has ever broken it, why do they even have Brad Pitt as a police officer? Why is there even a police department?

The police go after the problematic minstrel-y gang when the rabbit says they cheated him at dice

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2 minutes ago, samtrano said:

The police go after the problematic minstrel-y gang when the rabbit says they cheated him at dice

That's what I don't get. Theft apparently isn't a crime in Cool World. So, what are they enforcing? Why step in for that situation when it seems the theft, violence and intimidation are pretty much everywhere in Cool World?

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14 minutes ago, Scary_Mirage said:

 This is a minor point, but I was surprised that you all didn't mention that the special effects shots of merging the human actors with the cartoons is very low quality, even though Who Framed Roger Rabbit? blended live action and animation much better a few years earlier. (I guess there were too many horrific things already to discuss in the episode.)  The quality of Cool World's process seems to be on par with the poor chemical blending technique used in Jean Claude Van Damme's Double Impact.

 

I agree with this. The movie looks significantly cheaper than Roger Rabbit despite coming out a few years later. The budget on this was $50 million but Roger Rabbit was $70 million. I don't know anything about animation costs, but is a $20 million difference enough for this to look that much worse? I think the animation in this occasionally looks good but it really looks significantly cheaper than Roger Rabbit. I read an interview with Bakshi and he admits some fault in the fact that he's maybe not the best guy to be running a production this large. So, maybe that's part of it?

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When this movie came out, my friend and I got dropped off at the theater by our parents--we were around 15 years old--to watch Cool World. We go to buy tickets, and were then told that the film (or possibly the projector) had broken, and so Cool World was cancelled. Well, this was before cell phones and another movie was starting in like fifteen minutes, so we decided to just go see that instead.

That movie was Universal Soldier starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

In retrospect, it was a sort of teenaged Sophie's Choice of Terrible Movies and the only valid choice was to have walked home.

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The most improbable thing in this movie was not the existence of an alternate dimension cartoon world but that Jack Deebs channeling his vision of it into a comic book would be a huge hit.  I was curious if anyone had theorized what the content of those books would be and found that DC published a 4 issue Cool World prequel comic to go along with the release of the movie.  The first issue can be bought online right now for $2.60.  It retailed for $1.75 at the time so its value hasn't quite kept up with inflation.

They have also been posted online.  http://vlcomic.com/read/comic-cool-world-eng/1  I read the first issue and here are some highlights if you don't want to waste your 10 minutes.

  • Harris is a petty criminal in the first issue not a detective.
  • Almost every object in the comic is anthropomorphized.
  • Cool World is one of (many?) cartoon worlds it is right next to Sweet Place.
  • Holli tries to seduce Harris to get to the real world but he won't break that rule even though he is a criminal.
  • Another human enters Cool World while he is dreaming so presumably other than Harris and Deebs that is how Noids get to the cartoon dimension.

 

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The end of movie i dont know whats happening and who to cheer for. No clear exposition no clear protagonists or antagonists 

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9 hours ago, grudlian. said:

If there is only one law in Cool World and no one has ever broken it, why do they even have Brad Pitt as a police officer? Why is there even a police department?

Maybe Pitt is his own department like SVU. His only enforcement seems to be to return Noids back to the real world so he's the Special Noid Unit.

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Much like June, i have a deep love of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It's definitely in my top 5 favorite films.

Unlike June, i didn't laugh one single time at this film. I wanted to set it on fire. I remember seeing Fritz the Cat way too young, and i should have trusted my guts and not have watched this. 

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10 hours ago, grudlian. said:

If there is only one law in Cool World and no one has ever broken it, why do they even have Brad Pitt as a police officer? Why is there even a police department?

Well clearly there are police because we have that whole chase scene so I want to know is if Brad Pitt is working with them. If so he managed to become a detective it seems so that means he had to work his way up through the ranks. At one point was Brad Pitt riding around in that police car with a bunch of tiny guys? Did he have a beat that he walked? I want to know.

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So there are many issues with the comic book store. First, unlike Tall John said there are other comics in the shop it's not just Cool World. We see some Batman and Superman wall books, a couple Akira comics, and in Jack's stack of things he was buying we can see an issue of New Gods and Teen Titans. The fact that DC did a prequel comic is starting to make a bit more sense. Second, all the Cool World books are behind the register. They're like nudie magazines at a convenience store or something in which you have to ask the clerk for them. How are people suppose to look through them? Is Cool World for adults only? Third, they are selling a very rare signed from prison issue of Cool World. What would indicate if a comic was signed in or not in prison? It's issue number 3 so clearly it was published before his time in prison. What's to stop some schmuck from folding an autographed issue they already had in half and claiming it was from prison? That's another thing. The comic is folded in half with a very hard crease. That's got to bring the comic down a ton in value even if it was autographed from prison. 

Lastly and this is more of an Easter Egg than a nonsensical thing, but the rather larger gentleman in the comic shop is seen reading an issue of Animation Magazine. Not only that but it's an issue with Ralph Bakshi (Cool World's director) on the cover of it.

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14 hours ago, samtrano said:

There was a lot of insane stuff in this movie they didn't have time to discuss, like the 2 dimensional sets and the sketchy, half-finished-looking animations that would fly by. There's exposition happening and suddenly a cartoon dog with sunglasses materializes and makes goofy noises.

I read a long time ago that after Bakshi saw what the studio was doing to the movie, he told the animators to just draw whatever they thought was funny.

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I have no idea how I keep making my replies so janky. 😶

I don't know what it says about me that (I think?) I understand this messy movie.
So Cool World is an alternate dimension, Deebs didn't create any of it. They make mention a few times that Cool World has always existed and that humans have passed through it very briefly. We also see that at least one film from our universe has made it into Cool World. My assumption is that this happens after Doc Whiskers opens the dimensional portal into our 1940s and sucks Harris in. The rift between dimensions is now tenuous and certain individuals- the movie doesn't explain but let's just say through dreams or comas or mental breaks or some unknown set of circumstances- can pass briefly between worlds. This is how Deebs is entering Cool World prior to his introduction in the movie. He thinks he's just dreaming up a fantasy world and makes a comic series off of it.
Doc Whiskers probably had the sense that beings from each universe cannot come together because it would start the destruction of one or both worlds. Time travel stories all have that rule about not interacting with past or future versions of yourself, I'm not sure if that rule applies to multi-verse stories as well, I don't really read those. At some point after settling Harris into Cool World, Doc Whiskers enters our world as he previously had planned and takes the spike with him.
Holli wants to enter the world she's seeing in the film(s) and though Noids; she has all Cool World has to offer and now wants what she can't have. I think she and Deebs start doodling out because they've broken the laws of physics in our universe and can't sustain form. But I'll give you this one; I have no idea if Harris knew he could come back to life as a doodle after being killed by a doodle. That's the only part that doesn't make sense.

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Among the multitude of story ideas not fleshed out in this movie, one that was not discussed in this episode is the fact that Brad Pitt’s character doesn’t age.  This could have been given as an explanation as to why he doesn’t want to leave Cool World.  
 

Also, when he returns to our world, they should have showed him in awe/surprise over how things have changed since 1992 Vegas is significantly different from 1945 Vegas

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On Paul's thought that the casino/gambling hall in the open could have been Vegas's first, it just might be? There were illegal gambling halls all over Nevada decades prior, but if where it's located in the 40s is supposed to have some correlation to Deeb's house in the 90s, I think the building could have been the Northern Club, which was the first to receive a gaming license. It's fudging things by a few blocks though, and that may be giving this movie way too much credit. They probably just had Harris materialize in the last place Deebs/the multi-verse rift was/the easiest set to film in.

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21 minutes ago, muttnik said:

I have no idea how I keep making my replies so janky. 😶

I think it's because you have the Grammarly browser extension installed, which has a habit of doing bad things to forum formatting. I fixed your post from earlier.

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4 minutes ago, DanEngler said:

I think it's because you have the Grammarly browser extension installed, which has a habit of doing bad things to forum formatting. I fixed your post from earlier.

Ah yes, thank you! I'll have to remember to disable it in the future.

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The issue of how long Gabriel Byrne was in prison was brought up in the episode.  I just watched the film’s original trailer and it states that he has been in prison for 10 years, which seems too short of a sentence for murder and too long to be away for his neighbor to have that kind of an attachment to him.  And are we to believe that his house was just sitting empty for a decade?

Also the trailer suggests that he began creating the comic while in prison.  I find it hard to believe that a convict’s comic book would become as popular as Cool World supposedly is.  I mean how did he get comic book stores to carry it in the first place?  And if they are all being made from prison, then aren’t they all technically signed by him from behind bars?  Why does the comic book shop make that signed copy such a rare a valuable piece of memorabilia?

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Okay I had a look through my notes and I think I can expand on the work @muttnik has already done to flesh this out a bit more.

There are a few scenes in the movie that have key lines of dialogue about Cool World and it's relation to the Noid world. First, yes  Cool World is in some other dimension or reality that exist parallel to ours. Doc Whisker invented the Spike with hopes of crossing over into Noid world. However, his first experiment brought Brad Pitt through. Upon seeing him Doc says two key things. First, Brad Pitt is the first body from Noid world to come through implying that people can come via their unconscious or vice versa. Later Deeds night club appearance is called a "mind slip" implying that these short visits might not be all uncommon but no one has permanently stayed. Second, Doc states that Brad Pitt is the first body to come through in his life time. We have no idea how old they are or how they age, but later it is stated the oldest rule in Cool World is "Noids do not have sex with Doodles." Could be that sometime before Doc's work somebody mind slipped into Cool World and had sex with a doodle which cause both of them to alternate between doodle and noid to the point of their death. This also explains why at the end Nails and Brad Pitt's girlfriend know that if a Noid dies in Cool World they become a Doodle. Likely this was also long before Doc's time, but as Noids weren't really part of their life so one paid it heed accept Doc who states that inter-dimension travel to the Noid world has been an obsession of his. Now Brad Pitt does state that he's never had to enforce the no sex law but that's not because other Noids haven't visited. In fact shortly after saying that he tells Deeds that Holli has tried to sleep with him and "every other Noid that has come through here." Most likely there have been mind slips with other people in the time since Brad Pitt had been there but nobody has permanently crossed over.

At some point after Brad Pitt's crossing Doc Whiskers crossed over and took his spike with him. However given Brad Pitt's car and their access to Marilyn Monroe films we could speculate that he went back and forth bringing things or attempting to bring things over possibly as tests. Doc Whisker's crossing into Noid world did permanent damage to the link between worlds and he had to create someplace to house the spike to keep the worlds apart. This is why he created the casino and why he never went back. The spike maybe what caused others to mind slip into Cool World. It was during a mind slip that Deeds saw Cool World and it inspired his comic. Due to the fact he gets the characters name wrong (he calls the bouncer Chico to which the bouncer replies 'aint no Chico here') these were merely visions he had and never actually spent time there. Sometime later Holli, influenced by the human things she saw, like Pinocchio wanted to be a real and live in the Noid world. However, because no Doodle and Noid had sex in years she was unaware of the impermanent nature of the transformation and sought the spike as a means to heal herself unaware of it's true function of keeping the worlds apart.

How the neighbour and wife murder and other plot points fit in your guess is as good as mine.

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June couldn’t get over the fact that neither Brad Pitt nor his mom were wearing a helmet while riding the motorcycle, but I was more disturbed by the fact that he took his mom joy riding without letting her turn off the stove.  I have to assume that their house was already ablaze by the time the drunk couple crashed into them.  Maybe that is why he was ok with staying in Cool World.

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On 5/9/2020 at 8:16 AM, Cam Bert said:

Okay I had a look through my notes and I think I can expand on the work @muttnik has already done to flesh this out a bit more.

There are a few scenes in the movie that have key lines of dialogue about Cool World and it's relation to the Noid world. First, yes  Cool World is in some other dimension or reality that exist parallel to ours. Doc Whisker invented the Spike with hopes of crossing over into Noid world. However, his first experiment brought Brad Pitt through. Upon seeing him Doc says two key things. First, Brad Pitt is the first body from Noid world to come through implying that people can come via their unconscious or vice versa. Later Deeds night club appearance is called a "mind slip" implying that these short visits might not be all uncommon but no one has permanently stayed. Second, Doc states that Brad Pitt is the first body to come through in his life time. We have no idea how old they are or how they age, but later it is stated the oldest rule in Cool World is "Noids do not have sex with Doodles." Could be that sometime before Doc's work somebody mind slipped into Cool World and had sex with a doodle which cause both of them to alternate between doodle and noid to the point of their death. This also explains why at the end Nails and Brad Pitt's girlfriend know that if a Noid dies in Cool World they become a Doodle. Likely this was also long before Doc's time, but as Noids weren't really part of their life so one paid it heed accept Doc who states that inter-dimension travel to the Noid world has been an obsession of his. Now Brad Pitt does state that he's never had to enforce the no sex law but that's not because other Noids haven't visited. In fact shortly after saying that he tells Deeds that Holli has tried to sleep with him and "every other Noid that has come through here." Most likely there have been mind slips with other people in the time since Brad Pitt had been there but nobody has permanently crossed over.

At some point after Brad Pitt's crossing Doc Whiskers crossed over and took his spike with him. However given Brad Pitt's car and their access to Marilyn Monroe films we could speculate that he went back and forth bringing things or attempting to bring things over possibly as tests. Doc Whisker's crossing into Noid world did permanent damage to the link between worlds and he had to create someplace to house the spike to keep the worlds apart. This is why he created the casino and why he never went back. The spike maybe what caused others to mind slip into Cool World. It was during a mind slip that Deeds saw Cool World and it inspired his comic. Due to the fact he gets the characters name wrong (he calls the bouncer Chico to which the bouncer replies 'aint no Chico here') these were merely visions he had and never actually spent time there. Sometime later Holli, influenced by the human things she saw, like Pinocchio wanted to be a real and live in the Noid world. However, because no Doodle and Noid had sex in years she was unaware of the impermanent nature of the transformation and sought the spike as a means to heal herself unaware of it's true function of keeping the worlds apart.

How the neighbour and wife murder and other plot points fit in your guess is as good as mine.

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