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Cam Bert

Episode 246 - Swordfish: LIVE!

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Paul, June, and Jason discuss the 2001 action thriller Swordfish recorded live from the Paramount Theatre in Denver, CO! They talk about Travolta’s soul patch, computer hacker Hugh Jackman, a helicopter picking up a bus, and much more.

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Jason is Not on Twitter but catch him on the new HBO Max animated show Close Enough.

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Without hyperbole you could spend days talking about the opening scene and its monologue and where the scene falls into the timeline of the movie and you'd still only scratch the surface of it. There is so much to mine from it. However the one thing that really gets to me is why doesn't the swat team shoot Travolta? I mean at the end of the scene when he gets up and they point their gun at him he shows them he's holding what I presume is a dead man's trigger to the bombs. Fair enough, can't shoot him while he's holding it. But why didn't they shoot him sooner when he was just talking with his hands? There were great chances when he was lighting his cigar, which he smokes for all of 20 seconds and just leaves which is a total waste, or when checking his watch or drinking his coffee or one of the million actions he does with both his hands! How long were they standing there just doing nothing?

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During the episode the audience states that it opened during 9/11.   It was actually released earlier as per the information on the IMDB:

 

Opening Weekend USA:  $18,145,632, 10 June 2001

And in the Trivia notes:

The film was withdrawn from cinemas shortly after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, due to a scene involving an exploding building.

 

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I looked into the screenwriter, Skip woods, and he seems like a character. His other screenwriting credits include films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Died Hard parts 4 & 5, The A-Team, Sabotage, and the Hitman movies. His only directing credit to date is for a 1998 movie called Thursday, which he also wrote. I legitimately stopped reading the plot after I got to this part:

During the interview, Dallas, who wants the money that she believes Nick left with Casey along with the heroin, shows up. She scares Dr. Jarvis away by telling a story about Casey's drug-dealing and murdering past. When left alone with Casey, Dallas questions him about the money's whereabouts. Angry that he cannot help her, she decides to kill him, but not before she ties him to a chair, fellates him to force an erection, strips naked, and proceeds to mount and rape him. She tells him she will not kill him until he orgasms and she plans to go on until she makes him do so. Delivering on her word, she reaches multiple orgasms, but gets no results from him. While Dallas reaches a third orgasm, Billy breaks in and shoots her, splattering her blood all over Casey, his walls, and his floor.

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1 hour ago, samtrano said:

This movie severely misunderstands the causes of terrorism

This movie very much feels like a post 9/11 movie because of its anything to defeat terrorism stance and Travolta being vindicated at the end. Had this come out a couple weeks before 9/11 instead of a few months, it might have been more successful.

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I think it is worth mentioning that the first person to die in this movie (William Mapother), right after that incredibly dumb monologue, is Tom Cruise’s first cousin. Best known as Dr. Ian Goodspeed from Lost. 

3BE76750-29CF-4997-8D63-49485CEBC84D.jpeg

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Regarding Travolta's little bikini wax goatee.  They were hip in the early 2000s, plenty of dudes had them, I called it the Nu-Metal goatee.

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a5bdd44380e251bf6463b3369d25344e.jpghqdefault.jpgPOD2011-CROP.jpgbatista-interview-20050107023601879-000.25299_h_0.jpg

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That bank at the end was pretty lax with their password security.  "Just say it out loud. Hope no one hears it."  Also, that is a really obvious password to use especially considering how famous the heist must have been afterward.

Why was the bank spelled  World Banc?  If you didn't want to copy "World Bank" for legal reasons, why not use something other than "World"?

Other point about the horrible choice for Dog Day Afternoon.  The reason Pacino's character is so memorable is because he is so nice to the hostages.  Kind of changes the dynamic of the movie if he starts killing all the hostages.



 

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The music in the blowjob hacking scene sounds like a hybrid of the Snatch theme and the music from the Turkey Sandwich/Hubcap vehicle On the Line.

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What exactly would Travolta's plan have been if Jackman doesn't use the rocket launcher to blow up the helicopter?  It seems like he is gambling a lot on the fact that this hacker will not only get the idea to use a rocket launcher, but will have good enough aim to hit the helicopter.

Furthermore, what exactly does Travolta gain by faking his death?  If he has the wealth to be such a Master of Disguise (btw, does Travolta use Energico?) then it doesn't seem like it would matter if he was alive or dead because no one would recognize him.  And the fact that Jackman is still alive and now against Travolta means that Don Cheadle and the FBI would likely either ask or force Jackman to hack back in and get the money back that Travolta stole.

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Apparently Vinnie Jones was saved from serious injury in a stunt when Travolta convinced him to let a stuntman do it. Hey, how about if a stunt looks too dangerous, you recommend no one does it, not just the principal cast.

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This movie isn't really good with money.  When Ginger gives the hacker the cash, we can clearly see there is only 4 packs of bills each marker $10,000, yet Ginger says it's $100,000.  At the other extreme, in order for $400 million to grow to $9.5 billion in 15 years, it would have to collect interest at an average annual rate of 23%.  If it grew at the actual rate of inflation, it would have ended out around $650 million.

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Why do they even bother to spread the stolen money evenly over 5 accounts?  It would be understandable if they split it over hundreds of accounts, but $1.9 billion deposits are going to raise red flags just as quickly as a $9.5 billion lump sum.

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About Hugh Jackman's towel. (Which was a formative moment for young Elektra). I believe it is a sarong or a longyi, kind of what surfers wear--which is super in character for a hacker nerd. 

This was only Hugh Jackman's third American film. So if they had an ending like the Prestige, then it would've been the Prestige that copied Swordfish, I guess. (Except Prestige was based on a book that was published before this so it would've been Prestige copied by Swordfish which was copied by the Prestige.) Very meta. 

I remember very little of this movie but I have some memories of the press tour. It was all about how Halle Berry got paid extra to show her boobs. And I remember and interview with Hugh Jackman where he was very impressed by John Travolta's knowledge of food. 

 

Here is a disturbing video that I never got out of my head: 

ETA: the other thing. To Jason’s point that Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman seemed to know each other. ... they do. They just did X-Men together! And it was such a traumatic experience (see link) so maybe they are just relieved to see the other one survived and forgot to act. 

Quote: 

Quote

Singer's behavior grew erratic and destructive, culminating in a fight between the director and DeSanto that shut down production. Sources who were present say DeSanto attempted to halt shooting when he learned that Singer was incapacitated after taking a narcotic. Some crewmembers had taken the same drug, and DeSanto became fearful that someone on set could be injured. All of the main cast, with the exception of McKellen, were in the scene that day, which takes place in the X Jet and comes near the end of the movie. But Singer was defiant and continued shooting, leading to a botched stunt that left Jackman bleeding on camera (no stunt coordinator was present because the scene was supposed to be shot the following day). Winter, the X-Men producer who had the authority to stop production, did so. But the next day, the studio appeared to side with Singer and told DeSanto to return to Los Angeles. That prompted the main castmembers, minus McKellen and Romijn — all dressed in their full X-Men costumes — to converge in Singer's trailer and confront him, threatening to quit if DeSanto left. That's when Berry famously said to Singer, "You can kiss my Black ass,"

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/bryan-singers-traumatic-x-men-set-movie-created-a-monster-1305081

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@DrGuts1003 yeah I still don't understand that whole "misdirection" twist at all.  Did they get on another bus and fly away?   Good thing they knew he'd be so willing to kill several people and be able to use a rocket launcher in the few seconds he had to do it.   

 

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This movie was a crime against style. No one looked good. Travolta has that landing strip on his face, side highlights, AND A BERET . He goes on about how "clothes make the man" while he's out here looking like a Men's Warehouse reject. High Jackman is playing golf in a bright orange loincloth and has the shittiest earring I ever did see. Poor Halle Berry looks like THAT (IS a goddess not of this world) and they put her in the most God awful fabrics known to man. That blue blousey number?! Did the costume designer just hate everyone on set? I'm not even going to touch on the daughter's clothes

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For those still wondering about Travolta's tie,  Those were popular in the 70s.  They're called "Kipper Ties".  

 

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1 hour ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

About Hugh Jackman's towel. (Which was a formative moment for young Elektra). I believe it is a sarong or a longyi, kind of what surfers wear--which is super in character for a hacker nerd. 

This was only Hugh Jackman's third American film. So if they had an ending like the Prestige, then it would've been the Prestige that copied Swordfish, I guess. (Except Prestige was based on a book that was published before this so it would've been Prestige copied by Swordfish which was copied by the Prestige.) Very meta. 

I remember very little of this movie but I have some memories of the press tour. It was all about how Halle Berry got paid extra to show her boobs. And I remember and interview with Hugh Jackman where he was very impressed by John Travolta's knowledge of food. 

 

Here is a disturbing video that I never got out of my head: 

 

I will be billing you for next week's therapy session

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9 hours ago, Keith Mannina said:

I think it is worth mentioning that the first person to die in this movie (William Mapother), right after that incredibly dumb monologue, is Tom Cruise’s first cousin. Best known as Ethan from Lost. 

 

Fixed that for you.

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10 hours ago, JimKata said:

I looked into the screenwriter, Skip woods, and he seems like a character. His other screenwriting credits include films such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Died Hard parts 4 & 5, The A-Team, Sabotage, and the Hitman movies. His only directing credit to date is for a 1998 movie called Thursday, which he also wrote. I legitimately stopped reading the plot after I got to this part:

During the interview, Dallas, who wants the money that she believes Nick left with Casey along with the heroin, shows up. She scares Dr. Jarvis away by telling a story about Casey's drug-dealing and murdering past. When left alone with Casey, Dallas questions him about the money's whereabouts. Angry that he cannot help her, she decides to kill him, but not before she ties him to a chair, fellates him to force an erection, strips naked, and proceeds to mount and rape him. She tells him she will not kill him until he orgasms and she plans to go on until she makes him do so. Delivering on her word, she reaches multiple orgasms, but gets no results from him. While Dallas reaches a third orgasm, Billy breaks in and shoots her, splattering her blood all over Casey, his walls, and his floor.

What - what the-

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10 hours ago, Smigg. said:

Regarding Travolta's little bikini wax goatee.  They were hip in the early 2000s, plenty of dudes had them, I called it the Nu-Metal goatee.

freddurst_video_still.jpg
a5bdd44380e251bf6463b3369d25344e.jpghqdefault.jpgPOD2011-CROP.jpgbatista-interview-20050107023601879-000.25299_h_0.jpg

Or as I heard Tom Segura called it in order to describe Doc Antle from Tiger King, a "flavor saver," which is how I will always refer to it as from now on.

8 hours ago, DrGuts1003 said:

What exactly would Travolta's plan have been if Jackman doesn't use the rocket launcher to blow up the helicopter?  It seems like he is gambling a lot on the fact that this hacker will not only get the idea to use a rocket launcher, but will have good enough aim to hit the helicopter.

Furthermore, what exactly does Travolta gain by faking his death?  If he has the wealth to be such a Master of Disguise (btw, does Travolta use Energico?) then it doesn't seem like it would matter if he was alive or dead because no one would recognize him.  And the fact that Jackman is still alive and now against Travolta means that Don Cheadle and the FBI would likely either ask or force Jackman to hack back in and get the money back that Travolta stole.

I think that's why they had Vinnie Jones make such a spectacle of loading the launchers onto the plane and his whole suppository speech to one of the hostages in front of Jackman, so as to very crapily incept the idea into his head for later. As for removing the funds after the fact, that was one of the three alternate endings to the movie, where when Halle Berry goes to confirm the money in the account, only to find it all gone, having been sent off to various charities by Jackman, in what I'm sure was another inspiration for Money Plane.

Slight correction regarding Holly's teacher, when she asks about the mom Holly makes mention that she is stuck in traffic and will be there shortly and the teacher believes it but tells her she'll be inside if Holly needs anything.

It's amazing that Hugh Jackman had a career after 2001 as after X-Men came out he did three films (Someone Like You, this, and Kate & Leopold) that all were critical misfires while the last two films barely broke even at the box office, which is a bit of the reason he was hired for this one as the reason Cusack and Kilmer weren't selected for the role was the creators of the movie felt that they "brought too much baggage" from their previous films and because Jackman really only had one big movie before this and it was a huge hit, he was a better option. His career was only saved by X-2 coming out in 2003, though he followed that up with Van Helsing and X-Men: Last Stand, so again it's amazing his career has been going strong for as long as it has.

In regards to the bomb vests being worn and the damage done by one of them, Travolta is right in saying that they are the world's biggest Claymore mines as it follows the basic build of ball bearings packed around C4, but the damage was so underdone based on the description given. A standard Claymore has around a pound and a half of C4 packed into it and the steel balls are more in line with what is used in a BB gun, around 700 are put in to the mine, which are used as the force of the explosion causes them to deform into a shape akin to a .22 bullet as the steel the balls are made of are soft. Given the description used by Travolta of each vest containing 20 pounds of C4 and 15 pounds of stainless steel ball bearings, that four way intersection should really be a crater and those ball bearings should be tearing people to shreds five blocks over as the energy output has been multiplied 10 times over.

The other thing about the vest is that when that first one goes off, how in the every loving fuck did at least not one more not get set off by accident inside the bank?! Having handled electric dog collars before, I know they have a hair trigger in order to be set off, and actually lost feeling in my arm for about 15 minutes after grabbing it off the ground by the battery, so the shockwave from that blast should have started a chain reaction. Hell even Jackman admits that the explosion did something to the bank's internet network which caused his trick to drain the bank accounts to happen an hour before he hoped it would, so those bombs should have popped one after another and leveled the city.

As for why they went into the bank rather than just over the phone lines, I have to assume it was part of Travolta's over-complicated misdirection plan with hte actual Gabriel's body, because there is no other reason for them to put themselves in direct conflict with authorities when they really don't have to. Finally I get Berry's reasoning for going topless in order to get over her fear of on-screen nudity, as her next film was Monster's Ball where she had a fairly long and graphic sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton.

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