Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 56

Every once in a while, a film contains a character you just can't figure out. What the heck were they thinking?

Name a film character who perplexed you and tell us what one question would you ask them?

Panelist: AndrewPrice

In a word, I'd ask the HAL 9000 "why?" I'd love to know the answer to that. Was it really some conflict in his programming as 2010 suggests? Did he develop some form of emotion or humanity and turn against the humans out of fear? I need to know, man!

Panelist: BevfromNYC

Any character in a horror film who goes into the dark basement to investigate a noise while carrying a only candle and nothing else after hearing the house shouts “Get out!!”. My question would be “Why on earth did you do that?? Don’t you know that when the house says “Get out”, you should leave??”

Panelist: T-Rav

Blade Runner's Roy Batty. I would ask him, "Soooo....what was going through your head, like, the last half of the movie?" Because now that I've seen it, I really have no idea.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

What character perplexed you and what would I ask them: Edward Norton as Aaron in Primal Fear --"how did you learn to impersonate split personalities so well?"

Panelist: ScottDS

I'd love to ask all those Bond villains why they didn't just kill Bond when they had the chance! [smile]

Comments? Thoughts?

79 comments:

shawn said...

The idiot "biologist" in Prometheus. Just what the heck were you thinking when you reached out to pet the hissing alien-snake thingie displaying warning behavior?

and

To Lane Myer in Better Off Dead- What, you don't have two dollars?

Anthony said...

I'd ask the kid in T2 why he had the terminator beat the crap out of the two guys who asked him if he needed help after he shouted for help.

Gideon7 said...

I'd ask Nero in Star Trek (2009) why not warn Romulus that their sun was going to explode 100 years from now? That ought to be enough time to figure something out, or at least evacuate the planet.

Even if you can't rejoin your wife because of the time skew, at least she'd still be alive. And maybe you wouldn't be so cranky all the time.

Tennessee Jed said...

HAL 9000 - "I learned about emotions from McCoy"

If one thinks about Bev's choice, nobody has ever acted so irrationally.

Roy Batty to Rav: "I have no idea either, T."

Ed Norton to Jed (imitating Jon Lovitz): ACTING!

Goldfinger needed to find out how Bond knew about Operation Grand Slam, and was curious to see if Bond could cure Pussy Galore of lesbianism in just one roll in the hay. Le Chiffre was curious to test out his ball busting device. Maybe . . . .

ScottDS said...

shawn -

Good question! Prometheus comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week so that means Andrew might be able to rent it soon - that conversation needs to happen. We have a lot of ground to cover with this one. :-)

(Seriously, five minutes into the film I was wondering, "Are watching interesting character motivation or is a bad script being presented before our eyes?")

ScottDS said...

For the room...

Re: HAL - Andrew, have you ever read the books? I haven't but they might provide the answers you seek.

Re: horror films - I agree, though horror/slasher films ain't my bag so I really can't complain.

Re: Roy Batty - Interesting. There's been so much written about this movie that we could all come up with our own theories and we'd all probably be right (though I'm still on the fence about the whole Deckard/replicant thing, but lets not open that can of worms).

Re: Ed Norton - I haven't seen the film in years but I'd say that's a valid question. I think it's based on a novel so the answer might be in there.

Re: Bond - I haven't seen Goldfinger in years but since I now own the big Blu-Ray set, I have no excuse. I recently watched Diamonds are Forever when it aired on Encore - not a good movie.

DUQ said...

Good question. There are so many that I can't even sort one out. How about any character who is running away from a bunch of bad guys, defeats one of the henchmen and DOESN'T pick up his gun!!

DUQ said...

Scott, I wonder about those bad guys too. It made sense the one time, when Goldfinger didn't kill him. But all the others after that? Ridiculous. I agree about Diamonds Are Forever too. I want to like it, but can't.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I haven't seen Prometheus yet, so I can't comment on that. And apparently, Lane did not have two dollars! LOL!

ellenB said...

This is a tough one! I may need to have my coffee before I can answer.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's a good question. That moment always struck me as odd in that film. I'm not sure why they included it? Were we supposed to think the kid is a jerk?

AndrewPrice said...

Gideon7, Time travel films always create stupid character moments. Like why doesn't Picard go back further in time in Generations so he can save his ship? He could have walked into the bar a week earlier and arrested Soren with no problems at all. Stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Nice run down of the choices! I agree about Goldfinger and Le Chiffe. I think sometimes it makes sense when they still need information. But some of the rest seem to actually want him to escape. I think Austin Powers parodied that perfectly with the Scotty saying he would get a gun and shoot Powers, but Dr. Evil refusing!

EricP said...

To Pretty in Pink's Andie Walsh, why the major appliance guy over the Duck Man? I don't care what test audiences said.

Also, "Jake Blues, why don't you lean over to Elwood and tell him to never do sequels?" He may not get it at first, but a little real-life voice inside his head will by the late 80s and 90s.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I have not read the book so I'm not sure what could be learned there. My guess, however, is that there isn't much to be learned or people would say, "read the book, it explains everything."

I agree on horror films sometimes being quite nonsensical, and that's why the better ones find ways to trap the person where the monster is rather than having them just hanging around.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Yeah, those are head-slapping moments. What are you thinking?!! Pick up the damn gun you fool!

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, Have your coffee and let us know! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, LOL! Don't do sequels! Isn't that the truth. Blues Brothers 2000 was just rotten from start to finish.

Outlaw13 said...

I remember reading a book, I think it was called the lost worlds of 2001 or something...sorry it's been a while. That said HAL killed the crew because he was the only member of the crew that knew the "REAL" mission, and Bowman and the others were becoming a threat to the completion of the "REAL" mission so he started eliminating them.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, I've heard that before and it makes sense. I don't know if it's ultimately all that satisfying, but it does make sense.

Outlaw13 said...

Back to the topic at hand.

Why does the Air Boss at the beginning of TOP GUN send the tool (Tom Cruise) to a school that is looked upon as being a reward? He even says, "I can't believe I'm doing this..."

Then why do it then? I'm sure the squadron had other pilots that weren't total jagoffs. :)

EricP said...

>>Blues Brothers 2000 was just rotten from start to finish. >>

I wouldn't know first-hand, but, as with Caddyshack 2, I can guess pretty well. I mean, I did fall asleep for most of Ghostbusters 2 and was able to fill in all the blanks after I woke up towards the end. Dan Aykroyd, king of the shitty sequels!

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, So true. I guess it made for a great film moment to establish the character, but it didn't make much sense -- especially for the Navy.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Save your fond memories of Blues Brothers and don't see it. It's beyond horrible. It's offensive to the memory of the original. It's one of those films where the characters kind of randomly roam from scene to scene, deliver lousy lines to the audience rather than each other, and then try to do a couple songs. It's bad!

ellenB said...

Ok, I had the coffee. I'm thinking everyone in horror films who says, "let's split up."

Doc Whoa said...

How about the Jedi Counsel in the "Star Wars" prequels! Seriously, they think Vader could be evil but they let him get trained anyway? And they hand him off to a barely trained junior? What a horrible idea.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, I am amazed how often that happens in horror films. I understand it before you know what is going on, but by the time you realize there is danger, why in the world would you split up?

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, Yep... pretty stupid if you ask me. If they knew he really was that special, you would think they would have watched him like a hawk and done their best to make sure he turned out to be a good guy.

ScyFyterry said...

Excellent answers! I agree about HAL. He fascinates me. Roy Batty fascinates me too, but I think I understand his motivations. Jed, I haven't seen that one. :(

I am stumped though for specific characters right now. This is a difficult question - perhaps your most difficult?!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Dear 1919 Black Sox in Eight Men Out... why would you throw a World Series with NO money up front? I know the movie is based on the real story, but it's no less baffling.

Weird Science: I also always wanted to know why Gary and Wyatt didn't make another Kelly LeBrock and in the alternative, if they stuck to just the one... why didn't they make her horny?

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, They can't all be simple! LOL! Give it some thought and let us know. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, You do kind of have to wonder about that, don't you? But then, they weren't really the brightest people, were they?

Excellent questions about Weird Science! LOL!

ScyFyterry said...

I still got nothing. Maybe I'd ask someone like Donnie Darko if he knew what he was doing or if he was just kind of doing it?

T-Rav said...

Doc, the problem is once you ask that question, you would have to go on and ask every character in the prequels why they did....everything.

And as long as the whole time travel thing is coming up, let's ask Skynet why it waited until John Connor was 10 years old to send another Terminator. Couldn't they have sent one to, like, the very moment the first one was destroyed, or something like that? I mean, maybe they wanted to lure the Connors into a false sense of security--but still, 10 years or whatever?

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, That's a good one too. There are probably quite a few characters in the Sci-Fi world who do unusual things or have unusual powers and it would be interesting to know if they know what they are doing or if they are just doing it?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, LOL! Actually, the Terminator timeline is a little messed up. Biehl claims they only got the one terminator sent off before the humans won, which is how he managed to come back in time. So they couldn't send a second one... which makes you wonder how they sent the one for the second and third films?

Doc Whoa said...

T-Rav, True, you would end up having to ask everyone why they did what they did. But it strikes me that the Jedi council was just stupid. If they knew Vader was such a risk, why take him in at all and really why not watch him more closely? It strikes me as just all around dumb, especially for people who claim they can see the future.

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, That's true too about the terminator. But no one really asked how they sent back the second one because the film was pretty cool.

LawHawkRFD said...

For Bev to Rhett Butler: "When the hell are you gong back to Scarlett?"

T-Rav said...

Doc, I heard a really interesting theory once about how they could have re-done the prequels. Instead of having Samuel L. Jackson is a sedate Council member, they could have cast him as the leader of a controversial sub-order seeking to use the dark side for the Jedis' benefit, and have Anakin join this group. Then he gets seduced by the dark side's qualities and becomes corrupted that way.

This would have had the double benefit of making Anakin's transition to Darth Vader a bit smoother and more coherent by the rules of the Star Wars universe, while also not ruining Jackson's presence by giving him a more renegade character to play, which is what he's best at.

Doc Whoa said...

T-Rav, That would have been a much better film, even without seeing the script. The way they handle it right now, he's always evil and he turns because he's stupid. It's very disappointing.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I do think it was stupid by the Jedi council. Never mess with prophecy! Have films taught us nothing?

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I don't remember anyone explaining how Skynet was able to send a second. I don't worry about it though because, as you say, it was a good film. And there was enough messing with the timeline that I think anything could be justified.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, LOL! I'm not sure she wants him back really!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav and Doc, That would have made a better film just on principle because the idea makes more sense. Otherwise, if you go the Lucas route, you really need to explain why Anakin would suddenly make that kind of jump. I don't think Lucas pulls that off at all. He gives a reason, but it just doesn't work, it makes the whole thing seem kind of pro forma.

ScottDS said...

Andrew and Co. -

Re: bad Dan Aykroud sequels

-Caddyshack II - he didn't produce or write this one; he just happens to be in it and I don't think he's in it for more than 20 minutes. In fact, I think his introductory scene with Robert Stack is the funniest bit in the film. (Damning with faint praise, I know!) "Goodbye, Mrs. Estherhouse."

-Ghostbusters II - I know this movie gets a bad rap but I think it's pretty good and I've always been a fan. Is it as good as the first film? Absolutely not, but there are some good gags and lines in this one, along with one of my favorite comedic courtroom scenes. Besides, how can you hate a movie with the line "Vy am I drippings vith goo?" :-)

-Blues Brothers 2000 - I think they pretty much did this one for the music. I don't know what Aykroyd thinks of it today but John Landis has gone on record saying the studio never really wanted to make the movie... and they were given a ton of rules to follow (a PG-13 rating, a kid, etc.). It's a great soundtrack - just a bad movie! (And one obviously shot in Canada and not Chicago.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I have to say that I like Ghostbusters II. And as far as sequels go, it's quite good and it really feels like an extension of the original.

Caddyshack II and Blues Brothers 2000 suck. There's no other way to put it.

Kit said...

To Scientist conducting research at US military base or, at the very least, having research funded by US Military who is surprised to find that said research will be used for "military" or "war" purposes. Actually, I think my sentence pretty much gives away the question.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It's amazing isn't it how often that happens: "What do you mean my work on space-base human-killing lasers under the DOD contract on this DOD installation will be used by the military as a weapon?! I had no idea!"

K said...

Kit: This concept goes back to the old Vietnam war protestors. Many university scientists and engineering professors only became aware of the military applications of their work when the loud thuggish "peace" protesters arrived in their offices or classrooms. They were "shocked - SHOCKED!" to find this out - in spite of their grant applications being sent to places like DARPA. This became codified into the movies by those protestors who went on to film school.

AndrewPrice said...

K, And by the 1980s, it was simply assumed in films that it was immoral for scientists to work on weapons. I still recall that from Real Genius, for example, how they all just assumed that no scientist would ever work on a weapon and they had to get revenge against the evil professor who had agreed to work on a weapon and tricked them into helping.

BIG MO said...

Kind of a tough question to answer. Only one I can think of now is Bruce Willis' character in The Sixth Sense: Was your life really that empty that you never realized nobody was actually talking to you or answering your questions except for the kid?


Kit said...

"What do you mean my work on space-base human-killing lasers under the DOD contract on this DOD installation will be used by the military as a weapon?! I had no idea!"

So true.

I realized it by watching an episode of INCREDIBLE HULK when a scientist who worked at an advanced top secret military base filled with uniformed military personnel and guards and his boss was military man was shocked to find his research being used for "non-peaceful purposes".

All I could think was "You idiot! What did you think it was going to be used for?!"

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, I think Bruce was so buried in sorrow that he wasn't really aware of much. He didn't even seem to notice, for example, that he had no life outside the moments he was with the kid.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, LOL! I guess he thought they were Salvation Army soldiers?

Joel Farnham said...

Here is also a thought on the "everyone knows scientists are saints and wouldn't create weapons of mass destruction knowingly." Who is to say? Einstein knew about the nuclear bombs being created in Los Alamos. He recommended them to be built. Richard Feynman knew why he was brought to Los Alamos as well.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, But one or two of them renounced their work later and liberals have built this myth around the idea that they all renounced it.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I agree. It is the "scientists are saints" motif that I question.

Kit said...

"I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I've met quite a few military scientists and by and large, they are just nerds. They love solving problems and they don't care what the problem is. I've rarely heard moral complaints about the nature of the work.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Was that Pacman?

Seriously, I am sick of that quote. In how many films has it appeared now?

ScottDS said...

I'm oversimplifying this but, as a Popular Mechanics/Popular Science geek, I will speculate that scientists don't have any problems working on weapons. After all, the more sophisticated the weapon, the more precise it will be, which means less collateral damage and less civilian casualties.

The whole military/science conflict was quite prominent in the 80s. In addition to Real Genius, Short Circuit and Brainstorm come to mind.

P.S. Kit's death quote came from Robert Oppenheimer who was quoting the Bhagavad Gita.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I know who the quote is from! LOL!

I can understand why some people would have moral objections to working on certain projects. That's how humans work. But anyone who asserts that, as a group, scientists would find it immoral to work on weapons (or even any specific type of weapon) is kidding themselves. Right now there are a vast number of scientists all around the world working on an even vaster array of weapons for every country.

ScottDS said...

Of course. :-)

Off the top of my head, Cate Blanchett quotes the line in the last Indy movie. And yes, I know what you're thinking: "What last Indy movie?"

It's always interesting to watch a movie or series where the scientist - who's usually a saint - is instead the villain. Or at least the accidental cause of the problem. Walter Bishop on Fringe is a great example.

AndrewPrice said...

That quote was also in Hunt For Red October and I know I've seen it several times in sci-fi television shows.

Kit said...

Scott is right. I first heard it in HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.

K said...

I know who the quote is from!

Yes, but that's what Oppy told the reporters and for history, what he actually thought during the test was "Holy ****!" I have that on good authority BTW.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That would have been my thought!

Joel Farnham said...

The full quote is "I am Shiva, God of Death, Destroyer of Worlds."

Oppenheimer shortened it.

PikeBishop said...

I would like to tell every character in every war movie who ever pulled out his wallet and said, "This is my girl back home, Lurleen, we're gonna get hitched and I'm a gonna sell front loaders back home in Trouser Snake Bend as soon as this war's over and.....................BOOM!"

No, no for the love of God know, put away the wallet, don't show me the picture, don't talk about her.

Anonymous said...

I would ask Vincent Vega why when he was at Butch's house did he leave his gun in the kitchen when he went to the bathroom. He supposedly does this for a living and that was stupid as all hell or maybe just a cheap plot device.

Good question though.

Scott.

tryanmax said...

Late to the party! Busy day yesterday. I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

A lot of good answers. No specifics pop to mind, but one trope does: The chick who is p.o.ed at her husband/bf for being late/not showing up even though WWIII/doomsday is occurring.* Also, the dude who is incapable of explaining to his wife/gf that he was late/didn't show up because WWIII/doomsday happened.**

*Even if he's serially unreliable, everybody gets a pass with the WWIII/doomsday excuse.
**However, if he can't open his mouth about it, then the free pass is automatically revoked.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, That is definitely the kiss of death!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's a really good question. My guess is that he was there so long that he got bored. Or he was high. Either way, it was really, really stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I know the one you mean and that is pretty ridiculous.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, come to think of it, The Incredibles did a mini-send-up on that trope with Frozone and his wife. But for comic relief, it works.

EricP said...

ScottDS,

Danny-boy signed on for the sequels, and no matter how many screen minutes or what the studio wanted, he gets the applicable stink. That's my logic and I'm stickin' to it.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, That's true. And he can't use the "I just needed a paycheck" excuse either.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That trope is everywhere! LOL!

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