Dr. Ryan Stone:
I’m going to die today…
I know, I know, everyone dies; not everyone knows the day.
At this exact moment in the story, after Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) utters the line, my heart broke in two.
Gravity came out this weekend to the tune of 53 million, easily beating its competition and surpassing industry estimates. I’ve heard nothing but praise – except for one YouTube reviewer that was WAYYYYY off the mark in her review. My opinion, of course.
And I had one personal friend say that it was boring.He’s no longer my friend.
So, if my calculations are correct, I would put that at 98% people I know, trust; rely on for their reviews (critics) coupled with word of mouth and my friend’s thoughts as well as my own personal experience in the theatre as proof positive the movie is a helluva a success and one that holds you by the proverbial balls the entire 90 minute run time.
I find the top quote to be the central theme of the movie (and here ya, go Spoiler-boys… I’m going to remain as vague as possible to not ruin the movie) But… (oh, another parenthesis, YOU SHOULD SEE THE MOVIE BEFORE READING THIS!!!) That’s how important it is, I put that warning in all CAPS.
Anywho, not to be too vague (and I am assuming most of you saw the trailers so you know some of what I will be touching on) when Sandra Bullock is inside one of the satellites, after the initial shocking turn of events that detaches her from her crew and space shuttle; Dr. Stone sheds her burdensome gear and stretches out, almost reveling in the pumped oxygen and contained space. After all, she just escaped the silence and uninhabitable void of space. She is now reborn in the small cockpit.
So what leads to this quote above? That’s a spoiler, boy. And it’s not worth it to give you a list of scenes and plot points. As I am picking quotes for every day blogs and commenting on them, most of them have been iconic, some more meaningful (like my Breaking Bad quote) and now, this quote… which I am not even sure if verbatim. Since the movie came out this past weekend, I am only going by memory – but this quote as I mentioned, and it’s deeper meaning to the overall story of Gravity, has been seared into my brain. I’ve heard people say they were crying during the movie at different moments… This was where I decided to cry.
I could go on and on about the technical brilliance of this film; how it is the best use of 3D and IMAX I have EVER seen (that’s saying a lot); that use of sound design and visual effects squeezes off your throat so you can’t breathe; how Stephen Price’s dynamic score is never noticeable and only used to punctuate different pauses or beats in action; how Alfonso Cuarón is an absolute genius; I could go into all of that… But this quote today is about how the action drove character and how, in this quiet moment in a cockpit, the action forced the character of Dr. Ryan Jones to face the reality of a horrible situation; a very real situation, and accept it.
For at the moment Sandra Bullock uttered these words, I cried. I accepted her fate with her and I braced for the worse. Again, no surprise, the movie used this quiet character moment to twist the screw even deeper. For another shocking action sequence happens and this newly evolved layer of character in Dr. Stone, reacts in kind. To me, this quote is the turning point for Bullock’s character and in that, a major turning point in the movie.
Screenwriters sometimes put a page number on it or a tag – Act I climax, Act II climax, etc. This to me, to use a screenplay term – is the MIDPOINT of the story. The moment where our main character has to shit or get off the pot.
The one YouTube reviewer who eviscerated this movie focused a rant on Sandra Bullock as the typical stupid heroine in danger cliche. This woman also pleaded with Hollywood to make better movies for women.
For in this rare moment of dialogue Dr. Ryan is having with herself, she shows that she is strong, capable, and through a genius twist in action by Cuarón, is forced to do more – to push herself and fight to survive.
This isn’t a deep study of character and motivation. This is a movie broken down to the most primal of levels – survival in the face of overwhelming odds. Man vs Nature and thankfully, we have a Woman vs Nature – the female character taking the place of the strong man and becoming a warrior in the face of absolute nothing – the endless darkness of space. Man’s greatest and most fearsome challenge.
And Dr. Stone rises to the challenge. Sandra Bullock deserves the Oscar this year. She is the hero of the movie (no need to distinguish the difference, heroine or otherwise) Dr. Ryan is a hero and one of the greatest heroic characters on film. Thanks to Alfonso Cuarón for creating a rich yet flawed character in Dr. Ryan Stone.
That is as vague as I will go… the quote above shows so much to me, is heartbreaking at the precise moment in the film it is designed for and elevates the character and audience to the next level of story.
Gravity is a masterpiece, this quote will never be iconic or repeatedly mentioned. For Gravity will be remembered for so many other things than the dialogue. It will be remembered as a perfect movie – in my opinion – where the sum of all parts unite to make magic.
Kudos, Alfonso Cuarón.
And to Sandra Bullock… You’re my hero.
I was lucky enough to join Kristian Harloff of Schmoes Know to review the latest frakkin sci-fi masterpiece GRAVITY starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney! Needless to say I was blown away by the movie and used Frakkin totally out of place here. But the sentiment remains and the review is up. Did I like the movie? Yes. Yes I did… Here’s why:
Elliot: You could be happy here, I could take care of you.
I wouldn’t let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together, E.T.
I just started crying. Yup, that’s what happens for me when I read the above quote. It’s a dagger of a line. I would have also accepted: “I’ll be right here…” and “E.T. stay with me…” (when E.T. is saying goodbye and dying respectively). Both quotes, hell, all THREE conjure to mind my favorite movie of all time and with said conjuring, the tears bubble and overflow.
Not that I’m crying at this exact moment… At all… Not a tear… Not… Maybe one on the corner that I’ll just, dab… Okay, I’m crying.
That’s not the point… The point is that this line for me tells me everything about the theme of the movie. And it’s a theme that pulls up all kinds of similarities from my own life. Elliot is only a couple years older than I was in the movie at the time.
What I love about E.T. is it is really the story about divorce and how a family reacts after the devastating event. I too am a child of divorce, concurrently going through it in 1982 while E.T. played the multiplexes. This theme of course didn’t hit me at the time; I was merely escaping the drama at home by going to ET 8 times in a row, 8 days in a row. I was an E.T. junkie.
And knowing some little tid-bits of back story, Spielberg’s parents actually divorced in 1960 and after, he created an imaginary alien friend to keep him company. Spielberg is quoted, saying:
“E.T. was ‘a friend’ who could be the brother I never had and a father that I didn’t feel I had anymore.”
No doubt my connection to the film is because of this subconscious link I must of formed watching the film 8 times in a row, 8 days in a row… At 8 years old I might add… Numbers people, IS THIS BAD???
Anywho, this is hands down Spielberg’s most personal film. You can see it in every shot, in every beat and in every moment. With music by John Williams (duh) and Henry Thomas as Elliot, Spielberg captured lightning in a bottle. Again.
In this quote I see the theme of growing up and a need for a father figure all in one. The arrival of ET into Elliot’s life right at the height of his need for a father plays out here. Elliot has some inherent calling to help the creature and soon, a bond forms.
Midway through the movie, however, ET and Elliot stop building their science project to listen to Mom telling Gertie (Drew Barrymore) the story of Peter Pan.
This moment reveals another thread running through the movie, that of childhood innocence and never wanting or needing to grow up. Just like in Peter Pan. Spielberg casually shows us this theme from the very start by never shooting any of the adults in close up. Always from the waist down (except for Mom). This tells us adults aren’t welcome here… Not in Neverland. And it would seem that Elliot is the lost boy to ET’s Peter Pan. Elliot needs ET not just as a father figure… He needs him to be his family.
The quote above is Elliot’s plea for E.T. to stay, to grow up and be together always. I sometimes wonder what a story would look like if ET had never left and Elliot HAD raised the alien as his own?
But then again… ET can’t survive on Earth and needs to “Phone home”. With this, the relationship and its stakes are placed firmly in the mind’s of the audience and I just love how the quote above illustrates that. For also, Elliot knows ET has to go and it’s here, in that moment in the woods when Elliot realizes that there is a good chance ET’s friends will hear the signal and come for him.
It’s as if Elliot is pleading with ET, as a child would a parent when he wants something. And when he doesn’t get it, Elliot hangs his head, crying. A simple gesture from ET – he wipes a tear away from Elliot. ET’s way of saying it will all be okay.
And at it’s simplest, this quote is about friendship. Because, dag-blammit, ET is the best damn buddy movie since Fox and the Hound. It’s heart-breaking and guys, I shit you not, when that last scene kicks in and ET asks Elliot to “…Come…” motioning for Elliot to join him on the spaceship, I lose my mind.
This scene shows the arc of Elliot. He’s no longer lost. He knows his place is with his family now. For they all banded together to save ET. Elliot’s place is on Earth and ET, the stars.
With so many wonderful topics to discuss off the above quote, I could go on for days. It just shows you sometimes quotes don’t have to be memorable or iconic (like ‘ET phone home’) and that a simple connection to story and character can create a line like this. And from the page (by Melissa Matheson) to the pre-production, to the casting, shooting, editing, mixing, composing to the final release, this one line, 31 years later, still brings me to tears just reading it aloud.
Fight on, E.T.
P.S. Thanks for those of you passing these along, you’re like, the best and, like, so awesome.
P.P.S. I know I’m hitting all my favorite movies with these quotes so if you guys want to start tweeting me suggestions you’d like to see me explore… well, like, that would be TOTALLY AWESOME.
P.P.S.S. I promise not to use “like” again. Ever.
“You see, technically, chemistry is the study of matter, but I prefer to see it as the study of change: Electrons change their energy levels. Molecules change their bonds. Elements combine and change into compounds. But that’s all of life, right? It’s the constant, it’s the cycle. It’s solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation. It’s fascinating really. It’s a shame so many of us never take time to consider its implications.”
-Walter White Season 1, Episode 1, Pilot
I don’t think there has ever been a more perfect quote at the exact perfect time in the small history of this blog. And because of the sheer magnitude of BREAKING BAD followers and new followers (I’m sure) it just seemed fitting as this is my goodbye to the greatest show on television. Period.
For the newbies to this column and to the BREAKING BAD uninitiated, there are no spoilers here. For this quote is from the pilot episode, uttered by a man, a chemistry teacher named Walter White; and quoted before we “the fans” could really understand what to expect or experience.
For this IS Walter White. It tells us everything we need to know about the man. Not only does it fit perfectly into the character arc and journey of a true antihero but it also illustrates the genius of Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator. He knew exactly where he was going and this quote shows a map of the psyche of Walter White. Also, it demonstrates the use of foreshadowing (way to go writers!) that could even be fastened to the pilot and explored throughout five years of television…
The epic, satisfying conclusion of last night’s finale can be attributed to this quote.
“The study of change” Walter White says, his true feelings on the matter bubbling to the surface as the brilliant, soon to be “dying man” fascinates his students. For the mind of Walter White is the true reason audiences fell in love with the show. And it’s his beautiful mind that divided an audience putting people into teams throughout the run. And many people stayed on Team Walt until the very, very end.
And I can see why, just by this quote alone. It is growth, then decay, then transformation…
I couldn’t have put better words into a character’s mouth like Vince Gilligan did here with Walter White. Essentially providing the audience in episode one with the theme of the show, uttered by a man that will ultimately grow into a drug dealer (cooking meth to support his family), decay as the cancer strips Walter of his previous skin, like a snake shedding to make room for a new layer; and transformation, the decayed man that was once Walter White transforms into the kingpin of drug dealers, adopting the new name of Heisenberg… a name EVERYONE KNOWS.
This is the most brilliant illustration of character, writing and since we know BREAKING BAD continued to just get better and better – lastly – it shows just how extremely talented the creator, actors, directors, writers and production staff were to pull off such a memorable run in television history.
All from one quote, in the pilot no less, do we now see just how perfectly thought out this series was.
So thank you Vince Gilligan and the team behind BREAKING BAD. I will miss you dearly. But your brilliance will continue to shine bright for the ages. I am just glad I subscribed to Netflix
Also, a big shout-out goes to my buddy Ariel Joseph Towne for discovering this quote and posting. It alerted me to its brilliance and meaning when it came time for me to quote something from Breaking Bad. Genius.
And another big thanks to Andy McDonald for the creation of the Gif above. Nailed it.
So… with Breaking Bad heading off into the Sunset, I have a very serious question for every one of the fans out there…. Now what?
Fletch: I’m John.
Gail: Ohhhh, John… John who?
Fletch: John Cock… tos… ton.
Gail: That’s a beautiful name.
Fletch: Well, it’s Scotch/Romanian.
Gail: That’s an odd combination.
Fletch: Yeah, well, so were my parents.
Let me tell you a little something about FLETCH… It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time; I quote it endlessly, probably can recite the movie from line one through – and in some cases, I have direct dialogue exchanges with some of my closest friends who also have this affliction… or as I call it: afFLETCHtion.
That joke was completely lame. I apologize.
The point here… it hit me like a ton of bricks last night that for a QUOTE OF THE DAY blog, why not throw in a movie that I quote ALL DAY!
I mean, I could throw so many into the pot it’s ridiculous:
Fletch: Do you have any caviar?
Waiter: Si señor, Beluga, but it is 80 dollars a portion.
Fletch: Well, then I better just take two portions of that.
Fletch: I’m afraid I’m gonna have to pull rank on you. I didn’t want to have to do this. I’m with the Mattress Police. There are no tags on these mattresses.
Dr. Joseph Dolan: Right. Now, how long have you had these pains, Mr. Barber?
Fletch: No, that’s “Babar”.
Dr. Joseph Dolan: Two B’s?
Fletch: One B. B-A-B-A-R.
Dr. Joseph Dolan: That’s two.
Fletch: Yeah, but not right next to each other. I thought that’s what you meant.
Dr. Joseph Dolan: Arnold Babar. Isn’t there a children’s book about an elephant named Babar?
Fletch: I don’t know. I don’t have any.
Dr. Joseph Dolan: No children?
Fletch: No elephant books.
Waiter: Excuse me, Señor. You are a member of the club?
Fletch: No, I’m not, I’m with the Underhills.
Waiter: They already left, Señor.
Fletch: It’s all right, they’ll be back. He went out for his urinalysis.
Waiter: Would you like some drinks, Señor, while you wait? I will put it on the Underhills’ bill.
Fletch: Yes, very good. I’ll have a Bloody Mary and a steak sandwich and… a steak sandwich, please.
Chief Karlin: Full name?
Fletch: Fletch F. Fletch.
Chief Karlin: I see, And what do you do for a living, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I’m a shepherd.
Oh I can keep going! I can keep this up all frakkin day, don’t you worry. And to put a cap on this little diatribe, I leave you with the one quote I always use when signing en email to my buddy Gavin Fisher when we are in the middle of projects:
“I love your body, Larry.”
Those who don’t know much or haven’t seen FLETCH (I will hunt those down who haven’t seen FLETCH) the ‘Larry’ Fletch is referring to is during a place in the movie where Fletch is deep into his investigation and hiding in a small, Utah motel. He’s checking in on the phone with Larry, his sexy reporter side-kick from work, played by a young Gina Davis. The old lady from the hotel is eavesdropping on Fletch’s call and without missing a beat, Fletch (obviously aware of said eavesdrop) hangs up the phone with Larry, saying deadpan: “I love your body Larry.”
Cut to the reaction of the old lady… Priceless.
And that’s the fun of FLETCH and the hundreds of quotes I can pull from memory and blather on about endlessly. It has a cult following obviously, as illustrated by the many times I am at a party and somehow end up in the corner with five, Fletch-minded dorks, reciting the dialogue like we are rehearsing for a Broadway revival.
So why did I choose that quote above as the focus? Because this blog is intended to show character and story and though FLETCH is basically a detective story, it is actually a character study about a fast talking, always a step ahead of everyone, detective reporter named Irwin M Fletcher. “Don’t call me Irwin,” would be the first reaction from Fletch.
In all the examples above and throughout the movie, Fletch finds himself in various situations of peril that he gets out of almost every time with his wit, quick thinking and silver tongue.
But not when he meets a woman he likes. Yes, folks… This is the only example of Fletch in the movie (far as I remember) where Fletch gets tongue tied.
For throughout the movie whenever someone asks him his name, Fletch (who is always undercover at the time), has a name on the tip of his tongue. The randomness of each name is priceless and Chase’s deadpan delivery, classic:
‘Nugent, Ted Nugent.’
‘It’s Dr. Rosenpenis’
‘Oh, that’s Babar.’
‘Sugar, Mr. Poon?’
‘Oh, my name is Harry S. Truman.’
‘The name’s Liddy. Gordon Liddy.’
And on and on and on and on… Always a name ready to go without blinking an eye. A master of disguise as it were.
But his facade breaks down, his tongue ties in front of a beautiful woman. Said beautiful woman, Gail Stanwyk, also calls him on his bullshit, oftentimes catching him lying and is the only one that can turn the tables on Fletch.
So in this first exchange where Fletch meets Gail, he can’t complete the lie… a fake name is not on his lips and Fletch barely covers. For me, it’s the interesting part of Fletch’s character. A man that never wants to be called my his first name, never misses a beat, never seems to lose his cool…
Until Gail. And at that moment, more and more of the character of Fletch is revealed throughout the rest of the movie, with Gail at the center of his transformation.
Chevy Chase is quoted as saying this is his favorite role of his career because it allowed him to improvise on set during shooting. Director Michael Ritchie would shoot one take where they stuck to the script, one take where Chase could improvise. I can’t tell you how much improv made it into the movie but I would guess most as this was at the height of Chevy Chase’s career.
For me this is just another perfect example of character and story being connected. Even with a comedy which is arguably, harder to pull off unless you really know your character.
So here’s to one of my favorite characters of all time – Fletch. And here’s to effectively smashing the quote of the day format and forcing me to make this a love letter to EVERY quote Irwin M Fletcher ever said…
Sorry… every quote Fletch ever said.
Go see FLETCH. Like, right now.
Han Solo: I know.
Welcome to another Reilly’s Quote of the Day! Seems I’m destined to start these blog entries by choosing from my FAVORITE MOVIES OF ALL TIME… Which is fine by me and a perfect way to delve into the magic of movie quotes and how iconic and resonate they are even today.
Yesterday’s JAWS quote made me think about the art of collaboration and improvisation, what with Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) delivering one of the most iconic lines in all of cinema history on the fly. An improvised line that illustrated the crux of his character – a man afraid of the water being put on a boat in the middle of the ocean to destroy a beast. Man vs Nature at its best and a fine and perfect example of character connecting to story and creating something memorable.
Today’s quote is really not a quote as much as it’s a dialogue. But it’s important for me on so many levels… It’s the moment when Han Solo taught me about love.
That’s right, I learned what love is from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK! Not my parents (who divorced) not from a book or experience. It’s because of Han Solo and moreover, because of Harrison Ford.
Why is it today’s quote of the day? Because it was the first one that popped to mind. A lot of people endlessly quote Empire with one line…
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” ~Yoda
And sure, after last night’s Schmoes Know Podcast where I was deemed #Yodi, don’t think I didn’t seriously consider this line to comment on…
But why I picked this exchange is because it again illustrates how character drives story and collaboration can be the key to making movie magic.
Do you all know the story?
Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is watching her man get tortured and then become the guinea pig for a freezing in carbonite. All hope is lost…. She might never see Han again and her emotions are bubbling over: a kiss before Han goes where he’s then ripped away by the stormtroopers and placed on the chamber ready for the deep freeze. All the while Princess Leia looks on, helpless.
“I love you,” she says…
And cut! Harrison Ford and Irvin Kershner (or Kersh as he was affectionately called) stopped the scene and discussed it at length. Harrison wasn’t quite thrilled with the original response scripted:
“I love you too…”
The scene where I am about to go down the chute to be carbonized– well, the original line was, “I love you too,” but I felt that the other way was Han Solo’s way of saying, “It’s not over.” I was very interested in that moment and how it works. We never even shot “I love you too.” ~Harrison Ford
And the magic is unleashed! It’s one of the most brilliantly tragic love scenes in cinema history. At least, coming from this dork… And it is the perfect example of how powerful a scene can be.
Most if not all Star Wars aficionados know all about this exchange and this shoot from the hip improvisation. Many, many takes were tried with various line readings that didn’t include “I love you too.”
Some more of the back and forth with Kersh and Ford:
Ford: If she said, ‘I love you,’ I could say very nicely, “Yeah, I know. Don’t worry, I’ll be back.”
Kersh: Yeah, you’ve got to say, “I’ll be back.”
Ford: But if she says I love you and I say I know, it’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny. But I also have to say to her, ‘Don’t worry about this,’ in some way.
Kersh: No, you can’t. You can’t because you don’t know whether this is the end or not.
Ford: The point is: I’m not worried about myself anymore, I’m worried about her.
BOOM! Right there… Right, frakkin, there. This is exactly the moment where Han Solo shows his true character. It’s a perfect illustration of character being anchored to story. It is also a fantastic example of collaboration between actor and director.
And just look at how POWERFUL the scene is in the end. Harrison Ford was right on the money with this call… Han Solo, a scoundrel, someone who “Takes care of himself, it’s what he’s best at.” No one but Chewie by his side, the open stars and his Falcon at his disposal…
But then, the unthinkable for such a character. Through the course of two movies and right at the crux of character and discovery, Han Solo cares about someone other than himself.
Sure, many people might look at the ad lib “I know,” as a brush off; a throw away line. But it’s this line that tells us everything about Han Solo and his character. I always felt after each re-watching of EMPIRE at least, oh… one million times or so…. that Solo was telling the Princess, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be back. I got this.” It is so Han Solo, so right on the money with his character and his story.
And it’s just another perfect example of how many, many people were involved in creating this iconic scene – from writer to director to actor to filming. On the page it said something different but the director, the actor and the discussions of character and motivation expanded on the script making this a wonderfully satisfying and tragic scene for everyone’s favorite scoundrel.
It is magic. And it is all because of character, story and collaboration.
So, thank you Han Solo for truly teaching me what love is. And thank you Kersh for making EMPIRE one of the best Sci-fi movies of all time.
Hope you enjoyed Reilly’s Quote of the Day; I would love to hear from those who are reading this so feel free to comment in the section below and drop in your thoughts!
More quotes coming. And with that, more adventures in movie magic!
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…”
Welcome to the first segment of Reilly’s Quote of the Day! I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while now on my own blog… feature a famous movie quote and explain why it is so iconic and how it represents the finest points of movie making and collaboration.
And hells yeah I’m starting with probably the most recognizable, most quoted line in all of movie-dom. At least I think so…
Why is it so quotable? Because it represents the entire situation our heroes find themselves in… Up shit creek. And it does so in a way that isn’t cliched, contrived or stupid. It’s a literal interpretation of the situation. Indeed, the heroes on the Orca do need a bigger boat. But this is where character comes into play – motivation, ego and drive; a shining example of how brilliant Spielberg’s movie is…. And why it continues to be, to this day, one of my favorite movies of all time.
Why this works for me is that one, it is the first real look at the shark. Everyone knows the stories of how hard it was to film JAWS and even more so… to film the actual shark itself (Bruce). With major malfunctions and film crew vs. nature problems on set everyday, JAWS was troubled from the get go and Spielberg had to improvise.
And so, he used music, POV’s and camera tricks to infer that the shark was there, thus adding an important element in to the lexicon of movies: the idea that NOT showing us everything right out of the gate, informs the audiences’ own imagination. That inference – what was in the audience’s head kept them glued to their seat. Sadly, no longer do our Hollywood movies employ this technique, not with the advancement of technology at their disposal. Now they show you EVERYTHING!
This is why the masterful Spielberg had us on strings – yes we were his puppets. It’s no small coincidence that before this iconic line was uttered, the jump scare leading into the adventure portion of the movie and Act III is punctuated by us FINALLY seeing the shark for the first time. By then, Spielberg had us… No matter your thoughts on how the shark looked be it fake, rubber, unreal; all that aside, we were sitting an hour and ten minutes in being toyed with the whole time; lured into the story by real characters with real problems, music and atmosphere. Spielberg then gave us the shark – as seen from the picture in the headline…
And Chief Brody (the late, great Roy Scheider) reacts in kind and in character effectively setting up the stakes of Act III.
They need a bigger boat to survive.
We all know how this ends… But do you know that Roy Scheider improvised the line? That’s right. And it illustrates my point for the day… How collaboration can elevate material surpassing even the hopes of the filmmakers and studios. I mean, look how it turned out… JAWS became the first summer blockbuster! And with it, a seasonal event was created – The Summer Movie Blockbuster Season that is alive and well today.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…” says it all to the audience. The improvised line shows Roy Scheider was completely on point with his character and thus, throws our heroes Brody, Hooper and Quint into the final showdown with nature’s deadliest predator.
Brody wants a bigger boat, Hooper wants to study the beast and Quint wants to destroy it. Three very different character motivations, built throughout the movie; expertly planned by Spielberg and coming to a head just when the three characters need to work together. But through their different motivations, things don’t go as planned.
JAWS is a powerful movie that made everyone afraid to go in the water – still to this day! And with the line: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” represents the best of movie-making – rolling with the punches, finding character and remaining true to story.
For at that exact moment; after uttering that one improvised line, the audience was pulled into the story even further, the stakes even higher and a fitting cap to lead into the thrilling conclusion of one of the greatest movies ever made.
What do you guys think? Is there a better quote in JAWS that says so much about the film and the stakes? Who doesn’t use “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” whenever faced with an uphill challenge or something in life that seems impossible?
Just goes to show, in life, we all need a bigger boat.
Well hello there!
It’s Reilly here and this is a very special Roundtable edition for all of you out there rocking and rolling with your lives… Unawares that there is some major doings going on in the geek world. Namely, Batman being in the sequel for Man of Steel!
Hey, what an awesome segue! The mere mention of Batman leads to the HOT BUTTON TOPIC that is blocking the interwebs from flowing smoothly. And with so much chatter going on out there – it’s a dangerous and treacherous road to traverse right now if you have strong opinions about comic book movies.
And why wouldn’t you have a strong opinion about a BATMAN vs SUPERMAN movie??? That’s right, you bunch of young…uh, bohemians; MAN OF STEEL is getting a sequel and guess who is coming to dinner? Mr. Wayne himself! So, yeah, Reilly’s got to talk about it!
Because I think I have an idea of where the movie might be going. If my calculations are correct, Warner Bros. is going for something special and, if done right, this could be the superhero movie to beat all superhero movies. Yes, even Daredevil!
(Editorial, that was a sarcastic joke at Daredevil’s expense. I’m sorry but that movie stoinks.)
Editorial over – here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure Batman might be the quote ‘villain’ for this sequel. And he is going to be taking on Superman mano-a-mano.
Yup, that’s what everyone is saying, really. Looking through all the stories that have consistently and constantly broke since the comic-con news, I’ve really gotten some time to think this through.
First, here are the facts:
Batman is going to be in Man of Steel 2 (announced at Comic-Con).
Zack Snyder read a quote from The Dark Knight Returns, the graphic novel by Frank Miller:
“I want you to remember Clark, in all the years to come. In all your private moments. In all the years to come, my hand at your throat. I want you to remember, the one man who beat you.”
…Leaving people to believe this will have Batman fighting Superman (as he did in the comic).
Many sites are now claiming that Zack Snyder is meeting with Frank Miller to pick his brain.
And then, legit rag The Hollywood Reporter drops some fuel to the fire saying they are looking for an older Batman (30’s, 40’s), and threw out some names like Josh Brolin (interesting) Ryan Gosling (um… interesting?), Jon Hamm (nah… but then again…) and other names not worth mentioning because I don’t like them. And it’s my article! Mine!
You’ll notice I said quote villain to introduce this point because I do not think Batman will be a villain in the sense of the word. I’d use antagonist instead. The actual “VILLAIN” (now using all caps) will probably be someone that comes in the middle of Batman and Superman’s showdown, ultimately becoming the reason Bats and Supes resolve their differences. I imagine the third act climax of the movie will be the team-up to stop the main villain. Ah-choo—LEX LUTHOR! Bless me.
Okay, look. I’m well versed in Frank Miller’s graphic novel. It’s one of my absolute favorite stories ever (comic, novel or movie). The damn thing is genius. If you haven’t read the book yet, leave now. Don’t be a dork.
Back? Okay. Read it? Good.
Exhibit A for my reasoning is this damn quote. Read it again:
“I want you to remember Clark, in all the years to come. In all your private moments. In all the years to come, my hand at your throat. I want you to remember, the one man who beat you.”
Why that quote? Why not this one:
“You’re beginning to get the idea, Clark… This is the end,… For both of us.”
The quote comes minutes before Batman utters the now famous quote used to incite all of Comic-Con to swear allegiance to either Batman or Superman. For both of these quotes inform the possibilities for MOS 2 if you really read them close.
Now read the original quote again and think about it? First off… Batman is referring to Superman as Clark – so he knows his true identity. At the end of MOS, Lois Lane knows his identity including his mother and possibly his buddy Pete (when he sees Supes get knocked into an IHOP. Pete catches eyes with his old school mate – damn I hope this comes back and is explored.)
So are we getting a MOS 2 with a Batman that knows or figures out Superman’s true identity? This is why I am inclined to think ole’ Bats is the antagonist (again, not using villain). Batman could (and should in my opinion) be a supporting character, a foil to Supes that is trying to find out EVERYTHING he can about the guy who leveled 18 different cities in one hour.
Taking the quote as ‘literal’ gives me a HUGE CLUE as to the direction of MOS 2, the above idea illustrating this. And I can’t help but think about the volumes of stories produced over the years of this team up. Too many to mention and this article is already going to be long (winded?)
So why choose The Dark Knight Returns? I then think about the book’s story against the onslaught of news for MOS. Obviously, they are using TDKR as a launching point and not following the exact narrative.
Well, no shit Sherlock. The Dark Knight Returns is a Batman story; Superman is one of the… antagonists’ of the story. See what I did there?
If MOS 2 is a Superman movie with Batman in it, I can’t help but drop in the final, simple scenario that ends the story – Batman fighting Superman and knowing his identity.
The relationship in TDKR I find very interesting (that of Superman becoming a government lackey) and I could probably dissect and analyze the balls off it for MOS 2, but that would probably be a waste of time. As much as I think it’s an interesting take on the mythos of Superman, I don’t think this will be the direction of MOS 2.
And it shouldn’t really. This should be Clark Kent/Superman’s movie. This should further explore the themes introduced from the first movie. This should be about Clark getting a hold on his powers and furthering his relationships (not only with the US Government) but with Lois Lane. We should see him building trust with the world and military forces (who must be pretty pissed over the MASSIVE DESTRUCTION).
And I want to see the exploration of the Clark and Lois relationship as set up in the movie. Now that Lois Lane knows Clark’s true identity – what does that romance look like? Does Clark worry at all that she’ll rat him out? Does he worry about his enemies coming after her? What’s the deal?
These thematic elements effecting Henry Cavill’s character of Clark Kent/Superman should also be about coming to terms with the aftermath of his coming out party (the leveled Metropolis), his new powers and how to control them and, most important in my mind, wrestling with the knowledge that he had to kill the last of his kind (Zod) in order to protect the humans. These were some interesting and darkly layered themes introduced in the MOS movie that are begging to be explored!
So how do you introduce Batman if it’s Superman’s movie? By making him the antagonist. Batman has always been the mirror image of Superman, two sides of the same coin. Most good villains are just that – a reflection of the hero, the foil that affects their journey. Just look at how beautifully it was done in The Dark Knight. Batman and the Joker were mirror reflections of each other, one man trying to provide stability, the other anarchy. This relationship, the thematic underlining portions are what made it so interesting and it’s a perfect example of how a hero/villain relationship should be approached in storytelling.
So in the case of this new Batman (who is NOT going to be from the Nolan-verse unless a miracle happens), why not introduce an already established Batman into this universe who takes it upon himself to do what the US Government couldn’t do – find out Superman’s identity? Pulling from the MANY iterations of comic lore from this pairing, my favorite being Batman creating a fail safe in case Superman ever went rogue, this could be an interesting way to introduce Bat’s to the MOS universe.
In my opinion, do not – I repeat – DO NOT do another Batman origin story. We know it so well thanks to Burton and Nolan’s movies there is no need to go there again (remember the rebooted AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?) We get it. Jump into a Batman world where he already exists and is known by the people of Gotham.
And this is where the news from The Hollywood Reporter comes in to inform my ideas even more – the supposed search for an older, more grizzled and experienced Batman. It looks like WB is already thinking that way. An established Batman.
And so, I can’t help but play the “what if” game here… What if, while MOS was happening, over in Gotham City – Batman was in the Batcave watching the destruction go down? We meet Bruce Wayne here, watching, forming opinions, eyes narrowed and concerned. Perhaps Alfred comes in and a wonderfully scripted scene follows that shows us the Bruce Wayne we will come to know in the movie, his spin off movie and ultimately, Justice League.
In this case, Bruce Wayne may introduce his worldview and how to protect it (through the looking glass of a costumed cynic) and it may be challenging for the world but to this Bruce Wayne; he thinks he will be doing the world a favor by ultimately doing what the US Government has yet to do… Find out the true identity of Superman and come up with a way to stop him.
I tend to believe that Batman will be the one that discovers Kryptonite and wouldn’t that be a nifty way to introduce Superman’s Achilles heel to the franchise? To find the element that can ultimately kill the most powerful being in the world adds layer upon layer of character when talking about Bruce Wayne/Batman.
That’s why I’m calling this MOS 2 movie a Superman story with a Batman antagonist. Batman, a supporting character at best, I think. Because all this Batman talk has cleverly delayed the villain conversation out there on the internet. At the credits of MOS, already people were talking Darkseid, Doomsday, Brainiac and of course, Lex Luthor, as possible villains for the next round. With Batman in the mix using the TDKR as a launching off point, everyone has forgotten about those villain conversations.
WB, Snyder, Goyer and Nolan will be walking a very wobbly tight rope to get this right. Too much emphasis on Bruce Wayne/Batman and it’s not a MOS sequel. They have to utilize the Dark Knight as a fully realized Batman with clear motives, even if those motives are to (at first) stop Superman. The greater arc for this movie should be the introduction of Superman’s villain that will continue the MOS franchise potential.
How about you, my fine feathered friends of Schmoeville? What do you think of the ideas I propose? Do you think Batman is going to start out as the antagonist only to come to the aid of Superman at the end? Or do you think WB is going to really stick with their (supposed) plan and introduce not a MOS sequel, rather, a BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN movie?
I hope WB is listening (and wouldn’t it be great if they read this article?) Because I want a Man of Steel 2 to help tie up some loose ends from the first. And I don’t want the fact that Batman is in the movie to take away from Superman’s story.
Only time will tell what really happens. But there is so much going on with this franchise I had to throw my hat into the ring. So let’s discuss this! Anyone want to wax poetic with me regarding Batman and Superman, feel free to drop me a line. We’ll. like, totally gab about it like teenagers.
By Mark E Reilly
Schmoeville, how the hell are you? It’s been a long time since there was an official Reilly Roundtable so I thought it appropriate that I write something up on the heels of me seeing MAN OF STEEL last night with the Schmoes. Jealous? You should be.
Anywho, here’s the thing – if you’ve seen their review, which, let’s be honest, you should have already seen their review:
You’ll see that Kristian liked the movie enough to really get behind it while Mark thought it was somewhat of a let down. The reviews I have been reading kind of mirror this exactly. Some really like it, some feel it’s a giant let down. I’ve seen ONE review that called it the best superhero movie of all time.
Okay, best all time is a stretch. I’m with Kristian on this one… as we were talking last night, we inevitably both agreed it was good and a worthy summer movie. We had our problems, sure, but overall, we really liked it.
Then I went home and crawled into bed to read. And you know, the darndest thing happened… I couldn’t stop thinking about the themes and characters Zach Snyder introduced to audiences with MAN OF STEEL. My brain started to open up, I became very introspective (couldn’t sleep) and the more I thought about the movie, the more I liked it. Come this morning, I was at the gym talking with a friend and I found myself RAVING about it. Something changed within me from “good summer movie” to GREAT Superman movie.” The best we’ve seen and could have hoped for since the original Donner movie came out.
Okay, Schmoeville – ground rules – THIS IS A SPOILER REVIEW! HEAVY, HEAVY SPOILERS COMING!
Do not read on if you haven’t seen the movie. This is gonna go deep. It’s going to be epic and I want to make sure you all are not spoiled by anything so that you may have the best experience possible when you go see the movie this weekend.
Okay… By agreeing to these conditions, you grant me total access to discuss Man of Steel, freeing me of all wrong-doing or slander on your part. Basically, don’t TP my house if you feel I spoil it for you. I have no issues sending my dog, ahem, Kal-El, after yo’ ass.
Also of note, I am a Superman apologist. He’s my favorite superhero of all time. The original movie is in my top five all time and yes, I named my fucking dog after him so yeah, my issues run deeper than just my mother and her lack of coddling. Ahem
So here we go…
First off, we have to discuss something that BOTHERED me throughout my viewing experience and it’s something I have to discuss and debate with the world – that of the marketing of this movie that absolutely ruined everything for me.
I’m just gonna say it – the marketing/hype machine ruined the movie by showing EVERYTHING. When I say everything – I mean EVERYTHING. Almost every single shot from the movie can be found in the thirty or so trailers, featurettes and tv spots for the film. The music too, over hyped, placed in every single ad and spot, was so familiar for me, I was pulled out of the movie so many times it’s not even funny.
With Superman hocking Dodge Rams, Carl’s Jr, Nokia and the NBA playoffs, you just couldn’t escape Warner Bros. campaign and it’s to the movie’s detriment that it really (almost) killed it for me.
To comment on the state of movies and trailers now would be like yelling at a wall for being in my way. It’s not going to change anytime soon, I imagine, and I could have shielded myself better. But with being Editor in Chief at schmoesknow.com, it’s my job to provide the stories people want to hear about and/or see, so Man of Steel, being one of the most – if not the most anticipated movie of the summer, I had to report what the fans wanted.
But in doing so, I fell victim to what many of you probably fell victim to as well, you saw too much. With WB having so much riding on this franchise, what with a potential link to other DC characters awaiting their big-screen adaptation, also not to mention Justice League, it’s no wonder WB spent 150 million on marketing alone. While it appears to be working (everyone I have spoken with is GOING TO SEE THIS MOVIE!), yeah, it was overkill and I blame WB fully for creating a level of excitement that can and will only lead to disappointment.
But like I said, that probably won’t change any time soon so it’s our job to be vigil and strong, to try and look away from the onslaught of hype in order to have an untainted movie going experience. I for one definitely need to do better with this….
But I digress; the movie happened, I saw it, and I liked it, even though I probably would have enjoyed it more had I not seen so much footage.
The point here, even though I felt the marketing was overkill, even though I saw most of the movie through the trailers, it is the story that really sunk in after and the potential for future Superman movies set up in this movie has got me giddy like a… well, a school girl. But in a manly way.
Man of Steel immediately pulled me in with the very first shot – Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mom, giving birth to a baby the world would soon know as Kal-El. I mean, we go right into a painful scene in a birthing room and already the movie distinguishes itself from Donner’s original. I immediately smiled to myself, wow, we are witnessing the birth of Superman! This is huge, right?
It then kicks into high gear by showing a Krypton we have NEVER seen before. I mean, seriously, this Krypton is a view to behold, accessing all sorts of imagery that reminded me of Star Wars – a world so fully realized, I could have had an entire movie based on Jor-El having the first natural birth baby on Krypton in thousands of years and the politics involved within the ruling class of the planet. With so much going on I soon realized these Krypton scenes were merely the inciting incident for the goods to come later. But I really have to hand it to David Goyer (screenwriter) and Zack Snyder for creating such an amazing looking and highly complicated mythology.
As nice of a set piece Krypton was, as awesome a spectacle, it merely is only the launching pad for the deeper themes to be explored later – that of free will and your place in the world. In this case, the world Kal-El comes to call home (Earth) and what it means to the larger picture. Kal is torn between two worlds and with his God-like powers, only by a miraculous coincidence does his jettisoned ship land on the Kent Farm. If he happened to land ANYWHERE else, Kal-El might have become something completely different.
Because he was raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent the newly christened Clark, learns many valuable lessons that shape his destiny. Jonathan Kent becomes the father figure Kal-El so desperately needed and the theme of free will is further explored through the prism of an overprotective father that is afraid of a world that would try and destroy Clark for what he is. Jonathan doesn’t want that – he wants his son to make that choice himself only after time and serious thought. So it’s no wonder that when we first meet up with Clark, he is a lost soul, searching the world for signs of where he originally came from; all the while flashing back to his father’s lessons. Does he show the world who he is? Or does he hide in the shadows because the world isn’t ready?
Yup, that’s Jonathan Kent’s whole point – to give Clark his two cents, cautioning his every move so that, when the time is ready – Clark can make the choice himself.
And that’s where I connected fully to Henry Cavill’s Kal-El/Clark Kent. Tortured, alone, unsure of his place in the world but always hearing his adopted father’s words in his head: “Your real father sent you here for a reason.”
This is very much a story about fathers and sons; but with two dads offering up two very different opinions on how to handle his introduction to Earth, as we know it now. Earth and its people are scared of things they don’t understand, a government willing to destroy anything that might threaten its rule. Kal-El conversely is sent from a world marred by bureaucracy within a government unwilling to upset the balance that’s taken them thousands of years to create. Even when Jor-El warns of Krypton’s impending doom, the leaders of this advanced society turn a blind eye in order to keep things at a status quo. Much like the government Kal-El later goes up against on Earth, who will stop at nothing to capture and/or destroy Kal in order to maintain peace. The similarities are purposeful.
And so, when Kal-El is seen wandering Earth, he is lost and alone; with too many voices in his head to really embrace his destiny at this point. Clark/Kal continues to gather information about his origin but is inherently, a good guy willing to help if the situation calls for it.
And it does, on numerous occasions. The good in Clark, thanks in large part to the teachings by his Earth parents, will defend the good of man, only to disappear after for fear of being found out.
Enter Lois Lane, played by the perfect and amazing Amy Adams. Right off the bat, we see a Lois Lane that is smart and proactive, not whiney and boring as Kate Bosworth’s Lois from Superman Returns. Thank God for that.
Lois is introduced doing what she does best – reporting for the Daily Planet. Seems that over time, she sniffs out the story of a man, a Guardian Angel if you will, that pops up here and there like magic to save the day only to disappear soon after leaving a lot of questions. Questions the intrepid reporter wants to answer.
And then something amazing happens – Lois’ search crosses paths with Clark’s search and boom, the two come face to face in which Lois is hurt and her only chance of survival is by getting a taste of Clark’s amazing powers.
She’s seen him now. And she wants to know who he is… Because she damn well knows, this guy is NOT from this planet.
Of course Perry White (Laurence Fishburn) is skeptical of his favorite reporters claims and will not print a story about aliens. Even though Lois has collaborative evidence backing up her story, Perry believes it to be nothing. He even makes a casual claim to Lois in passing – “Can you imagine what the world would do if they did find out about this guy?”
Well, as any Superman fan will tell you, Lois Lane always gets her story and 99.9% of the time, she’s right. So says her Pulitzer Prize. So when all of a sudden, aliens visit our planet demanding that Earth hand over Kal-El, a person that is not from Earth and has been hiding amongst them in secret for over 33 years, all eyes turn back to Lois Lane. She was right all along.
That’s how you nail the character of Lois Lane. And I dug it. Even when the filmmakers one-upped their relationship – Lois Lane knows who Clark Kent really is. No need for glasses, no need for a stumbling, bumbling Clark; this Lois figures it out in large part to her reporting skills. And later, over a quiet scene at a graveyard, Lois truly sees Clark for what he really is, a scared little boy afraid of what the world will do when they realize he is among them. She decides to drop the story to protect Clark. This blew my mind.
It blew my mind because I have yet to see a Lois Lane like this. The one I know would have printed the story, gone for the scoop; she wants another Pulitzer for God’s sake! But no, this Lois shows a humility that is representative of the world we live in now. It’s her humanity at work here, and the connection she feels with Clark immediately changes her worldview. She has been changed forever and now, hopefully in future installments, we will see this play out in deeper, more complex ways.
You all know the story pretty much from here, Zod escapes from the Phantom Zone and spends many years in space searching for Kal-El and the “codex” Jor-El hid in Kal’s ship. You see the codex has the last remnants of Krypton encoded inside. In order to rebuild his beloved planet, Zod needs the codex to essentially terraform Earth, destroying it and its people to make way for a new and improved Krypton.
The story now swings full circle, landing squarely on Clark/Kal’s shoulders. While thinking he was alone, the last of his people, Clark must face the realization that he can bring Krypton to him. But what about Earth? Isn’t that his home as well?
Another amazing part of Man of Steel is in the relationship with Jor-El, Russell Crow’s best part in years. Seriously, he IS Jor-El.
Through a clever story device, Jor-El shows up just when Kal-El needs him most. To give him that little push he’s been avoiding, to don the suit and show people the light. Through the lessons instilled by Jonathan as a boy growing into a teenager, Clark/Kal is now faced with his true father who challenges his son to make an example of himself and the humans will follow. Unite both Krypton and Earth as one.
It is a brilliant move by the filmmakers to have every character referring to him as either Kal or Clark. Well, which one is he? Kal-El or Clark Kent? And that is precisely the theme of this new Superman – discovering one’s self and embracing that destiny.
Spoiler alert, Kal/Clark DOES embrace his destiny and goes on an ass-whupping spree the likes NO filmmaker has managed to do with a Superman movie EVER. Buildings are leveled, people are dying and in the middle of it all is Kal/Clark discovering just how far his powers can take him.
Through a sacrifice made by Jonathan Kent in order to protect Clark from the world (with a moment that truly tugged at my heart strings), to the sacrifice Jor-El makes in order to assure Kal his free will, these two interlocking themes elevate this Superman to the best representation we have had yet of the character.
Okay, is the movie perfect? Far from it. It relies too heavily on action – WAY TOO HEAVILY in my mind. I could have used a breath, some more character development from Clark with his relationship with Lois and I would have preferred more of an intimate look at Clark growing up on the farm rather than interspersed flashbacks but I at least applaud the filmmakers for trying to shake up the universe and the expectations of the audience who wanted something different over the original Donner Superman.
It is on that note that stuck with me after the screening, effectively elevating this movie to one of my favorites of the year. Though it is bloated with action (as if WB was really trying to erase Superman Returns with its lack of action) and short on character development (namely with Clark and his relationship with Lois), I believe they have laid a very strong foundation to build upon in the future.
By the end of the movie, Kal-El has taken on the mantle of Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter at the Daily Planet – glasses and all. And when he steps into the office for the first time and sees Lois Lane– I got chills. Mostly because I find it fascinating that we are forging ahead with a Superman franchise that completely disregards the common relationship established not only in the comics, but in the movies as well – Lois doesn’t know that Clark Kent is actually Superman. Here, Lois is fully aware that her co-worker is the last son of Krypton and she decides to keep his secret safe. This, my friends, is an interesting route to take that will add complexity to their relationship moving forward. What a bold choice and one that I am completely behind.
On that note, I will leave you Schmoeville to expand on my ramblings. Man of Steel is a great movie with great performances from Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crow, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane and Michael Shannon. Though the script was a little too light on their development, the acting, directing and themes introduced kept me invested.
This is a totally different Superman; a conflicted, wet behind the ears Superman that is trying to work with the world and its leaders and not against them. How can he show this world they have nothing to fear? That he is, in fact, their friend? The point is further driven home in a great ending scene where Superman destroys a drone because the US is trying to find his Fortress of Solitude.
“You’ll have to trust me.” Superman says. “And on my terms.”
So I am going to heed those words and trust this new Superman and the filmmakers involved. Do I want more in the sequel? Hell yes, I want more. I want to see Clark adjusting to his new role as savior. I want to saver his thoughts on the matter, thrill in his highs and lows and also, I want to understand him better. Man of Steel sets that development up perfectly. The origin story is out of the way now, much like The Dark Knight did for Batman I want to go deeper into the mind of Kal-El/Clark Kent and the world he lives in. So I will do it on the terms laid out by the filmmakers.
This is a good Superman movie. A great Superman movie. And I believe the groundwork has been laid for the next round to be even better.
So this is Reilly’s score:
And with that, Schmoeville, I ask you to chime in, tell me what you think! Let’s talk about this!