We’re Living in the #Thanos Snap (Sort Of) #MCU @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios

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Someone posted a question to Facebook recently: Are we getting baseball soon? This instantly made me think of the scene in Endgame where director Joe Russo played a member of Steve Rogers’ support group. He was recalling a recent date. During the date, one of the topics of conversation was, “How much we miss the Mets.”

Side note: The Mets can rot. Go Nats!

My first thought was to write a lighthearted, very short post – a stub, really – about how many of us feel that way. However, the connections between the aftermath of Thanos’s snap and our quarantine have quite a few more similarities. (Don’t worry. This will still be short.) While the reasoning for our predicament, and some of its effects, are very different, there are some effects where I find strong similarities. With 50% of the population suddenly and unexpectedly wiped out, storefronts were emptied and services like professional sports ground to a halt. Everyone missed their friends and family, but for some that loss would be tragically permanent (e.g., whoever was riding in the helicopter that crashed when its pilot was dusted). Does any of this sound familiar?

When the Hulk’s snap was an attempt to return everything to normal, it took only one movie, Spiderman: Far from Home, before we realized that wasn’t entirely so. Then attorneys like me started pointing out all sorts of legal issues that would arise. (My observations, including sports contracts, are buried in my Facebook stream, so enjoy this example article instead.) My understanding is that a serious legal issue will be addressed in Black Panther 2: Is T’Challa still king?

In the real world, what are the long-term effects of COVID-19 besides, obviously, the permanent loss of life? What will we be facing when the stay-at-home orders are lifted? It won’t be that simple. The practice of hand-shaking is under assault. Some long-standing, extremely popular restaurants just won’t be able to reopen. They’ll be replaced eventually. In fact, for many aspiring entrepreneurs, this will be the opportunity of a lifetime – demand will be high – but it still sucks.

When journalist Joni Balter suggested that, when the state’s stay-at-home order is lifted, many may welcome him and other restaurants back in the Downtown area, Douglas pushed back. “I’m not sure you really get it, Joni,” he said. “You don’t just come back from this. This cost $3 million just to close my businesses down. We are broke … the reality is that it’s going to be tough for 50 percent of our restaurants to come back.”

Staying in the real world, we’re already contemplating (if not seeing) the legal battles that will ensue over missed payments and such. Some of it is being held off by, for example, government moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions, but without forgiveness of debt, we’re just delaying the inevitable.

The streets are empty, friends and family are missing, and things will never quite be the same despite eventually getting our own version of the Hulk Snap. Some of that may be good in ways that don’t synchronize with the Thanos Snap. For example, some people have learned that they can work from their homes, and their bosses will realize how much money that will save them in overhead. Less traffic and lower fuel costs will make the world more efficient and less costly. I’ll have more time to write blog posts. 🙂 But humans are social creatures, and we’re going to lose some of that permanently.

Art imitates life. Sometimes it predicts it.

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No Small Parts @Melia_Kreiling @comicbook @BrandonDavisBD @JamesGunn @seangunn #QuarantineWatchParty #GotG #MCU

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Tuesday night was the Guardians of the Galaxy quarantine watch party hosted again by Brandon Davis of ComicBook.com. We were joined by director James Gunn and actors Sean Gunn and Melia Kreiling. I love the GotG movies and have spoken about them many times, but with movies this good, there’s always something more to discuss after each viewing.

Melia Kreiling played Bereet in the 18-second clip below.

She had an additional one minute here.

This isn’t much screen time, but during my online interaction with Ms. Kreiling, I played the role of Captain Obvious and pointed out that there’s no such thing as a “small part.”

Actors with quick appearances, even if they have no lines and are relegated to the background, provide necessary color to scenes. I’m sure most actors want lead roles in blockbuster films, but if that isn’t available, their contribution can still be important. Let’s consider the scenes in the videos. Like most of the primary and secondary MCU characters, Peter Quill (you might know him by another name, Star Lord) had a lot of growing to do. He started as an irreverent, silly, narcissistic, selfish criminal, but by the end of Endgame had become an . . .  irreverent, silly, savior of the universe. Old habits die hard, and you can’t fix stupid, but it’s the thought that counts, and his intentions became noble.

But how can you appreciate that growth if you don’t experience its full progression. Bereet provided the necessary context. The first time we got a glimpse into what made Peter tick was his interaction with Bereet. She was, as Ms. Kreiling puts it,

Peter and Bereet had clearly spent a non-negligible amount of time together, most of which we assume was sexual, and he didn’t even remember her being there. How self-absorbed can one get? He then refuses to honor his word by betraying Yondu (admittedly, not the nicest guy either). Bereet provided the means to display that betrayal by unwittingly answering the “phone call,” something Peter would just have ignored without the audience knowing it had happened. This was good acting and good writing, and was as important as any other moment in that movie.

“Small parts” are often critical. Sometimes we just don’t think about the roles they play.

Side note: As I was pulling up the YouTube videos, this gem auto-played. For your viewing and listening pleasure. Seriously, listen to that music.

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#Shazam v. Guardians of the Galaxy @ponysmasher @martamilans @smugorange @russburlingame @comicbook @BrandonDavisBD @janellwheeler @tylacinee @SunSoar25 @ZacharyLevi @karengillan #GotG #mcu #decu

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On April Fool’s Day, I enjoyed yet another quarantine watch party. This one was for Shazam, which is a movie I love. We were joined by the director, David Sandberg, and the actors that played Billy’s foster parents, Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews. The party was hosted by Brandon Davis of Comicbook.com, and Russ Burlingame joined in as well. We may have been joined by some other people involved in the film, but I wouldn’t know. I was clearly confused. For a moment I though Russ was the producer or something. Awkward.

Anyway, comic book movies are well-loved, but it seems most people love them solely for their action and fantasy elements. I feel that they don’t get the respect they deserve for the acting and screenwriting, which at times is top notch. After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”) and DC Extended Universe (“DCEU”) have a few former Oscar winners in it. There are several themes that came up in our collective commentary that I wanted to discuss, some of which are shared with the Guardians of the Galaxy. In fact, Shazam occupies the same space in the DC Extended Universe (“DCEU”) as GotG. When I initially made that observation, my thoughts were quite narrow. I was referring to the fact that both were expected to lighten the mood of their respective cinematic universes by focusing a lot more on comedy than the others. All these movies have some comedic one-liners, and both Shazam and GotG were still very much action-oriented, but we all can see that the balance between those two genres were tipped a little further comedy for Shazam and GotG. But there were other reasons to make this connection that I didn’t initially appreciate.

Everyone Was Pretty Selfish

As with most stories, the primary characters in these films were flawed; to-wit: their motivations selfish. In GotG, Peter was a thief, Gamora was an assassin, Rocket and Groot were mercenaries, and Drax was motivated solely by hatred and loss. Each of those attitudes led to risks not only to their own well-beings, but to the well-beings of the entire galaxy. The same selfishness was common among the main characters in Shazam, and not just the villain. These flaws were normal for children their ages, and thus the stakes were initially lower, but when these kids were forced to deal with fantastic circumstances that don’t exist in the real world, they had no choice but to grow up quickly. It didn’t go so well. Billy stole from Freddy, and when they worked together, they willingly took $73 from the mugging “victim” knowing full well that Shazam was scaring her into handing over the money. They stole far more money from an ATM.

Eventually, Billy started to play the role of a hero, but only because his reckless behavior created the danger in the first place. Though he saved the day . . . well . . .

Freddy had his own problems. He “understood this whole superhero thing” better than anyone, but he quickly broke his own rules.

Family Takes Many Forms

That second tweet isn’t strictly correct. The Vasquez family wasn’t an “adoptive” family; they were a foster family. That’s a slightly different dynamic. I’m not familiar with the details of the process, but in an adoptive family, at least the parents get to choose the children they adopt. In a foster family, that choice is made by the foster care system. Foster familes are forced on one another, and in GotG, that’s true as well. The Guardians were forced on one another by circumstance. This isn’t to say that freewill didn’t play any part; the Vasquez family chose to be a foster family to someone, and the Guardians could have split up as soon as they escaped prison (or at any other time). I’m just saying that there were far more severe limits placed on their respective choices, and that makes their coming together as a family more impressive.

And those families worked. By working together, the characters in desperate need of person growth became better. They focused on more than just themselves. On the extreme end of the spectrum, Nebula’s realized relationship with Gamora, and then the other Guardians, led to her rhetoric shifting from “I’m killing Thanos because I hate him” to “I’m killing Thanos because he’s going to kill half the universe.” In a similar way, despite all the superpowers he had, Billy was still just a dopey kid who’s sense of family was an unattainable ideal, and like Starlord, that caused him initially to miss the family that was right in front of his face. Billy didn’t really evolve until he accepted his new family, and then he learned not only their importance, but everyone’s importance. The sense of family led to a sense of community.

The Stakes Were Still High

As I said, and as you all know, these are still action movies. The Guardians saved a planet from a villain who would eventually become a threat to the entire galaxy. That threat needed to be extreme in order to keep the movie from getting too lighthearted. Shazam was written to be even far more family-friendly, yet the boardroom scene was so dark that it received quite a bit of criticism. I don’t think that’s fair. A movie so lighthearted can cause the viewer to lose sight of the stakes. Doctor Sivana murdered several people, including his brother and father. Sound familiar, Ego? What about you, Thanos?

The Acting Was Solid

I won’t beat the dead horse any more than I must, but here’s a quick summary of my feelings on the actors of GotG. While I believe Tom Hiddleston to have given the best acting performance as a whole throughout the MCU, the actors in GotG represented the best acting ensemble in the MCU, and Karen Gillan’s performance was so good in the MCU and elsewhere (for example, no spoilers and spoilers) that I’m convinced that there’s an Oscar in her future if she’s given the right script. Similarly, the cast of Shazam is probably my favorite ensemble from the DCEU. All the themes above required solid acting to pull off.

Zachary Levi did a fantastic job playing a kid in a man’s body. He had the same insecurities as any kid and tried to hide them by acting as a kid would assume an adult would act. Billy’s lack of a father figure added to the awkwardness, which Levi captured well. A lot of that is scriptwriting, but someone must act it out.

One thing that stood out to me was that Billy never showed a fear of the dark as Tom Hanks’s character in Big did.

This made sense because he had superpowers, but when he met Dr. Sivana, he had that moment of fear. Once he experienced Sivana’s superpowers and intimidating personality, that childish fear rose to the surface. He assumed (inaccurately) that his powers were no match for Sivana’s.

Later in the movie, Meagan Good had a similar but funny moment.

For context, she was an adult actress acting giddy around a guy playing Santa.

Marta and Cooper did a great job as foster parents, which was critical to advancing the main theme of the movie.

Perhaps they showed a little too much patience for Billy’s antics then they should in the real world, but this is a movie, so the script did what it had to do. The point is that foster parents should be patient, and that’s something to which I can relate. When push came to shove, they mixed the right amount of good cop/bad cop in how they dealt with Billy. That gave Billy the push he needed, leading to his catchphrase, “If a superhero can’t save his family, he’s not much of a hero.”

The child actors did a really good job as well. I don’t have much to say about them because they were kids playing kids, so nothing floored me there. However, having a script that takes advantage of a bunch of cute kids is always going to make some people happy.

Conclusion

I’ve never really read comics. I don’t know how faithful this movie was to the comics, and I understand that’s important to some of you, but I just don’t care. I’m taking this movie at face value, and I was impressed with both the acting and script. It was a lot of fun and may be my favorite DCEU film to date (though I really liked Wonder Woman too).

Postscript

There are some people included on my cc: that weren’t involved in the film and (to my knowledge) aren’t professional journalists. They were people that I “met” for the first time through this quarantine watch party, and they’re as important to it as the celebrities. It was a lot of fun. You may want to join us sometime.

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Relationships in #Thor: The Dark World @CUnderkoffler @twhiddleston @chrishemsworth #MCU

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I was recently talking about the MCU on Facebook (surprised?), and Thor: The Dark World (“TTDW”) came up. My general position was painful to admit: TTDW was a bottom tier MCU film. Thor is my favorite MCU character, but this entry was a bit weak. My general sentiment, however, was that you’ll appreciate all of these movies more if you see them as episodes in a longer story arc. This led to two points being made, one by me and one by a Facebook friend, Chad.

The Thor-Loki Dynamic

Chad stated:

I -really- like the Thor/Loki dynamic in Dark World. It’s set-up in the first movie. You can’t have their relationship in Ragnarok (especially post-Avengers) without it.

I agreed to a large extent, first because Tom Hiddleston’s acting was in my opinion the best overall throughout the MCU, but second because of Chris Hemsworth, who did a great job as Thor. The problem is that this relationship was a secondary plotline. The main storyline brought the film down to the bottom tier of the MCU. That said, Chad’s observation was an important one that was in line with my other comments of my Facebook thread. Secondary plotlines become far more important when you see these movies as episodes in a longer story that’s never (to my knowledge) been done in cinema. Iron Man 2 was my least favorite MCU film, and I’ll still gladly watch it. It’s an episode in a decade-long story that I love. A weak episode (to me), but still part of the story.

I told Chad I’d re-watch the movie and focus on that relationship to see if I could grab anything new about it. On my latest viewing, I learned . . . very little. This isn’t to say I disagree with Chad – I absolutely agree – I just remembered everything about it, so there was nothing new. Although Thor: Ragnarök fully developed Thor’s dimwittedness from mythology, he showed some signs of it in the first two Thor movies, but only with respect to Loki, who was always able to fool him. In addition, their love-hate relationship ultimately favored love, made apparent in the opening act of Infinity War. That act wouldn’t have meant a thing without the context of the prior films, and that made Infinity War a better film than it otherwise would have been.

Frigga’s Death

An even better example of this effect was the death of Frigga. When I first saw TTDW, I thought her death was unnecessary and cheap. It appeared as a means to say, “Let’s have someone die to show that the stakes are high, but not someone important enough that the stakes are actually high.” In hindsight, my perspective was dead wrong. Like all the major MCU characters, Thor went on a path of self-improvement, but he hit a major stumbling block off-camera between Infinity War and Endgame: depression and PTSD. While having never slipped unto unworthiness, Frigga was the last push he needed to get back on track, and their interaction in Endgame wouldn’t have conveyed such meaning if she hadn’t died in TTDW. This is hardly novel in the MCU. I’ve discussed this before with respect to Black Widow and Hawkeye. The MCU did a surprisingly good job of immersing me in the emotions of those relationships. TTDW is a good example of how they laid the foundation for one of those key moments.

Why Is It So Bad?

Honestly, I have no idea why I place the TTDW in the bottom tier of MCU movies. It should be great. It has well-defined villains, a well-defined primary antagonist, plenty of action, plenty of humor, plenty of human drama, and perhaps even more is at stake than in Infinity War (but at least as much). I can’t explain why it’s not one of the best; it simply isn’t.

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Multiple Timelines in the #MCU

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I’ve never liked plots with infinite realities. The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Parallels, is an exception, but for the most part it’s not only unwieldy, but it also ruins its own efforts. As to being unwieldy, Star Trek generally did things right. They stuck to only two realities: The Prime Universe (where most of the stories take place) and the Mirror Universe (where the Federation is evil). Two realities are really easy to track for the viewer and allow the realities to be true opposites rather than meaningless shades of grey that wouldn’t produce much drama. As to ruining its own efforts, forgetting all its other faults, consider Terminator: Genysis. In that movie, we learn that there are an infinite number of realities in which humans are battling Skynet. We all presume that in some realities the machines win, and in others, the humans win. In the particular reality that we’re shown, (SPOILER ALERT!), the director chose to show us one in which the humans win, but that choice was arbitrary. I’m left thinking, “Yeah, but there are an infinite amount of people suffering in other realities, so this isn’t much of a happy ending, is it?”

This is why I’m (slightly) worried about the multiverse coming to the MCU. According to Dr. Strange, only 1 in 14,000,605 possible outcomes resulted in the defeat of Thanos. This is horrible math, but let’s say that means only 1 of each 14,000,605 universes enjoy that success (which poorly assumes that each outcome has the same chance of occurring). Bad math aside, that means the number of sad endings far exceeds the number happy ones. Just because the Russo brothers arbitrarily chose to show us one of the happy endings doesn’t mean we should walk away thinking everything is great. It isn’t. In the grand scale of things, it’s actually rather bad.

This entire train of thought originated with a tweet of mine, which I retweeted and added to after seeing the latest commercial for Wandavision:

While I expect Dr. Strange to deal with a lot more than two realities, they don’t have to do so going forward. Assuming that each of the teams from Endgame traveled to the same alternate reality, everything that we’ve seen/will see occur with both Loki and Vision could be explained by only two realities. That is, the other Thanos came from the same reality in which Loki escaped using the space stone, and since that Thanos was from 2014, died, and never returned to his reality, his reality’s Vision survived as well. The MCU could therefore focus on just those two realities. That’d be a lot easier to manage, and yet the MCU could still address infinite universes where, as with Parallels, that can actually work. I hope they generally stick to just the two, though of course I’ll watch their movies regardless.

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Black Widow Was the Perfect Choice #MCU @Scarlett_Jo

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My favorite movie from the MCU is Captain America: The Winter Soldier because it deals with an issue — security v. liberty — that is both topical and important. In the end, it comes down on the correct side of that debate — liberty — without being naive. As I was watching it yesterday, it evoked a thought about Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a., Black Widow and why she had to be the one to sacrifice herself in Endgame.

Best Friends

As I’ve opined on Facebook and Twitter, I’m not sure if Natasha and Clint Barton’s friendship is the best thing about the MCU, but it’s really close. You couldn’t build that relationship in a single film. The MCU is several independent films that collectively is greater than the sum of its parts. That friendship was introduced in the first Avengers movie, and continued in Age of Ultron, Civil War, and Endgame. However, as you know, that wasn’t the only relationship of Natasha’s that was developed throughout the movies. Almost all of the original Avengers had a one-on-one relationship with her developed by the writers.

Tony

In Iron Man 2, she was paired with Tony Stark. Being very shallow, Tony probably needed more time than most to let her in, so introducing them to each other very early in the MCU was necessary. Even though Tony was, for lack of a better description, very anti-spy, he eventually found himself on the same side as Natasha in the Avengers’ civil war. So, when I think about there relationship, I can’t help but think it’s strong, or at least as strong as Tony can have. That’s the impression I get.

… And the Rest

From there, the relationships get even stronger, both professional and personal. In Winter Soldier, Black Widow was critical in helping Steve Rogers discover and take down Hyrda, and she also established a relationship with Sam Wilson, who was part of the same mission. Topping it off, Natasha got Steve back into “the game” by insisting he start dating, so it wasn’t merely professional; they were genuine friends. Next, in Age of Ultron, Bruce Banner and she developed romantic feelings for one another, which Banner threw away. That would later come back to haunt him in Endgame, where he must have felt some regret over that decision. While not developed, you knew there must be some professional respect between Natasha and Rhoadey, and perhaps with Vision and Wanda Maximoff as well, as she and Steve were responsible for training them. Even across so many films, there was only so much time to develop these kinds of relationships, so they appropriately focused on the original Avengers, but those seeds were planted elsewhere.

Endgame

When the Avengers were standing around mourning her loss, it felt real. Tony’s death affected the fans, but I don’t know that any other character could have evoked such a sense of genuine loss throughout the ensemble of characters. Each of those characters had a direct connection to her. The only one that was forced was her relationship with Thor because they never had a mission together, or even a significant moment. However, the other relationships within the group, as well as the fact that we’ve seen them work as part of the same team throughout those films, amplified the believability of Thor’s grief.

Complaints

I’ve read plenty of resistance to her sacrifice online, but I thought it was perfect for her to be the one. Natasha was in a very real sense the emotional glue that held the team together, which also explains her role as leader of the Avengers at the beginning of Endgame. She (and similarly Clint) had no superpowers but certainly held a very important place on the team. Losing her was emotionally devastating for the others on a personal level, and perhaps because she’s gone, it makes sense that the team has now split (even though that’s really about actor contracts). Then there’s the fact that the character isn’t dead to us. We’ll all be watching her solo movie later this year, so she’s not really gone until the actor doesn’t want to play the character anymore.

Her death meant something internally to the script. It had to be her.

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The Ending of All Creatures Here Below Screwed Me Up @karengillan @Dastmalchian @schifflifilms #movie

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The ending of All Creatures Here Below really screwed me up, and it’s been festering in my brain for about a week now. (Okay, technically, I’m already screwed up, and this just raised the issue.) I need to get it off my chest. As I mentioned in a prior post, I rented it, saw it, had to watch it a second time, and now have no intention of watching it again. While the last part of that statement seems like an insult, everyone involved in this movie should take it as a great compliment. This movie was fantastic; it was just too much for me to have to watch again. I think anyone who knows me well would be shocked to hear me say something like that, but there it is.

Spoiler Alert!

Before you read further, please note that this is one of those few movies that I’m glad I saw spoiler-free. If you’re at all spoiler-averse, you should stop reading now and watch the movie. If not, you’re robbing yourself of a process that made the movie even better for me. I watched it once, tolerating the typical humdrum character and story development necessary to start any film, was hit with the twist towards the end (which I won’t spoil here), and then was hit with the ending. At that point, I knew I had to watch it again, which completely changed how I saw the start of the movie. It was no longer humdrum; rather, almost every moment became disturbing. As you’ll soon understand, my second time through was enough for me. I’ll probably never watch it a third time.

The Characters

The two main characters, Gensan and Ruby, are bad people. They really are. They committed crimes, both minor and heinous, throughout the movie. I should be rooting for their downfall, but as I’ve pointed out, this movie demonstrates how complex issues can get. While I don’t waiver one bit on the position that they should both be in prison, the screenwriting (David Dastmalchian) and directing (Collin Schiffli), and acting (Dastmalchian and Karen Gillan) cause a conflict in my brain. I feel bad for these people, probably because I know that the emotion the characters are feeling are ones with which we can all sympathize. They deserve to be in prison because of their actions, but how they emotionally respond to their own actions, as well as how tough their circumstances are, are relatable. Some of you may even share those circumstances. This makes the ending scene even more difficult for me to watch.

5 Minutes

Even for those of us that have never had a major death in our lifetimes, I think most of us can appreciate the finality associated with it. Once a person dies, that’s it. Even if you’re religious, for all practical purposes that person is gone forever. You won’t see them again during your lifetime. This inspires a very common sentiment: “What I wouldn’t give for just five more minutes with [person].” Depending on the relationship, you may want to spend that five minutes kissing, hugging, or just talking to that person. Perhaps you want to tell them one more time how you feel about them, or you just want to sit back and enjoy the wisdom that they often imparted. Regardless of what you need from that five minutes, you need that five minutes.

And that’s what kills me. In that ending scene, Gensan is living in what should have been those five minutes. In his twisted mind, he had to kill her. Even assuming that’s reasonable (it isn’t), he didn’t have to kill her at that precise moment. He could have kept her alive for another five minutes. Even for a guy who was so emotionally stunted, I think he, like all of us in our own ways, would appreciate just a few more minutes with her, but unlike us, he’s the reason he doesn’t have those five minutes.

Moreover, despite Ruby’s mangled corpse being out of view, we all know intellectually what Gensan is looking at when he’s staring down at the ground. However, the directing (I think that’s where the credit lies) of the film is magnificent in making sure we connect emotionally with that scene. Ruby falls to the ground after the initial (brutal) strike. She gets hit again, and we see only her right hand clutching the grass. Then she’s hit a third time, and her hand is limp. On the fourth and final strike, it simply bounces a bit from the impact. We see her brutal death occur without the blood and guts, but we can’t ignore the brutality of it. Gensan is looking right at the product of his own handiwork knowing that he didn’t have to do it, or at least didn’t have to do it before spending five minutes saying a proper goodbye.

Ruby’s Letter

Then he reads the letter. I didn’t fully process the letter the first time I watched the movie, but the second time, it took an already twisted scene and made it even worse. Ruby gets to have those five minutes in a sense, because her letter gets to tell Gensan how she feels about him. If Gensan didn’t yet want to say a proper goodbye to Ruby, he must want to now. He must also be overwhelmed by his own betrayal. She saw him as her “knight in shining armor,” but he failed her in that regard in the worst way imaginable. To do that to someone you love so much must feel awful. In fact, I can’t think of a word to use in place of “awful” that can fully describe what he must be feeling.

All of this could have been delayed just five minutes. How bad would you feel if you could have had five more minutes after your loss? Even assuming nothing criminal on your part, how much worse would you feel if the reason you didn’t have those five minutes was because of your own impulsive, stupid actions?

It May Be Even Worse

As if all of that isn’t bad enough, it may be even worse. Gensan may have to relive this pain over again. Let’s say he gets exceptionally lucky and serves only twenty years in prison. Assuming he’s thirty years old, he’s out at fifty (just a bit younger than I am now), with on average (statistically speaking) twenty-six years left of life on this planet. On the day he’s granted parole and knows he’s getting out, something’s going to hit him: If he could have gotten lucky, perhaps Ruby could have as well. She could have also been getting out of prison at some time (if not the same time), so they could have decades of those “five minutes” together if not for his short-sighted actions.

He’s going to have to relive that same pain again, knowing that he robbed himself and her of that time together, as well as everything else that goes along with life. How could you live with that?

Personal Matter

Everyone has their pain, and I’m no exception, but my greatest pain dwarves the rest of it. In fact, I’d say that pain defines me. Several movies have occasionally tugged on that particular heart-string. I won’t share it here, but I’ll assure you that it involved no criminal behavior on anyone’s part. Nevertheless, no movie has hit that pain as hard as this movie did. Perhaps that makes me like this movie more than you will, but I still encourage people to watch it. Even if you’ve just spoiled it for yourself, there’s a twist I haven’t spoiled, and the ending should still be a powerful watch for you.

Grade

I give this movie a solid A.

America’s Sugar Addiction

To lighten the mood, there was one other thing that was disturbing about the movie, but in a funny way. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say this: Ruby, c’mon! You’re still watching TV and eating a Baby Ruth? Can’t you put it down for just a few minutes? 😊

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