My Week 160: Naptime at Bladerunner 2049, Russian Cowboys

Naptime at Bladerunner 2049

The other day, I went to see the new Bladerunner movie with my brother. He got tickets to the VIP theatre, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s like a luxury theatre where the chairs are all like giant La-Z-Boys (which, by the way, is a TERRIBLE name for a piece of furniture—after a long day, how is it lazy to want to sink into a reclining piece of heaven? It should be called a “You-Deserve-This-Goddamn-It-Boy” and then you would lie back and be like, “You’re f*cking right, I do” instead of “Did you just insult me, comfortable yet strangely passive-aggressive chair?” Anyway, I digress). The VIP theatre also offers dinner and bar service delivered right to your seat by the staff, so my brother and I ordered our usual pulled-pork poutine, and a nice bottle of wine. The movie, for some unknown reason, was in 3D. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to eat pulled pork poutine in the dark WHILST wearing 3D glasses—talk about a messy proposition. So if you’re planning on seeing it, and you have to choose between regular and 3D, let me tell you that, like most movies in 3D lately, there is absolutely no reason to pay extra. Unless there are flying snakes or sharks in a tornado, the use of 3D is pretty redundant in most movies, and especially in Bladerunner, which isn’t really an action movie at all—trust me, at almost three hours running time, it’s pretty contemplative. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it—I completely did, and I had no weird questions to ask about it afterward. But the best, like the most f*cking amazing part of the whole experience, was that I managed to STAY AWAKE for the entire three hours. If you’ve read me for a while, you’ll know that I am renowned for falling asleep at the movies. You may recall that in My Week 79: Naptime at Batman Vs. Superman, I missed most of the film and woke up profoundly confused, and I was too embarrassed to ask my brother, who has a Ph.D., to explain it to me. Here’s a recap:

1) Why was Batman so pissed off at Superman?
2) Why did the angry Facebook guy want to kill Superman?
3) What was the point of two superheroes, both of whom are impervious to physical damage from the other, insisting on trying to beat the sh*t out of each other for three hours when it’s obvious that NO ONE is going to win?
4) What was with the gratuitous 15 minute scene of a shirtless Ben Affleck doing pull-ups and hitting a tractor tire with a sledgehammer? (Sure, he was very muscular, but also a little hairy and sweaty, and not in that GOOD way).
5) What kind of coincidence is it that Superman and Batman both have moms with the same name, and that once Batman finds out, they immediately become best friends instead of two guys trying to destroy each other? Did they have the SAME mom? Are they actually half-brothers or something?
6) How does an underground lake turn a normal, dead guy into a gigantic, disgustingly slimy superhuman who can only be killed by kryptonite?
7) Where the HELL did Wonderwoman come from and why did she look so happy to be there? And don’t even get me started on Aquaman and that weird-ass cameo where he looked like a character from Game of Thrones (not surprisingly) and came out of his little cave looking all sleepy and blinky, then stabbed the camera and swam away.
8) But the biggest question I had of all was this: Why did no one, in the entire movie, punch Jessie Eisenberg in the face? Because I sure as hell wanted to, mostly because of his bad acting (dude, you will NEVER be Heath Ledger, so don’t even try), but also because he’s just so f*cking annoying in everything he’s ever been in. At the end, Batman goes to see him in the “lunatic asylum” and he’s got his Batman brand all ready (by the way, when did Batman start branding people like cattle?), and I was like, “Please, god, just do this one thing for me,” but instead, Batman punched the wall and left.
9) And then the last scene of the movie was a zoom-in on the same bizarre painting of the same space harpies from an earlier scene, only now it was hung the other way, like it was an omen, or maybe a flashback, or maybe foreshadowing, only I was like, “I’m done. I can’t even.” And then we left the theatre:

Brother: That was great! Did you like it?
Me: Yeah, I guess. It was a little long. I was kind of bored by the end.
Brother: Bored? Really? What about the scene where…
Me: Oh yeah! That was a great scene!
Brother: And the scene when…
Me: I know, right? Talk about crazy!
Brother: I loved the part where…
Me: Me too. What a moment!

The best thing was that he seemed completely unaware that I’d been asleep for any length of time. But I had a sneaking suspicion that his inquisition may or may not have been motivated by a desire to watch me squirm, and at Bladerunner 2049, I finally got my revenge.

About half an hour into the movie, I realized that my brother hadn’t taken a sip of wine for a while. I took off my 3D glasses and looked more closely. Sure enough, his eyes were closed. At a certain point, his head tipped kind of sideways, and his jaw dropped open. Yes—my brother was asleep. After a while, he woke up, looked around surreptitiously, then poured each of us another glass of wine. I maintained my innocent façade until the movie was over. As we were walking out, we began to share our thoughts:

Brother: That was pretty amazing.
Me: I know, right? So beautifully shot.
Brother: A great sequel.
Me: And what about the part with the wings? Could you believe it when THAT happened?!
Brother (slight pause): I know! Such a moment.
Me: I can’t believe they didn’t play up the “wing” angle a little more. It would have made such sense.
Brother: It was a great motif, for sure.
Me: What a missed opportunity. Do you remember in the original Bladerunner at the end when Roy releases the dove in the rain? Can you imagine the parallelism if Ryan Gosling had been there in the snow, and then the wings had just opened?!
Brother: It would have really tied everything together!

Just to clarify, there are NO wings in the movie. Ultimately, I can’t tell if my brother was playing along because HE was asleep, or if he thought that I was asleep and that I’d had some weird, pulled-pork and wine-induced hallucination based on the fact that Ryan Gosling is named after a tiny goose and maybe would have wings in my imagination.

Still, the movie was great, and made total sense, unlike the original film Westworld, which Ken and I just watched on the weekend. We had seen the new series and were pretty impressed, but I wanted to see what the source material was like. Overall, it was a good piece for the 70s, with one major exception. The main villain in the film was played by Yul Brynner. Which would be fine in any other circumstance, except Westworld is about a fantasy vacation land where people can pretend to live in the Old West. In what possible universe would a short, bald Russian guy be believable as an American cowboy?! Then again, considering the state of American politics, I’m just going to leave that there.

 

My Week 79: Naptime at Batman Versus Superman, The Queen and I Rent a Car

Wednesday: Napping at the movies

The other night, Ken and I rented the latest James Bond film, “Spectre”. I was kind of excited, because I love Daniel Craig as 007—he’s my favourite Bond, although when he retires, I will be totally pulling for Idris Elba, just for the record—and I’d been wanting to see the return of Blofeld for a while. We settled in to watch it and it was pretty good, but part way through the fortieth car chase, I said to Ken, “I’m having serious déjà vu right now. You know, like I feel as though I’ve seen this before.” Ken said, “But when would you have seen it? You’ve been talking about renting it for about three weeks. Did you watch it in Toronto without me?” But that wasn’t possible because there’s absolutely nowhere in Toronto anywhere near my condo that rents movies. So we kept watching, and the feeling got stronger until I said to Ken, “I don’t know how I know this, but in about 1 minute, they’re going to walk away from that building and it’s going to explode in the background.” I know there’s a lot of explosion-y stuff in James Bond movies, but it happened just like I pictured it in my mind. Then I was pretty well able to predict what was going to happen in the rest of the movie with some accuracy, but I still didn’t know HOW I knew. Until Wednesday, when my brother came over. We were going to have dinner and then see “Batman Versus Superman”. I thought it was a long shot, but I asked him if there was any way that we had seen “Spectre” together. My brother has a PhD, which also means he has a really awesome memory, and he very quickly reminded me that yes, I’d gone with him and his wife to the VIP theatre to watch it about three months ago, and that we’d shared a bottle of wine and had pulled pork poutine for dinner. And that I’d fallen asleep almost immediately at the start of the movie, which they thought was pretty funny. It all came flooding back at that point—well, the memory of falling asleep anyway—but it must have been a light enough doze that my subconscious was aware of what was happening in at least SOME parts of the film. I was a little embarrassed, but then I got really worried, because it had been a long day, we were drinking wine, and now we were going to see ANOTHER action movie. I determined that I was NOT going to fall asleep this time. The previews came on, then the movie started. Everybody was pissed off at Superman, including Batman, for a reason I have yet to comprehend. And then I was like, “Since when is Gotham right across the bay from Metropolis, but Superman and Batman have never met?” Next thing, a crazy Mark Zuckerberg was talking about some painting being hung upside down, and a bunch of other random things happened. But then suddenly, the world was being attacked by space harpies, and Superman’s evil twin was trying to pull Ben Affleck’s heart out through his chest, and then he woke up and realized he was sleeping, and I was like, “What the F*CK is going on here?!” And I realized that yes, I’d also been asleep, yet again, for an indeterminate amount of time, and now I had no idea what was happening. Now, in my opinion, there’s NO WAY that missing 30 minutes of a six hour film (well, it felt like six hours) should make it incomprehensible, but maybe it was that way to begin with. The only good thing was that it was really dark and my eyes were hidden behind 3D glasses, so I’m pretty sure my brother, despite his PhD, had no clue that I was yet again taking a nap. But the problem was that by the end of the movie, I had more questions than answers. Like, why was Batman so pissed off at Superman? Why did the angry Facebook guy want to kill Superman? What was the point of two superheroes, both of whom are impervious to physical damage from the other, insisting on trying to beat the sh*t out of each other for three hours when it’s obvious that NO ONE is going to win? What was with the gratuitous 15 minute scene of a shirtless Ben Affleck doing pull-ups and hitting a tractor tire with a sledgehammer? (Sure, he was very muscular, but also a little hairy and sweaty, and not in that GOOD way). What kind of coincidence is it that Superman and Batman both have moms with the same name, and that once Batman finds out, they immediately become best friends instead of two guys trying to destroy each other? Did they have the SAME mom? Are they actually half-brothers or something? How does an underground lake turn a normal, dead guy into a gigantic, disgustingly slimy superhuman who can only be killed by kryptonite? Where the HELL did Wonderwoman come from and why did she look so happy to be there? And don’t even get me started on Aquaman and that weird-ass cameo where he looked like a character from Game of Thrones and came out of his little cave looking all sleepy and blinky, then stabbed the camera and swam away. But the biggest question I had of all was this: Why did no one, in the entire movie, punch Jessie Eisenberg in the face? Because I sure as hell wanted to, mostly because of his bad acting (dude, you will NEVER be Heath Ledger, so don’t even try), but also because he’s just so f*cking annoying in everything he’s ever been in. At the end, Batman goes to see him in the “lunatic asylum” and he’s got his Batman brand all ready (by the way, when did Batman start branding people like cattle?), and I was like, “Please, god, just do this one thing for me,” but instead, Batman punched the wall and left. And then the last scene of the movie was a zoom-in on the same bizarre painting of the same space harpies from an earlier scene, only now it was hung the other way, like it was an omen, or maybe a flashback, or maybe foreshadowing, only I was like, “I’m done. I can’t even.” And then we left the theatre:

Brother: That was great! Did you like it?
Me: Yeah, I guess. It was a little long. I was kind of bored by the end.
Brother: Bored? Really? What about the scene where…
Me: Oh yeah! That was a great scene!
Brother: And the scene when…
Me: I know, right? Talk about crazy!
Brother: I loved the part where…
Me: Me too. What a moment!

The best part was that he seemed to have no idea that I’d been asleep for any length of time. Of course, if he reads this, he’ll know, but at least then I can get some of my questions answered. (Actually, the real best part of the night happened when we were leaving. The ushers asked everyone to return their 3D glasses to the bins outside the theatre, and on the way out, my brother spotted a receptacle that said ‘Thank You’ on it. He turned to me and said, “Here’s where we’re supposed to leave our glasses”, and he tossed them in. I went to do the same, but looked in first and said, “Dude, that’s the garbage.” Then we both said, “Oh sh*t!” and the people behind us started laughing hysterically.) Ultimately, I should try harder to stay awake during movies, but honestly, in this case, I don’t think it would have helped.

Thursday: I rent a car for the Queen

Starting on Sunday, I’ll be working away from the office at a different site for about three weeks. And because I’ll be transporting a couple of coworkers, I was told that I should rent a car, and that my company would reimburse me. The only qualifier was this: “When you rent the car, you have to list Her Majesty The Queen as the lessee. The car will be in her name, and you’ll be listed as the driver.” This might sound strange, but I work for a government agency, and I was assured that this was common practice and had something to do with liability. Actually, that doesn’t make it sound any LESS strange, but remember, I also had to take an oath to her in order to work at my new job. I definitely had some questions though. Like, what if the Queen suddenly came to Canada? Would I have to drive her around? Or was she one of those people who would insist on taking the wheel herself? I hear she still likes to bomb around in her Land Rover when she’s at Balmoral. And what if she got caught drinking and was charged with a DUI? Could I still rent the car? Or would they be like, “I’m sorry, but the person whose name the car is in has to have a valid licence.”? Even worse, she’s pretty old—what if she suddenly died in the next three weeks? Aside from the world mourning the loss of a great monarch, would I also have to mourn the loss of my rental car or would Prince William just inherit it along with everything else? Questions aside though, on Thursday night, I called a local car rental company, Enterprise. A woman answered and I told her that I needed to reserve a car for a certain number of days.

Woman: Whose name will the car be leased under?
Me: The Queen.
Woman: What queen?
Me: The Queen of England.
Woman: The Queen of England?
Me: Yes, that one. I’ll be the primary driver though.
Woman: Um…
Me: No, seriously, I work for a government agency.
Woman: Right…sure you do.
Me: Is this the Woodstock location?
Woman: No—this is the central call centre. In Nevada.
Me: Oh. I should probably just go to the Woodstock branch.
Woman: They’re closed. Indefinitely.
Me: But I just drove by there the other day…
Woman: No, they’re definitely closed.

The next day, I called the Woodstock location. A man answered, and when I expressed surprise that they were open, he said, “No, we’re not closed down. That’s weird.” And then I realized that maybe the woman in the States thought I was pranking her or something. I told the man how many days I needed the car for, and gave him my name. “No worries—you’re already in our system from the last time you rented from us. I can get the paperwork all ready for you. The total will be–” But then I had to tell HIM about the queen and I got concerned that maybe he would think I was making a crank call too.

Me: Um, there’s one other thing…
Man: Sure, what?
Me: I have to rent the car in the name of Her Majesty The Queen.
Man: Oh. That changes everything.
Me: You sound really ominous. Seriously, I’m not joking!
Man (laughs): No, I know. It just means that you get a better rate.
Me: What, like the Seniors’ Discount? She IS around 90, I think.
Man: No, there’s just a special corporate rate. I’ll give you the new total.

I went there today to pick up the car, and the first thing he asked me was, “So how’s the Queen doing anyway?” I replied, “Oh you know—holding her own.” I hope she likes Nissans, because they didn’t have any Land Rovers.

keep calm