One of Tribeca Film Festival 2014's more lighthearted pieces is The Bachelor Weekend — titled The Stag in Ireland, its country of origin — a comedy about a collection of "modern men" who take to the countryside for the main character Finoon's (Hugh O'Conor) bachelor party, only to clash with an unwanted tag-along oozing alpha male bravado: Finoon's future brother-in-law, known only as "the Machine" (Peter McDonald, who also co-wrote the film).
Whereas many a comedy film in the "one last hoorah" genre would go for big, broad laughs and wacky antics at the expense of the plot and characters, director John Butler's Bachelor Weekend instead uses its fun premise to explore the nature of the folks at the center — a collection of guys that Butler and McDonald affirm are based on their friends. This kind of friendship is vivid from the way that they and O'Conor all riff on one another, managing to cover situations as grave as the evolution of masculinity over the course of the last 50 years and the national psyche of present day Ireland all the while cracking a few jokes about O'Conor jumping out a window.
My chat with Butler, McDonald, and O'Conor does contain a few major spoilers for The Bachelor Weekend, so be warned. But those who have seen the film, and who are hankering for a quick insight into the human ego, that breed of really bad bachlor parties, and director Butler's mid-morning hallucinations, enjoy.
We’ve got a whole line of bachelor party movies in America — I’m sure you guys have seen plenty of them. A lot of them are very funny, but I was pleasantly surprised by how different Bachelor Weekend is in a lot of ways. Were you trying to bring something new to the genre specifically?
John Butler: Definitely. We like those films. Some of them are fantastic. One of the things that we thought we might like to try with our film was to create a real investment in the heart of the story, so that you really care for the characters and the emotional arc wasn’t tacked on to serve the jokes. We wanted to write it inside out so that you really felt for these people, while also serving up to jokes that worked. So that was important to us, I think. A comedy film with heart. The films that we might have mentioned in relation to that in the course of writing it would be things like Sideways, or…
Peter McDonald: Diner.
JB: … Diner, or Swingers. You know, films that don’t shortchange you emotionally but still serve up good jokes. So that was part of the inspiration.
PM: It was kind of sitting there waiting for someone to make it. So many films around the event of the wedding have been made. If not the wedding itself, it’s the bridesmaids, or the guys, or whatever. And we love those films, they’re really funny. And they are bigger films. So in that marketplace, it’s a comedy film, [snaps] we need 20 gags, so that’s what they’re going to make. So that’s totally understandable. But so many people go on stags! This is something that they can relate to, so why not have a film that has the comedy but also has the investment in the characters?
JB: We don’t know any of those "bros" that go on and devour stag weekends. That’s not really a familiar type to us. It’s more interesting to write about real guys who go on stags for reasons out of their control. Pushed out of their comfort zones. Not the guys who really love it, the kind of spring breaky types.
PM: Lots of guys go on stags just because that’s what you do. It’s just a ritual that everyone engages in. So [we wanted] to have a look at what place that ritual has in relation to guys and masculinity. Because The Machine is so different from the other guys, that no-man’s-land there is an interesting area.
JB: You show up on those stags, you’re not going to want to be drinking Jäger bombs with 20 strange men in four hours’ time. It’s such a surreal…
Hugh O’Conor: When you go to the West of Ireland a bit, it’s always that kind of — which is lovely! — but you’re away from what you’re used to…
PM: You get up the morning after the first night, and you’re like, “I have to hang out with these guys again?”
JB: And I have to drink!
HO: Yeah, the drinking…
PM: Then you show up to the wedding, and you’re like, “You’re such a tool. I’ve experienced you, and you’re the worst person.”
You’ve seen their true colors.
JB: Have you been on many stags?
No, I’m going on my first one in a couple of weeks, actually.
JB: What’s the deal? What’s the setup?
It’s a high school friend of mine. These guys are probably more along the lines of the Machine than the other guys.
PM: Hookers and blow.
I’m more of a Finoon, so I’ll be reading in the back room.
JB: Team Finoon!
Yeah, we’re going down to the Dominican Republic.
JB: Oh nice!
PM: All right! DR! That sounds like fun.
Yeah. I’m sure it will be.
PM: That sounds a lot more fun.
HO: That actually sounds good!
PM: I’ve got to say, though, I’ve had some killer times on stags.
PM: Absolutely. I’ve had some really great times with my best friends on their stags.
HO: Not yours.
PM: So I think it’s also a celebration of that. And, if anything, [the movie] says stags are a good idea because they all get something out of the weekend. That’s the genre it’s in. It’s not going to have a downbeat ending, this story.
HO: There is that line you have in the scene with the campfire where you say, “You couldn’t put a price on this.” And you kind of go, “Wow, they did get there.”
PM: They did get there!
HO: It’s nice that they got there. Despite everything.
[“Yeah”s all around]
JB: Every experience, obviously, has value. It’s just that sometimes they’re set up the wrong way. You know what I mean? Sometimes the approach is wrong. Definitely it’s great going away with some friends. There can be great stuff in it. But the bad ones are bad…
I like that you bring up masculinity. It’s a very clear theme in this movie. You have the wedding planner in the movie challenging Finoon’s masculinity, then the idea of his father disapproving of Finoon’s brother Kevin and his boyfriend [played by Michael Legge and Andrew Bennett, respectively]. Did you approach this movie wanting to discuss masculinity, or did it come about organically?
JB: We wanted to write about people that we knew, so it started with the characters. And then, obviously, the themes start to emerge from that. In our case, if we started to write about the men that we know, and put them in the context of the story, those themes start to emerge. Because what the masculine ideal these days?
Certain traits that we might consider, traditionally, to be feminine — being in touch with your emotions, and crying — that’s a form of strength! And that’s something, maybe, that modern masculinity is supposed to embody. So yeah, it was fun to play around with that stuff, but we always approached it from the point of view of the characters.
[Peter receives a glass of milk]
JB: We need milk and cookies every half an hour.
PM: I’m a cookie monster! Milk, cookies…
JB: [Pointing to the corner of the room] Did you see something move there?
I don't think so.
JB: I saw something move there, I thought I saw something move there…
PM: John drinks a lot of alcohol.
PM: By this time of the morning, he will start to see things.
JB: I genuinely thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I just realized…
PM: He’s got the heebie-jeebies!
PM: … and an epic hangover.
JB: But no, we definitely don’t go, “What’s the theme?” and then try and write a film. It’s, “Who are the people?” And then we take it from there.
PM: Yeah. And there’s something about [the question], “What is it to be a man?” Any rational person knows — especially now, seeing the changes in the last 50 years for masculinity and men — that question has no meaning whatsoever. It’s always changing. But it’s interesting when you have such changes in masculinity over the last 50 years but, yet, our idea of what it meant to be a man in the ‘50s and ‘60s is still present to us in our generation
So when you have a bunch of modern men engaging in a ritual that they’re very halfhearted about, and on that ritual a guy turns up who is like, “I’m a f**kin’ man!” Like, “I know exactly that I’m…” It’s not even a question for him. He’s so the opposite to them. And he’s almost oblivious to how awkward he can be. He’s just one of those people. So it busts it open for the other guys in terms of their identity.
They’re guys who, in their initial exchange with The Machine, if they were to rewind and replay it, they’d just go, “Look… whatever your real name is. This isn’t gonna happen!” Do you know what I mean? But we know that when you’re with somebody that’s that intense you don’t say the things that you actually want to say. You’re kind of like, “I… I guess… yeah… okay, I’ll have another drink.” Do you know what I mean?
You’re ripped out of your element.
PM: You’re ripped out of your own thing! And the one thing he does immediately when he arrives on the scene, he totally splits them as a group. They’re immediately infighting and backstabbing each other, and saying, “I’m going to go home,” and blah blah blah. It’s the cat amongst the pigeons of masculinity. But we didn’t know that that’s what we were sitting down to write. It was only as we explored the characters…
HO: I suppose, as well, that you can still be a more modern man, like our characters are — me, [Andrew Scott's character] Davin — you can be more in touch with your feelings and be open and talk about things and still be really stupid about stuff.
JB: Oh God yes!
HO: It doesn’t mean that just because you’re in touch with your feelings that everything is okay. I think that was kind of fun to play. Me and Davin both have loads of issues, still. Even though we’re both comfortable, in touch with stuff, we’re still idiots about a lot of things. Which is exactly like real life.
PM: And that, really, is the arc of the story — that these two modern men are engaged in a locking of horns. The same as two old school guys would be doing, in a very different way. But their cultural competitiveness is playing out a deeper unspoken argument. Their words and irony are their weapons.
PM: And the deeper they go into the woods, the more they’re stripped of all their accoutrements. The more pared back the music gets, and the more naked they get, the less value their words have to them. They can’t protect themselves anymore.
HO: Your contact lens falls out!
PM: This guy needs to punch Davin. That’s what needs to happen in the story. That’s when he becomes connected to exactly how he feels.
JB: And Davin, most importantly, needs to tell him that he was so cut up at the time when [he and Ruth, Finoon’s fiancée, played by Amy Huberman] broke up, he felt so vulnerable that the last person he could turn to was his best friend.
PM: Sometimes you don’t turn to the people who are closest to you in those situations, because it reflects you so nakedly.
[Hugh feigns crying, the other two laugh]
JB: That window is shut!
HO: It can be opened!
JB: We just look over and Hugh’s gone.
JB: All we see is that lavenir jacket just kind of fluttering…
PM: Fluttering in the wind! And we hear from the street, very distantly, “Oh my God!”
JB: It’s Finoon!
PM: It’s Finoon!
JB: Can he fly? No.
That’s all in the sequel.
[“Yeah”s all around]
Arrow Film Distributors via Everett Collection
But that actually reminds me — even though there’s a lot of comedy in this movie, it doesn’t get as broad, even in its funnier moments, than a lot of other comedies in this genre. When you guys destroy the memorial, no policemen come and throw you in jail. Or when you take MDMA, you go for a little run, but nobody freaks out and jumps off a bridge or anything like that. I guess I was wondering if there was a specific drive to keep the comedy grounded, or if this is just the style of humor that you guys find funny?
JB: I think that’s a conscious instinct. Particularly in terms of direction, that’s a very conscious decision. At the writing stage, it’s very conscious, too — you have to root the story, and once you commit to that, you have to sacrifice the idea of a sufficiently bigger joke that might derail the tone of the film.
But then when you direct the film you have to police that tone, too. Make sure it’s rooted. There is a kind of world you have to create that’s consistent. I think when you try to write characters inside out in that way, that’s always what you’re going to end up with. The films that we love that we mentioned before, the comedy films that work best are the ones that have a consistent tone. Yeah, that’s definitely the approach.
PM: And also, the overriding policy all the way through is character development. What’s going to happen to these guys? What is going to happen to their relationships? That’s what the audience should be invested in. If you invest the audience in the fact that they’re going to have a laugh every three minutes, like a big laugh, and then you stop doing that, they’re going, “You started off as one film, and then you’re becoming another.”
Whereas you have to do that slowly with a film like this. So you get into a place where there aren’t any laughs for like five minutes, 10 minutes, in this film at one stage. Well, maybe five minutes, whatever. For that to work, the audience has to be… you have to hook them in on the character development. If you put in gags that step outside of the character development, you might get a laugh out of them, but there’s no going back. You’ve already cheated the reality of the world that John is creating as a director.
JB: And it’s an American common tradition that we’re working in. That’s the thing that we totally respect and acknowledge as people who watch films. Since it’s an American tradition, the best comedy films come from that tradition.
PM: Yeah, yeah.
JB: Those are the rules of the genre. I think if there’s any little reinvention or anything that’s going on in our film, I think it’s subtle.
PM: I think there are English examples, like Withnail [and I], which is such a brilliant film. There are films like that in the British comedy tradition as well. And that is a shining example of British comedy at work, because it’s such a funny film but it’s about two guys going to a cottage in the middle of nowhere. Two actors who are broke, going to a cottage and having an encounter with the gay uncle. And it’s all dialogue-driven.
But the whole thing about that film is that you get so invested in their relationship and their friendship that the end of the film is actually a very downbeat ending because it’s so sad. [Bruce Robinson] is a great writer. It’s a pity he hasn’t made more films in the last few years. But you can just tell when there’s a gag there that’s there for getting a gag.
HO: We had some in there.
PM: We did. We got rid of them. And also, when you’re working with good actors, right off the bat they’ll go, “Why is he doing this?” if that’s happening. Do you know what I mean? If they’re being rigorous in how they’re approaching the part…
HO: I said that a lot. “Why is this happening?”
I did want to ask you, Hugh, about that. Finoon is a tricky character. He’s a very serious person, but he’s a funny character. I would like to hear about making this serious, straight-laced guy fun to watch.
HO: Obviously, the guys had thought about it a lot beforehand, so they knew what to do with it. Like I said before, I was pretty much just being myself. [Laughs] And let that ridiculousness come through. I could sort of see his points on all sides. I think you can never really judge… if you start judging the character you’re playing, it’s a really bad thing. You have to just go with what he’s experiencing.
I think he’s right about everything. If you don’t control the flowers… I can’t trust [the wedding planner]. What has she done before, exactly? Give me a list! This is important to me. This is how it works. I’m stupidly anal about things like that myself. In terms of what you’re interested, in you’re really controlling. So he needs to get out of that a bit.
PM: That’s so true. Finoon and all the characters are written from a place of absolute empathy. We’re on the ground floor with them. There’s no standing in judgment over them. They’re us.
Probably the only part where there’s any judgment cast is when Brian Gleeson’s character Simon admits he doesn’t like U2.
You get the feeling you’re saying, “Well, you should like U2!”
PM: But loads of Irish guys don’t like U2.
Oh of course.
JB: But he cries at the end [during “One Love”].
PM: So he’s a liar!
Speaking of that, there are a lot of specific references to Ireland and Irish pride, mostly from the Machine. Were those just sort of ways to play with the character, or does this movie say something specific about Irish culture?
JB: I think the idea in place, that’s the Machine’s expression of his national pride rather than our expression of our national pride. It all emerges through these characters. The Machine makes the decision to make that speech about the state of the nation, and to sing that song. He’s the kind of person who — Peter could probably say this better than me — if he’s given the mic at a wedding, he’s not going to not do that. And that’s a decision that the character makes. And you’re just holding the pen. That’s what he does.
PM: The thing about the Machine, and we said this very early on when we started writing the film, is that he has absolutely no ego. [The others] are all totally weighed down by their egos. And that’s why there has been such a problem in their friendship, because they haven’t been able to be honest with each other.
An ego in that... I’m saying something to you right now and I’ll be editing it. Sometimes you might edit: “Well, I can’t say that. He might think that I’m a bit of a dick if I say that.” Whatever. You’re protecting people’s perception of you. That’s ego. The Machine, he’s just one of those people where that doesn’t even enter into his head. He’s just raw product all the time. And it’s just coming out.
The thing about that character is, while he’s incredibly overbearing, and very funny to start with — actually, when he arrives in the film, he’s a total nightmare — but it’s so liberating to be like that as a person. Because you’re not going around going, “Did he think when I said that…” or “Maybe I shouldn’t have…” He’s just moving forward in life all the time. So at the end, when he expresses national pride, it’s totally uncomplicated for him.
And his view of Ireland is that the thing that matters in a country, which is probably what we all feel, is the people. And that’s obviously a very democratic notion, and all that. But because — and I can only speak for myself here — we had a lot of economic troubles recently, like a lot of the world. America is going through terrible problems at the moment. But for a small country like Ireland that doesn’t have great natural resources, our greatest product or resource is the people of the country. I think there’s a little bit of that in there, as well.
JB: A young country as well. A hundred years old.
PM: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s an ancient culture, but as a democratic state it’s a very young country. We’ve only had the reins for a hundred years. And I think because of all of our history being colonized, the power the church had — all those kinds of things — pride and shame are two of the strongest ingredients in our national psyche. But they can be very divisive.
JB: We’re proud of ourselves and we’re ashamed of Hugh.
PM: Exactly. We’re proud of ourselves, but then we almost don’t want each other to succeed.
HO: [John] keeps staring at me.
PM: But it’s so liberating for a character like the Machine. That’s irrelevant to him. It’s just a positive message that comes out of him. And it’s not weighed down by those larger psychological chains that we wear in general. Over the last hundred years. So that was unconscious on our part, but I only say that looking back on the film. Does that make sense?
HO: You’re going to have an essay.
PM: Yeah! I’ve just given you a big hunk of bulls**t.
PM: And also, it’s the Machine. It’s a character talking.
Well, I got the wrap up signal…
JB: Did you? That s**t is subtle!
…so the final question I need to ask is: Do you guys have an idea of why he is called the Machine?
But you won’t tell me, I take it.
PM: It’s up to the viewer.
JB: It goes to the grave.
PM: Yeah, it goes to the grave. Absolutely.
The Bachelor Weekend is available on Demand now.
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Well, it’s about time for Part 2 of the DWTS freestyle week. Or, as I like to think the ABC execs call it, “That Week Where No One Gets Kicked Off But We Make The Show Last Two Nights Anyway.”
This time around, everyone’s roles got reversed: the four couples who danced on Monday performed a group number, while the other four pairs did their normal routines. The skinny: this week, the scores will be combined, so each pair gets points for the group number as well as their individual routines. That means Monday’s group dancers got a nice little cushion going into tonight’s show, with each pair sitting on a cool 29.5 from the Glee-ified rendition of “Call Me Maybe.”
Melissa & Tony
I get that Melissa was trying to be all sensual and Britney Spears circa 2004-esque, but I’m a little confused: what was going on with Tony in that opener? I was getting a weird Willy Wonka vibe, if Willy Wonka owned a very feminine hamster. If anybody can clear that up for me, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Carrie Ann: 9Len: 9 Bruno: 9 Shawn & Derek Okay, full disclosure here: Titanic is my favorite movie. Like, of all time. In no world could I ever say anything bad about this number, because not only did the pair dance to “My Heart Will Go On,” but Derek dressed as Jack and ohmygod he DISAPPEARED INTO THE OCEAN AT THE END. My only complaint? No prop door. It just, you know, would have been great to prove once and for all that if Rose had just moved her butt, Jack would have lived and I wouldn’t be sitting here silently weeping during Dancing With the Stars. Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 8 Bruno: 10 Apolo & Karina Here are some things that made me uncomfortable: Apolo in a shiny leopard-print shirt, Apolo and Karina frolicking in that bed from Austin Powers’ airplane, Apolo’s facial hair, the implication of Apolo saying “give it to me, baby” to Karina, Apolo dancing ever…I could go on. I don’t know why, but there’s something about Apolo dancing that just gives me the heebie-jeebies. It just doesn’t feel right. This week was no different, but at least Karina didn’t have another nervous breakdown. Yet. Carrie Ann: 8.5 Len: 9.5 Bruno: 9 Sabrina & LouisUgh, you guys, I love Sabrina so much. She literally looked like she had hired the Walt Disney company to design her wardrobe. Although I guess she was a Cheetah Girl, so she’s basically sponsored by them anyway. But seriously: the girl was an angel on the dance floor. I’m just disappointed nothing turned into a pumpkin at midnight.Carrie Ann: 10Len: 9.5 Bruno: 9.5 Team Dance: “Gangnam Style” You know, I whined a lot about last night’s high school-themed “Call Me Maybe” performance, but maybe I spoke too soon: at least it had a discernible theme. Tonight’s group dance was unquestionably hilarious, but also disorganized and confusing. And I’m not just talking about Kirstie’s cartwheels. I wish we’d gotten a reaction shot from Shawn – I’m sure she shed a tear or two. From glitter-lapel suits to Gilles and Peta dancing around in towels, it was kind of a mess. Although I guess if you’re dancing to ”Gangnam Style,” you don’t really need to make a whole lot of sense. But really, Peta, I say it every week and you keep ignoring me: PUT SOME CLOTHES ON. Seriously, did your mother teach you nothing? (I’m sorry, Mrs. Murgatroyd, I’m sure you’re a good person.) Carrie Ann: 9 Len: 9 Bruno: 9 So overall, it looks like Team “Call Me Maybe” bested Team “Gangnam Style” in this week’s DWTS freestyle round. But then again, when those are your song choices, does anyone really win? [Image Credit: ABC] More: Dancing With the Stars Recap: Guilty Pleasures Melissa Rycroft Hospitalized with Head Injury During ‘DWTS’ Rehearsals Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars Recap: Peter Pan, Living Statues, and a Donkey From Our Partners: Donald Trump Speaks Out on Ripping Kristen Stewart on Twitter, Warns Robert Pattinson: ‘Back Off...She’s Bad News!’ — EXCLUSIVE (Celebuzz) Emily VanCamp, Lea Michele, January Jones: Celebrities Who Show Major Cleavage in GQ — GALLERY (Celebuzz)
It's felt like 800 years since we last saw our favorite murderer-with-a-heart-of-gold (OK, so maybe it's just gold-plated or something. Shiny exterior, really, really bad interior). But in the world of Miami (People should really probably move away from there, huh? There's like, definitely a lot of serial killers there, you guys), it's been mere seconds. Which is a very, very good thing for us viewers.
First off, let's just get this out of the way right now: holyZOMGcanyoubelieveitohmyf**kinggod! This was an episode, my friends. For a show that arguably had a bit of a lurch there for the seasons after Trinity came in and murdered television (pun intended, and also in a good way), they really brought this one back to life with the quickness.
The premiere of Dexter's seventh season picks up right where season six left us: Dexter's sister has finally met his ~dark passenger~. BOOM! Travis Marshall is dead because he's exactly the same as Dexter (fake dead person telling him what to do, believing his killing is servicing some greater good, etc etc...) and right before she sees him murder Travis, Deb realizes that she maybe loves Dexter but we're all going to keep our fingers crossed that story line disappears.
But first: a frantic Dexter is running away from something! His credit cards are all declined! Is he on the run? Will he ever get to Budapest? Why would he want to go to Budapest? S**t is, well, ominous, you guys! But we'll get back there.
Deb is swearing up a storm because she just doesn't f**king understand why the f**king f**k this motherf**king a**hole is wrapped in plastic, Dex! S**t! (She's so eloquent, this one.) So Dexter decides to weave a web of lies. He's sad! You know, about that ex-wife of his that died 57 years ago, Rita. He snapped and well, he's a forensics guy so of course it was instinctual to not leave a trail? Even when you're saying you snapped? For the moment (temporary insanity is definitely strong here), Deb believes this stuff. Even though you can tell the wheels are turning in her head and she knows ain't nothing about any of Dexter's reasoning that makes sense.
But, we also know that Deb is really into mentally and emotionally stable guys--and does have an accidental fondness for serial killers, so we'll see what happens later on in the season. Deb agrees to go along with Dexter's Plan B (Plan A was "hey, let's move the body!" which was definitely the worse of the two options when your sister has seen you murder a dude), which is to light the place on fire and make it look like a suicidal tableau. (If you recall, Travis Marshall was convinced the world was ending, but it didn't (SUCKER!), so at least this part of their cockamamie plan is logical.)
NEXT: Flashbacks and Creepy Louis Alerts!
So now it's flashback time! Puppies in the Morgan household = bad! Why? There's a baby ~dark passenger~ on board, of course. Keep all easily-murderable things away from baby Dexter, family. So the pooch has got to go. But more on that later.
The incredibly normal Morgan duo burn the church to bits--but uh oh, Dexter's signature keepsake-token thing--the slide of blood--has fallen out of his pocket, unbeknownst to him. Perfect bait for LaGuerta (UGH, LaGuerta) later.
But later is now: the two crime-committing Morgans return to the scene and Deb is everything short of green in the gills. Homegirl is totally not on her poker face game. But, she pulls it together to help keep Masuka away from Travis' tootsie where a lone piece of plastic had made itself a cozy little home. Sloppy Dexter? We never thought we'd see the day. But I guess your whole world and life unravelling might even get a sociopath a bit unnerved, huh?
LaGuerta shows up and notices the slide and gives it to evidence. That never ends well.
And now it's time for a Creepy Louis alert! "You know, the more I get to know you, the weirder and weirder you get," says Jamie Batista, and well, duh. Way to deduce, Captain Obvious. My dude Louis here has set his tractor beam to "HEEBIE JEEBIES x 1,000,000,000" and is no doubt in for a seriously creepy story line this season. Oh and also he stole all of Dexter's credit card information while he was at Dexter's house and now is canceling all of Dexter's credit cards because he's cranky and weird and probably figures it's only a matter of time before Dexter tries to flee the country. Also Dexter is a total jerk or something whatever. Cover the bases! PSA: password protect your laptops, America. Especially if you're a serial killer.
Next up is the oldest trick in the horror book: Detective Mike Anderson is going to get it. Man, did they really have to go and kill him like that? And to have it be the black guy? Insult, meet injury. Some hokey horror movie tropes die hard, and on television. Anyway, yes, Mike Anderson gets himself murdered dead trying to help a dude who has a flat tire and a dead hooker in a trunk. Woopsies! Sorry dude, we really hardly knew ye.
Back at Normalcy Ranch, Deb's got a boatload of questions for the brother she might've maybe loved before in a creepy way but now probably has some pretty conflicting feelings about. How was Dexter so magically prepared to kill Travis? What did he mean by he knew what he was doing? Something is amiss, and she knows it.
Flashback time! Goodbye Banjo the dog. I won't even do a 'screwed the pooch' joke here because I love dogs and I'm just glad you got out of there before baby Dexter murdered you.
Next up, Dexter's checkin' finger prints on his iPhone because yes, there is an app for that. Apparently! Technology. Very impressive. But the car's been wiped clean: this missing murderer obviously knows what he's doing. Nefarious! Nefarious! More on this dweeb later, though.
NEXT: Deb sleuths, Dexter claims some baggage.
Back to Deb's mental unraveling of the facts: she's having flashbacks to that time she was almost murdered by her boyfriend/serial killer/step brother's secret brother/Rudy Cooper/Brian Moser. For those with faint memories of season one, Brian was mimicking Dexter's killing style, so when Deb notices the similarities in the set-ups, she digs into some old evidence to confirm her suspicions. Somethin' AIN'T RIGHT HERE, she knows it. Look at smart Deb go! (We love smart Deb, though we worry for how much longer she'll be alive.)
There's a brief interlude wherein Quinn and Angel hang out at a Ukranian-run strip club. (Did you all see Calista Flockhart in there? Look again if you missed it.) It's time for questions to be answered about our slain sex worker.
But first back to the struggle for Deb to understand that her brother killed a person and what-it-all-means. After a pause for some serious sad-person side-eye, Deb confronts Dexter on the facts she's found. He is, of course, naturally cagey with the details and just tries to shrug it off with all "well I was there so maybe that's how I knew what to do?" Uh huh, sure, OK dude. You know Deb isn't buying it but for now, Dexter needs to leave because he's found the name of the murderer thanks to INTERPOL (not the band, guys. The really important international body of policing one).
So now we've caught up to where the episode began, and Dexter decides that now is definitely the best time to go to the airport, find Viktor, and murder him. Because right now is definitely the best time to kill someone, yay! Listen, Dex, we know you need to kill people who are bad and also as a weird control thing, but like...I don't know, maybe murdering someone at a very busy International Airport right after your sister discovered you murdering someone else, is not a good idea. But apparently the TSA in Miami is run by a bunch of crackerjacks because when they find all of Dexter's murder syringes in his bag, he's all "hey these are for my diabeetus!" and naturally the TSA animal cracker--let me tell you they are just SO lax about security all of the time!--was like "nah bro, it's cool go through."
So Dexter's about to get on that murder tip, finds a totally empty bathroom (because those also exist in airports) and puts Viktor in a wheelchair with his go-go juice murder syringe juice and wheels him off to a totally-never-checked-on unclaimed baggage room. So he spreads out, gets down to prepping his business, waits for the guy to wake up--probably has some tea or something. I don't know! I don't know how long it takes for these bozos to wake up. But apparently in this completely locked room filled with valuables that totally wouldn't have a camera system set-up or whatever because who needs to keep an eye on people's things, Dexter and his buddy hang out until it's late at night time. And then Dexter murders Viktor who is all "yo I have bad friends that will probably try to kill you, too" which Dexter shrugs off because he has a ~dark passenger~, but we as the handy-dandy watchers know that's totally not going to happen. Because it's all connected! Viktor, the dancers who are totally being human trafficked over to the United States so the rich guy in Ukraine that the bar owner calls on the phone can stay rich. It's all interwoven. And they're expecting Viktor home, so when he doesn't show up, people will ask questions and calamities with the Russian/Ukranian/whatever mob will ensue.
Intermission - The Joey Quinn Poetry Jam: "She's like a ghost in a g-string" - Quinn, your words are so beautiful, so true. So deep. (Sidenote: those are some meth addiction levels of weight loss, my dude. Why so skinny? Are you going method on us?)
There's a few seconds in a bar that we don't really care about, but do establish that Quinn and Angel's bromance is slowly on the mend.
So back to Deb who is running and also scared and probably running scared and then she realizes something! Time to call Dexter's house, but oh wait! He's not home. He told Jamie that he was working late (which he does all the time!). Deb knows this is some major BEE-ESS on Dex's part since Masuka told her earlier that he and Dexter had a deal so he could leave work early.
We also get a quick scene between Masuka and LaGuerta chatting about blood slides on the scene and Masuka mentions what LaGuerta already knows: the only time someone's brought blood slides on the scene of a crime was the murderer (who everyone still thinks is the long-dead-because-Dexter-framed-and-murdered-him, Sergeant Doakes). The Bay Harbor Butcher, in fact. Dun dun dun! LaGuerta nabs that evidence back and you know she's going to figure out that something is afoot at the Circle K.
FLASHBACK time! Again! Dexter's step-dad is all "yo never tell Deb that you're a total monster because then she'll be scared of you, because you're a total monster, and you'll be forever alone!" This is the perfect segue to...
DEB KNOWS DEXTER IS A MURDERER WHO MURDERS ALL THE TIME NOT JUST ONCE BY ACCIDENT OR WHATEVER.
Yessir! Tis true. Dexter comes home and finds Deb has torn his apartment apart. And she's found everything. The slides, the knives, his kit. The whole shebang. And she asks him point blank if he's a serial killer. And in the most perfectly-filmed agonizing moments, Dexter finally comes clean: yes, he is a serial killer.
What did you think of the season premiere of Dexter? Did you like it as much as we did? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Showtime]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Only Ryan Murphy could make an asylum more chilling than it already is, huh? Enter: American Horror Story: Asylum. The second season of his much-acclaimed show/mini-series about things that go bump in the night and haunt your dreams and/or reality is almost here.
Fans that grew to love last season's storyline are in for a bit of a shock. We aren't in Los Angeles anymore, folks. The 19-second clip is the second of what will undoubtedly be many more teasers to come. Taking a similar approach to last season's marketing methods, we are presented a short video with no context, but plenty of creep-factor. There are nuns, padded walls, and a coat that turns from brown to an antiseptic shade of blue. We broke it down for you below, to try and make sense of it all. Because it's hot out, so we might as well sit in the cool indoor air and scrutinize videos, right?
The clip starts out innocently enough, right? A white room (well, OK, yeah...that is sort of creepy...) that looks almost...nice? But wait...why is that nun in a padded alcove? Nuns make me nervous, you guys.
OK now here comes a nun in all white! Is that like a...nurse nun? And what's up with the coat?
OK wait now the coat is blue! Is that indicative of something? Now it looks less like outerwear and more like...a uniform? Perhaps even pajamas? Like something someone would wear in an asylum, maybe! Also what's up with the shift from sepia tone to this sterile white? Makes me think this sad story keeps happening year after year (sepia = old/flashback; white = new)...maybe with just a new sad person in an evil, color-changing coat every few years?
Holy s**t! What a scary motherf**ker. Why you so pale, lady? Is that other nun praying for you to get a little sun?
My bet is there's some stink-eye we're missing, y'all.
Ack! No! Stop! Stop looking at me! Heebie-jeebies much? I feel like it's never a good sign when the asylum workers look more insane than the patients, right?
So confusing, creepy, and monochromatic. What are you trying to say here, Mr. Murphy? We know that it involves an asylum, Jenna Dewan, Adam Levine and a veritable smorgasbord of new actors. To say nothing of returning actors Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, and Lily Rabe.
But other than that, we know nothing. We need to know more, my dude! We need more. Is it October yet? Watch the video below for yourself--did we miss anything in our analysis of the clip?
American Horror Story returns to FX this October. Are you looking forward to it? Sound off in the comments!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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It’s hard to do something unique with an exorcism movie. There’s definitely a feeling within the film buff community that the horror sub-genre has not only seen better days but is in fact worn thin. After all how many times can one watch a holy man work his magic on a possessed soul? The Exorcist was a looong time ago and it takes a lot more than spinning heads devilish make-up and erratic body movements to give contemporary audiences the heebie-jeebies. Nevertheless Warner Bros. seemed to believe that moviegoers would fancy another take on the religious practice in Mikael Hafstrom’s The Rite but the studio was wrong.
Sure the film features a batty performance from Sir Anthony Hopkins but its story is about as standard and predictable as can be. Inspired by true events the supernatural thriller follows a seminary student (played by the uninspired Colin O’Donoghue) who is sent to study exorcism at the Vatican in spite of his skepticism about the controversial practice and his own waning faith. But after witnessing the terrifying phenomenon first hand he begins to questions everything he believes.
As stated Hafstrom offers nothing original in his film. There’s a bit of tension between Hopkins’ Father Lucas and O’Donoghue’s Michael Kovak but only as much as the Oscar-winning thespian will allow. He chews the scenery through most of the movie and believe it or not that’s the most interesting part of the picture. The rest is all about Kovak’s backstory (which somehow ties into the convoluted plot) and a slow-burn build-up to a reveal that you can see a mile away. In between you’ll find all the trappings of an exorcist movie: haunting visions a girl in dire need of biblical intervention a dark and moody atmosphere and gothic but beautiful production design.
What you won’t find anywhere in this release is worthwhile bonus content. I’m all about production; the ideal Blu-ray (for me at least) would always contain an in-depth making-of featurette. There’s just no reason why in this day and age studios can’t have a team on the set of any picture documenting the shoot. Behind the scenes footage and interviews offer insight into creative decisions and story itself which often proves more informative and interesting than the feature. The Rite contains nothing of the sort and instead uses its disc space to boast an alternate ending a few cut scenes and a profile of Father Gary Thomas whose life story inspired the film and the novel from which it’s based (“The Rite: The Making of an American Exorcist” by Matt Baglio). In addition you can take a virtual tour of the actual Exorcism Academy (I sense a CW show in the making!) but after wasting two hours on the feature I can’t promise you’ll want to.
The Weinstein Company just purchased themselves some Oscar-bait with The Iron Lady, an upcoming picture starring Oscar winners Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Jim Broadbent as her husband. The picture is directed by Phyllida Lloyd (who guided Streep's performance in Mamma Mia!) and currently is set to release sometime in 2011 (presumably this fall or winter, just in time for the Academy to say, "Hey! We like this!").
"Having worked with both Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, I know that they are without peer as film actors. Even so, I was absolutely blown away by what I saw of their performances as Margaret and Denis Thatcher. Phyllida is doing an incredible job," said Harvey Weinstein.
This film will undoubtedly be good, but damn, that picture still gives us the heebie-jeebies.
Source: The Weinstein Company
UPDATE: Psyche! Turns out, Darren Aronofsky actually has kicked heroin and will not be involved with another movie about the drug. According to an update from the LA Times, although Scott Franklin did give notes on the project, he and Aronofsky's production company Protozoa is not attached to produce it. So if this bums you out, um, just go watch Requiem for a Dream or something.
EARLIER: Welp, Darren Aronofsky is hooked on heroin again.
According to the LA Times, the director and his Black Swan producer Scott Franklin are joining forces to produce Intricate, a film that centers on drug abuse in New York City during the '90s. Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) will direct. This marks Aronofsky's first venture back into the drug world since his 2000 film that still gives everyone the heebie-jeebies, Requiem for a Dream.
Intricate, inspired by a true story, follows a promising high school basketball star who gets caught up in the drug trade world when his career doesn't work out.
"The movie is about where this man begins and where he ends, with New York City as an important character," Furman said.
Now all we need is a shirtless Mark Wahlberg giving Leonardo DiCaprio noogies and this apparent remake of The Basketball Diaries will be complete.
Source: LA Times
Loosely based on true events Open Water centers on an American couple Susan (Blanchard Ryan) and Daniel (Daniel Travis) whose hectic lives warrant a much-needed vacation to an island resort. Soon the two are relaxing on the beach eating trying on silly hats in the marketplace--and booking a scuba diving day on a beautiful reef. Once there the couple who are experienced divers prone to exploring on their own end up straying from the dive boat and through a miscalculation by the boat captain get left behind. Floating up sometime later Susan and Daniel find themselves alone. No divers. No boat. Just vast shark-infested waters miles from shore. Thus begins their longest journey together as the pair drifts and bobs in an endless sea waiting for some kind of rescue and battling the elements above--and more importantly below--the surface. [Cue Jaws theme here].
Open Water's only real flaws are in the acting. That isn't to say relative unknowns Ryan and Travis don't do a more than adequate job showing Susan and Daniel's gut-wrenching terror at their dire situation. No Method acting here folks; submerging yourself in the water with real sharks (and getting paid scale to do it) is enough to invoke fear in anyone. It's only in exposition--as Susan and Daniel get to the island have their little squabbles get too tired to make love and kill flying mosquitoes in their hotel room--does the actors' inexperience flare up. The scenes are awkward the dialogue stiff. Even when Susan and Daniel have a blowout while bobbing in the water about whose fault it is that they are in this predicament it comes off a tad too forced. Ryan however redeems herself in the end as emotions dance across her face when Susan is faced with making an ultimate decision.
You might be asking honestly how scary can it be watching two people float around in the ocean? Under the guidance of writer/director Chris Kentis (Grind) and his wife producer and director of photography Laura Lau pretty darn frightening let me tell you. There's not one computer-generated sea predator in the bunch--oh no these are the real McCoy. The filmmakers made use of 45-50 mostly gray reef sharks averaging seven to eleven feet in length at a dive spot some 20 miles off the Bahamas coast to achieve the heart-stopping terror. It works. Certified divers themselves they were the film's only crew (save for a few shark wranglers) filming the grainy footage on weekends and holidays on a shoestring budget. The ubiquitous and beautiful ocean itself turned out to be the third "crew member " so say Kentis and Lau (adding that they'd have fired it for being moody if they could). Kentis utilizes the guerilla-style filmmaking techniques made popular by the smash indie The Blair Witch Project an obvious influence for optimum shiver-producing results. Particularly effective is the nighttime scene in which the screen is totally black save for a few flashes of lightening that give just the briefest glimpse of what's going on and we hear rather than see the couple scream and struggle to stay away from the lurking sharks. Open Water certainly isn't going to be good for the scuba-diving business.
Gold miners trapped hundreds of years ago come back to life as a supernatural monster seeking revenge. When the creature comes into contact with its victims, it inflicts an uncontrollable fear (the heebie jeebies) before tearing them apart.