WTFAW: The Simpsons

Well, Another popular holiday has come and gone. I suppose I should write about an appropriate Easter themed subject. The trouble is, I haven’t come across any fan theories about Easter themed movies…

Hmm….

Eh, fuck it. The main characters in The Simpsons are all yellow, and that’s an Easter colour. That’s close enough.

So, Dave. What do you have for me?

Dave: Well, there is a theory that the events of The Simpsons take place in Homers head.

Uh-huh… and what evidence is there for this?

Dave: OK, so in the 1993 episode So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show, Homer falls into a coma. The theory is that he never woke up, and everything that has happened since then is his comatose dreams. That would account for the changed tone of the show, from fairly mundane plots to mad and crazy stories including Homer going to space and Maggie shooting Mr. Burns.

I see. Is there something else?

Dave: Yeah, in the episode Homer the Heretic, Homer talks to God, and asks what the meaning of life is. God tells him he’ll find out when he dies, and suggests Homer will die in six months. Six months later, Homer falls into the coma!

Aha, I see…

So let’s go over why this doesn’t add up.

First of all, This theory would require Homer to be the main character, right?

Dave: I suppose.

And yet, several episodes do not feature Homer as the main focus, and some episodes barely feature him at all. By your logic, he’d still have to dream it, right? So how then can he be confused about anything that happens, even when he’s not around, if he’s seeing it in his dream?

Then, there’s the fact that the show has evolved and references real life events over the years. If Homer is in a coma, how does he know of any of the events following 1993?

Dave: People in comas might hear what people in the same room are talking about. Maybe he’s hearing news and incorporates them into his dreams?

Yeah? And what about the celebrity cameos in the show? Some, I could understand, like Ray Romano, Stephen Hawking or Alec Baldwin. But Lady Gaga also appears in the show, and Homer somehow not only knows what she sounds like and what she does, but also what she looks like!

How the flying fuck would he possibly know that!?

Dave: uhm…

And then there’s the idea of the show taking on a more madcap tone… As you said yourself, six months before the coma episode, there was Homer the Heretic where Homer talks to God.

Does talking to THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY not count as “slightly out of the ordinary”?

Dave: But that was a dream…

A dream that you claimed predicted that Homer would die six months later! Either that argument doesn’t work, or the tone was already bordering on the ludicrous!

Dave: Well….

Not to mention that in that dream, God claimed Homer would die six months later…. six months later, Homer fell into a coma.

A COMA IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING DEAD!

Especially since, by this logic, Homers brain is still very much alive and active!

And as for the crazy plots that would come further down the line, couldn’t that be because presumably, the writers realized “Wait, these are not real people! We don’t have to do mundane stories. We can actually be CREATIVE!

Dave: Ah, but why doesn’t the characters in the show age? Homers brain is just keeping everyone in the age he remembers them in!

Maybe… or maybe it’s because they are… what’s the word… oh right, FUCKING CARTOON CHARACTERS! TWO DIMENSIONAL CONSTRUCTS! They do not age, because time is not a factor! You may as well ask why Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny doesn’t age! They are fictional! Not real!

And of course, there’s the fact that show runner Al Jean actively denounced the theory, claiming that it was “Intriguing but false”.

This is a theory akin to “It was all a dream”, and those are invariably stupid and lazy… You know, I never thought I’d say this, Dave… but you are better than this!

Dave: Yeah, I know. I think I’m coming down with a cold.

Ah, that explains it. I got worried for a moment.

Dave: You did? That… is dangerously close to a warm sentiment, you know?

I know. Don’t get used to it. I feel nauseous enough already…. though that could be all the easter candy I’ve had….

 

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The Usual Suspects

Ok, I’m not going to waste any time with this one. If you haven’t seen this movie, DO NOT READ FURTHER!

This is one of my absolute favourite movies, one of the best criminal thrillers ever made, and with one of the greatest twists in cinema history. If you haven’t seen this movie or have had it spoiled for you before, you owe it to yourself to watch it before reading this, as I will be discussing said twist.

With that out of the way, and hopefully with many of my readers frantically following my suggestion and watching the movie, I’ll get on with the issue I want to discuss.

That issue being about the ending of the movie, and the true identity of Keyser Söze.

If you don’t know who Keyser Söze is, I will not enlighten you.

Why?

Because if you don’t know who Keyser Söze is, it means you haven’t watched the movie, which means you should not be reading this!

Anyway, at the end of the movie, we find that Keyser Söze is the real identity of Verbal Kint, played by Kevin Spacey. This of course means that nothing in the movie can be completely trusted, seeing as most of it is narrated by Verbal, the epitome of an unreliable witness.

And the movie ends with Verbal retrieving his belongings, leaving the police station and limping off… only for him to eventually gain a normal gait, flexing his until-now seized up hand, and getting into a car. As Verbal himself so neatly put it:

And just like that… He’s gone.

Now, like I said, this twist changes the entire movie and how we view it, and displays the ruthlessness and cunning of Keyser Söze, the criminal mastermind likened by many to the Devil Himself.

Except….

There is one pretty big issue with this. Namely that during the interrogation, a survivor of the boat explosion is being interviewed by the police about the events.

And among his testimonials, he gives a witness description of the killer, which is then faxed to Kujon.

So why is this a problem? Because the whole reason Keyser set up the attack on the ship was to eliminate the one man who could positively identify him. The one man who knew what he looked like.

And in the process, he not only left one survivor capable of positively identifying him, not only did he leave a POLICE OFFICER capable of positively identifying him, but there’s also a sketch of him being faxed around town, and his mugshot is likely to soon grace the wall of every police billboard, wanted list and interpol office on earth.

All of this just means that perhaps Keyser Söze is not very clever after all, because even more people now know what he looks like, effectively making his whole plan not only pointless, but self-defeating.

And “self-defeating” is not something you want to be renowned for as a criminal mastermind.

However….

Despite director Bryan Singer pretty much coming out and stating that Verbal and Söze are one and the same, I have my own headcanon regarding The Usual Suspects . See, the plot hole I just outlined slightly ruins the movie for me. And like I said, this is one of my favourite movies. I don’t want it ruined.

Because of that, my personal headcanon is that Verbal Kint isn’t Keyser Söze.

Now you might be wondering who Keyser Söze really was. To which my answer is simply:

I don’t know.

See, if we are to believe that Keyser Söze is such a mastermind, and is so anxious about maintaining his secrecy, he would not be stupid enough to make a mistake like this. To quote Verbal again:

You think a guy like that comes this close to getting caught and sticks his head out?

The answer, of course, is No. You don’t become the bogeyman of crime by gloating and showing off. Or making up lies that are discovered less than 3 minutes after you leave.

So my idea is that Kint just worked for Söze as a hitman, tasked to kill the only man who could identify him. After that, he’d protect Verbal from the law, and then retrieve him. More than likely, when he was picked up by “Kobayashi”, he was taken to a secluded place and got a bullet in the head, since he’s now a threat to Keyser Söze’s anonymity.

Even the double tap to the head with the gun is too specific a calling card for someone concerned with secrecy, which I would take to mean it’s Verbals calling card, not Keysers.

The one snag with all of this is possibly that Arturro Marquez, the aforemention identifier, reacts with shock and horror, swearing to “Keyser” that he told them nothing, before being shot.

Which on the one hand is a fair concern. However, I don’t believe this necesarilly disproves the idea, partly because Arturro doesn’t refer to his killer as Keyser, and partly because shock, horror and begging is a pretty reasonable reaction to anyone coming to kill you.

I’d also argue that if he could identify Keyser Söze, he may well know what his closest associates look like. For example, a personal assassin.

But like I said, this is all personal headcanon to maintain my enjoyment of the movie. And even without it, the movie remains very good, and the plothole only bothers nitpicky pedantic people like myself.

That’s about it when it comes to The Usual Suspects, really.

With any luck, I may have enticed people to watch the movie in preparation for this article. On the other, I may have inadvertently spoiled the ending for some people who didn’t want to wait.

In which case, you were warned and have only yourself to blame.

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WTFAW: James Bond

It seems I am once again writing about James Bond. Last time I did that, it was focused on the catastrophic ball of stupid that was Die Another Day.

(And the subsequent Addendum to that article)

So on the bright side, chances are that I will be nowhere near as incensed as I was when writing that.

Of course, we’ll deal with fan theories about James Bond, so I can’t say I like the odds… Oh well. Let’s see what we’re dealing with, Dave.

Dave: Ok, the first theory of the day is that in Skyfall, Raoul Silva is M’s son!

Aha… And is there anything particular to support this?

Dave: Well, We know very little about Silva. His past is hinted at, but not much is ever established. And while Silva is out for revenge against MI-6, he seems obsessed with M in particular. This points to him being after her personally, having a personal motive for revenge.

I see. Before I address that, could you please explain how Raoul Silva, the Spanish cyberterrorist, would be the son of M, the English head of MI-6? Especially when he himself tells Bond about his childhood and living with his grandmother?

Dave: Perhaps his grandmother died, and M adopted him? After all, why else would he call her “Mother”?

Because the man is completely fucking insane! He was tortured, before trying (and failing) to commit suicide. Guess what! Surviving a five month torture session as well as a hydrogen cyanide capsule bursting in your face? It turns out that’s the kind of shit that tends to have a somewhat adverse effect on your mental stability!

Dave: Aha, but you know the message he sends to M? Think on your sins?

Yeah? What about it?

Dave: If you throw the letters around, you get “Your son isn’t in HK”. That proves her son is not in Hong Kong, because he’s free and is out to get her!

What kind of an argument is that!? You’re just rearranging the letters, to suit your stance!

Dave: Well, it fits!

Yeah, so what? So does “Oh No Skinny Suit”! Clearly this means Silva is really a fashion consultant! Or maybe he’s in demolition, because “Sink Oh Stony Ruin” also fits!

It’s conjecture, not evidence.

Dave: Ah, but remember when they’re in Scotland, and M remarks that orphans make the best recruits? That suggests that Silva is an orphan, and her adopted son!

HOW!? Even if I concede that the first is possible, where do you get the second part?!

Going back to your first argument, that we know very little about Silva. We don’t know all about him, but we know enough! We know Silva isn’t M’s adopted child, because we know that his real name in the movie is Tiago Rodriquez! We know he was working under M in Hong Kong, that he started hacking the Chinese government, and M handed him over to them in exchange for six operatives and a peaceful transition, when the UK handed over Hong Kong to China.

THAT is his motive for revenge! He went outside his jurisdiction, M made a judgement call, and Silva considered this as her betraying him. That’s part of the point of the movie, with M having to deal with the consequences of her decisions, even if those decisions were justified. The conflict is there, without the addition of Silva being her son!

And of course, the biggest problem with the theory: It hurts the character of M!

Dame Judi Dench portrayed M as stolid, professional and calculating. Her pre-mission briefing with Bond in GoldenEye pretty much defined her to the audience. The one time Bond tries to be snarky during that conversation, she responds by verbally dissect him as a “Sexist, misogynist dinosaur”, how she will not accept any of his bullshit and that she won’t hesitate for one moment to send him on a suicide mission, if she believes it will produce a result.

And how does Bond, the king of the deadpan wit, respond to all of this?

Point taken…

With all of that in mind, it’s pretty obvious that she’d keep a very clear distinction between her professional and private life. Even if she did adopt a child, making that child an MI-6 operative would be incredibly irresponsible and stupid, since her judgement would be compromised as a result. M is many things, but she isn’t stupid. This is exactly the kind of mistake she is too smart to make!

Dave: Hmm…

The theory hinges on us accepting that she’d do something so monumentally stupid, as to knowingly compromise her own sense of judgement! All that amounts to, is making her look like an blundering idiot!

Dave: I suppose… But never mind! I have another theory that’s much better!

Oh, joy… What is it?

Dave: James Bond isn’t James Bond!

Hmm… Nope, you’ve lost me.

Dave: “James Bond” is not his real name! It’s a codename! It explains how he managed to survive for so long, the changed appearance, all the decades he’s been around! It’s not the same guy!

Aha… I suppose you’re not discouraged about the fact that in Skyfall, we see the graves of Bonds parents and his family home?

Dave: Ah, I knew you’d say that, and there is an additional sub-theory to back this up! Daniel Craig’s James Bond is actually the SON of Sean Connery’s James Bond!

Right…. Explain

Dave: Ok, so in Skyfall, we see the grave of Andrew Bond. But what if his full name was Andrew JAMES Bond, and that’s Sean Connery’s James Bond, a former MI-6 operative. He does a whole heap of missions, and then after the events of You Only Live Twice, he retired and had a child, who he named James. James Jr. grows up with similar values as his father, eventually becoming an MI-6 operative himself when his father died! Since the first James Bond was their best ever operative, when they got a new recruit who stood out, he was given “James Bond” as a codename, in honour of the first operative!

Is that all?

Dave: I think so.

Ok, so let’s go through why this doesn’t make sense. First of all, there’s the idea of the name “James Bond” being a codename. The problem with it being a codename is firstly that giving several different agents such a specific codename is a bit counterproductive, because if that codename becomes widely known, it becomes completely useless! Such a specific name would not be a codename as much as a cover identity. A cover identity is supposed to be temporary, and has to be replaced with some other identity eventually to keep the operative secret! In other words, if his name is just a codename, it wouldn’t remain the same for so long!

And second, it completely diminishes a new agent, if they basically have to change their name to “James Bond” in honour of some guy that retired! They would forever be compared to that first agent, and never having a real identity of their own.

Then there’s the idea that Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan are different operatives, under presumed names. That might work, if not for the fact that at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Lazenby’s Bond got married, and his wife was murdered by Blofeld and his cronies. And Sean Connery returns as Bond in the following movie, Diamonds Are Forever, attempting to avenge her murder.

GoldenEye was set in the mid 90’s, and yet the opening to that movie was set 9 years earlier, in the mid 80’s! Timothy Daltons License to Kill was released in 1989!

Oh, and I almost forgot! In the novels, Bonds parents died in a climbing accident. This was also true in Dr. No. And wouldn’t you know it! That’s the same way Bonds parents died in GoldenEye, when he was played by Pierce Brosnan!

Dave: uhm….

And while it’s true that Bonds appearance changes between movies, so have several other characters, including Bob Tanner, Felix Leiter, Moneypenny and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Speaking of which, need I remind you that in the movie Spectre, we’re introduced to a brand new organization called Spectre, with nobody appearantly having heard of it before?

It’s a bit strange, isn’t it, considering Daniel Craigs Bond is supposedly just the latest in a long line of operatives working under that name? You’d think the name of a GLOBAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATION wouldn’t be something easily forgotten! It’s almost like there was a reboot or something!

And finally, returning to the idea of “James Bond” as a codename. You don’t see how the basic idea is stupid?

Dave: What’s so stupid about it? It makes sense that you’d give your operative a codename to keep their identity secret.

Fair enough. I suppose that makes sense. Your operative would need some codename, some alternate name to distinguish them.

Dave: You see!

But you know what might be more useful than “James Bond”? See, that name’s fine and all, but you know what might be better? If you had something shorter, more professional, to distinguish your operatives.

Dave: uh…

Hey, here’s a crazy idea! What if, instead of a two part name for a codename, you could use, I don’t know, a numerical codename?

Oh wait! I just remembered! HIS FUCKING CODENAME IS 007!

Dave: Maybe he has two codenames…?

WHY!? An operative using two different codenames is not something from a Bond movie! It’s the kind of paranoid spy-bullshit you’d see from Col. Flagg in M*A*S*H!

Dave: Ok, fine! What is your answer then? How come Bond changes appearance and has remained in action for so long!?

BECAUSE HE IS A FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTER! He doesn’t age!

It’s like asking how Superman or Batman has remained the same for so long! Batman has been perpetually 33 years old since fucking 1939! The setting is updated, but the character remains the same!

Dave: Fine. I suppose that’s a pretty rational explanation.

Good!

Dave: Unless….

Unless what..?

Dave: Well, Bond doesn’t seem to age, but his appearance changes, as well as his personality…

Oh dear god, this better not be what I think it is.

Dave: It all adds up! The strange gadgets, the time paradoxes… Don’t you see! James Bond is a-

Hold it!

We have known each other for a long time, Dave, so I think it’s fair to warn you at this point, that if you’re suggesting that Bond is a Timelord, which is perhaps the laziest, dumbest, most pathetic type of fan theory ever conceived by man, I am going to assume you’ve either suffered crippling brain damage or you’re actively trying to piss me off.

In either case, I will rip your face off and staple it onto your ass, since that end is clearly producing less shit.

Dave: Oh… ok… never mind then…

Thank you. You know, there really is a bright side to all of this. I don’t feel quite as angry about Die Another Day anymore. It could have been much worse. After all, you could have written it, Dave.

 

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