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Home: The Toast

Mallory and Shrill are friends who make each other see terrible movies.

Mallory: are you working right now?
want to talk about Jupiter Ascending?
Shrill: I am not
we can talk now if you’re free
Mallory: Shrill why did you make me see this movie
why do people keep giving the Wachowskis money
also: did I love this movie??
Shrill: I made you see this movie because I knew you would hate it slash I knew you would love it
Like I knew you would hate it on the surface, but like so deeply that the hate curdled into love
Why did I know you would love it? I don’t know
Mallory: I think I feel about it the opposite of how I feel about Ayn Rand
Shrill: expand
Mallory: I don’t know
I love Ayn Rand, but I know it’s wrong to love her
I hated this movie, but I know it knows that I need it
Shrill: that’s okay, the movie was Incredibly Specific about literally everything
Mallory: this movie had TWO SCENES WHERE CHANNING TATUM CRASHED A SPACESHIP TO KEEP MILA KUNIS FROM SIGNING A DOCUMENT
they went back to a VERY SPECIFIC WELL
Shrill: TWICE.
Mallory: everything about this movie felt like watching a Scientology video
Shrill: every time a character opened their mouths it sounded like a speech about midichlorians
or thetans
Mallory: I had to look up whether the Wachowskis were Scientologists like four times just to prove that they weren’t
Shrill: seriously, I feel like I can’t exactly be sure that I haven’t been brainwashed
it had all these non-sensical details that had nothing to do with the plot and only make sense to include if you’re trying to form a religion
Mallory: okay so like
speaking of nonsensical
I feel like we have to talk about the society/economy that apparently exists in this movie
because there are roughly four UNIVERSAL PHARAOHS
who are each flanked by lizard-dragons who wear leather jackets (WHY WOULD YOU WEAR LEATHER JACKETS IF YOU ALREADY HAD SCALES)
a handful of robot slaves
and planets of cattle people (us)
WHERE IS THE MIDDLE CLASS
WHO IS DOING THE HARVESTING
WHO IS PILOTING THE SHIPS
who is…who cleans their baroque space palaces?
who’s BUYING THEIR PRODUCT and MAKING THE PROFITS THEY KEEP TALKING ABOUT?
Shrill: the, y’know, “other people” were something that was incredibly unclear
like, where does the police class come from?
Mallory: well and one of the space emperors had an ENORMOUS STOCKPILE of youth juice or what have you
just traveling around with him
what is their resource allocation system??
what do they EAT
Shrill: remember there was that scene where the space emperor’s accountant was like ‘if you harvest in 100 years, your profits will exceed your competitor’s”
Mallory: right?? what profits?
they’re harvesting AND USING their own product, right?
how do they make money?
Shrill: this is where the existence of a middle class would make sense
sell small amounts of the stuff to middle class people, who would use it as currency or use it themselves
Mallory: this is like when they have you sell chocolate bars in high school to fund the marching band
and you end up buying them all yourself because no one wants to buy candy bars from a high schooler when they can just buy them anywhere else so you end up funding your own marching band
that’s not a scalable business plan!
Shrill: the whole thing was like a big piece of fan fiction in that it was super concerned with minutiae of world-building and making up ridiculous names that it completely forgets about large scale things
Mallory: yes! like…why is anyone behaving this way?
Shrill: idk how we’re treating spoilers but like
Mallory: SPOIL IT UP
Shrill: what exactly does Jupiter plan to, like…”do” with The Planet Earth?
and
if there are thousands of other planets filled with human beings that are going to be harvested, how does the end of the film constitute a happy ending?
you saved Earth on a time scale that is a minute compared with the lifespan of the people who wish to harvest it
congrats on saving earth for a bit, you’re going to die in fifty years and they’re gonna harvest it anyway
Mallory: HERE IS MY THING WITH THAT, SHRILL
like if there are two people
who are given the same resources
and one of them says GREAT, I will utilize them for profit and personal gain
and the other one says I WILL DO NOTHING, I will go back to cleaning toilets all day and pretend not to be a queen
GIVE IT TO THE SKIN EATER, Jupiter has clearly demonstrated that she does NOT DESERVE A LEADERSHIP ROLE
Shrill: are you going The Parable of the Talents on me?
are you casting Jupiter into the outer darkness
Mallory: OH MY GOD I AM
(retell the parable for the unsaved)
Shrill: so the parable of the talents is this story Jesus told the disciples and it goes basically like this
this rich guy is gonna go on a journey and he entrusts his three servants with money
pieces of his estate
to watch over while he’s away
two of the servants invest their money, essentially
and when the master comes back, they give the money back to him with interest
and the master is like: great
but the third servant said that he was afraid of losing the the money
so he buried it
Mallory: BULLSHIT, THIRD SERVANT
Shrill: yeah
the master is PISSED
he’s like, “you should have at least put it in the bank and given me a piddling amount of interest”
he says “give the the talents to one of the other ones who used it”
and throw this worthless dude outside (into hell)
it’s sort of hilarious because the end of the parable totally abandons the metaphor
Mallory: Shrill, let’s not get too off topic here, theologically
Shrill: I’m sorry
anyway point is
Jupiter buries her money instead of using it
even charging interest, which is technically bad, would have been better
Mallory: she doesn’t even use being QUEEN OF EARTH to pretend she got a SLIGHTLY BETTER JOB!!!
like “oh i got a job at starbucks instead of cleaning toilets”
SHE GOES BACK EXACTLY TO CLEANING TOILETS
Shrill: I mean on the other hand, what exactly is she supposed to do
Mallory: get a spaceship!!
Shrill: she has a hand stamp that says she’s queen of earth
Mallory: don’t harvest earth but definitely RULE IT
Shrill: who will recognize said handstamp
she doesn’t even have a space phone
or whatever
Mallory: everyone in space, Shrill!
EVERYONE IN SPACE RECOGNIZED IT AND THEY HAD SPACE LASERS
also she didn’t JUST own the earth
she had other inheritances too!
Shrill: TRUE
really unimaginative

 

Mallory: I’m just saying it ISN’T NOT SEXIST that this was basically the Matrix with a girl
and the Girl Neo’s ultimate fate is GET A HOT BOYFRIEND WITH WINGS and HAVE A BETTER ATTITUDE ABOUT DOMESTIC CHORES
Shrill: lol
Mallory: question:
do you think
Channing Tatum was trying to do an accent in this movie
I went back and forth
sometimes I thought he was
and sometimes I think he wasn’t
Shrill: I was too busy laughing at you during the credits to check to see whether they’d staffed the “dialogue coach” or “language consultant” position
you know what I think
honestly
here’s what I think
I think there’s no accent in the script, and that Channing Tatum just sort of sometimes accidentally slipped into a weird pseudo-British accent because he was concentrating so hard on rendering the role
completely unintentionally
Mallory: I have never seen Channing Tatum so doughy and charmless
it was like someone put his dick on mute
Shrill: there was more sexual tension between Channing Tatum and his metal-working machinery in the trailer for Magic Mike XXL
than the entirety of his relationship with Mila Kunis
Mallory: HERE IS A LIST OF THE PAIRINGS THAT HAD MORE SEXUAL CHEMISTRY THAN CHANNING AND MILA
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
Shrill: even his PHYSIQUE was muted, he took off his shirt and it was “yawn” instead of “I feel simultaneously inadequate and quite possibly not entirely straight”
Mallory: Sean Bean/Channing Tatum
Any of the sexy evil alien wizards with each other (any configuration)
Mallory: The weird robot on Bureacracy Planet and his clone
Shrill: oh man, that scene was FRAUGHT
the looks they gave each other
Mallory: WHAT WAS THIS MOVIE AND WEIRD ANTI-GAY TROPES??
like, that robot-dude was so fussy and made-up and clearly Edward Everett-Horton-style gay
and both of the evil space brothers looked like they’d seen the first 40 minutes of Dune and decided to base their entire characterizations on Baron Harkonnen
why is that still such sci-fi standby, the fussy gay/decadent bad guy?
Shrill: I don’t know, I can’t understand it
Mallory: all big crimson robes and evil lisps and mother complexes
la_ca_0102_jupiter_ascendingShrill: like how the younger evil space brother kept saying: this is a BUSINESS ARRANGEMENT
it’s not about LOVE
it’s not SEXUAL
we’re just SIGNING A CONTRACT
strip out the context and it was like A Beard For Hire
Mallory: WHAT CONTEXT, SHRILL
WHAT
CONTEXT
he had the dress waiting for her!
he didn’t even do the standard faux-affable thing where he said “take three days, think about it”
they had to get married IMMEDIATELY
Shrill: maybe the SUPER HARD SELL might have been a red flag
given that he’s basically immortal
Mallory: Jupiter was a very easy sell
I felt like she believed whoever she was in the room with 90% of the time
Shrill: to be fair to her she was dealing with a LOT of stuff at once
Mallory: and all she wanted was a telescope
she never once, like, named a star or mentioned an interest in astronomy, but
she really wanted that 5000 dollar telescope
IDK this movie was a particularly egregious case of Sci Fi Talk
Shrill: SO MUCH talking
honestly
Mallory: “The Aegis has invoked the Council. We must invoke the Sky Elders’ rule if we wish to avoid the Standhold.”
Shrill: every time people weren’t talking, the movie was pretty engaging
Mallory: 1/2 exposition, 1/2 screensavers crashing into each other
Shrill: I have no idea if you made that up on the spot
Mallory: okay let’s not get out of hand here, Shrill
the movie looks PRETTY GOOD
but it looked like a regular scene from Myst
Shrill: what’s your problem with Hologram Shields and Space Rollerblades
Mallory: like a PRETTY GOOD screensaver
I have no problem with those things
but i have a problem with a guy who gets blown out of an airlock
goes to all the trouble to grab a spacesuit AS HE’S BEING BLOWN OUT
then proceeds to waste his entire oxygen supply by NOT USING HIS JET BOOTS
HE JUST HANGS THERE
WITH HALF AN HOUR OF OXYGEN
DOING NOTHING
Shrill: but wasn’t that basically like that one scene in Guardians of the Galaxy
Mallory: there were SEVERAL scenes in this movie that I already saw in Guardians, absolutely
Shrill: how DID that spaceship appear out of nowhere and pick him up, by the way
Mallory: no reason
which wouldn’t necessarily bother me in a movie that felt like it contained internal logic
but in the middle of THIS movie infuriated me
it feels like the Wachowskis have absolutely no sense of what drives any human beings
“what are feelings? a single diamond, smirks, yelling”
do you remember the Steve Guttenberg episode of Party Down?
Shrill: there were SEVERAL points during the movie where I thought to myself “I have no idea how we arrived at this point”
Mallory: when they’re running through Roman’s sci-fi script and it’s just awful
this felt like his script BEFORE Steve Gutenberg convinced him to add heart to it

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.36.04 AMIt was the spiritual opposite of this line:
“Are science fiction and heart mutually exclusive? One word: Cocoon.”
Mallory: also: will bees recognize Mila Kunis for the rest of her life?
can she control them, or do they just follow her around?
Shrill: might be awkward!
Mallory: why didn’t they recognize her from birth, if she’s GENETICALLY royal?
why did it take until she met up with Channing Tatum for bees to notice her?
Shrill: well, they DID, right
Sean Bean was like “you’ve never been stung by a bee, right”?
totally inconsistent
plus
what is the Purpose of bees being able to recognize her
Mallory: wait but do they not sting her, or do they act as her giant arms?
because at one point during the chase scene, it seemed like she used bees as her giant arms
Shrill: really? I thought the bees were naturally pissed off and just attacked on their own
when someone tried to hurt her
MALLORY: THESE BEES WERE INCONSISTENT

Mallory: Shrill
we have to talk about it
we have to talk about the “I love dogs” scene
because it felt like that was the closest this movie came to having a “heart” scene
Shrill: yeah so
Channing said “you can’t be in love with me, b/c of my genetic splicing I’m more similar to a dog than I am to you”
Mallory: EVEN THOUGH
HIS ONLY DOG FUNCTION
IS POINTY EARS
AND A PUBE-LOOKIN’ GOATEE
BUT I DIGRESS
Shrill: and he bit someone for no reason one time
but yes
and then she replies “but I love dogs”
which, to their credit, was intended to be ridiculous
Mallory: “to their credit”
YOU DON’T GET CREDIT FOR AN ACTOR ACKNOWLEDGING IT WAS A TERRIBLE LINE
A
TERRIBLE
LIIIINE
god I’m getting so angry right now
everything about this was so wrong
Shrill: she says “oh why did I say dogs”
but that’s like
not close to enough
like
if she’d said “I’d have sex with a dog if it were hot enough”
Mallory: the dialogue in this movie
Shrill: that would have been funny
Mallory: I don’t think I can remember an actual line from it
except for “I love dogs”
it felt like there wasn’t an actual script
Shrill: “I love dogs” has juuuuuust enough plausibility
you know what
Mallory: like every day they got another page of the script bible about their weird backstory
and told to wing it
Gugu Mbatha-Raw shows up every eighteen minutes to throw Channing in some new space dungeon with her Nien Nunb ears
Shrill: the movie’s dialogue in a nutshell was
that scene at the beginning after she’s rescued
where Channing Tatum leaves a gun by her so that when she wakes up
she can point the gun at him
and she LITERALLY
forces him to give her plot exposition at gunpoint
Shrill: that’s all the dialogue
forced exposition at gunpoint
Gugu was too sexy for the movie to be honest
it was distracting
Mallory: they tried to tamp it down
Shrill: yeah with those GARGANTUAN ears
like you can imagine the prop designer being told to make them four times bigger than they already were
and then he made them that size as a joke/protest
and they’re like “perfect”
Mallory: how did they sell this movie to executives, do you think?
Shrill: the whole movie is the Wachowskis saying “perfect” to stuff that is totally absurd
they must be INCREDIBLE in meetings in Hollywood
maybe they’re The Rulers of Earth and all they want to do is make movies
blackmail?
those are the only options I can think of
Mallory: YOU ARE SO RIGHT
at no point
did anyone bring up an idea
that the Wachowskis shot down
Shrill: it was like this was the last movie they’re ever going to make
and they had to empty their notebook of literally every world-building detail they’d ever thought of
every idea
every ridiculous name for an alien or a culture
Mallory: and I mean
I love geeking out on worldbuilding details
I really do!
I’m not anti-details
but it was all SO LAZY
Shrill: same

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.55.16 AMMallory: the gender stuff was lazy
the anti-gay vibe was lazy
Shrill: and none of it fit together
Mallory: not because I think they’re homophobic
but they were just like, yes, lisping, rich, weirdly seductive all the time, effeminate and pale, that’s what evil people are like
Shrill: yeah
Mallory: who was it
that said it felt like they JUST saw Brazil
and then made this movie
this was like Terry Gilliam’s Lunchables
Shrill: I don’t know, probably someone on twitter but like
that navigating the bureaucracy scene
that was like STRAIGHT from Brazil
they saw The Fifth Element
they saw the Star Wars prequels but none of the original movies
and they saw Brazil
Mallory: oh god yes okay what are sci-fi movies that this movie badly cribbed from
that you should see instead of Jupiter Ascending?
Fifth Element, Brazil for sure
probably either version of Tron, honestly
Shrill: yeah
Mallory: the Disney version of Atlantis
Shrill: oh YES
Mallory: pictures from literally any gay Halloween party from 2003-2005 where guys wore black underwear and fake wings
Shrill: The Muppets Treasure Island
Mallory: Dune
The Warriors
(for skating)
Brink! (also for skating)
Shrill: it’s too bad there’s no good Fantastic Four movie for the sky skating
The Neverending Story
Mallory: The Incredibles
Kiki’s Delivery Service
THE MATRIX
BECAUSE HI
Shrill: yes
Mallory: WACHOWSKIS
HOW MANY MOVIES CAN YOU HAVE THE BIG REVEAL BE “SUPERIOR BEINGS HARVEST HUMANS FOR NUTRIENTS AND ENERGY”
you can’t do that more than once!
YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT BE THE SAME TWIST TWICE
Shrill: the Wachowskis have never heard “you can’t”
in fifteen years
Mallory: it’s the SAME
TWIST
Shrill: and it’s the same non-resolution as the last Matrix movie
Mallory: i just want to put them on an island with Peter Jackson and M. Night Shyamalan
Shrill: “we’re not letting everyone out, surprise!”
Mallory: where they are safe and warm but unable to direct, to paraphrase Maria Bamford
Shrill: “truce!”

 

Mallory: okay so I understand why I hated this movie
but I can’t quite understand why I feel so obsessed with it
Shrill: the reason why I love it and why the Wachowskis should keep getting 120 million dollar budgets for each of their movies
is that they DO NOT CARE
they swing for the fences every time
Mallory: they just care about ELECTRO COLORED DREADLOCKS and BLOODLESS, UNINTERESTING FIGHT SEQUENCES
Shrill: whatever else you say about them, you cannot say that they pandered or compromised their vision
Mallory: but their vision is such garbage
it’s uncompromised garbage
Shrill: listen
they had a guy with feathers for facial hair
Mallory: they DID, at that
ALSO
WHAT FERTILITY CLINIC ONLY OFFERS $15,000 FOR YOUR EGGS
I tried to sell mine after college like every other broke be-egged woman and I didn’t meet the strict criteria, but even so, the going rate was like $35K, easy
Shrill: they didn’t care about that detail because they didn’t make it up
no research was done for this film
actual details that would give the story believability
and versimilitude
Mallory: I’m getting angry and I also kind of want to rewatch this movie again
so
Shrill: those were unimportant
Mallory: I don’t know if I should recommend it or not
Shrill: fake details that don’t matter
Mallory: I did hit you after we saw it, I feel like we should report that
Shrill: important
you did
but you were ALSO stomping your feet out of glee during it
maybe what would help is a comparison to another movie you hated but didn’t love
Mallory: rage and glee and energy left over from all the ginger ale I had
Shrill: Drinking the sweet nectar of capitalism
Mallory: YOU KNOW WHAT, HONESTLY
CAPITALISM IS AWESOME
AND I WOULD RATHER WATCH A CAPITALIST STEP INTO A BATH OF BEAUTIFUL BABY CELLS AND STEP OUT PERFECT AND WRINKLE FREE THAN SOME DILETTANTE TRUSTAFARIAN GO CLEAN TOILETS WHEN SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO
capitalism is the hug that money wants to give all of us
Shrill: so here’s the thing: the point of the movie is that CAPITALISM WAS BAD
so maybe you’re just counter-convinced
Mallory: this movie hated capitalism with its WORDS but it loved capitalism with its actions
all the lush dresses and big flipping space rococo palaces
Shrill: like the villains of the movie flew around in the sky like We Are Genetically Superior
humanity is cattle to our glorious vision of…
oh
our glorious vision of zero-G sex orgies
Mallory: THAT WAS SO LAZY
WE GET IT
PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEX ARE EVIL
all right we gotta wrap this up before I kick a hole in the wall

 

why2Shrill: okay I have one last question
which is… so Mila gets Channing Tatum his job back as Angel Soldier or whatever
Mallory: right
Shrill: so he’s basically the enforcement arm of the people who harvest humanity
Mallory: is that what they did?
I thought they were just like
flying police
WAIT WHY DID HE NEED WINGS IF HE HAD JET BOOTS
HE COULD ALREADY FLY
OMG
Shrill: we were told that “time” is the only currency of space
that was incredible
Mallory: THE THING HE WANTED THE WHOLE MOVIE LITERALLY DIDN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO HIS EVERYDAY LIFE
Shrill: just incredible
no difference at all
Mallory: okay but so was it confirmed that he wanted to go help harvest people??
Shrill: I mean it literally doesn’t matter what was “confirmed” it’s like being in the Spanish armada
it doesn’t matter if you personally had slaves in the New World
Mallory: do you think he’s ever ingested humans?? to stay young?
Shrill: and he wasn’t the police b/c police don’t have wings
HOW OLD IS HE???
they wouldn’t give that precious fuel to a Dog
also
something totally absurd about the movie
we could keep doing this forever but like
being a genetic identical to a person doesn’t ACTUALLY mean you’re the reincarnation of said person
she wasn’t their mother
Mallory: RIGHT
TWINS AREN’T THE SAME PERSON TWICE
THEY’RE LITERALLY DIFFERENT PEOPLE
Shrill: LITERALLY
Mallory: ugh also
the scene where she tells Eddie Redmayne “i’m not your damn mother” BUT THEN DOESN’T KICK HIM OFF THE PLATFORM
is just dramatically unsatisfying
she has JUSTIFICATION TO KILL HIM
NO ONE WOULD HOLD IT AGAINST YOU, JUPITER
HE LITERALLY JUST TRIED TO KILL YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY
Shrill: yeah, and that was the second time she used that “I’m not your mother” line
Mallory: BACK TO THE SAME WELL
Shrill: it would have been like in Return of the King if Eowyn had been like “I AM NO MAN”
and then walked away from the Witch-King instead of killing him
Mallory: ahahahahhaa
RIGHT
they LITERALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND DRAMATIC PAYOFF
Shrill: I think maybe the movie wanted her to have the moral high ground of Not Killing but it SOOOOO didn’t work
maybe if he’d said
DO IT, I HATE MY LIFE
KILL ME
and THEN she’d walked away
Mallory: and then she had DENIED HIM HIS DEATH
Shrill: fine
Mallory: uuuuugh
it would not have been very hard for this to be a wonderful campy mess
instead of a horrible sort of homophobic screensaver
Shrill: if they’d bothered to read the script they might have thought of this
Mallory: HOW DO YOU RUIN DOG-CHANNING WHEN YOU HAVE DOG-CHANNING HANDED TO YOU
Shrill: LOL ALSO
what was with all the dark insinuations and foreshadowing
and buildup
about Channing Tatum biting a royal for reasons unknown
just “his instincts”
and then they NEVER COME BACK TO IT
I REALLY thought the royal he killed was her genetic double from the past
but nope
they go out of their way to NOT pay that off
Mallory: I THOUGHT THAT WOULD ALSO HAPPEN
WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO MEEEE
Shrill: they didn’t even leave it open for you to fill in the blanks
Mallory: he has this DARK PAST and he MYSTERIOUSLY bit out some noble-person’s throat for reasons he cannot remember!
Shrill: they intentionally resolved it in a way that adds nothing to the story
Mallory: and you’re like, oh yeah, clearly he was being manipulated by one of the evil royal siblings!
Shrill: “someone else killed the mother”
Mallory: AND THEN THEY DROP ITTTTTT
Shrill: “they just started fighting for no reason”
Mallory: “Chekhov’s gun means if there’s a gun in the first act, you should imprison a dog in the third, right?”
Shrill: lol
completely drop it
never to be returned to again
there’s not even a scene where he MIGHT bite someone
even him biting one of the royals would have been okay
not OPTIMAL
but definitely better
they had that scene where she was like “do you feel like biting me right now?”
like
he RIPPED OUT SOMEONE’S THROAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING
it wasn’t a cutesy sex bite
Shrill: plus isn’t the fact that his love for her is probably purely canine loyalty a little bit of a problem for this world-beating love of theirs

 

Mallory: I can’t give any more, Shrill
I can’t
Shrill: yeah
we’ve talked a lot about this and I can’t figure out whether this is good or bad
we’ve seen bad movies together before and exhausted the conversation after 5 minutes
Mallory: that’s true
you were pretty sad about I, Frankenstein
Shrill: I was? I don’t remember
we didn’t have a WHOLE lot to say about Dracula Untold except that a couple of plot points didn’t make a whole lot of sense
then we quickly moved on to jokes about the name of the sequel
or anyway I did
Mallory: all right
will you go see the sequel with me
when/if it comes out
Shrill: yes
I don’t know what it means that I just said yes
and feel good about saying yes
Mallory: okay
don’t think about our friendship too hard
we just see things
and mix sodas
and don’t ask a lot of questions
Shrill: I can’t recommend the movie and I can’t not recommend the movie
yeah, that’s a good encapsulation

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