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Home: The Toast

Mallory and Shrill are friends who make each other see terrible movies. Also, there are some spoilers, and also someday you will die.

Mallory: I AM SO STRESSED OUT RIGHT NOW
my arms are still vibrating from the stress of this movie
Shrill:  hello
Mallory: WELCOME TO THE STEAMPUNK FUTURE, SHRILL
THERE’S NO WATER BUT DON’T WORRY WE GLUED SKULLS ON EVERYTHING SO THERE IS THAT
so I guess let us discuss the water husbandry practices of our scarcity-plagued future economy
Shrill:   yeah that’s one thing I love about this movie is the fundamental inconsistency between, like,
the movie’s bedrock worldbuilding
and what people actually do
Mallory:  go on
Shrill:  this is a world in which oil is extremely scarce but people spend most of the time crashing really extravagant vehicles
and water is incredibly hard to find but they distribute it to the people via artificial waterfall
Mallory:  YES
Look, I am willing to suspend a GREAT DEAL of disbelief for a movie to look super cool
because honestly too great a commitment to realism would have meant that a third of Mad Max would be about heat stroke and the respiratory problems induced by constant dust storms
the fight sequences would be tender and raw and slow and wee because everyone would be so exhausted by dehydration
Shrill:  yes and it’s so in your face that you have to believe it
Mallory:  oh, I believed it
BUT
EVIL WARLORD GUY: if you are trying to control a populace through careful distribution of precious resources
then you ORGANIZE THE CITIZENRY INTO EASILY IDENTIFIABLE GROUPS who come get a carefully allotted amount of water at a specific time every day
you don’t just TURN ON A SKULL FAUCET and wait twenty seconds
Shrill:  it basically would have been a movie about the Fremen
Mallory:  most of that water was absorbed right back into the rock!
that was INEFFICACIOUS
Shrill:  but it’s super effective if you’re more concerned with being ostentatious and flamboyant and putting on a display of your power
Mallory:  this dude’s evil society was SUPER INEFFICIENT
which I think was my main problem
there was an ENORMOUS warrior caste
where are they getting the protein to bulk all these dudes up?
Shrill:  here’s the thing, Mallory: who cares
Mallory:  No, but I HAVE to care, not because I’m pedantic, but because they introduced the problem of food resources when they showed the most muscular character DRINKING HUMAN BREASTMILK FOR SUSTENANCE
that is such a poor use of resources!
you’d be better off just feeding him the calories directly, instead of feeding a bunch of women in that weird lactation chamber, and then feeding the subsequent breastmilk to him, there is a REASON women only nurse children for the first few months or years of their lives; you can’t nurse a platoon of grown men indefinitely! Even Rose of Sharon only nursed that one dying guy for like a MINUTE in Grapes of Wrath!
And then they sometimes use breast milk as an engine coolant! JUST PISS ON IT INSTEAD
Shrill:  sure, but what’s the point of being a dictator/religious figurehead if you can’t have a few luxuries
Mallory: I GUESS

 

Mallory: In that vein, why was Charlize Theron allowed to drive the war rig and not be one of the wives?
as far as I could see this society had about eight women
also
if it were me
(and I think it’s fairly telling that I’m imagining myself as the evil dictator and not a member of the Resistance in this scenario)
I would not keep all my harem in the same room
where they could COLLUDE and ESCAPE together
I would have a beehive type situation
and keep each one in a separate chamber
so they could not conspire against me
that was his big mistake
Shrill:  well, that’s because you see them as humans capable of collusion
Mallory:  this is why i’d be an especially dangerous dictator
Shrill:  and not very valuable breeding cows
Mallory:  cows that can TALK, shrill
that’s what women are
Shrill:  well
Mallory:  like, cut off one hand and one foot each, you know?
problem solved
that way, they’re still perfectly healthy but they can’t get far without you
Shrill:  oh my god
Mallory:  I’M JUST SAYING
IF YOUR GOAL WAS TO KEEP THEM ON YOUR PROPERTY
FOR THE PURPOSE OF EVIL, YOU SHOULD REALLY COMMIT TO GOING FULL EVIL IF TOTAL CONTROL IS YOUR PLAN
I am not going to cut off any part of Tom Hardy’s body
Shrill:  I think maybe he did not want to mar their beauty
Mallory:  they DID get all the fancy white fabric
I appreciated that
Shrill:  swaddling clothes and chastity belts
the new wave in post-apocalyptic fashion
Mallory:  I do love how in the steampunk future the attitude is basically THROW WATER AND GASOLINE OUT THE WINDOW AND JUST SOLDER SKULLS ONTO EVERYTHING
they HAND-WELDED SKULLS ONTO THOSE CHASTITY BELTS
Shrill:  yeah one thing I loved about it is how extravagant everything was
Mallory: this society had a real eye for pageantry!
a highly developed cosmology!
Shrill:  frankly, I’m tired of the sort of dour, very serious post-apocalyptic movie that’s so popular
Mallory:  I DO KNOW
I am thinking specifically of The Road
and I choose to believe this is an AU of Charlize Theron’s character in that movie
who abandoned Sad Viggo Mortensen to go run a biker gang in Australia
Shrill:  I’d totally forgotten that she plays The Woman in The Road until you mentioned it
Mallory:  yes!
and you know
THE Road
who is to say THE Road wasn’t FURY ROAD??
makes u think

 

Mallory:  they implied, I feel like, all the Warboys had like…nuclear mutations?
or big tumors etc because of “the future”
and maybe that’s why they kept spraying their mouths with silver paint?
it looked cool, i guess
Shrill:  no, they only sprayed their mouth when they were about to die
it was like consecrating themselves to death
symbolizing chrome
Mallory:  but what about the tumors that Nick Hoult had
that he named
Shrill:  dunno about that
Mallory:  all right
I feel like the implication was the Warboys were all mostly dying already
and that’s why they were so gung ho about Valhalla and whatnot
Shrill:  yeah, they talked about them “reaching the end of their half life” too
I loved that they didn’t bother filling in those details, though
Mallory:  no, not at all
I do love in movies like this
Shrill:  fill it in in your head, we have explosions to do
Mallory:  how IMMEDIATELY after the world ends
everyone is just like, RIGHT, step one, let’s develop an INCREDIBLY DETAILED COSMOLOGY
there are new gestures for praying
new words for everything: The Salt, the Warboys, people named Cheedo
elaborate death rituals
that have NO CONNECTION to our current society
just like, CENTURIES of cultural development are presumably sped up by the nuclear fallout
Shrill:  well that’s the thing that’s cool if you’ve seen the first Mad Max movies
Mallory:  I have not!
this was my first Mad Max
Shrill:  this is the best one IMO but
the first one is just a bit askew
second one gets a bit stranger
Mallory:  ok so each version the world gets more far afield from how we know it?
Shrill:  yeah
I mean in the first one there are still recognizable institutions
courts, police, etc
they’re just not in complete control, it’s like a Wild West kinda thing
Mallory:  then this world has weird crow people on sticks
Shrill:  yeah
Mallory:  ugh, I just have so many QUESTIONS, like how did the fertile valley of Charlize Theron’s youth become a mud puddle in just 20 years??
that is some FAST desertification!
not angry questions, just that I would happily read a script bible about this movie that’s 300 pages long
also, if she was kidnapped from that valley as a girl, why was she taking them back to a place she knew FIRSTHAND was not safe?
Shrill:  better than nothing
and the environment is obviously very off-kilter
Mallory:  true
it was a BOLD MOVE, I think
at what could have easily been the end of the movie
for Tom Hardy to stop and say
“hey, hey. wait a second”
“what if we just…go do the whole movie again, but BACKWARDS”
“how would that strike you”
Shrill:  yes
“I’m pretty sure there’s nothing that direction…but in THIS direction there are more crashing cars”
Mallory:  that was a good choice
also, having Angharad the Splendid die certainly WOKE ONE UP
Shrill: gauntlet throwing move!
Mallory:  I cannot think of another movie that has killed off a pregnant woman!
uhh, maybe that French one
that was about one woman trying to cut open a pregnant woman to steal her baby
Shrill:  what
Mallory:  INSIDE
yeah it was a French horror movie
but that was specifically about murdering pregnant women
so
it’s rare that I’m like, “good on this movie for murdering a pregnant lady”
but it worked, I thought
also they killed a lot of people
Shrill:  also the child died, which was surprising
usually when they kill off a pregnant woman it’s in childbirth
Mallory:  totally!
and this time they were just like, nope, this is the darkest timeline, whole family line ended
Shrill:  yeah, and it was an interesting callback to Max’s own dead wife/kid
Mallory:  who, I don’t know what happened to them
I assume they
died
of the future
Shrill:  yeah they got run down by a gang

 

Mallory:  I think i am going to give this movie a half-demerit
for its tired use of “here is a little person, to demonstrate how weird and corrupt our society is”
but only half because even though he’s the only remaining member of the evil ruling class at the end
the water peasants do not all throw him off a cliff like you are totally set up to think they are going to do
Shrill:  yeah, I almost wonder whether that was one thing they considered doing, or even filmed, and then decided to scrap it
Mallory:  it was totally set up that way!
because they zoom in on him
and he has that “oh shit” look on his face
Shrill:  and everyone looks at him
Mallory:  and then they just…don’t
which was nice
Shrill:  that’s the only time the movie exercised any sort of restraint, and I’m glad
like, the reason why all the bizarre unexplained details work in a movie like this is because the movie doesn’t really rely on them
as opposed to something like
(ahem)
Jupiter Ascending, in which all the details are explained and treated as important
Mallory:  YES
Jupiter Ascending was STUFFED with dumb uninteresting details
Shrill:  which were absolutely crucial to understanding the plot
Mallory: but this movie could almost have been silent
and I mean that in a good way! this movie was excellent and I would see it again if my constitution could stand it
Shrill:  yeah, the visual storytelling was very strong
nobody had to like explain what was happening in the action scenes because you could follow them
Mallory:  for a movie with roughly eight seconds of downtime
it’s pretty rad that I did not flag
the action sequences were NON-STOP and NON-GREEN-SCREENED
which I appreciated
Shrill:  yeah, the physicality of the practical effects as compared to something like
idk
the Jurassic World trailer
Mallory:  YES
WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT
Shrill:  like, part of the reason Mad Max was so thrilling is because it felt very concrete and physical and real
you feel peril, you feel fear
Mallory:  you might get SMASHED UP BY A CAR WITH SPIKES ON IT
Shrill:  at no point during the Jurassic World trailer did I even feel a twinge of theoretical fear
Mallory:  not disappear into a green screen
Shrill:  EXACTLY
Mallory:  God, I love that all the towns nearby had perfectly literal names
BULLET TOWN
going to get some bullets from BULLET TOWN
stop by GOGGLE VILLAGE later for my vintage DUST STORM GOGGLES
Shrill: I’m sure there was some CGI stuff, like when the people were being carried away by the dust storm
but it was believable because it was anchored in a physical world we already believed in
Mallory:  yes!
has there ever been, by the way
a post apocalyptic movie
with a legend of a green or a safe place
where the safe place turned out to be real?
because I feel like it’s only ever mentioned
so we can see the main character have a big mental breakdown when they realize THEY ARE THE SAFE SPACE
and there will be NO REST FOR THEM
Shrill: The Great Valley from The Land Before Time
and that’s all I can think of, really

 

Mallory: god, for a world that was supposedly rationing gasoline
they treated that stuff like it was PISS
Shrill:  DID NOT CARE
Mallory:  blowing up dirt bikes and shooting flames out of a guitar
Shrill:  THEY HAD A GUITAR THAT SPAT FIRE
yes
Mallory:  that guitar guy LIVED TO SHRED
was it a weapon? was it a vehicle? SHUT UP
Shrill:  that dude was really passionate about doom metal
Mallory:  he was only fighting Mad Max to get his guitar back
once he had the axe he didn’t care if Max blew up the whole car
Shrill:  I felt like it was a futuristic version of the drummer boy from back in the day
Mallory:  JUST LET ME ROCK OUT
there were drummers behind him!
which, again,
Shrill:  he started playing IMMEDIATELY after he got his guitar back
Mallory:  do you really have so many warriors and resources that you need an entire band corps??
there is an entire war rig dedicated to carrying around THEIR BAND
that’s so much gas!
Shrill:  I’m pretty sure that enormous Burning Man drum corps/guitar amp thing was the largest vehicle there
it was like a story tall
Mallory:  like, I could understand having ONE MUSICIAN maybe, tagging along on a vehicle that’s already carrying warriors
or like
a CD!
I don’t know
Shrill:  I bet that guy is really passionate about his craft too
Mallory:  it proper owned, though
like this movie was straight COOL as SHIT
fake gold noses and guys going blind and a bunch of shotguns
Shrill:  the guy with the bullet teeth
Mallory:  and everyone’s names were SINISTER AS HELLFIRE
Shrill:  the biker gang of grandmothers
who were all deadeye shots
Mallory:  YES
and who had just been living among sand dunes for 20 years waiting for a leader
Shrill:  some of them apparently did their own stunts???
Mallory:  IF we were going to do a feminist reading of Mad Max
WHICH WE ARE NOT
we could talk about how the caravan of wives was clearly meant to represent feminism’s third wave going back to acknowledge and honor the second wave feminist elders they left behind
but also to move ahead without them
clearly that was the filmmaker’s intention
(the crow people were Phyllis Schlafly)
(the green place of mothers was the failed ratification of the ERA, and the death of Angharad was the time my dad did the dishes without anyone asking)
Shrill:  we could talk about them passing along the seeds for the future
again
IF we were going to do that
which we aren’t
Mallory: let’s talk instead about how everyone dressed like they were in a Die Antwoord music video
Shrill:  Die Antwoord X the video game twisted metal
Mallory:  amazing
can I say one last thing to you
Shrill:  yeah
Mallory:  I just still think it’s really WEIRD that you knew stabbing someone in the side was a cure for a collapsed lung
Shrill:  lol
Mallory:  and apparently considered it to be common knowledge
I just think it’s weird
that’s all
Shrill:  I am laughing but with an air of mystery
Mallory:  I JUST THINK IT’S WEIRD
MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT

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