Friday, January 27, 2017

Would You Cut Off Your Finger for $15,000? And More Deep Questions From Stuff I Watched

Only watched a few things this week as most of the weekend I was watching House of Cards on Netflix as that seemed appropriate.

Cheap Thrills:  Would you cut off your finger for $15,000?  Would you eat that finger for $25,000?  These are the questions a family man has to ask himself when he loses his job, goes to a bar, meets an old friend, and they become the prank monkeys for a rich guy and his sullen trophy girlfriend.  The rich guy and girlfriend have the two guys start small with little pranks like getting a woman to slap them for $300 or taking a swing at a bouncer for $500, but of course then it escalates.  Eventually it becomes a rivalry between the two old friends as they each want the money.  I think this was from 2012 but it certainly resonates right now with income equality such a big problem.  This movie so clearly illustrates the difference between rich and poor.  For the rich guy $250,000 is just a night out for his girlfriend.  For the two poor guys, $250,000 is a new life.  The rich guy probably spends $15,000 on socks while the poor guys get in a downward bidding war to determine who will cut off his finger, ultimately settling on $15,000.  This is something I think of all the time.  I mean pretty much all my debts could be paid off with $50,000, which for super-rich guys like Bill Gates or Mark Cuban is like one meal.  That's what we're talking about with income equality.  What's so disheartening in this versus torture porn like the Saw movies is these guys aren't being forced to do these stunts; they're doing it of their own free will because they need money.  That's a sad commentary on our lives.  This movie is only about 85 minutes so it won't take much of your time but it might make you think. (3.5/5) (Fun Fact:  The gist of this movie was an episode of The Simpsons a while back where Mr. Burns recruited Homer as his "prank monkey," doing stupid Jackass-type stunts in exchange for small payouts of cash.)

Crossing Point:  A guy is in Mexico with a girl and then she's kidnapped.  The people who kidnapped her don't want money; they want him to be their drug mule.  So he has 12 hours to schlep some coke across the border, which is kind of difficult.  After almost being killed a couple of times, he hires a "coyote" to get him to a border crossing.  Oh, hey, news flash for Trump supporters:  he climbs up a wall to get over the border.  WALLS DON'T WORK!  And if you want to say "it's just a movie" it was inspired by true facts, not alternative facts.  Anyway, it wasn't that great of a movie.  One of those where I kind of tuned out for bits of it. (2/5)

Starship Troopers 2:  Heinlein must really be rolling in his grave. Though this is more like a really, really shitty remake of The Thing, which was adapted from the not-Heinlein book Who Goes There?  and maybe a little Species thrown in too.  (-1000000/0)  (Fun Fact:  I mentioned House of Cards at the top and an actress who had a small role in the first season was the only actor I recognized in this movie.)

The American Side:  A decent simulacrum of a noir movie. A PI in Buffalo is taking pictures of a guy who's cheating on his wife when the woman he's fucking is kidnapped.  So the PI ends up uncovering a grand conspiracy involving Niagara Falls and Nikolai Tesla's notebook full of inventions.  It's a little slow but otherwise good for a modern, low-budget noir movie. (3/5) (Sad Fact:  This was one of Robert Vaughn's last roles and he's almost unrecognizable.  Plus his character doesn't really contribute much.)


  1. Interesting question. I'd have to say no, but I don't know what I would say if I was in a desperate situation.

  2. Cheap Thrills sounds really interesting. I would never cut off a finger, and I hope I never need that kind of money so desperately...

  3. That does sound like a thought-provoking movie. Like you said, some men are willing to cut off their fingers for $15,000, others could have $15,000 stolen from them and never even notice. Reminds me of when you hear about these celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence complaining that they don't get paid enough when they already make more money in a year than some people will earn in their entire lives. I don't think I'll see the movie though, because it sounds too disturbing.

    "Crossing Point" made me sad, because I've had a draft of a novel for years called "Drug Run" about a guy whose wife and son are kidnapped, and he's forced to smuggle coke across the border. Doesn't feel so original now. I should really publish that before it gets even more out of date, but I wrote it as a NanoRiMo with zero research and it needs so much rewriting that I get depressed just thinking about it.



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