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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – Travel Day

Happy holidays… be nice to one another…

55 Responses to “BYOB – Travel Day”

  1. yancyskancy says:

    The Pride, Unprejudiced link on the home page actually takes you to Wilmington’s reviews of Twilight, Bolt, etc.

  2. So, what are people’s thoughts on Benjamin Button? I saw it last night (boxing day, opening night – cinema was 80% full) and really liked it. It has it’s issues though. I think by making the first hour so protracted that it does a disservice to the final hour, which feels rushed in comparison. I also didn’t quite take to the Taraji Henson character as others seem to have done. I found that it felt like she didn’t exist outside of the movie. Unlike some of the other supporting characters – Tilda Swinton and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali especially – which felt so lived in. Tilda blew me away yet again. Just the way she says certain words and phrases is enough to get me.
    Brad was quite good I found, much more so than I tend to find him, and Blanchett was lovely. The scenes from the scene after Caroline’s birth had me crying, I will admit. The final scenes were sad for me as I currently have a close family member currently going through a tough slide through dementia and it just “hit home” as they say.
    All in all, it won’t be making my top five but it’s a perfectly acceptable inclusion into Oscar’s list. Technically it’s superb too. B+

  3. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Speaking of “Benjamin Button”, one family wouldn’t shut up during the movie — on the day of release! — so a man sitting a few rows away walked up and opened fire.
    What was that recommendation I made to stop talkers and texters?

  4. Hallick says:

    “What was that recommendation I made to stop talkers and texters?”
    When Chucky yells “fire” in a crowded theater, just rememeber, it isn’t a warning – it’s an order!

  5. Hallick says:

    The best line in the shooting article: “Cialella then returned to his seat and continued watching the movie.”
    I wonder if gunpowder residue makes the popcorn taste better? This might have been one for the Darwin Awards if he’d used the gun to SHOOT the popcorn at the family instead of just throwing it first.

  6. sky_capitan says:

    Is “The Spirit” out on blu-ray yet?
    This is the worst marketed film in a long time. I have no idea what it’s about. Hot actresses though.

  7. Cadavra says:

    Guns don’t kill people–movies kill people!

  8. jbf81 says:

    I notice that after The Spirit, the only project for Scarlett Johansson for 2009 is another small role in an all cast film,

  9. jbf81 says:

    I notice that after Spirit, the only project for Scarlett Johansson for 2009 is another small role in an all cast film,

  10. movieman says:

    Maybe she just wants to spend time with her hunky new hubby, Ryan Reynolds.
    Scarlett J. was a critic (and fanboy) darling back in the days of “Ghost World” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”
    Now that she’s become Woody’s go-to gal, everyone’s acting like she’s frigging Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson combined. Granted, her album sucked, but she’s still a damn fine actress (“The Spirit” notwithstanding) and, duh, a raging beauty.

  11. jbf81 says:

    I am not a Scarlett hater, but the girl has horribe taste for scripts, with exception of her work with Woody she has been in only bad films and bombs. It will be good for her to take a break.

  12. Bennett says:

    Don’t forget that she was in Nolan’s The Prestige….Not the best acting from her(kinda reminded me of Katie Holmes in Batman Begins), but a great movie…
    P.S. Just got back from a sold out Frost/Nixon showing….Does anyone else think that it is slightly overrated??? Great performance from Frank as Nixon……..maybe I had too high expectations….

  13. *ahem* ScarJo’s album is my #3 album of ’08 (after Girls Aloud and Santogold, of course).

  14. leahnz says:

    ‘I am not a Scarlett hater, but the girl has horribe taste for scripts, with exception of her work with Woody she has been in only bad films and bombs.’
    hmm, i think ‘lost in translation’ is a terrific little film, and scarlett is perfect in it.

  15. EOTW says:

    LIT is my pick for most overrated thing ever this ecade. ScarJo wasn’t the worst thing about it (that’s be the no script and SC’s BS directing) but she is awful in it. Am I supposed to care about a f’n 20 yr old POA who’s unhappy in her marriage to a geek? Boo f’n hoo. Sorry, but the film was crap. The only thing worth watching was some of Big Bill’s perofrmance and SJ’s ass in the opening shot and her panties in other scenes. As for the rest, a big meh.

  16. leahnz says:

    i’m sunburned and beered-out, granted, but sorry back atcha for the bug up your ass, eotw

  17. T. Holly says:

    Wow, AJSchnack thinks John Anderson’s comment in a Film Threat interview about B movies is a non-fiction headline because Jeff Wells tells him it’s about bloggers, therefore it must be a non-fiction headline? Or it’s non-fiction because… I give up. Go figure.

  18. adorian says:

    The Duchess came out on dvd yesterday, but I couldn’t leave the bed, much less the house. I went and rented it just now.
    Clerk: This is really good.
    Me: I don’t care if it’s good or bad. I just want to see the hair, the gowns, and the antiques.
    Clerk: Oh, Maggie Smith isn’t in this one.
    I nearly cough-laughed myself to death right there at the counter.

  19. T. Holly says:
    My Fav Scene of Keira Knightley_In The Dutchess. That and the dogs with their Hong Kong efforts and grunts.

  20. LexG says:

    You know what, this is the point where I was going to do some stupid all-caps 3am woe-is-me rant, but really, what’s the point?
    It is a simple but infinitely logical question: How do you get an acting career going if you are 36 and have to clock in at a bullshit dayjob… and yet, how do you quit said job if you have no acting going? How do you pay for classes? And how do you parlay monologues and scene study in some Valley acting class to actual paid SAG-ellible film/TV acting? WHO is gonna see said shit? I’m making inquiries into some classes, my first in a decade.
    But even then, to what end???? Doing some scenes in front of classmates tucked away in a class doesn’t get you “seen.” And the alleged SOCIAL NETWORKING thing that classes are supposed to help with are kind of moot once you’re approaching middle age. I can see 22-year-olds bonding in acting class and becoming a “posse” and even helping get auditions and agents and shit… But in WHAT acting class is anyone gonna wanna talk to the weird 36-YEAR-OLD douche?
    It all seems like an exercise in masturbation, time-wasting, and flushing good money down the toilet.
    Basically, I need to be FUCKING FAMOUS within the next six months or I will hang myself.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    I know Lex isn’t going to listen to me, so can someone else tell him that his self-defeating attitude is the single biggest part of the problem?

  22. T. Holly says:

    I met a bit part character actor I recognized on the bus the other day, really nice fellow in his 60’s, never had a desk job in his life. You could get laid, off, Happy New Year.

  23. EOTW says:

    Lex: Don’t do it, bro. Your posts on here are easily the best, and most entertaining of all. Being famous is for losers. Yeah, you get better pussy and money, but if you’re making a good salary at your day gig, then you got that covered, my man. Pussy? It comes and it goes, but the real men weather it on. trust me. Go out with some friends and grab an easy piece and you’ll be back in full on Lexmode in no time. Seriously, man. You make me laugh. Thanks for that!

  24. Lex-
    Dude, move out of L.A. Although I miss living there everyday (if not twice a day) I feel like my filmmaking options have tripled living in the San Francisco area. There’s more opportunity to be involved with non-douchey projects and when you do something, people actually seem to take notice and give a shit…because not every frigging barista and desk jockey is pitching a movie.
    While there’s infinitely more people doing more things film/TV related there, what you’re feeling is the small fish in HUGEST POND EVER effect.
    I mean, don’t move up here cuz we’ll outdrink each other to death. But Austin, Brooklyn, maybe even someplace like Athens, gA….all affordable, fun cities with a scene you can be a part of.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    EOTW, while your enthusiasm is appreciated, it’s somewhat misguided. Lex hates his day job (regardless of how massively well-compensated he is – and he is) and without pining for movie stars (what is this thing you call an ‘easy piece’?) he’s nothing. The Lex you imagine is not the true Lex.

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    Excuse me, but can I ask a simple question: LexG, how old are you?

  27. T. Holly says:

    Big mucky muck Don Lewis keeps a closed mind tightly shut on an open topic.

  28. LexG says:

    Joe Leydon:
    I am 36 years awesome, son.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    Good. There’s just enough demographic difference between us. Hell, at 56, I could — literally — be your father. So I suggest: Some enterprising producer out there pair us for the next great syndicated movie review program. We could cover movies from all sorts of angles. Seriously. Anybody out there want to give us a shot?

  30. LexG says:

    GOOD IDEA. Martin S., make it happen.
    If we have to have some sort of critic’s roundup thing like Lyons does, we should go via satellite to Lou from Caddyshack in his Planview hat doing his godawful imitation, and/or Wells complaining about spending time with his family.
    Off-topic, WHAT IS THIS AWESOME MOVIE on HBO right now with Ashley Judd and NATALIE PORTMOWNAGE????? Aside from the first act where she has pregnant padding, Nat-Po is a piece of aaaaaaaaaaace in this movie.

  31. T. Holly says:

    At best, I give you guys a reality show.

  32. LexG says:

    BTW, I know everybody is on PINS AND NEEDLES, so I hereby present the LEXG TOP TEN LIST OF 2008.
    I have to concede I have not seen Doubt, Rachel Getting Owned, or Defiance. But otherwise I’ve seen everything I’m going to see:
    7. MILK
    8. REDBELT
    10. FUNNY GAMES.

  33. LexG says:

    Honorable mention: Revolutionary Road, Hancock, Lakeview Terrace, Miracle at St. Anna, Vicki Cristina Barcelona, Che, Quarantine, The Visitor, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Bank Job, Cloverfield, In Bruges, Punisher War Zone.

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Not bad. Not bad at all. But you should really make an effort to see Rachel.

  35. T. Holly says:

    Is there anything you saw that you didn’t like?

  36. LexG says:

    Garden Party, Life Before Her Eyes, Bangkok Dangerous, Prom Night, Mummy 3, Haunting of Molly Hartley, Love Guru, Fool’s Gold, Postal (affectionately so, huge Boll fan otherwise).
    Biggest disappointments (not bad, just heartbreakers): Quantum of Solace and Pineapple Express.
    I should also concoct the Lex List of TOP TEN smoking-hot chicks. You might be surprised by #1.

  37. T. Holly says:

    You don’t even know when I’m making fun of you, but sure, tell me in the morning who your top ten babes are.

  38. LexG says:

    This will be the MOST IMPORTANT THING I EVER TYPE on this blog:
    Does anyone know where I can buy a BIG DUMB HAT like Jamiroquai wears in the VIRTUAL INSANITY video?
    Other than AWESOME Robbie Williams, Jamiroquai was the most awesome cheesy male Brit popstar of the late ’90s. I’m going to go listen to my Take That CDs now.
    T. Holly, I actually suspected the “joke,” and I’m awesomely honored to have been OWNED by you of all people, but in my defense, I can barely understand 97% of your posts, so I think I’d be forgiven for missing the sarcasm. Plus I just carry on and do whatever I was gonna do anyway no matter what anyone else’s intent is.

  39. LexG says:

    HOLY SHIT this is almost the kind of thing Poland would be interested in:
    Has anyone seen that LAT and TURAN are now submitting VIDEO REVIEWS to YouTube? Is this TM trying to get with the times? Seems like a (bizarre) recent development, as most of the video reviews are from the last month.
    And most, oddly, seem to consist 70% of video clips of the movie at hand, with a few Turan fragments interspersed.
    I’ve made no secret of the fact that I disagree with Turan’s old-man take on 90% of everything ever, but just a quick watch of a handful of these makes it seem like they’re a disservice to Kenny T. Again, I’m not a fan in the LEAST, but in print he usually makes his points pretty clearly and has that avuncular-grump thing going; Oddly, the VIDEO review of, say, THE WRESTLER, makes it sound like he’s ultimately positive on the film, as it focuses almost entirely on his pro-Rourke stance. Which was there in print, but he also eviscerated the movie itself. The video clips seems to be cut to make it sound like despite a few caveats, he’s telling folks to check it out.
    Again, this is a rare time where I’m kinda defending Turan, because his print shit is way more in-depth than this, and he looks somewhat ill at ease on camera in this seemingly intentionally blurby, positive format.
    Anyone else see this?

  40. movieman says:

    The Portman/Judd flick is 2000’s “Where the Heart Is,” Lex (not to be confused with the 1990 John Boorman movie of the same name which is infinitely better).
    I remember liking the young actor who played Portman’s baby daddy (Dylan Bruno). Haven’t seen him in ages. Too bad; he seemed like a real up-and-comer. (Bruno was awesome as the badass preppie-jock in the previous year’s “The Rage: Carrie 2″ which was otherwise fairly pedestrian teen fluff.)

  41. jeffmcm says:

    I would watch “Frickin’ Awesome with Joe and Lex” (or whatever the hell Lex’s actual name is) mostly to watch the fireworks when you disagree and Leydon lays the smack down and Lex shrugs it off.
    Otherwise, the crappiest movie on Lex’s top ten is surely Funny Games. The only one on the worst list that I would call tolerable would be Mummy 3 (and yes, I liked Mummy 3 more than FG).

  42. Cadavra says:

    Movieman, you need to turn on the tube once in a while. Bruno’s been a regular on NUMB3RS for the past five years.

  43. EOTW says:

    BB for #1? Really, Lex? Gee, I kinda was expecting a bit more from you. The damn thing falls apart so easily.
    I never got the hotness of Prtman. Just too skinny and no curves at all. ugh. Better, so much better is Ash Judd. Christ that woman has a serious ass on her. Check out that film that lesbo made where she plays the slutty country girl. Those jeans, fuck they OWN!!!
    OK, back to reality.

  44. movieman says:

    I had no idea Bruno was still “in the business.”
    Glad to know that he hasn’t gone the Michael Schoefling route and dropped out to become a carpenter in PA.
    I’ve never seen “Numb3rs” (isn’t David Krumholtz in that?), but I probably watch way too much TV for my own good, lol.

  45. christian says:

    Lex, the main thing you are missing besides desire is possibly talent and/or a crazed fervor that dictates you treat acting like a thing you love and would do even if you weren’t OWNING or being OWNED. Everybody in this town wants to be famous. That’s not enough, dude. Own your passion.

  46. christian says:

    Let me amend that: Lex, you are hardly missing “desire” — you have that in spades. But so does most everybody here.

  47. frankbooth says:

    “…that film that lesbo made….” You charmer, you. You’re just trying to impress the ladies with your sensitivity.
    Jeff, some of the comments you’ve made about FG intrigue me and warrant elaboration. I know it’s an old topic, but what the hell. It’s a BYOB, and I want Beefeater in my martini.
    You said this on Craig’s blog: “I think that as regards the original, at least, if it wasn

  48. Just saw Benjamin Button and am giving a hearty call of BULLSHIT to a good looking movie that says and does absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. There’s no message, no heart and nothing there. Boo Benjamin Button.

  49. leahnz says:

    ‘ “…that film that lesbo made….” You charmer, you. You’re just trying to impress the ladies with your sensitivity.’
    that’s fucking hilarious, frankbooth, i was just about to say the EXACT SAME THING, too freaky. (and i had planned to add something along the lines of: ‘eotw, lex is david freakin’ niven compared to that shit)
    don lewis, i feel your pain. ‘button’ is an absolutely lovely movie but i didn’t feel it like i wanted to. i have all the time in the world for fincher, but he didn’t grab me this time. i’ve sat down and had a long talk with myself, and i have come to this sad conclusion: i have serious brad pitt issues. for my money, the man can’t act his way out of a paper bag, i can see him either ‘trying to act’ at almost every turn or i look into his eyes and the lights are on but nobody’s home, and i just can’t get past it. it bums me out.
    oddly, i have a few exceptions: brad’s turn in ‘t & l’, in which he is full of mischievous charm; as david mills in se7en’, in which his petulant-brat-rookie-detective somehow works opposite the dynamite perfs of freeman and paltrow; his pothead stoner in ‘true romance’, and most notably and impressively, pitt as ‘early’ the psychopathic redneck in ‘kalifornia’, in which he is both utterly repellent and compelling. weird. how can i have so much time for pitt in those few roles and view him with disdain in most everything else? :(

  50. yancyskancy says:

    Pitt is priceless in comedy (Snatch, Burn After Reading), but something seems to be missing when he does drama. Looking forward to Ben Button though.
    Lex, I still haven’t seen many of your Top Ten (or many of your near-misses and least favorites either, for that matter). I’ve got lots of catching up to do. But I quite liked Pineapple Express, and it has a good shot at landing on my eventual Top Ten for 2008 (ETA: sometime in 2010). Sorry it didn’t work for you.
    Also Lex, you never know about these acting classes. I just saw the Jack Nicholson E! True Hollywood Story, and he had the good fortune to be in Jeff Corey’s acting class at the same time as Roger Corman, who used a lot of his classmates in his early films. With all the youtube shorts and cheap digitally shot indies being made, you might carve a niche as the up-and-coming filmmaker’s go-to guy for mid-30s douche characters. Good luck!

  51. jeffmcm says:

    I think Pitt’s part in Benjamin Button is simply severely underwritten – he just sort of bounces through a string of Gump-style episodes in the first half of the movie, then spends most of the second half posing for the camera and looking attractive and young. So I think Roth is more to blame for that.
    Frank, I want to post something in greater detail about that movie, probably for my year-end ‘Worst of 2008′ list, but just a few comments to tide you over: When I say ‘pretty good’ I mean that the movie could have, if it had wanted to, been an effectively misanthropic pure-horror thriller, sort of a yuppie Last House on the Left. There’s a range that such a movie could have played out, from something analytic/ironic like Clockwork Orange to just pure exploitation like any Last House on the Left ripoff. But since the movie isn’t interested in real-world violence but rather, cinematic violence (and more specifically, a condescending lecture/pandering to the audience) I think it’s basically just a wank.
    As far as the rewind scene goes, I think that it pretty much represents the peak of Haneke’s duplicity. It’s basically the equivalent of any horror movie where Jason/Michael Myers sits up ONE MORE TIME to savage the teenagers, except achieved through a method that’s intended to be seen as ‘clever’ – even though it’s a trick that goes back at least six or seven decades back.
    Uh…I have more to say but I’m tired from travelling for the last ten hours, so I’ll stop.

  52. Totally agrree, jeff. Roth should be ashamed of himself in general. That Katrina subplot was tacked on and pointless and really, there’s no *point* to the movie. Lameness.
    Fincher has a killer eye though and I liked the montages.

  53. leahnz says:

    i’ve been thinking a lot about ‘ben button’, and setting aside my problem with pitt and his lack of acting ability for a mo, i would agree that the film is underwritten – some parts of the story are rushed while others seem too protracted, imho – but screenplays are at best the skeleton onto which the flesh, blood and viscera/internal organs are added by way of the magic of film making, and a movie’s beating heart rarely comes just from the words written on the page but from the creative interpretation of those words into sight and sound by the director and crew; so while i’d like to blame roth for my inability to feel that profound tug in my chest for ‘button’, i have to place some of the responsibility squarely with fincher, whose visuals are nothing short of stunning but lack the heart and soul to back them up.
    which is very strange, because even in ‘the game’ – arguably fincher’s silliest film with endless plausibilty problems – the flaws are inherent to the story and his direction almost manages to overcome them with mood, commitment, gravity and suspense. i don’t know what happened on ‘button’ to fincher’s ability to inject soul into material that may not be masterfully written – perhaps it’s the nature of the material, fincher being better suited to tight, gripping stories rather than sprawling, romantic, melacholy epic tearjerkers. (at the end of the day i can’t help but come back to pitt; i’m fairly certain a less vacuous actor in the role of button would have made a world of difference in the way i feel about the movie, so maybe the problem is also mine)

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Leah, I agree, I think Fincher was simply out of his element as far as large parts of this movie go – and that Forrest Gump and Zemeckis, for all their flaws, did it better in certain ways.

  55. leahnz says:

    yeah, i think that’s fair. it’s still a lovely movie and i know a lot of people are really psyched about it, so good on them, i wish i were one of them. i haven’t been floored by a film all year, a bit depressing, really. hopefully 2009 will be kinder to me.

Quote Unquotesee all »

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin