Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle and it has been a wretchedly dull week. The air here is so bad we have not been on a walk since Saturday. I am restless and bored. The Maltese is restless and boring. I listen to my novelist type away each day and long for the wide vast spaces of the open sidewalk. Today my novelist put on her shoes at the door and I was so certain she was going to put on our leashes and open the door. But alas, no matter how incessantly the Maltese barked our dreams of exploring the great outdoors were shattered. We are only allowed outside long enough to use the facilities and return. I am beginning to think there is no longer a sun. My novelist tells me to be patient, but my patience is far past the point of running out. Alas, all I can do is wait and introduce my novelist.
This is a movie you may not have seen yet. It is called Beast from 2017 and it makes a great choice for my premise series as its message is clear: It Takes One to Know One.
The movie starts out at a birthday party of the main character Moll (NT) played by Jessie Buckley. Moll has a wannabe boyfriend named Clifford (SJ) who is a detective. As a birthday gift he gives her prestigious police pin he earned on the job and pins it on her. This is a foreshadowing about who or perhaps what Moll is.
Moll’s effervescent sister upstages her at the party announcing she is pregnant with twins. Moll who is constantly berated by her controlling mother and underappreciated by her family goes to a bar and dances with a strange man named Leigh all night. In the morning, the two of them walk on the beach and Leigh attempts to force himself on her. That is when Moll meets Pascal (SP) a poacher who shoots at the guy, reloads, and attempts to fire again. The guy runs off leaving Moll and Pascal alone.
Now, normally this would be a typical boy saves girl scene. Except we need to know something about Moll: she, like Pascal is prone to violence. Her tendencies are originally shown in her reoccurring nightmares and more information about her proclivity comes out as the story continues. The question therefore is does Pascal save Moll or does Pascal save Leigh? And furthermore, why does Pascal offer to help Moll with her self-inflicted wound and drive her safely home? It is clear he’s been hunting rabbit illegally with pelts in his truck and has no problem taking a shot at a random stranger. Moll is aware this is a dangerous man but has no fear accepting his assistance.
Moll wants to see more and more of the earthy blue-collar Pascal but being from an upper-class family, this does not set right with her mother. And it is not helped by the fact that there is a serial killer on the loose in their area who likes to rape and murder young girls, one in fact the night Moll was dancing before she meets Pascal the following morning. And as far as Clifford and the other detectives he works with are concerned, Pascal is suspect number one. Especially since Pascal was arrested and served time when he was a teenager for statutory rape. But Moll though not naïve about these things is unfazed and the relationship between her and Pascal deepens so much so that she finds the courage to leave her mother’s house and move in with him.
Now the next question is how are an NT (Moll) and an STP (Pascal) the same? How does this serve the premise? They are the same in the same manner SJs and NFs end up teaching school together. NTs and SPs have common ground sensing if someone is dangerous and if they themselves are in danger. SPs and NT are acutely adept at gaging how much they can and cannot trust a person. They tend to be good at telling if someone is guilty or innocent.
This explains why student hearing boards in high schools and colleges fail. Most of them are made up of SJs and NFs because that’s what the staff mostly is. But the majority who end up in front of these boards are SPs and NTs. And by that rational most students who fall victim to guilty perpetrators are SJs and NFs as well. NFs in fact are notoriously attracted to narcissists. Thus, if It Takes One to Know One, why do schools put staff and students on their boards who have little in common with perpetrators and struggle to tell the difference between an innocent and a guilty party? Would it not be wiser to build a student disciplinary board out of the rarer members of staff and students who are NTs and SPs who are more gifted at recognizing whether a suspect is guilty or innocent? Make it even with three NTs and three SPs with the sixth chair which moderates being either NT or SP.
Ironically, however, a lot of detectives are SJs like Clifford. So, when he pins the badge on Moll, the audience is subtly being told that these two are mirror characters. They are both detectives setting out to solve a series of crimes. And by the end of the film only one of them is going to be right.
You can check out my books Chicane and the first book in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! on Amazon both in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s website at www.musicologyrocks.com The second book of the Musicology series, Musicology Volume Two, Kid! is coming in Fall 2020!
SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: What Causes Producers to Buy Scripts?
You can sign up for the class here.
STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE PAUL SCHRADER DOUBLE FEATURE: TAXI DRIVER (1976)-Netflix & FIRST REFORMED (2017)-Amazon Prime
Out of the blue on Tuesday, September 15th the AFI managed to get one of their films spot on and chose the brilliant Memento for their movie of the day which they showed as having released in 2019. The film is from 2000 and was released in 2001 which goes to show a blind squirrel can find a nut occasionally but still screw it up.
Paul Schrader has made two excellent bookend films in his career, one at the beginning and one recently. The first one he calls one of his “a man in a room” stories. It is his masterpiece Taxi Driver. If you can believe it, Taxi Driver was never nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the Oscar Academy. In fact, Paul Schrader did not receive his first academy award nomination for writing until First Reformed. Taxi Driver was nominated for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score. Unfortunately, being the best sometimes has an unfair price. And by the way, Martin Scorsese was not nominated for his direction for this film either which itself is mind blowing. The premise for the story could be interpreted as Idol Hands Are the Devil’s Playground. This is not just in reference to lead character Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro’s landmark performance) but rather New York City entire.
If you have never seen the film, it goes like this. It is 1976. Travis Bickle (Travis means “to cross over” and was a name for gatekeepers who collected tolls at bridges) is a young Vietnam Vet who moves to New York City and gets a job as a cab driver. He suffers from insomnia and has a fascination with driving to the unsavory areas of the city to pick up and drop off customers. He is attractive, intelligent, resourceful, and introverted with a rich inner life. He also possesses an unusually astute moral compass. However, he is socially inept. And because American society rewards the socially astute no matter how stupid and bungling, there is no worse crime than being socially inept. This of course leads to Travis’s loneliness.
Travis finds himself enamored with the beautiful, educated, socially adept Betsy (the wonderful Cybil Shephard) who is working on a presidential campaign for a man named Palatine (which ironically means “entitled”) alongside her equally educated co-worker Tom (the hilarious Albert Brooks). Tom is smitten with Betsy and able to converse with her but not as able to attract her. Travis, being an ISTP senses this quickly and can size up Betsy astutely as well. He charms her into a date and the two have a quick snack on her work break at a local café. Their second date does not fare as well as Travis makes the mistake of taking her to a porno film where she quickly rejects him.
Left to his devices he eventually befriends Iris (a young Jodi Foster who deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for the role) a child prostitute and decides to “rescue” her from her pimp. The name Iris, by the way means “rainbow”.
First Reformed was Paul Schrader’s first and only Academy Award nomination. It is the story of a minister named Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke in a brilliant performance) a former military chaplain who heads the congregation of a small dwindling 250 year old traditional church called First Reformed in upstate New York overshadowed and run by the evangelical megachurch Abundant Life. First Reformed is a Dutch founded protestant church (much like the church Schrader was raised in which was Calvinist). Reverend Ernst Toller (the name means respectively a person who battles to the death and one who lures) is struggling with his faith, quite ill and drinks heavily. He has gone through an unspeakable horror in his life and is now quietly clinging onto his own as he composes a one-year journal. A young married couple have recently joined his church congregation instead of the flashy Abundant Life. They are aptly named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) and Michael. Michael is a radical environmentalist. Mary is pregnant and looks forward to bringing her child into the world but is becoming more and more concerned about Michael’s extremism. When Michael’s path takes a nefarious turn Reverend Toller slowly starts to take up his mission.
SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS-BABE (1995)
Kid’s movies do not get much better than this. Nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture it’s the story of a little piglet who thinks big. Babe grows up on a farm and learns much to his horror that pigs are raised to be slaughtered. But Babe dreams of herding sheep and fights against all odds to prove his worth. This is a fantastic film and if you have never seen it whether you be a child or a bitter full-grown cynical adult this film is for you. The end is so moving you won’t know whether to smile or break down into tears. An absolute must see!