Posts by Jenny

Hot Fuzz

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 6 comments

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Story:
A city cop tries to bring professionalism to a sleepy little town that turns out to be not that sleepy.  Graphic violence ensues.  The tagline says it all: “They’re bad boys. They’re die hards. They’re lethal weapons. They are…HOT FUZZ.”

Detective: Nicholas Angel (and his partner Danny)

Release Date: February 2007

Writers: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Source:  Original screenplay.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes, introduced right off the bat, his POV all the way through the movie except for the murderer’s skulking scenes.
Lani: Yes, and he’s active from the beginning, god bless ‘im.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny:  Yes.  It’s Murder on the Orient Express, the Whack-Job Countryside versionl
Lani: Yes. All fifty-four of them.

Conflict created by mystery/murder?
Jenny:  Yes.
Lani: Yes, not that we know it until 40 minutes in.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Yes.  The movie is absolutely larded with clues disguised as jokes.
Lani: Yes, we’re given everything the detective is, and only one or two things more – witnessing the crimes – but that’s okay.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Yes.  We know what Nick knows and we’re stunned when Nick is stunned.
Lani: Yes; Nick comes to everything on his own, using clues given.

Everything pulls together in the end?
Jenny:  Yes.  There are no loose ends in this movie.
Lani: Does it ever. They may have been self-indulgent in this movie, but one thing you can count on Simon Pegg to do is tie up all the loose ends.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5, Comedy: 5

Lani says: 5 Pops
Mystery: 5, Craft: 4, Suspense: 5, Romance: 5, Comedy: 5

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The Big Lebowski

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 | 3 comments

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Story: While trying to get restitution for a ruined rug, the Dude takes on a kidnapping courier job that enmeshes him and his friends in a lethal mystery.  Or something.

Detective:  The Dude (aka Jeffrey Lebowski)

Release Date: March 6, 1988

Writer: Ethan and Joel Cohen

Source:  VERY loosely based on The Big Sleep.

 

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny: Yes
Lani: Sure.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: No murderer and not a clear antagonist, although that’s what we get for trying to do classic analysis on the Coens.
Lani: There’s no murderer, and there are many antagonists, not all of them related. This is a little murky.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: Substitute kidnapping for murder, and yes.
Lani: Conflict is created by the mystery, yes.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Well, we know what the Dude knows, but since the Dude is stoned through the whole thing, he’s not exactly looking for clues.
Lani: We know more than the Dude knows – we’re told that she’s fine and she has her pinky toe when we see her car shoot down the freeway. So we’re given some answers which are just handed to us, rather than worked for.

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: The Dude has an insight at the end because of a clue Maude gives him.
Lani: The Dude figures it out, but at that point, there’s nothing at stake really but justice, letting the Big Lebowski know that the Dude knows and does not approve.

All threads pull together at the end?
Jenny: Yes.
Lani: Yes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: ? Pops
Mystery: 3, Craft: 4, Suspense: 4, Romance: N/A, Comedy: 5
This is a Coen Bros. movie so running a classic analysis on it is a waste of time, you really just have to bask in the absurdity.  They’ve done better stories (see Fargo and Raising Arizona), but the Dude is an iconic character (not to mention Walter) so they get props for that.

Lani says: 4 Pops
Mystery: 2, Craft: 4, Suspense: 2, Romance: n/a, Comedy: 5

This is a fun movie. It’s structurally a mess, but it works on its own terms, and for that, it’s fun. I’m not sure there’s a real lesson to be learned here about mystery, which is why we’re here, but as a fun, offbeat, non-traditional story, it’s definitely worth viewing.

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Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 | 15 comments

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Story: PI Reardon is hired by a beautiful woman to investigate her father’s death and finds himself in a web of betrayal, violence, and old movies.  That’s noir, Jack.

Detective: Rigby Reardon

Release Date: May 21, 1982

Writer: Carl Reiner, George Gipe, and Steve Martin

Source: Every noir mystery ever filmed.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Jenny:   
Lani: Sure.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes, at least he’s the guy sending out henchmen.
Lani: I… suppose? Still not clear on what role he actually played. Usually that’s my fault for not paying close enough attention, but this time, I’m willing to blame the movie.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: The story is so badly handled I have no idea why a lot of that stuff was happening.  The plot was just an excuse to be cute with old movies, so there wan’t much coherent conflict.
Lani: The conflict was created by staying true to a gimmick, rather than the story.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Well, we knew everything Rigby knew, but Rigby is an idiot.
Lani: Were there clues? If I have to ask that question, I think maybe… not?

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Solved using old movie clips.  But yes, he gets to the final scene by deducton.
Lani: He followed clue to clue in a straight line, and he had to put the puzzle pieces together in order to do that so I’d give a provisional yes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 2Pops
Mystery: 1, Craft: 1, Suspense: 1, Romance: 1, Comedy: 1  I’d give zeros if I could, and for the romance I’d go into nedgative numbers for the date-rape intro.  Bleah.

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

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High Anxiety

Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 | 4 comments

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Story: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, arrives as new administrator of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous and then things happen that make him very, very nervous.

Detective: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke

Release Date: December 25, 1977

Writers: Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca, Barry Levinson

Source:
Every Hitchcock movie ever made.

Mystery Analysis:
None of this stuff.  Not a mystery, just a string of Hitchcock jokes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense:0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

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Don’t Watch High Anxiety

Posted by on Mar 29, 2012 | 4 comments

It was so bad we couldn’t even get a full podcast out of it.  Try Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs, all fabulous Mel Brooks movies.  This one, really, no.

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