Friday, November 15, 2013

Sci-Fi Classics: I drink and live-blog "2001: A Space Odyssey"

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). It's supposed to be real good, but I'm armed with booze and bloggin' to keep me entertained since I've always suspected this movie was really boring. So far, the screen is black and there is music. Still. Still all black. Discordant strings. Finally the sun? rises over a planet and a moon or something and there's that epic music.

Okay, "The Dawn of Man." It's dawn. There's nature. Pretty desert-y. Rocks and such. Sand. Bones. A mastodon skull? A person skeleton? Apes eating. There's some boars milling about. These apes are clearly people in ape suits. The apes want the boars to get up out of their food. A leopard jumps off a cliff and attacks an ape. AND SCENE. Now another (the same?) group of apes, but with larger numbers are gathered around a watering hole, hanging out and grooming each other. Another group of dudes in ape suits tries to sneak up on them. Now there's lots of screaming and jumping around. Next they're going to race for pink slips. The first group has apparently scared off the interlopers for now. A leopard guards a dead zebra. Nighttime. The apes are huddled by some rocks, mostly not sleeping. They hear growling. Lions? The other ape gang? A scuffle breaks out. I thought this movie was about space. Aw, I think they used an actual baby chimp in this scene. Morning. They're sleeping in a big pile like a drunk set of shag carpet samples wearing shitty masks. They're all freaked out because some kind of pillar has appeared in their lair. It's smooth and rectangular. The music is vaguely choral/kind of sounds like the wind blowing. Isaac just told me he really liked this song when he was little. Good lord.

Now the apes are touching the pillar. Now, we see rocks. Apes mill about back in the boneyard. That theme music again. An ape starts hitting bones with another bone. Is he supposed to be discovering tools? He fucks up the boar skeleton. Well, then. Apparently now he's used his bone tool to kill one and is chomping on some meat. The whole gang is eating meat. TWO BABY CHIMPS! So cute. The rival gangs are facing off again. We're like twenty minutes in and this is still going on. Our friends beat one of the challengers dead with bones and scare the others off again.

Space station thing in the sky! Orbiting Earth. Classical music. Circular craft thing turns in circles. This is pretty damn good animation for the '60s. Or maybe it's models, but it looks good. On board something, a pen floats and a dude channel surfs in his seat. Some lady in white, wearing "grip shoes" walks toward him down the aisle. Space stewardess with a stupid hat. There are no other passengers. She retrieves the pen for the dude, who's actually asleep and turns off his TV. The ship he's on is approaching the circular thing. No, no need to hurry things. Space, music, floating. Yep. Even in the future, only white guys are pilots, apparently.

She may also be "juding" you. I think that involves playing "Hey Jude" on repeat until somebody complains.
I think we're finally on board the circle. A lady wearing a pink stewardess outfit lets a dude in what looks like a priest outfit off. Another pink-outfitted lady is the receptionist. A guy who looks like the other guy comes out to meet him. Voice recognition software is used  Heywood R. Floyd is American and going to the moon. There are lots of ugly '60s red chairs in the lobby of the space Hilton. I do like these guys' '60s suits. Floyd stops in a booth to use his phone card and video chat somebody. It's his daughter! She's like four years old and wearing a hideous '60s dress. He's going to have to miss her birthday party. She wants a bush baby for her birthday. Whatever that is. It sounds racist. He's talking really loudly like an old man over a cell phone. He leaves a message for his wife that he called. The call cost $1.70.

He meets some European people in the lobby. Apparently Floyd is a doctor of something. The ladies are wearing nice patterned tights. They're headed back to Earth after calibrating an antenna. They say weird things have been happening up on the base. Floyd claims he doesn't know what the deal is. Nobody will answer the phone and no one's been able to land. Apparently in the future dudes wear shirts that match their suits exactly and little broaches where ties used to be. Dr. Floyd stonewalls them about a possible disease outbreak. don't tell the Russians anything, Floyd!

Yeah, I went there.
Now on another basically empty flight (so wasteful!), Floyd sleeps towards the moon. The flight attendants in their space turbans watch a judo match on TV. I love their little food compartments on those trays with cute pictures. Like of potatoes. The flight attendant walks up onto the ceiling for some reason to go into another room. Those Grip Shoes are totes useful. She brings food to the pilots, who look like a couple of Mormon missionaries. Floyd finishes sipping his dinner and chats with one of the pilots. Now he reads the novel posted on the wall with space toilet instructions. AND STILL MORE CLASSICAL MUSIC OVER ALL OF THIS. We're really only 37 minutes in? Do we really have to watch this craft land on the moon in real time? NO BLACK PEOPLE IN SPACE. The fucking craft is still fucking approaching the space station. We see astronauts pretending to walk on the moon. The station opens its big dome for the approaching ship. HOW ISE TJHS A MOVKE?J;!@! They landed and then a machine pulled them inside and it's still lowering.

Dick meeting.
Thank the fucking lord, now there's people in a meeting. Nice plaid suit, camera guy. I'm not sure I can bounce back from that interminable landing sequence. I got kind of enraged, much to Isaac's amusement. Dr. Floyd is the featured speaker. Some Dr. Howell sends his deepest appreciation and congratulations of some big discovery. There's been debate over the security cover story of some kind of epidemic. He warns of cultural shock if people aren't properly prepared for this news. He asks for opinions for his report. Some dude asks how long they've got to keep up the cover story. The Council wants "formal security oaths." NBD. Halfhearted applause for Dr. Floyd.

Another craft floats over some mountains or something somewhere. I'm sure I'll have time to figure it out since all scenes without dialogue are required to last 15 minutes each. On board is Floyd and some other guys in silver space suits that look liked they're made of slinkies. They're eating space sandwiches. The other dudes tell him his speech was awesome. Fucking yes-men. They all look at pictures and charts of some rock or something with a strong magnetic pull. Something's been mysteriously buried in the moon ON PURPOSE. Now they're going to drink space coffee. It's been buried for four million years. The structure. The coffee is probably slightly fresher than that. I don't know why all the cockpits in this movie are lit exclusively by red bulbs. Now Heywood and friends are suited up for a spacewalk and approach the buried object. I'm going to go for a walk around the block and see if they've landed by the time I get back. Lots of echo-y choral music stuff. No wonder Isaac loves this shit, this music is his jam. Oh, okay, suddenly there are six guys in space suits, walking down into the excavated area. It's the rectangular pillar thing like we saw in Apeland earlier. AWESOME SUPERCOOL AND INTERESTING.

The music ramps up as the guys walk ever closer to the pillar. One dude takes pictures, I think. Floyd touches it with his space gloves. Now he's going to grab a bone and beat somebody to death, clearly. What is this goddamn echo-y voice/wind music. I hate it so much. Oh, take a group shot! I wish this photo sequence was accompanied by fun "vacation" music. Uh-oh, a high-pitched beeping as the sun aligns with the obelisk.


A spaceship spaces shippily. It's like a mushroom head with a really long, skinny stem of auxiliary cars and a big set of satellite dishes on top. Oh, and a big fat ship on the end with rocket thingies. Sorry, I type so fast I described it before I could see all of it. Some dude in little shorts runs around the circular wall/ceiling, punching at nothing. Either people or mummies are contained in some tanks along his path. A couple empty ones look like beds. Another guy enters the room from a weird angle because SPACE. Those Grippy Shoes solve everything. This guy's wearing a sick jumpsuit as the exercise dude eats variously colored puddings and watches BBC News. BBC gives us exposition. The guys, Drs. Bowman and some other white guy watch their own interview on TV. Apparently the rest of the crew is hibernating. Three dudes. They're not dreaming and only need to breathe once a minute. H.A.L. 9000 computer is the sixth crew member. It's fast and also can be interviewed. HAL has a creepily calm voice. Like a nefarious hypnotist. He's incapable of error! HAL calls his relationship with Drs. Poole and Bowman as "stimulating." Ew. The rest of the movie is slow-motion computer-fucking, isn't it? The humans speculate over whether HAL has real emotions.

Spaceship is in space. HAL disturbs Frank's tiny-shorts tanning session to give him a birthday message from his parents. His dad looks roughly 30 years older than his mother. Frank is not amused by their message. Apparently they call every Wednesday. HAL wishes Frank a happy birthday, too. Later, they play space chess. Frank has lost. He should dump scotch on that shit. Later Dave sketches his sleeping colleagues. HAL appreciates his drawings. HAL starts asking personal questions. He's concerned about Dave's commitment to Sparkle Motion. HAL thinks there's something weird going on behind the scenes. HAL heard the rumors about that shit dug up on the moon. Who's been telling the computer gossip? HAL warns Dave about some technical problems. Dave needs to consult Frank. Their asses do not look cute in their space coveralls. SORRY, DUDES.

A message from mission control says, "Sorry things is broken," basically. Now one of the dudes is in a red suit. I love they way they step carefully in this movie in order to pretend zero and/or low gravity is affecting them. Isaac just asked me if it was Dave investigating the pod and I was like, WHO KNOWS THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME EVEN IF THEY'D SHOWN HIS FACE THEY LOOK LIKE IDENTICAL KEN DOLLS. Frank, in a yellow suit somewhere else on the ship, monitors his progress. The pod goes outside the ship and there is just some constant hissing/static sound happening. Dave pauses by Frank's observation window and I like to imagine that he'll just stop there and make faces at him. Or tell him about the time he said, he said, "Biiiiiitch." What the fuck is that noise? Is there water boiling? A space rattlesnake? Now Dave is very slowly drifting towards part of the ship, because why pull up next to the broken part when you can just float for 5-7 minutes. I'm never seeing Gravity, BTWs. Suffocating in space is one of my greatest fears. Never wanted to be an astronaut. Dave floats by a satellite dish. Frank sits in his yellow suit and supervises from inside. I think Dave might be replacing a battery. He set down a box and it didn't float away, is it magnetic? YEAH, BITCH! MAGNETS! I almost just worried for a sec that I'd missed something while looking up that Breaking Bad video and then remembered which movie I was watching.

Amirite or amirite?
Frank and Dave look at some computer images of circuit breakers and look annoyed. They can't figure out what's wrong with it. HAL doesn't seem to know what's going on either. HAL wants to let the unit fail so they can properly troubleshoot, but that means they'll have to be out of communication for a bit. Apparently messages from home are not in real time, just recorded and exchanged. Mission Control says HAL might be wrong about something, I guess? Dave's like, "WTF?" HAL says it must be human error. But computers are designed by humans, HAL. HAL's like, "Don't worry your pretty little head, boys." Dave non-discreetly asks Frank to go somewhere else and "help him with his transmitter," which is either an attempt to get out of HAL's earshot or it's a space euphemism for a hand job. The guys get inside a pod. I'm guessing HAL isn't supposed to be able to hear them in there. I love that the pods say "CAUTION: EXPLOSIVE BOLTS." They've turned off HAL's communication and they talk about things. They've got a bad feeling and are basically twins, but Dave's got a bit of silver at his temples. If he were wrong, would HAL even know he's wrong? they wonder. They decide to go along with HAL's plan for now and speculate how they'd terminate HAL if he is malfunctioning. OMINOUS RED LIGHT THAT IS HAL. He's totes reading their lips through the window of the pod.

I peed, had a shot of soju, refilled my vodka drink, made popcorn, and got towels out of the dryer. Doubt I would've missed anything if we hadn't paused it. Isaac says, "Even Kubrick needed a break to stop masturbating all over the screen."

OH GOOD, WE'RE BACK TO THE BLACK SCREEN AND ATONAL STRINGS. It's possible the soju has made me extra-feisty. It felt all warm in me gullet. I don't if there's any amount of booze that could make this movie tolerable. Some kind of obelisk-related space ghost keeps making our main living room lamp blink off. Oh, movie. Yellow Suit has gone out to do space construction. The pod's arms get all pinchy and cut off his air. They fly into space. Dave, in red, is obviously agitated. He goes to get in another pod to chase him down. HAL claims he doesn't know what happened. Dave chases Frank in his pod. I'm sure he's suffocated by now, but I guess he probs wants to bring back his body/maybe doesn't know his air hose was cut. Guys, popcorn is delicious. I was NOM-ing and Isaac said something about how I was getting "all Mekong Delta up in here" because NOM/'NAM and I hated myself for loving it. Dave is still chasing Franks drifting yellow body. My fingers are buttery. Dave picks up Frank's body with the pod's pinchy arms. I think he realizes he's dead.

With compliments to Genevieve Valentine's Sleepy Hollow recaps.
Back on the ship, the bitches in the sleepy pods are subject to a "computer malfunction" AKA HAL is robo-murdering them. HAL is so pissed they were talking shit about him earlier and won't respond to Dave's distress call. He won't open the pod bay doors for him. HAL says, "I think you know what's wrong." HAL is the passive-aggressivest. HAL says the mission is too important to let Dave fuck it up. HAL's like, "I could read your lips." And Dave's like, "I'll go in the emergency way." And HAL's like, "Try that without your helmet which is still inside, bitch. BYEEEEE." Okay, Isaac was right earlier when he said the front of the main ship looked like a sperm. SPERMATOZOA. Dave is upset. He lets Frank's body go in space. He was buried at sea/sky like OSAMA BIN LADEN.* Okay, now Dave is trying to use his pod's arms to get in the emergency entrance. But, like, HAL will be in there and he's all sinister now. Do you think you can reason with a machine? The pod kind of looks like a snail. Not sure you're going to fit in there. (HOLD YOUR GROSS RAPEY JOKES GUYS, BECAUSE I JUST THOUGHT OF ALL OF THEM ALREADY.)

Dave pushes some buttons and an alarm of some kind goes off. I guess he's just going to try to hold his breath and fly from pod door to ship door? He bounces off some shit and manages to shut the emergency hatch. HAL watches. Apparently he found a helmet and is all up in the ship again now. HAL is passively-aggressively pissed. He speaks calmly, like a cartoon psychiatrist as Dave tries to pull out his memory. HAL's like, "I didn't mean it!" "Stop, Dave. I'm afraid." Dave sticks a key into some shit and plastic memory thingies pop out. Dave breathes hard in his helmet. Don't worry, HAL will talk about his mind going and say "I can feel it" for each one of the 9278350987 memory disks Dave has to remove. Supposedly HAL was born in Urbana, IL in 1992. QUAINT. He's going to sing for us! Dave encourages the song, which is called, "Daisy." That weird static/rattlesnake noise is back, too. How is there half an hour left? HAL's voice slows down. Suddenly Dave hears a prerecorded message from Mission Control. They were supposed to get it once they were all awake on Jupiter. The guys tells them the moon thing was evidence of intelligent life. The monolith was apparently transmitting to Jupiter, and Jupiter only, so that's why they were going there.


A black monolith floats by Jupiter as Dave's craft approaches. More windswept choral/synthesizer nonsense is happening. SPAAAAACE. The sperm ship is getting closer! Still. The monolith is menacing and dark. I am still very impressed with the 1968 graphics and effects (besides those relating to gravity on board, obvs). COME ON. Okay, Dave, who should've turned back home, is out in the pod approaching things. Only 53% of this movie is things approaching other things in space. Are we going warp speed now? I guess Dave drove into the monolith? It's got lots of colored lights and he's shaking in his pod. These rushing lights are kind of cool, too bad I'm just drinking booze and not doing any other recreational substances. Is Dave horrified, frozen, or just dead inside his helmet? Oh, now there's a blue exploding supernova or something? Isaac brought up Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" at some point, so I'm playing it over this stupid instrumental nonsense and weird squiggly space nonsense. Just fucking screensavers. Isaac offered to mute the movie because apparently there's no more dialogue. I hate this movie, but Cher rocks.

Space fetuses/galaxies may be being born. This Cher song is making the nonsense on screen vaguely bearable. Dave is still looking at things. Some geometric shapes appear! Nice animation, bros. God, does this color/shape/space movement thing really keep happening for 20 more minutes? Oh, now here's the Grand Canyon. Well, Space Grand Canyon. Everything's blue. Fuck, Cher's over and now it's just more negative-image color blahblahblah who cares what is happening? How is this a movie? How is it a classic? Now I'm hearing weird scuttling noises, like X-Files alien music. Lots of blue and red right now. Lighter blue and yellow now! Seas! islands? Don't know. Green ocean. A beach. Is Dave about to crash? I hope so. But he never will, because this movie demonstrates over and over the idea that you can get infinitely closer to something, but never quite touch it. Colors, landscapes. Dave's still here, looking! Kubrick knows how to use color filters. Now a shaking Dave and his pod are inside a well-light room. Sci-fi floor but old-fashioned furnishings. You should probs get out, now. He sees another dude in a red spacesuit, too. Is it Bizarro Him? No, it's just Old Him. But now he is Old Him, I think? He investigates the room. Lots of green decor.

There's a very  nice bathroom with a huge tub. Old Dave is not happy with all his wrinkles in the mirror. Look at that ugly olive green bed where you will die! Now he sees somebody eating at a table. Who is it? An alien? Frank? Dave's daughter dressed as a grown man? Another Dave? The embodiment of HAL? The guy turns around and I think it's Even Older Dave. He gets up and is wearing a very nice robe, still chewing. This movie is so stupid. Now all Daves are the Oldest Dave So Far, walking back to the dinner table, which is on wheels under its green tablecloth, BTWs. Yeah, drink that drink. I hope it's Space Soju. Is this movie really still happening? Oops, Ollld Dave knocked over his glass and broke it. Now he sees Nearly Dead Dave gasping for breath in the bed. So old. What a boring room. I'm glad the years are going quickly for him, because this place looks like the worst! Olllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllldest Dave points at the black monolith from his death bed. Maybe its come to snuggle him? Now Dave is a space fetus in a bubble with sparkly eyes. AND THE MUSIC. The moon. Space. Drums. Earth. Earth is about to kiss the giant floating Space Fetus in its giant planetary amniotic sac. It's creepy-looking.

poawithgeuifrekojgiweklaoipwrekagmkbfjkl;gafdji;agojipagerjiopgaer that is finally over. THE END.


*I apparently also made this joke in my Alien live-blog. So sue me. 

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