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Money Shot (Wikipedia): provocative, sensational, or memorable sequence in a film, on which the film’s commercial performance is perceived to depend.

Buck Shot: moments on which a film’s cheese-factor is based, often underlining the tone of the entire production and providing the viewer with the opposite effect intended.
Round 3: The Wizard of Speed and Time and The Greatest Film Ending Ever (which is a fact.)

(Here’s Round 1 and Round 2)

Taglines:

  • His Life Is a Special Effect…
  • This is the kind of movie you would make, if you had nothing better to do!

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Here at the Opinion In A Haystack Department, we make it our goal to purport the message of “opinion isn’t fact” concerning the world of cinema. This notion is only null and void on a single subject: the greatest film ending ever. Sure, you would have to be some type of megalomaniacal-fizzlebottom drunk on your own power to claim that anything in the world of “art” is “the greatest” (let alone, to use the word “fizzlebottom.”) We are going to go out on a broken limb (glued with oatmeal) and proclaim that The Wizard of Speed and Time has the absolute monopoly on greatest endings ever, with the one ending it has. The unique dilemma, and triumph, of this fact is that the ending doesn’t necessarily take place at the end, nor is it part of the narrative reality of the movie. If we were face to face, here is the subsequent conversation that would take place:

(You reach in your pocket, worriedly grasping your canister of mace.)

“If it’s not at the end, than it’s not the greatest ending.”

“No, I assure you it is.”

“I’m not listening to anymore of this nonsense.”

“You just listened to a whole paragraph of nonsense.”

“How did you know it was a paragraph?”

“I write out all my conversations beforehand.”

“Even what the other person will say?”

“A 1985 Chrysler minivan, gray interior with several apple juice stains in the wheel well.”

“I guess not.”

“It’s the greatest ending, I can prove it; you don’t need to mace me.”

“How did you know I had mace in my pants?”

“Well, you are a mace salesman, and this is a mace factory.”

“An odd place to walk around discussing The Wizard of Speed and Time, hence why I hold my mace in defensive preparation”

“Perhaps if I worked here you would be less aggressive.”

“Perhaps.”

(You proceed to mace me.)

Confusion is probably setting in, which is a perfectly instinctual response we assure you. Director Mike Jittlov is the all-encompassing wizard of speed and time in his movie (you guessed it,) The Wizard of Speed and Time. His 1988 feature film, which took over five years to complete, is his big headed baby. He is the head writer, director, producer, actor, animator, editor and all-around deity of his gloriously bitter film, which tells the story of a special effects filmmaker, named Mike “The Wizard” Jittlov, who is trying to make it in the corrupt corporate world of Hollywood. Surprisingly, it’s apparently based on his real life experiences. The stop-motion animation in this film alone makes it a B-movie rental worth its weight in gold-plated space-diamonds (the fancy ones, usually found in black holes.) Remember earlier, before the mace, when I said that the “greatest ending ever” doesn’t take place at the end nor in the reality of the narrative of the film? Well, that’s because the ending, the one being discussed, is actually Mike Jittlov’s (the character, not the real person. Don’t worry, it gets more complex,) film reel, the effects sequence he makes to prove his talent. Needless to say, it’s a total brain-melting tesla-coil to the eye sockets in style, scope, and content.

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We, at the Opinion In A Haystack Department, came across TWOSAT long before we, I, Bob, started referring to myself as we (weself?) Jump into the wayback-machine and travel to the triumphant age of 2005, where your humble reviewer stood stoic behind the counter of a video store desk grasping for a reason to live. One day, a random VHS tape was chosen for in-store viewing. It had non-sexually nipple erecting cover art:

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Eighty minutes later, my attention unable to be pulled from work, I had stopped watching Mike Jittlov’s peculiar film. Soon, I was awakened from the dark stupor of retail slavery with cries of:

“Bob, are you seeing this? Are you seeing what is happening on screen?”

“REWIND!”

No less then five VCR malfunctions later, the entire crew, all two of us, of the mostly-porn-mom-and-pop video store were mesmerized by the sights and sounds of a wizard running all over the planet spreading his magical “positive” deeds. Have you ever wanted to see night change into day? Poverty into riches? Struggle into fame? Tanks into Taxis?! This is the film sequence for you. Mike Jittlov’s Wizard runs at the speed of pleasantness, his mere presence makes flowers bloom, women become famous, and entire foreign cities explode with sunlight regardless of the possibly severe environmental effects. There’s more blood, sweat, and tears in this one sequence then in all of Michael Bay’s most action-packed nightmares (even the ones where his penis is a refurbished Howitzer that can dance.) Mike Jittlov accomplishes a feat that no known filmmaker ever has or ever will, one that deserves respect, adulation, and many surprise fruit baskets: He made a movie in which a guy slips on a banana peel so hard that he shoots out into space. See for yourself:

A Short Review of The Road

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Plot Summary (taken from IMDB):

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.

Based on the book (which this reviewer hasn’t read) by author Cormac McCarthy, The Road stars Viggo Mortensen and a vicious world of grime and, frankly, sadness. This post-apocalyptic drama might just be able to wiggle its way into the Oscars unlike most movies concerning its subject matter. The Road is a movie of depression and hopeless existence; it is the story of a father and son being suffocated by no options to survive. There are many films that end on a note of hopelessness, the credits roll right after we learn that the disease has spread, or the asteroid can’t be stopped. This film takes place after that moment. The heroes of the world, the leaders of the planet, already fought the battle with nature, lost, and now we are brought into the story.

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Beautifully photographed with unending grayness, Javier Aguirresarobe’s cinematography perfectly compliments John Hilcoat’s extremely nuanced direction. Our main characters look as though they are about to cry at every moment, and the movie gives us several different reasons why. Everything, everything, is covered in a thick layer of grime, which dampens all the color out of the frames. The dirt, grime, and struggle of this film make it a great companion piece to Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, even though the genres are admittedly very different. The main characters of the film don’t ever let on to their names, they are Man and Boy, which makes it all the more dark, since they both are essentially deer with broken limbs, walking through a world comprised of wolves in the form of cannibals and thieves. Since the movie takes place well after civilization has ended, the cannibals aren’t the mentally-shocked crazies we normally see, they have grown accustomed to this life, killing and eating people is now the norm, which is all the more scary, of course. Robert Duvall gives an almost chameleon-like performance as the “Old Man.” His make-up is so outstanding that the credits are the only way to know it’s actually him.

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The movie felt very truncated at times, which could either be a complaint or a type of praise. While there were many situations that came and went without much fanfare or especially colored reactions from the characters, which is what makes the movie feel so “real.” It doesn’t feel like a movie most of the time, excluding flashbacks, because the action/thematic beats don’t happen at the length and speed of a script we’re used to, especially the ending, to which there is no real build up. While all of this enhances the experience, and while all of the acting and craft of the movie is top-notch, Oscar worthy even, I wouldn’t really recommend it for anyone looking for escapism. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen all year, yet not one I would want to voluntarily revisit too often.

Thanks for reading.

Comments:

3 Responses to “Opinion In A Haystack: Buck Shots Round 3 & THE ROAD Review”

  1. Chuck Stone Says:

    That clip was a work of art. A movie I might have to check out now.

    I can’t wait to go see The Road. I’ve been waiting a while for the release.

  2. Laurie Mann Says:

    I think the movie took a while to get going, but once it did it was mesmerizing.

  3. Opinioninahaystack Says:

    Chuck: TWOSAT is available on VHS for your viewing pleasure. I think you will really dig The Road.

    Laurie: I can agree with that.

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