‘A Quiet Place’: genius or ungenius?

30 Aug


A Quiet Place has been getting rave reviews from some and “But hang on?” reviews from others.

I can see where the positive reviewers are coming from. It is a film that contains very little dialogue on account of the predicament the world is in. (All the chatty extroverts were eaten by noise-sensitive monsters about 400 days before the time this film is set.) The storytelling relies on physical acting and contextual clues rather than verbal exposition. It is tense and gripping. It doesn’t pull punches.

I am annoyingly demanding of the films I watch, and even I thoroughly enjoyed it (despite its flaws) and would recommend that you watch it immediately.

And I mean immediately because there’s no going back once you read on. I plan to spoil the film for you forever.

OK, now that you’ve watched it…

But Hang On?

Like After Earth before it, this film features creatures that are almost impervious to human weaponry, almost supernaturally effective killers, but also massively flawed. These ones can’t see anything (they seem to echolocate like bats, which I guess is how they don’t sprint into trees), but they have phenomenal hearing. Any sound louder than a whisper will alert them to your presence.

But like After Earth before it, this is where the majority of the problems lie. Here are just some of them.

1. With so much danger, why let your youngest child walk at the back? Unsupervised. Perhaps he farts or skins his knee. What then? If you’re so scared of noise that you build and maintain sand pathways all the way to town, why are you so complacent that you’d leave a three-year-old lagging 50m back?

Not pictured: youngest still miles further back

2. Why did the whole family make the dangerous trip at all? They’re carrying the older kid because he’s that sick, but it seems as though all they needed were some meds for the lad. It’s a one-person job. Why drag the sickling and two other kids who are a liability when one adult could simply have stayed home with them?

3. I know you lost your kid and all, but this is only 18 months into the crisis. You couldn’t maybe have got some birth control from that pharmacy and held off having another child for a couple of years? Maybe a solution presents itself and you could have a kid safely? Babies are nothing if not noisy.

4. If you snag your dress on something pointy sticking out of the floor, stop and check what it is. Perhaps it’s a nail that you’re going to stand on at an inopportune time. You’re all barefoot (because noise), so surely foot health ought to be much more of a priority?

5. The movie should be called a noisy place, because the film itself acknowledges that you’re safe around lots of noise. Being in a quiet place is the worst possible idea. Build a house at the waterfall, guys!

6. Even if you must live in a quiet place, perhaps:

  • Get proper soundproofing.
  • Monster-proof your property. The monster could tear out of a silo, but not (quickly) into the top of their pick-up truck. So maybe don’t live in a house made of matchsticks.
  • Live off the ground and pull up the ladder.
  • Make your quiet place a noisy place by setting up a perimeter of sound systems that are playing dubstep or monster-food noises. Sleep with earplugs.

7. In terms of defeating these monsters, again, maybe trying to be quiet isn’t the trick. You’ve had 450 days to think this over. Perhaps at least some of these ideas might have occurred to someone:

  • Don’t bring squishy dad-bods to an armoured monster fight. Stay in the tank and machine-gun them to bits.

OK, but why, military? You’re literally fighting a speedy medieval knight.

A medieval knight who keeps taking his helmet off.

  • They are indiscriminately attracted to noise, so lure them to a tower that they can’t climb and shoot them in their stupid blind faces.
  • Cover a tasty animal with remotely detonated explosives and when they show their gooey face parts explode the food-bomb.
  • Lure them into a deep concrete pit and then charge an entrance fee for people to come and play polka music at them or pelt them with cat bells.

In short, there seem to be a lot of places these monsters couldn’t get into and from which a large number of Americans could finally put their assault rifles to good use. Waiting for your dumb kid to knock over a lantern and get the whole family killed is not a plan.


Covert Racism

8 Nov


Over to you, Kent

10 Nov


Because women are like dumb animals really

9 Jun


I’m not going to tell you where the Stepford-wife button is hidden on a woman; I wouldn’t want to deprive these great advertisers of your custom! But at last we can confirm that women are indeed unthinking breeding dolls who you can trick into sleeping with you if you just know the technique to dial into their dumb animal brains. I mean if you just use that seduction technique, they have to do it. Or if you find that blonde and do that one thing? Man, she’ll be like an alligator that you’ve turned on its back. And if they’re not just completely running on animal instinct after you do that thing the ad says—and I mean maybe you’re not the kind of guy who wants his woman to talk—they’ll beg to be your girlfriend, and you can just pick the hottest one!

No seriously, falling is bad.

30 Jul

There are some things that people love for reasons that are hard to justify. EL James books, The Big Bang Theory (the TV show, not the actual Big Bang), Kardashian-West… that sort of thing.

One such that is suddenly and irrationally attracting my ire is an inspirational quote doing the internet rounds.


Though the whole poem probably fits on twitter and is much better as a unit, the bit that is circulating just reads, ‘What if I fall?’ ‘Oh but my darling, what if you fly?’

It is agitating–most specifically in its short form–because it is really terrible advice. Here’s a gif of a guy who is taking this advice:


In the poem, we are listening in on a conversation between (presumably) an awful parent and its child. It’s hard to tell whether these are normally flightless creatures or if there is a reasonable expectation of flight.

Either way, it captures a risk-reward calculation that counter-balances the risk of falling and painful impact (which is pretty certain given gravity) against the hey-who-knows? of unexpectedly mastering flight. Who tests whether they’re able to fly by jumping from a height and hoping the ability kicks in sometime on the way down? Shouldn’t you just, you know, check if you can fly from not-a-height?

People tend to be really bad at working out whether the reward that they’re chasing is worth the risk. All of Twilight depends on bad decision-making in this regard (both for the main character, and for prospective movie-goers). This is the kind of advice that underwrites teen pregnancy and the Darwin Awards and Madea movies.

There are many other excellent possibilities for spin-off aphorisms though.

  • What if I catch on fire? Oh but my darling what if you’re actually a phoenix?
  • What if I drown? Oh but my darling what if you sprout fins and become queen of Atlantis?
  • What if my internet beau is actually a balding rapist? Oh but my darling what if it really is Harry Styles?