S1E117 – Inmn and Margaret on “Civil War”

Episode Summary

This week on Live Like the World is Dying, Inmn and Margaret review the new film Civil War. Spoiler alert, it’s all kinda of weird.

Host Info

Inmn can be found on Instagram @shadowtail.artificery. Margaret can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy or instagram at @margaretkilljoy.

Publisher Info

This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.


Live Like the World is Dying: Inmn and Margaret on Civil War

**Inmn ** 00:14
Hello and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I’m one of your hosts today Inmn Neruin and with me is the always lovely. . .  [trails off inviting Margaret to speak]

**Margaret ** 00:28
Margaret. You should do the [intro] as if I’m Garth. You should be like "And with me as always is Margaret." Like…because Wayne’s World. Because I’m an elder millennial. Nevermind. Hi, I’m Margaret, I’m your other host.

**Inmn ** 00:43
And today we’re going to be talking about…we’re kinda going to be doing a movie review about– [Interrupted]

**Margaret ** 00:49
Wayne’s World. 

**Inmn ** 00:50
About Wayne’s World, the most important movie of our time.

**Margaret ** 00:53
I once…I changed my–actually I dropped out of school–but before I dropped out of school, I was gonna change my major to film because of Wayne’s World. This is a true story. 

**Inmn ** 01:03
I love that so much. [Laughing]

**Margaret ** 01:07
 It’s so well done. Woman-directed too. Anyway, what are we talking about? 

**Inmn ** 01:15
We’re talking about a much less joyful movie today. And that movie is Alex Garland’s Civil War. And the reason we’re kind of talking about this is that I think this movie feels very relevant to–or at least when I went to go see it, I thought it would be very relevant–to some themes on the podcast. And since then, I’ve been a little bit confused, but we’ll get into that later. And I am told that me and Margaret might have some differing opinions about this movie. And so y’all will get to see us argue.

**Margaret ** 01:56
Yeah, I’m going to argue in favor of Wayne’s World, and Inmn is going to argue against Civil War. 

**Inmn ** 02:01
Yes. But first off, we are proud members of the Channel Zero Network of anarchists podcasts, and here’s the jingle from another show on that network. Doo doo doo doo doo. [singing]

**The Ex-Worker Podcast ** 02:18
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**Margaret ** 02:54
[Mimicking a movie trailer voice] In a world… [stopes voice] That’s all I got.

**Inmn ** 03:01
[Inmn takes up movie trailer voice] Where a vague civil war has gripped the nation for the last 14 years, we…

**Margaret ** 03:12
About literally nothing.

**Inmn ** 03:13
[continuing] we join a group of war correspondents and photographers who…are kind of shitbags.

**Margaret ** 03:26
Don’t have any motivation besides art.

**Inmn ** 03:32
[Not movie trailer voice anymore] I don’t really have to do a "Introduce yourself" to the thing because we all know who me and Margaret are. But to kind of get right into it, we’re going to be talking about the movie Civil War today. And my hard take right now is if you haven’t seen it, do NOT subject yourself to having to go see it. But, you know, make your own opinion. I’m not going to tell you what to do. But maybe we can kind of do a brief kind of like overview of the movie and then we’ll get into what me and Margaret think–each separately think–about it. How’s that sound?

**Margaret ** 04:17
Sounds great. Am I overviewing or are you overviewing?

**Inmn ** 04:20
Um, I can do it, you can do it. I don’t care.

**Margaret ** 04:22
Are you prepared to. 

**Margaret ** 04:24
I’m not. Let’s do it. 

**Inmn ** 04:24
I’m prepared to.

**Inmn ** 04:26
I’m gonna do it. 

**Margaret ** 04:27
Go ahead. Great. Pew, pew, pew. [mimicking gunfire] I’m gonna make pew-pew-pew noises the whole time you’re talking, though, so that people get into the head of the viewer, which is that whatever’s happening there’s also a lot of gunfire in the background. 

**Inmn ** 04:39
So much gunfire. And I have something to say about that gunfire later. 

**Margaret ** 04:44
Okay. Okay. 

**Inmn ** 04:45
Yeah. Which will be very funny with the pew-pew-pews. [Margaret makes more gunfire noises] So, Civil War is a movie about a… [Margaret makes more gun and explosion noises]

**Margaret ** 04:57
Okay, I’m gonna stop now. This will get old. Go ahead. 

**Inmn ** 05:03
The setup for Civil War is it’s a movie about a Second American Civil War. And we have a few different sides in it. We have the Western Forces, which are made up of California and Texas. And they have formed a coalition of secessionist forces known as the Western Forces. And they are trying to…. All we really know is that they’re trying to kill the president. And that– 

**Margaret ** 05:39

**Inmn ** 05:40
Yeah, relatable. And then we have a couple other sides that never make it into the movie. There’s…. The ones that do make it into the movie, we have Florida, who is attempting to join the Western Forces. And we have a few other players. The creator’s that movie released a map of the US set in the time of the war. There’s like the People’s Army of the Northwest, or something. It’s confusing. And when we join the narrative, it is…I think the war has been going on for about 14 or 15 years at this point. And the Western Forces are closing in on Washington DC and kind of like the East Coast. And we have a…we have a country that has been completely engulfed in in this war for, you know, over the last decade. And it follows a group of war photographers and journalists…correspondent people–I know words–who are out on a strange mission, which is to photograph and interview the president before he gets killed by the Western Forces. This is the setup for our protagonists’ journey. And we have Kirsten Dunst as this middle-aged, jaded, war photographer, who is paired up with–I don’t remember his name–

**Margaret ** 07:25
Some other guy. 

**Inmn ** 07:26
Some other guy, who’s a journalist. And as a tagalong they have this older journalist who’s trying to tag along with them. He’s like, old friend, co–

**Margaret ** 07:42
Wise, old, Black man archetype.

**Inmn ** 07:44
Wise, old, Black man archetype. And then we have a–I think she’s 23 in the movie–younger, very excited, and naive photographer who is a fan of Lee (or Kirsten Dunsts’ character), and they’re all headed to DC to try to photograph the president before he dies and they run into a lot of wacky shenanigans along the way.

**Margaret ** 08:19
It’s a road trip movie.

**Inmn ** 08:21
It is a road trip movie at its…. At its core, it is a road trip movie. Margaret, what…. I guess like…. I have quite a lot of opinions about this, but I’m the person who’s technically hosting right now. So I’m going to ask you questions. What did you think?

**Margaret ** 08:42
I think we should more duke it out a little bit. But I think we should each just give treat ourselves as having equal time on this. So I went into Civil War expecting to hate it. Most of the movie takes place in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, and Western Maryland. It takes place where I live. I drove to go see it in a town that is like, I think one of the towns that they filmed in and I went to the movie theater and I was like, "It’s going to be all fucking chuds. It’s all going to be these right-wing motherfuckers. Like I’m going into enemy territory," you know? I went to a Saturday matinee on the second day the movie was out. And there was like eight old couples. And then one dude who I read as gay, who was there alone like I was, and that’s who went to go see it. Some couples in their 70s and some guy who probably went and kind of similar reason I did, to be like, "What does this have to say about the people who are trying to kill me?" you know? And I enjoyed watching it. I got some popcorn. And I watched a movie that had pretty good action, lots of loud bang noises everywhere. I was like, I was glad I saw it in the theater because it was like, I thought the audio was well done. And it seemed to me…. Okay, so it’s like, if you go into it being like, this is gonna be a movie that explains where we’re at in the country, It’s not going to work, because it’s not. And it absolutely dropped the ball on that. But that was the point. Now, I don’t think that was a good point. I don’t think that they made a good decision. Like, if I had made this movie, this is not how I would have made it. I enjoyed watching the movie. I also thought it was really interesting. So I went home, and I was like, "Oh, that was a…that was less bad than I expected." And it was on my mind. You know? It made me think. Mostly it made me think, "The fuck were they thinking?" But it’s like, I was going to do war journalism when I was in high school and I was like, a photo, kid, you know? And then I went off to school for photography. And then I was like, "Fuck this, I’m going to drop out during the revolution," or whatever. And I very quickly was like, the idea of the neutral journalist is nonsense, you know? 

**Inmn ** 11:24
Fucking nonsense. 

**Margaret ** 11:26
And that is like one of the main things. This is like a statement. It’s trying to be this like grand like, "Oh, it’s so important to have this neutral position or whatever." But no one’s really neutral. And they kind of present it like people are. But I don’t think that they try all at hard. And what I realized…. Okay, my takeaway is this movie is centrist propaganda. And this movie is centrist propaganda that is specifically…it doesn’t this whole thing where all of this stuff is like, "There’s no good guys or bad guys." And they do very intentionally and kind of, honestly, interestingly, have it where you don’t know which sides are fighting at any given point. 

**Inmn ** 12:07
No clue. 

**Margaret ** 12:09
And that is that is very intentional. There’s a scene where there’s like a sniper and there’s a counter sniper. And the people are like, "Wait, which side are you on?" And he’s like, "I’m just trying to kill that guy. He’s trying to kill me." And like–

**Inmn ** 12:20
And they’re like queer-coded.

**Margaret ** 12:22
Yeah, they have pink hair or whatever.

**Inmn ** 12:25
And fingernail polish.

**Margaret ** 12:28
Oh, I didn’t catch that. Yeah, no, totally. And it it feels…. That part feels a little bit real. It’s a kind of a little bit of a like…. What’s that "Heart of Darkness" movie?

**Inmn ** 12:45
Apocalypse Now. 

**Margaret ** 12:46
Yeah, like kind of this like, "I don’t know, man. War is hell" kind of vibe, right? And like, okay, so it’s centrist propaganda because at the end of the day, despite that they make this big deal of like, "Well, we don’t know who’s the good guys and the bad guys," you do. The President is bad. The Western Forces are good. Now they’re not "good: perfect, everything’s great." But the movie opens with a person with the United States flag suicide bombing. Noone presents suicide bombing as a positive thing in Western media. The United States government is the bad guys in this movie. That caught me by surprise. I expected passively to think that the way that they would do centrist propaganda–I knew it was gonna be centrist propaganda–is that they would have Texas and California being the far-right and the far-left. And they’re the bad guys. Instead, I think they are meant to–and this is a sloppy…it’s not how it should have been done–it represents the far-right and–sorry, the center-right–and the center-left teaming up to stop a fascist. Because the President has a couple like…. Okay, so if you like read all these reviews of people talking about it, I remember I was reading these right-wingers on Reddit. Everyone was like, "Oh, it’s all neutral." And this right-winger was like, "It’s not. It is anti-Trump. It is antifascist." And he was saying.

**Inmn ** 14:17
It’s the only clear thing. That’s the only clear tie-in in the movie is that Nick Offerman is supposed to be Trump.

**Margaret ** 14:24
And so he noticed everything that I noticed and pointed it out to say "This movie is actually leftist propaganda." In that, for example, the dude’s Trump. The only actual bad person–there’s people who do war crimes in it. Like they gunned down some prisoners and stuff, and it’s a little bit of a like, "War is hell." There’s one group of actually bad people and they’re the racists.

**Inmn ** 14:58
Or…there’s a couple. I don’t know. There’s the gas station keepers who shots some looters, you know?

**Margaret ** 15:05
I think they’re negative, but they’re not…. Yeah, no, that’s true. 

**Inmn ** 15:11
Then like Jesse Plemons’ group, which are the racists– 

**Margaret ** 15:16
Okay. Yeah. 

**Inmn ** 15:17
[Continuing] –or the the anti-immigrants? And yeah, I don’t know. And they’re confusing to me because when I saw…when I was watching the movie, I was like, "Are these supposed to be the Western Forces?" because the Western Forces are talked about so mysteriously, to the point where it’s like vague in a way that is confusing and, I think, harmful.

**Margaret ** 15:38
I don’t disagree with you. 

**Inmn ** 15:41
But so it’s like, and then I was trying to tell where I was like, "Wait, do these characters have the WF on their arm?" And I couldn’t really tell. And then I think I read something later that was like they were supposed to be a militia.

**Margaret ** 15:56
Yeah, that was the impression I got. But they also have one of the military Humvees.

**Inmn ** 16:02
Yeah, so it’s confusing. 

**Margaret ** 16:04
But the Western Forces have the Black woman that kills the president. 

**Inmn ** 16:08
Yeah, yeah. Which is where it all starts to get confusing is like the… they really…. When they meet up with those other journalists who are embedded in the Western Forces, they talk about them, really…they talk about it really poorly. They’re like…because our protagonist don’t like the Western Forces. Our protagonists think the Western Forces are like, are weird. You know, they don’t like the president either. 

**Margaret ** 16:34
Do they?

**Inmn ** 16:35
Yeah, they say something like "You embedded with them? Like what the fuck?" And they’re like, "This is just what it is now."

**Inmn ** 16:42
I believe you. But I think that the Boogaloo Boys that they were embedded with Western Forces.

**Margaret ** 16:45
Like the Hawaiian shirt wearing folks?

**Margaret ** 16:45
Yeah. So that was one of the other things that was interesting because the Boogaloo Boys are on the good side in this movie.

**Inmn ** 17:04
That was really confusing to me.

**Margaret ** 17:07
Yeah. I think they’re trying to present them as like, a center-right force fighting alongside the center-left force of California to overthrow a fascist. That’s my takeaway.

**Inmn ** 17:24
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. It’s–

**Margaret ** 17:27
I don’t–go ahead.

**Inmn ** 17:30
Oh, no. Finish your thing. 

**Margaret ** 17:32
I just…I don’t think… It was sure ain’t how I would have written it. Because I don’t think it’s realistic at all. But wait, I talked to one journalist friend who also doesn’t…isn’t a fan. But they pointed out, right, Alex Garland’s like not American. He’s what, English, maybe? I don’t know.

**Inmn ** 17:52
I don’t know. He’s from London. Or, I think he’s an immigrant to London too. I don’t remember.

**Margaret ** 18:01
There’s this argument that they’re kind of doing the thing that American war movies do, where someone who’s not from your country oversimplifies and fucks up all the local politics in order to make a war movie about art.

**Inmn ** 18:15
Oh, god. Yeah. Totally. 

**Margaret ** 18:17
And that’s kind of interesting? [Said reluctntly and in question] But the person who presented that idea isn’t a fan of this movie.

**Inmn ** 18:23
Yeah. I think some of the politically confusing things to me about it were like, the Western forces are ambiguous and, for most of the movie, you’re supposed to be…the viewer is kind of supposed to be  fearful or confused about them, which makes sense, you know. It’s like our protagonists don’t really know… Our protagonists are…they’re neutral in that they’re like, "Yeah, the government sucks. And also the Western Forces probably suck too." Like, there’s all these mentions about how they’re going to like tear each other apart after they kill the president. Which feels far more realistic. 

**Margaret ** 19:05

**Inmn ** 19:06
The thing that kind of really did it for me is that it’s like whoever Jesse Plemons–red sunglass militia dude–is supposed to be aligned with, the viewer is kind of supposed to think that they’re the Western Forces. And then what really cinched it for me is the Western Forces, before they make this final strike on DC, rally in Charlottesville.

**Margaret ** 19:41

**Inmn ** 19:43
Which in a movie, which in kind of an arthouse movie, where like everything’s intentional and not intentional and everything’s a reference and not a reference, [Margaret makes affirmatiive noises] it was this thing where I was like, you’re having your politically-vague secessionist forces that we’re kind of supposed to think are maybe, you know, far-right fascists of their own color, are rallying in Charlottesville of all places.

**Margaret ** 20:11
Yeah. No, and it’s funny because we know that they worked with at least the far-right Andy Ngo, right, who’s thanked in the credits and we know that they worked with at least–I can remember the prominent TERF’s name, who’s also thanked in the credits.

**Inmn ** 20:29
Oh yeah, I don’t remember.

**Margaret ** 20:32
No, that is the like…. No, that’s good point.

**Inmn ** 20:37
Yeah, but I think what it is, the the politics that are confusing for me are that the world that we encounter in Civil War, like the world in their world that existed before the civil war, is not our world. It’s like, it is a fantasy. It is a fantasy movie, in that it is not…. It’s like, based on our world. But it’s not our world. 

**Margaret ** 21:06
Yeah, because also it takes place like 20 years from now, and nothing’s changed technologically. Iff anything, it’s regressed.

**Inmn ** 21:14
Yeah. Which kind of makes sense for a war sometimes, you know? Like wars in some ways halt.

**Margaret ** 21:22
Nah, we get a lot of new technology during wars. I mean, I guess the propagation through civil society of new technology is slowed, but like–

**Inmn ** 21:29
I think that’s more what I mean. 

**Margaret ** 21:31

**Inmn ** 21:32
Like civil technology.

**Margaret ** 21:36
I was left with an uncomfortable feeling about it when I was done, but I didn’t hate it as much as I expected because I think…just taken as like, I’m kind of easy to please with movies. And I’m just like, I don’t know. Pew, pew. [gun noises] Oh, that’s fun. And also, like a Black lady shot the president. That’s cool. And like, but then it’s like, it does a lot of like, "art is so neutral tropes." I kind of hate self important photographers. It’s like a thing. It’s like part of why I dropped out of school and didn’t get into photography is that photographers are so fucking self-important.

**Inmn ** 22:18
Yeah, the treatment…. Okay, I think one of the other things I had a really hard time with was its treatment of journalists in a way where I was like….  Like, the whole movie I was like, is the purpose of the movie to make journalists seem like the most like self-important douchebags on the planet? Because that’s what I’m getting right now. And I kind of dug into some of it because I knew that Garland, like chose journalists as his protagonists on purpose. And like, part of that was because he like, he sees them as heroes. He grew up with like–I think his dad was like a war correspondent or something–and he like grew up hanging out with all these like old war correspondents and like journalists and photographers. And so like, and he said it publicly that he thinks that they have interesting insight or whatever for telling the stories of this. And then he portrays them to be like, kind of dick bags and kinda just like…. They’re portraying this idea of neutrality, which I think is really embraced with Western journalism, over like, "We have to be neutral and our neutrality is important." and then it’s like all these like wild things happen. And it’s like…. Okay, it’s like…. Spoilers. Everyone, there’s spoilers.  

**Margaret ** 23:46
I think people go that already. 

**Inmn ** 23:48
You already got their spoilers. But it’s like, we open up on the scene where like Kirsten Dunst and our young protagonist–I can’t remember any of these people’s names. 

**Margaret ** 23:59
Old lady journalist and young lady journalist.

**Inmn ** 24:03
They meet at a rally. The rally gets bombed. And like literally moments later, they’re both just snapping photos of people who are dead and dying. And they are not helping anyone. They’re not…. 

**Margaret ** 24:16
Well, and that’s the point. I mean, that is the moral of it. I mean, uuuuh, it’s not well done.  Because she’s like– Sorry, I cut you off. I’m sorry.

**Inmn ** 24:24
Oh no, I think it’s like, we see this reproduced throughout the rest of the movie where it’s like, they’re…like Stanley, they’re older, Black, wise…wise Black man character gets shot saving them, saving the group from Jesse Plemons and them.  And they like…. You know, because Stanley’s like, "This is a bad idea. You’re gonna get fucking killed" and then he’s right. And then he saves them. Gets shot doing it. And I know this is how movies work or whatever but he gets shot and they do nothing. They let him bleed out in the fucking car so they can have a whimsical drive through a forest fire with like whimsical music.

**Margaret ** 25:12
Well he doesn’t tell them, but like that’s on the writer. You know? 

**Inmn ** 25:16
Well when they switch drivers, he’s bleeding. 

**Margaret ** 25:19
Oh, yeah, you’re right. Okay. Yeah.

**Inmn ** 25:21
They know that he’s been shot for hours and they do nothing.

**Margaret ** 25:25
I mean, my thought was that they were like trying to get, they were like, "Well, we better get to the place because there’s gonna be medics there," or whatever. But they don’t say that. And they also like…. No, that scene, and how they treat that character, that was when I was like, these writers are hacks and are playing into bullshit, racist tropes. Like, even that scene, that scene where…. All of the people of color die in that scene. That’s what happens in that scene. Well, I guess the journalist man is a person of color also. But like, the three…. You know, whatever, like, only white people and this one person of color survives that scene, because because of the fight with the racists. And like, that is lazy, racist writing, I think, to kill all of them off. And then also to like…. Yeah, the way they drive away with it, and they’re like, "Oh, I was saved, thank god," or whatever, and like, no one gives a shit about…. I mean, but they also tri to do the like, "No, we are fucking shell shocked." And they try to do this, like weird remove–and they all have mental breakdowns, you know? Like every one of the journalists either dies or has a mental breakdown during–at some point–during this movie. And but I also think that there’s this like…. We all know racists are bad, you know? And so it’s like a little bit of a like, "Conngratulations, the racists killed all the people of color…" like? The thing that makes me angriest is that they knew that that red sunglasses man would become a meme. That was part of their marketing. He was the most interesting character in the movie. 

**Inmn ** 27:12
Yeah, if you watch the trailer, you assume that that interaction is most of the movie.

**Margaret ** 27:18
Yeah, totally. And there’s a couple things that pissed me off about it. That’s in West Virginia. And that is the like…they don’t hillbilly code them in any other way, except for the fact that they’re white racists in West Virginia. But that is still something that is a…that is like a "Yeah, it’s West Virginia, so of course all the people…" you know, like it fucking "Deliverance’s" that shit. I’ve never seen "Deliverance," but I know it’s the fear of Appalachia thing. And, but also by knowing it’s going to be the meme, and then having him be like, really, actually a fucking monster, you have now…. All of the people who vaguely identify with him…. Like, I watched a bunch of YouTube video responses from tactical and prepper and whatever spaces, which tend center and far right, you know? And, you know, they’re all like, kind of mad that they made that red sunglasses guy such a racist, because they’re kind of like, "But he was our guy," you know? Which is, in one way, kind of accurate, right? But you also just now have all these people who are excited about this fucking racist dude. And like, he’s a meme. And I’ve seen memes that are funny and leftist that use it like, "Oh, you’re an anarchist. but what kind of anarchist are you?" or whatever. You know, but it’s about murdering…. I don’t know. It’s in bad taste. Dislike it. But, okay, wait, one more thing, sorry. The other thing….  My thoughts are not collected. The other thing that I thought a lot about is that when I watched all these response videos and all these things, the far-right and the left hate this movie, and the center likes it. And I think that’s interesting. I actually think that…. The one art thing that I think Garland might have pulled off–I overall feel very negatively about…. You know, I mean, I enjoyed the movie from a like pure popcorn point of view, right? But like, how I feel about the movies is that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But this thing, the fact that it pisses off the two people who are mad at it, like me and that right-wing guy on Reddit had taken literally the same notes of all of the political coding throughout. So the people who are watching this movie because they think there might be a civil war…. Like, I think there might be a civil war. I don’t want there to be. Some of the right-wing people, and probably some of the left-wing people–but I don’t think it’s as prevalent on the left–want there to be a civil war. And so all of those people, everyone who went at it being like, "Is this an oracle of our future" was like, "This movie sucks." And then everyone who was like, "This reinforced my preexisting beliefs that the extremes are bad, but the right and the left can get together to stop fascism and Trump" liked it. And it’s hard, because that’s the centrist nonsense position, but it’s also like, we got to figure out how to not have a civil war. Like, we got to figure out how to get the center-right to stop going further right. This movie isn’t gonna help do that. That’s all I got.

**Inmn ** 31:01
Yeah. Oh, no, no, thank you. That’s great. I have two more things to say about the journalist treatment. Which is like…and this ties into how the movie was shot. So Garland talks about some of the commitments to realism that he was trying to do with the movie. And specifically, part of that is how gunfire was recorded, which is that gunfire was recorded and projected in different ways than it normally is in movies. 

**Margaret ** 31:37
Oh, interesting.  

**Inmn ** 31:38
Yeah, it’s kind of like the…. I forget the words they use, but normally in movies, you have these kinds of deep, hollow sounds, and they recorded it in a way to make it sound like tinnier and like higher in register. 

**Margaret ** 31:54
Like the crack of it? 

**Inmn ** 31:56
Yeah, so you feel it in your ears and your shoulders instead of in your chest. Which is how real gunfire works. And so it’s like they had commitment to realism where they really wanted people to feel like the reality and discomfort of gunfire. And the war choreographer was this ex-Navy SEALs person. And so that they’re this commitment to like portraying combat in realistic ways. And this commitment to portraying war in realistic and horrifying ways. And, I know this is just like a thing with movies, but it’s like their commitment to realism was a commitment to realistic violence and not a commitment to what people might actually do in those situations, which is like, you know, back to Stanley. My friend gets shot, and we’re driving to a potential medical facility. Let’s show some realistic first aid. Let’s show…let’s show some Stop the Bleed. Let’s show some like…let’s show a fucking tourniquet. Let’s show holding pressure, doing literally anything.

**Margaret ** 33:14
Totally. Well, when it happens in a battle, they do that. They do a better Stop the Bleed than the average movie, where the guy gets shot, the Bugaloo Boy gets shot. Yeah, but when they’re doing plot, that’s why I’m mad about them killing that man. It was a plot death. It wasn’t a battle death. Like, I knew he was going to die before it happened. 

**Inmn ** 33:42
The second asks to tag along, we know he’s gonna die. 

**Margaret ** 33:45
Oh, yeah, totally. And then even like that scene, it’s like, he’s like, "Oh, I can’t drive anymore." And I’m like, oh, he’s dead now.  And there is no reason why, realistically, that scene, if he had made it that long, he’s suddenly gonna die. You know? Yeah, like the average you get shot once…. Well, actually the average you get shot once with a rifle, I think you do die, but it’s not a high…more than…. Whatever. They didn’t need to kill him. It was a plot death and it pisses me off as compared to some of the battle scenes. Which is funny because then when they get in DC then the battle scenes kind of like get a little like… like, here comes the helicopter really low among the buildings, and like fucking Secret Service who are just like, [pew pew] instead of like…you know? 

**Inmn ** 34:38
Well, it’s not the Secret Service because he dissolved the FBI.

**Margaret ** 34:42
Oh, is Secret Service part of the FBI? Okay. No, yeah, like I liked the gunfire thing, though. It was a tense movie. 

**Inmn ** 34:54
Yeah, the gunfire…. I mean, I hated it in the theater. I want to literally fucking die. It’s just the…it’s like people who have a commitment to…. I wish that people who had a commitment to realism would have a commitment to like showing a wider spectrum of realism in their movies. 

**Margaret ** 35:13
 No, I agree. 

**Inmn ** 35:13
I think it’s a huge failing of like, filmmakers and I think it’s a huge failing of Garland to be like, "We’re gonna commit this to like making war uncomfortable, but like, we’re not going to show realistic ways in which like…" Yeah, I don’t know.

**Margaret ** 35:28
Like, again, they did it in the battle, but not in the plot thing, is how I feel about it. 

**Inmn ** 35:34
Totally, and then it’s like our other plot death is Lee, or Kirsten Dunst, at the end of the movie, and it’s like–

**Margaret ** 35:43
Yeah, you knew she was gonna die in that scene.

**Inmn ** 35:45
Totally. And it’s like, she, you know, she saves our young protagonist from getting shot, and how does our young protagonist thank her? By photographing her death. 

**Margaret ** 35:58
But, see that, I actually liked that plot death. It was a plot death through and through, but it served a purpose, which was the completion of the like, because the girl is like, "What are you gonna do? You gonna fucking film my death?" And then the other way around happened. And I was like, that’s clever. 

**Inmn ** 36:16
I guess so. 

**Margaret ** 36:17
Because like that…. Okay, so it’s like the character arc of older lady, Kirsten Dunst, I thought that was interesting, because she’s the, "I’m so hardened. I don’t have any emotions." And then she fucking breaks. She like, shuts down during the siege of Washington in Washington, right? Like, I actually kind of liked that. It was cheesy. It was not a commitment to realism. It was a plot death through and through.

**Inmn ** 36:54
Yeah, she’s also wearing a plate carrier and gets shot center mass and just dies.

**Margaret ** 37:00
Oh, shit. I didn’t think about that. Yeah, totally. It’s like, it’s cheesy as shit, right? But like, I also thought that was like, kind of realistic in a bad way, the like, when they’re like…when the Speaker for the President–whatever, the press secretary comes out–and it’s like, "We want to negotiate," and they’re like, "No, we’re gonna shoot you." And then the President’s last words, were like, "Don’t let them kill me," and gets fucking popped. Like, I actually like…. No, you’re right. I think you’ve got it. The central tension of this movie is a commitment to realism that doesn’t go all the way through. You’re right.

**Inmn ** 37:43
Yeah, I don’t know. 

**Margaret ** 37:44
Wait, I’m supposed to disagree with you? 

**Inmn ** 37:46
Yeah, yeah. I think we didn’t disagree as much as I thought we would disagree.

**Margaret ** 37:51
Nah, not like this is the fucking…. I just like…. I like war movies. I don’t know. There’s something wrong with me.

**Inmn ** 37:56
I think I was more horrified by…. I think I was just more horrified by it than you were. But it’s like, okay, so my other thing about journalists is that I think that what I could draw from it is like, "Oh, this is like a critique of this neutrality. It’s a critique of non-interference. We’re watching these people make really weird decisions." But it wasn’t. And I don’t think Garland would….I don’t think Garland meant it that way. Garland, based on his history and based on this idea, this like Western idea of what journalism is, and based on how these characters behave, there is no critique of this behavior. They are his heroes of the movie.

**Margaret ** 38:47
What he….what I think he thinks he’s doing is pointing out how messy and complicated these righteous people are. But what’s interesting is you could say the same about the revolutionary forces, you know? Because it’s like, he brings up all the gross things that journalists do. But then kind of says it’s necessary, right? And then the same as actually happening. Like, in a weird way, there’s like this thing where it kind of, you expect it to be an anti civil war movie, like an anti-war movie or whatever. But it’s kind of not. The Western Forces in this movie righteously oust a tyrant. And by the end of the movie, you know that. And you’re meant to be rooting for them. In the same way, you’re rooting for the journalists even as they do things that are bad. They do morally unconscionable things in service of the greater good of art, or whatever fucking bullshit. The Western Forces are doing the same. I got… Yeah, and the movie feels like kind of disjointed in that like as soon as they reach the Western Forces in Charlottesville, you’re suddenly like, "Oh, I get it. These are the good guys all along, " or whatever, you know?

**Inmn ** 40:06
Yeah. And I don’t know. My other kind of big note is like, I…. It’s weird, I never thought I’d have so many opinions about like portrayals of journalism, but it’s like I think, you know, all the reasons that I’ve stated about really feeling like this treatment of journalists is like, you know, both accurate and  about, they fucking suck. Some of them suck. And then also, there’s this other context right now, that I think makes it suck even more. And that is that like, you know, this movie is coming out, and was being produced, at a time when the genocide in Gaza was happening, and currently is still happening, and this is a place where, you know, notably, journalists are getting assassinated, bombed, shot, starved. All of these things. And to have this be like the portrayal of journalists as people who like watch a bombing and then like, photograph people as they’re dying, or watch their friends get shot and just take pictures of them, and like, all of this stuff, just like, hid in this really weird way where I was like, "I don’t think this is how journalists in places where like their homes, the places they live, are reacting to this kind of stuff." And it feels really…it hits really weird, with everything going on in Gaza right now where I’m like, "I don’t think people, I don’t think like Palestinian journalists are watching their friends get blown up. And then standing by and taking pictures." I think they’re like getting down in the rubble and helping like dig people out of buildings. And I don’t know. It’s like, it’s like that aspect. It’s because the journalists won’t pick aside–I don’t want them to pick a side in Civil War–but it’s like, I don’t know. I don’t think any of us are neutral anymore.

**Margaret ** 42:18
Yeah, I think that there is the like, this film, the centrist propaganda part of it is holding on to this fictitious idea of the neutral journalist. I think that that’s a good point. That war correspondent, Jake Hanrahan, who does who did Sad Oligarch and does a bunch of other like…did a lot of like…has done a lot of really impressive war journalism, posted about it on Twitter and was just like, "If you hang out with this style of war journalist, you will die. " It’s like these are the people who will get you killed. And that like…it’s like, hearing that this guy like idolizes this fictitious war journalist is a perfect example of yeah, he’s just like, you know, this like Gonzo journalist hero or whatever who puts themselves in dumb danger. Yeah, no, I think they did a terrible job with the journalism. I think they did a terrible job of like…. Also just like, oh, it’s so quirky. You brought a 35 millimeter film camera to war….

**Inmn ** 43:35
They did…. They did the bad sci fi trope of inventing technology to have the thing that they wanted aesthetically.

**Margaret ** 43:45
You could do everything that she did. She’s developing on the fly. You could do that.

**Inmn ** 43:53
Yeah, I don’t know. I talked to some photojournalist person about it. And they were like, "This is complete. This is…. The most absurd part of this movie is that this person is shooting film during this."  They like named the film that she’s using and she’s like, "That’s hard to get now. Where the fuck is this person getting this film?" 

**Margaret ** 44:15
No, totally. It would be absolutely nonsensical to shoot film in this kind of situation where anything else is an option. No, just the way that she’s developing on the road or whatever. Like, I think you could do, because you can make your own negative. If she had a dark room mother, I’d be like, "What the fuck?" But it’s still like no, it is absolutely like, you know, "Oh, you’re a fucking weird artist," or whatever. No, and like…yeah. Yeah, bad journalism. No, literally the thing that this movie succeeds at is it goes "pew-pew" and the people were like, "Ah, fuck, I’m getting shot," and then people are like…like me in the audience, I’m like, "I’m feeling really tense right now." And I’m like, "Oh, this is a…this is like." You know, I think I watch war movies like other people watch horror movies, where it’s kind of like, oh, to get that safe version of a thing that like…. Like, I’ve never been in war, but I’ve been in some pretty tense riots and things like that where like, you know…. So getting little bit of that vibe. Yeah, that’s like, I enjoy it. I enjoy a good war movie. And, you know, they shoot the president. And, like, also, I just, I…. And there’s like, some interesting…I kind of like the scene where there’s the town that’s like, "Oh, everything’s normal." I think that’s Frostburg, Maryland. I’m not 100% certain. A lot of the towns in Western Maryland look kind of similar. But there’s a small town vibe of a central Appalachian town, you know? And then it works because there’s dudes with guns on the rooftop. I actually thought that was a kind of well done. They’re like, "Oh, we’re totally out of the war." And you’re like, "Just kidding. Our local militia shoots anyone who tries anything." And I’m like, that feels real.

**Inmn ** 46:03
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s true. That does feel real. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. It was a weird movie. And I think maybe this other thing is, like Garland did like some interviews about it. And like, he’s purposefully vague about his politics to the point where he went off record during a interview with The Guardian to explain to the reporter what his actual politics were because he didn’t want to say them, but I don’t know, I guess was trying to convince the reporter that he wasn’t something. 

**Margaret ** 46:48
Like a Nazi or some thing? 

**Inmn ** 46:49
Like a Nazi or something.

**Margaret ** 46:53
It makes sense that like…. Okay, so I watched a bunch of review videos by random right-wing people, and I was like, "Fuck them." And you watched interviews with Garland and Aarland sucks, it seems like. So it kinda like…I think it kind of like makes sense where we kind of ended in our like…. I’m not, again, I’m not trying to sing this movies praises, you know?

**Inmn ** 47:14
Yeah. But I think there were some…. I don’t know, to bring this back to preparedness, because that’s where we’re always here to talk about. 

**Margaret ** 47:22

**Inmn ** 47:23
It’s like, I guess what I hope is that…what I hope that people don’t get from this movie…. Or what I hope that people get from this movie is seeing an absolutely horrifying portrayal of  journalism or people that we would kind of see in these kinds of support roles of struggle, you know, that you should spend probably less time worrying about developing film during the civil war and probably more time taking a Stop the Bleed training and developing relationships and community with the people that you’re photographing and having real connections to the things that you’re reporting on, versus going on a road trip to fuel your gore porn lust.  I don’t know, maybe throw a few more tourniquets in your bag and an IFAK and maybe drop the film/ I mean, you can bring the film, but if you have to choose between an IFAK and an on the road developer kit, choose the IFAK. 

**Margaret ** 48:42
No, totally, like, if you have your film camera too, I’m like, "Oh, quirky." If you have only your film camera, you’re a joke. Like, you are not prepared to do your job. It would be like if someone had a saber on their side instead of a fucking AR-15, you know? Like, if you bring your saber, chill you’re quirky. If you only bring your saber, you are not prepared to do your job in this war Yeah, no, from a preparedness point of view, the one thing I could say about it, it’s kind of a like It Could Happen Here, it’s just a like, "Hey everyone, we’re not magically, specially immune from being torn apart by crisis. And even some of the like… Okay, I still think it was a coward’s move for them to not really talk about any politics at any point during the movie, but they could have–

**Inmn ** 49:49

**Margaret ** 49:51
–but they could have done the exact same weird split where Texas and California are on the same side because you could say, "Hey, war makes for weird bedfellows," because it does. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact where the communists are sending the Nazis guns, you know, or like….

**Inmn ** 50:14
Or the Spanish Civil War, where the anarchists were fighting on the barricades with…cops. 

**Margaret ** 50:18
Yeah, totally. Cops and anarchists stopped the coup in Barcelona. And then the anarchists joined the government, which made a lot of the anarchists mad, but I think they had bigger problems then….  Everyone’s like, "The big problem is we joined the government," but I think the big problem is that Stalin and Franco killed everyone. But whatever. No, it’s just like an interesting like…. Like, because you could be like, alright, shit could break down in ways that you don’t expect. And like, and they could have done that well and they didn’t. And then the other thing is that I hate every protesting scene I’ve ever seen in a mainstream movie. 

**Inmn ** 50:57
Yeah,  they’re always not done well. 

**Margaret ** 50:58
I’ve never seen it done well. The two ways they try and do it is they either use stock footage of riots, like they do in this one where they got it from fucking Andy Ngo, the fucking Nazi, or you have this crowd that’s not big enough and is either too angry or too passive. It’s always like 50 Cops and 50 protesters. That’s the way they always do it. And I get it. It’s really hard to get 40,000 people, you know, to be extras for your movie. But like, I don’t know. None of these motherfuckers have ever been in a fucking riot. Whatever. I didn’t like the scenes at the beginning. But honestly, the suicide bombing part, I thought was well done.

**Inmn ** 51:41
Yeah. Well, any any final thoughts on it as we near an hour of talking about this, what I will call, strange garbage.

**Margaret ** 52:05
I don’t know. Pirate it. If you enjoy it. Don’t make memes out of that guy. I’m not like mad. It’s not like problematic. I don’t give a shit on like a real level. But like, fuck that guy. I don’t know. Whatever. That’s what I got.

**Inmn ** 52:27
Cool. Yeah, mine is, I don’t know, don’t let this movie serve as your conception of journalists.

**Margaret ** 52:38
On a one to five stars, I’m giving it a three as a movie, not as a political piece. As a political piece, I give it a two.

**Inmn ** 52:52
I’m giving it like one and a half because I actually just thought it was a bad movie. On political, I’m giving it zero stars. But on a movie, I’m giving it one and a half. My plug for this movie is go see "The People’s Joker" if you can, if it is in your city. Go see that instead.

**Margaret ** 53:18
And mine is go watch "Wayne’s World." I can’t really defend it politically. I don’t know. There’s probably really fucked up things in it. Whatever I liked it. Maybe don’t go watch "Wayne’s World." I just remember really likeing that movie. I tried to do a non-sequitur here. We should end this podcast. My mouth hurts. I had oral surgery. I probably complained about that a lot.

**Inmn ** 53:46
If you enjoyed this podcast, go watch "Wayne’s World." That is our weekly…. [Both laughing]

**Margaret ** 53:54
There’s probably somehting bad I just don’t remember.

**Inmn ** 53:59
If you enjoyed this podcast, enjoy the nostalgia of, not the reality of, "Wayne’s World." 

**Inmn ** 54:06
The People’s Wayne’s World. 

**Inmn ** 54:07
The People’s Wayne’s World. Also, if you enjoyed this podcast, we would love for you to tell people about it. It’s one of the best ways to support the show. And like I don’t know, talk to your friends about it. Talk to your friends about movies. Go to go to the movies with your friends and talk about those movies. And don’t let movies define what your concept of the world is because, I don’t know, filmmakers are fucking weird sometimes, you know? But you can also support the show by supporting our publisher Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. And you can support Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness by telling people about stuff. You can support it by buying stuff from us. We publish, we put out books, zines, we have shirts, we have cool games, and you can also support us, and the show, by signing up for Patreon at patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness. And there’s a bunch of different levels of stuff that you can get for supporting our Patreon, anywhere from discounts on physical things that we make, to just free versions of all of the digital stuff that we put out. And you can also get like a cool zine every month. And you can also give us $20 a month to acknowledge or thank a thing of your choice. This could be you, this could be your friend, this could be a organization that you think is cool, or it could be a fictional or theoretical concept, which no one has asked us to thank yet.

**Margaret ** 55:43
Or…. Sorry, finish your thought. I want to. before you do the list, I want to present another thing that people could do. 

**Inmn ** 55:51
Which this is my new post podcast thing, if you liked this podcast, please pay us $20 to thank a fictional concept. That is…that is my plug. 

**Margaret ** 56:04
Also, you could troll us by taking one of the names or projects that’s already on our list and adding it to our list again, so that we have to read it twice. Like Boise Mutual Aid, what if that got read out twice? Wouldn’t that be funny?

**Inmn ** 56:19
Yeah, or what if…what if we thank…we could thank Amber twice. We could think Julia twice. We could think Marm twice. And we’re going to thank all of them twice right now. Thank you alium and alium. Thank you, Amber and Amber. Thank you Ephemeral and Ephemeral. I have to transcribe this and I’m going to hate this. Yeah. Thank you Appalachian–I’m going to stop. Thank you Appalachian Liberation Library, Portland’s Hedron Hackerspace, boldfield, E, Patoli, Eric, Buck, Julia. Look we thanked you three times. Catgut, Marm, Carson, Lord Harken, Trixter, Miranda, Ben Ben, Anonymous, Janice & O’dell, Aly, paparouna, Milica, Boise Mutual Aid. Look, we’re thanking you like three times. theo, Hunter, SJ, Paige. Nicole, David, Dana, Chelsea, Staro, Jenipher, Kirk, Chris, Mic Aiah, and the immortal Hoss the Dog. Thanks for everything that you’ve done.[Margaret makes pew-pew gun noises] Pew, pew. 

**Margaret ** 57:24
That’s a call back of me interrupting you with the…. Evryone will be happy and not think I’m a jerk. Please continue. [Both laughing]

**Inmn ** 57:24
We…. Wait, wait.

**Margaret ** 57:24
I’m like high off of pain and my mouth hurts because I’ve been talking. Oh, no, was pew-pew…. We recorded two episodes in a row. Was this the one that I pew-pew’d in? This is the one I pew-pew in the middle of, right?

**Inmn ** 57:45
No, no, but just wait for the…wait for it for the visual cue, Margaret. 

**Margaret ** 57:49

**Inmn ** 57:51
We just hope everyone is doing as well as they can with everything that’s going on [Inmn pauses as if winking at Margaret. Margaret makes pew-pew, gun, and explosion noise] and we’ll see you next time.

Find out more at https://live-like-the-world-is-dying.pinecast.co