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Try to think out of the box! Great choice Simon!
Let’s see what Ghezal thought of this movie:
Genre Grandeur: Spaceballs (1987)
Starring: Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, Mel Brooks and Joan Rivers.
Directed by: Mel Brooks.
When I think of some of my favourite spoof/parody movies, a handful of films immediately pop into my mind: the Austin Powers trilogy for one, the disgustingly brilliant Airplane! for another and the 1987 flawless…
“You wanted me to be here for your death, how about letting me be here for your life?”
Sitcom classic The Golden Girls aired on NBC during the height of the sitcom boom from 1985-1992 and featured the hysterical musings of four stellar women: Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty). These fictional characters felt like real, complex individuals with their own distinct personalities, providing frequent bouts of hilarity that kept fans entertained for 180 episodes.
While there are many examples of TV shows that would fall into the discussion of greatest sitcom properties, I would place The Golden Girls in the top-tier realm and personally refer to it as my No. 1 favorite sitcom of all time. Besides the obvious comedic aspects, there were occasional episodes that dealt with the more taboo subjects of the time (and some that are even considered taboo today). From adultery to homosexuality to deportation, The Golden Girls never shied away from focusing on these issues – One particular episode stands out to me the most from its fifth season.
The One Where Sophia’s Friend Wants Her There When She Commits Suicide
Season 5, Episode 7, titled “Not Another Monday” tackled the issue of suicide and what choice one has when a friend wants you there when they take their life. This episode focused on Sophia’s friend, Martha Lamont, a woman who believes that she can no longer stand the pain and loneliness of her physical world, choosing to end her life by her own hand rather than waiting for any more sicknesses to afflict her. In her own words, she doesn’t “want to see another Monday.”
As Sophia struggles with the ethical and moral obligations of her dear friend’s request, the B plot centered around Dorothy, Blanche and Rose caring for a newborn while her parents were away. The episode contains one of the funniest moments of the entire series: the three women attempt to calm the baby down by performing “Mr. Sandman” totally a capella. Watch it below:
(It’s no coincidence the writers decided to place the paralleling story lines of birth and death in this one episode, and I love them for it.)
Let me give you some background of my relationship with the show and delve into some personal territory of where I was in my life a few years back:
For A Number Of Years, I Was Lost
In 2010, my dear grandma passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Prior to her final night, we would visit her on a daily basis, and I would always arrive home just in time to catch a syndicated episode of The Golden Girls. It comforted me watching these older women in the prime of their lives. I needed some sort of escape for that half an hour.
My grandma’s death hit me hard and continued to stay with me even as I entered university – The years spent in post-secondary was one of the most difficult times of my entire life. For the first 4 years of attempting to get my Bachelor’s (I finally graduated in my fifth year with a BA in English) I struggled with virtually every aspect of what was going on in my life at the time:
The Financial (“Am I able to afford this class?” “God, I don’t want to look at my financial statement right now… Maybe if I ignore it, it’ll go away?”)
The Course Load (“When were we assigned this?” “Is this syllabus for this class or..?”)
The Future (“Why am I even in school right now?” “Maybe I can take a year or three off and everyone will forget I was enrolled in the first place…”)
A myriad of personal problems just hovered over me and made me sympathize with Sisyphus (that Greek figure you’ve heard of whose best friend is a boulder for all eternity). I would have honestly done whatever it took to be able to pick up the phone and call my grandmother. Just to hear her voice would calm me down when I needed it the most.
I refused to tell anybody about my struggles; I thought it would be better to keep it in and occasionally have a nice cry in bed at 2am when my hourly you-aren’t-going-anywhere-in-lifethoughts popped into my head. While I never specifically had suicidal thoughts, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t sporadic instances where I briefly thought, “I mean, what if I just don’t wake up tomorrow morning? Like I want to wake up, obviously, but… just what would it be like to not have to deal with this anymore?”
Why This TV Episode Means So Much To Me
When I was home alone one night, I suddenly felt the urge to watch an episode of The Golden Girls. There were probably exams or something going on that had me at the peak of my anxiety.
The episode was “Not Another Monday” and my jaw dropped when I heard Martha ask Sophia to be present during her suicide. She seemed happy and so sure of herself that she didn’t want to live to see another day. Watching Sophia (who reminded me way too much of my grandma, by the way) reminisce with Martha by pleading for her to “remember life” stung me. Sophia reminded her (and, by extension, me) that “we’re not in this life for peace” when Martha reasons that their departed friend Lydia looked so peaceful at her funeral.
Hard-as-nails and badass Sophia Petrillo had tears in her eyes as she attempted to convince Martha that this wasn’t her time. An exasperated Martha reveals the loneliness she feels on a constant basis, and — after Sophia’s pleas and vow to invite her over to the bustling Golden Girl abode — Martha states, “I don’t know what to do.”
The following line is what stuck with me then, and continues to stick with me now:
“That’s the point, if you’re not sure, you can’t change your mind tomorrow.”
While the entire above sequence makes me tear up, that quote convinced me to keep a laser focus on the finish line regardless of how far away that damn, stupid line seemed to be – “School isn’t forever; these struggles I have aren’t forever; those who care about me would want me to hold on with everything I have because I will come out of the putrid funk I happen to be in at this moment.”
I’m now a university graduate, continuing my writing and gradually dabbling in Toronto real estate (because I just love having clients irritated with me). This is a story and an experience I have courtesy of a TV show from the 1980s.
To conclude in the most cheesy way possible: thank you for being a friend!
What TV shows have meant the most to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
In honour of this week’s release of the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049, we take a look back at crying in the rain with Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner!
Tyrell: “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long… And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.”
Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? Ridley Scott’sBlade Runner is set in the near dystopian future of 2019 where ex-Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is reluctantly tasked with hunting down a fugitive group of bio-engineered androids called Replicants, led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), who strives to increase their expected lifespan. Deckard meets and falls for advanced Replicant Rachael (Sean Young) and we’re ultimately left pondering the question, “what does it mean to be human?” The film also stars Darryl Hannah and Brion James as the Replicants who work with Batty in order to secure more life and is directed by one of my favorite directors of all time, Ridley Scott (Alien, Thelma & Louise, Matchstick Men).
“I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe”: Let’s Discuss Roy Batty’s Exemplary Monologue
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
… Time to die.”
The cat-and-mouse chase between Batty and Deckard toward the end of Blade Runner is a strange sequence featuring a powerful Replicant wearing bike shorts seemingly toying with a broken-fingered ex-Blade Runner who has spent virtually every other scene downing whatever form of alcohol was around that he could find.
Their struggle comes to a startling halt when Batty saves Deckard from his imminent death and proceeds to recite one of the greatest speeches to ever appear in any entertainment medium, his “Tears In Rain” monologue:
“It’s with the frailty of existence that ultimately makes it worth experiencing.”
It’s a short monologue, lasting only a few sentences. These few sentences stimulate the discussion of what the end of a life means – whether all the emotions felt and experiences endured throughout our lives have any kind of meaning to them since they essentially perish in the end. As Sidney Perkowitz’sHollywood Science describes, these sentences highlight “the replicant’s humanlike characteristics mixed with its artificial capabilities.” This moment is not only the death of the Replicant, it’s the death of any new moments he could potentially experience… And so, what separates the human from the Replicant in this case? When humans cease to exist, there are no longer any new moments to experience. The amalgamation of all these moments are left behind when one’s inevitable incept date approaches. In my view, it’s with the frailty of existence that ultimately makes it worth experiencing.
In choosing to share these particular moments with Deckard, Batty understands that his mortality is near and there is no possible way to extend the existence he was given. Spending his fleeting moments with Deckard, saving him from falling, is what he wanted to spend his final moments doing. Hauer stated in an interview with Dan Jolin that these final lines showed that Batty wanted to:
“[Make] his mark on existence … [The] replicant in the final scene, by dying, shows Deckard what a real man is made of.”
When I first watched Blade Runner and this scene came up, tears streamed down my face while I sat in my dry environment. The fleetingness of life, how it can be taken away in an instant and everything you’ve experienced from childhood to the end will all wither away… Like tears… in rain… damn.
Let me take a moment to gush about the aesthetics of this scene because surely there can never be enough jerking going on about the disgustingly gorgeous visuals seen in Blade Runner. The blood strewn across Batty’s face, Hauer’s mesmerizing performance, a beaten up Deckard reflecting on Batty’s words, the pounding of the rain becoming a character itself during the scene, the blue hue featured heavily and the score… that Vangelis score manages to heighten all the emotions felt in an already perfect scene.
Theatrical? International? Final?! The Multiple Versions Of Blade Runner
There have been eight total recut/re-edited versions of Blade Runner throughout the years because nobody had any idea what the fuck was going on. Seven of them include the Workprint prototype version (1982), San Diego Sneak Preview version (1982), US theatrical release (1982), International theatrical release (1982), US broadcast version (1986), The Director’s Cut (1992) and The Final Cut (2007). Director Scott once showed a nearly four-hour-long “early cut” that was shown only to studio personnel so they were certainly a lucky bunch.
The five versions everyone refers to are also included in the 2007 Ultimate Collector’s Edition of the film and these are:
U.S. Theatrical Cut.
… And the three most commonly debated ones are the U.S. Theatrical Release, Director’s Cut and Final Cut.
While the theatrical version isn’t the worst thing in the world, the inclusion of the drab, over-expository voice over kind of takes me out of the film. I love VO, when it’s executed efficiently. Taking inspiration from other noir classics like Double Indemnity, whose protagonist (Fred MacMurray) is quite literally explaining the events of the murder to Keyes (Edward G.Robinson), provides vital insight into what was occurring in his mind at that moment (“Walk Of A Deadman”) as well as the required exposition for the audience. The VO in the theatrical Blade Runner just explains what you’re literally watching on screen, providing no insight into Deckard except maybe that his ex thought of him as “sushi… cold fish.”
… Not to mention the not so great “happy ending” sequence you’re probably familiar with. With certain shots taken directly from the cutting room floor of Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining:
I, like many others, live and die by the Final Cutversion of the film and so does Scott, as it is the cut he had complete artistic control over and was the closest to his original vision for the film before all of the butchering perpetrated by the studio execs and confused individuals. Ironically, he had full creative control on the Final Cut and not the Director’s Cut which is just silly when you think about it.
So if you’d like to check out a version of the film prior to 2049, The Final Cut is the way to go. Afterwards, watch the theatrical version and enjoy the riveting experience you can only feel by watching Blade Runner.
You may feel confused at times, you may feel conflicted and angry with certain decisions made by Deckard, you may question beliefs about artificial intelligence and what it means to be human, you may remain in a drunk haze of awe for every frame, however there is no doubt that you will feel. Whether you love every single aspect of it or despise it with a brutal passion, this influential tour de force of a picture is a must watch for any film fan.
Blade Runner receives my favourite Matt Damon gif of all time.