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Gone Baby Gone (2007)
NOT About 'right or wrong'
Unlike other well-written reviews here, I'm going to review a key point of the plot, instead of the quality of acting (which, for what it's worth, was superb all around, in my opinion). And yes, that means some spoiling, although I'll try to keep it as minimized as possible. Still, consider yourself warned if you're looking for something completely spoiler-free.
I worked in a movie theater five years as an usher. I often caught the last few moments of the film waiting to clean up between shows. Theater guests often like to ask the ushers about movies they'd seen. And there was one question I was asked more than any other: Was Patrick 'right' or 'wrong' in the choice he made?
(BEGIN SPOILER CONTENT)
At the climax of the film, Patrick must make a heart-wrenching choice after being confronted with the entire story behind Amanda's disappearance. At the movie's conclusion, the air is rife with whether he chose correctly.
But the fact is, everyone was missing the point. Gone, Baby, Gone is NOT about what was the 'right' or 'wrong' choice. The fact of the matter is, BOTH choices were WRONG; both choices carried dire consequences for many characters that would last for years. The RIGHT choice would not have been made by Patrick, but by Helene; and if she'd made the true RIGHT choice, Patrick would never have had to make the choice HE faced, in the first place.
Gone, Baby, Gone was about 'What was the LESSER of two evils;' what would reduce the fallout by the greatest degree. How far would you go, what means would you justify, for the desired ends: The safety and happiness of an innocent child.
Although barely school age, and not seen for much of the movie, and having a mere couple of lines when she is seen, the central character of the movie is, make no mistake, young Amanda. The story and plot of the movie revolves around her best interests as seen through the eyes of a variety of characters. No matter what happens to her, it appears she faces a potentially bleak future; doomed to become a broken girl and deeply haunted young lady. The movie's main and primary support characters race about in an attempt to see that Amanda's fate is softened as much as possible; that the potential damage to her fragile young psyche be reduced to the greatest degree, each character believes they can provide. The clashing perspectives of each character's impression on what will serve Amanda the best, and cushion the impact of her future, the most, is what creates the sharply turbulent ripples of the plot, and the final climactic choice that Patrick must make. Patrick must do what HE believes is right, and yet he acknowledges that it could come back to haunt him some day. He understands that, no matter what his choice, some of the movie's characters might never forgive him for it. The RIGHT choice would be for him to never face the choice that he, himself, makes, and so he must decide what the lesser of two evils is; how far he, just like all the other main characters in the movie, would go for the sake of an innocent child. What he would, and wouldn't, justify toward those ends.
By the time the movie begins, we're already beyond the point of any hope of a happy ending for Gone, Baby, Gone; the 'right' choice that Helene had the option to make, has already been discarded. And so, the movie's characters all scramble about in a frenzy to minimize the fallout. In so doing, tragically, Amanda ends up not being the only one to face the consequences of the mad scramble to see to her welfare.
Gone, Baby, Gone was not about right or wrong. We were long past that at the moment of the opening credits. Instead, the movie rides an emotional roller coaster that puts the viewer at the heart of the bitter struggle, asking each individual what they'd do for the sake of an innocent young child. In so doing, the audience ends up divided and spiritedly debating the consequences of both choices; which, I'm sure, was Ben Affleck's intention, as director, all along. For this, I have to salute him.
This was a true 'sleeper' movie in that it was largely overlooked at the Academy Awards, save for the stellar performance of Amy Ryan as Helene. But it was very popular at the theater I worked at, regularly selling out 350 seats and pulling a lot of hearts and souls into the hotly divided issue it explores. By thrusting us square into the struggle to see to an innocent little girl's welfare and best interests, the movie makes it difficult for anyone not to develop a personal emotional investment, and that's why people ask whether Patrick's choice at the climax was right or wrong. But the division itself points to the correct answer; that both choices were wrong, and that Patrick could not undo the damage and consequences; only soften them as much as he felt he could. Of course, whether he succeeded in that task, we can only debate.
Friend or Foe (2002)
Should be called "Foe or Foe"
The question-and-answer sessions were pretty interesting sometimes, and the final question-and-answer round was fun to watch. It was these question-and-answer sessions that really made the game anything interesting at all.
What ruined Friend or Foe was the Trust Box round. Both contestants in each Trust Box round can vote Friend or Foe. If both vote Friend, they split their pot equally. If both vote Foe, they both get nothing. But if one votes Friend and the other votes Foe, the Foe gets the entire pot and the friend gets nothing.
It happened a good 99% of the time, where both contestants in each Trust Box round would state syrupy cases on why they should both vote Friend, then stand there giving each other unbearably fake and cheesy smiles, and then Kennedy reveals their choice and they both voted Foe and go away with nothing. This was one game show where maybe 1% of the contestants actually won a single dime... even the winning two contestants because they both give ridiculously fake smiles and both vote Foe. Of the 1% where any Friend votes were given, it was 90% Friend - Foe and only 10% Friend - Friend. As Carmen-5 said, double Friend votes happened but they were so rare you could count them on one hand. Even Friend - Foe votes were uncommon as too many people were greedy.
This show had a short run because so precious few of its contestants ever took home any winnings whatsoever. The question-and-answer rounds made the game, but the Trust Box rounds broke it. Almost nobody wanted to share, and as a result, both got nothing... not even plane fare home. There was no element of luck here... it was all a matter of trust and greed. Trust was in short supply, greed was abundant. Friend or Foe was a reasonably good idea that was ruined by Aesop's fable of the dog with a steak that saw its reflection in the water. After too many dogs grabbed for the others' steak and ended up with no steak, all the other dogs got the message and walked away from the pond.
Marauding spider wreaks havoc? Not really...
A well-meaning doctor develops a serum meant to increase the world's food supply. He keeps several test subjects in a laboratory. The serum is making the subjects grow steadily larger... one subject, a tarantula in a glass enclosure, has grown to the size of a German shepherd dog after 22 days. But, one day the professor's assistants double-cross him and a fire breaks out in a fight. The glass enclosure housing the tarantula is smashed with a chair, and the spider quietly walks out of the enclosure and escapes from the burning lab into the desert.
There's just one problem. The tarantula is still getting bigger... and bigger... and bigger. Before long it's practically as big as a football field. And just like any living creature, it needs to eat... it gets hungry. Well, if you're a tarantula spider the size of a football field, where do you go to find food? It's not like you can bring a club members' discount card to the local Horn & Hardart for a 25-ton bag of Purina Spider Chow (tm), right? This one decides to visit local cattle and horse ranches to sample the livestock... and the human ranchers keeping these livestock don't like that very much. But that's too bad for them-- to a spider acting on pure instinct, trying to feed itself, a human being a fraction of your size is just another kind of prey. And so the mayhem begins...
For a 1950's horror movie, this is a classic. Although black-and-white, the photography is excellent, the effects in making the spider appear colossal are superb (for 1950's f/x technology), and the actors can actually-- gasp-- act! And the best part? PETA didn't picket the movie even though in the context of the storyline, the spider was as much a victim as all the people who got squashed trying to stop it. Moral of the story? If you want to create a growth serum to provide more food for the world... test it on fruits and vegetables.