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March 5th, 2007


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12:29 am - The world's best country-western song about faster-than-light travel and special relativity

DOOLITTLE
Let's have some music in here, Boiler.

BOILER
Sure thing!
A million suns shine down
But I see only one
When I think I'm over you
I find I've just begun
The years move faster than the days
There's no warmth in the light
And how I miss those desert skies
Your cool touch in the night
Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair
My body flies the galaxies; my heart longs to be there
Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I
Now the years pull us apart
I'm young and now you're old
But you're still in my heart
And the memory won't grow cold
I dream of times and spaces
I left far behind
Where we spent our last few days
Benson's on my mind
Benson, Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair
My body flies the galaxies; my heart longs to be there
Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I
My word, but Dark Star has indeed grown on me since the last time I watched it.

Tomorrow: Socratic dialogue with a bomb.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:xiphias
Date:March 5th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
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Are you going to follow up with the best pop ballad about near-lightspeed travel and special relativity? The one by Queen?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 5th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
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What, Fat-Bottomed Girls?
[User Picture]
From:hemlock_martini
Date:March 6th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
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No, that's gravity and its effects on spatial dilation. But you're close!
[User Picture]
From:xiphias
Date:March 7th, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC)
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Well, that too, I guess, but I was thinking of "39".
[User Picture]
From:cursethedark
Date:March 5th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
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Holy crap. I've seen that movie.

Never would have caught the reference, either, were it not for my vague recollection of the words "Benson, Arizona."
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 5th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
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I first saw the movie in 1999; it was a murky, blurry video projection and I didn't like it all that much. Saw it again this year at the Sci-Fi marathon and really enjoyed it. This time I was really able to see the chasing-around-a-beach-ball-with-feet sequence which Dan O'Bannon then was able to expand into Alien.

Additionally, I was somehow able to really identify with Trilby, the recluse who spends most of his time up in the observation bubble. Gee, I have no idea why that'd be.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:March 6th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
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There are a whole lot of different cuts of the movie in circulation, too, of varying degrees of coherence. The version on the DVD I've got is pretty good.

If I recall correctly, one problem it has grabbing the audience is that, at least in some versions, almost the first thing in the movie is a video transmission from a character played by a really, really bad actor trying to look comically stupid. Fortunately he doesn't figure prominently in the film.

Aside from the bits plagiarized from Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury, I think my favorite bit is Pinback's video journal.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 6th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
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If I recall correctly, one problem it has grabbing the audience is that, at least in some versions, almost the first thing in the movie is a video transmission from a character played by a really, really bad actor trying to look comically stupid. Fortunately he doesn't figure prominently in the film.

That's the cut we had on film at the Marathon, and the one I think we saw on VHS. I actually like that cold opening in spite of the actor not doing so well, far better than the narration or expository crawl I've seen in other shooting scripts. That transmission to the ship in this cold open establishes a few key facts: 1, the crew is so far out in space, messages take over 8(?) years to get to them; 2, they're out there all alone doing their mission with no other human life anywhere; and 3, the folks back on Earth really don't give a toss about 'em either way. Sure, Earth sends hollow "keep up the good work" platitudes, but it really doesn't mean anything to the crew of a ship whose commander has died in a freak chair accident, whose supply of toilet paper has gone up in flames, and whose sole contact with extra-terrestrial life is this stupid inflatable thingy-with-feet which Pinback insists on keeping as a pet.

Maybe if the actor had been more capable, the opening would have worked better. But you're right, it isn't a very compelling way to start a movie.

Pinback's video journal segment is classic. The Socratic dialogue with Bomb 20 ("Speak to it") is still my favorite bit, no matter where it came from.
[User Picture]
From:mmcirvin
Date:March 5th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
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The thing that makes that song great is that it actually sounds like a plaintive country-and-western song from a science-fictional universe, not like filk written for SF fans.

It's an odd fact that in TV and movies, science-fiction comedy often works better as science fiction than the serious stuff does (Dark Star, Futurama, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy on TV). For some reason, you're allowed to get away with more advanced concepts in a comedy.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:March 5th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
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The thing that makes that song great is that it actually sounds like a plaintive country-and-western song from a science-fictional universe, not like filk written for SF fans.

Oh, exactly. It's written from the perspective of someone in that universe for someone in that universe and not for the benefit of people who enjoy space name-dropping and exposition in their songs.

And even if you don't get the time dilation angle, it's still a sad lil' C&W song.
[User Picture]
From:hemlock_martini
Date:March 6th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
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I've been looking for this song for ages. Since I'm at work, I can't listen to it; I'm assuming it's just a straight recording from the DVD source--which is fine, all I have is an ancient VHS copy that's still at my parents' house.

Either way, good work. I really need to watch this movie again. All the people I forced to watch it with me said it was boring. Fie on them!
[User Picture]
From:hemlock_martini
Date:March 8th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)
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Help! The file, it is a not working thing! Glaven!

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