287: The one about Blade Runner

Screenshot 2016-04-15 22.37.34

Welcome to episode 286. Today, we watch “The Saint!”

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Join Scott, Randy, Dunaway, and Ibbott as they poke each other’s eyes out.

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As usual, a HUGE thanks to Scott Fletcher, the official announcer of Film Sack Central. Hey! Why not leave us a nice review on iTunes if you like the show?

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35 thoughts on “287: The one about Blade Runner

  1. Pingback: 287: The one about Blade Runner - BRIAN DUNAWAY

  2. I’m 18 minutes in and I’m hoping you guys are trolling. Shitty script? Seriously?

      • They were watching the theatrical version which facilitates and highlights weaknesses rather easily.. the Directors cut allows for better character and world development thus the script is better adapted.

  3. Got a kick out of the show, guys! Thanks!

    Does anyone know if there is a legitimate release of _Blade Runner_ that has a music-only track option? I think _Blade Runner_ is a staggering film in terms of production design, special effects and music, but as soon as someone (except maybe Roy Batty) opens their mouth, I lose interest; I wonder if _Blade Runner_ wouldn’t be a different experience as silent film…

    • I actually had that in my notes, but I didn’t mention it while recording the episode because it felt like we were piling on too many negatives. What I wrote down was:

      I’ll bet this is a way better film with the sound off. I wonder if there’s a way to listen to the score lined up with the muted film.

  4. I’m sorry, Randy, but you don’t know what the [BLEEP] you’re talking about, complaining about “Obviously supposed to be an Asian character” re E.J. Olmos.

    The character is just that, a character. The society and world they are in, look at the huge Asian influence. The language, the styalistic choices. Of course he looks vaguely Asian in the film. He’s taken on the asthetic, style and look of society. He even speaks the gutter talk mix language.

    For arguments sake, look at Tyrell. You could say he was supposed to have been Asian as well, based on his clothes, mannerisms, the look of his private apartments. Sorry, but I think you’re just manufacturing “White washing” because it’s such a big topic on our collective conscious. Yes, it does happen quite to often (I mean, come on, Akira with an all white cast???) but on this one you are so far off.

    I see how you may have thought that, being a first time exposure to it, but if you take in the full world … I mean otherwise you can say that the cast of Firefly was white washed because clearly it should have been half Asian.

    • THAT all said, I never thought of your point about how the film ends in the lovely green forest. You’re right! It never occurred to me how people go off world to escape the drudgery, yet it appears just an hour drive outside of town is the lovely Oregon coastal forest.

      • I believe I read somewhere that that was tacked on for the American theatrical release after bad preview screening scores. If I remember correctly, those scenes were lifted from extra footage shot of the opening helicopter shoots for “The Shining”

    • You’re spot on about Randy’s thinking Olmos supposed to be Asian. I pretty much stopped listening at that point because that is such a reach that to me it’s simply looking for something to complain about. I mean he’s wearing what looks like a future zoot suit!

      And Rutger Hauer was 38. Old? Huh? Joanna Cassidy was 37! Were they supposed to be teenagers? Meh.

    • You wouldn’t think regular listeners of Film Sack would need lessons on how to disagree without being a jerk, given that the hosts of the show model such behavior on every episode. You’d be wrong.

      • And given how they do this show w/o charging, w/o all the intrusive ads, take the time to put it out regularly, with excellent sound quality and microphone etiquette. I know that sometimes they don’t show the love for a movie that you love very much. For me, it was Wet Hot American Summer, and I’ve recovered from that episode. Thank you Scott, Brian, Brian and Randy.

        • Sometimes I wonder if there should be a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode:

          “Warning: If this is a film you love and have seen many times, consider NOT LISTENING TO THIS EPISODE. One or more of the hosts may have seen it for the first time and lack the familiarity and/or appreciation that you consider critical for even mentioning this movie’s name, and thereby offend the dickens out of you. But this is a podcast about four guys amiably arguing about whatever strikes them, so that’s not their problem– it’s yours. So, again, calm down Sparky. Or if you can’t, maybe sit this one out.”

          • Truthfully they should just stick to movies that suck. Because they almost never get it right when they debate about a beloved movie. And thats usually when their nitpicking and lack of cinephile bonafides rear their ugly face the most, when there’s not much there to poke fun at. You just get a bunch of arbitrary musings about their ‘feels’about a certain movie, rather than anything substantive or constructive. Granted some of them are more prone to this than others, not naming names but it rhymes with Jott Schonson.

          • Oh and the episode that put me over the edge with them was Heathers. These guys didn’t get Heathers and seem to find it a personal affront when parents are satirized in film. Like I said, too much reliance on their feels. They’re excellent at sacking terrible films though, just really poor at examing good ones because of their lack of film knowledge overall.

          • “They’re excellent at sacking terrible films though, just really poor at examining good ones because of their lack of film knowledge overall.”

            Based on experience, I’d say that’s a “damned if you do; damned if you don’t” sort of thing. When the Film Sack hosts do engage in actual artistic criticism of films, there are other complaints: It’s boring. It’s pretentious. It’s negative (because “criticism” is not equal to “blind praise”). It’s WRONG because they misspoke about something or failed to accurately describe this one thing that I care passionately about! Etc.

          • So in other words, if you’re telling us that if we disagree with their view on a movie on the comments section of the website they set up for the listeners to ‘comment on’ then that’s our problem. In other words, only comment if you are in lockstep agreement with the hosts.

      • Sorry I think Randy is so off base about a classic sci-fi move makes me a jerk.

  5. Overall, great show, guys! I actually love when you guys disagree about sth merits and/or nostalgic value of a film. Bale Runner is one of my top ten movies BUT i actually are with most of the criticisms from Randy. Not a great script. Visually glorious but script fully terrible.
    Two aspects that i feel you guys really missed the potential of in your discussion, though:
    1) Film Noir. This was Ridley Scott’s love letter to film noir future. Hence the cheezy sax music, light through venetian blinds, bad intro narration, constant rain, etc. If you’ve read much Raymond Chandler or seen the old black and white films based in them, you’ll feel that (perhaps overly) echoed here in Blade Runner.
    2) Source Material . Scott (of the Johnson variety) touched on this briefly, but i guess none of you have actually read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I read it again recently and, while technically the source material, the film diverges SO FAR from the book. So far. Way far. Almost different story with a few borrowed elements and names. The animals thing is way more prevalent in the book. Deckard even owns a sheep and is desperate that his neighbours believe it is real and not a machine. He has a romantic partner who is addicted to a VR type empathy machine that has essentially replaced all religion (this is also where the whole turtle in the desert thing comes from), LA is actually very sunny and dry most of the time but polluted, so there are like dust bowl level heat and sand. Very different from the movie.
    I love both but they are SO different. I wish for the film they had just borrowed elements instead of trying to keep some things and making mishmash affair that leaves too many weird artifacts. You guys talked about some of the tech and the empathy test being outdated. I agree. The book was published in 1968 and written even earlier. Keep that in mind, as well as the fact that Ridley Scott is kind of a shitty writer. AMAZING visual director, but unable to fix a flawed script to save his life. Much like George Lucas or Zack Snyder, I think. Which is often why studio suits end up meddling.

    Anyway, sorry for the overly long comment. Love the show! Keep on being awesome, guys!

    Time… enough.

    • Oh yeah, one more quick thing; The “asian” character of EJ Oleos is not actually Asian. He is not meant to be any specific race. He speaks a mix of languages and accents known as “Cityspeak” – a kind of hybrid pidgin vernacular that is neither asian nor latino nor caucasian but a blend of stuff. So in that light, it makes sense that he would be latino-but-also-asian looking. I thought that part was done very well.

    • Ridley Scott didn’t write the screenplay to Blade Runner, he is NOTHING like George Lucas.

    • Dude.. it’s SOOOOO far and away from the original story, but honestly, the original store bored the hell out of me. I love the take they did on it. But you are totally right, hardly anyone has read the original short. Same can be said for Johnny Mnemonic (of course dif author).

      • Yes! Johnny Mnemonic is another great example of such divergence from the source text. Same cyberpunk/future noir kind of genre too. Cool.

  6. I’m 46, perfect age for when this came out…Always tried to watch it on HBO when I was a teen…always bored me to tears! Never got into it…and I sit down to watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture at least once a year.

    *dives behind couch*

    • Also, funny that Randy said EJO looks like an original series Klingon in this. Nimoy must’ve thought so too as Olmos was his original choice to play Klingon Kruge in STIII.

  7. Looking through the IMDB page for BR, the last name is for an uncreditted actress who played a showgirl. Know how I know she’s an actress? Her IMBD bio opens “Dawna Lee Heising is a member of SAG-AFTRA.”

  8. I agree with Randy on Blade Runner. I watched it again just last year and found it almost insufferable apart from it’s incredible visual design. It is absurdly slow and empty.

    However — and Ibbott might find this most interesting — Scott took some character design inspiration from this 1980 British movie about the Punk/New Wave scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKLp8Y5RlQ8

    However, Randy debased himself at the end with his “Citizen Kane sucks” trolling. At the very least, it’s still uniquely structured and visually bold. I can certainly see how contemporary audiences with no appetite for older dramas might find it dull (especially if they go into it with a reactionary attitude), but technically it’s almost perfect, it’s boldly visionary, it’s got a fun sense of humor, and is full of fascinating character dynamics. To say that “it sucks” is to imply that it is utterly lacking in merit, which is ungenerous if not outright preposterous.

    Anyway, after listening to you guys talk about movies for so many years, and hearing Ibbott say that Blade Runner is probably in his Top 50, I thought I’d direct you guys to this website for creating lists of your top ranked movies. It would be interesting to see what kinds of charts you would come up with if you had to choose between your favorites:


  9. I loved BR for the longest time, seen it at least a dozen times or more over the years. But in my last few viewings I found myself kinda bored and it didn’t make a diff which version it was. I just think the film noir aspect isn’t that good anymore. I’ve seen a fair share of noir movies since the 80s and BR is pretty rote by comparison. It still looks gorgeous after all these years but it hasn’t aged well. I guess Randy watched this through “fresh eyes” (see image above)

  10. Watching M*A*S*H are you? Did you know they have the first several seasons on DVDs with the option to watch WITHOUT the laugh track? It’s makes a profound difference!
    (one of you guys mentioned this at the start of this episode).

  11. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, I never tire of it. Every frame is mesmerizing, every performance memorable; it’s one of the very few films that is perfect in every way. (I refer to the Final Cut, of course.) I feel so sad for Randy that he was unable to fully appreciate it.

    Had to bite my tongue when the guys were bagging on the sax! That’s some of the most evocative music in the whole movie. I get that saxophone is “so 80’s,” but the supporting electronic score juxtaposes perfectly to help create that dreamy future-noir vibe that none of the imitators have ever been able to capture.

    Plot is often cited as the film’s weak point, but that’s missing the forest for the trees. One might as well complain about plot in a David Lynch flick. Some movies aren’t about plot, but tone, theme, sensory immersion — something akin to “cinéma pur,” as the French called it!

    Great episode, thanks!

    • “Some movies aren’t about plot, but tone, theme, sensory immersion — something akin to “cinéma pur,” as the French called it!”

      If you happen to know of any movies like that, let me know, because this ain’t one. 😉

      • You don’t think? While it’s not true cinéma pur (I was being a little hyperbolic), Blade Runner is far more interested in *ideas* than in plot machinations.

        Heck, the inciting incident happens off-screen before the movie even begins. Plot points are few and far between, and when they do occur, they never alter the trajectory of the narrative. Think about this: if Deckard failed entirely, the outcome of the film would’ve been identical. Plot-wise, it’s a straight line from title sequence to closing credits.

        I don’t mean any of this as criticism of the film. I just think people who criticize the plot are missing the point. Every important thing that happens is character-based.

  12. Wow. What a great thing to see! So many comments. So much passion.

    I’m always open to criticisms of our sackings. I feel like I am hardly qualified to criticize a bowl of cereal much less a multi-million dollar film that involves hundreds of talented individuals from studio execs to directors to actors to casting and all the way down the line. A film is an amazing feat!

    We are just 4 guys who love watching and talking about films just like you! Hell, we love it so much we each dedicate 4 to 8 hours a week to watching, writing, recording, editing and sharing our thoughts. It’s really a beautiful thing.

    Personally, if I had the time I would love to spend triple that amount of time…hell…quadruple. For some perspective to the amount of time I get to dedicate to the serious mechanics of film…. Most movies we watch are between 90 to 120 minutes. I try to watch once without taking notes and then a second viewing where I skip around and write notes. The first viewing is for appreciation and perspective of the grand total of my experience and feelings. The second is to review stuff I thought was exceptional and to put the film in it’s place in time and popular culture. Then I use another 30 minutes to an hour to research questions and to try and find something clever to say which not only reflects the film but hopefully reflects my true feelings. Then I get on Skype with those other nerds and try to debate how well the film holds up. That’s about an hour to 2 hours depending on how much there is to talk about. If there was more time I would love to go into more serious discussions about the actual film making process.

    Thanks for the critiques and compliments.

    Brian Dunaway

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