ATLAS SHRUGGED, Part 3: The Return of the Shrug

If you are TRULY a glutton for punishment--more so even than myself--then I suggest you refresh your memory by re-reading my blogging of ATLAS SHRUGGED PART ONE.

And then follow up with my blogging ATLAS SHRUGGED PART TWO.

And now, for your reading horror, I present my sitting though ATLAS SHRUGGED PART THREE! In all of its blood-stained glory.

AtlasI suppose I am suffering through the third ATLAS SHRUGGED movie for the same reason they made it--because certain anal-retentive morons such as myself do not get closure until things are drawn out to their conclusion. So just as I shall never forgive the people behind the marketing of THE SIMPSONS for abandoning the distribution of the series on DVD--thereby I shall NEVER, in my lifetime, have the FULL SET, thankyouverymuch--I am grateful to the producers of ATLAS SHRUGGED, as much as I poke fun at their terrible, M.-Night-Shyamalan-bad movies (have I finally gone too far with my criticism? Really, Mojo, was THAT sort of cruelty warranted? I apologize)--for flying in the face of common sense and public opinion to see through their awful, awful project to the bitter end. I’m not sure exactly what they were trying to prove, but I appreciate the effort all the same.

A few years ago my parents took the Favorite Husband and I to Yellowstone, and like all good tourists we sat on those nasty wooden benches and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. It was the off season; we had great seats. And the guy sitting next to my mother started talking to her in friendly generalities about just how precise predicting Old Faithful is, blah blah blah. The sort of thing you would indeed talk about while waiting for a geyser to erupt. And then he somehow managed to twist that discussion into Who Are You Voting For In The Upcoming Election, because if my mother failed to vote for So-and-So, well, she might as well stand up on the bench right that minute and scream I HATE AMERICA. And poor Mom, who is way more polite than I ever shall be, just calmly says something like “I’ll vote for whomever I WANT to vote for, and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but my own” instead of “I’m on VACATION, you stupid mouth-breathing PUTZ, now get the HELL away from me and let me watch a VASTLY MORE INTERESTING GUSH OF HOT AIR than YOU.” Forget enjoying the natural beauty of our national parks, this guy must be CHOCK FULL OF FUN AT PARTIES. It’s okay to defend or decry Ayn Rand or whatever political party or whathaveyou you so desire, but after five or ten minutes of you ranting and not taking a breath I will forewarn you that while I am nodding politely my brain will be shrieking SHUT THE HELL UP. NOBODY EVER CHANGED ANYONE ELSE’S MIND BY RANTING AT THEM. Thus ends my rant. Or, as Famous Movie Guy one said (was it Mayer?) "If you want to send a message, use Western Union."

0:30: Okay, I will just say upfront that I did not like the book DUNE, either. Sorry. And yet, with my own philosophy of “I’ll-watch-just-about-anything-on-film-except-the-CHARLIE’S-ANGELS-reboot-which-I-tried-to-watch-but-couldn’t-last-fifteen-minutes” I sat down with high hopes to watch the movie version of DUNE. And one thing I learned from watching the movie version of DUNE is, if you have to spend the first few minutes of your film EXPLAINING to people what the hell is going on, you might want to rethink your cinematic storytelling technique. Yeah, okay, STAR WARS did it, but they were stylistically going for that old serial feel, and even then as much as I liked the original STAR WARS, the scrolling story thingie quickly became an object of parody and ridicule. Object of parody and ridicule = MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T TRY TO SERIOUSLY USE IT IN YOUR FILM UNIRONICALLY.

Anyway, about the ONLY thing I even remember from DUNE was 1) Patrick Stewart attempting to look dignified and Shakespearian actorly while riding a GIANT WORM--I felt rather bad for him--and 2) some random GIRL who is apparently a princess in some royal court scene got the thankless job of narrating the opening, interminably long explanation of the movie, only instead of voiceovering some sort of action or montage or something remotely interesting to watch, we instead had the ADDED AWKWARDNESS of an extreme closeup of her face while she rather dramatically spoke her lines, on and on and on. Somewhere in the second or third minute of listening and watching this poor girl in an extreme closeup read a phone book--I’m sure it wasn’t THAT long; it just FELT like an ETERNITY--I determined that pretty much NOBODY should EVER begin their movie in this fashion.

All this to say, why, of COURSE ATLAS SHRUGGED 3 simply MUST begin with a long speech explaining things; I would be disappointed at this point if they didn’t. At least they have the good sense of just doing a voiceover while actors acted out what was being described, which I guess is a public service to their deaf viewers.

1:13: Hmm. John Galt (c’mon, it HAS to be him) is more tousled and rugged than I expected him to be. If he were shirtless I could see him on the cover of a bad romance novel. Oh, and when we are watching low-budget films such as this, it is EXTRA fun to watch the people in the crowd scenes. I imagine most of them are relatives of the crew and/or winners of some vague Kickstarter perk, which means they DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACT and have only been told to LOOK AT THE MAN SPEAKING, and then LOOK CONFUSED. NOTE: When non-actors are told to “look confused”, you can practically SEE the question marks EMANATING FROM THEIR HEADS. I suppose this helps with the cinematic spoon-feeding, but it leaves us fans of subtlety looking more wistful than confused.

1:30: Okay, it takes FOUR DIFFERENT SHOTS just to get John Galt to walk down the ten feet of high school auditorium bleachers. This does not bode well, people.

1:42: “Okay, crowd, when Galt says ‘I’ll stop the motor of the world’ (pretty bold talk for someone working for an engine factory--ed.), you all jump to your feet and murmur excitedly among yourselves as he walks away. Ready--ACTION!” Murmurmurmurmurmurmurmur.

2:00: Oh, my. Does the narrator HAVE to read his lines so DRAMATICALLY? It’s like listening to Jon Lovitz do MASTER THESPIAN.

2:45: OMG HE IS STILL TALKING. At least we find out Taggart is still operating! Phew! I was worried, there.

3:05: Okay, the Dramatic Narration has been going on for three minutes and counting. Galt is starting to sound like the Second Coming of Jeebus.

3:13: We’ve switched from b&w to color. Some guy in a suit and bowtie and with a briefcase is saying goodbye to a security guard while leaving a bank. It is..... Umm, since they’ve probably changed up all the actors again, I HAVEN’T A CLUE.

3:25: Oh, snore. They’re just rehashing all the Disappearing of the Important People. He’s a nobody banker.

3:33: DRAMATIC NARRATION CONTINUES. I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN TAKE THIS. TELL MY FAMILY I LOVE THEM AND DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF. OMG Ellis Wyatt, who was kind of an older Charles Durning sort of character actor, is now some young mustachioed cowboy guy. This is really freaky. The older actor guy was perfectly fine; I still don’t get their whole philosophy of sweeping the entire cast clean from one production to the next. I’m sure this young man will be fine, given the dreadful material, and I’m sure he has a family that loves him and I wish him only the best, but do we REALLY have to go through these TERRIBLE changes for each movie? Evidently that answer is “yes”.

4:00: Okay, thus far Galt has recruited a banker, an oil tycoon and a philosophy professor. Mojo’s insanely practical self is now shouting, “Uhhh, WHERE ARE THE FARMERS?” I just see all these really smart guys moving to Colorado and sitting around talking’ ‘bout Ayn Rand stuff, just being the LIFE OF THE PARTY, and slowly STARVING TO DEATH. Like Alcott and his Transcendentalists at Fruitlands. Hey, SOMEONE’s GOTTA GROW THE FOOD, GUYS!

4:11: FIRST appearance of “WIJG?” (assuming you ignore the fact that it’s in the freakin’ MOVIE TITLE).

4:20: Over FOUR MINUTES of expository narrative. I think that’s gotta be a record, somewhere. Anyway, what I assume is the Gulch shore is purty. Too bad they’ll all STARVE TO DEATH, since I see no evidence of CROPS or LIVESTOCK. Which I suppose is in keeping with Galt not recruiting any GEENYUS FARMERS.

4:30: “Gosh, we spent so much money CGI-ing the plane crash in the last movie, let’s just REUSE THAT ANIMATION 101 FINAL PROJECT FOOTAGE so the kid who did it can put it on his résumé. But to incorporate some new footage we’ll add the tiniest flash of that BUTT-UGLY METAL BRACELET, which is the only way we will be able to tell it’s Dagny.”

4:45: Part II had Dagny crawling out of the wrecked fuselage; this opens with her inexplicably lying in one piece on the ground as the rescuers approach. Let’s see if the Gulch has any qualified paramedics, or if they’re just going to heave her up on their shoulders and drag her. I don’t know much aside from my Red Cross First Aid training we went through in eighth grade, but I *DO* know that you shouldn’t move them unless their lives are in immediate danger.

5:00: Galt tells her not to move, because she’s hurt. Great job, Galt! This is looking almost EXACTLY like how I think romance novels start. I don’t read them, but from what I gather a fair damsel washes ashore on a desert island and some Fabio wannabe tends to her every need while she lies there all windswept and groaning.

5:15: Okay, Dagny is looking at Galt in a way that suggests she’s just faking her injuries so he will keep prodding her. Sly boots!

5:45: If Dagny is not actually injured, I’m sure she still joins all of us in AGONIZING PAIN over this extended expository flirting scene. Galt has the sort of voice that sounds and looks like every single line he speaks was looped and overdubbed in the studio while the director is shouting “SEXIER!” into his earphones.

6:00: OMG this is EXACTLY like a romance novel, right up to him picking her up and carrying her off. To HELL with any potential spinal injuries! No unromantic backboard or neck brace for YOU, Missy!

6:09: FINALLY some evidence of agriculture! Well, okay, so it’s a vineyard and not actual FOOD, but hey, we must PRIORITIZE with our limited arable land!

6:34: Okay, granted if you saw this in the theater it would have been a year or two after Part II. STILL, would it KILL the costumer to look at the last five minutes of Part II and see what Dagny was WEARING? She originally had a kicky grey jacket (you can even see the sleeve in the flash of metal bracelet during the crash--yes, they even reused THAT shot instead of matching it with the current footage!); now she looks like she’s wearing a Catholic school uniform. She and the doctor apparently know each other. He’s a little too thrilled to explain things to her instead of to actually CHECK TO SEE IF SHE’S INJURED which is what I kinda expected a DOCTOR to do, but at least he’s got her luggage.

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(For the record, and in the spirit of total disclosure, this is as far as I got before I got distracted by Shiny Things. Now as penance I must rewatch the first seven minutes of this train wreck (HA! See what I did there?) to get myself back in the swing. Really, it’s been WEEKS. C’mon, Mojo, YOU CAN DO THIS!)

6:55--Ohhhh. He’s not a MEDICAL DOCTOR. He’s the philosophy professor. Yeah, after I’ve been in a terrible crash and I’m bleeding from various orifices--some of them perhaps new to me, and hence requiring attention--and probably suffering from at LEAST a concussion, I must say the last person I’d probably EVER want to see is someone wishing to debate philosophy with me. Even when I’m healthy after a while I would be like, “are there any good movies playing?” while they’re still yapping. Ayn Rand and her followers apparently liked to eat that stuff up. Me, like I’ve said before, I was more into drawing horsies in my school notebooks than that fun-lovin’ dreamboat Nietzsche. I am sure there are SOME philosophers and philosophy teachers out there who can make philosophy an interesting and exciting topic. My interest tends to wane, however, when they start shouting and veins start throbbing about their head and neck. My Father-in-Law did that whenever you got him talking about Commies. Okay, dude, you like philosophy, I get it. Do you, ummm, garden? Or NASCAR? I don’t like NASCAR one bit, but I think I’d rather talk about NASCAR then listen to you SCREAM ABOUT PHILOSOPHY in an effort to interest people who are clearly too stupid to like it.

7:10--Despite every resident’s obvious brilliance, nobody planned for someone accidentally stumbling upon their philosophical Utopia. Especially a silly blonde who could have broken her silly useless neck. Galt assures his acolytes that she will be HIS responsibility, just in case they were wondering if the shrill little feminist was going to start demanding they take out the trash while the game is on.

7:55--Driving montage through the lovely Colorado scenery. Apparently for all their brilliance, they are driving old International Harvester Scouts. Don’t see a dealership or a garage anywhere, but in their defense that wouldn’t be high on the list of MY tour, either.

8:35--AH HAHAHAHAHAHA Everyone right now must DROP what they’re doing, rent this movie and just watch his face as he lifts her out of the car to carry her into the (somewhat ramshackle) house. I don’t have cable, so I am making this judgement totally on hearsay and rumor, but Lifetime movie, here we come!

8:45--The house looks better from the inside. YEARS ago my Favorite Younger Sister took me to Disney World for the first time ever, and we stayed at the Grand Floridian, which has sort of a swanky Victorian vibe to it. We had friends who were there at the same time, and they stayed at the jungle-themed hotel; I forget the name, but we were given the Grand Tour once after the-breakfast-where-I-met-Mary-Poppins. It was all done in tiki torches and trunks and Great White Hunter sort of stuff; you half expected the staff to refer to their guests as “Bwana” instead of “Sir”. Anyway, that same decorator couldn’t be gotten for THIS movie--probably cost too much money, since those chiselers probably demanded to be paid what they thought they were actually WORTH, the finks--so they just nailed a Native American woven blanket to the wall and called it a day.

9:00--FINALLY, a REAL doctor. Well, a neurosurgeon, but beggars can’t be choosy. He is careful to point out that “I practice other medicine as well”, to which if I were Dagny I’d be saying something like, “Yes, and Michael Jordan PLAYED BASEBALL.” (For those who follow sports even LESS than I do--which is saying a LOT--Michael Jordan didn’t do all that well at baseball.) Inexplicably the camera dwells on Galt during this exchange, who seems amused. Perhaps he is hoping the good doctor will forget he is in the room and he’ll be able to see Dagny’s goodies when the doctor asks her to remove her clothing as part of the exam.

9:20--The good doctor has developed a Diagnostic Device that seems to be x-raying Dagny in a way that makes me suspect mayyyybeeee a neurosurgeon really doesn’t know all that much about radiation and lead aprons. “It’s amazing what you can make without that horrible red tape and regulatory stuff that keeps people from dying from x-rays” he scoffs (or words to that effect). The special effect is a bit cool given their limited budget, but you know how doctors today are so rushed and all? This device only seems to make it WORSE. He scans her for about five seconds, announces “Good news; you’re okay!” despite her terrible limp and then he packs up to leave.

9:50--The two menfolk enjoy a manly giggle when Dagny offers to pay her own bills--“They’re so cute when they think they’re people!”--and the doctor refers to her as “our first trespasser”. Which I have to say, given that she CRASHED HER FREAKIN’ PLANE, it’s perhaps an unfair label.

10:00--Instead of asking, “Okay, so WHY are you being such a smug dick about everything?” Dagny instead asks Galt about him inventing the engine. Whereupon he picks her up and carries her to her bedroom. Which perhaps is necessary because I can see as she is being carried she has three-inch heels on, which are JUST the footwear one requires when one is running around the countryside researching miracle engines and flying planes in a plane chase. I will forgive the producers of this franchise EVERYTHING if they make Galt carry her around for the ENTIRE MOVIE. BONUS FORGIVENESS if he carries her around for the entire movie and only says variations of “Hodor”. The guy who plays Hodor can pull it off; this guy.... I’m not so sure.

11:00--Dagny is told to get some rest--not because she is traumatized and injured and has had a REALLY LONG DAY, but because they have been INVITED TO DINNER THAT NIGHT. I wish I were kidding about that. I will be curious to see how she is dressed, since right now she is still in her plane crash clothes and all she had with her was a duffle bag. Also, WHY is there a half a glass of water on the bedside table of the guest room when she is first carried in? Does anybody do that if they are not expecting guests? And even if they ARE expecting guests? Can’t your guests get their own water, or can’t you pour it for them nice and fresh as they settle in? Right now if I were a guest I would be thinking, “How OLD is this water? Is this from his LAST guest? Am I drinking dusty, half-evaporated backwashed water that was poured THREE MONTHS AGO?”

Perhaps I overthink things.

11:15--Dramatic Narrator is back. He tells us how to pronounce the name of the Dread Pirate Ragnar. I was not paying attention. Sorry.

11:50--Oooh, dinner in the Gulch is quite the swanky do! Candles in paper bags line the driveway. Dagny has indeed changed her clothes; apparently her duffle bag contained a new dress.

12:20--One thing I have learned from my time with ATLAS SHRUGGED: apparently ultra-rich people throw the most GODAWFUL BORING PARTIES IMAGINABLE. Dagny apparently knows everyone, which puts her one up from the rest of us. I’m still trying to determine if it’s the dialog that’s wooden or just the acting. Because dressing someone in nice clothes and telling them “act rich” really doesn’t cut it, I must say. I have actually hung around with wealthy people; they don’t behave in this fashion. Honest; they don’t. REALLY. Still it is a step above Midas, who now briefly becomes a mouthpiece of how gloriously wonderful a job it is to be a banker and loan money to people who can pay him back, and how UTTERLY WRETCHED it is to be FORCED to loan money to people who can NOT pay him back. The poor, poor man.

13:05--Oh, lordy, now the good doctor is mouthpiecing. Yeah, THIS is why I don’t want to go to your parties, Objectivists. I would be all like, “I JUST SURVIVED A HORRIBLE PLANE CRASH. CAN. YOU. PLEASE. TAKE. A. BREAK. FROM. THE. AYN. RAND. STUFF. FOR. FIVE. MINUTES.”

14:30--Ellis Wyatt shows up all young and cowboy-ey. Dagny uses his appearance to bitch about everyone abandoning HER when SHE needed them most. Because, apparently, how DARE they follow their OWN selfish needs and desires when she has HERS! Quick, cue the stammering explanations, couched in a confident tone so they appear to make sense! (Also, extra kudos to Dagny for being THAT SORT of guest who immediately attacks her hosts. Well done! Keeping’ it classy, Dagny! Thumbs up! Class with a capital “K”, as the old Ethel Merman/Cab Calloway song goes.)

15:20--It sounds like everyone in the room just needed some extra hugs when they were growing up. And/or a crusty old farmer to say “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.” This whole thing could have been avoided if folks were just a little more generous with the praise. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? Awww, look at Dagny’s face! She’s just been told “That’ll do, pig!” and the music is swelling and there’s not a dry eye in the house. Cue the closing credits! Oh, wait. There’s still over an hour and a quarter to go.

15:25--Dram Narr is back. The Evil Government is trying to stop the steel shortage through Extra Regulation. Now that I’ve accepted Dram Narr, I realize he is much more pleasant than watching Dagny’s brother weaseling all over the screen. Also apparently Dram Narr is making the montage-happy storyline move along slightly faster.

15:41--Meanwhile, back at the ranch next morning... Galt begins his speech: “Welcome to our Utopian Village in which Everyone Is Free To Do Whatever The Hell They Want. Now pay attention while I lay down all the rules. And there’s a LOT of ‘em.” (Seriously. The screenwriter is apparently THAT BLIND to irony.)

Galt’s giving Dagny a month, provided she FOLLOWS THE RULES. (Dang, I just HATE regulation... wait. Oh, crap, now I’m confused.) First rule is (and I backed it up to quote it correctly): “No one provides unearned sustenance for another person.” Hmmmm. What if they WANT to, as they argued about charity the night before? Does that mean children are out? Or do the lil’ slackers have to shift for themselves? I come from an area of the country that was once run by a religious sect called the Shakers two hundred years ago. The Shakers were very industrious and forward-thinking and despite being kinda wacko religious nutjobs in some respects, they had many admirable qualities. But they didn’t have children and it all ended up pretty crappy for them. Just sayin’.

16:02--Dagny promises to pay her own way, only to discover she is PENNILESS--the Gulch only deals in GOLD, as minted by the bank Midas has made. (NOTE TO DAGNY: Perhaps as your first business venture you can create SALT SHAKERS, since it looks like the good people of the Gulch lack this important technology, so they must keep an open dish of salt on the table for Galt to paw all over with his filthy mitts while he harangues before sprinkling it on his food with his hands like an ANIMAL.) Also, since she doesn’t know the regulations--oh, sorry, RULES--of their little enclave, could he *BE* any more condescending explaining it to her? If they all spoke their special made-up language instead of English, he’d be all like, “Pfft, you stupid putz, you don’t even know our LANGUAGE.” But she offers to work for her keep, and he “hires” her, and advances her some subway tokens by throwing them at her. Like THREE. Perhaps the bloom is off this romance novel. But they’re supposedly SOLID GOLD, so there’s THAT.

(Second business idea, Dagny: a pottery that makes coffee cups where you can ACTUALLY READ what’s written on them. What does Galt’s cup say? I keep pausing it to see, but I HAVE NO IDEA.)

17:00--After promising to earn her keep by cooking and cleaning for Galt, Dagny proves her worth as an employee by going for another sight-seeing drive. They drive through sections that look like GIANT SEQUOIAS--which I think would make it NOT be Colorado--and then parts without sequoias that look like someone with no landscaping skill whatsoever decided to build model log cabin houses for prospective home builders to look at. Ya know, while excessive regulation might be EEEEEVIIIILLLLL, it’s usually in society’s best interests to not just build houses willy-nilly without thinking at least a HAIR about community planning, road placement, drainage, and general safety. Because sooner or later, even if all the houses are perfectly safe and not firetraps, someone’s going to be building next to the dump, or the water treatment plant, or the oil fields (that seemed to be Ellis Wyatt’s preferred mansion setting), or next to some thus-far NONEXISTENT LIVESTOCK FARM. I mean, everyone loves bacon, but NOBODY wants to accidentally build their house smack-dab next to a pig urine lagoon, I can promise you that.

17:40--All the houses look dreadfully nondescript on the outside, but only one she questions--and it turns out it’s FRANCISCO’S HOUSE!!!1! OMG!!! Triangle, here we come!

18:23--Yuppie Farmer’s Market, complete with Vintage Pickup Full Of Tilted Bushel Baskets of Produce!!! Yuppie right down to.... well, ummm, I should talk, ‘cuz I grew up in suburban Connecticut, but very unlike even *MY* considerably sheltered childhood, I have YET to see even ONE person of color in this ENTIRE UTOPIA. Just sayin’. Maybe I’m just not looking very hard at the EXTRAS. Dagny learns Valuable Lessons talking to Dread Pirate Ragnar and some Bakery Lady who is “homeschooling” her kids by letting them play guitar while she runs the bakery. (Moochers!) Bakery Lady sells Dagny a croissant for one of her subway tokens. Okay, Dagny, I realize you grew up in opulence and abundance, but until you are given more subway tokens you REALLY NEED TO THINK about ECONOMIZING, here. And if those subway tokens are actual GOLD, I gotta say that had better be ONE HELL OF A CROISSANT. Perhaps the lady is running a Gulchian proto-Starbucks, in which she just TELLS these morons it’s somehow superior because of the price, and they are Yuppie-stupid enough to believe her instead of eating it and thinking “Wow, this is remarkably stale” which has been *MY* reaction to the THREE TIMES in my life I have eaten baked goods at Starbucks. What can I say? I live in the land of Dunkies, which is not much better, but at least you don’t get the incredible ’TUDE about it.

20:05--Oh, hey, THERE’s Weasel James Taggart! Playing second fiddle to the Taggart Bridge, which is--again, I must back it up to get it right--“America’s Most Important Railroad Overpass”. Wow. I hereby dub a plant in my backyard “America’s Most Important Blackberry Bramble”. And my dog Rosie is now “America’s Most Important Golden Retriever Outside of the Air Bud Franchise and the Dog From the Talking-Animals-And-Completely-Changed-Breeds-For-Some-Reason Remade Movie Version of THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY”. Hey, this is fun! Not as much fun as, I dunno, MODEL TRAINS or something, but certainly more fun than watching what I assume will be an hour’s worth of Taggart hissy fits.

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(Once again, herein the blogging stops for several months. C’mon, Mojo! You can DO this! You’ve sat through worse! Okay, well, actually, I don’t think I HAVE, but in the ensuing half a year or so I tried to sit through what John Waters himself claimed was one of the most offensive movies of its day: SALÓ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM. I couldn’t sit through the whole thing, but ya know something? I got a little further with SALÓ than I did with AS3. I’m sure this says more about me than about poor Ayn Rand, but I think some of the appeal is, SALÓ MADE SENSE. It wasn’t a PLEASANT sense, but you the viewer aren’t sitting there trying to suspend disbelief while someone survives a fiery plane crash so they can attend a dinner party that evening. SALÓ is just flat-out unrepentant nasty. And the horrible, horrible abuse in SALÓ is just outward horrible, horrible abuse, and not the DISGUISED abuse of pseudointellectual wanna-be philosophers arguing philosophy as entertainment at a dinner party while you sit there thinking “I just survived a FREAKIN’ PLANE WRECK; is anyone going to ask me if I’m okay?”. Because I’m thinking it MIGHT be in the dinner-party arguers’ best selfish interests to at least PRETEND to inquire about Dagny’s health, if only to rack up the social currency for that day in the future when she MIGHT be of some actual USE to them. Because we know Dagny--by this time next year she’s gonna be well-enough off she’ll buy the LOT of them, just so she can order them to SHUT THE HELL UP. At least that is what I am hoping, since it’s been AGES since I’ve read the book and I forget exactly how it goes. It costs you NOTHING to say “Oh, hey, Dagny, you doin’ okay? I mean, after that PLANE CRASH and all?” and a year or so down the road when she is QUEEN OF EVERYTHING and these same people are QUAILING BEFORE HER WRATH, it can’t hurt to have her glance at you and MAYBE say “You, there--you were nice to me at a dinner party once. YOU may live.”

(Anyway, where was I? Yes--I must FINISH WATCHING THIS WRETCHED MOVIE. MY READERS EXPECT ME TO FINISH THIS DRECK. After I am done doing my exercising and rough-plumbing the kitchen. Oh, and maybe going out and getting a burger and a milkshake for lunch, to celebrate me actually doing my exercising and plumbing. Little treats like that are why Mojo must exercise in the first place--I don’t particularly LIKE exercising, but middle-aged metabolism argues it is a necessary evil--but there is NO TREAT ON THIS EARTH to compensate for watching this thing. Nothing but the satisfaction of a Job Well Done. Or, at least, DONE.)

20:11--Meanwhile, back at America’s Most Important Railroad Overpass, James Taggart “continues to intentionally mislead the public”. Now, subtlety like this is just going to confuse me. Him sniggering and rubbing his hands together like he’s Snidely Whiplash is another crafty hint at his true character. Even if you’ve never seen the first two movies, you’ll want to keep an eye on this one.

20:33--Someone defending Science? Oh, only if it’s Owned By The People. BAD MAN! Yes, now we are treated to the rogues’ gallery of slime. Names and titles, since everyone has changed from the last move. I still enjoy “State Science Institute”. At least the Big Bang Theory actually ATTEMPTS to introduce scientific concepts to its I-just-want-to-laugh-at-nerds audience. This movie franchise, thus far, just says the word “Science” a lot. I'm sure at some point in the past I mentioned the Bette Davis film DARK VICTORY and her "How's the science coming along, fellas?" Like that.

21;12--Apparently they are using Science to usher in a new era of peace, blah diddy-blahblahblah. No criticizing them allowed; need to keep order on the streets and protect the general public with Project F. (If it’s anything like F Troop, we’re in for it.) Clearly poor James, as slyly alluded in the last movie, is out of his league with these Movers and Shakers, but they appoint Cuffy Miggs to oversee things in the transportation realm. Oooh, Cuffy Miggs! Ya know, J. K. Rowling had a special knack for naming characters in her universe. If I were a Bigwig Mover and Shaker, I think I personally would look elsewhere than anyone named Cuffy Miggs. Perhaps this is why I am not a Bigwig Mover and Shaker. Anyway, lots of snide references to “the public good” and “all for one” and other Evil Socialist Claptrap. Oh, and it goes without saying--everyone is sipping wine and smirking.

21:55--Back in the ditch. Dagny has an Important Decision to Make, a la The Clash circa Early Eighties. ("Should I Stay or Should I Go.") Man, if he’s coming on to her she is utterly oblivious. But after he leaves she has second thoughts. “He’s really kinda cute,” she thinks to herself as she lays down to sleep. “Perhaps if he stuffed a sock in it each time he started talking about human invention and brilliance and striking to deprive the tawdry world of his genius, I could put up with him. Hmmm...” Meanwhile she peruses the graffiti vandalism all these geniuses apparently feel free to smear over another person’s private property. I could see maybe such egotists vandalizing great public works like the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore--sneering contempt on the concept of society “owning” anything--but c’mon! This is Galt’s OWN STUFF they’re scrawling over! WHAT THE HELL?

(Oh, by the way--if you Google any of the names in black, they are Kickstarter donors. Lord knows how much they coughed up, for about three seconds of screen time. MONEY WELL SPENT, my friends! Dagny can now stare at your graffitied names as she tries to sleep, and not think at all about what awful people you are to do that to someone else’s stuff. REMIND ME NOT TO INVITE YOU TO MY HOUSE.

23:45--Dram Narr is back. The still image they have of who is apparently Francisco in this installment looks more like Mike Wallace than some vaguely Hispanic playboy. Old stock footage of the mines exploding.

24:05--Francisco stops by, says “I’m back!”, sees Dagny, and leaves. The entire visit takes LESS THAN A MINUTE. Then Galt makes a hint about a “power plant”. Dagny is intrigued, he sighs and she drops everything to run off with him, leaving a shirt on the back of a chair. WAY TO EARN YOUR KEEP DOING HOUSECLEANING THERE, DAG! It’s like owning a dog who desperately wants to go for a ride every time you look like you’re leaving the house. Oh, and it’s an EXTRA-LONG montage to get to the power plant, so it must be, what, fifty? Maybe a hundred miles away? It’s apparently NOT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, so maybe they DO have some form of community planning.

26:45--OMG THERE’S A PLEDGE TO GET INTO THE ROOM TO SEE THE MOTOR. It’s like being granted access to your neighbor’s tree fort when you were ten: “I swear to never tell another living soul about this tree fort, even though it is clearly visible from the road. I also swear that Jenny down the street is a poopyhead.” Oh, but this is a Serious Pledge, so I will be quietly respectful. Scary blue light... but NO! Dagny won’t speak the words, so she is DENIED! PSYCH! Nyah! Now that I’ve slammed the door in your face, let’s drive back the fifty or hundred miles so you can go back to doing your paid HOUSEWORK you abandoned.

27:45--Another montage, not just of going home, but of Dagny talking to people, I guess debating their philosophical differences. At least this time they have the mercy to keep the sound off except for the generic Swelling Inspirational Music Montage Score. The closest Dagny comes to doing actual housework is helping Galt polish a wooden canoe that has clearly never seen the bottom of a river. The rest could be mistaken for a falling-in-WUV montage, except, thankfully, there is no actual LOVE for us to suffer through. Yet.

29:15--Francisco apparently gave up his working mines to create a mine there in the Gulch? Because no job says “perfectly happy and content” like mining. Not OWNING a mine, but physically WORKING IN ONE. Um, okay, I don't think I've ever actually been in a working mine, but I've seen pictures and movies and news footage and I have to say it DOESN'T LOOK LIKE FUN. Necessary, perhaps, but NOT FUN. Here Dagny displays ye olde “if you have a hammer, everything around you looks like nails” by suggesting Francisco use railroad cars to bring up his ore. (I’m sure Midas is getting all of HIS gold from these magical mountains, as well. Because as any geologist knows, ALL metals come from, like, underground stuff, so dig a hole somewhere in the Gulch and gold, copper, uranium, lead, borax--something is BOUND to pop up.

30:55--A philosophical talk with Dr. Akston at his vineyard, AKA “The Allergy Sufferer’s Worst Nightmare”. I don’t know exactly WHAT is flying through the air, but the actors should probably be wearing masks. But they’re too busy discussing Important Topics, as befits a movie with such an Exciting Message to Impart. And here that message is “Helping Others is for Suckers”.

33:00--Dram Narr: Meanwhile, back at Evil Weasel Central, the Bad Guys are scowling and tenting their fingers. Perhaps because Wardrobe would not let them change clothes from their LAST meeting, and things are getting kinda ripe. There’s a still of a guy with sunglasses on the phone when they finally mention Hank Reardon--remember him?--so maybe that’s him? I don’t know. Nor do I particularly care. This whole narrative section lasts exactly SIXTEEN SECONDS, and then it’s back to the Gulch again. You would think such split-second scene cutting would denote some form of exciting action sequence, but I assure you: you would be sadly mistaken.

33:16--Ah, Hank Reardon is explained to us from the perspective of the Gulch people. Apparently Reardon is doing freaky stalky fly-bys for no apparent reason on his private jet. Also apparently the Dread Pirate Ragnar can identify rich people’s private jets on sight.

33:55--Francisco and Galt are having a romantic date. Francisco suspects Galt has something on his mind, perhaps because Galt is brooding and emo-ing worse than young Darth Vader did in the wretchedly bad STAR WARS prequels. Later that night (I assume) he and Dagny talk about Reardon’s plane. Everything’s all angsty, but I can’t tell why. Does Galt like Dagny? Is he super-jelly over Reardon swooping in? How about Mike Wallace--I mean, Francisco Playboy? They’re all MOONING over Dagny, who JUST WANTS TO RUN TRAINS. And I don’t even mean that metaphorically. She just wants to RUN TRAINS.

36:00--Dram Narr reminds us: Bad Men are Bad. Lethal crowd control measures. Where are all the preppers with their gazillion rounds of ammo when you need them? I’m thinking’ Ayn Rand didn’t anticipate preppers. A tunnel is STILL BLOCKED--is this the tunnel with the exploding train from the last movie? They’re saying a rock slide. I dunno. Again, Dram Narr lasts all of 22 seconds.

36:23--I’m guessing this is Midas’ house, due solely to the WAY-CLASSY golden dollar sign on his fireplace mantel. That’s the sort of “classy” decor I’d expect in a Trump casino, not a private residence, but clearly we move in different circles. Anyway, Dagny has MADE HER DECISION (drum roll): she’s not sure. TYPICAL BROAD, AMIRITE? Turns out Galt is thinking of going to NYC as well. Why, his friends ask, when all the COOL PEOPLE are HERE admiring Midas’ GOLD DOLLAR SIGN? Besides, with all the greatest captains of industry now totally disappeared, the Bad Guys are starting to SUSPECT SOMETHING. Galt doesn’t say WHY he wants to go back, he just says it’s for “the only thing I want for myself”. Midas explains there will be food shortages and riots, and no trains, and then BOOM--the Taggart Bridge will collapse! I have sort of kept wondering why they keep bringing up this stupid bridge--only now do I realize it is a METAPHOR. Dagny is now going back to make sure that bridge NEVER COLLAPSES. John Galt immediately starts negotiating her departure with--wait for it--MORE RULES. This “Mister Free Spirit” guy is like the RULIEST GUY I’VE EVER SEEN. All the other guys are bummed that the one woman in the entire show except for the extras is leaving their little hippy commune.

39:12--Dagny in her nightgown. Is she going to totally skank out on us like she did with Hank Reardon? (And here I am slut-shaming. You can do better than that, Mojo! Talk about your low-hanging fruit...) No, she and Galt talk through the door. Galt’s “selfish end”, it turns out, is HE WANTS HER HERE IN THE GULCH. Awww. But they leave it at that.

40:45--HA HA HA HA HA Apparently Dagny only has one outfit she wears if there is a plane involved. She is wearing her Plane Crash Catholic School Uniform when she leaves. Galt *sensuously* blindfolds her (no, really, you should watch this whole thing just for THAT) so she can’t find her way back (although, I assume, up until the crash itself she must have had some inkling of where she was flying since she was FLYING THE PLANE, and without actually knowing a single thing about licensing pilots, I shall ASSUME one of the criteria for getting a pilot's license is, the pilot sorta needs to know WHERE THEY ARE IN THE WORLD while they’re flying). Rather than point this out Dagny submits to the blindfold. Flying montage ensues, ending with Dagny being dropped off with a brusque “There’s the way to the train station” and then being abandoned. TRAIN MONTAGE ensues.

43:10--Dagny calls Reardon to apologize for disappearing for a month. Hank assures her there is NO NEED for her to apologize. He then blows off their affair with it being a lovely memory he will always cherish, blah blah blah, bye now, talk to you soon. Which I can’t help but think is a weird way for someone to react when they *loved you* and then thought you had died in a *grisly plane crash* and then find out it was all a scam. But okay, people don’t always react the way you think they should in some circumstances.

43:43--The train montage is rather rudely interrupted by Evil Taggart announcing a press conference via Dram Narr about Dagny’s smiling return from the dead. There’s now labor riots and food shortages. Via montage, natch. And we can’t mention food shortages without the Bad Guys dining in some swanky restaurant, can we? So here comes the director of the State Science Institute, possibly to say the word “science” a bunch more times. Instead he’s all huffy from being dragged out from his science place by another government weasel--I want to say this one is Mouch? The guy with the majorly receding hairline. He’s being waited on hand and foot by drones--they’re practically wiping his butt for him--so you KNOW he’s just an awful person. Sure enough, the science guy is NOT being a proper team player in their Evil Sciencing Scheme--PROJECT F.

(Oh, and if you freeze-frame on the folder he hands Science Guy, it says “Seal of the Head of State--People’s State of America”. Turns out MY FATHER-IN-LAW WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!! THE COMMIES HAVE TAKEN OVER!!! But at least we also have “PROJECT F” neatly labeled on the tab, so as not to confuse it with Projects A through E. And if you freeze-frame on the PICTURE of Project F, it appears to be a computer monitor with a machine--possibly a computer--under it, a basket of wires, and what looks like a machine tool simulator (I know people in the machine tool business) and a panel under it helpfully labeled PROJECT F. So my first impression is, Project F is a mishmash of techy-looking stuff they threw together to take a picture. Could visit my machine tool friend’s place of business and replicate that picture almost verbatim, except I couldn’t be bothered to apply the lettering to the panel and I’d probably just do that in Photoshop. But the end result would be pretty much the same picture. A HIGHLY-CLASSIFIED PICTURE.)

Oh, the Science Guy explains that it’s NOT just a mishmash of techy-looking stuff they threw together to take a picture. It is an INSTRUMENT OF TORTURE. Well, if you’ve ever heard one of those machine tools screech as it cuts through metal I’d agree with him, but let’s continue with the movie, shall we? Science Guy indicates he is NOT GOING TO GO THROUGH WITH THIS ABOMINATION, but then he signs off anyway, because like all Straw Man Idiots in this movie he has the backbone of a jellyfish. What a putz.

46:45--Yay! Dagny’s back at Taggart! Here she comes, stepping over transients and pushing aside beggars on her way to the office. Where she meets... CUFFY! It’s spelled CUFFY MIEGS, it turns out, and he’s giving orders to a young black man named Eddie. Could this be Competent Eddie, who was Dagny’s right hand man? HA HA HA--I stopped the movie to type, and when I started it up Miegs said “You’ve been Dagny’s right hand man for years, so...” HA HA HA HA!!! That’s rather funny. I am terrible with faces, as I’ve said many times before, so this looks like a totally new Competent Eddie. I think I liked the first one best. Anyway, despite being away for at least a MONTH Dagny steps right in and start countermanding orders and pissing off the less competent. Aww, at least she embraces Competent Eddie when she meets him again, even if it is for less than a second. Can’t get too chummy with the hired hands, now, can we?

HA HA HA HA HA--Okay, so as per usual her brother is a total weasel, but I must say I enjoyed his greeting: “I, uh, heard the good news you’re okay.” That’s EXACTLY how I want my siblings to greet ME when they think I’ve been dead in a plane crash for a month!

It’s taken me half the movie, but now I think I see who he reminds me of: he looks like a slightly heavier, weaselly evil love child of Kevin Bacon and Ben Stiller. Anyway, he brings us up to speed on all the crud the Evil Government has done to Dagny’s business. Dagny is still in her Catholic School attire--I guess she went there straight from her train montage, which was straight from the plane montage. That girl gets around! Anyway, Dagny is NOT PLEASED that along with everything else, all the profits from her railroad are sent to the Evil Government for proper and fair dispersal.

***   ***   ***

Okay, looking at the stats my computer creates, I see I first created this file--meaning I started watching this, er, “movie”--on September 1, 2015. So here it is, over a YEAR (and how many words? Too lazy to count) and I haven’t even gotten through the first hour, yet. And I realize that, much like the actors and director involved with this fiasco, I, too, have totally lost interest and I’m just (barely) hitting my marks to ensure my paycheck, while silently vowing not to include this on my résumé. I must vow to do better. CONCENTRATE, Mojo! CONCENTRATE!!!

49:30--Brief montage of demoralized train workers now dealing with shoddy work and equipment. The only one who seems to be competent has the BALLS to call Competent Eddie to warn him of an Upcoming Disaster right before he quits in disgust.

50:30--DRAM NARR tells us Galt is going to be giving a Big Speech, complete with exciting visuals of Galt sitting in his living room scribbling on a note pad.

50:43--Back to Taggart. (You can tell because of the three-second establishing shot of the Taggart skyscraper before we cut to the inner offices.) Brother Weasel Taggart is chewing someone out on the phone as Dagny enters and hits the phone’s switch hook while he is in mid-chew. Because that’s the kinda gal she is! This whole gubmint taking over the rails is a complete disaster! The CROPS OF MINNESOTA (mentioned previously, but I foolishly thought it was just a throwaway concern, but here they are mentioning them again) are rotting! There’s no copper wire! And the executive bathroom is out of toilet paper! Brother Weasel throws her month-long vacation in the Gulch in her face. Who does she think was taking care of business while she was gone? Her response is devastatingly obvious: “No one!” Brother Weasel is just about in tears over THAT one. Touché, Dagny! “A touch, a touch, I do confess!”

51:53--Scene connecting via train montage again. Okay, why bother even HAVING a movie when today’s editing software allows any pathetic schmoe with a laptop to throw a mishmash of random scenes together? Oh, wait, now I get it! This seeming mishmash is actually a carefully constructed, visceral experience of the continuing degradation of society! We the viewer can watch the very FILM disintegrate along with the social fabric! It’s GENIUS! SHEER GENIUS!

52:15 Dagny’s competence is interrupted by Brother Weasel who is more concerned about dinner plans than the Lifeblood of Our Nation. “If you REALLY want to help your ‘farmer friends’ you’ll be there.” Dagny corrects him: “Friends? They’re our CUSTOMERS.”

52:45--Another thirty seconds, another scene. (This is a little like early MTV, only without the dancers.) The Evil Dinner. Sometimes we must sacrifice the parts to save the whole. Everyone besides Dagny is male, white, smiling, and smoking cigars. (The camera is kept moving to make an otherwise boring scene come to LIFE.) As they discuss Important Matters, Dagny’s cell phone rings. GREAT DINNER GUEST, Dagny. It’s Competent Eddie, though, so she leaves and lets the Evil Guys do what they want, which is to “drop Minnesota”. They toast this decision with their expensive wine because they are so abominably EVIL.

55:25--Montage of Dagny HEADING BACK TO WORK. Some competent techy guy explains how nothing is working, and Dagny proclaims she’s “going to take care of it.” Which she does by insisting the trains are gonna move NO MATTER WHAT, via paper clips and rubber bands. She makes a rousing speech to the hoi polloi--rough guys, but salt-of-the-earth, in the best possible condescending way--but she is briefly interrupted when she sees a grease-smeared Galt in the crowd. He chases her as she slow-mo montages away. Oh, crap, they’re gonna have sex. As eight-year-old Mojo might have said, “Yuck.” The only thing worse than these two having sex is these two having sex via slow-mo montage and piano-heavy elevator music. WHILE, UMM, THE WORLD OF TRAINS AROUND THEM--DAGNY’S WHOLE PROFESSIONAL LIFE--COMES CRASHING DOWN.

Priorities, maybe?

Speaking of priorities, anything with dialog is over in less than a minute. Montages and sex, however, are INTERMINABLE. I guess this is why Reardon blew her off--so she could have sex with Galt without being a HUSSY.

Oh, lord, it’s STILL going on.

59:30--Meanwhile, back in the Real World... the poor rough salt-of-the-earth not-having-sex guys are RUNNING THE FREAKIN’ RAILROAD as instructed. Since it actually involves a line of dialog it must last less than thirty seconds.

59:48--HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA--They are ACTUALLY MONTAGING Dagny and Galt GETTING DRESSED after having sex. As a satisfied Dagny walks through the squalor of the train station a bum asks what used to be the Big Question: Who is John Galt? Dagny giggles like a school girl, because, umm, YOU know... I am guessing I am not the ONLY ONE out there who feels the need for a good, hot, scalding BATH around now.

1:00:10--I happened to freeze-frame it to time-stamp a new scene and the new Hank Rearden is introduced, doing his best RISKY BUSINESS pose with the pointing his finger and the looking over his shades sort of deal. Rather like a used car salesman. Here’s a screen shot, in case you doubt me--and, from now on, EVERY TIME you read this and think to yourself, "Oh, man, Mojo must be exaggerating again--it can't possibly be this bad; she's SUCH a whiner" I want you to REMEMBER THIS PICTURE AND SHUT YOUR DAMNED TRAP.


Anyway, THIS Hank doesn’t get any speaking lines. He just points his finger as DRAM NARR explains that he is one of the Disappeared Ones. Narrated Montage: Hank disappears, and Brother Weasel’s wife realizes he’s a weasel--I guess him ACTING LIKE A WEASEL was the Big Clue--and it shows an unhappy wife apparently unloading her marital problems on who looks like Competent Eddie, who I’m sure has BETTER THINGS TO DO than listen to his boss’s whiny broad of a wife say things like “I never DREAMED he was such a weasel!”

1:00:33--Another swanky hotel meal with Receding Hairline 70s Man. His name is Floyd. He reads in the paper that Taggart’s wife has DIED, so he calls Brother Weasel to say “Hey, I just read the article about your wife.” Brother Weasel insists it’s Not His Fault. (That's a recurring theme with Bad Guys in this movie.) They are planning Something Evil with Dagny, and Brother Weasel keeps on insisting he can make her do something, even though historically Dagny has been proudly forging her own way... except when her brother makes her attend dinners or whatever. Then suddenly she inexplicably shows up--I guess so we can tell by her disgusted reactions that the people around her are ALL EVIL.

1:01:52--Establishing shot of some apartment building somewhere. Flowing curtains and breezes as Dagny looks out the window with her hair all curly and loose. Oh, everyone’s having flashbacks about what lead up to Brother Weasel’s wife’s apparent suicide. She begs Dagny for forgiveness for ever once doubting her brilliance and competence. Dagny graciously forgives her. At least the poor girl has THAT going for her as she performs the Happy Dispatch. None of that "there's nothing to forgive" claptrap--it's all "Yes, I am the victor and the bigger person here, so I *do* forgive you."

1:02:16--Montage setting up for a Big TV show. Dagny sits with all the Evil Bigwigs, and waits until the countdown before announcing “I won’t be a part of this” and leaves the set, INSTEAD of causing a scene on live television, which probably would have gotten her point across better to the reality-tv-loving morons out there. But OH HO--The broadcast is TAKEN OVER BY GALT! Yay! Here comes his fifty-page speech! Hooray! Let’s see how they manage to append visuals to THAT!

1:03:35--Utterly black, blank screen. Good start.

1:03:45--Awww. It’s just a head shot. The poor actor. I hope they at least vary it with some reaction shots from the Evil Guys as well as regular people on the street watching random TV screens so whoever Galt is doesn’t have to carry the whole movie right now.

1:04:35--Wow. It’s like I’m a freakin’ PSYCHIC. Even Dagny pauses in her “I’m leaving” huff (as I recall her leaving the scene in a huff was a frequent plot-mover in one of the previous movies) to listen to her current squeeze point out that the world sucks and the Evil Guys are TOTES TO BLAME.

1:05:15--You can tell the world really HAS devolved into a mass of fetid incompetence when it dawns on you that NO ONE apparently has the ability to PULL THE PLUG on Galt’s speech. Because, you know, television production and transmission isn't one single wire you can cut in half and attach the ends to your laptop. There's probably countless switches and whatnot between the signal origin and then UP to the satellite, and then back DOWN to all the HUNDREDS of distribution channels. Besides, nowadays why hijack the television? Put your rant up on YouTube, where it belongs. Along with the EIGHTY MILLION OTHER RANTS.

1:05:18--You can see it’s starting to dawn on the good, ordinary, salt-of-the-earth workers watching the TV in bars and on street corners: Hey, he’s RIGHT! Why, those Obviously Evil Guys weren’t helping us AT ALL! WE’VE BEEN HAD!

1:06:12--The crux of the whole Randian Objectivist plot point: If I don’t get my way, I’m gonna TAKE MY TOYS AND GO PLAY SOMEWHERE ELSE. Some UTOPIAN HEAVEN-ESQUE COMMUNITY (it has to be Heaven-esque because Rand was an atheist, though she was apparently quite savvy about the notion of creating some otherworldly paradise for her followers to shoot for) where my geen-yus will be APPRECIATED and the CHOSEN PEOPLE can cavort FREELY (so long as they follow all the rules)! And you’ll be SO SORRY when I’m gone! (As I have mentioned before, in my professional life whenever someone stood up and made such an announcement, the rest of us all just kind of sigh in relief not to have to work with such a moron ever again, but I digress.) Anyway, he advocates people rising up against the Evil Dudes and do whatever the hell they want to do to make them happy. Which is a nice, empowering thing to hear when you are currently living in squalor.

1:08:03--The pirate broadcast ends. The Evil Guys are angry and barking orders and running to see what the talking heads on TV are saying about it. (I guess some of the talking heads are some sort of cameos, but I don’t have cable so I wouldn’t know anyone if I fell over them.) But now I have the song from the musical HAMILTON: “Gonna RISE UP! RISE UP!” going through my head. When they do ATLAS SHRUGGED THE MUSICAL they gotta get the guy who plays King George be one of the Evil Guys. Just sayin’.

Anyway, while the Bad Guys argue about what to do Dagny rubs their noses in it a bit and then leaves. Bad guys practically CHASE AFTER HER begging for her help. Because even though she hasn’t really done a DAMNED THING, they realize, too late, that she is the Golden Child of Personal Happiness. But she leaves--with good ol’ Competent Eddie in tow--and they are left hanging with still a HALF HOUR OF MOVIE TO GO.

1:09:24--the Bad Guys try to pathetically spin it, but the dregs of society are ON TO THEM, finally. (I’m sorry, I’m trying not to be an elitist snob, here, but based on the slow dawning of the people in the streets I’m starting to suspect that the Bad Guys’ continual declarations that the average person out there is STUPID is starting to look abysmally true.) Again, the joy of this movie is watching the extras. I’m guessing many of them are on the screen not due to any acting talent, but because they either bought a fundraising perk or because they are related to someone on the crew. Anyway, the director has just told them to start muttering discontentedly among themselves, so that’s what they are doing, all righty. They are Muttering Up The Proverbial Frenzy. Muttermuttermutter. And that quickly evolves--due to the one person with an actual spoken line--to start chanting their defiance. Not anything empowering, or any form of self-actualization, mind you, but the brainless “WE WANT GALT!” It’s reminiscent of the Springfield denizens of THE SIMPSONS, when their utterly corrupt Mayor Quimby has had it and yells at them about how tired he is of pandering to “fickle mushheads”, and the crowd responds with “Give us hell, Quimby!” Hooray!



1:10:05--Rather than show anything dramatic, we are treated to television static while DRAM NARR explains that the people have had enough, and they too want to go skipping through the woods in Colorado. Oh, lord, the static on the TV is replaced by yet more fundraising perks of ordinary people videotaping themselves proclaiming “I am John Galt!” A la SPARTACUS, only without all that dirty oyster talk.

1:10:50--The Bad Guys want to stop the rabble from doing this lame SPARTACUS ripoff, and I can’t really fault them for that; it’s pretty tedious. So they call in Dagny, who gets to sit there on the couch all prim and I-told-you-so while they explain things to her. Dagny says she can’t help them. They try veiled threats, then a bribe--oh, sorry, reward--but she leaves in a huff. They figure she knows where he is. (Of course, they’ve been FOLLOWING HER for AGES, now. I didn’t mention it before because, umm, YEAH, of COURSE they would have her followed, but now it looks like their spying is about to bear fruit, since her huffy leaving probably means she’s going straight to Galt to be all like “OMG they’re trying to find you!” But he TOLD her not to look for him--apparently unless she’s looking for a booty call--so unless she’s Actively Looking for Booty even the Bad Guys are up the creek.

1:12:00--More talking heads, saying stuff like “I think all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired.” (Obligatory obscure Monty Python reference.) During yet another montage Dagny finds Galt on the Taggart payroll and writes down all his HR information. She then goes to a derelict building and finds... GALT! Wow, that was REALLY DIFFICULT. Especially since he signed up for the job under his own name and used an actual address instead of a PO box. DANG, but she’s good! She says she had to warn him, but of course *HE* has to point out that she was followed, you dimwit. Or words to that effect. So his CAREFULLY CRAFTED hiding spot, which took her all of TWO MINUTES OF GOOGLING HER COMPANY’S DATABASE to find, is now USELESS. Galt tells her now she has to do the ol’ switcharoo--kinda the plot point for at least one episode per season of just about any sitcom nowadays--and convince the Bad Guys, via her MAD ACTING SKILLZ, that she totally HATES the guy!

1:14:35--Okay, so the guy’s very LIFE is at stake, there are SIRENS IN THE DISTANCE, and instead of hoofing it she’s demanding he show her around the apartment. He shows her the Miracle Motor in the other room--remember that?--and there is the Knock Of Government Thugs at the Door. (Four guys, one with a battering ram, but NOBODY with a drawn weapon or body armor. What, they don’t have the budget for Halloween-costume body armor?) So they come in and Dagny’s all “He’s the one you want, officer!” so instead of detaining them BOTH for questioning the guy takes HER WORD FOR IT and advises her to step outside while They Handle It. During the detainment they encounter the locked door hiding the Miracle Engine, but when they bust it open with their prop door-buster they find a room full of NUFFIN.

1:17:00--Aren’t the average people kinda tired of shouting “WE WANT GALT!” yet? Seems to me one’s pursuit of happiness and fulfillment a la what Galt said might run more along the lines of petting baby ducks or skipping through meadows with a loved one, or even (gasp!) actively pursuing something that might bring you artistic and/or financial and/or satisfactory gain. But hey, standing in front of some government building shouting “WE WANT GALT!” for several months at a stretch probably works for some people, as well. To each his own. I think after a few weeks I’d be thinking “Gee, I’m kinda tired of doing this, I don’t see it getting us anywhere and to be honest my voice is starting to hurt” but I suppose that is never why you’d want someone like me in your political movement.

Anyway, I assume (not remembering the book) this will be the Interrogation of John Galt. They do a closeup of him fiddling with his phone, so he is probably surreptitiously recording them or something. Clever!

Oh, he’s called Dagny. Who thinks he has butt-dialed her, but now she can HEAR EVERYTHING. You would think it would be better if he actually RECORDED the conversation, but I’m sure the Authorities will take Dagny’s word for it.

Smarmy Bad Guy starts off as Good Cop, but when Galt tells him they need to “get out of the way” he starts promising all sorts of Bad Guy perks. Our guy Galt is NOT FOR SALE. Eventually Bad Guy loses his patience and tells his flunkies to get him out of there--“and take that idiot Taggart with him!” Dagny hears this and she FREAKS OUT about Brother Weasel maybe actually being held accountable for his weaselity. Go figure. I guess familial love triumphs over the sad reality that you are related to a total loser.

They say they are taking everyone to “SSI” which I think must be the State Science Institute (Here I must insert the exclamation “SCIENCE!” much as they do in the “She Blinded Me With Science” song), and now, with STILL MORE THAN FIFTEEN MINUTES LEFT TO THIS STUPID MOVIE it dawns on my that Project F--which I happened to read about when I reopened this file and started typing at the end--is that “TORTURE DEVICE” the science guy was so upset about right before he shrugged and signed off on it anyway. (I’m starting to think perhaps this whole “Shrug” motif is mostly about people not really having any strong enough convictions to actually DEFEND, but just a bunch of milquetoast jellyfish who roll with the punches and shrug off any lingering spasms of conscience. But again, I digress. Anyway, Science guy is all like, "TORTURE DEVICE??? Eh, what the hell, where do I sign.")

1:21:30--Ominous music and montage of ugly government buildings, culminating in the STATE SCIENCE INSTITUTE (YESS!! I was RIGHT!!!) as nasty black cars pull up in the rain. Galt’s all handcuffed and smirky.

1:22:00 Oh, hey, remember THE MOST IMPORTANT BRIDGE IN AMERICA? No, wait, let me go back and cut and paste the REAL title: “America’s Most Important Railroad Overpass”. They were too cheap to actually animate the bridge going down, so it’s a still--possibly from the movie’s storyboards, assuming they paid for even that one professional concession--of a not-very-well-done ‘shopped painting of a bridge with a section down in the drink while unmoving painted smoke rises from the wreckage. They don’t say it was blown up or destroyed or what--they say it “surrendered to regulation”. Okay, granted I have never studied Rand nor Objectivism to any large extent so maybe I am just displaying my vast, vast ignorance here, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS. Frisco tells Dagny it collapsed. Dagny responds by reciting the Boy Scout Objectivist Creed of not living your life subject to the whims of others--something she is apparently taking literally since it looks like she is skipping town and leaving her Brother Weasel and Galt to be tortured by Bad Guys.

1:22:45--They are preparing to torture Brother Weasel and Galt. I now have images of the Dread Pirate Ragnar rapelling in through busting windows to rescue them. If he does I am going to be SO pissed.

1:22:52--One of the Bad Guys (the Science Guy?) actually shouts “PROJECT F!” in apparent utter horror of what they are about to do. Since I hate using the phone, I think I will have to sample that for my new ringtone.

1:23:30--Okay, this is just your standard movie cliché torture scene, right down to the naked sweaty beat-up but still defiant guy chained to an iron fence. Only difference is, instead of a car battery they have “PROJECT F!!!” All we need now is the Spanish Inquisition demanding the soft cushions and periodically shouting “CONFESS! CONFESS!”

1:23:55--Here’s a great microcosmic illustration of just how weaselly ALL the bad guys are in this movie: the Horrified Science Guy isn’t so put out that they’re torturing people in general, but that they are torturing Galt himself. “Of all people, NOT HIM!” he shrieks. You expect him to add, “HERE! Have some ORPHANED KITTENS, instead!!!” But of course the Bad Guys are not swayed by his heartfelt pleas.

1:24:15--I hope they paid the Galt actor extra to get showered with sparks. For the most part they don’t hurt and they look cool, but once in a while you DO get a little stinger in the group. The pose reminds us that Galt is being tortured for our sins, which again must have atheist Rand rolling in her grave.

1:25:00--As usual, Dagny is the only one showing and gumption as she forces her way into the building (Hooray for incompetence guarding the place! And just in case you haven’t been paying attention this whole time, the guard ACTUALLY DIES--shot by Dagny, which I didn't think she had in her--while explaining that he is NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR HIS OWN LIFE. Ahh, subtlety, thy name is Wannabe-Movie-of-the-Week!)

SUPER TIRESOME MONTAGE (unlike the many previous EXCITING ONES) pitting the Galt torture scenes against Dagny and her band of Happy Ruffians as they make their way through the building. A building that looks to be several stories tall and high-tech, but just has the one guard standing by some obscure maintenance exit where they put out the garbage once a week. A building with no apparent motion detectors, cameras or any other security technology that a State Science Institute might be slightly familiar with.

1:26:40--SUNOVABITCH! Project F has stopped working. Must have blew a fuse! If one cared a little tiny bit about the outcome, one might think Galt’s rescuers have just bought some valuable time! But nobody really cares at this point, so, eh.

1:26:55--HA HA HA HA HA!! Someone actually says “Replace the fuse and the machine will work” in a totally MENACING tone. I’d be demanding writing credit about now if only I didn’t want my name associated with this project in any way, shape or form!

1:27:00--BROTHER WEASEL FINALLY SNAPS! No WONDER Dagny puts up with him! It turns out he is a Taggart after all! If, by “Taggart” you mean someone who waits FAR TOO LONG before deciding to DO SOMETHING. If he leaves the room in a HUFF we got ourselves a new hero! The Bad Guys hustle him out, be Receding Hairline 70s Floyd gives one final threat to Galt: “We’ll be back, you son of a bitch!”

1:27:20--And then Galt flatlines. He was fine, though a bit sweaty and roughed up, but once they left he decides to give up the ghost? I give up. There’s still over ten minutes left. He does dreamy flashbacks (ugh, more slow-mo sex) while Dagny finds him and saves him. Uplifting AHH-AHH-AHHH music swells as they drag him out of there. Looks like Brother Weasel is left to the wolves, but the rescuers DO promise to pick up Competent Eddie for her. Phew! I was worried nobody at the Utopian Ditch would be inclined to do whatever Dagny told them to do, but now she has Eddie.

1:30:40--Dagny swears her undying love to Galt, and promises he is hers forever, despite the Randian Boy Scout Creed everyone is forced to recite. You know, about how you need to live your life without anyone else telling you what to do. (Except for the rules.)

Montage of all the big buildings in the big cities losing power. Dagny notes “it is the end” but Galt corrects her. I’ll give you a whole dollar if you guess what he says: Yep. Assume your Best Profound Voice and Repeat After Me:  “No. It’s the beginning.”

CUT TO THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. Then cut to a John Galt quote, the end of which I swear I have read in just about every single positive-thinking self help publication out there: “The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.”

Followed by six and a half minutes of closing credits.


Thus ends my blogging all three seemingly endless ATLAS SHRUGGED movies.

I am never doing that again. You're welcome.