Augustus Gloop Regales Us With Tales Of BNAT 1138!! A Great Write-Up...
...with an extensive (and quite awesome) write-up of BNAT 1138 from Augusts Gloop. He has a lot to say, so I'll get our of the way and let Augustus do the talking...
My butt has become comfortably numb. Thank you, Harry for the greatest feat of cinematic gluteal anesthesia you've managed yet to accomplish! As I sit here, fit for study in any clinical sleep deprivation experiment, I can still hear the piping electric tones of the organ from our first film, but I get ahead of myself. (Regards to any grammar Nazis that abjure me for my run-on sentences. Do as well you will not when 1800 minutes since sleep you have had.)
The trailers began this year with 99 44/100% Dead, which appropriately included about a million variations on the phrase "Hello Harry". Next up was Death Machines, The Uncanny, and Stunt Rock. Some introductions and thanks to the programming staff led into a crazy Bulgarian happy birthday folk dance, and then Cinematical editor @scottEweinberg came out dressed as a representative of 'Thomas Dolby' to promise one very lucky little Jew that Teen Wolf would play in its entirety. Sadly, this was not to be the case due to some magnetic interference. I think the core must have been shifting, but at least Tim fulfilled his promise that the print would not burn this year. Introductions complete, we moved into our first feature of the night (day?)...
This silent film accompanied by longtime Drafthouse collaborator Graham Reynolds on the organ. Nothing short of a STUNNING start to the party, this show included special effects that would be impressive even today if done without the aid of a computer. While some shots were obviously just a matter of compositing, others were haunting and ineffable. The lighting work truly stood out, with the play between light and shadow contributing almost as much to the mood as the music. I can still hear many of the main lines of the score (not sure if that was Reynolds' own work or something written previously for the film), and many of us commented how much we would love to have the black, cloaked Mephiso costume. This is one of the few silent films I'd enjoy watching again and again.
Before the next show, we saw only one trailer, The Rape Killer and then some sort of PSA starring Ricky Schroeder that was entirely in Spanish (and incomplete, so we couldn't tell exactly what it was supposed to be saying).
Feature #2 this year was the first premiere, BNAT's most prolific repeat-director and perhaps its favorite, Peter Jackson.
The Lovely Bones
Disturbing, yet sumptuous, The Lovely Bones is a treat for the eyes even as it tears at the heart. Evocative at times of such films as 'What Dreams May Come', 'Stir of Echoes', and 'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus', this film continued the theme of young women being used against their will physically and sexually. After taking on the enormous job of LOTR and then King Kong, I feel The Lovely Bones represents Peter Jackson et al taking time out to tell a simpler, poignant and more important story that is less a mystery and more of a lesson to the living about how to move on with life after a death. This is not a film for the mass-consumption genre audience, but it will play very well to those who can appreciate it as a narrative lesson in metaphor. The presents an amazing reproduction of early 1970's middle-America from the interiors of homes to vehicles to Susan Sarandon's period costumes and hairstyles. I would love to know if they shot the mall scenes on set or if they found a timeless place that had maintained that look without appearing old and run-down. Finally, I have to acknowledge the fantastic performances of City of Ember star Saoirse Ronan in the lead and Stanley Tucci who brought just the right sense of creepiness or 'offness' to his role.
The next thing we saw was some kind of montage of various dances, then Nudes on Tiger Reef and Fastest Guitar Alive.
Girl Crazy (1943)
Who, indeed, could ask for anything more? I often feel Mickey Rooney is underappreciated these days, especially given that he's one of extraordinarily few stars of that era who are still with us (and still working). Perhaps it is because he is still working at this age that people don't recognize his power as a leading man, or perhaps that is because today's stars must be 6' and up. At 23, his boyish good looks (and he looks GREAT in a tuxedo) and infinite energy play well with Judy Garland's wholesome fire. Together, they make beautiful music, but there is no question this film is Rooney's. For what I believe was a non-technicolor print of that age, what we saw was beautiful, and I can't let this go without mentioning the Gershwin score with classic standards "Embraceable You", "Bidin' My Time", "I Got Rhythm", performed by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.
We immediately moved into the next feature, an incredibly restored masterpiece.
The Red Shoes (1948)
If there was ever a film to hold up as THE perfect example of how the best film can look better than the best digital, I think it is The Red Shoes. The level of detail captured in this restored print is something I haven't yet seen matched on any digital production. The film follows basically the same fairy-tale story as the ballet depicted within (and I mean the ENTIRE ballet). I would love to be able to compare this movie with a similarly restored copy of The Red Balloon (1956).
After the Red Shoes, we were treated to a 'Happy Birthday' song and beer-chugging contest with the members of Broken Lizard and the AICN staff followed by trailers for They Call Her One-Eye and Sudden Death.
Harry then introduced the next film from Martin Scorsese explaining that it was Scorsese himself who suggested the programming of The Red Shoes, a choice which very well fit the theme of the night and which led very well into...
I think I've been waiting for this since sometime in 2007. Once again, we have a visually stunning period film which brings together Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as US Marshalls investigating the disappearance of a female psychiatric patient at the nations' most maximum-security hospital-prison. With the exception of one or two powerful scenes, DiCaprio does not stand out to me in this film. Though he's in almost every scene, the supporting cast is one against which it may be difficult to shine. Particularly Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, and brief scenes with Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley. Scorsese has created a masterpiece of filmmaking from what is unfortunately for me a fairly predictable script. Visually and musically, the film is a work of art.
It was starting to get pretty late by this point, and I missed the complete title of the next trailer (Operation something-or-other) but next was Maniac Cop 2 (1990) (which notably stars Claudia Christian in a non-English speaking role just before the beginning of Babylon 5. I have to see that one!) and Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze which blends almost perfectly into
Le magnifique (1973)
While the boys in the audience drooled over the 29 year old body of Jacqueline Bisset, the girls could lust after a 40 year old Jean-Paul Belmondo who was perhaps more on display in this film than Bisset. Mostly hilarious, this plays hijinks with the James Bond stereotype as Belmondo's pulp writer catharticaly works out his real-life frustrations through rewrites that torture his enemies' literary representations.
We followed immediately with another premiere this time by legendary Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Micmacs (2009) aka Micmacs a tire-larigot
It is truly amazing to know that the same director who gave us Alien: Resurrection (at least he didn't script it) also wrote and directed A Very Long Engagement, Amelie, and now Micmacs. Besides the use of certain cast members, there is a vast difference in tone between the former and the 3 latter works. I'm not yet familiar with Jeunet's earlier work, but I can say that for any fans of his more recent releases, Micmacs will be a treat. Micmacs features a fantastic mishmash of circus-freak type characters, from the contortionist girl to the tiny man with herculean strength. They all team up with the hero, Dany Boon, as he takes on weapons manufacturers in an unconventional and zany script that combines the best of Ocean's 11, Topkapi, and Freaks, but that is pure Jeunet.
Two more trailers, The Ski Bum and Hot Dog the Movie led into...
While I'm not a fan of stranded plotlines such as Open Water, I am becoming a much bigger fan of Adam Green, who first caught me with Spiral a couple of years ago at Fantastic Fest. While everyone always talks about Hatchet, I have avoided it entirely due to the echoes of gore that still gleam in my friends' bloodthirsty eyes whenever they say the title. With luck, Frozen will be the new standard against which green's works will be compared. That's not to say Frozen cheats the audience out of any blood; it is just kept in its proper place... and covered in tons of snow. Films like this which trap the characters have very few places to go: The characters can all die, they can all get away, or some can die and some get away. So, the conclusion isn't important. Instead, the two things a director needs to do to make such a film work are #1 Ensure the mood is properly set and that the film is believable enough for the audience to put themselves in that situation. And #2 provide characters with whom the audience can connect so that they are stuck, with the characters, in that situation. Green does almost too good a job at this; one girl in the audience actually fainted during the screening. This couldn't have been accomplished without the leading trio of Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, and Emma Bell. This cast demonstrates real acting chops as they manage to keep the audience engaged. It is impossible to care what happens to the characters if you don't care about or identify with them. In spite of being young beautiful Hollywood superstars, these guys shed the "I'm too sexy" vibe for their roles, which would have alienated me. Frozen is a rare horror film where I can find absolutely nothing wrong. It is, in short, perfect.
The next two trailers were for Bug (1975) and Mission Thunderbolt Both highly appropriate intros to...
Centipede Horror (1984)
The Drafthouse recently came into possession of a very sizable collection of Shaw Brothers films, and they have started a non-profit organization to help with the preservation of these and other genre films. Centipede Horror is the third and least-impressive of these films that I've had the chance to see. I would love just once to get the chance to see one during the daytime, since the early-morning hours past 1am don't lend themselves to reading white-on-white captions that are too-briefly displayed on screen. In the case, of Centipede Horror, this combined with a hideously slow-moving plot to sadly put me asleep throughout. This is luckily the exception among the Shaw Brothers items I've seen and not the rule.
Next trailer was The Honeymoon Killers and Mr No Legs followed by Lunch Wagon.
Up until now, Matthew Vaughn was the director of my second favorite movie of all time, Stardust. With Kick-Ass, he may have knocked that one out of its position. Standout performances from Aaron Johnson, Christopher McLovin Mintz, and Chloe Moretz frame Nicholas cage in the only role where I've ever really LIKED him. According to applause, this was by far the audience favorite, and it really picked up the energy levels of the crowd. Though we were seeing an unfinished print with a temp score, I think audiences would love it just as it is. I particularly hope that Vaughn manages to swing permission to keep all of the temp tracks that are in place which include superhero themes from Superman and Batman, Morricone, tracks from The Dark Knight, and even a great Elvis number. Kick-Ass is the superhero film that can only have happened after ten years of our audience re-proving to Hollywood that comicbook films can make big money (after the Burton Batman franchise began to flounder). It is all at once a kid power story, a teen coming of age film, and family dramedy, and when Vaughn named the movie Kick-Ass he was being as descriptive as possible, as it features fights that haven't been approached by any film since the Nightcrawler opening to X-Men 2. This movie will own your ass!
Our final trailers of the night were: Buckaroo Banzai, Dark Angel with Dolph Lundgren, and a space-themed 1980's Dr Pepper commercial 'Out of the Ordinary'.
In 1993, Steven Spielberg delivered a quantum leap in digital filmmaking when he brought us the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. In Avatar, James Cameron has taken the next evolutionary leap, mixing live action and completely CGI digital 3D imagery. My number one concern was that the story would support that technology and that this wouldn't be dismissed as just a special effects movie. My friends, NO. Calling Avatar a special effects film would be like calling Doc Brown's Delorean a trash compactor. I don't think it was just sleep deprivation that led me to openly weep throughout the movie at just how beautiful it all was. I felt like I'd been shown just a glimpse of heaven over and over again through the film. The story, meanwhile, was a tight sci-fi tale about a soldier going native with hints of The Matrix, Alien, Final Fantasy, and Return of the Jedi. Don't be put off by this description, as those are merely whispers in a symphony, and Avatar is more movie than you ever imagined it could be.
Thank you one more time Harry for what was by far the best BNAT lineup in eleven years.
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Dec. 14, 2009, 10:58 a.m. CST
"features fights that haven't been approached by any film since the Nightcrawler opening to X-Men 2" WOW
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST
3/4 through the review and desperate to defend it. "eye-rollingly corny" is another way to describe it
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:16 a.m. CST
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:22 a.m. CST
Like it or not, James Cameron went to the well for Avatar and drew out a re-make of DWWs. The plot similarities are eerie...battle-hardened US soldier makes a snap decision to go alone into a foreign culture and learns to love said culture by exposure, also falling in love with a well-connected chick in said culture, all the while garnering the hostilities of one jealous Alpha Male in said culture, finally coming to terms with the Alpha Male and leading the culture against the over-whelming power of the US military... Even the Na'vi yell like indians when attacking. Good special effects, though.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST
Always make me quiver with impotent, all-consuming, irrationally rage-filled envy.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:33 a.m. CST
I haven't been to anything remotely approaching a "major event". Since maybe E3 ten years ago. And that was it. I was seething with envy after I found out about the Flynn's Arcade and ComicCon. And, of course, BNAT always makes me sad. Because I can't go. It just ain't gonna happen. Sigh. Cuz it's sounds like it was totally frickin' awesome.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:34 a.m. CST
Does anyone use that site? Its terrible.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST
Yeah, it sucks how the little things like... a wife, the kids, and real-world logistics of travel and babysitters get in the way of my indulging my nerdery. Damn kids! ::shakes fist::
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST
yeah these people who go to BNAT but aren't real talkbackers is always odd.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST
and you haven't seen Hatchet? i was envious of this and now I think someone would have just put their hand on my knee in the dark.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:45 a.m. CST
...secretly wear Nav'i underoos. It's true.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST
The new Celine song?
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST
Leona Lewis is a hottie.
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:51 a.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
Yes, even at a geekfest like BNAT. "Frozen" I could care less about and "Avatar" sells itself, but FOR FUCK'S SAKE stop pimping "The Lovely Bones".<P>It's already been screened for the critics, and it tanked(40% approval among 75 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes). It got bumped from a December 11th release to January 15th, so don't expect it to make much of a box office dent. Jackson & Co. are about to bust a gigantic fart, and all you PJ moonies will have to take a big whiff of it. Nothing's gonna change that.
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:11 p.m. CST
Well, nearly so. No actual tears, but on Avatar day (and that was only footage) in IMAX 3d, I was damned close. It might be just a tad personal for me. <br><br>See, I think we've all been robbed. Back in the late 80's, through the mid 90s and a bit beyond, we watched the buzz about real, 3d Virtual Reality grow and grow. The promise of immersive technology was powerful and it felt like it was all right around the corner. Then, when those first real steps happened with things like "Virtuality Centers", people reacted with a collective "meh" because of hype that could never live up to the promises made by things like Mondo2000 magazine, carious horrible movies about the subject and just a general misunderstanding of what it was supposed to be. But yet, for a short while, as crude as it was, we HAD IT and we just let it slip away. True 3d, immersive, head-tracking VR arrived. But instead of improving on it, investing in it and letting it grow as exponentially as it WOULD have if given the chance, the public's general reaction based upon unrealistic expectations (some of the same type that had me worried for Avatar) led to most R&D departments, Venture Capitalists and Entertainment manufacturers, engineers and even designers simply backing away from VR, as if it were a failed "fad", something we'd someday look back on and laugh about like leg warmers, backward caps or giant combs in back pockets. But the third dimension and the ability to create truly life-like environments that can be moved in and controlled, COMBINED is anything BUT a fad. Oh sure, we got mildly immersive video games, impressive ones. And they keep looking better and better over the years. But they are still FLAT and instead of moving our heads around in an environment, we use our mouse.. or joysticks, or our keyboards. We may be used to it, even become great at it. But it is NOT real immersion. Not even close. <br><br> When I stepped into the world of Avatar, in huge Imax 3d, even the short footage I watched made me feel like I was IN a place. And knowing that we chose to abandon the promise of VR... and it was almost staring me right in the face, finally.. in that moment.. it was "virtually" overwhelming. It may not mean a lot to everyone who sees it, but when we get those first true 3d displays... and then head-mounted 3d displays... and head tracking, followed by tactile feedback... and a lot of it is coming up faster than you think.... (even retinal projection technology has been nearly perfected) .. we'll look back at this year as the year it all started. The year VR finally got the real chance it deserved a LONG time ago. <br><br>(for the attention-challenged, I am not saying Avatar *is* VR.. it's simply a glimpse at what it's going to look like soon.. and a catalyst for development in order to get us there)<br><br> So weeping? Hell yes. The world is going to change. The handicapped will walk. Those with phobias will learn to face their unrealistic fears in an environment that will guarantee their safety, while the realism helps train their minds to face those fears. And instead of clicking on an axe with a effete little impotent mouse, you'll hold one and feel it's impact when it crushes the skull of an Orc. No-one will ever need to be exploited again in the making of pornography. The list goes on and on, perhaps even more than I do. But the chances of that are slim.
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:15 p.m. CST
<p>1) You act as if you're the first person to make this comparison.</p> <p>2) You seem to be trying to say that Avatar being like Dances With Wolves is a BAD thing.</p> <p>3) Dances With Wolves in space with mind blowing special effects sounds like a win.</p>
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST
IS. Itis a piece of shit. How could anyone like that movie. God damn it fucking sucks
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST
Sorry to burst the bubble Augustus, but the projection of RED SHOES was a 4K digital restoration projected on our Sony 4K digital projectors... so you now have seen a digital work that rivals the best of film! - Tim
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:36 p.m. CST
Isn't that quotes coming out of most of the reviews? It's a pretty common theme, not just to those 2 movies, though I can't remember another right off the top of my head.
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:46 p.m. CST
I thought the entirety of the X-men franchise stunk for both plot *and* action. I didn't care about any of the characters (I *almost* cared for Wolverine) and the movies were forgettable.
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:51 p.m. CST
which is one reason to not take much notice of your taste in films. As for the RT thing, when it's reviews like this "I'd prefer bones based on a graphic novel - or Jerry Bruckheimer bones starring Johnny Depp." I tend to think they don't have any either. Nice try bashing Jackson, but no banana, chum!
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST
in between Centipede Horror and Kick Ass, you forgot the Grindhouse film , The Candy Snatchers. The Best use of cowbell in movies about kindapping and raping underage girls and of cuasi retarded sons that shot their moms.
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST
Thats the joke.
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:14 p.m. CST
What with all the groupthink from that crowd and all. They will all be glowing reviews of every single movie (Devin's hatred of Avatar being the exception), with Kick Ass being the fave. Would anyone dare pan Lovely Bones? Hell no.
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:31 p.m. CST
Thanks, but I did mention Candy Snatchers. I believe Merrick edited it out. Here's what I wrote: The Candy Snatchers http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069840/ This one is noteworthy for the many scenes that you'll see reproduced in a few Tarantino films and for the beautiful use of a very small child killing various adults, as the lineup turned from kids being abused to more of a theme where kids took control and began to dish out the pain themselves.
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST
Wow, that's not something you hear everyday. I liked STARDUST but it doesn't crack my top 500 of all-time. Crazy, the world in which we live...
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:42 p.m. CST
Lovely Bones truly is a great movie that worked perfectly in the order it was played. Like a great album, some songs just aren't meant to be listened on repeat but work great to transition between two others. That is not to say that Lovely Bones can't stand on its own feet, just emphasizing that it played even better with the mood that was set in the excitement of the BNAT crowd. As I mentioned, it will not appeal to the majority of the genre audience. If you have suffered family loss, it will absolutely affect how you see the film.
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST
by Star Hump
Hours must pass where it's just excruciating to sit there and stew in your own juices just waiting for the next interesting film. You get punished, then a slight reward. Mostly punishment.
Dec. 14, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST
by Rocco Curioso
No need to bash Jackson at this point; it's axiomatic.<P>"He's dead, Jim": Bones, apropos of "The Lovely Bones" director.
Dec. 14, 2009, 2:06 p.m. CST
thanks for posting that trailer.<br><br>the kracken looks like a cooler cloverfield monster.
Dec. 14, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST
FUCK anyone who doesn't love this movie. Comparing it to Dances With Wolves is a stupid insult to both films. DWW was deserving of every Oscar and people called it 'Lawrence of the Plains'. It's not like they just took the very same story and changed the location and names. Hell, if I was comparing it to anything I'd start with The Matrix before DWW.
Dec. 14, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST
Well then, that explains that hole in the Line Up Sir. Again, great write up of an awesome experience.
Dec. 14, 2009, 2:54 p.m. CST
Well done, AugustusGloop.
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:01 p.m. CST
I liked Dances with Wolves. Why does everyone have to bash it?
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:17 p.m. CST
And I can't wait to read about it on AICN in a week when it links to comments made on latinoreview.com. </BR> P.S. Seeing the Kraken is giving me a raging 5t11f13 the scale size of the Kraken.
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:20 p.m. CST
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:21 p.m. CST
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST
You must be reading me wrong. I never bashed DWW. I love it.
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:28 p.m. CST
that for the rest of the world? Please?
Dec. 14, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST
Well Gloop, that seems to be the start of your problem right there. Anyone who states that, well, their criteria for reviewing films is shaky.
Dec. 14, 2009, 5:55 p.m. CST
Micmacs, The Lovely Bones, Shutter Island and Avatar were shown?! F*ck you guys... f*ck you HARD. I soooo wish my butt could be numb too.
Dec. 14, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST
"Nicholas cage in the only role where I've ever really LIKED him." soooo on top of not recognizing one of the most brilliantly original actors in America, this guy's favorite movies are STARDUST and DWW? I'm not surprised Lovely Bones was so awesome.
Dec. 14, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST
Wow, way to misread everything from what my favorite movies are to what I said about Nick Cage to putting words in my mouth about Lovely Bones.
Dec. 14, 2009, 7:58 p.m. CST
"Disturbing, yet sumptuous, The Lovely Bones is a treat for the eyes even as it tears at the heart." - sounds like a rave to me, and what did I misread about Cage? If you're referring to the fact that he typically plays self-absorbed assholes, how is a character who deprives his daughter of a childhood in order to train her as a killer any more likeable than, say, Wild at Heart's Sailor? I don't think you'd be so defensive about your write-up if you weren't totally conscious that your reviews are masturbatory, superficial and lame.
Dec. 14, 2009, 10:35 p.m. CST
Dec. 14, 2009, 11:44 p.m. CST
but you know in your heart Avatar just isn't as groundbreaking as you wished it would be. Even Star Wars got a best picture nomination - are you deluding yourself into thinking this will?
Dec. 15, 2009, 3:47 p.m. CST
You sound so sure of yourself. Have you seen the movie? And for your information, Avatar received a Golden Globe Best Picture Nomination, and ones for Best Director, Score, and Special FX to boot. And chances are that it will get a Oscar Best Pic nomination now that they're are 10 nominees, so I guess the prejudice of haters against Avatar will lead them to dismiss the Golden Globes as insignificant and the Oscars as being overly generous. In summary, yes "Fuck Avatar haters" is definitely a statement I can stand by. Whether you love or hate Avatar, you have to recognize Cameron's legacy to the advancement to filmmaking technology, and the long-lasting cultural impact that Avatar will have on cinematic history. It's bound to be a classic in the years to come, so the haters will have to do their best to ignore having Avatar references that come their way, if they are to maintain this petty jealousy or whatever motivates them to mock or disparage things that they don't like. I'm not saying the haters have to like something but they would do a lot to ease their dissatisfaction and obvious distress, to let go of the animosity. But then again, what do I care about what negative comments people say about things I like? It will never get to me, and cause me to worry about things I do enjoy. That's clearly what the haters are after.
Dec. 16, 2009, 12:15 a.m. CST
...that means YOU CARE! If you COULDN'T CARE LESS, it means YOU DON'T. Nothing personal, I just hate that mess.
Dec. 16, 2009, 12:16 a.m. CST
...to the Avatar haters at this point. They're either rival studio clowns, people who hate Cameron for something he did to them in the past, or just plain TRYING to get your goat. They haven't seen it, therefor they don't know shit. End of story.
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