We were honored this week by the presence of Stacie Ponder (aka Finalgrrl!) — co-host of the Gaylords of Darkness podcast — for our discussion of Midsommar. We are doing “Join Us June” all month on You Love to See It (our movie podcast!), watching movies about cults in some fashion and we basically had to rewatch this one.
As always, you can listen to the show in the embed, or find it on your podcatcher of choice here. I’m including our show notes here, which contain some creative capitalization and spoilers, but should give a good sense of our research and thoughts moving into recording day. You can also read the full transcription below our show notes, if you prefer your podcast in this format!
Midsommar is a movie about a young woman with a horrible gaslighting boyfriend, plenty of anxiety, and a horrific family trauma that prompts her to take a vacation with the boyfriend and his awful friends to a remote Swedish village. It’s a folk-horror romp that’s as colorful, drug-induced and deeply funny as it is properly scary. Maybe more so!
And now, our must-discuss items:
Fernanda’s must-discuss items:
- I don’t really like watching the same movie several times, let alone watching movies that last 2h 20min several times. So I will admit that, while Midsommar was one of my suggestions, I was low-key annoyed at having to watch it for a third time in a short period of time. HOWEVER, five minutes in, I was fully on board all over again. What I find interesting is that all the times I’ve watched it, it made me think about different things. The first time I was very much with the “You know what? Good for you, Dani” camp, seeing her decide to get rid of her good-for-nothing boyfriend to become not only revered but seen and embraced by a community that includes several sympathetic women. I didn’t really focus on the obvious fact she was leaving one unhealthy dynamic to join another until later on. Clearly, she was being love bombed — a classic tactic in cults and several other abusive dynamics — in order to be lured in, and she was especially vulnerable to their advances due to her general state of isolation and her feeling of lost community. Pelle’s conversation with her, in which he talks about how, despite being an orphan, he’s always felt “held,” really speak to those tactics. And, of course, to the pull of cults. That, to me, is one of the main successes of the movie: The slow burn that lead not just Dani but us, the spectators, into thinking this is somehow a positive twist in her life. Her dressing like them, the women joining her in her grief, the fact that they do everything together, motivated by something bigger than themselves — this is all basic cult shit. Not to mention the constant supply of mind-altering substances, which is also a culty tactic (as well as sleep and food deprivation, and other things that lead to cognitive impairment). We’re quick to call it out for what it is once it’s clearly taken a turn for the dark, but here we’re brought along this journey in such a way that it’s easy to understand why the darkness can be so easily concealed by the light (which in this case is quite literal, considering it’s the “home” sequences that are dark and moody, and the “horror” scenes are the ones that are brightly lit and that take place during the day).
- On a note similar to what you said, Danielle… As I began to rewatch it, Rodrigo came into the room and said something about how he’d entirely forgotten the movie began with Dani’s family tragedy, because he was so focused on the forest cult stuff. And I realized that for me it was the opposite: The build-up to where she finds out what’s happened to her parents and her subsequent desperation on the phone and on the couch with Christian is the most haunting and persistent part of the movie. And that, again, is a point where I think this movie is so successful as a horror piece. Sure, cults are a thing that happen and we’re all pretty much susceptible, but the murder and gore and bloody ritualism are things that I will assume not most of us will experience in a lifetime. Grief, however, is a whole different deal. And what I think the movie does very successfully — aided of course by Florence Pugh’s spectacular performance — is portray that grief with such gut-wrenching close-to-homeness (is that a word? well, it is now). That’s part of the horror, too, right? Everything is part of the horror. The bear carcass and the dude being hung with his lungs sticking out, sure, but also the personal tragedy, the horrible suffocating relationship, the isolation, the quiet desperation, the loneliness. I love it more every time I see it, honestly.
- I just mentioned it in the previous topic but it deserves to be said repeatedly and emphatically: Florence Pugh, man. Holy shit. Just… Holy shit.
- Apparently shipping Pelle and Dani is a thing that happens on the internet and I’m like… Have you guys *seen* the movie? Have you all missed the part in which Pelle lured his friends into their gruesome deaths and then exploited Dani’s very obvious vulnerabilities in order to lure her into a cult? I once more bring news from the heteros, Danielle, and I can say with some conviction: We are not OK.
- This entrance on his Wiki Villains page sent me: “For all his flaws, he seems to genuinely love Dani and want the best for her. He is there for her when she goes through her severe anxiety attacks. Pelle is nothing but affectionate to Dani, he always sketches her in his sketchbook and even draws her as the May Queen. He remembers her birthday and gives her a present.” That’s how low the bar is, my dudes.
- I particularly like one moment in the fire scene, when one of the cult people gives Ingemar and the only volunteer these potions saying that they will keep them from feeling pain and fear, and then we see them very much experiencing pain and fear. It’s one of the moments that really expose their manipulation tactics and allow us to see the cult for what it is.
Danielle’s must-discuss items:
- my history with this movie includes our lovely guest star! I was lucky enough to go with her to the New York premiere, where ari aster and “Christian” actor Jack Reynor were there, and they served cute drinks named after stuff in the movie!
- I’ve seen it a few times since, and there are sequences from this movie that just live rent free in my brain. The depiction of panic – as someone who has pretty awful panic attacks – is basically perfect. The cinematography – those upside down angles of the car traveling – the cramped interiors of traveling spaces and bathrooms vs. the wide open, colorful village, the overall bright, candy-colored lighting. All of it is just embedded deep within my brain and I love it. I love this movie.
- Also embedded in my brain – like some of the most traumatizing images in Hereditary before it – is the frank, very, very real depiction of a person’s absolute worst nightmare coming true. The death of Dani’s family, the fact that she is so worried about it and here it is REALLY HAPPENING – absolutely punches me in the gut every single time I think about it, let alone watch it. There is something beautiful in horror about facing the worst possible thing, about looking at the truly awful square in the eye, even if it kills you. I will get a little real here and say I have bits and pieces of this feeling sometimes, as an EMT, especially seeing deceased patients. I haven’t forgotten a single one of them, either, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget a single beat of this sequence.
- It’s the visuals, the direction, Florence Pugh’s performance and something less tangible (let’s call it a vibe) that elevate this movie so much for me. Dani is so relatable, basically, if she were queer I would think I was seeing myself onscreen. The fear of loss, the anxiety, the panic, the need to try and hold on to something (shitty boyfriend here, and the “community” of his terrible friends) are so deeply felt and portrayed in a sympathetic way. I think this film cares about how women feel to a large degree, which brings us to:
- I love how obviously this movie hates Christian, the useless asshole who sure *thinks* he is a great dude. He’s awful, he sucks, he’s a coward – he should have been honest about their relationship, instead of gaslighting this poor traumatized young woman at every turn. We see it, and we see what a dick he is to his friend – doing the same thing – being a cowardly douche, then still thinking he’s such a great guy.
- He is, I suppose, victimized in a way – he clearly wants to be out of the relationship, but feels trapped because he thinks it’s what a “good guy” would do, to stay with her. He – and most of the outsiders – are victimized by the cult, in various ways, obviously. So maybe… compulsory heterosexuality and toxic relationships are the real monsters here? I’M JUST ASKING QUESTIONS
- FP: To your point, Ari Aster did describe this as a break-up movie. As told in The New York Times: “I’m a big lover of melodrama. And one tradition of melodrama is having the scope of a story match whatever the characters are feeling. So I wanted to make a breakup movie that felt as big as breakups tend to feel, which is cataclysmic, because a big part of your world is now gone. So I wanted to make this big operatic, apocalyptic breakup film.”
Here’s our Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Fernanda: Paul, please don’t cut “your mother laughs at dangly penises’ because I feel like it’s inappropriate.
EXT. FANBYTE CITY – DAYTIME
Some very chill 80s-inspired music plays as we slowly move from an extreme wide shot of the sun setting on the city into a quiet main street revealing the You Love to See It store.
Through the window, a view of the carpeted store inside emerges. Shelves line the walls and form aisles full of bright red VHS tape covers.
INT. YOU LOVE TO SEE IT STORE – CONTINUOUS
Fernanda, store uniform rolled up to accentuate her cool tattoos, works on her thesis, typing away on the store computer. Danielle, in the perfect combo of workout gear and her store uniform, sketches a customer browsing the aisles on the back of a receipt.
You walk through the front door and the bells chime, they both look over at you.
[00:00:33] Danielle: Oh, hello there. And welcome to You Love to See It. Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month we pick a theme and every week we watch a movie and then we decide where its VHS tape belongs and yes, they are VHS tapes where they belong in our delightful neighborhood video store. We will judge if it’s May Queen material and deserves a spot on our distinguished staff picks shelf.
If it’s sun drenched and flower, draped enough to settle nicely within our totally fine and good middle aisle, or if it’s terrible, useless, and cowardly and deserves to burn forever in an eternal bear suit in our dumpster out back, those are our categories working in the counter today. We have yours truly.
Danielle “Dani Deserves Better” Riendeau. My fantastic May Queen worthy co-host Fernanda “You’re Pissing On My People” Prates. Fernanda, how are you today?
[00:01:29] Fernanda: I’m doing amazing. I love that for me, that I May Queen worthy. I’ve always dreamed of reigning over a white supremacist Swedish cult. So I feel like this is really my moment. Love that for us.
[00:01:44] Danielle: It’s always been your dream. That’s so beautiful. We made dreams come true here on you love to see. And today we have a very special guest Stacie “Wheelbarrow Connie” Ponder, AKA final girl from the internet, the cohost of the Gaylords of Darkness Podcast. Stacie, I’m so glad you’re here with us.
How are you doing today?
[00:02:06] Stacie: I’m doing very well and I am also glad to be here amongst you. Thank you for having me. Oh, this is exciting.
[00:02:12] Danielle: We are thrilled to have you wheelbarrow Connie.
[00:02:24] Stacie: I had, there was another front runner for a nickname and I was like, I’m not too excited about that. And then when wheelbarrow Connie made her appearance in the movie, I was like, there she is that’s the one.
[00:02:34] Danielle: I did a full belly laugh like a cackle belly laugh. When I first saw this in the notes. I just want everybody to know that I want everybody to know that really did happen. And it came out. And to me it was a noise that came out of me and I am proud of who I am and what I do.
[00:02:50] Stacie: Honestly, I should honestly tap out now because clearly that is going to be my high watermark.
[00:02:55] Danielle: No, you’re just starting with a bang and you’re going to keep going with the bangs will keep coming,
[00:03:01] Fernanda: setting the pace further. And I like the word shouting out Connie already cause Simon and Connie are like the only people in the entire fucking movie that I would argue our unproblematic. Like they’re the characters that I feel deserve to get shouted out right off the bat.
(Danielle: “That’s true!”)
[00:03:19] Fernanda: They have not, yeah, they’re not assholes. And they have not assisted in committing ritualistic pagan murder. So it’s like good on them.
[00:03:28] Danielle: Yeah good on them. They’re the only ones.
[00:03:30] Fernanda: Didn’t do much good to either of them, but here we are appreciating your efforts. (laughs)
[00:03:38] Danielle: Ugh, and the nicknaming efforts are good too. So basically for the next four weeks, I’m going to explain our theme here. This is Join Us June. So for the next four weeks, we kindly request that you relinquish your current belief system on behalf of our fresher superior ideology that you give up your individuality and basic human needs for the sake of fulfilling our higher level collective vision, you cut off the negative influences that are not yet enlightened enough, that you understand the power of our teachings.
And follow us, Your kind generous leaders in a month we’ve been divinely inspired to call, Join Us June. In other words, let’s talk about cults, baby. (starts singing to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”) Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things. All the bad things that cults can be. Let’s talk about cults. I’m inspired.
[00:04:31] Fernanda: (laughs) I love it. Oh my God. Paul is going to do some magic with this.
(Producer’s note: I did.)
[00:04:38] Danielle: I hope- there you go, Paul. Salt-N-Pepa, they’re great. Like my favorite all time favorite girl band. Anyway. Join us june. We’re talking about cults. We’re talking about movies that are about cults are not cult classics more than. Potentially cult classics, but that are actually about cults. And this week, if you haven’t figured it out yet we are watching one of my favorite recent movies horror cult, or basically anything, just one of my recent favorites, 20 nineteens full horror relationship, nightmare: Midsommar.
[00:05:21] Danielle: We’re about to fly into our first segment, setting the scene where we introduce the movie at head. We have a little spoiler free chat about our history with it, but first to those unfamiliar, with the story here is a brief summary that I’ve prepared about the movie: Midsommar is a movie about a young woman with a horrible gaslighting boyfriend, plenty of anxiety, and a horrific family trauma that prompts her to take a vacation with said boyfriend and his awful friends tweet remote Swedish village.
It’s a folk horror romp that says colorful drug induced and deeply funny as it is properly scary. Maybe even more but we’ll get into that in due time. First, I like to ask both of my wonderful cohost, my may queen worthy. Co-hosts both what their history with the movie is. I ain’t going to start with you for Nanda cause Stacie and I have a shared history with this movie, it’s very beautiful.
[00:07:24] Stacie: A conjoined history.
[00:07:26] Danielle: A conjoined history. You might say.
[00:07:29] Fernanda: A first on the show looking forward to it. I think my history with it’s pretty much the same as everyone else’s he came out and everybody was talking about it. This was my third time watching it for the show. And I will say I hate watching movies several times, especially longer movies.
And this is two hours and 20 minutes. So even though this was like my, one of my suggestions, I was like goddamn and I have to get there, like another two hours and 20 minutes of the thing I’ve already gone through twice before, but the minute the movies started, I was like, oh yeah, I really love it. (Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
This is not a upsetting me at all, I am actually enjoying this experience and all of the times, and we’ll get into all of it. I’m sure. But what to me has been the most interesting experience with Midsommar is that like every time I watch it, I came away with a different sort of take on it. I had a different experience has had a sort of different viewpoint on it.
Like the first time I watched it it’s interesting. Cause I, the whole like cult aspect of it, obviously didn’t escape me cause it’s very much in my face, but it wasn’t like what I was really focusing on. Like the movie the way the movie ended and we’re keeping it spoiler free, but we’ll obviously get more into it, but it was kinda like.
Good for Dani. Good for Dani. Now it’s more like not really good for Dani and Dani has it has a lot of yeah, she’s just switching abusive and toxic dynamics here. Isn’t she? But yeah, so this is my history with it just basically like being interested in and as a topic of conversation that was happening, especially because I really liked heriditary and watching it a few times and still loving it for the third time.
Who’d have thunk it?
[00:09:10] Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. God. So good. Stacie. I want to hear about your history with this beautiful film.
[00:09:16] Stacie: (laughs) well my history with the film is I, for whatever reason, I got invited to the New York premiere of this and so I got in touch with Danielle and I was like, “do you want to go with me?” (laughs) I was like “we never hung out or anything, but do you want to go?”
And so we did, and that was pretty cool.
[00:09:34] Fernanda: Aw that’s nice. (Danielle: “Yeah!”)
[00:09:38] Stacie: Yeah. I got to see an Annabel billboard on the bus ride down to New York, so that was fun. And then I got to see Midsommar and Ari Aster. And what’s his name? Jack Reynor we’re there at the premiere. And it was pretty cool. It really blew me away the first time I saw this, like yeah spoilers, but yes, very much “good for her.”
I just was completely shocked by the final shot in this film. This time I had- this is only my second time seeing it was watching it for this. I had not revisited it. ’cause it is a long ass movie.
[00:10:15] Danielle: There’s a lot of movie here.
[00:10:19] Stacie: There is a lot of movie here. And there are so many movies I haven’t seen. So to be like two and a half hours, I don’t know. I know what it’s all about, but it was interesting to watch it again a few years later. And my feelings like Fernanda mentioned, I’ve changed a little bit about it, about the characters in it. I still really liked it. Still think it’s too long, but I’m still on board for the ride so…
[00:10:47] Danielle: Yeah. You covered my history with it too. That’s that was pretty easy. Oh, last thing I’ll say is they did have like cute drinks at the premiere, named after the Harga, and there’s something else. I don’t need to remember half of them.
I just remember it like, oh, cute drinks, you have.
(Fernanda: “I’d feel apprehensive to take one…” laughs)
[00:11:02] Stacie: Yeah, my hand started throbbing. And I was like “oh my god!” (laughs)
[00:11:14] Fernanda: Is this spring water was special properties ’cause if so, I have to take a pass. My consciousness is expended enough. I don’t really want to expand any further. Thank you.
[00:11:26] Danielle: We don’t need extra.
[00:11:29] Fernanda: I don’t. I’m good. I don’t want to yeah. Explore other planes of being. One is more than enough. (laughs)
[00:11:35] Stacie: I’ll be staying out of the nude room. Thank you very much.
[00:11:39] Danielle: Let’s stay out of the barn today, friends.
Yes, indeed. And the only other part is I’ve seen it a few times. I definitely watched it with my mom at one point, which was great. Actually, my mom, this is a brief aside I promise, but I think I saw both Ari Aster films with my mom, like during the same week when I was visiting at one point. And I like kept telling her, about Hereditary, which we have done on this show like “okay, mom, there’s a really disturbing scene. You’re a parent it’s very disturbing.” She fucking cackled at the most disturbing parts of that movie. So she clearly thought Midsommar was the funniest thing she’s ever seen in her life. So maybe some of my sense of humor comes from my mom. I suppose.
[00:12:25] Fernanda: That’s explained some stuff for our listeners only being enlightened by this information, I’m sure.
[00:12:33] Danielle: Yeah. A little, a little bit. I think I am a more sensitive soul than she is, but it really was a bit funny. So she truly thinks this is like a comedic masterpiece. (Stacie and Fernanda laugh) My mom also just like generally thinks penises are the funniest thing in the universe. If you basically go to her and you’re, yeah, you just are like “penis!” she will just cackle. I think she’s just of that generation where nobody could say things, like she was brought up Catholic and it’s you can’t say things like you can’t say that. So if there’s any like male nudity or anything sexual, she just thinks it’s so funny. So there you go.
[00:13:08] Fernanda: Can I get a brief aside. She can never watch how to with John Wilson season one, because there is an episode where penis is featured prominently in an incredibly hilarious situation. And I feel like this would literally kill your mom. Like she would let herself into oblivion. Yes.
[00:13:31] Danielle: (laughs) She just never stopped laughing.
[00:13:33] Fernanda: It would be like in South Park when one of them, I think it’s Cartman. He laughs so much, he burns a funny fuse. Several asides.
[00:13:47] Danielle: I feel like it’s important context though. I feel like when you watch a movie with your family, sometimes you don’t know what’s going, gonna go. And my God, that was one of the best.
It was one of the best experiences I could have had watching this movie with a family member. So that was excellent. Oh, I guess we should probably move on to our, stripping it down section and by the way, dear friends, we have spoilers in this section. Now we say that whether they’re movie’s from 1920 or from, two months ago.
So just so you know, there are spoilers. We will be spoiling things probably should just put a content warning on here too. There’s a lot of violence. There’s some sexual stuff that, has questions about it. Let’s just put a content warning, just in case, just for our listeners.
[00:14:49] Danielle: all right. Now we are in the, stripping it down section where we will, again, be talking about spoilers. We’ll talk about all kinds of things. We will. Everything is fair game. Every Midsommar thing now is fair game. I want to talk about something that was already alluded to here from both of my, again, fantastic may queen worthy co-hosts and that is how you feel about the ending of the movie. I know this is Hey, we can talk about the ending right at the beginning, but it seems like a really interesting framing that everybody’s seen this movie a few times now and has different feelings about it each time I want to dig into that.
It sounds like the context, all of us, it seems like we’re like good for Dani. The first time we saw it, like good for her, she got rid of the shithole boyfriend. And maybe because that was almost shocking at the time to see that in a movie that like a woman is saying actually fuck you, you’re the worst.
And also you can burn in a bear suit. Which I suppose is shocking on a few levels, but yeah, she really is just trading one abusive relationship for another isn’t she? It’s not actually so beautiful. It’s not actually the best thing in the world. And Fernanda, you wrote about that a lot in your show notes here.
[00:15:58] Fernanda: Yeah ’cause exactly like the first time you watched a movie, like I read somewhere, it like reads like twisted girl power fantasy. And I agree, like a lot of people because we see Dani go through this horrific tragedy with her family, which we both wrote about in our notes. And I’m sure we’ll get into it too eventually, but so you see her go through this enormous trauma.
Like her whole family’s died because her sister died by suicide and killed her parents as a horrible situation. Incredibly traumatic. And you’ll see she’s lonely, she’s isolated. And her support system is this fucking douche bag who just straight up sucks. Like the Christian there’s no redeeming like quality to this man, other than maybe he stuck by her despite wanting to break up with her, but still this man didn’t even pick his own fucking doctor’s thesis. (Danielle laughs) No, Christian, that’s just nothing good, but he’s not even smart like Josh, or I dunno. Will Poulter his redeeming quality is, his interesting eyebrows, but he- so she goes through all of this she’s in this horrible situation that she ends up in this trip, right in Sweden with her horrible boyfriend and his horrible friends.
And you just sad for Dani the entire time, she’s desperate. It’s like she’s lonely. She’s surrounded by people who fucking suck. So the way the movie ends is like everybody dies. She’s she’s not directly responsible for Christians death that because she was given a choice, well somebody had to die.
It was either an unknown or her shitty boyfriend. But I did so the first time I came out of it, it was really that thought of you know what, she’s being revered in the cult, right? She was picked as may queen because you can see a very slow burn. And to me that’s really where the movie really shines with the cult’s build.
She is being really lured slowly into this group of people. She, for the entire movie, she’s not wearing the same clothes as they are, but then by the end, she is, and, Pelle, the guy who, the guy from the group of friends who dress, who got them there because he grew up in the commune. He is nice to her.
He remembers her birthday. The bar is that low here in heteroland. (Danielle and Stacie laugh)
He drew her a picture and remembered her birthday, oh wow. (laughs) Truly groundbreaking stuff. But anyways, we see the love bombing right, everything evolving and this whole buildup and they elect her may queen and she’s being, put in the, she’s being put on this flowery pedestal.
So the end of the movie does in one way, seem like, oh, she left this horrible reality. And even with the colors, they do it so well. Like the beginning of the movie is gray and rainy and her life looks sad. And then she’s in this flowery sunny place and she got her happy ending because everybody died.
Woo hoo. And she’s free. And it’s like “not really! They’re a cult.”
They love bombed her like cults and other abusive situations and dynamics are known to do to lure her, answer this. They gave her a choice between killing two people while she was on drugs and isolated her from everybody she knows. And she’s now covered in flowers and this Swedish place in the middle of nowhere.
And it’s no, that’s not good for Dani. I feel very sad for Dani. She had again, once manipulated and put in a situation that she didn’t really have any control over. Did she? Just sad. Poor Dani!
[00:19:31] Stacie: Yeah, I think the first time I saw it, I was really reacting to the fact that, like you said, she was finally being listened to, she was being validated. She was receiving all of that and then killing her shitty boyfriend was really just a bonus for me.
And so I was just like, yay. This is great! All the while I was also found it always found it, a curious reaction to this movie when people, the first time I saw it, when people were like, “oh, Pelle! Do you feel held by him?” Does he feel like- just gives everybody a huge Pelle boner? And I’m like, are you kidding me? The guy was shitty and is manipulating her from the start, like he’s insidious. And one of the worst characters in the movie! It isn’t some great romance. He has an ulterior motive and they mentioned it at the end when he has his grass hat on and they talk about his unclouded intuition in bringing all of these people to Harga. And, it’s just like this isn’t some, “oh wow. Finally, she can be with Pelle.” (laughs) So I think this time around, I really picked up on so much more of the cult’s nefarious nature. On the first time I saw it, I was just like, yeah, this reiterate – cults communes, not for me. Thank you.
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
[00:21:10] Stacie: I am not interested in any of this. Yeah, it’s nice of you to all scream with me when I’m upset, but ya know…
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:21:22] Stacie: It’s too suffocating, no, thank you. The moment they arrive and there’s fucking people on flutes and everybody’s dancing and it’s just I just like, that’s horrifying to me, but I really picked up this time on the more insidious nature of it, the way they whittle away, especially at Dani and even at Christian.
[00:21:48] Fernanda: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:21:49] Danielle: Yeah, I’ve heard some fan theories that like there’s like bear patterns and things, even in the family house, when there’s, the really genuine tragedy at the beginning of that, there’s some theories, it’s slightly. Maybe a little slightly tinfoil hat, but that Pelle even staged part of that because he thought this would be the perfect kill kind of thing.
However- I know. Believe me. I’m, I’m not one of those people. I’m not one of those people, however,
[00:22:15] Stacie: There’s a “but” coming, yeah.
[00:22:17] Danielle: It’s just that, it’s funny that Pelle did the whole thing. I don’t know. He’s just an asshole. He’s not necessarily a mastermind of, but if listen, if this were the DC universe, yes, it would have been that he did the whole thing, however, we’re not doing that.
Thank God. So I will say. For me, my absolute favorite part of the movie is always going to be the sort of whole first act like for me. I love the whole movie. I, again, it’s like a favorite of mine. I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s gorgeous. I think it’s doing a lot of things for me as somebody who suffers like horrific panic attacks, sometimes the way that this movie looks at panic and looks at like just gut punching, disgusting, miserable trauma, like the worst possible thing.
This is a person with anxiety. And there’s like a little bit of backstory oh, she’s a psychology student. Presumably like a grad student in psychology of some kind. And like she’s working with her own issues. She has mental illness running in her family and she has anxiety herself.
She has. Has medications that she takes to help control her anxiety. But really if you have anxiety, nothing helps. And there are like emergency medications sometimes for the worst parts of it. Nothing really makes it go away. You just live with it. You have to survive with it.
So the fact that she’s terrified and obsessed with her family, dying with her sister’s mental illness, causing this problem. And then it happens. It just happens. Everybody’s been gaslighting her “no it won’t happen. Oh, it’ll be fine. Everything’s going to be fine.” Everything’s going to be fine because people can’t actually deal with how horrible that reality would be.
And then it happens. It’s reality. It’s something that just fucking happens in this movie. It’s something I love about hereditary too. Just the way things are just the ugliest scariest worst possible thing just happens. And look, you have to now look at it, look at it. For me, that’s very- that’s why I love horror really at its absolute base is yeah, I want to look at it.
I think about this all the time. I’m a person with horrible anxiety. I want to look at the fucking thing please. Because it’s a safe way of looking at it. Like I’ll even be like a little too real here and say like I have had bits and pieces of this feeling when I have been on I’m an EMT and have like really bad trauma calls or if I have a deceased patient or just something real, I’m looking at something really ugly, but it’s real.
And it’s true. And it’s right in front of me. And I can’t say how much I appreciate that. I know that maybe sounds psychotic, but it’s yes, these things are real. You’re not crazy for being afraid of them. There’s something about that. And this movie understands that in, in such an incredibly powerful way, the way things are framed.
The cinematography during that sort of like when we see the family, we actually see how they’ve died. Even some of the traveling sequences, the sort of tumbles of the camera kind of slowly not spiraling out of control by any means, but like slowly dipping in and out and doing all this stuff.
And in some of the framing when Dani has a panic attack, like in the air, in the airplane bathroom, and when she, runs to the bathroom or runs outside, like these things are so deeply felt. And every time I even think about these sequences, I don’t even need to be watching the movie to feel this.
I think about these, sequences, excuse me. And it’s just there, it is this is why I watch horror to like, look at this and be assured that yes, other people have had these experiences and feel this way as well. And Florence Pugh does such an incredible job with this aspect, especially that it’s holy shit.
[00:25:40] Stacie: Yeah. There’s so many sequences of her. And just very subtly, you see her trying to control her breathing or something like that. And it’s such a specific note for the character and it just really, without going into histrionics where she doesn’t have to say anything like “I’m really anxious here!” (Danielle laughs) We can see it. We can feel it happening. And it just makes it that much more effective and compelling.
[00:26:09] Fernanda: And the thing like even this, so the first half of the movie, or the actual beginning when I started watching it yesterday my husband like peeked at the TV and I was like, oh, I had completely forgotten that this was like part of the movie.
Because in my mind, what sticks out is like the flowers and the greenery and the forest cult people thing. And I was like, that’s interesting because for me, this is the beginning of the movie is always the part that sucked the most. And to me is the most unsettling part, I think, because. All of it is horror, right?
In different ways. But one thing like, yeah, it’s very scary to see a person hanging in a barn and with his lungs sticking out and he’s still breathing. That’s a horrifying sight, but it’s not necessarily a site that you can transport your everyday life because yeah. We sometimes are subjected to gory sites and of course, cults are a part of a reality of the world, but like this reality seems more removed than the reality of watching Dani’s family tragedy unfold. And I think that’s why they did such a good job at capturing it. Like every little thing, right? The emails the night getting the responses to the emails, the calling, and not getting like the calls back, like the way this is all built. And that I think to me is like the main thing.
The way the movie wins me over the most is the way that things build is just so perfectly good and so tense and in a way that can really feel, even if I thankfully have not experienced this level of traumatic event in my personal life, but that it really feels close to home. And then it transports it to a more bizarre alternative, which again, all of it’s horror just in a different way.
And I think that the first part also again it’s amazing because they really the director, but obviously I think the acting, everything the cinematography they, the way that the movie progresses, it lures you in and it makes you understand a lot better. We talked about this with our previous episode, which we kicked off cult month, right?
Like I think where we finally come around as a society to the idea that we’re all susceptible to this kind of thing, right? Like it was easy to think of “oh cult people are just kooky people who are just gentlemen for, weak, mentally weak enough to let themselves be wrapped into this horrible situation.”
And I think we, as a society have especially in recent years, like really come around to understanding that, first of all, our ideas of what a cult is they are much broader. Like they have been broadening a bunch recently, but also this way you can understand the movie does a good job or not only wrapping Dani up in it, but wrapping us up in it.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I think my reaction watching it for the first time and being like good on Dani really is a testament to how strongly and how well they did that. Nobody joins a cult thinking it’s a cult and that, “oh yeah, at 72. I’m going to kill myself.” And that’s it like, no, that’s, there’s a lot of other things there’s just, and they take this person who is isolated, who lost her entire, who has her entire support system in her entire life upended.
And you have her talk to Pelle in that scene in which has been particularly insidious. And like Stacie said, like I saw people being like shipping them online is a thing. And it’s just horrifying to think about. It’s, he’s talking to her and being like, oh, I’m an orphan too, but I’ve always felt held because I had this community.
So the contrast between the first part and the second part, and the way like this all really builds very well to the understanding of why she would end up being like ensnarled in this very complicated situation. It’s, to me, it’s just like very I love both parts of the movie. The first maybe sticks out more because again, I feel like it’s, it feels closer to home, but to me, just everything builds very masterfully to, to the conclusion.
[00:30:18] Danielle: Yeah, absolutely. I want to mention, I didn’t write this in the notes, but it’s something I’ve been turning around in my head is that it works with the sex scene too. On my first read watching this movie, the first time the like, sex scene was like hilarious to me. Like I found this to be like the funniest thing I ever fucking seen.
Like, all right, we’ve got Christian who is drugged, which is the complicating factor here, which I think is what makes me have complicated feelings about it later? But here he is. And he’s got him pregnant, this girl, which like ties back to a line for much earlier in the film. Like “you could be getting the waitress pregnant, bro.” Like with the friend. And all the, it really is just the eyebrows I think. But yeah. (they all laugh)
All the ladies the village, including like the older ladies are singing and dancing naked get it on baby. They’re just so fucking funny to me. And then of course, like again, like re watching it a few times, it’s like Christian sucks and I hate him, but he is drugged. That’s not the best thing.
That’s not great. Actually.
[00:31:23] Fernanda: You’re like being a shitty boyfriend doesn’t doom you to being burned alive.
[00:31:27] Danielle: That’s what I’m saying. Things do happen to him that actually are not okay. He sucks. And he should just be dumped like in real life. It’s you’re a sucky cowardly person, you should just be dumped.
You should not be killed. And he was probably should not have been drugged et cetera, et cetera. So there’s a lot of things with this movie though. Again, with the humor of it as well, with the humor, with the lighting, with the pretty cinematography, with all these bits and pieces, like you have this sense of oh, we should be laughing at this cult.
This is pretty wacky. Literally this wacky shit they’re doing, oh, that guy’s dead. There’s almost like a distance that you have with it, but then it also lulls you in that way that you’re talking about for nada of yeah it’s almost making you root for things that like, should I actually be rooting for this murder?
That might not be the best thing for me to root for? I don’t know.
[00:32:18] Stacie: It’s like the ceremony where the elders throw themselves off the cliff and, they come up with a way to explain it all the way and how this is actually a beautiful thing. And then, like Christian says it’s a cultural difference.
What can we really say when it’s not just a cult, do you know what I mean? When it’s not just Nexium in Albany where you pay $5,000 and go to a seminar or something, when it becomes a cultural issue? I think the foreigners going into the situation are going to err on the side of “Hey, I don’t know everything. And it feels fucked up to me, but this is what they do. So what can I really say about it?” And hopefully you’ll figure it out before you are stuffed into a dead bear and set on fire.
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
[00:33:10] Stacie: It’s really weird- talking about the difference between the opening and then once we get to Sweden and all of that and the color difference and all of that, it also lets us know how long Dani has been mired in this. Because when we start the movie it’s snowing and then her family dies. And then we learn that it’s- or now it’s early June and she still can’t get out of bed.
She’s still really in that space of grief and everything else that’s wrapped up in it. And so it’s just going to make her that much more susceptible to everything that’s going on, but then you read the fan theory. Wow. Pelle was there for the beginning!
But I didn’t know. It was this time. I was surprised to find myself and I really admonished myself over it. And if you want to kick me out of this discussion, that’s okay. But yeah, at the very beginning with the phone calls and all of that, I found myself having a sliver of sympathy for Christian. (Fernanda: “Yeah. Me too.”)
People stay in relationships too long sometimes when it’s just, I don’t want to have to go through the whole breaking up thing. You know what I mean? That’s going to be a discussion and so you just stay with it. And it’s it doesn’t absolve him of his shittiness or his friend’s shittiness, but I just felt like: this isn’t good for either of them.
[00:34:49] Danielle: Right.
[00:34:49] Fernanda: I absolutely agree with you. Danielle even put it in her notes and I agree like there, and by the way, Ari called this, like apparently he called this a breakup movie-
[00:35:04] Fernanda: it’s dramatic in his little New York Times piece. He said, and I quote, “I’m a big lover of melodrama. And one tradition of melodrama is having the scope of a story match whatever the characters are feeling. So I wanted to make a breakup movie that felt as big as breakups tend to feel, which is cataclysmic, because a big part of your world is now gone. So I wanted to make this big operatic apocalyptic breakup film.” It never really failed like bears on fire for me in particular, (Danielle and Stacie laugh) but I’m not like knocking anybody’s experience, but I totally agree with you. And again, I think that changed from my first time watching the movie, which was a developing sort of more sympathetic view of Christian.
This is a person like a dude in his twenties who is surrounded by these like similar minded dudes. And you can see that he’s not happy with the relationship from the start. And then it’s like this horrible situation. She went through this horrible tragedy, what is going to do? He’s not going to break up with her.
Danielle, you put this on your notes and I agree, right? There’s an element of him also being trapped in this relationship. And you can see that he obviously is an idiot. He should have told her, “Hey, I’m going to Sweden for a month and a half.” Or maybe, stop gaslighting her.
And maybe just not be an idiot. But again, I do, I am with you. Stacie and Danielle that there is obviously a certain level of sympathy for Christian to the extent of like people make mistakes and shit happens and relationships turn bad and make people act ugly. And yeah, he sucks, but again, not being paralyzed and stuck in a burning bear costumes so, in my opinion.
[00:36:41] Stacie: Yeah.
[00:36:42] Danielle: It reads anyway, I, this might not be the intent. This is what I’m going to read into it as again, a indictment of like compulsory heterosexuality of again, I’m not saying Ari Aster is exactly saying this, but like that human being suck at relationships. Okay. I’ll put it that way.
And then I’ll say, especially especially if you aren’t like, I don’t know, a fucking relationship pervert, who reads a thousand books about relationships and relationship anarchy and polyamory, and how to have perfect communication with your partners and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, which not everyone does.
I understand, but listen, maybe everybody would be better off if they read some of those books. Okay? (Fernanda and Stacie laugh) That’s all I’m going to say, but like the fact that they can’t even fucking communicate about this, like if someone’s very unhappy in a relationship, they should be able, I’m not saying, oh, it should be easy, but like people should have the language of how to communicate that they should have the ability also to support one another in a way that feels actually comfortable to them.
Other than the only way to be with another person is for a heterosexual man and a heterosexual woman to be in a monogamous, exclusive relationship and nothing else exists in the entire universe. And I’m not even saying that’s about heterosexuality. That’s just about this is the only thing we have in the world for a support system, man, and woman must be together in this way and nothing else exists. And if these fucking people hung out with maybe some more people in my crowd, they might be better off. And okay. Even if they like sleeping with people with the opposite sex, that’s fine. I’m not going to judge them for that. (Stacie: “I will!”)
But this is not- (laughs) you will, that’s fine.. But that’s the problem, right? The problem is that we just don’t even have language for other types of relationships. We don’t have language for this, in our broader culture, his friends suck. They’re not her friends. Like she doesn’t have friends. She has one friend on the phone at the beginning of the movie.
And we never see this person. And that friend is trying to be supportive of course. And that, you can imagine that friend is supportive and does care about her and isn’t her life to some extent, but maybe she also she also was like, okay. The only thing in my life now is my boyfriend.
My boyfriend should provide for me, like all of this is locked into this one shitty paradigm that doesn’t work for everybody in all situations. It probably doesn’t work for all that many people and all that many situations. But again, I digress as a weird little queer anarchist here that I have now- Listen, in my cult… Okay. Everybody do whatever they want. (Stacie: “No flutes?” – Danielle: “No, no flutes.)
[00:39:24] Fernanda: I appreciate getting- can I like opt out of drugs to just just sometimes it’s cool, but I feel like it needs to be a choice.
[00:39:32] Danielle: Right and nothing feels like a choice in that movie and that’s what’s so fucked up. (Stacie, sarcastically: “Whoa, controversial take!”)
I know controversy.
[00:39:42] Stacie: The whole, again, with the elders throwing themselves off the cliff. Like none of Pelle’s friends consented to see that! Like consent is a huge thread running through this movie.
[00:39:58] Fernanda: Yes, it’s eh, exactly right. That’s the whole, again, the aspect of a cult. And even with this the drugging is also like a tactic, right?
Sleep deprivation, food deprivation. These are tactics that cause people to be confused cause cognitive impairment and this is also a part of how real life cults ensnare people. And it’s interesting ’cause we were talking about the sort of stuff when they were- after the suicide scene, obviously horribly shocking, again, something that people should really be aware of what they’re about to see when they’re stepping into the situation.
And then they’re explaining like, Oh, yeah. Yeah. At 72, the lifecycle ends like people, you don’t want to be a burden or just stretching life for the sake of it. So like we die and I’m like, “you know what? That kind of makes sense.” I admonished for that because (they laugh) no, that’s horrible! People live very complete lives after this. This is terrible. They’re getting me. This is how they get you. This is how they get you. I will never go to Sweden. This will happen to me.
[00:41:04] Danielle: (laughs) “I will never go to Sweden!”
[00:41:06] Fernanda: Totally agree with your reading Danielle, and the sort of like compulsive heteronormativity thing. And it’s interesting ’cause you asked what was the last episode two episodes ago if the straights are okay, we’re not.
Clearly we’re not and to this effect, I will read- I was doing there were entries on Wiki villains for both a Pelle and Dani. I disagree with Dani’s entrance. Okay. Like she was an accessory to murder, but I don’t feel like she had a choice in the situation. Okay. But on Pelle’s there’s like this giant entry, all the ways in which Pelle’s a fucking villain.
And then there’s this little bit here: “for all his flaws, he seems to genuinely love Dani and want the best for her. He’s there for her when she goes through her severe anxiety attacks. Pelle is nothing but affectionate to Dani. He always sketches her in his sketch book and even draws her as the may queen. He remembers her birthday and gives her a present.”
[00:42:07] Stacie: They’re going to end up in the wheelbarrow.
(they all laugh)
[00:42:12] Stacie: You’re gonna fall for the bullshit. You always say, it’s, the cults are all about that analogy of the frog and the boiling water. You don’t throw the frog into the boiling water, you turn up the heat and slowly boil it. And that’s what happens to everybody throughout this movie. And I wonder what Dani, like you said, didn’t have a choice.
Somebody had to die at her word. And I just wonder what would have happened if she said, no, I’m not choosing anybody. Would they have killed her? Would they have just killed both of them? Who knows?
[00:42:52] Fernanda: And that’s I guess the ambiguity. Even cause they do the shot of her smiling at the end. It’s is she actually and now deep down the, she actually like evil was she actually meant to be in this cult? Was she actually destined to be a part of this thing or was it that she was so successfully absorbed and indoctrinated by the situation? I think what, by the kind of gives it away. I think the sort of like in a more clearly insidious-
Shows a more clearly insidious facet of it is when they’re in the house and the house is burning down and the guy goes with the little, like the liquid or whatever that he gives them and be like, oh, so you feel no pain and fear. And then we see the guy very much suffering pain and fear. So it’s oh, so these people are fucking liars!
[00:43:42] Stacie: Also Dani, like you said, is drugged at this point hasn’t been eating enough is still grieving. And we know she has issues with anxiety and depression and all of this. So she’s in a vulnerable state also at the end of the movie. She doesn’t have really much of an idea of what happened to everybody else tell her, but she doesn’t, she’s just their zoning out.
And now she’s exhausted from doing her may queen jig which she did for hours! (they all laugh)
And Christian is the one who goes through the slasher movie gauntlet and finds all of the dead bodies. She has no idea what’s really been going on. She just saw her boyfriend, fucking someone else. She doesn’t know that he was drugged and that it was a terrible situation and all of this. So she acts impulsively and takes her revenge.
But what happens after this, after the fire goes out and she takes off her flower dress and there, and she’s oh shit, I’m here now. That would be a really interesting story. It’s yeah. Does she just say okay, I guess I’m here now. And everything’s cool. Or is she like.
[00:44:55] Fernanda: Who’s going to believe me about this. I am accessory to murders-
[00:45:00] Danielle: Does she run off with Pelle and have 15 children with him and jump off the rock and 70 cause that’s probably what happens, right?
[00:45:09] Fernanda: Yeah. And have other people like raise the children and it’s, and
[00:45:14] Danielle: some of those go out and try to get the may queen for the next 90 years,
[00:45:17] Fernanda: and they have to listen to the flute all the time and somebody learns Coldplay on the flute and then they have to listen to Coldplay. (Danielle: “NO!”)
[00:45:28] Stacie: She’s all out of sleeping pill. So she has to listen to that fucking baby crying every night. Flute all day, baby all night. No, thank you, my God.
[00:45:44] Fernanda: But that’s the celebration, right? Technically that only happens every 90 years. So who knows how miserable their lives are in the day to day? If that’s the celebration stuff, how bored are you going to be? Just I dunno what they do. Like painting, like the walls of their-
[00:45:59] Danielle: I guess they could get high and paint.
[00:46:04] Fernanda: That’s a dark turn to your lesbian commune that you keep-
[00:46:08] Danielle: I know right? Listen. Just FYI. I propose that the perfect ending to most movies, not every movie ever, but 99% of them, almost every movie is that all the women like leave, whatever shitty situation has happened. And they form a beautiful lesbian commune of equality. And it looks a lot like the beginning of that wonder woman movie, the good part of that wonder woman movie.
They all get to ride horses and play with swords and everybody’s equal and it’s wonderful. And they all have sex. Like that-
[00:46:43] Stacie: This is what women do! Look at Suspiria 2018 portrait of a lady on fire. What happens when you remove all of the awful men from the situation, the women like make art and do cool shit. And sometimes they make out! (Danielle: “That’s all I’m saying!”)
[00:47:02] Fernanda: We can dream of a future in which they also kill Pelle and the dudes and it’s just the women.
[00:47:09] Danielle: It’s just the women and they get to be high and make art all day. Nobody has to get impregnated.
[00:47:15] Fernanda: And they’re not all white anymore.
[00:47:17] Danielle: They’re not all white. They could have other reasons here, please. Thank you.
[00:47:22] Fernanda: That’s another little aspect that they don’t really touch on a lot, but, yeah, it’s very clear that they’re kind of white supremacists. No? Like everybody is very, very white there.
I’ve never seen the director’s cut, but supposedly have either of, y’all seen the director’s cut?
Two hours and 20 minutes is enough. (Stacie laughs)
[00:47:40] Danielle: No, I know. I know. I know. I know. I think 90 minutes is the perfect length for every movie, maybe 80, maybe 89.
Actually. I’m aware of a director’s cut where that’s much more explicit for sure. Unless I made that up. Did I make that up? I’m in a, I’m in a place today. I’m in a state. I’m in Midsommar right now.
[00:48:02] Stacie: Fan theory? (laughs)
[00:48:03] Fernanda: Is it your fan theory? I did read it somewhere cause I read a bunch of shit before starting and it gets jumbled up in my mind.
They would read a medium post, but I also read it somewhere. They were like explicitly calling it a white supremacist cult. And I’m like, yeah, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know if this person who wrote this had more information than we did. In which case, sorry for accusing your murderous pagan colds of being racist as well.
I’m sorry. I apologize for that last part
[00:48:37] Stacie: (sarcastically) “Listen, when we commit murder, we don’t even see color! We just murder.”
[00:48:45] Fernanda: We murder everyone, indiscriminately. Like you could see, we even kept out Simon with his lungs out for a little bit. That was nice. That scene is just something else. And he finds him in the barn. I really, that’s all I have to say about it. It’s something. It’s a scene. It’s a thing that happened that scene.
Yeah, I like to me that’s and I it’s what I was saying before I really liked the balance of the everyday horror shit to the completely outrageous, shocking scenes that are so incredibly creepy. Who thought of this? I don’t, the director probably Ari. And I am curious as to what goes on in that man’s cranial box because how do you even architect that kind of scene or this the sex scene and obviously incredibly freaking disturbing wheelbarrow Connie. Rest in peace.
(Stacie and Danielle laugh)
[00:49:52] Fernanda: These are poor. Connie did nothing wrong. If anything, seven and Connie, as I was saying, they were yelling like, this is weird. Like I want to get out. They were just poor- they were just pulled into this unfortunate situation and they didn’t even get to be protagonist of this whole nonsense. I really feel for those people.
[00:50:12] Danielle: I feel for them they really just got screwed.
Everybody does here. Everybody, who’s not one of the cultists basically gets screwed, but it’s yeah. Yeah, there are degrees and wheelbarrow Connie deserve better. That’s clear.
[00:50:26] Stacie: That’s the scene before things really move into the very final act. When you can hear her screaming far off in the distance is one of the like more unsettling moments for me.
Yeah. Whereas the camera’s on eyebrows whenever his name is, Mark.
(They all laugh. Danielle: “Chad!”)
[00:50:54] Fernanda: Craig. Something hetero like that.
I was reading something like the first question when you when you put, like – the Google the first question people also ask “who is the actor with the eyebrows?” So he’s the actor with the eyebrows. That’s a nice little- it’s better than being known as fucking asshole Mark. (laughs)
[00:51:21] Danielle: Right? I mean the actor didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just, he just portrayed this so well.
[00:51:27] Fernanda: He’s the whistleblower in Dope Sick, so I forgive you Will Poulter for your misdeeds.
[00:51:35] Danielle: For your crimes. For pissing on my people. Yeah.
[00:51:38] Fernanda: That’s another very comedic scene as well. Like you said, they do have that little, the fine little balance between the humor and the terrible, horrible creepy ass situations I do. It’s very quick. And then the bodies are like, just like these masks in like branches, just who thinks of that, Ari? Very impressive, but very disturbing.
I have so many questions.
[00:52:05] Stacie: Somebody- he’s obviously very well versed in horror movies.
[00:52:09] Fernanda: And he’s young, he’s only like 35.
[00:52:14] Stacie: Yeah.
[00:52:15] Danielle: Oh my gosh.
[00:52:15] Fernanda: Very impressive. Imagine by 35 you have directed Hereditary and Midsommar. Retire! Don’t try to do other things. (Danielle and Stacie laugh)
[00:52:25] Danielle: I was going to mention for me, this was, these are two movies that I like love deeply and never stopped thinking about I, I think I wrote it in the notes that like, there are sequences in this movie that just live rent free in my head. Same thing with hereditary. Like I am of course a horror fan and I am a woman and I have horrible anxiety.
So yeah, I know there’s some things, there are some things that just speak to me. But for a director who identifies as a man, he does seem to give a shit at least about his women characters, feelings and perspectives, and both movies are to some extent about gaslighting this one much, much, much more, but plenty of that does go on and hereditary as well.
At least for a portion of the movie where the husband is just like, ah, whatever this is stupid. And it’s no, actually it’s really fucked up shit is going on, dude. And he’s not nearly as much of an asshole as Christian is. He’s a much more sympathetic figure in a lot of ways, but there’s a lot of connective tissue between the two movies. For me, Midsommar is so much funnier and much more insidious because of this slow burn because of the cult aspect, because of in, in hereditary, Most of the characters did nothing wrong and it just happens to them anyway.
It’s like a very your fate is awful and you’re fucked. That’s just kind of it. Whereas here there is a human element to like, oh yeah, clearly the cult is doing this. The cult is doing these awful things. Pelle is doing these awful things. Like the slow burn this what did you call it?
Love bombing Fernanda. I want to make sure I don’t use the wrong term.
[00:53:54] Fernanda: Yeah, the love bombing that they do to learn her in. That really culminates with the may queen ceremony.
There’s a very human evil here. Like a very identifiable human evil that is both somewhat more comforting because it’s okay, I can actually point to this versus a more supernatural kind of movie.
And also like terrible ’cause it’s like the people, those are people. Those are people who were probably victimized at some point as well and perpetuating this cycle of violence and toxicity and abuse. Yeah…
[00:54:24] Stacie: I appreciate that he, that he does Ari Aster does make movies about women, but they’re complicated women? Like Dani, there’s a certain level of culpability in all of this, and she’s just allowed to be a complex character versus, a female lead in, 2003.
She would have had to have found a shotgun somewhere and been like, this is how we’re going to compensate- overcompensate for all the shitty women characters we’ve had throughout film history. Now she’s a bad ass who takes no prisoners and has one liners that it’s like now finally, things are swinging back a bit, the other way, and women can be shitty and complicated and everything else just like they are in real life.
[00:55:14] Fernanda: We talked about this kind of recently exactly this the, about the whole concept of we had these strong female leads, don’t get me wrong. Like I fucking love Sarah Connor. Amazing form, just pure muscle. I love. No, no kipping just like straight up. Amazing. Love. Sarah Connor love the widow, but we talked a little bit about the concept of soft power in a recent episode in Widows.
And widows, it’s a movie about women committing crimes to make ends meet after their shitty husbands die. And it’s I agree with you that it’s a much richer and nuanced way of looking at women that as interesting and cool as Milla Jovovich and combat boots, killing zombies is Or, it’s also very interesting to see a woman who can- because like Tony Collette’s character in Hereditary and Dani here just, who can be- Dani’s kind of needy.
Yes. She’s a drag. I don’t know if I want to hang out with Dani which is her right to be a drag. She’s just going through horrible time, like dear god, Dani. I don’t know what happened to her female friend on the phone. Maybe she died too. Maybe that’s what happens to poor fucking Dani in this movie, she has to date Zach Braff in real life. (laughs)
[00:56:32] Danielle: Some choices were made!
[00:56:37] Fernanda: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Florence and Zach, I’m sure Zach is great. I’m not sure. I don’t know anything, (laughs) but I totally, I agree. I think it’s I love that this is a man who actually was able to do these female leads that don’t read as just pandering or over the top, but just as like relatable human women who are surrounded by relatable human shitty men the other guy in our heritage, like you said he’s grown, he’s got a lot more years in him.
Maybe Christian would have grown out of being a horrible douchebag to just be like a middle of the road, average douche bag. And we’re all about, he was stripped of this opportunity. To just just be mediocre before the end, mediocre, I feel bad for him steal. He could have stolen Josh’s thesis and made something out of himself, but he really did him dirty.
It’s Josh, right? Chidi from The Good Place?
[00:57:50] Stacie: Yeah. Josh. One of the very few times and opportunity has been taken away from a straight white dude. So…
(they all laugh because it’s true)
[00:57:59] Fernanda: (sarcastically) What are you talking about? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Such a hurt suppressed group of society. They can’t even say the N word anymore and here you are discounting their pain. Men are not allowed to be men anymore. They have to wipe their butts and everything.
[00:58:24] Danielle: (cackles) They have to wipe their butts? Oh no. Is this about dude wipes? Oh no.
[00:58:31] Fernanda: Oh, wasn’t there a thing for a while, but I still think it’s just like internet lore.
[00:58:36] Danielle: Is that Jordan Peterson saying you can’t wipe your ass. Is that the “it’s gay to wipe your ass?” Is that a thing now? I don’t know.
[00:58:42] Fernanda: I don’t think he ever said no- ’cause he’s I think one of his things is cleanliness to my recollection.
So I don’t think that was that we- we can chalk up a lot to Jordan Peterson don’t get me wrong, but I think it was just a thing that was happening on the internet about like how some men wouldn’t wipe their asses because it was gay or some shit. I dunno. I don’t know if it’s true. (Stacie laughs)
[00:59:03] Danielle: Dear sweet Jesus!
[00:59:05] Fernanda: Again, nothing against straight men. I am married to one, but I’m just saying. (laughs)
[00:59:12] Danielle: You’re like “the one I married wipes his ass! Thank you very much!
[00:59:19] Fernanda: Yes, he wipes his ass. He showers every day. I make sure he does. So… (laughs)
Christian is an avatar for the poor, a white hetero man. Probably has money too ’cause he’s getting his PhD in this economy.
[00:59:37] Danielle: He’s going to Sweden for a month without a job like… I don’t know.
[00:59:45] Fernanda: An avatar for the most underprivileged segment of society.
[00:59:50] Danielle: For the repressed underprivileged man dying in a bear suit. He is a figure for our age. (Fernanda laughs)
[00:59:58] Fernanda: I love it. Paul just said, “Harga’s working on all of us.” the new theme of our show.
[01:00:07] Danielle: I think we should move on soon to our shelf life segment, but I wanted to open the floor to any other thoughts, any other feelings, anything else we want to talk about with Midsommar before we decide where it belongs in our beautiful rating scale in our video store?
[01:00:24] Fernanda: I feel like I’ve had too many feelings already.
[01:00:30] Danielle: No such thing. Not on this show.
[01:00:34] Fernanda: I will give a final praise to Florence Pugh just because I think her performance is truly freaking astounding. And everything like the more dramatic, like even her goofily choking on a whole fish is just a testament to her- (laughs)
[01:00:54] Stacie: yeah. I, if you haven’t seen lady Macbeth, I recommend lady Macbeth, highly starring her as another problematic queen. (they all laugh)
Shall we say? She’s amazing. She’s one of the greats I think for sure.
[01:01:09] Fernanda: I think so. She’s one of those that 10 years from now, like we’re going to be like, oh, she is one of the talents of our generation. Interesting.
[01:01:17] Stacie: Yeah. So I still say no to cults. No, thank
[01:01:24] Danielle: No cults, no communes, except for my vision. I think my vision is pretty great.
[01:01:29] Fernanda: That’s exactly what a commune leader would say, Danielle.
[01:01:32] Stacie: That’s true. “My commune’s different.”
[01:01:34] Danielle: You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do in my cult and just, there’s just women everywhere. Playing with swords and horses. That’s it.
[01:01:41] Stacie: In your “cult?”
[01:01:46] Danielle: It’s not a cult, it’s a commune!
[01:02:01] Stacie: I thought it was a commune. You just said cult! I just, I need time to myself and space these people, and we’re going to have they have their communal orgasms. They have their communal cry fests. The flutes! Like we all stand up and sit down at the same time. Like I would go crazy in a day. In the wheelbarrow.
[01:02:25] Fernanda: You’re getting, you’ll be in the, a metaphorical wheelbarrow.
[01:02:30] Stacie: Yeah, I will be the Wheelbarrow. I won’t even be in it. I will be the- or somebody will stuff people in a Stacie suit and burn them alive. Like either way.
[01:02:46] Fernanda: Yeah. I think it was Mark who asked “oh, you guys have no privacy, how do you jerk off?” And I’m like, really. How do you jerk off?
[01:02:56] Danielle: It’s a valid question.
[01:02:57] Fernanda: It’s a lot. I agree with you. It’s a lot. I don’t want people all up in my business the entire time, and I don’t want to watch Austin Powers with a bunch of children every nine years.
[01:03:08] Stacie: That’s kind of hilarious that they like have a TV and VCR somewhere and, they just have three shitty movies. Like that’s all they watch.
[01:03:17] Fernanda: “We’re going to watch The Butterfly Effect today.”
(they all laugh. Danielle: “Oh my god!”)
[01:03:22] Stacie: It’s Butterfly Effect, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Austin Powers.
[01:03:30] Fernanda: So exact that they have these three movies.
[01:03:34] Danielle: That’s so grim…
[01:03:39] Stacie: That’s what they’re doing in between the 90 year festivals. Like they’re just watching those movies over and over again. That’s it.
[01:03:48] Danielle: Oh, that’s so depressing.
[01:03:50] Fernanda: I’ll take the bear suit.
[01:03:52] Stacie: Yeah. Dani’s going to find out real quick.
[01:03:54] Fernanda: Release the followup, Ari. We have questions. We wanna check in on our girl. Make sure she’s ok. (laughs)
[01:04:01] Danielle: Midsommar 2. Yeah. Midsommar 2, it’s just Frozen 2. But with Midsommar, it’s going to be so good. There’s going to be a flute, inside of it. In the DVD package, you get the flute… It’s very special.
Yeah. There’s a flute. There’s a pube pie. It’s great. Everybody loves it. I can’t believe, I guess we didn’t mention that, but I guess it just did. I love that the love spell is the pube pie.
[01:04:33] Stacie: Yeah, the pube pie and the period juice. I noticed that this time was that his drink was darker than everybody else’s it was pink and everybody else’s was yellow.
[01:04:46] Danielle: He had the period juice in there. Period juice. Delicious.
[01:04:49] Fernanda: Yeah. And it’s Iron rich.
[01:04:51] Danielle: Listen, nobody else is eating enough. Maybe he got some iron there.
[01:05:02] Fernanda: Really good stuffing for that bear. I’m coming around to Mark because he had another good line. He was the one who was like, “we’re just going to ignore the bear then?”
[01:05:11] Danielle: Before. Yeah, that is true.
[01:05:14] Fernanda: I feel like maybe justice for Mark as well. Underrated.
[01:05:18] Danielle: Yeah, definitely a great supporting cast. I do want to acknowledge that before we move on. Did a wonderful job as well. Although it is Florence, is the queen in both the fiction and in the reality.
[01:05:48] Danielle: Alright, my dear friends, I think I know where I land. I think I might know where we all land, but I will ask the question because now we are in shelf life. This is where we decide where the VHS tapes specifically for the movie belongs in our nineties neighborhood video store. If it’s a bonafide staff pick displayed proudly, if it’s a middle aisle placement, which is totally decent.
And we also put movies that we think are actually really good there, it’s just maybe not our favorite or if it needs the dumpster out back. I will open the floor to comments.
(they all laugh)
[01:06:26] Fernanda: Our guest goes first, I think.
[01:06:29] Stacie: Wow, how exciting. Would it be on my permanent staff shelf? I don’t know. I might put it in the middle aisle or dangle it on a string between those two shelves?
I don’t know that it would be in the permanent rotation of my staff shelf. However, if it was like, if I was theme-ing out, and I was like problematic queen time, I would absolutely put it up there. But just in the permanent shelf? I don’t know! I’m going to call it a Dangler. It can dangle in between.
(Fernanda: “Our very first Dangler!”)
[01:07:08] Danielle: A Dangler! We have a semi-Dangler between the middle aisle and the dumpster. We have something that’s sniffing at the dumpster. And it’s dangling a little bit. That’s Batman.
[01:07:23] Fernanda: We have a Sniffer and a Dangler. Dangler does carry a more positive connotation when you think about it. (Danielle: “Does it though?”)
I actually have it on my staff picks. (To Danielle:) I mean your mother laughs at dangly penises!
[01:07:46] Stacie: That’s true.
[01:07:52] Danielle: (laughs) She does!
[01:07:53] Fernanda: Paul, please don’t cut “your mother laughs at dangly penises” because I feel like it’s inappropriate. I don’t know Danielle’s mom. I didn’t mean to-
[01:08:02] Danielle: No, she would find that hysterically funny.
[01:08:06] Fernanda: Ok, because we had a whole conversation about this. I’m not here to just make an accusation.
(they all laugh)
[01:08:09] Stacie: Cut out the first conversation so it seems like Fernanda’s just coming up with that on her own.
[01:08:29] Fernanda: (laughs) Because if this is how I get canceled-
[01:08:32] Danielle: My stomach hurts from laughing so hard.
[01:08:36] Fernanda: I want to get cancelled for becoming the may queen. I don’t want to get canceled for dangly penises. They cannot be my downfall anymore. I’m married now. I’m no longer letting penises ruin me, okay? (they all laugh)
So my I like the dangly-ness. I would put it on my staff pick personally ’cause we have some shitty things up there. Stacie doesn’t know this, but we come into, we attack this from a perspective of people who have put some weird shit up on that staff picks shelf. So I would be remissed not to put an actual good movie up there.
[01:09:14] Danielle: (laughs) Yeah, we did ourselves there a little bit. Stacie, The Core is in our staff picks shelf.
We had a good time, we had a really nice time. (Stacie: “Sometimes that’s all it takes!”)
[01:09:32] Fernanda: Exactly. That’s how we, if we enjoy it, if it makes us happy, it’s in our staff picks and yeah I would put it in my staff picks, but I’m also like. I’ll let you have the final vote, Danielle, whether we just dangle it, cause it could be dangling.
We could have a string and just Midsommar there with a warning “Hey, this is not for everyone. By the way.”
[01:09:56] Stacie: My staff pick as like something I would put in the DVD player at a moment’s notice that makes sure, and this feels a little bit like the idea of watching Midsommar is a little like, Ooh-
(Danielle: “It takes work.”)
[01:10:13] Fernanda: It’s a chore. It’s not like Clueless, but it’s oh, I literally watch clueless every time. It’s like literally the perfect movie. Just me? Okay.
[01:10:24] Stacie: No, I love Clueless. Are you kidding? Classic. Yeah, which I say 24/7, put on a good slasher movie and I’m there.
[01:10:36] Fernanda: I get what you’re saying or like me with every Van Damme movie, like it’s. Yeah. Okay. But yeah, Danielle, I think you have the final vote.
[01:10:47] Danielle: I think, you know what I’m going to say. I am going to vote for it to be on the staff pick shelf because I do personally love this movie. I do love this movie. I do the, I do see what you’re saying, Stacie, about it being a work. So like you need to do emotional labor to watch this movie.
I feel like a little bit, right? It’s a movie that goes places. It goes some real places. And you think it deserves a staff pick shelf, at least in the video store of our beautiful dreams, which does absolutely include Lionheart and The Core in the Staff Picks shelf.
Yeah. So yeah, I think it makes it there. But by the strength of all of this now, (Fernanda: “of a pube pie.”) who’s to say though that it couldn’t come down a little and dangle, like absolutely. Like it’s absolutely possible that it will dangle at some point. And also Batman 1989 might stop sniffing the dumpster and fall all the way in.
[01:11:40] Fernanda: You’ll never get over it. We can put it into dumpster if it will make you feel happy. You’re really upset about this. We’ll revisit this. We can do an episode of us rearranging the shelf.
[01:11:52] Stacie: There you go. Reassessment time. I love doing that! Reassessing movies I watched even just a year ago or two years ago, sometimes it’s like “was I drunk? What was I on?” Or you find a new appreciation for something. So I think reassessing is very important.
[01:12:13] Fernanda: Yeah. So we, undangled it and placed it in our staff picks. But yeah we were giving ourselves room to maybe change our minds in a future reassessment.
[01:12:24] Danielle: Yes, exactly. Okay. This is art and art is an imperfect and sometimes messy process. And yes, I did call putting imaginary VHS tapes on a shelf, art. Deal with it, I guess.
[01:12:35] Fernanda: It is art.
[01:12:36] Danielle: Listen, flower arranging is a beautiful art. And so it was VHS tape arranging.
[01:12:40] Fernanda: And lung arrangement.
[01:12:44] Danielle: Dangling arrangements.
[01:12:45] Fernanda: Period blood arrangements. It’s all art.
[01:12:49] Danielle: It’s all an art I believe. And thank you, Ari Aster for giving us this art to ponder, dangling. I do appreciate all of it. Oh, wow. That is what we have for you this week. Dear listeners. I want to thank my co-hosts for joining me. I want to say thank you at home for listening.
Thank you to our producer, Paul “as Harga takes. So Harga also gives” Tamayo for all the help in not only making this show nuts, suck, but also rule. Stacie, it has been an honor and a privilege to have you here with us today. Thank you so much, very much, please. Would you like to plug your excellent website and show?
[01:13:30] Stacie: Thank you! Oh, okay. You can find me at finalgirl.rocks is my horror blog. You can find me in the pages of Rue Morgue Magazine, where I have a column and I write reviews and all of that kind of thing. And I host a podcast called Gaylords of Darkness. We have new episodes on Wednesdays and that’s at gaylordsofdarkness.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
[01:14:00] Danielle: Excellent. Thank you. That was a perfect plug.
[01:14:03] Stacie: Yeah. Okay. That’s the first time I’ve been told that.
[01:14:06] Danielle: You’ve never plugged before?
[01:14:08] Stacie: Plugging and dangling! uhhhhhhhh….
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
[01:14:12] Fernanda: Ahh the two genders.
Yeah the two genders.
[01:14:21] Stacie: Pluggers and danglers. West Side Story Part 2.
[01:14:26] Danielle: Imagine the songs, and when she says “Tony used the back door” in that show, in that song…, I’m so sorry. I should be shot. I’m going to read the rest of our text here.
We’re doing great. We would love to hear from you dear friend, listener. If you’d like to get in touch with us, please send us an email to email@example.com. That is firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s not like literally you’d love to see it, but I’m trying to make it make sense. yltsi, short for you love to see it, at fanbyte.com. Send us your reviews, recommendations, questions, or any general feedback. And maybe we will even read it on the show. We would super appreciate that. So please go ahead and send us a note if you’d like to. And if you like the work we do and want to show us some support, please do rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or rate us on Spotify. It really does go a long way in helping us out and super-duper appreciate it. You can find the links to our other podcasts, our discord, and our socials in the show notes until next time, dear friends, you love to see it.
EXT. FANBYTE DAYTIME – YOU LOVE TO SEE IT
The camera glides backwards out of the door while Fernanda and Danielle clean up inside. We move back to the extreme wide shot in front of the store.
Fanbyte City sits on the horizon somehow there are still blue skies and the sun shining.
[Fade to black]