Mike comes on Sarah’s new show to talk about robots, dads, the little metal hands guys and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." An Oops! All Pop Culture episode of You’re Wrong About.
Why Are Dads: https://linktr.ee/whyaredads
Support the show (http://patreon.com/yourewrongabout)
Mike comes on Sarah’s new show to talk about robots, dads, the little metal hands guys and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." An Oops! All Pop Culture episode of You’re Wrong About.
Why Are Dads: https://linktr.ee/whyaredads
Support the show (http://patreon.com/yourewrongabout)
Alex: Hello, Sarah Marshall.
Sarah: Hello, Alex Steed.
Alex: What are we going to talk about today?
Sarah: We're going to talk about Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Alex: What is Why Are Dads? about?
Sarah: Why Are Dads? is about trying to understand our relationships with our dads and our culture's relationship with what dads are, by watching lots of movies and talking to our friends.
Alex: Is there anything special by way of guests in this episode?
Sarah: There is. We have my You’re Wrong About co-host Michael Hobbes guesting on this episode. It's really cool.
Alex: Why did Terminator 2 come up as what we should talk about with Michael Hobbes?
Sarah: Well it was his suggestion, but it's a movie that we all independently love, and I think have a strong, emotional connection to.
Alex: Do you think people know that they have strong, emotional connections to Terminator 2, or that they just love it?
Sarah: I think people in America have an amazingly hard time knowing what is and is not an emotion. So I don’t know. But to me it's a highly emotional movie. It's like Land Before Time, in terms of like having this lovely, steady, parental figure who then has to be killed by lava and about just losing it and, you know, crying like the little boy that you are, who's losing your robot daddy you only had for a few days. Like, I don't know. I think that there are a lot of movies that do things that the people who love them never mentioned as a reason why they love them, but at least can't conflict with their love of it too much. And to me, another example of this is Scarface, which is a movie about being murdered in your own home, inevitably, just about the death drive of capitalist masculinity.
Alex: A lot of people might love Terminator 2 and they might think that it's a great action movie. Like an elevated great action movie.
Sarah: Which it is, it's a great action movie.
Alex: With no doubt, but I think they might also have no idea that the reason it is great is it makes them feel feelings.
Sarah: Oh yeah. I'm sure. And a lot of movies, if you ask, what's the most memorable part, you’re like, it's the part with the chase with the motorcycle and the scooter and the semi, which is like what you think of in terms of images, but it's action on your heart too.
Alex: And not that James Cameron made me feel dad feelings while he was addressing his own dad issues.
Sarah: Right? Yeah. And I think that is what makes James Cameron, James Cameron. That he has this wonderful technical obsession and ability. And that as far as, you know, Titanic, his master work was concerned. Part of the appeal for him was getting to reconstruct the Titanic and then sink it and see what it had looked like and just be this engineer making a movie, but that he also was like, and it's about love. You know, he just has that ability to connect our love of the technical, the dad viewer’s love of the technical and of vehicles with just very easy to understand and connect with stories about powerful love between people.
Alex: Mm, you know, we talk about how overt some of the themes are in the movie, because they were explained to us by their protagonist in voiceovers. Even as unsettled as it is, it's still so beautifully packaged and so beautifully wrapped. And there's such a nice series of bows on it that a lot of folks might have no idea that it's there. Like my dad would have watched this movie and had no idea that it was there.
Sarah: But it would have gone in like when you have to give your dog medication.
Alex: Exactly just smear it and peanut butter. We should remind people that we have a Patreon and there are bonus episodes. And this week there'll be a bonus episode with you and I Sarah, talking about things and answering questions from people who listen to the show and there'll be some odds and ends that didn't quite make it into this episode because, uh, there were a lot of asides
Sarah: I like asides. You know, it's, it's like, I'm like Sally in When Harry met Sally, you know, I just want everything on the side.
Alex: All right. Let's watch Terminator 2.
“Watching John with the machine. It was suddenly so clear. The Terminator would never stop. It would never leave him. And it would never hurt him, never shout at him or get drunk and hit him or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there, and it would die to protect him. Of all the would be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine was the only one who measured up in an insane world. It was the sanest choice.”
Sarah: Welcome to my two dads.
Mike: Oh God. Although there's an internet rumor that Alex Steed is actually a voice that I'm doing. I plan to nurture this conspiracy theory as much as possible.
Alex: Ideally this will break it, but who knows?
Sarah: Also a lot of people who Alex are convinced that I'm the one who tweets from the Why Are Dad's account and you tweet quite a few times, I've been like, no, it's me, Alex. And then the bio it's like Alex is tweeting and all these people are like, “Sarah's having a conversation with herself”. And I'm like, I'm not. That I feel like people really like picturing that, and that's fine too.
Alex: And the My Two Dads thing. Am I Paul Reiser or is it Michael?
Sarah: I don't remember the other dad. Who's the other dad?
Alex: He had the curly hair and really bad facial hair but was super fun. And he had a tiny earring.
Sarah: I have no idea. I just remember Paul Reiser. Mike, did you ever watch this show?
Mike: Yeah. As with most of Sarah's references, I just try to laugh and move along. That's all I got.
Sarah: It was a show where like a girl, this is a show from the eighties where a lovely, like 12 year old girl was court ordered to live with two men who like, could be her dad. Nobody knew.
Alex: They both slept with her mom within the same week we assume.
Mike: Oh just like me and Alex! Yeah, it is true.
Sarah: Exactly. Yeah.
Mike: You're in Maine. We both slept with the same ladies.
Sarah: I had this weird thing once in high school with my mom where I had this, I made this random joke about Warren Beatty being my real dad, just because I thought it would be random and funny, but then it made her so uncomfortable that I became convinced that I was right. And I was like, is Warren Beatty my dad?
Alex: Do you remember that show Sarah how the judge was basically Fran Leibowitz.
Sarah: No, was it like a feminist statement making judge?
Alex: No, it was like a judge, a character actress who just reminds of Fran Leibowitz.
Sarah: Huh. That's great.
Alex: Yeah. You should revisit that show.
Sarah: Yes, we should all watch it next time. But the point is that I do think that that comparison is in some way true because you were two of the most consistently affirming presences in my life. Each of you, individually, which we have determined is one of the qualities of a good dad. Which is what we're going to discuss in the capacity of Terminator 2. Oh! Brought it around. You didn't think I could do it.
Mike: We need like a little transition music, like, Oh, she did it! We got there!
Sarah: Just a little like Casio keyboard, triumphant sound.
Alex: Michael, who are you?
Mike: I'm Michael Hobbes. I'm a reporter for HuffPost and I co-host a podcast called You're Wrong About, with some strange woman I met on the internet.
Sarah: I heard she has soft keys.
Alex: You have a wonderful new podcast, Michael.
Mike: Oh yeah. I'm forgetting about this because it just launched this week. So I don't even know what I'm supposed to promote anymore. And I also have a new podcast called, Maintenance Phase, with another extremely cool lady that I met from the internet. So go check that out.
Alex: I've learned so much from this podcast just as a listener. I think it's great. But the biggest thing that I've learned is how to spell maintenance without looking it up.
Mike: That's what we're here. It's great.
Sarah: You should have another podcast called mischievous something because no one can ever spell that.
Alex: Michael it really is an exceptional podcast. I'm glad you guys are doing it. I love it.
Mike: Thank you. The You're Wrong About family is expanding every week. It's like, well, You're Wrong About on Mondays. Maintenance Phase on Tuesdays. And are you guys Wednesdays or Thursdays?
Sarah: And then we do our special episodes on Thursday.
Mike: We do our bonus episodes on Thursday on You're Wrong About, yeah.
Mike: See, we need, we need to expand the family we need. We need all seven days covered. This should be the goal.
Sarah: I don't think we need weekends. I think people need a break from us.
Mike: I disagree- seven days a week. Should, uh, should we talk about Terminator 2 now? I'm like bursting with Terminator 2 thoughts.
Alex: Why are we talking about Terminator 2?
Mike: I picked this movie because it's the ultimate nineties dad movie. And this is me and Sarah’s thing that we love together, the nineties, and you guys love dads together. And I thought this would be a fun crossover.
Alex: Someone on Twitter described this movie as the queerest movie they've ever seen, because it's about two butches raising their son together. And I love that a lot. Sarah, what's your history with this movie?
Sarah: I’ve only seen this once before I watched this with our mutual friend.
Alex: Michael Lister.
Sarah: So this is the first time I've come back to it since then, which is really nice because it's still quite fresh. Yeah. I had forgotten how explicitly dad centric this movie is to the point where there's literally a voiceover where Sarah Connor is like, as I watched my son playing with this robot, that was a reprogram version of the robot that had tried to murder me while I was pregnant and had indeed killed his own human father. I was like, well, he's the best dad that my son is ever going to have. So this is good.
Alex: Every time someone suggests we watched that movie, they quote exactly that line. So it does the work.
Mike: It is kind of amazing. It's pretty, I don't know, kind of normal action movie stuff. And then all of a sudden, there's this random voiceover out of nowhere, that's like, these are the themes of the movie. Like this is what you're supposed to be thinking as you're watching this slow motion high-fiving scene.
Alex: James Cameron's not great at subtlety with regard to themes.
Sarah: I think that James Cameron is great at being unsubtle and that that's a different thing from being bad at subtle because he doesn't think he's subtle.
Alex: That's true. Bad at subtle and unsubtle are two different things.
Mike: Yeah. There's never any sort of explanation for the voiceover. It's in the beginning and then we go like an hour without it. And then we get like a couple sentences of dad's stuff. And then we go like another half an hour and she's like, Miles Dyson is sad. And then we get voiceover at the end and it's not like she's writing in a diary. There's no framing device in which it would make sense that there's a voiceover it's just like, Sarah is going to tell us like the themes of the movie now, and sort of, that's like the conceit that we're all just supposed to accept.
Sarah: Women tell us themes. That's one of their jobs in a movie.
Alex: Which I think is great when I think about what we're doing with the show, which is talking about like complicated dad stuff by using popular movies people like.
Mike: And you have a woman named Sarah who tells us about the themes.
Alex: I wish we had an opportunity to also recut movies, where we just explained to people the theme within the movies.
Sarah: Yeah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could buy the Linda Hamilton voiceover pack, like on Cameo. Which maybe she would be down for who knows. And you could get her to like watch Cabin in the Woods and then get her to do voiceover about the themes. So I guess like middle of Cabin in the Woods, she's like, this is the theme of this movie.
Mike: Alex didn't you say this was your favorite movie for like 10 years.
Alex: Oh God. Yeah. This was my favorite movie until it was replaced with, um, cinema.
Sarah: Yeah, fucking cinema, man.
Alex: This was my favorite movie from like, whatever, age 8 or 9 to 15 or 16.
Mike: Like John Connor age.
Alex: Yeah. I was thinking a lot about this movie and my relationship to it. In particular, like feeling like, um, I wanted everyone to love this movie because I loved the movie, but I also recognize how annoying Edward Furlong is as John Connor.
Sarah: What? This is the first time hearing this.
Alex: No, no, please. So let me, let me clarify this. I didn't think this now, but I remember as a kid thinking he was annoying and being worried other people would find him annoying and thus find me annoying.
Sarah: Nooo! Alex oh no! Okay. You know what I think about John Connor? John Connor in this movie played by Edward Furlong looks exactly like Judith Butler and also kind of behaves like Judith Butler.
Alex: Everyone is androgynous in this movie. I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not androgynous, but like everyone, everyone's gender is kind of androgynous when packaged.
Sarah: But Arnold Schwarzenegger is a robot. So he has a different relationship to gender fundamentally. I was wondering as he walked into this biker bar in the opening, actually, does the Terminator have a penis?
Sarah: Does he have genitalia? So we do know that. Okay. How do we know that?
Mike: Because he has to blend in.
Alex: Well, they have to pass.
Sarah: Okay. So they're like, if you're naked, you don't want to look like a Ken doll because then people will know that there's something amiss. Okay. Yeah.
Alex: The Terminator check would be real easy at that point.
Sarah: That's a very good point.
Mike: And they say in the first movie that like the new Terminator living tissue, organism, whatever, they have bad breath, and they sweat, and they pant when they run. And there's all kinds of sort of things that make them human up-close. And so I don't think that they would overlook a detail that large. I have been thinking about this all week, so I'm glad you brought it up.
Alex: What I like about the third movie is they even increase the realism about the terminators because of their weight. Like terminators are like 3000 pounds ,they're made of metal. And so like, there's like an impact.
Sarah: How can they drive in cars or they can't go on trampolines ever. Like that's so intense.
Mike: There could've been a lot more hi-jinks in this movie, to be honest.
Sarah: Yes. That could be a whole other spinoff, but yeah. I mean, John Connor bonds with this robot and immediately starts teaching him to be more human and is like, well, I love you. You're my, you're my father figure. And it's clear that like Sarah’s awkward voiceover is in recognition of that emotional reality, which I think is one of the things that makes it like fun, like ultimately emotionally non-awkward for me. And so, you know, John Connor is like, well, the thing that is my dad is determined by if it behaves in a dad-ly way to me and not so much on whether it's human.
Mike: On this go round I was thinking that one of the interesting sort of dad, you know, there's like the fantasy element of this, like a boy and his robot, watching it as a teenage boy, you're like, oh my God, it'd be amazing to have your own Terminator. Like that's part of the wish fulfillment thing, but there's also a wish fulfillment thing of like having a father who's capable of learning and who's capable of growing.
Sarah: Yeah. And who wants to, and who's programmed to want to.
Mike: What I just couldn't get over this, this time around was the idea that so many people have a relationship with their father that is really characterized by the failure of growth. Of you coming to terms with the fact that your father will never change. Your dad will never be any different. You have to come to this revelation over and over again. And here we have a dad who, you know is interested like, you know, why do you cry? And he wants to become more human. And he's kind of becoming more the image of his son. And I feel like that's kind of part of the wish fulfillment fantasy for a teenage boy too.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. Not only to have a dad that will beat the shit out of two punks who very nicely just come over to try to help you out.
Mike: Totally my dad can beat up your dad. Yes.
Alex: That part is such a weird switcharoo too, because he's yelling in the parking lot and these two bruisers come over. He's sicks the Terminator on them, which is great. But yeah, you're right. This idea that this guy not just listens but is like fully interested. This guy is interested in you explaining Los Angeles lingo of the early nineties and is like, earnestly like I need to know this.
Sarah: Yeah. I'm your Bart Simpson-isms.
Mike: And he's kind of clunky at it too. I thought it was great that like the last thing he does in this movie is like a really bad dad joke. The thumbs up as he goes into the lava. You're like, all right, dad, let's just, let's everybody relax. Like that's a little corny to add, but it's sort of perfect in that, like, yes, he's turned into a dad and then he's making super corny jokes now.
Alex: I think this is the first movie that I watched where I understood grief. That I fully identified to the grieving character. And that being John, when at the end, I mean, I feel like we're not ruining anything for anyone. This movie has been around for 30 years, but in the end when the, when the Terminator has to end himself, he has to murder himself in front of his son. I can remember the tone and pitch of John's please. Like they were like inside of me. And I think that this is the first movie where I was like, Oh, like, I'm gonna lose people that are close to me.
Mike: This is like a weirdly deep movie.
Sarah: It's not weirdly deep. James Cameron loves him some themes. I wanted to talk about action, and I wanted to talk about gore as like things in movies that are maligned as just like stupid and pointless, but which I think can be good, can be well executed or poorly executed. And I feel like the action scenes in this movie appeal to a part of me that I think is like a sincere and lovely part of humans that just like feels joy at the concept of like, oh my goodness, that semi is going to leap into that aqueduct. Like, I've never seen that before. Like I want to see that! I do! Like, what will happen? What is it like?
Mike: Because so much of this movie was done with practical effects, like they're actually flying a helicopter under an actual bridge. Like this is real. They did it. The special effects, everything in this movie has aged perfectly. Like nothing. The only thing that ages, this movie is the make and model of the cars that they drive by that you're like, Oh, this is the nineties. And the fucking haircut on that red headed kid. Where you're like, Oh, okay. This was mullet times.
Alex: Like Bobby Budnick from Salute your Shorts on Nickelodeon. There's a couple of mullets in this movie. There's also one of the people who work at the place where Sarah Connor is imprisoned, where she has got just a righteous mullet.
Sarah: God, this is the time of the rat tail too.
Mike: Yeah. Which I definitely had. I 100% was that red headed kid. Oh, absolutely.
Sarah: Wow. Right. I thought rat tails were very cool.
Mike: I did too for like the six months that I had one. There's also a Confederate flag in the, uh, bar when they go in there. Yeah. They're releasing this movie, you know, and they're like digital, like recently they're doing this digital thing where they're gonna put like, Arnold's face on their like really obvious stuntman when he's doing the motorcycle stunts. I wasn't able to find this, but I do want to know if they're going to digitally remove the Confederate flag from the bar scene.
Sarah: I don't see why not, because I feel like it makes it seem more justified when Arnold stabs all those guys in like two minutes.
Alex: So this is another tidbit from my childhood relationship with this movie is this was one of the few, I think one of the few action movies or popular movies that came out that didn't have a licensed soundtrack. That didn't have a soundtrack that was like Guns and Roses, like whatever else in there. And it only has four popular songs, two of which are Dwight Yoakum songs.
Mike: No, I did not notice that at all.
Alex: And then also very few times that the age difference between my wife and I comes up, but when we were watching it last night and Bad to the Bone came on and she's like, she's like, this is the song that plays when the girls are playing poker in the Parent Trap.
Sarah: You know what else it is, Alex? It's the song that Tanya did her exhibition skate to at the 1991 world championships and music.
Alex: Did she really? It was huge because it was in this and it was also in, um, Problem Child. So that's three huge plays.
Sarah: Oh yeah. Problem child. It's fantastic. It's a good music cue song because it, like Linda Hamilton, it's like, here's the theme of this scene.
Mike: I know. I hate it. I hate it. It's so clunky when it came on, I was like, Oh, I forgot about this. Oh, it's so obvious.
Alex: But the point of bringing that up is I bought, I like with confidence in order to get the Guns and Roses song, I bought the soundtrack, which is just the score of the movie and all the iterations of the score of the movie. And I listened to the shit out of the score.
Sarah: Oh yeah. James Cameron knows how to do a score, man.
Alex: Last tidbit of the ephemera of this movie is, in my young life, is I had a zine when I was 15 - which is how I started writing for anybody - and our font was the Terminator 2 font.
Sarah: Ooh. Yeah. That's a good font.
Mike: Classic font.
Sarah: I just would love to talk for a second about whether you think about James Cameron, when you watch this, or sort of the themes of his movies in this, because this is the movie that he made after Aliens. Aliens is a fun ensemble movie where everybody dies. Is that a fair description?
Mike: Yeah. And themes. It's motherhood.
Sarah: And motherhood. Yeah. There's a ton of motherhood in there and I feel like I'm interested in James Cameron as a director who has some themes. And one of them also is that love will save you. And so, Mike, I was reflecting actually this morning that like the last significant thing I published before you and I started working together was a piece on Titanic. We've talked about James Cameron making Titanic.
Mike: Yeah, I love that one.
Sarah: Thank you. And to me, this interesting concept of him having made this movie Titanic, which is clearly an action movie and is also a lot of other kinds of movies, but as remembered as like a tween movie, but clearly it was a movie that like everybody saw because it was the number one movie in America for four months. Like you do not get there based on tweens, like tweens do not have that kind of money. Like how much do you think babysitting pays? It is not enough. I feel like Terminator 2 isn't maligned the way Titanic is because Titanic is some of James Cameron's finest work as a director and as a director of like action sequences and like stuff blowing up and falling apart, people dying in intense ways, all of which were hallmarks of his other films. But like, unfortunately, men don't sit around watching Titanic, for some reason. You are men. And a lot of people who would legitimately like it think that they wouldn't like it because it's been maligned. But also there is the fact that it's like, it's very focused on a love plot and it's also really, really death-y. Like there's like hundreds of deaths and you really linger on it and you remember them. But I feel like this movie is, I can feel the structure of Titanic kind of emerging from this and being rearranged from this because it is like a very long, and yet somehow captivating sequence of events where like people's bonds with each other drive a lot of action. And I think that that's what James Cameron is really good at.
Alex: With regard to Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic for sure. I did not care about or see Avatar.
Sarah: Interestingly, I have not seen Avatar and I have no interest in seeing Avatar. It just seems like I, whatever.
Alex: Strength is exhausting and, and, and the abyss is a little clunky in this arena, but James Cameron is exceptionally good at making you care about the people who drive the action, which I don't think people are very good at generally in action movies.
Sarah: It's hard.
Mike: I don't know if this is deliberate on his part, but I think that one of the things that characterizes his movies is really good storytelling mechanics. Watching like Terminator 3, for example, which I also did this week and it's just on every level, a worst version of Terminator 2 while doing nothing remotely new. A lot of times, and this happens in horror movies too, that you're like, why is this character walking up the stairs when there's blood pouring down it, like, why is this character doing this completely absurd thing? And because you, you're not really convinced of why anything on screen is happening at this fundamental level, it sort of pulls you away from it. You're like, well, all these people are being stupid. Like I'm not going to be invested in this, but in every James Cameron movie, like Rose, for Rose to jump from the lifeboat back onto the Titanic makes no sense, but we've spent so much time with that character at that point, we've gotten to know her, we know her personality, that it's like, yes, she would absolutely do this. We are with her when she makes this completely idiotic decision.
Alex: The Rose I know, would do this.
Mike: Yes, the Rose I know. And also John Connor going and rescuing his mother from the mental institution makes no sense. Like it's, the Terminator tells him, like, we're probably going to die if we do this. And he's like, Nope, we have to do this. And we're with it because we know enough about this character, James Cameron has given us enough information that we are with John Connor when he does that, we are with like, we, we get emotionally why he has to go do this completely stupid thing. And we get why. Sarah Connor wants to go kill miles Dyson, which also is a very high risk and very stupid thing to do. But we know these characters enough and you're like, yep. Like that is what Sarah Connor would do. This is, this is the defining thing of her life.
Alex: And by this time that the first, the first go, when the Terminator's like, we shouldn't go save your mother basically, this is messy. This is a bad idea, but they go anyway, and they do it. And by the time that he realizes that Sarah Connor is going to go and kill Miles Dyson, he has grown to understand humans enough to be like, this is, might be a good idea. And I love that so much. Sarah, why, why does that stick out for you?
Sarah: I think because it happens relatively rarely. And I think that, I feel like people know horror by bad horror tropes and they also know action by bad action tropes and just the trope of like the unnecessary car chase or like the car chase cobbled together out of cliches. And, you know, I really love the like moped motorcycle, semi chase in this movie a lot.
Mike: Me too.
Sarah: Um, right. And like, and what's, what is it? That's great about that scene because we've all seen like 800 chase scenes in our lives. And like, most of them you forget immediately and you kind of enjoy them at the time cause there's something exciting happening. But then if someone asked you what happened a day later, you'd be like, ah, why is this memorable?
Alex: I think to me about why that's so interesting is that the, the body of what is happening represents the people so well, right? So you have this kid on a moped, you have a child, you can identify with sort of one of the three people that are involved. You have a child. And that was me. And I was like, if I were on a moped, I'd be scared shitless. You have the brute force of T 1000 driving, driving the semi and not giving a fuck at all and destroying everything in his way. And then you have your cool daddy. Who's wearing a leather jacket and operating a shotgun with one hand to protect you, who comes in sort of out maneuvers the situation and saves you. Like in the French connection, which is great and sets the standards for these kinds of races, it's an equal match between two people. Right? But like the idea that you have these three personalities manifesting in this chase is glorious.
Mike: I think a big thing that Cameron is also really good at is just genuine suspense, which I think has sort of overtime morphed into this concept of action, like action sequences in movies. But every single action sequence in this movie, they are outmatched. He's on a little tiny motorbike and there's a giant semi. They can go faster than him that's chasing him. They are up against this liquid metal creature that is totally impervious to everything. At every point like they could really die. And I remember I forget who I'm stealing this from, but I remember somebody talking about how, you know, movies, like Man of Steel or these other like Marvel movies were just like a bunch of strong people hitting each other. It's not clear to you sort of, well, does that hurt or are they like damaged by this? Or like, you have nothing to really connect to. Whereas if you're watching a movie and a character slammed their hand in a car door, you're going to involuntarily be like, ah, cause that's something that you can relate to. And that to me is like the difference between action and suspense, that in suspense, you can see yourself, you can put yourself on that motorbike and you're like, there's a pretty good chance I'm going to fucking die. This guy, this guy is going faster than me. This guy is smarter than me. He's more powerful than me. And like in every action sequence in this movie, the bad guys could win. That to me is why this works so well.
Alex: There's clear stakes. And they illustrate the stakes very well too, in that like when Sarah gets stabbed, we see her get sewn up, which I think is really an interesting choice because usually like in a fight, someone in a, in a modern action movie takes the damage that would liquefy your skull and has like a black eye and in this these people bleed and they have to be sewn up and it's, it's, it's messy.
Sarah: And you just know they didn't have any local anesthesia on them at the time.
Alex: So Sarah, we talked about this setup of why this is a dad movie down to Sarah Connor's narration explaining. She basically says like this thing will be loyal till the end fight for the kid, listen to the kid and not hit the kid.
Sarah: And not get drunk.
Alex: It's a dad movie for sure. But as a result, it's definitely very much a mom movie. I mean, it's, it's Sarah Connor and the kid, and it has this interesting thing that happens that John has to go through at 10 or 11 or whatever that I went through at like 32, which is realizing your mom was right.
Sarah: Hmm. Oh yeah.
Alex: He's written off his mom and says that she's, it's crazy and she's shitty and bat shit or whatever, for all the things that she believes. And then essentially says out loud to Arnold, he says that it's fucking with him, that he can't believe that this all is a real thing. And that his mom was right. That's such an interesting reveal cause this poor you know, this poor woman lives absolutely alone in not a delusion, but in her take on what's going to happen to the world, her clarity, you know, she's vindicated in a way that's not super fun. Cause she has to go through all this action and trauma again. I feel like there's not a lot of movies in which like mom gets validated.
Sarah: Well that and also I was watching this and it was the part where there, you know, in the final sequence, invading the factory with the chips and everything. I don't know if it's a factory.
Mike: The extremely convenient metal smelting factory that they happened to stumble upon.
Sarah: Before that, when they go to the, to get the, like the parts and then they go to the steel mill, that's like next door or whatever. So when they beginning this final action sequence, I was just noticing, you know, that John Connor is like, you know, come on mom, blah, blah, blah, mom. And I was like, wow, there's really a dearth of movies with mother and child action sequences, isn't there. Not that there's a lot of parent and child action sequences either, but I was like, this is great. I would like to see more of this. And like Aliens is like working towards that because we have Ripley and this little girl, Newt, who she sort of becomes a surrogate parent figure for the period of this movie, but like they don't have a preexisting relationship. And just this concept of actually exploring parenthood in an action movie, I think is really, you know, I mean that, I love that. And I also love that they have, they have this vehicular chasing and then pretty soon after follow it with Sarah Connor trying to escape from the mental institution where he has been basically incarcerated. And it's like Sarah on foot versus all of these security guards. And she is outgunned as her son has just been. And so, and I love that, you know, the movie bothers to be like, this is exciting too. You're excited. Watch this you're excited about this woman. She is a character, and we are not forgetting about her.
Mike: I also think there's something interesting in that she acts pretty dad-ish, right? That after they rescue her, they risked their lives to rescue her from the mental institution where she absolutely would have been killed by the T 1000. In the car she's like, you never should have risked your life for me. And she's kind of like a Dick to him until they get to Miles Dyson's house.
Sarah: Yeah. So then that's why he cries. And that's why the Terminator first sees him crying.
Mike; That's why he speaks through his bangs for the first half of the movie.
Alex: Oh, my God, the fucking bangs in this movie. On that theme can we talk about James Cameron and androgynous masculine women?
Sarah: Yes. And androgynous beautiful youths also with that haircut, Jack Dawson.
Alex: Yeah. So, Oh, absolutely. With that specific haircut. Yeah. John Connor is his pregame Jack Dawson.
Sarah: This is why every child's watching Terminator 2 can identify with John Connor. I hope.
Alex: Until someone pointed it out on Twitter, I didn't realize that the foster mother in this movie is Vasquez from Aliens.
Mike: I know me neither!
Sarah: Who I think has a bra company now and she's in Titanic. And who is she?
Alex: Irish Mother!
Sarah: Irish mother. She was a better mom in that, than in this.
Alex: Everything pre avatar. There is a androgynous strong potential lead quasi daddy, mom.
Sarah: That's why I don't want to see Avatar. Where's that for me?
Alex: Isn't the lead also like a nine foot lady?
Sarah: I mean, I don't know. It's, there's some guy who's a space Marine and there's a bunch of digitized, they're not Native Americans, but they are clearly, and I don't know.
Alex: If you have a lot to say about avatar listeners, make sure to @ all of us all the time.
Mike: Oh my God.
Sarah: I would like someone to hard sell me on Avatar or there are people out there who are passionate about Avatar and they can tell me how they feel about it. But yes, no, that's a consistent theme. And like, and you know, I feel like we can see Terminator as his first movie and like his also the James Cameron heroine in original form. Cause we start off with Sarah Connor as this just like avid average waitress struggling through. And, you know, he, he also loves as a director to like show us a character who starts off knowing basically nothing but is a fast learner and can be resourceful and figure things out, which I love. I love to see that.
Alex: All of his movies are about some progression of becoming butch.
Sarah: That's true.
Alex: With the Sarah Connor one and from the first one in particular with Rose, the lead in the abyss, it kind of is always a bit of a hard-ass.
Mike: What do you guys make of the transformation of Sarah Connor between the two movies.
Sarah: Trauma gives you great muscles.
Alex: I mean, I don't know what he intends, but there's so much imagery in Terminator 2 of this woman seeing her past feminine self, getting burned to death, like literally burned to death. And so the only way that she can survive the way the world is, and the way humans are to each other. And this whole movie is a comment on how humans just can't fucking get their shit together and be cool to each other. The only way she can survive is to be what she has become. And even that's not great. Like even that's messy.
Mike: It is I guess, somewhat of a metaphor for how parents' expectations of their children turn them into bad parents, because it sounds like he spent his entire childhood being told you're going to be this great military leader. And he's like, am I though? Like I'm 12? I don't really know how to process any of this. And my mom might be cuckoo bananas. And she's dating these like weird dudes and she's constantly inculcating him with these like weird ideas and this dark shit about the future. And it seems like, I mean, she seems like a pretty bad mom, honestly, like borderline abusive. And she's like taking him around to like South America and all this stuff. And he just doesn't have a normal childhood. I mean, there's something kind of interesting in that in first of all, this is probably the epilogue to every action movie we've ever seen. Like all of the, all of the participants are like deeply traumatized and like fucked up for the rest of their lives.
Sarah: And deemed crazy.
Mike: And also just that, like you wanting your child or envisioning this particular future for your child can make things really unpleasant for them.
Alex: We also don't know that all of that shit that she does to John is necessary for him to become a future resistance leader. Like in Terminator 1 world, and I know it's stupid to even get into time travel, paradox stuff. But in Terminator 1 land, John Connor was just the son of a waitress. And so he was going to become the resistance leader, whether or not she was hanging out with, you know, that, that whatever, like fellow gorilla, who she goes-
Sarah: ex-green berets. There's also a part where you're like, wait, were they involved in like illegal arms smuggling? Like with CIA proxies and stuff like that?
Alex: I was like, is that guy a leftist? Like, who is she hanging out with?
Sarah: Right. Are they working for Ollie North?
Alex: Michael? Why did you as a kid relate to this movie? Like, what was it about this movie that made it your favorite for so long?
Mike: I mean, I was like the age of John. So all of this stuff about like a boy and his robot and sort of feeling like you're part of this much bigger story. I mean, this was just like tailor made to appeal to me. I don't think actually any of like the dad stuff resonated with me, but I did have like a major crush on the T 1000. He was like one of my first celebrity crushes. Cause he is hot as breakfast in this.
Alex: He looks so good. Oh my God.
Mike: He's just like lie.
Sarah: It was really hot, but in a, in a scary way, like in a way that is coherent with him being a molten metal robot.
Mike: Oh yeah. I mean, he's like a total dick. He's like a skinny little dick, which is like, everyone I've ever dated.
Sarah: But like the clenched jaw, like, do you think that he got that he needed dental work after they shot this movie? Cause he is fully clenched. There's just something. I mean, I also find it interesting that this movie has a total battle of the dad's element because he's being chased by like the skinny, angry cop and the biker.
Mike: I mean that sounds like the village people.
Sarah: I don't think they would let a skinny, angry cop in though.
Alex: And his mother, right? Like, it's like a, three-way, it's a three-way fight for this kid's affection.
Sarah: I also love that like the T1000, maybe this is strategic. Probably it is, but I love that he chooses to merge initially with a cop and now he can move freely around society. Just like having car chases and killing people.
Alex: He becomes LAPD, which wasn't commentary on anything.
Sarah: Not at 1991.
Alex: That's like machines, machines will kill you and they'll do it by dressing up like a cop.
Sarah: If only Sarah Connor had mentioned that theme. She used to be like, as I watched the T 1000, I reflected on police brutality because for those of you in the back row who can't, you know, hear the dialogue over the Twizzlers.
Alex: It's the reason, obviously also why all of us are terrified of that company that releases cute killer robot dog videos all the time.
Mike: Oh, Boston dynamics or whatever.
Alex: Yeah. Those are going to be cops someday and know T1000, as far as cautionary tales go, this movie really gets under your skin when you pay attention to it.
Mike: These movies I think actually we're probably overall good for society and that they made us all very wary of technology and the utopian future that technology would bring us. I mean, people still bring up Skynet.
Sarah: People say Skynet in this totally household word way and people know what you mean. Even if they haven't seen a Terminator movie, they know what Skynet signifies, which is really amazing.
Alex: Terminator two is more influential than 2001 The space Odyssey as like 21st century sci fi goes.
Sarah: No one knows what that movie is about.
Mike: Monkeys. As far as I know.
Alex: Acid. Is James Cameron a dad?
Sarah: At this time? I think so.
Mike: I looked up actually last night because I wanted to know like, is he working through some like actual dad stuff? So his dad is an engineer, which explained some of his sort of weird technical engineering prowess stuff.
Sarah: Like the way his brain works.
Mike: Yeah. With this stuff. Also, I found out that his dad, after aliens came out right. And it's just like massive worldwide success and critical success. And everything's going well, a friend of his dad asked his dad, you know, have you told him that you're proud of him? You know, have you, have you told him, like, have you congratulated him on this great success? And apparently his dad said he's got enough congratulations. He doesn't need it from me.
Sarah: No! No, no, no, no, no, no!
Mike: And it's just like, oh, it's that dad, like you had that dad.
Sarah: So he made it a robot. He made it a robot dad. Oh, what if you could get a robot dad for all these traumatized men who just need someone to be like, Hasta La Vista Baby!
Alex: Taking everything you just said about Cameron's dad into context. What do you think he's saying about dads here?
Mike: I do think that part of it, I mean, everything we do is in some way working through our familial issues, but some of the things in his movie about the sort of motherhood and seeing mothers as these three-dimensional characters. Would make sense if he was much closer to his mom growing up and he has this distant father figure. And then we have in this movie, this fantasy of a, sort of a gentle father who does nothing but be devoted to his son. I see why James Cameron would find that image completely appealing. If that's the kind of father.
Sarah: And also what's great about the Terminator is that he can affirm you in the way that you want to be affirmed. You're like, Hey, Terminator. Like, I would like it if you said Hasta Lavista Baby and he does it and he's like endearingly bad at it because he's a robot, but it's like, very charming for that reason. And he's programmed to care about your needs, which is like interesting to note that that is what distinguishes him from his flesh counterparts.
Alex: The fact that he's an engineer puts into context the line or the exchange that John and Arnold have about what T 1000 can and can't do. And one of the things T 1000 can't do is replicate complicated machinery.
Mike: *In Schwarzenegger voice* Complex, moving parts.
Sarah: My favorite thing about T 1000 is that, so he can't do that, but he can make his hands into like big knives or like big metal hooks. And there's a part where he's chasing Sarah and John Connor and the Terminator in a car he's running after them. And he can get one of his hooks into the car and then he gets thrown off, but we get to see him fall and roll over his hooks a few times and they make the cutest little sound. It sounds like when you drop your chopsticks in a Korean restaurant.
Mike: Yeah. I love the little clink, clink.
Sarah: That’s really cute.
Mike: That really stood out to me on this watch too.
Sarah: What is it about that?
Alex: That's another sound I remember in my being. I mean, I think what this movie does such a good job of for being a science fiction action movie is dealing with like macro and meta problems at the same time. It's like, you all are fucking around with technology in a way that's going to be real bad because you're doing it in a thoughtless way. And it's going to land us in a nuclear Holocaust. Also, uh, maybe be cooler to each other. Like these are the two things that are occurring.
Sarah: Be excellent to each other and listen to your son or else he'll love a robot more than he could ever love any human. And that's not great. I mean, the other thing that I love about James Cameron's vision of masculinity and I mean, love in a complicated way. Like, I, I, I feel. I just feel like James Cameron, who has been married like five times, is expressing something interesting in the fact that Sarah Connor is watching her son and the Terminator, and she's like, he'll always protect him, and he'll die for him. And then in Titanic, you know, the major plot hole that people are annoyed by with Titanic is like did Jack have to die though? Like, that was a pretty big fucking piece of wood though. Wasn't it? And like, I think they myth busted it and they were like, yeah, if they both got there. If they put some life vests under it, which were very available because of all the corpses floating around, they could have totally, both been on it. So, and what I think people don't get is that that's not a science thing. It's a screenwriting thing because James Cameron cannot imagine a heteronormative relationship that doesn't end in trauma for everybody. And that he, I think he feels like Jack Dawson is this beautiful, heroic being of pure love because he is like, you know, the Terminator in Judgment Day because he appears in this troubled teen life and is like, “I'm here to love you and die for you to save you”. And, you know, and a boy and his robot I guess, were to believe that they couldn't have a long-term future together, or, you know, he has to die because he has to destroy his robot chip that would give the technology to the people who would use it to bring about an apocalyptic future. So like that's better expressed through screenwriting than in Titanic. Um, but, but I just feel like in those storytelling choices, there's this basic idea of like, but these relationships are impossible in the long-term, obviously. You just have like four action packed days and then die for someone. And that's love.
Mike: It's almost like this weird childlike version of love that if only I had uncomplicated parents, then everything about me would be fixed.
Sarah: And the only way for them to be uncomplicated is to die.
Mike: When I was a kid, I had this obsession with having a pet cougar which obviously was never going to happen. Yeah.
Sarah: I did not know this about you. I think it could happen in Wisconsin.
Mike: Potentially, but in my head, it was like, all of my problems would be solved if I would have this pet cougar and I could take it to school and I'd be popular cause all the kids would want to pet the Cougar.
Sarah: I think this is what Joe Exotic thought, right?
Mike: Yeah. Yes. But it was this idea of just like this unconditional love that would somehow save me and solve all of my problems. And I think that that is a childlike vision that if I had this one entity that loved me completely, then everything would just be fine. And that's basically what the Terminator is in this movie is that he is completely 100% devoted to protecting John. That is his one purpose. And this is sort of like the father that we all wish we had, but like, that's that comes before anything else.
Sarah: Oh my God, do I wish my dad was the Terminator. That would be incredible. Like today, right now, I could be like, “Dad, did you listen to my show that I put off this week?” He'd be like, “Yes, I enjoyed minute 47”.
Mike: My thing is that in a different future where all of this worked out and like the T1000 just like falls off a bridge and dies somehow and the Terminator is fine. And they all, they form this like weird family. It wouldn't work. It's a lie that having this entity that is completely devoted to you, but fundamentally has no personality, is something that you can build a lasting meaningful relationship with. This never would have gone anywhere because that's not how human beings work. This thing that is completely devoted to you is not going to provide you with the emotional sustenance that you need.
Sarah: This was also your argument against the Stepford Wives scenario, which is that ultimately these men are going to wither from like lack of emotional connection with these bots.
Mike: It's like, don't they say in screenwriting, there's what you want and there's what you need.
Sarah: Also, Mick Jagger says that.
Mike: Oh yeah. And it seems like, like what a child wants is this pure unconditional love, but what actual humans need is something more complex than that, right? You can't just be talking to a robot.
Sarah: Well, we need unconditional love and then also to have boundaries and for someone to have a personality, but I think unconditional love plus personality is an attainable human thing. Yeah. I also feel like, it seems like the Terminator is like a Furby though. Maybe over time he could develop a personality, not the Furbies ever did that because it was all lies. But we were told that that would happen.
Alex: We develop our personalities in part, by obviously our chemical makeup, all of the things in our opportunism, right? Like how are we going to get from point a to point B? And if the Terminator’s only goal is to keep John alive, like does his personality just entirely formed to serve that purpose? That's exciting. I want to see that movie.
Mike: I mean, that does seem like something that people would want, but they wouldn't actually want that in real life because in real life, that's not a healthy relationship.
Alex: Codependent relationships.
Sarah: I feel like this also speaks to the issues with sustainability in Titanic, because like, I think another reason I love Jack Dawson is that he's like the highly rare and prized manic, pixie dream guy. Cause he basically like all of his attributes are like designed in a lab to be able to like sexually awaken and emotionally liberate this protagonist character that we have.
So like, he is like an advanced Terminator made for Rose DeWitt Bukater. So like, you can also see why in the long term, like he needs to develop a personality of his own. Like that's the same problem Zoe Deschanel has in 500 Days of Summer.
Alex: With Cameron's own personal inability to maintain a relationship for more than whatever, three or four years, we are seeing that across the board in these movies. And we're seeing that because he has an unhealthy, probably an unhealthy relationship with sustainability and long-term relationships. That's also like a positive thing.
Sarah: Although he is doing well now he got married with the lady he cheated on his girlfriend with when he was making Titanic and they've been married for like 23 years. So hooray. Right.
Mike: There’s hope for all of us.
Sarah: And that woman he cheated on was Linda Hamilton. Anyway.
Alex: It's a good recognition that just like some relationships last for as long as you need them to in the way that they're supposed to. Right? Like you grow in the ways that you grow and then it's over and your dad has to throw himself into molten metal.
Mike: It is interesting to me how many pathologies that we have around relationships I do think come directly from Hollywood movies, because as a screenwriting trick, this sort of you meet one person, you meet your Jack Dawson, or you get your robot Terminator dad, and then all of your problems are solved and it's like everything you need. And it's this perfect counterpart to you. And then all of their problems are solved. Like this does not happen in the real world, but this happens in so many movies.
Sarah: No, Mike, it's going to happen in my next relationship, actually.
Mike: I mean, that's the thing, I, I don't know, to what extent these are like human things, or if these expectations are created by Hollywood, but you know, the number of movies in which you see characters like actually vibing with each other, like just two people who get along, which is something that you see in real life all the time, you watch a couple and you're like, oh, these people actually like each other. It's very rare to see that depicted in movies. There's like, like Out of Sight is one of the only movies or maybe Before Sunrise, where it's like, oh, these are two people who genuinely are just like clicking. But two people clicking in movies is actually really rare. It's much more common to have this like love at first sight thing or this manic pixie dream thing where it's like, you're the vessel through which I can finally grow as a person. And it’s just kind of a bummer that we don't have very many movies about like two people that just like each other. And that's it.
Alex: Yeah, that's true. It usually happens through like buddy movies, but there's no romance there. They’re like, we solve that by having a romance. It's the only way.
Mike: I watched Sleepless in Seattle recently, which is like way worse than I remember it being. And it's the whole, maybe you notice this too, but it's a whole thing. They're sort of flirting, dancing around with each other and like they're made for each other or whatever. They finally fucking meet at the end of the movie, the last five minutes at the empire state building. And they don't fucking talk. It's like, we're supposed to see some connection between them. Surely, like you'd like to see up even like a three minute conversation where they're like, do you like popcorn? I also like popcorn. Something showing that all these people actually click as people as opposed to just being physically attracted. And the movie doesn't give you that. They like, they walk hand in hand at the end of the movie and they don't talk.
Sarah: But it’s so overdetermined that they can't express that in five minutes. So they just have to have them stare at each other because they both have this like cosmic realization that they are MFEO. And like the movie doesn't trust itself to show them actually clicking in a way that's significant enough to justify everything that's just happened. Sleepless in Seattle, like the relationship that is actually depicted in that movie is between Meg, Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell and between Tom Hanks and his son. And those are lovely relationships. Like it's a lovely father son and like friend relationship and like, Oh no, I'm engaged to the wrong person. I have doubts, movie. But like the central love plot is like a maypole that those are like wound around as an excuse to be there.
Mike: In so many movies you get no sense of the relationship that are actually depicted on screen. That it's going to last longer than like a weekend. It's like, oh, okay. These people have been writing letters. She's like low key stalking him. They finally meet. And they don't really have anything to talk about and it's fucking awkward. And by Monday, she's on a plane back to Baltimore, like this is not going to work.
Alex: The only movie I've seen, I think, where everyone clicks in that way, do you ever see this movie that had, this is not going to sound appealing on the surface, but it had Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie.
Sarah: That sounds like something you would watch on a plane.
Alex: but Jason Matsoukis and Andrea Savage are in it and they are not primary characters, but they play an older married couple. I mean, they've been married for like 10 years and their chemistry is, it's like a turn-on. You're like, I didn't know this was possible. Well, I do, now that I'm married to someone, I feel that way. But like, or you're like, I didn't know that this could be possible on screen. It's really magical when it happens.
Sarah: That's how I feel about Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia.
Mike: Yes. That's another one.
Sarah: Right? That is like a pretty weak movie structurally, but there are just these parts where you're like, let's watch. . First of all, Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep, just eating each other alive. You know what I mean? The lunch break sex in that movie. And they're both in their fifties. I think at this point, Stanley Tucci was around 50, I think Meryl Streep is around 60.
Alex: I think they’re naturally super horny people too. They just exude horniness, which is great.
Sarah: They certainly do. And they are certainly expressing that in this movie. Honestly, I think what happened in that movie is that Amy Adams kind of got short shrift because she got all the crappy parts of marriage to play and they were like, here's your story. You get to be disappointment and getting tired of each other. And this is an excuse to have all the conflict crammed into your parts, so that Meryl Streep and Stanley two kicking guess, fuck each other and eat cakes.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. The experience of watching Hollywood mainstream movies is this experience of constantly watching relationships that you know, will never work, but the characters don't. Where you're like, oh, this is like, you know, like at the end of Speed where they kiss or whatever. And you're like this, what are you? This is not going to work out.
Alex: And they expressly acknowledged that it's not going to work. They say, they're like this isn't going to work because of the trauma. And like, it's like, that's great. What a great set up. Every, actually every movie should end in the James Cameron way where it's like, all right, we're done.
Sarah: Bye everybody. Say, bye.
Mike: I was watching this with my boyfriend who has only seen it once, like 10 million years ago. So he was basically coming into this movie fresh. And so every time there was any dad stuff, we would shout dad's stuff.
Sarah: How many times did you shout that? I'm going to guess 41.
Mike: Well, this is the thing. So we obviously shouted at the voiceover of the big voiceover moment, but then also when she goes to kill Miles Dyson, and she's about to like completely kill him. And then his son comes and he's like, don't kill him. My boyfriends like dad stuff.
Alex: And then he says, don't kill my dad.
Sarah: And that his life is saved initially by the fact that he liked ducks. Like he has, what is happening. His son is on his little trike or something.
Mike: Something like that is yeah. Remote control toy.
Sarah: And he ducks.
Alex: He gets hit or something and goes down.
Sarah: First of all, we kill a lot of cops in this movie. Second of all.
Mike: No, we just, we just nailed their kneecaps in this movie.
Alex: Yeah. They killed 17 in the first one, this one, we just maim them.
Sarah: All right.
Mike; That's the real, that's the real Terminator three. It should have just been one of these cops going through years of physical therapy.
Alex: We haven't talked at all about Miles Dyson and miles Dyson throws away-
Sarah: With very little convincing, honestly.
Alex: With little convincing he's like, I'll throw away my life's work and do the right thing and the most refreshing way to do it.
Sarah: Well, if I were him, I would be like, how am I to know that a rival company didn't just hire an amputee to pretend to be from the future. Like that's honestly what my first thought would be.
Alex: Absolutely doable to fake what happened.
Sarah: I mean, if they can make that movie, then they could probably do that, so.
Alex: And like this mean lady is trying to kill me, but then like her son is here and she's nice to him for the first time.
Sarah: How do I know these aren't just a bunch of racists with a robot arm.
Alex: The one very nice, and this is, this is clearly like a foster child thing, like from John's experience being a foster child. But when Arnold does the thing where he opens his arm up and shows and shows Miles. John takes the little point and says, will you show me your room? I loved that so much. Ah, it's such a nice little detail. Okay. So Sarah Connor's thesis about the Terminator is this'll be a good dad because it's not as CIS human man. Is that the thesis of the movie, about dads with the exception of Miles Dyson, who can be good.
Sarah: It's nice that he's able to do masculine things with my son, but the fact that he's not bringing my son into the culture of patriarchal masculinity as it is that he just like is a man who listens and has car chases.
Mike: Although they are literally fixing a car together when she does this voiceover. I mean, there's, it's still coded as masculine.
Sarah: No exactly. It’s masculine but like without, cause to me, there's like the masculinity of fixing a car and then there's like the patriarchal toxic, like impacted over generations, masculinity that my dad has of like, I'm not going to tell you how to notice a problem and fix it. I'm going to demean you for 45 minutes and prove that I'm bigger and smarter than you and this car is an excuse which is why I don't know a thing about cars and why they stress me out. And he does that because he had a dad who raised him as a male child and nothing good came of it the entire time.
Alex: And passed the curse on like that thing that comes out of Jason and Jason goes to hell.
Sarah: It's like drag me to hell. It's just a slime bar from mouth to mouth between generations.
Mike: I mean, if you want to get super Oberlin about it. She's also talking-
Alex: Super Oberlin! Is that what you call cultural studies?
Sarah: Yes. For years. I can't persuade him not to.
Alex: I love it so much. Please get Oberlin about it. I want it.
Mike: There’s also a thing in that voiceover, you could also extend that to somebody talking themselves into getting into a relationship that is fundamentally bad for them. Right. Of like, Oh, he's going to be a good father. He's what I need. He's what my son needs. Even though there's no actual chemistry between them.
Sarah: Even though he's a robot who tried to murder me all those times.
Sarah: Right. Yeah. You and I have nice kind of like glass half full glass, half empty approaches to killer robot Dad.
Mike: Because you can also see like this profoundly traumatized woman who is like, has no idea what is like reality and unreality and she's in the middle of a fucking time-traveling paradox that doesn't even make any fucking sense. And she's like, Ooh, like, Oh, I'll connect with this guy. Cause like, he's nice to my kid. Like how many people have gotten into terrible relationships with exactly this kind of logic? Like, Oh, he's good for me in whatever XYZ way. And then they end up with somebody they basically don't like, right.
Alex: And her pressure is double on top of that because she's not just a mother who cares about her son, but she's Mary who needs to bring Jesus into the world.
Mike: Ooh, bring Jesus into it. Let's do it.
Alex: She also has the pressure of being someone who she is responsible for the future of the human race. On top of just being John's mom.
Mike: That's not even Oberlin. That's like Brigham young. That's like, you're going straight, like Liberty, university PhD.
Alex; Also. Why this psychologist from the beginning of the movie, that's in Terminator 1? Why doesn't he know terminators are a real thing.
Mike: Wait what do you mean?
Alex: The guy who does all the work with her at the beginning? Yeah. He's in the first movie as a cop psychologist. He's the survivor of a mass shooting, at the police station by the fucking Terminator. Why doesn't he believe?
Sarah: Where was he? What? I haven't seen this in a while. What is it? Oh, does he evaluate her in the, Oh my God.
Mike: He's in the police station.
Sarah: Wow. I feel like that's a nice expression of how sometimes men deal with trauma by like going into profound denial about everything they witnessed with their own eyeballs.
Mike: And locking up a woman.
Sarah: Got to lock up a woman.
Mike: Yes. He shows up in the third movie too. And he talks about how like, Oh, you have to deny, like you have to put your memories down deep. And like, that's the one funny scene in all of Terminator three is when he shows up again.
Sarah: Who is the daddy in Terminator 2: Judgment Day?
Mike: I mean, to return to probably the primary reason, regardless of all of the themes of this movie, that I was obsessed with it as a 14 year old boy, the D 1000! He's like a mean little panther. Like I get it.
Sarah: If you had the experience of like getting a T 1000 that had been reprogrammed to want to like date or whatever, what would you do? Would you use his like molten, Alex Mack arms to like go to the carnival or something like that. And, and win the games? Could he like turn them into little bullets, you know, for like shooting down those ducks?
Mike: I mean, one thing that I really have noticed on this watch is that it's a little fucking weird that it's like liquid metal can also turn into like clothes and shoes.
Sarah: But not bombs.
Alex: And a cop radio, and a gun.
Mike: There's a lot to sort of nitpick about in this movie. He would be the little, my little cougar pet that would solve all of my problems and I’d be fine.
Alex: Michael, I'm glad you're here because this is the read of the daddy I'm looking for when we ask this question.
Mike: Who's the daddy for you guys?
Sarah: Oh, totally the Terminator, because he's like big and strong and loving and stupid. And he's, and he's, I mean, he's super smart, but also like endearing. I think I want to marry someone like that. Yeah. I think this relates to just like my attraction to people who I think in a way that is similar to me, and this involves me embracing who I am, are like very intelligent and attuned in some ways. And like fundamentally clueless about other things in a way that's also nice because like, if you just don't care about a lot of areas of human life then, like you don't put pressure on people, you're in a relationship with about it, perhaps for no reason. So yeah. I want to marry the Terminator.
Mike: What, meaning he's like really good at fixing cars, but he's emotionally vacant. So you mean.
Alex: He's not a Dick about it?
Sarah: No, because you can ask him to be emotionally present and then he will do that. I mean, I don't actually want a robot from the future because I think that that would be setting myself up for failure. He's a character who is fundamentally tragic because he is a robot.
Mike: He has one purpose in life. That's it.
Sarah: And is therefore freed of the kind of, I dunno, I feel like I see James Cameron imagining, like what would allow him to be the kind of protagonist that he wishes him to be, type of a thing. And I think that's one of the things that makes Jack Dawson so compelling. And with this one, he's like a character who has no pride, no self-regard, like no ego, really. You need to have some ego, but like who basically is able to be fully in a relationship and like that's- and to live fully for another person. And I think that's what makes it unsustainable along with the future war aspect of it. But also, you know, this is, I think like I would imagine that this might be James Cameron's fantasy of like being 100% for the other person in a relationship when really he would like to be like 51% as opposed to whatever percentage she has managed to be on this marriage.
Alex; Yeah. The Terminator, he fills the fluids in your car, but he doesn't give you a hard time about not doing it.
Mike: Ooh, he does the dishes, but he doesn't yell at you.
Mike: He literally does at some point. He fills the fluids and I'm like, what a dad move. That's a great, he’s very conscious about how cars work.
Mike: Do you find Arnold Schwarzenegger attractive, Sarah?
Sarah: I love Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Alex: Carolyn said she was like, this was the governor of my, she's from California, this was the governor of my state when I was a child. That's my relationship with this man. And I was like, Oh, that really changes your attraction.
Sarah: That was all I could think about when he was running for governor. And I remember someone pointed this out online and it became like the defining thing is that like he's, he was naked. He was fully naked in a very lingered on and wonderful way in the start of the Terminator. And then he's naked again in this. And like, I think a less sort of cinematic way, but it's just nice that he's naked again. And I imagine when this came out in the theater that everyone was like, “Whoo!” You know, cause like here he is, he's naked again. This is how he time travels. He’s got to be naked. Yeah. And when he was running for governor, I remember there was actually a thing on rotten.com where they had a picture of him taken by Robert Mapplethorpe. That was just like fully nude. This is the governor of California. And I was like, well, this is a new experience for all of us as Americans and we're not, and you know, once you cross the governor dick-line, you don't come back. And honestly, like, it's definitely weird, but it's also, I think, way more positive to have a governor who has, like, I don't think he did a good job as governor, but in theory, it's a better job to have a governor who has just, like publicly had their Dick photographed by an arty photographer than someone who's gonna do all sorts of weird covert stuff with it, for lack of having it photographed in the 70s.
Mike: Or who's had a Zoom dick incident.
Alex: Do you find Papa Schwarzenegger attractive, Sarah?
Sarah: Arnold's dad?
Mike: No, no, no. Like modern, modern, older, older Schwarzenegger. Like the one who we know today.
Mike: Or like Paul Hollywood's Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Sarah: He doesn't look like Paul Hollywood. He looks like a robot with degraded flesh coverings.
Alex: So you’re not into it?
Sarah: Oh no, I'm into it. I'm very into it. That's my way of expressing that I'm into it. No, I used to teach pumping iron. He's a complicated person and he's done like, you know, some pretty unethical stuff in his life. But my impression of him from pumping iron, which I find honestly meaningful to me in my own pursuit of putting together like a life that I wanted to have. He is someone who found a career that he was perfectly suited for. And excelled, partly because of his self-knowledge, you know, and just like his absolute joy in being, just in bodybuilding and like going out and winning and like greasing himself up and posing when you pose, like you got to hear that accent of his, which is wonderful. And, uh, and I love Conan the barbarian. Yeah. Just his utter joy, at just the act of like lifting heavy things and like changing the shape of his body in different places is just like, I'm very bonded with him as he was in pumping iron. And I feel like you can see that sort of like joy at like waking up inside of yourself every morning in his work. And that's like very charismatic. You're like, how do you do that? How do I learn to do that?
Mike: Like I think pumping iron is fascinating too, in that he has this weird sort of Tom Cruise confidence, I guess. Almost like cluelessness and drive. Like he just wanted to be a movie star and then he fucking did it. There's something appealing to some like lizard American dream, bullshit part of my brain that I know logically is like, not a typical story, but there is something amazing about this guy that just finds one thing that he's good at and then somehow finds like the one movie role that he can actually do. Right? Like the Terminator, which requires no acting at all.
Sarah: Well, no, he did Conan first and for that one, he like, his accent was so heavy they only gave him like six lines.
Alex: He did Hercules in New York first and they dubbed over his voice.
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: He, also is sort of tying over to one of your other podcast lives. Michael, wasn't he the face of the physical fitness test?
Sarah: Oh, he betrayed me.
Mike: He famously spent his own money to fly around to all 50 States and meet governors and get them to sign up to do like more physical exercise, like try to get kids fit. Like he actually believes in this stuff, which is in some ways-
Alex: You know, just the son of a Nazi, just trying to get governorship.
Sarah: He believes in having a secret child with your housekeeper too. So, you know.
Mike: But also what's amazing though, is that he goes around to all of these governors and he's trying to get them like, he, he was interested in the policy. Like he was actually trying to get kids to be fitter in this like extremely limited way, of course. But then he goes around and all these governors just want to take photos with him and put the photos in their offices. And he realizes like, this is political education, realizing that like no one actually gives a shit about the health of children. They just want to have a photo with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The way that his celebrity poisons the things that he actually wants to do. Like, I think this defines like late stage Arnold Schwarzenegger where he's like, Oh yeah, this is all bullshit. And nobody actually wants to hear what I have to say about anything. And it's like, yeah, we just want you to have big pecs.
Sarah: Yeah. The nineties were his wilderness decade.
Alex: Use that and know that. So my daddy is Sarah. We often end up doing this as like strong lady ends up being the daddy. And that's the case, although Luke, who is the listener of our show pointed out that John is the one who teaches the Terminator to do everything. So he arguably could be the daddy, but, you know, I think we should acknowledge the fact that poor Sarah has had to be this kid's dad and the dad of humanity's survival for years and years. And that's a heavy burden for her to have had to have lifted.
Mike: And the actors basically had an eating disorder the entire time they were filming this.
Sarah: Did she? What happened?
Mike: Yeah. I mean, she was eating like 600 calories a day and working out like three hours, like, there's something about sort of roles like this, where it's like the only way to achieve a body like that at that age is with extremely disordered behavior. And so every time I watched this, it's like, you're marveling at how buff she is and the pull-ups and everything else. But also, it's just like, ah, I, something feels weird to me about sort of making an actress do that, even though it seems like she was a willing participant in this.
Sarah: Well also movies are unexcused to torture women, you know, and just like a lot of directors, commentaries, especially in horror, but not even, especially in horror it’s just that I watched a lot of horror movies. There's something about how, like this actress who gave this tour de force performance, like had to suffer so much and it like becomes part of the story and men do it too. Like Christian Bale loves doing this. And like Vincent D'Onofrio gained like 70 pounds for Full Metal Jacket and stuff like that. Like actors do stuff to their bodies in ways that like could very likely cause permanent damage quite frequently.
Mike: Yep. Tom Hanks talks about getting type two diabetes as a result of Cast Away.
Sarah: Did he?
Mike: I mean, that's what he says. I think it's probably more, things are complicated. You never know the reasons for one thing, but yeah.
Sarah: It's like various factors, but also he did gain a bunch of weight for that movie and like doing that suddenly. Gaining or losing a bunch of weight very suddenly in a calculated way where like, you know what Anne Hathaway did for Les Miz. It's, it's interesting that we've normalized that as much as we have.
Mike: That's how you get Oscars
Sarah: Oscar bait. Yeah, totally. It's Oscar chum.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Is doing these things that have nothing to do with acting.
Sarah: You’re like, look I'm in pain. I scarred my body for the stupid movie.
Mike: They filmed this movie for something like six months because it was so technical. And I just think of Linda Hamilton on that set, like probably freezing cold with 2% body fat and having to maintain this absurd body of hers for the entire time that they were filming. And like, it's her husband kind of making her do all this. I mean, there is something about like, James Cameron being like the difficult genius. Who's also just a complete fucking asshole, it sounds like. I mean, consistent stories from people that have worked for him, of him doing just atrocious behavior on set. And so we all, we all repeat like the worst attributes of our parents. And so not to like cancel James Cameron or anything, but that's always like, in the back of my head, when I watched this movie, the way that they filmed this, is just like her suffering and James Cameron being just like a total dick.
Alex: What are your final Terminator endorsement? What are you, what would you tell someone to watch Terminator, Sarah?
Sarah: Have they seen Terminator 1 yet?
Alex: Yeah. Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Sarah: Yeah, Terminator 1 definitely now has a lot of moments where you're like, okay, you tried.
Alex: There's a three-minute recap on YouTube you can watch.
Sarah: Right. Yeah. It's not a complicated story. It is a good movie. I love Terminator 1. I love the story of how James Cameron made Terminator 1, ultimately after years of like working on Roger Corman films and like during lunch breaks, when he was building alien spaceship sets out of McDonald's boxes, he would tell his fellow workers, including Bill Paxton, the story idea he had about this robot from the future who tries to kill a pregnant woman. Um, so like that whole evolution is wonderful, but you can also, yeah, you can come into Judgment Day having seen nothing before and enjoy it a ton. And I think you could, I would recommend watching it if you want to actually feel a lot of adrenaline and like some fun action sequences and be taken out of the present moment and then end on a note that gives you a sense of convincing hope for humanity. If you're the kind of a cheesy person like me. Worked for me.
Mike: I would say if you have a thing for lean Panther-ish, mean, fat also, and nineties bangs people doing line readings through incredibly intense bangs. This is the movie for you.
Sarah: And if you like seeing an adolescent protagonist. Because I think it's hard to have child characters who aren't there as excuses for plot to happen. And like, this is to me a well-written character who's probably like 12 or 13.
Mike: Yeah. An active protagonist.
Alex: And you like Los Angeles malls in 1991. This is the movie for you.
Alex: Alright everybody. That is it for this episode of Why Are Dads. I want to thank you for listening, and I want to apologize in advance for any noise you hear right now. I'm next to a highway sweeper as I get my car fixed. Not very professional, I know, but it's how it is right now.
I want to thank Carolyn Kendrick for producing this episode and creating all of the original music and the sound collage that you hear in here. I want to thank Michael Hobbes, co-host of You're Wrong About, and of Maintenance Phase, and a reporter for the Huffington Post. I'm so glad he came on and we were able to talk about our favorite movie when we were kids. Me and Michael Hobbes loved this movie as children. And that's such a funny thing to know and talk about.
Oop, there's the street sweeper. Let's hold. So loud. You can support us on Patreon if that is a thing that you'd like to do, we put out bonus episodes, hopefully weekly. We'll see, but there will be one out this week with some bits and pieces from this conversation that got left out and some other odds and ends. And find us on social media. Do that whole thing.
Next week we will be talking with Talia Lavin, author of Culture Warlords about Borat. It's very relevant for this moment. If you haven't seen it, maybe check it out so you can be ready for our conversation next week. I think that's it for now. We appreciate you. Thank you so much. Again, vote and hand your ballot to a human being. The mail is being tampered with by people who don't want us to vote. We'll talk to you soon.