Mad Max: Fury Road - The Metacontextual Edition

Witness this !

Mad Max: Fury Road

Sounds of a high octane engine alongside a voice-over as credits roll...

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Audience: Wait, wait... hold on a second... it says on the screen there that Mad Max's last name is "Rockatansky". For real?

Yep. That's canon.

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Audience: Huh, I never knew that he even had a name beyond "Mad Max". Anyway, sorry to interrupt. Carry on.

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Rockatansky: It was horrible, what happened... we called it "the eighties". There was a plague of aerobics and neon, and global nuclear war was a standard premise in movies because of the cold war, and that's when this movie franchise was born. Times have changed, but we've got the premise we've got. Anyway, I'm basically nuts, and I hear voices...

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Mel Gibson: Hey, how come I couldn't play this role? I'm not too old! Especially since later on there's going to be a bunch of old women on motorcycles who do a pretty good job of fighting.

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Rockatansky: We've been over this Mel. I'm nuts in a troubled-past-that-haunts-me way. You're actually nuts, in a homeless-racist-off-his-lithium way.

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Rockatansky: I'm the inevitable supplantation of older actors by younger actors as franchises seek profit from new generations of audiences in the circle of capitalist life. Anyway, I hear some cars coming to chase me.

Suddenly Rockatansky is chased by people in cars, who pretty much capture him immediately.

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Rockatansky: Goddamn it. I'm all tied up, but these guys suck at tying knots, so I'm outta here!

Running down a corridor, he is suddenly confronted by ghosts from his past.

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Ghost Girl: Why didn't you save me?

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Rockatansky: Who the fuck are you? That feral girl from the second movie?

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Ghost Girl: That was a boy, and you saved him.

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Rockatansky: So... are you supposed to be my daughter? No, wait... in the first movie it was established I had a son...

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Mel Gibson: Forget the girl! Save yourself! The franchise must continue if I've got even a chance on getting in on this action with a cameo or something!

Rockatansky makes it to a doorway, but it turns out it opens to a sheer drop. He almost manages to jump to some hook thingy for safety, but is pulled back in by his captors.

Cut to title card, and then we transition to a woman walking to a truck that's all black and spiky and shit.

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Feminista: Take note of my prosthetic hand. It won't have any real impact on anything, it's just here to do a mostly ineffectual job of distracting you a little from how crazy hot I am in the hope that you take me more seriously as a bad ass protagonist.

There is a large ceremony and gathering as the truck is prepared, and a freaky as fuck looking old man emerges to address the people from way up on a cliff side on a balcony that somewhat resembles Castle Greyskull .

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Proletariat: Immortan Joe! Immortan Joe!

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Audience: "Immortal Joe"?

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Proletariat: Immortan Joe!

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Audience: "El Mortenjo"?

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Proletariat: Im-Mor-tan Joe!

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Audience: "I'm Mort Ten Joe"...?

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Proletariat: Ugh ... Never mind.

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Something-Something-Joe: All hail me! Because you have to admit it's pretty impressive how much I've achieved within the mere twenty years or so that it's been since the apocalypse, assuming the previous movies count and this isn't some kind of reboot. I mean, Rockatansky was already at least mid twenties in the first movie and now he looks mid thirties. As a character, he's fifty, tops. All the retro-fitted waterworks and everything must have started pretty much right after the last bomb dropped. I mean, do you think all this barbarian-diesel-punk aesthetic is easy? Carving a skull shaped balcony into solid rock on a sheer cliffside is a fucking garguantuan task just on its own. And don't even get me started on the ground work of building a culture that's motivated to do any of this in the first place. Anyway, enough about me. Have a little water.

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Proletariat: Change we can believe in!

Something-Something-Joe pushes some valves that poor water on the desperate huddled masses. The water stops short of satisfying everyone, because this society works not that differently from ours.

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Something-Something-Joe: Okay then, I thought I'd let you all know that I'm sending my best team, led by my top warrior, Feminista, to go on a supply run to the gas station.

Feminista drives the truck out into the desert, along with an escort of other cars that, like every vehicle in this movie, look like the evil version of Wacky Races .

Meanwhile, back at Castle Greyskull, obese women are being pumped for their breast milk. Something-Something-Joe hands a bottle of milk to his muscle bound son.

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Son Of Joe: Surely the amount of milk made by humans is only a fraction of output compared to what it takes to keep them in good enough health to be producing it. Wouldn't it be far more efficient and sensible to just be eating whatever it is we're feeding them?

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Something-Something-Joe: This isn't about what works, this is about what I like, and I like breast milk! Now drink!

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Son Of Joe: Tastes like papaya.

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Audience: Ew.

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Little person who isn't Warwick Davis or Peter Dinklage : Hey, I'm watching Feminista with my telescope here, and it looks she's going rogue!

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Something-Something-Joe: What the...? Why would she...? Oh! Shit! She took my women!

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Milk Woman: She didn't talk all your women...

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Something-Something-Joe: She took the hot ones! The ones that matter !

An armada of cars, including one with the Kodo drummers and a dude with a guitar head out to intercept Feminista.

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Nux: Hey! You guys can't go do war without me!

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Not Nux: Dude, you're in the middle of a blood transfusion... or something? I don't really know the medical premise is here, like why a blood transfusion would help your cancer or whatever is wrong with you, but it doesn't matter. Bottom line, you're connected to the main character by some kind of blood line so you're not eligible to come.

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Nux: How about I just strap him on to the front of my car?

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Rockatansky: But if I'm your blood repository, why would you put me in a position of the most danger? Isn't that needlessly inviting the risk of you not having the blood you need to do your thing?

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Nux: Look, for story purposes, the point is that for the entire first act you're just a resource being carried around like so much luggage. I could have stuffed you in the trunk and achieved the same narrative goals. But come on, this is a way more awesome way of going about it.

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Rockatansky: Ugh . Fine. But only if I get to wear a metal face mask thing, kind of like what I wore when I was Bane in Dark Knight Rising . I'm thinking I might make that my thing.

Rockatansky is strapped to the front of a car that Nux is driving, and they head out to do a crazy car chase battle that also involves a gang of spiky hedgehog looking cars. It's pretty sweet. Seriously, go watch the movie.

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Feminista: Okay, almost got rid of everyone, now for my last move, which is to rely on the weather. According to... uh... a forecast I knew about maybe, there's a category 5 deus ex machina blowing in from the east, so I'm heading straight to it!

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Rockatansky: What the hell is happening? Is this is a sandstorm? A firestorm? A black hole? Why are some cars getting carried off by the wind and not others?

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Audience: Who cares? We thought we were pretty jaded to gratuitous special effects by now, but this is pretty fucking awesome!

Cars are blown around in the tornado-sand-storm-lightning-vortex-whatever, and after many near death situations, Rockatansky is knocked free from the car he's on. Fade to black.

Open on a pile of sand, which turns out to have Rockatansky underneath it.

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Rockatansky: There is no fucking way any human would have survived all tha... oh, wait, I'm still alive. Alright then... Up to now my character has had just about no agency whatsoever, and that doesn't make for a good hero. Time to take my fate into my own hands. First, I'm going to reference maybe the most famous scene from the first movie by threatening to blow off a guy's limb to get out of some chains. Remember when my character told that one dude back in the first movie he'd have to saw through his own leg?

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Mel Gibson: I remember. I made the character a bad ass anti-hero before that was a thing.

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Rockatansky: Ugh , fuck of Mel. The writers made the character an anti-hero.

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Mel Gibson: Well, your gun didn't work, so who's the loser now?

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Rockatansky: It was a comedic misdirect, you idiot. Anyway, I'm still connected by a chain to this butoh dancer looking dude. Hmmm... oh, hey, that truck is over there, so I'll drag this guy over there with me, see what's up.

Rockatansky sneaks up on the truck and after coming around to the other side sees what appears to be a Victoria's Secret runway show.

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Crazy Hot Babes: Oh, hey there. We're the MacGuffin .

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Rockatansky: You're all super hot, but you're way down on Maslow's Hierarchy of needs right now. Get me some water.

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Feminista: Sure, have a little... psych!

Feminista tackles Rockatansky, and Nux wakes up, and an awesome fight happens involving Nux, a chain, a gun hidden under the truck, the Victoria's Secret models, and all sorts of jazz.

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Audience: Nice

Rockatansky prevails.

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Rockatansky: Okay, I've finally cut the chain to Nux, so now I'm taking your truck and I'm outta here. The bad guys chasing us have not only managed to find us despite the fact that we could be anywhere in the desert after that storm, they've picked up reinforcements, so fuck all of this. Check ya later, suckers.

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Feminista: My truck won't go anywhere without me starting it with the secret code. Because convenience.

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Rockatansky: Ugh , fine. All the hotties in the back then.

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Blond Hair: Wait, I need to kick this chastity belt first.

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Rockatansky: Doesn't it go without mention that your characters would resent having to wear chastity belts?

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George Miller : I didn't write this movie with "subtlety" in mind.

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Feminista: Enough chit-chat, we've got to get going. I've got a thing arranged with some biker dudes in a canyon a little ways from here, and then after that, we can go to the green zone.

They drive to a really narrow canyon, and there are biker dudes everywhere. Feminista gets out of the truck to talk to them.

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Feminista: Alright, I brought the fuel in exchange for you blowing up the rocky gateway thing behind me so that the people chasing me can't get me.

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Canyon biker: Hey, you said you'd only be chased by some dudes, but actually you're being chased by a lot of dudes.

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Feminista: Does that change things?

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Canyon biker: Uh, Maybe? I don't know. I mean, seems like if you're going to be a hassle for us we could, like, just let those dudes chasing you keep chasing you and probably eventually kill you.

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Feminista: Well, I'm not giving you the oil I promised you anyway! It was all a trick or something. We're out of here!

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Canyon biker: Hey, fuck you! Now I definitely should just let the people chasing you just run you down and kill you.

Just before Something-Something-Joe's armada can enter the canyon, an explosion blows up some overhanging rocks so that the passage is blocked.

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Canyon biker: What the...? Why the fuck did we do that? How is that even remotely in our interest?

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George Miller : Who knows, man.

Something-Something-Joe manages to get his car through, because if there's no chase, there's no movie.

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Nux: Also, I've been hiding on the back of the truck, so now I'm going to come up to the front and try and kill Feminista!

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Crazy Hot Babes: No you're not! And we're going to not only fight you, we're going to get into a weird argument about life and society, using awkward catch phrases we've made up. Basically our standpoint is that you're delusional for believing in Something-Something-Joe.

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Nux: What? Something-Something-Joe is good! You should give up and come back!

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Red Hair: Fuck that. It's people like you that make everything suck!

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Nux: We're not to blame!

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Blond Hair: Then who killed the world?!

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Mel Gibson: The Jews.

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Rockatansky: Mel, Shut the fuck up. This movie almost didn't get made because of you .

In amongst a lot more chasing and shit blowing up, Nux gets a ride from Something-Something-Joe back to the truck.

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Nux: Give me a gun! I'll jump on the truck and shoot Feminista!

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Something-Something-Joe: Alright, here's a gun. Now don't fuck this up.

Nux immediately fucks up.

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Nux: Damn it! I dropped the gun. Now I'm a failure in the eyes of my demagog leader, so I think I'm going to sulk my way into a character change in the back of the truck where no one can see me.

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Something-Something-Joe: Ugh , if you want something done right... I'll just shoot Feminista myself.

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Preggers: Not if I get out on the side of the truck and be a human shield! You won't shoot me because I'm carrying your baby.

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Something-Something-Joe: You're right, I won't. Hey! Look out for that rock!

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Preggers: Nice try. As if I'd fall...

The truck sideswipes a rock, and it looks like Preggers is killed instantly.

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Preggers: Psych! I'm still alive!

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Audience: Aw, come on. How'd she survive that? I mean, we were kind of suspecting her character would make it to the end anyway, but...

A part of the truck breaks off and Preggers falls to the ground where she is immediately run over by Something-Something-Joe.

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Preggers: Double psych! I'm for real dead now. Also my baby.

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Audience: Oh, shit! Okay, you got us on that one.

Something-Something-Joe gives up for the moment because he's bummed out about running over his prize sugar baby. Feminista and the gang drive off into the night.

Later, while driving across a dark and muddy landscape, Red Hair goes to the back of the truck and finds Nux laying there.

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Red Hair: What are you doing back here?

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Nux: I got dizzy and needed to lie down.

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Red Hair: Dizzy?

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Nux: From the speed at which my character's motivations are doing a complete 180 degree turn.

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Red Hair: Cool. Hey, have you noticed I'm pretty?

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Nux: That settles it. I'm nice now.

The truck gets stuck in some mud, and for some reason most of the bad guys are hanging back while a single car in unlimited ammo mode approaches, shooting all over the place.

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Rockatansky: I got this.

Rockatansky leaves, there's an explosion off in the distance, and then he comes back.

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Rockatansky: Okay, I blew them up. We're all good.

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Feminista: You blew them up off screen ? In a movie that exists purely to sell action sequences?

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Nux: It's supposed to be evocative of how bad ass he is...?

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Rockatansky: ... and not at all because no one could figure out how exactly I would take on a moving car defended by automatic weapons in the dark on flat ground with no features to use to my advantage.

Cut to the next morning where they come across a naked woman screaming for help in a tower.

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Naked tower chick: Help! Help!

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Rockatansky: She's bait. It's a trap.

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Red Hair: Wait, so, she's always sitting up there at the top of a tower, completely exposed in the baking desert sun, screaming her head off, just on the off chance that someone comes by?

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Feminista: Hmm... now it makes sense why my people have mostly died out.

Feminista stops the truck and gets out

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Feminista: Yo, people hiding out in the hills around us! I'm with you! I am the daughter of the person who was the tribe of the thing with the mother of the other person or whoever and the all the other untrackable references to people not in this movie.

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Hell's Granny : She's cool everybody, her story checks out.

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Feminista: Cool. So, where's all the parks and farmland and stuff?

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Other Hell's Granny: You mean that muddy wasteland you drove through last night?

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Feminista: What? How did the green zone get all fucked up?

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Another Hell's Granny: It's not clear, really, but I think we can just gloss over that. In this post apocalyptic hellscape it's not hard to imagine it could all just go to shit for whatever reason.

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Feminista: Well, fuck, there go all my plans. Pretty much the end of the movie as far as I'm concerned. I guess maybe we should just chill for the night, and then tomorrow we can take off. Like, just drive away, to nowhere in particular.

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Hell's Granny: What else would we do?

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Red Hair: I certainly can't think of any other options.

With nothing much else to do, they camp out at night and look at the stars. They watch a satellite move through the sky.

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Blond Hair: They say the satellites used to transmit "shows"...

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Hell's Granny: Oh yeah, there was Game of Thrones , and Walking Dead , and Community and..

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Blond Hair: What? What the fuck are those?

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Hell's Granny: Shows. Weren't we talking about shows?

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Blond Hair: How do you know so much about them?

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Hell's Granny: According to any discernible timeline from the previous movies, and Rockatansky's age, I would have been late thirties or so when the apocalypse happened, so I would have grown up on shows. Most of us here would have. The real question is, how are you so clueless about them?

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Blond Hair: Oh. I guess satellites aren't so mysterious then.

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Hell's Granny: Nope.

Next day, they are biking to nowhere in particular when Rockatansky stops them.

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Rockatansky: Hey, maybe it's in your feminine nature to avoid conflict or something, but let me mansplain the option of going back to Castle Greyskull and retaking it.

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Other Hell's Granny: Listen to the man. He's right. We could do it if we manage to trap all those dudes in the canyon or something like that.

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Red Hair: I can't believe we didn't even mention the option before! It's as if it were completely inconveivable to us.

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Feminista: I suppose I could have come up with the idea myself, thus depicting the women as having that much more agency, and that could have been done without sacrificing anything of the narrative structure, but that might be going too far. Women do a lot in this film, but really we should have a man provide the key moment of decision making.

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Rockatansky: Glad I could help.

They head back to Castle Greyskull, and are intercepted along the way by Something-Something-Joe and his armada of cars. Much fighting that is awesome to watch and pointless to describe in text ensues.

Anyway, Rockatansky and the gang prevail. Something-Something-Joe gets his face ripped off and all the bad guys get blown up real good.

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Red Hair: Hey, don't just gloss over the fact that Nux sacrificed himself all heroically and shit.

Yeah, he went out like a champ. All the Hell's Grannies died being pretty heroic as well. All the hot chicks survive though.

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Red Hair: Funny how that works.

Feminista is badly injured, and as she convalesces in the back of the truck, Rockatansky uses this moment of calm to talk to her.

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Rockatansky: My name... is Max.

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Feminista: Sorry... what?

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Rockatansky: My name. It's Max.

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Feminista: ...

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Rockatansky: ...

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Feminista: ... and?

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Rockatansky: I thought it was important...?

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Feminista: Is this supposed to be a moment between us?

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Rockatansky: ... uh... yes? Maybe? If I'm being honest, I'm also unclear.

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Feminista: Yeah. I don't want to be rude or anything, but I feel like I kind of have my own thing going on right now. You know, being almost dead and everything.

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Rockatansky: Yeah. Sorry. Now I just feel awkward.

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Feminista: Yeah.

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Rockatansky: Let's just cut to the next scene.

They arrive back at Castle Greyskull. Everybody gathers for their arrival. There's no indication that these people have anything else do to, like leisure activities or productive labour. There don't even seem to be dwellings anywhere. Maybe they live in caves? Anyway, everyone crowds around Rockatansky and Feminista.

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Feminista: So, if you could all, like, drop the entire cult of personality built around Something-Something-Joe just as easily as Nux did so that we can wrap this movie up without any questions about how we can just assume power, that'd be swell. I mean, we're all a bit exhausted from the last two hours of action, so we're not really up for another protacted battle scene to capture Castle Greyskull.

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Proletariat: Sure.

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Feminista: Sweet. Thanks.

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Rockatansky: Okay, looks like everything is sorted here, so, I'll be on my way. Just going to give you a knowing nod and be gone.

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Feminista: Just before you go, I want to point out that you're basically a hero to the only half dozen hot women on planet earth. And they're like, actually hot, in a world where the baseline standard for hot is usually "only partially disfigured from radioactive syphilis." Seems kind of a missed opportunity to just walk away from that.

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Rockatansky: Still, I'll check ya later.

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Feminista: Okay... but... also, just saying, you and I also may have a thing. I'm not making any promises, but, you know, I see you as my only equal in this realm of idiots. And even a severed arm doesn't stop me being Charlize-Theron-level-uber-hot. Plus, I get bonus hot-points for being one of the few genuinely badass female movie characters to come around in a long time.

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Rockatansky: Yup, that is true.

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Feminista: We also have an infrastructure with water, crops, the beginnings of possibly some kind of democratic society, defenses... you know, shit that makes life livable, and not a desert wasteland full of death and anguish.

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Rockatansky: I hear what you're saying. I really do.

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Feminista: Also, you don't have a car. I mean, ordinarily I'd let you have one of ours, but, you did kind of help me blow up almost every single car we even know about, so all we have left are the handful of broken down shitty ones that we're going to need for defense.

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Rockatansky: You are a wealth of solid information and convincing arguments for staying.

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Feminista: So you'll stay?

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Rockatansky: Nope. Got me some sequels to find. You can't build a franchise out of love, stability, and community building.

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Feminista: Alrighty then. Good luck out there.

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Mel Gibson: Hey, this movie was a bit too good! It's like you don't even need me anymore. Fuck that! Pay attention to me, goddamn it! I've got things to say about women too ! Witness me !

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Audience: Fuck off, Mel.

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What's a blog for if not to be embarrassingly revealing?

Tama Chan Tama Chan Tama Chan Tama Chan

Tama Chan

There was a time I considered doing a comic about my experience in Japan. I decided it wasn't worth it, but I did about seven or so, and I'm going to put them online just so the effort isn't wasted. This first comic is probably the most dysfunctional, referencing issues that no longer matter and events no one remembers.

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