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PostSubject: Visoneers with Zach Galifianakis   Wed 29 May 2013, 10:35 pm

Fantastic and recent commentary on the ills of our current society. Here's one of the key scenes, where Old Man Jeffers (the head of the largest corporation of the world) tells the main character (Zach Galifianakis) about his desire to Kill Dreams (starts at approximiately 8min30s in part 8 and continue thru part 9) in an effort to recruit Zach to the cause.





Defending the Dark Weirdness of Visioneers

by Aaron Davidson | November 9th, 2011
http://splitsider.com/2011/11/defending-the-dark-weirdness-of-visioneers/

“Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation. The largest and friendliest and most profitable corporation in the history of mankind.”

The first joke in Visioneers is visual: a logo of buildings shaped like a raised middle finger. On the surface it’s juvenile. That surface is promptly removed, along with other expectations foisted by flimsy Netflix descriptors like “quirky” and “understated.” In the world of the film, the gesture has none of the connotation it does in our world. Instead, giving someone the bird is a salutation. That’s how Visioneers works. The film trades in expectations, presenting the familiar without accepting preexisting definitions.

It’s not an easy film to describe since it compares better to George Saunders or David Foster Wallace than any recent movie, especially one starring Zach Galifianakis. All these worlds are moderated by people and places and objects we know, but meanings are recast and symbols adjusted. The change can be subtle. In Visioneers, triumph takes the form of a successful pole vault or a smiley face on a sticky note. Conversely, the word “chaos” is, for 94 minutes, unflinchingly pronounced “chay-os,” and an entire character is never seen nor heard, which must have been difficult to explain to the financiers.

When such moments are stitched into the molten pacing and perfect performances of the whole, they form a unique texture. If I sound oblique it’s because Visioneers is supremely odd. The film is divisive; it needs to be. It took months to convince a group of friends to watch the movie. I didn’t know how to explain it then and I still don’t now. The responses to that viewing were split. Some, like me, loved it. Other’s didn't. All were confused.

“Jeffers quote of the day: give me productivity or give me death.”

The third character to enter the Level Three Jeffers Corp. office is Todd. He’s greeted cordially by his coworker, George Washington Winsterhammerman, played by Galifianakis at his subtle, maddening best. “Jeffers morning, Todd,” George offers along with an amiable one-fingered salute. Todd does not salute back, but raises a revolver to his temple, shuts his eyes, and pulls the trigger.

Tension works differently in this movie. Todd’s gun seems alarming when it appears in his trembling, sweaty hand in the first two minutes of the film. When he pulls the trigger, the hammer clicks. The chamber is empty. He breathes out, now relaxed. What’s weird is that Todd’s tension release dovetails in unison with the audience.

Yet he’s afraid of something completely different. As we think he’ll shoot himself, he explains his doctor insists he pull the trigger every day, saying it will lower “the risk of explosion.” In Visioneers, there is an epidemic of explosions. To go with the epidemic, there is a propaganda campaign proffered by the Jeffers Corp. connecting spontaneous combustion to dreams. When, exactly halfway into the movie, Todd sets down his gun and lifts up a Jeffers-brand Cuddle Buddy (a talking teddy bear), the tension returns. His whole body shakes. He squeezes the ear and the bear announces what a wonderful day it is. Todd explodes. Visioneers is not Todd’s story.

“The Jeffers Corporation does not support combustible activities or the belief in dreams.”

George Washington Winsterhammerman dreams of crossing the Delaware. He drives to work in an old minivan. He plays golf and drives his boat on the weekends. His house is huge, and a landmark at which tours stop and stare. He picks up fried chicken for dinner, which he slathers in butter. He invites his son Howard down for dinner, but Howard never comes. George can’t fuck his wife.

His role in the Jeffers Corporation is a Level Three TUNT. That means he is below a GOOB and above a BOOT. What those distinctions mean is unclear; all the work is brainless. The company manufactures stuff, from talking bears to Inhibitors, which attach at the neck and reduce individuals to heartless automatons.

The only thing that quickens George’s heart is Charisma from Level Four. There’s something in her voice that George finds exciting, and the smiley’s she draws on the work she sends down make him stop and smile. Both stopping and smiling are unproductive.

“I want to do number 800 with the butter.”

Judy Greer plays Michelle, George’s wife. She sits on the floor all day, watching Missi Pyle play Sahra, a television personality of Oprah proportions. Sahra’s favorite thing is a book called 10,000 Ways To Be Happy. Many ways to be happy involve butter. Churning butter. Slathering it on food. Using butter as lubrication. There’s a good amount of repetition in Visioneers.

It’s challenging to to portray habits in this sort of fiction, since the audience must process the moment, assume it’s a joke, then move past the humor and accept it as truth when it happens again. This happens early in Network, when Howard Beale tells America he’s going to kill himself on air and the network runs with it, as if it’s something that could happen later tonight on our real nightly news.

Similarly, when the bomb goes off in the mall in Brazil, only the audience flinches. Everyone on screen goes on with their lunch. The viewer experiences the a-ha moment. We learn of a new parameter to a fictional reality. The characters chew their food.

“Normally passive men such as yourself are the sort of men who suffer from dreams.”

George hires a professional “buddy” named Rodger Codger. The handles are so excellent in this film that the IMDB page would be funny were it smart enough to list surnames. George tries hard to be a regular guy that doesn’t dream. His favorite show is Mack Luster, about a guy named Mack Luster who interrogates old ladies, snipes little girls, and always wins at tennis.

He sees a doctor, who prescribes the buddy. George buys a Dreamnaut from a late night advertisement. It’s a helmet with Styrofoam planets that’s supposed to help the wearer understand his or her place in the universe, where “there are no dreams.” George destroys it, along with a vase. Nothing works; George continues to dream.

His brother Julieen returns from South America to live in the back house and practice pole vaulting. Julieen used to be on Level Five of the Jeffers Corp. He looks and acts like Richie Tenenbaum. I’m pretty sure Wes Anderson would have loved this movie had he watched it with Owen Wilson in college.

“Explosions update: Victims suffered from dreams.”

After Todd explodes nothing is the same. George has seen what he thinks he fears most. What was just a six figure statistic on the news is now real and all over his office walls. Charisma is let go and Cindy, another TUNT, is promoted. The FBI stakes out Julieen’s backyard Bacchanalia of topless frisbee and pole vaulting. Soon, Roger Codger and 300 others die at Bern Goodman’s telethon to raise awareness about explosions.

Visioneers uses radio, television ads, company videos, Sahra’s talk show, a sitcom, whatever genre of show Mack Luster is, books, and missionaries to expand its world. At times it feel like that scene in Existenz when Jude Law and Robin Wright Penn first enter the game world and find themselves in a store that sells games and equipment slightly different than the ones that brought them in. Visioneers has the tactility of our world — the corporatocracy, the capitalism that we blindly defend, so many manufactured solutions we can hardly remember the problems — like it’s playing games inside our our game.

George continues to dream, which only grows his fear. Not knowing what else to do, he heads to Underdeveloped Area 37.

“Forget ourselves and work together.”

Charisma works at her father’s coffee shop and book store in the countryside. George deliberates by himself about whether or not to go see her. He removes his tie before exiting his van.

In the shop, he orders without speaking. Over-anxious, he gets up to leave before his food arrives. Nearly bumping into someone in the doorway, he mutters “sorry.” Charisma would know that voice anywhere; she spoke to him every day back when she was a GOOB. They sit together. “You look as I imagined,” she tells Zach Galifianakis. He doesn’t know why he’s there. It’s awkward.

“How are you George?” Charisma asks.

“Todd exploded,” George says. “And Cindy got promoted.” It’s awkward some more then George leaves.

Back at work he can hardly take it. A test arrives. Question three asks George to draw his vision of the future. The test is interrupted when Jeffers goons hold down Todd’s replacement and fit him with an Inhibitor. They leave. George illustrates the future.

“Happiness is being happy.”

According to the book, “happiness is being happy” is the ten thousandth step to happiness. “What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?” asks Sahra. She blows her brains out with a shotgun on air. George’s wife Michelle tries to do the same, but the book only told her buying a shotgun would make her happy, not buying shells. Howard is gone. Julieen flees into the woods. The real Mr. Jeffers arrives.

Mr. Jeffers is a sickly old man. He requires an oxygen machine to breathe. He doesn’t just want to a world without dreams, but to live without emotion and independent thought. That’s how man can be most productive, he thinks. He speaks as a man committed to a singular cause, to a life’s work. In spite of his condition, he’s quite jovial. In spite of his dedication to totalitarian suppression he comes off evenly, like the grandpa in Jurassic Park. It’s easy to imagine him voting Republican.

When George drew his vision of the future, he scribbled a crude sunset over an ocean. Maybe it’s a sunrise? Regardless, it blew Mr. Jeffers crotchety old mind.

“What were you thinking when you drew this?” he asks.

“Dreams are dead,” George mumbles.

“I like you, TUNT,” Mr. Jeffers says. “I’m going to show you how you can have the peace you want and live in the world we both know is coming.”

“Kill the thing you love.”


George fills a duffel with black leather gloves like OJ. He heads back to the Underdeveloped Area and finds everyone, including Charisma, wearing Inhibitors. She doesn’t remember him. He asks her to go somewhere with him. Cut to George’s boat. He’s choosing a knife. She sits in the cabin, waiting.

It would be wrong to leave Mike Judge out of the discussion. Visioneers is Idiocracy without the budget and violence and poop jokes. It’s also Office Space taken to an insane, but plausible extreme. George doesn’t hate his job or the country that allows for his job, but his complete inability to hate or love or feel anything.

I don’t want to say what happens on the boat, because I couldn’t forgive myself if the spectre of “spoilers” prevented anyone from experiencing the adventure Visioneers has with language, comedy, and the subject of corporatism. The film is arguably more relevant now than when it came out, what with Adbusters and the Occupiers creating new words for the subjects Visioneers studies.

It’s easier to see television shows having this much fun with barely fake worlds. When a writing/directing team like Brandon and Jared Drake bring such a world to the silver screen nothing is more important than passing it on and on until it realizes the canonization it rightly deserves.

Aaron is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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PostSubject: Re: Visoneers with Zach Galifianakis   Mon 26 Aug 2013, 1:34 am

C1 wrote:
Fantastic and recent commentary on the ills of our current society.  Here's one of the key scenes, where Old Man Jeffers (the head of the largest corporation of the world) tells the main character (Zach Galifianakis) about his desire to Kill Dreams (starts at approximiately 8min30s in part 8 and continue thru part 9) in an effort to recruit Zach to the cause.





Defending the Dark Weirdness of Visioneers

by Aaron Davidson | November 9th, 2011
http://splitsider.com/2011/11/defending-the-dark-weirdness-of-visioneers/

“Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation. The largest and friendliest and most profitable corporation in the history of mankind.”

The first joke in Visioneers is visual: a logo of buildings shaped like a raised middle finger. On the surface it’s juvenile. That surface is promptly removed, along with other expectations foisted by flimsy Netflix descriptors like “quirky” and “understated.” In the world of the film, the gesture has none of the connotation it does in our world. Instead, giving someone the bird is a salutation. That’s how Visioneers works. The film trades in expectations, presenting the familiar without accepting preexisting definitions.

It’s not an easy film to describe since it compares better to George Saunders or David Foster Wallace than any recent movie, especially one starring Zach Galifianakis. All these worlds are moderated by people and places and objects we know, but meanings are recast and symbols adjusted. The change can be subtle. In Visioneers, triumph takes the form of a successful pole vault or a smiley face on a sticky note. Conversely, the word “chaos” is, for 94 minutes, unflinchingly pronounced “chay-os,” and an entire character is never seen nor heard, which must have been difficult to explain to the financiers.

When such moments are stitched into the molten pacing and perfect performances of the whole, they form a unique texture. If I sound oblique it’s because Visioneers is supremely odd. The film is divisive; it needs to be. It took months to convince a group of friends to watch the movie. I didn’t know how to explain it then and I still don’t now. The responses to that viewing were split. Some, like me, loved it. Other’s didn't. All were confused.

“Jeffers quote of the day: give me productivity or give me death.”

The third character to enter the Level Three Jeffers Corp. office is Todd. He’s greeted cordially by his coworker, George Washington Winsterhammerman, played by Galifianakis at his subtle, maddening best. “Jeffers morning, Todd,” George offers along with an amiable one-fingered salute. Todd does not salute back, but raises a revolver to his temple, shuts his eyes, and pulls the trigger.

Tension works differently in this movie. Todd’s gun seems alarming when it appears in his trembling, sweaty hand in the first two minutes of the film. When he pulls the trigger, the hammer clicks. The chamber is empty. He breathes out, now relaxed. What’s weird is that Todd’s tension release dovetails in unison with the audience.

Yet he’s afraid of something completely different. As we think he’ll shoot himself, he explains his doctor insists he pull the trigger every day, saying it will lower “the risk of explosion.” In Visioneers, there is an epidemic of explosions. To go with the epidemic, there is a propaganda campaign proffered by the Jeffers Corp. connecting spontaneous combustion to dreams. When, exactly halfway into the movie, Todd sets down his gun and lifts up a Jeffers-brand Cuddle Buddy (a talking teddy bear), the tension returns. His whole body shakes. He squeezes the ear and the bear announces what a wonderful day it is. Todd explodes. Visioneers is not Todd’s story.

“The Jeffers Corporation does not support combustible activities or the belief in dreams.”

George Washington Winsterhammerman dreams of crossing the Delaware. He drives to work in an old minivan. He plays golf and drives his boat on the weekends. His house is huge, and a landmark at which tours stop and stare. He picks up fried chicken for dinner, which he slathers in butter. He invites his son Howard down for dinner, but Howard never comes. George can’t fuck his wife.

His role in the Jeffers Corporation is a Level Three TUNT. That means he is below a GOOB and above a BOOT. What those distinctions mean is unclear; all the work is brainless. The company manufactures stuff, from talking bears to Inhibitors, which attach at the neck and reduce individuals to heartless automatons.

The only thing that quickens George’s heart is Charisma from Level Four. There’s something in her voice that George finds exciting, and the smiley’s she draws on the work she sends down make him stop and smile. Both stopping and smiling are unproductive.

“I want to do number 800 with the butter.”

Judy Greer plays Michelle, George’s wife. She sits on the floor all day, watching Missi Pyle play Sahra, a television personality of Oprah proportions. Sahra’s favorite thing is a book called 10,000 Ways To Be Happy. Many ways to be happy involve butter. Churning butter. Slathering it on food. Using butter as lubrication. There’s a good amount of repetition in Visioneers.

It’s challenging to to portray habits in this sort of fiction, since the audience must process the moment, assume it’s a joke, then move past the humor and accept it as truth when it happens again. This happens early in Network, when Howard Beale tells America he’s going to kill himself on air and the network runs with it, as if it’s something that could happen later tonight on our real nightly news.

Similarly, when the bomb goes off in the mall in Brazil, only the audience flinches. Everyone on screen goes on with their lunch. The viewer experiences the a-ha moment. We learn of a new parameter to a fictional reality. The characters chew their food.

“Normally passive men such as yourself are the sort of men who suffer from dreams.”

George hires a professional “buddy” named Rodger Codger. The handles are so excellent in this film that the IMDB page would be funny were it smart enough to list surnames. George tries hard to be a regular guy that doesn’t dream. His favorite show is Mack Luster, about a guy named Mack Luster who interrogates old ladies, snipes little girls, and always wins at tennis.

He sees a doctor, who prescribes the buddy. George buys a Dreamnaut from a late night advertisement. It’s a helmet with Styrofoam planets that’s supposed to help the wearer understand his or her place in the universe, where “there are no dreams.” George destroys it, along with a vase. Nothing works; George continues to dream.

His brother Julieen returns from South America to live in the back house and practice pole vaulting. Julieen used to be on Level Five of the Jeffers Corp. He looks and acts like Richie Tenenbaum. I’m pretty sure Wes Anderson would have loved this movie had he watched it with Owen Wilson in college.

“Explosions update: Victims suffered from dreams.”

After Todd explodes nothing is the same. George has seen what he thinks he fears most. What was just a six figure statistic on the news is now real and all over his office walls. Charisma is let go and Cindy, another TUNT, is promoted. The FBI stakes out Julieen’s backyard Bacchanalia of topless frisbee and pole vaulting. Soon, Roger Codger and 300 others die at Bern Goodman’s telethon to raise awareness about explosions.

Visioneers uses radio, television ads, company videos, Sahra’s talk show, a sitcom, whatever genre of show Mack Luster is, books, and missionaries to expand its world. At times it feel like that scene in Existenz when Jude Law and Robin Wright Penn first enter the game world and find themselves in a store that sells games and equipment slightly different than the ones that brought them in. Visioneers has the tactility of our world — the corporatocracy, the capitalism that we blindly defend, so many manufactured solutions we can hardly remember the problems — like it’s playing games inside our our game.

George continues to dream, which only grows his fear. Not knowing what else to do, he heads to Underdeveloped Area 37.

“Forget ourselves and work together.”

Charisma works at her father’s coffee shop and book store in the countryside. George deliberates by himself about whether or not to go see her. He removes his tie before exiting his van.

In the shop, he orders without speaking. Over-anxious, he gets up to leave before his food arrives. Nearly bumping into someone in the doorway, he mutters “sorry.” Charisma would know that voice anywhere; she spoke to him every day back when she was a GOOB. They sit together. “You look as I imagined,” she tells Zach Galifianakis. He doesn’t know why he’s there. It’s awkward.

“How are you George?” Charisma asks.

“Todd exploded,” George says. “And Cindy got promoted.” It’s awkward some more then George leaves.

Back at work he can hardly take it. A test arrives. Question three asks George to draw his vision of the future. The test is interrupted when Jeffers goons hold down Todd’s replacement and fit him with an Inhibitor. They leave. George illustrates the future.

“Happiness is being happy.”

According to the book, “happiness is being happy” is the ten thousandth step to happiness. “What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?” asks Sahra. She blows her brains out with a shotgun on air. George’s wife Michelle tries to do the same, but the book only told her buying a shotgun would make her happy, not buying shells. Howard is gone. Julieen flees into the woods. The real Mr. Jeffers arrives.

Mr. Jeffers is a sickly old man. He requires an oxygen machine to breathe. He doesn’t just want to a world without dreams, but to live without emotion and independent thought. That’s how man can be most productive, he thinks. He speaks as a man committed to a singular cause, to a life’s work. In spite of his condition, he’s quite jovial. In spite of his dedication to totalitarian suppression he comes off evenly, like the grandpa in Jurassic Park. It’s easy to imagine him voting Republican.

When George drew his vision of the future, he scribbled a crude sunset over an ocean. Maybe it’s a sunrise? Regardless, it blew Mr. Jeffers crotchety old mind.

“What were you thinking when you drew this?” he asks.

“Dreams are dead,” George mumbles.

“I like you, TUNT,” Mr. Jeffers says. “I’m going to show you how you can have the peace you want and live in the world we both know is coming.”

“Kill the thing you love.”


George fills a duffel with black leather gloves like OJ. He heads back to the Underdeveloped Area and finds everyone, including Charisma, wearing Inhibitors. She doesn’t remember him. He asks her to go somewhere with him. Cut to George’s boat. He’s choosing a knife. She sits in the cabin, waiting.

It would be wrong to leave Mike Judge out of the discussion. Visioneers is Idiocracy without the budget and violence and poop jokes. It’s also Office Space taken to an insane, but plausible extreme. George doesn’t hate his job or the country that allows for his job, but his complete inability to hate or love or feel anything.

I don’t want to say what happens on the boat, because I couldn’t forgive myself if the spectre of “spoilers” prevented anyone from experiencing the adventure Visioneers has with language, comedy, and the subject of corporatism. The film is arguably more relevant now than when it came out, what with Adbusters and the Occupiers creating new words for the subjects Visioneers studies.

It’s easier to see television shows having this much fun with barely fake worlds. When a writing/directing team like Brandon and Jared Drake bring such a world to the silver screen nothing is more important than passing it on and on until it realizes the canonization it rightly deserves.

Aaron is a writer living in Los Angeles.
Really enjoyed this movie C1.  
Would never have watched it if not for your recommendation, either.  So many thanks...flower  queen
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PostSubject: Re: Visoneers with Zach Galifianakis   Wed 28 Aug 2013, 11:08 pm

That Zacarachis (or whatever his name is actor) really did a great job in this movie. It clearly shows where the corporate upper middle-class families are headed, at least those who are not total zombies.

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