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Hard Core Logo: Why the End Is Right


If you want to talk about Noel Baker's book on HCL and the question-mark bubbles that appeared above your head as you read it...or penetration (a. contrived, b. consensual, c. non-consensual, d. Noel Baker's lack of interest in...) scroll down in my journal to the OTHER HCL post and join us!  Three posts down.  We love it when people join the conversation and we track like you wouldn't believe.  Try us. 

If you'd like to talk about The End and the events leading up to it, come in here.  But I Am Telling You...

this is the Spoiler Supreme with a side of spoily friesCollapse )

Comments

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mary_the_fan
Sep. 10th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
I just see all the changing of the subject, and hushing up, indicative of Billy avoiding confrontation with Joe.

Yes, I can see that. You are not the first to suggest that Billy is a little avoidish.

Case in point, my icon. I absolutely love that scene and that shot. Because, IMO, this is our "I Haven't Yet Decided Whether to Kiss You or Kill You" face.

1. Billy knows Joe lied. He also knows that Joe lied just to get him back. What do you do with that? The lie, at one point, seems to have been partially to blame for Billy losing Jenifur. But the lie was a huge risk for Joe and it was all to get Billy close. Hard to know how to feel.
2. Billy's pattern of dampened response to Joe. (I talked about this on the other thread.) Whatever he feels, we're not going to see it right now, necessarily.

I love the one quick shot of Joe, opposite that face of Billy's, where his expression is so goofy. Like, no drama, no gravity, we're just having fun here, right fellas?

We do get our answer about how Billy is feeling about the lie, twice.
- First in the scene from the next morning. Billy stands by the bus and, as Joe approaches, he gives him shit about the "restorative powers" of the countryside. But 20 seconds later, he's giggling and getting on the bus, quite happy.

(wait, I'm continuing this because I need another icon to illustrate....)


Edited at 2008-09-11 03:51 am (UTC)
mary_the_fan
Sep. 10th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
(...continuing)
- Second, when Victoria confronts Joe about the lie and Billy covers for him. Hilariously. "We touched his stump." Bros before hos. But not in an "I can't believe I had to fucking lie for you" way. In a conspiratorial, very buddies way. And Joe, wearing one of my favorite faces of the whole movie, smiles a little too big and then ducks his head behind the guitar to hide it. As Billy sees it all. (I think I'm gonna cry now.)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
"We touched his stump." Bros before hos. But not in an "I can't believe I had to fucking lie for you" way. In a conspiratorial, very buddies way.
Absolutely right. I had kinda skimmed (like the wind) past that moment in my head when making my case. But it was noticeable and significant that he made Joe's lie his own. He had Joe's back. It was sweet.

But then Jenifur takes him back, and the focus of his balancing act shifts to the other side of the scale.

I don't fault Billy, because when he did talk to Joe about plans, he was pretty direct about what he wanted. "The tour, and then I'm out." The unfortunate part for Joe is that he never protected himself against the possibility that Billy would jump at a better opportunity.

mary_the_fan
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I don't fault Billy, because when he did talk to Joe about plans, he was pretty direct about what he wanted. "The tour, and then I'm out." The unfortunate part for Joe is that he never protected himself against the possibility that Billy would jump at a better opportunity.

Right. In that other post, I talked about my view, which is that a lot of Billy's words and behavior suggest that Billy's waging a battle with himself.

Joe wants one thing. Billy wants two things. Do you see what I mean? So, especially given that he has trouble convincing himself what's best, I give him credit for drawing lines for Joe. I'm sure on the phone, he said "the benefit, and then I'm gone." In the tiki bar, he says "When I get back (from the tour), I'm done." Then he promises Joe he'll stay longer. Then he gets the fax and he has to choose.

And I don't know whether I would call it a "better opportunity". I think Jenifur is more than just a better paying job with more fame, though I don't fault Billy for considering that. With Joe, it's so much Joe, you know? It's the love that ties him to Joe, and Joe's self-destructive. He peed in Seymour Stein's gin and tonic. You don't tether yourself to that guy forever. Billy did it for 12 years, and he'd probably do it for more, but he gets thrown a lifeline.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
Joe wants one thing. Billy wants two things. Do you see what I mean?
Yep. Joe is singular in his focus.

And I don't know whether I would call it a "better opportunity". I think Jenifur is more than just a better paying job with more fame, though I don't fault Billy for considering that ... You don't tether yourself to that guy forever. Billy did it for 12 years, and he'd probably do it for more, but he gets thrown a lifeline.
I think we agree, which is why I'm confused as to where going off with Jenifur isn't a better opportunity for Billy.

I think I may not have expressed myself well. Here's what I meant: When, in the scene where they step away from Bruce's camera but forget that Billy is still miked, it seems as though Joe comes away from that thinking "I have what I want, which is Billy at my side." Joe seems to think he has Billy for keeps. (Makes "He's mine" into reality.)
mary_the_fan
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
it seems as though Joe comes away from that thinking "I have what I want, which is Billy at my side." Joe seems to think he has Billy for keeps. (Makes "He's mine" into reality.)

Yeah, I agree. Joe makes more of it than just "we're going to tour together now". Joe feels like they're back together forever.

For Billy, things are much more fluid. Rememeber that he had been away for five years, and played with Jenifur during part of that. He played the "lollapalooza dates" with them. He was their guitarist when they were shot for the cover of Spin (?). (Why, is that Molly Parker on lead vocals? Hi, Molly!) He was "waiting for papers" to be a real part of Jenifur. Then it was off.

Now it's on. He's been holding Joe at bay all this time and wouldn't you fucking know it, the very day after he promises Joe he'll stay, he gets the fax from Jenifur.

I think we agree, which is why I'm confused as to where going off with Jenifur isn't a better opportunity for Billy.

I think we agree too -- I was just saying that "jumps at a better opportunity" sounds sudden and new. Which makes it sound like a whim or a purely financial thing or something. But I don't think that's what you mean. It's complex and emotional and it builds slowly to this point.

Just nod your head, I'm tired. :-)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
*nods head in vigorous show of permanent solidarity*
mary_the_fan
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Excellent! That's what I like.

Ok, off to bed. Thanks for keeping me company this evening! Others might show in a few days. Or maybe I'll have to serve free appetizers or something...

Night!
tomfoolery815
Sep. 11th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
You're welcome, and thank you. :-)

Just as with the early BSG-thread days, it's time for us to take a seat at the bar until the rest of our party arrives. :-)
ok_with_that
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:14 am (UTC)
I wrote a whole thing on this in my other post, so I won't repeat it here. You can pop over there, if you want. Really, it's long. Umm...ok, Billy just got the fax, he's excited and the DJ is asking about the future of HCL. He wants to tell somebody and, at the same time, realizes that there's really nothing else he can say that's truthful, without really hurting and humiliating Joe, so he leaves.

May I just interject a thought or two into this? ;)

I got that Billy was excited walking down the hall, reading the fax, on his way to the interview. I *didn't* so much get the feeling that he *shared* the fax out of that same excitement.

Granted, I've only watched once (and Netflix somehow couldn't see its way to sending me a disc *with commentary* thank you), so I may be stretching credulity a bit, but... I thought for a moment that Billy was almost a little reluctant to show Terry the fax --- and that it was more about giving Terry some tangible reason why he would end the interview. It certainly set everything else in motion, but...

Some of that internal struggle you point to in Billy, mary, is about being honorable --- and it shows up in small ways in how he treats Bruce and Fanzine Writer Chick and Terry the DJ. Overall, I think he takes them more seriously than the others do --- certainly than Joe or Pipe do. (John's a different issue, in his own world.) Billy may see them as a necessary and annoying part of the business blah blah blah blah blah blah blah but in general he's fair with them, and I think respects that they have their jobs to do --- and aren't there solely for his own entertainment.

(Which leaves me a little puzzled as to why Bruce sounds so pointedly vengeful in that "We'll show you just how cool we are" moment. Joe's clearly treated Bruce badly up to that point, but Billy hasn't done anything to earn that kind of reaction from Bruce.... other than be the focal point of all of Joe's machinations... )

(And why my brain is suddenly playing with warped alternative ends to the parable of the prodigal son I really couldn't tell you.)

Anyway --- back at the DJ booth: Interesting (to me, anyway): Is that the only scene we get with Billy wearing a ball cap? Because there he is, jaunty in his excitement in the hall, then talking-but-not-really-talking to that DJ, suddenly bill backwards. Dressed like Joe.
mary_the_fan
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Hey!

Some of that internal struggle you point to in Billy, mary, is about being honorable --- and it shows up in small ways in how he treats Bruce and Fanzine Writer Chick and Terry the DJ. Overall, I think he takes them more seriously than the others do --- certainly than Joe or Pipe do. (John's a different issue, in his own world.) Billy may see them as a necessary and annoying part of the business blah blah blah blah blah blah blah but in general he's fair with them, and I think respects that they have their jobs to do --- and aren't there solely for his own entertainment.

I think this is a great point. I think Billy is someone who is emotionally sensitive to people. I don't mean sensitive as in thoughtful or kind, I mean he literally senses a lot. He can tell how people are feeling and he reacts to that.

In fact, I believe that people like that, and I happen to be one, develop defenses to shield themselves from the onslaught of emotion. They can seem distant. You can certainly make a case that Billy has a filter up around him most of the time. Most of all, when he's with Joe, the firehose of emotion (toward Billy).

So I think you're right that Billy treats the people around him differently. He's amused by Joe giving shit to the reporter, but he's a little uncomfortable with it and certainly doesn't want to pile on. He mildly scolds Joe for it. As Pipe reads John's journal, Billy's sort of amused, but watch as John comes into the room, off-camera. In fact, the way you know John has come into the room is that Billy suddenly looks very uncomfortable and a little angry, and starts throwing things at Pipe to get him to stop. So I absolutely agree that Billy treats people better than Joe or Pipe. John is the sweetest. (And maybe John is the version of the emotional sensitive with no defenses...)
mary_the_fan
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
C, I also think there's something else going on with Billy, that causes him to act this way. He's a BIG FLIRT. *points* He's emotionally sensitive and emotionally adept. Do you know what I mean? He's charming, but it's more than that.

If nothing else, watch the little interview snippet that this icon is taken from. He finishes his thought, then he decides to play a little. You can actually see the moment that this happens --- where he decides to have some fun. He teases a response out of Bruce. He trots out the smile. (Heh. Takes my breath a little, but YMMV :-) My point is that engaging people in that way is part of his nature.

Look at the interview where he's playing the guitar (I think in the red cap), just before that scene at the top of the stairs where Joe asks him to stay with HCL (for the last time). He answers the question (about the guitar) he whips out the smile, flirts a little, then is called away by Joe. But not before he hastily offers to let Bruce sit in with them sometime, and then asks permission to leave. He goes out of his way to do that. He's charming and courteous, and IMO he gets a lot of gratification from it.

And I have to throw in one of my very favorite Charming Billy moments. As Bucky hands around panes of LSD to about six people, Billy, alone, says "Thank you." And he says it in such a delicate way that it makes me laugh. Like he's been handed a cup of tea.

This is what keeps me in love with CKR --- each of his characters is such a clear, specific, unique person that I feel like I know the character so well.

Edited at 2008-09-28 05:00 am (UTC)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
My point is that engaging people in that way is part of his nature.
He's charming and courteous, and IMO he gets a lot of gratification from it.
And he says it in such a delicate way that it makes me laugh. Like he's been handed a cup of tea.

He's such a counterpoint to Joe, who's all "fuck off" and spitting phlegm in faces. Of people he likes.

I get the feeling that Joe and Billy understood that they were yin and yang. I suppose the crucial difference is that Billy saw it as a successful partnership, but Joe saw it as the defining relationship of his life.
mary_the_fan
Sep. 28th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
Hey, Tom. I agree with you that there is a difference between how Billy and Joe see and approach their relationship. And certainly Joe is desperate in a way that Billy isn't.

But I do think that they love each other equally, if that makes any sense. So I just have a teeny quibble with "successful partnership". Billy loves Joe just as much as Joe loves Billy, IMO. The movie is a study of how two very different people "wear" that love, or deal with that love. I think Billy manages his strong emotions for Joe better, just as he manages everything else in his life better (career, people, drugs/alcohol).

It's like different people with the same terminal cancer (gee, I'm cheerful tonight). One person might go into a depression and retreat from life, another might decide to take control by attempting suicide, another might decide to live life to the fullest in the time he has left. I just think Billy has better survival skills.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
(Which leaves me a little puzzled as to why Bruce sounds so pointedly vengeful in that "We'll show you just how cool we are" moment. Joe's clearly treated Bruce badly up to that point, but Billy hasn't done anything to earn that kind of reaction from Bruce.... other than be the focal point of all of Joe's machinations... )
C, I intepreted Bruce's action as getting even with Joe for him having lied to him. It certainly sounds as if he wants to stick it to Billy, but IMO he's just collateral damage.

Again IMO, Bruce had been stewing from the moment Joe revealed the lie. I say this because he immediately knows what he wants to do with the information: Hurt Joe with it.

Which, of course, is not even close to buddies. Since, as Mary pointed out, Joe's lie did get Bruce funding for his documentary. Bruce's response to being lied to is about as hurtful a thing anybody other than Billy could do to Joe, and Bruce knows this. It's a meanness that demeans Bruce, regardless of the ending of the movie.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
It's like different people with the same terminal cancer (gee, I'm cheerful tonight).
Yeah, you're Happy Fun Girl. ;-)

So I just have a teeny quibble with "successful partnership". Billy loves Joe just as much as Joe loves Billy, IMO.
You're right. Billy does love Joe. It wasn't strictly business, as my use of "successful partnership" implies. I didn't mean it quite like that.

I think we agree that while Billy loved Joe, he didn't need partnership with Joe to feel complete. Joe did.

I just think Billy has better survival skills.
Most definitely. :-)
ok_with_that
Sep. 28th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
C, I intepreted Bruce's action as getting even with Joe for him having lied to him. It certainly sounds as if he wants to stick it to Billy, but IMO he's just collateral damage.

I think you're right, Tom, and yet... I somehow keep finding myself wanting to play through the alternative. (Not that it works, but... ;)

Because we never see Bruce actually telling Joe anything. It's all implication and probability and...although the delivery is deliberate and sharp, the question itself is pretty straightforward, in a "Let's get this on tape" kind of way... It all makes me wonder: If Billy hasn't yet made his choice --- or if there were an Option C out there, that had Joe along for Billy's ride somehow ---

But that would mean that Bruce's anger *is* directed at Billy, and that he's somehow standing up for Joe, or on his side, or... in implying Billy's leaving.

Yeah. No, huh? ;)

I suppose I want to believe better of Bruce --- this character about whom I've been given the least of all --- than that he'd go as far as he did. It's a meanness that comes out of nowhere... even allowing for whatever betrayal he feels about The Lie.
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