J-Money Mix Tape: Alien Invasion

I’ve been thinking about ways to review music here for a while now…

What I’ve decided is to assemble short playlists with each individual song sharing a broader theme.

It’s a new feature on Drunk and Humble: J-Money Mix Tape.

Today’s Theme: Alien Invasion

Earth People – Dr. Octagon


On the whole, Dr. Octagonecologyst is one of hip-hop’s most influential albums. It’s ground-breaking for its unique lyrical style (Kool Keith as Dr. Octagon) and inventive production (Dan the Automator).

Make no mistake about it, this is a modernist work.

I had a professor in college who used a famous quote from Ezra Pound to explain modernism: “Make it new,” he said.

And that’s exactly what Dr. Octagon did.

There’s a small niche genre called “Afrofuturism.”

Afrofuturism combines elements of reality with science fiction and fantasy. But whereas the larger science fiction genre is traditionally white (Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, etc…) this sub-genre focuses on Afrocentricity.

That is, it’s a genre through which black people (a people whose history has so long been oppressed, repressed, fractured and forgotten) can either re-imagine the past or conjure up a whole new future for themselves – a future outside the bounds of predominantly white culture.

The artist Sun Ra gets credit for pioneering Afrofuturism in music. And Parliament Funk expounded on it.

But it was Dr. Octagon who brought the genre literally into the future by melding it with hip-hop. And the result was a whole new type of music, Trip-Hop.

Kool Keith was so bored/dissatisfied rapping about this world that he invented one of his own, along with an extraterrestrial alter-ego – a gynecologist and surgeon who transcends both space and time.

So his rhyming goes beyond guns, gold chains and clubs, and even the more nuanced social commentary of hip-hop’s early pioneers. It’s a mash-up of medical terms and techno-speak.

In a recent article for Vulture, Questlove describes Kool Keith’s lyrics as “scatological, philosophical, philological, neurological, at times defiantly illogical. They thrum with the thrill of discovery, of what’s unknown and — despite the torrent of terminology — only half-articulated.”

They even almost make sense sometimes, but sense isn’t the point here. This is an elaborate sci-fi fantasy played out through stream-of conscious wordplay that is complex, visceral and imaginative.

This is a kaleidoscope of rhyme that, seemingly disparate, connects a sophisticated tapestry of words through assonance, consonance, and internal and slant rhyme. Ryhmes appear, disappear, and reappear at unexpected times and places.

At first glance, it looks like a mess, outerworldy even. But it’s really controlled chaos.

What’s more, is that for all the subtly, sophistication, and imagination Dr. Octagon brings lyrically, Dan the Automator matches him every step of the way. His driving beat, symphonic layers and sci-fi nuances turn the rantings of a linguistically gifted madman into a rich and varied soundscape.

It’s like we’re being taken for a ride on Doc Oc’s spaceship. And you better buckle the fuck up.

It’s achievement enough to create a metaphysical universe in which this lunacy can exist, but to bring that universe to life through sound is something else entirely.

Turbulence – Deltron 3030


Dr. Octagon comes from the year 3000. And just 30 years later comes another intergalactic anti-hero Deltron Zero (Del the Funkee Homosapien).

Like Dr. Octagon, Deltron is joined on his journey by Dan the Automator who takes his considerable skills with production to the next level.

The layers of instrumentation, sound effects, and texture are both multiplied and amplified, giving Del (maybe the most underrated emcee I know of) a huge playground for his linguistic talents.

His vision is also somewhat clearer and more consistent (not to say better) than Kool Keith’s. Deltron interacts directly with alien technology and creatures in a post-apocalyptic universe. Indeed, only the force of Deltron’s rhyming powers, fortified by the Automator’s beat, can save us from total subjugation.

That’s made perfectly clear in “Turbulence” where the planet earth is revealed to be nothing short of hellscape.

It’s so bad, in fact, that Deltron himself is ready to blast off to Mars just to get away. But before he does he makes sure to paint us a not-so-pretty picture.

A small group of elitists and an all powerful ruler govern society. Workers are forced to conform through brainwashing and propaganda. And resistance to the order means imprisonment, or even a lobotomy.

Does Deltron save us? I’m afraid not. There’s only so much one man can do. And despite all of Deltron’s juice he’s incapable of overturning the new world order.

He may battle the odd spacebeast here and there. Every now and then he jumps to the defense of a citizen. But he also spends a surprising amount of time smoking weed and reading Cosmo, resigned to the fact that change is a lost hope.

I guess Deltron is more like a Han Solo-type, who’s more content to make a living than try to save the world.

Still, his journey is a remarkable one. And in what is largely a sequel to Dr. Octagonecologist, Deltron matches and even surpasses his predecessor.

Clean Elvis – Dan Reeder


Departing from the realm of sci-fi trip-hop we come to a completely different genre, indie folk.

Here we find one of my favorite artists in Dan Reeder.

Reeder usually sings about really concrete, tangible things. Other songs of his include “Three Chords, “Food and Pussy” and “Work Song.” These are very straight-forward, almost hymnal songs.

That makes “Clean Elvis” something of a departure. It keeps the lulling melody but it replaces the folksy lyrics with abstract ruminations on bio-enhancement, technology, and of course, alien invasion.

As with all of these entries I have no idea what this guy was thinking when he wrote this.

It’s fucking insane.

Still, I’ve listened to it enough to formulate my own interpretation…

The lyric that always strikes me when I listen to this song is:

“When I say Vietnam it sounds just like Coca-Cola.
I believe most anything as long as it’s not real.”

Again, I can’t speak on Reeder’s behalf and say this is a commentary on the commercialization of warfare but that’s the association I make.

It makes me think of of the war-for-profit military industrial complex, as well as the more subtle corporate invasion.

Coca-Cola is the most iconic U.S.-based multinational – a company whose trademark is recognizable throughout the world. It, like many others, has planted its flag on foreign soil around the globe.

Now, I try to keep things light on this blog, and I’m not going to get too far into this…

But I think we can all agree that many wars have been fought on behalf of business. And it’s no stretch to say warfare itself has been the United States’ chief export over the past few decades.

Literally. We are the No. 1 arms exporter in the world. And through a policy of pre-emptive strike, we’ve ensured that our products reach our perceived enemies just as quickly as they reach our customers.

Just as bad, our soldiers themselves have been commodified and leveraged to extract financial gain for powerful people.

That dehumanization is what brings me to the second part of Reeder’s lyric, “I believe most anything as long as it’s not real.”

It seems to be a tacit acknowledgement of one’s own mental illness.

So whereas the first line of couplet is a nod to commercial warfare, the second line acknowledges the frequent result, mental illness.

It’s not just that lyric that makes me think of post-traumatic stress syndrome, either. It’s the mash-up of “I Will Always Love You,” and “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” that echo through the refrain.

The song is sung in the first person, as Reeder lists his super-human efforts to combat extraterrestrials, but his monologue is interrupted by the refrain of pop music. It’s almost as if the narrator’s imagination has conflated its fantasy with catchy music from the radio (maybe he’s got a plate in his head).

We’ve all had tunes get stuck in our head before, just imagine you’re an afflicted combat veteran who can’t distinguish between flashbacks from Vietnam and paranoid dreams of an alien invasion.

I think we’d all be pleading for help from Elvis.

And that’s how I think of this song…

In my interpretation it’s not just about about aliens, it’s about alienation.

Teenagers From Mars – Misfits


Before there was Eminem… Before there was the Insane Clown Posse… Even before there was Gwar…

There was the Misfits, a punk band founded in 1977.

Just as Dr. Octagon invented Trip-Hop, the Misfits’ aggressive, sexual and violent overtones established the framework for Horror-Punk Rock and Horror-Core Rap.

A lot of punk bands aired their grievances with society, attacking specific institutions, beliefs, and people. But Glenn Danzig of the Misfits sang about JFK’s shattered skull and Jackie Kennedy giving him fellatio.

Glenn Danzig eventually left the band, believing he was more talented and more dedicated than his bandmates. He was right, and his later work is darker and more personal. So much so that I wouldn’t attribute to it any amount of camp value.

He’s a serious and talented guy, and he was the force behind the Misfits. But as a band, the Misfits are decidedly campy and even self-deprecating.

This is even alluded to in the first few verses of Teenagers From Mars:

“We land in barren fields
On the Arizona plains
The insemination of little girls
In the middle of wet dreams

We are the angel mutants
The streets for us seduction
Our cause unjust and ancient
In this “B” film born invasion”

Obviously, there’s the explicit sexuality, but it comes in the form of a “B” movie.

That’s kind of what the Misfits are, a B-movie – even if they set out to be something more serious at the time.

But they also happen to be a really good B-movie. Think Evil Dead or Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Indeed, there are a lot of B-movies out there that have more artistic merit than today’s blockbusters.

That’s really the point: The mainstream is boring, monotonous, and governed by powerful (often shitty) people.

That’s where the whole punk rebellion stems from – a lame, out-of-touch mainstream.

And so, with the Misfits, there may be a lot of sex and violence on the surface, but the intended victims aren’t the ones who find their bodies bloodied or their skulls cracked. It’s the squares and parents that cringe at words and phrases like “insemination” and “wet dreams.”

The lyrics aren’t just there for shock value. They’re the barbed wire fence that keeps the establishment at bay, or better yet, puts it on the defensive.

The Misfits want to disrupt the system. They want to give their audience and their own teenage rebellion an avenue for expression.

Simply put, they don’t give a fuck. And they want you to know they don’t give a fuck. That’s what this song is about.

That’s why the refrain is:

“Teenagers from Mars
And we don’t care.”

As with Reeder’s song, the theme of personal alienation is personified with actual aliens. I mean, not to state the obvious, but they are called the Misfits…

So these aren’t earthbound teenagers, we’re dealing with. They’re teenagers from a whole other planet, here to blast your mindless structure and inferior connection. And they don’t care.

And as with many B-movies, I find myself rooting for the aliens in this case. In fact, I just might be a pod person – acting out my human duties like a functioning member of society, while secretly indulging in its disorder and hastening its destruction.

Maybe Danzig and I will hitch a ride with Deltron and Dr. Octagon. Reeder can stay. I think he needs to work through some issues.


Dark Night

Change is inevitable. Only a fool would try to fight it.

This was the conclusion at which Dracula had arrived. He’d long ago lost track of his age in years, but was certain he was nearing a 1,000 – at least that’s how it felt. And Dracula had seen a lot of change in that millennium.

Dracula was there during the Dark Ages of Europe, feasting on the peasants without remorse. It was easy to justify his killing in those days because so much of the population preferred death to life. If not for Dracula’s tender bite – a quick and near-painless drain of the precious fluid that grants us life – it would have been the plague, or pneumonia, or marauding warlords that brought death’s release to those poor, wretched beings.

Certainly, the act of birthing a child in that time took far more lives than Dracula ever could, and it was doubly cruel in that it brought new life into the cold, unforgiving world. Dracula’s murder, at least, came with a modicum of mercy.

He was there for the renaissance, as well. It’s true that in this time Dracula was responsible for robbing humanity of more than a few of its greatest minds. The taste of an intellectual, a poet, a philosopher, or even a surgeon brought him an unparalleled satisfaction. Sadly, it was a short-lived phase, all things considered.

By the 19th century Dracula had lost his taste for even the most refined fare. He relocated to the United States, lured by the dual promises of a new challenge and a change in scenery. But by then, he’d seen so much change in the world that feelings of despondence had already taken root – whether he was aware of it or not.

Watching the world’s greatest monarchies rise to soaring heights, only to come crashing down under the tow of democracy forced Dracula to contemplate his own purpose in a way he never had before. Meanwhile, technological advances like electricity, the telegraph, and the automobile, gave simple people powers that rivaled his own, making him feel obsolete.

They erected street lights that kept him from sneaking up on his prey. They used an elaborate system of wires to communicate his potential presence in given areas. And they made quick passage out to the more remote regions of the country to track him.

More and more, the supernatural abilities that had once given him so much pride and set him so far above humanity made him feel useless and antiquated. As many of the world’s farmers turned to factory work, as many of the great hunters ran out of game to hunt, and as many of the world’s great explorers ran out of new land to trek, Dracula had seen his time come and go. He had as much place in the 20th century as Blackbeard or Billy the Kid.

By 1950, popular culture made him more of a joke than a boogeyman. Kids dressed in his garb and bad actors mocked his accent. The memory of World War II was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and even Dracula had to admit that Hitler was guilty of crimes against humanity that made Vlad the Impaler look absolutely amateur.

As the 20th century drew to a close, Dracula finally got access to the Internet, and was forced to admit to the cable representative who installed it that he had no idea how to use it. The cable man rolled his eyes and patiently walked him through the process. As the man was leaving, Dracula beckoned him from his van once more to help him rid an error message that had popped up on his screen.

The man obliged and as soon as he’d turned to leave a second time Dracula bit his neck and drank his blood.

Something was wrong, though. It brought him no satisfaction. He felt just as empty as he had when he woke up that morning – as he had the weeks, months, years, no, decades before.

He dropped the lifeless corpse of the Comcast technician and staggered back into his dark, dusty mansion – a dilapidated gothic-style Victorian home, which had once been located in a treacherous and remote region of the Pacific Northwest, but was now in plain view of Route 5.

Looking in the mirror that cold, lonely night, Dracula could not see his own reflection, but his outdated clothing stared him right back in his face.

“My God, is that a cape?” he asked himself out loud. “And am I honestly the last person on earth who goes by the title Count?”

Dracula had hit bottom. He was overcome with self-loathing. He slept in his coffin for weeks, even months, at a time. His already pale skin reached the ghostly white translucence of Casper. His narrow, effeminate frame grew even more sickly and gaunt.  He tried to cry, but couldn’t.

Then, after years of depression had beaten him down, Dracula decided it was time for a new approach. Rather than live off of humanity like a barnacle on a whale, he would join it. He would seek out a new purpose, perhaps even companionship.

Determined to commit to the most dramatic of all possible lifestyle changes, he used his recently installed high-speed modem to find a dentist. Then, early in the morning on a cloudy, overcast day, he put on a trench coat, hat, and sunglasses. He grabbed an umbrella, pulled up his collar, took a deep breath, and made the trip to the office of one Dr. Larry Finklestein. It was he who had the privilege of removing Dracula’s fangs and replacing them with two run-of-the-mill, composite incizers.

Dracula, the Lord of Darkness, returned home feeling thoroughly emasculated. But he knew that was the price of fresh start. He got a job as a nighttime porter at a hospital. There, he would sneak into the blood bank at night and pilfer bags of the precious fluid. Sometimes he’d poke them with a straw and suck them down like a Capri Sun, other times he would pour them into a goblet like Box of Wine. It never felt quite right, but at least it felt different. At least it felt somewhat human.

Then, one night, as Dracula mopped the floors of Skagit Valley Hospital, he overheard some nurses discussing a newly admitted patient.

“Sarah,” one said. “She’s only 15.”

“My God,” said another. “Does anyone know why she did it?”

“No, she won’t talk to anyone.”

Dracula pressed on with his mop and bucket.  That is, until he reached room 305, where the chart by the door read “Sarah Lynn Taylor.” He was curious so he went inside.

The room was dimly lit but he could make out the girl’s jet black hair. Her face was pale like his, but her high cheekbones were stroked with a bit of rose coloring. She wore the requisite gown and her forearms were wrapped in bandages.

He marveled at her. She looked so remarkably like him, at once pale and dark. Her heart monitor, by emitting a slow, perfunctory noise, confirmed she was living, but to the naked eye she looked to be dead. Indeed, she, like Dracula, was the living embodiment of death itself.

Suddenly, Dracula heard some activity in the hall and he rushed immediately back to his bucket and mop. Some doctors passed by without noticing him and he went about his standard business for the rest of the night – ensuring that the hospital was in no condition short of pristine.

When he returned home and settled down with his nightly bag of blood, he felt different than he did most nights. He thought back to that young girl in room 305 and he felt extraordinary. He couldn’t place his cold, pointy finger on it, but something was different. And as the sun came up, he retired to his coffin eager to greet the next night.

Dracula woke from his slumber the following evening and reported to work at 10:00pm sharp. He made quick work of the first two floors of the hospital and casually happened by the front desk to see if there was any word on the young patient in 305. There was none.

He waited until around 2:30am and then made his way to the third floor. He put up the pretense a little while longer and then quickly ducked into Sarah’s room. She looked a little healthier but still thin and very pale. Dracula watched her for a minute or two. Then he inched closer to her bed. Then closer, and even closer, until he almost brushed the side rail. His heart beat a little faster. And soon without even thinking about it, he took his cold jagged finger and slowly brushed some hair from her face.

Her eyes opened – halfway at first, then extremely wide. Dracula startled and jumped back. And with that leap backwards the menacing corpse-like countenance that moments ago hovered inches above Sarah’s face became a shadowy figure backlit against the light from the hallway.

Sarah opened her mouth as if to scream but no sound came out. Her jaw flapped up and down loosely, emitting only the faintest imitation of a voice. Then finally, after what seemed like hours, she spoke.

“Who are you? What are you doing?”

“Vuhhhh…I’m… I’m va doctor.”

“Then why are you dressed like a janitor?”

“Oh. Ves. I’m a janitor. I’m very sarry. I thought I svaw something on ver face. I vas vorried.”

“What are you German or something?”

“No. I’m vrom Romania. Transylvania, actually.”

“Like Dracula?”

“Vuhh, yes… Like Dracula,” he sighed.



“Yeah. Have you ever been there? Like to the castle?”

“Of course, I lived there… or close to it I mean. I verked there… as a guide.”

“That’s so cool.”


“Yeah Vampires are totally cool.”

“Veally, vy?”

“I don’t know. They’re dark and menacing. They’re mysterious. It’s macabre, you know, like Edgar Allen Poe, or those true crime stories you see on television.”

“Oh. Vell… I used to have vangs, you know…”

“No way! That’s awesome.”

“Yes vay. I vas born vith them.”

“Why don’t you have them now?”

“They scare people.”

“Right, but isn’t that the point? To scare people and freak them out?”

“Vell yes but it gets lonely.”

“Well it doesn’t have to be. You just have to find other people like you. You’re not the only person who has fangs you know. Other people have them, too.”

“There are other vampires?”

“What? No. Not vampires, just people that have fangs put in. You know, like piercings and tattoos. I saw a guy on TV that had these, like, horns in his head. And another guy had his tongue forked.”

Dracula couldn’t help but snicker a bit.

“Va va va,” he chuckled. “That sounds vidiculous.”

“Well, maybe, but that’s just who they are. You should always be yourself. If other people can’t deal, fuck’em.”

“Is that veally how you live?”

Sarah thought about the question.

“Maybe not,” she said, looking down at her bandages.

“Vut happened to ver arms?”

Sarah remained quiet, and was sullen, like she’d just been reminded of something terrible. And she was.

“I… I cut myself,” she said sniffling.

“Vy?” Dracula asked.

“I don’t know, I guess, I’m not real happy with myself either.”

“But vu vould take ver own life?”

“I guess, I don’t know,” she said, now crying. “It’s not just me, you know? My stepdad hits me a lot and my mom is a total bitch. I hate them both. And then I go to school and they make fun of me there for being punk or goth or whatever. Just because I don’t fit into any of their nice little groups.”

“Vat’s terrible. I’m sarry to hear such tings.”

Sara sat crying. Dracula stepped closer to her bed and pushed the tissue box towards her.”

“Thanks,” she said looking down at his hand. “Wow, you’re kinda goth yourself aren’t you?”


“Yeah, you know, like with the paleness, and those rings on your fingers.”

“Oh, ves. Goth. I’m very… punk.”

“Did you get picked on a lot when you were a kid?”

“I… I don’t vemember.”

“You’re lucky. Tommy Donovan, this kid at school, he picks on me all the time. He spread this rumor that we had sex in a bathroom stall and that he put my head in the toilet bowl. Now people call me Septic Slut. They say and do awful things to me all the time. They throw things at me. They hid my stuff.”

“Ugh, vat’s terrible.”

“I have no friends,” Sara said, again breaking into a wet, sniffly sob.

Dracula sat down on the bed and comforted her.

“I don’t have any friends either,” he said.

“You’re so cold.”

“I know. I’m sarry.”

Then the light came on and there was an orderly standing in the doorway.

“What are you doing in here? You’re not a doctor.”

“It’s okay,” said Sara. “He’s my friend.”

“Well, he can’t be here. Visiting hours are over. Besides he has work to do. Now if you don’t mind.”

“Of course,” said Dracula getting up and moving toward the door. He looked back at Sara, who with tears in her eyes managed a smile.

Dracula retrieved his bucket and mop and made his way toward the elevator with the orderly watching. Then he went down to the lobby and left the building without finishing his shift. Dracula returned to his mansion with a new sense of purpose. He called Dr. Finklestein’s office and left a message saying he’d be in the next day. Then he used the online directory to look up all of the Taylors in the area.

About one week later, Sarah returned home. She lay down in her bed, fell asleep and had a strange dream. She was in a graveyard but she wasn’t scared. The janitor from the hospital was digging a grave but it wasn’t hers. He looked up from his work and flashed her a sinister smile. She could see on his hand the gold ruby ring he’d worn at the hospital. She woke to the sound of something hitting her window.  She got up to inspect it and saw something on the window sill outside. She opened the window and picked it up. It was the same glittering gold band and blood red ruby she’d seen in the dream. Then she gasped and looked up to see the shape of a bat flying off into the distance.

The bat flapped its wings gracefully and faded out of sight. It flew with purpose to another house not very far from Sarah’s. About the same time a young man was returning home drunk from a party. He lifted his keys to unlock the front door but he dropped them. He bent over to pick them up and as he rose he came face to face with a dark shadowy figure wearing a cape and sporting a pair of fangs.

“Var you Tommy Donovan?” the figure asked.

“Yeah. Who the fuck are you?”


Netflix Instant Classic: Thelma and Louise

Genre: Early 90s Action

What’s it about?  Two women with no real responsibility prove that they deserve no real responsibility by setting out on a vacation that quickly devolves into a crime spree.

Who’s in it? Shooter McGavin, Dottie “Queen of Diamonds” Hinson,  Susan Sarandon, The psycho from Reservoir Dogs, and Brad Pitt’s abs.

You’ll like it if… You like domineering/submissive women, old cars, big sunglasses, and random early-90s actor cameos. Or if you hate men, rationality, and consistent plotlines.

I know that you know what Thelma and Louise is.

Even if you haven’t seen it, we all know how it ends.

But there are 128 more minutes in this film, and I do think they’re worth exploring.

So here it goes…

First off, my favorite character in the film wasn’t Thelma or Louise. It was Darryl, Thelma’s brutish, misogynist, philandering, deadbeat husband.

He’s a scumbag, no doubt, but he’s played by Christopher McDonald, who we all know better as Shooter McGavin.

If you’ve seen Happy Gilmore you know how much McDonald excels at playing a douchebag. Well, in this movie, he takes his schtick from the country club to the country – small-town Arkansas to be precise.

Darryl has the look and charm of Kenny Powers and the small-town Regional Manager-pride of Michael Scott.  He drives Camaro with a T-top that just screams “You’re fuckin out!”


That McDonald is fun to watch makes up for the fact that his character exists only to engender sympathy for wife Thelma, when she finally flips her shit.

Sure, she could just leave him or file for a divorce, but she’s the submissive type. She’ll put up with any amount of shit from anyone.

And so enters Louise.

It’s kind of funny that Louise is clearly supposed to be the force that liberates Thelma from her overbearing husband, but in actuality, she’s just as domineering as Darryl is.

Louise bosses Thelma around throughout the movie, eventually making her an accessory to murder, and by the end, costing her her life.

That’s the kind of friend Louise is, a psychotic one (though it is Thelma who puts the hand gun her purse as the two prepare for their “fishing” trip).

And so these two powder kegs pile their shit into a convertible, take a polaroid selfie, and speed off.

Of course, they get hungry and have to stop off for a bite to eat. For a reason only God knows, that means swinging into some honky-tonk, country-trucker rube-fest with a band fronted by (I shit you not ) Matt Dillon with a two foot long pony tail.

(Editor’s Note: Since I wrote this review four years ago people Googling “Is Matt Dillon in Thelma and Louise?” have accounted for maybe 90% of my tiny little blog’s traffic. If you’re looking for an answer to that question, the truth is I don’t know for sure but I’ve freeze framed it multiple times and I don’t think that’s him. Sorry.)

It’s here where we meet Harlan – the second sleezebag man to manipulate Thelma.

He’s trying to get it and Thelma is trying to have a good time. And so, after some alcohol and line dancing we find ourselves in the parking lot, where Harlan attempts to rape Thelma.

He almost succeeds, but Louise shows up with Thelma’s gun.

Now, shooting Harlan for trying to rape Thelma would have been fine in my book, or even if he’d made an aggressive move to assault Louise, making a justifiable case for self-defense.

That’s not what happens, though.

Harlan’s busted and he stops. All Thelma and Louise have to do is walk away. But then Harlan makes the fatal mistake of calling Louise a bitch and saying a few other unsavory things.

That’s when she shoots him. It’s a dumb but necessary plot twist. Obviously, if it were a clear-cut case of self-defense, Thelma and Louise have nothing to do but call the cops and wait. End of movie.

But the fact that Louise blows Harlan away in cold blood means they have to book it, which is what they do.

Thelma immediately suggests they go to the cops, and Louise tells her to shut up. In fact, Louise even tries to pin the blame on Thelma for getting caught up with Harlan in the first place.

This is what I mean about Louise being just as bad as Darryl, and it really undermines the whole notion of liberation and sisterhood.

The fact is, Louise really is a bitch. We find out later that she, herself, was the victim of sexual assault years earlier. But that doesn’t justify her hostility towards men or towards Thelma.

Still, that doesn’t make it a bad movie. It’s okay. It moves along well enough and the carousel of celebrity cameos keeps things somewhat interesting.

I was just surprised to learn this movie won an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Especially with lines like: “I may be the outlaw but you’re the one stealin’ my heart,” which comes courtesy of Brad Pitt.


The acting isn’t bad though. Both McDonald and Pitt have a lot of fun with two detestable characters, and both Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon were nominated for Oscars. (They lost to Jodie Foster who won for Silence of the Lambs.)

Taken lightly, it has plenty of camp value, and its place in pop culture pretty much demands at least one viewing.

If I was a little disappointed it’s because I expected to see two women pushed over the edge by an oppressive patriarchy; what I got was two brats on a poorly planned (albeit entertaining) crime spree.