Qt3 Movie Podcast: Bad Times at the El Royale


It’s interesting that the podcast thought of it as a mystery. After the opening chapters I realized the the setup is a total contrivance, and went with it.

Also, @Kelly_Wand is totally correct about the mob being the implied management. The management and the FBI surveilled the same target, and Hamm finds the management’s bugs. @tomchick’s interpretation makes no goddamn sense. If the FBI were aware of the surveillance operation at the El Royale and Hamm had been sent to receive the Kennedy tape, none of that stuff would have been a revelation to him, and he wouldn’t have reported it to Hoover.

Re: sexual/not-sexual - interactions can be sexually charged without being explicitly sexual. Se also: foot massages.


He was reporting to Hoover that there were complications. But, yeah, I assumed it was all the FBI because Hoover was notorious for assembling files on his political enemies. I guess a simple mob extortion racket makes more sense.

But whether it’s the mob or the FBI isn’t relevant to the point I was making. Dingus wondered if Goddard was setting up some shadowy organization in the background, like in Lost or Cabin in the Woods. I don’t think that was the case at all, and that Goddard was just being randomly coy about a Kennedy sex tape McGuffin. In other words, something way less interesting than what Dingus inferred.

The less said about the wolf monologue, the better.



Yeah, I agree that Dingus’ shared universe notions are completely unsupported by the movie. It’s just a thematic fixation Goddard has with people observing and being observed.

The Kennedy tape isn’t completely random or irrelevant. There’s a thread of people putting on acts and people believing in the performance being meaningful, most overtly with Jeff bridges character. They decide to burn the tape for the same reason Jeff Bridges puts on the priest act for Mr Maintenance Closet.

I’d have to rewatch it to see how much of it is in the other characters, and I’m sure I’ll do it…someday.

I liked it overall, but it’s a long-ass movie.


As I wrote in, I really liked Hemsworth as the cult leader, but felt like the movie dragged in the final act when he arrived at the El Royale.

I think the podcast was right, he wasn’t really menacing. He worked perfectly for me as the charismatic but ultimately sleazy cult leader. His first meeting with Rose on the beach and the scene around the fire where he amps his followers up with a showy but pretty facile lesson about society, those all landed with me, and set the stage for Darlene’s excellent speech when she just completely shuts him down as being just another man who “just wants to fuck who he wants to fuck”. I loved the character and Hemsworth’s portrayal for all of those reasons.

But we never see anything that establishes the idea that he’s also the type of guy who will bring a gang and murder everyone between him and a lost follower, or any explanation of the idea that he’s the reason Rose is also a crazy murderer. The final act hinges on Billy Lee being a ruthless killer the rest of the movie didn’t sell us on.


Yeah, that’s a definite weakness. It relies on the audience to go: late 60’s + allusions from Dakota Johnson + grisly murder on TV = Charles Manson, which isn’t quite enough.


Guess I’m in the minority here, but overall, I ended up liking the movie. It does have its flaws, and I completely see why it doesn’t work for some, but I enjoyed it based on the strength of the performances most of the actors brought to the table, in particular Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo (whom I hadn’t seen in anything before), and Jon Hamm (especially in smarmy salesman mode).

The second half is definitely weaker than the first, and the Rose and Billy Lee characters didn’t really work for me. I guess we’re supposed to feel a bit sorry for her based on her history of abuse, but just came along as a little shit most of the time. Billy Lee - I get the “mini-guru that has a small following” thing, but the movie didn’t sell me on him being such a murderous monster that wants to kill everyone instead of simply getting Rose back.

Loved some of the scenes, e.g. pretty much everything during the first 10-20 minutes; the salesman/FBI agent peeking through the mirrored windows into the rooms while Darlene is singing; Darlene and Flynn having dinner; Darlene’s and Flynn’s conversation in the car.

The second half takes a dive, but by then I was invested enough in some of the characters. I certainly enjoyed this more than Hateful Eight.


That’s almost exactly how I felt, you’re not alone!


@Kelly_Wand: “I should be able to see the film camera in that meer!”


If it doesn’t cast a reflection, 2nd syllable’s dead to me.


If Kelly found a genie:


There’s a part two? Halloween III was the only Halloween that I had watched prior to this afternoon.


Holy shit. I’m a certified Halloweenologist and I did not know of this.


Sadly the movie isn’t real. The design is by a guy named Rob Schrab(he’s currently directing the new Mystery Science Theater episodes). I’ve got the shirt!


The same Rob Schrab that directed some Community episodes and wrote and drew Scud the Disposable Assassin.


I knew that you, guys, like to watch movies walking into the cinema blindly, but you’re all very experienced movie goers. How can you keep mistake all those actors for one another? OK, I can see how you could mistake Lewis Pullman for Tom Holland, cause they’re young fellas, although he’s Bill Pullman’s son, which is impossible to unsee IMO, but Chris Hemsworth for Chris Pine? Dakota Johnson for Zoe Kazan? Seriously? You never cease to surprise me.


This is very easy to answer for myself: I’m dumb. Simple as that.

What’s funny is that we had a long discussion at the end of the last podcast (3x3: Freaky Hands and Claws) about how often we mix up stuff like this. So I love that you bring it up now.


“I promise I’m penitent.”


Unlike the other guys on the podcast, I have never seen a Fifty Shades of Grey movie. My only frame of reference for Dakota Johnson is a terrible movie about a bunch of chicks putatively trying to be single – I forget what it’s called – in which Johnson tags along while Rebel Wilson tries to carry the movie during the scenes without Leslie Mann.

But, hey, now I know Johnson as the chick with the shotgun from that horrible Drew Goddard movie!

But this…

…is unfortunately forever seared into my brain.



Rewatch 21 Jump Street for a brief taste of Dakota. And an unappreciated Brie Larson. I lost respect for 22 when they forgot about Brie.

And you still haven’t seen A Bigger Splash?


I’m kinda surprised a horror junkie like Tom hasn’t seen Suspira either.


For me it was really frustrating that it got a sorta wide, but not really, release, which means I missed out on one of my most anticipated movies in theaters. I wasn’t expecting that limited distribution from the director that just made Call Me By Your Name. For my top ten list I’ll have an asterisked #11 reserved for when I get a chance to see it. I don’t know what the distributor was thinking.