Qt3 Movie Podcast: Civil War

We welcome neurosurgeon, wargamer, and cinematic dilettante Bruce Geryk to join us for a discussion of Alex Garland’s provocative [sic] political [sic] thriller [sic], Civil War! For an added bonus, this episode’s -opsis was written and performed by someone Kristen Dunst personally accused of having a “dirty mind”.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2024/06/05/qt3-movie-podcast-civil-war

Frumpy Dunst?

don’t threaten me with a good time

Just a heads-up that there’s a two minute gap of silence after I bring up masturbating in a movie theater. Contrary to how it might seem, that’s not everyone’s shocked silence. It’s a technical error that I later fixed, but if you downloaded the earlier version into a buffer, you might not have the fix.

So just know that the bit about masturbating in a movie theater resumes after a few minutes of silence, at which point I believe the movie being masturbated to is specified, so you’ve got that to look forward to.

Well now I gotta listen to the podcast.

Okay, so I DID hear that right!

I haven’t listened, but that sounds like Tom rising like the Enterprise while watching Antje Traue in Pandorum.

She was in a relationship with Ben. Foster.


I bet she could cook a mushroom!

I didn’t get anything out of this movie either, not even from the portrayal of the journalists. For years I felt like an alien for not liking Garland’s output, but I feel reassured.

I appreciate you punctuating his name correctly.

I know that the hardcore podcast listeners would appreciate it.

He’s cinema’s equivalent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Tom’s not high enough, this book rules! (Ghost Country’s the second one, Deep Sky’s the sweet-ass finale.)

The Pac-Rimturbator could’ve been just really into kaiju.


Thanks for another great podcast you guys.

I started listening to this thinking “Any minute now, Tom is gonna come in and blast my take on this movie sky high, and then I’ll feel like an idiot.” but then Tom hated it too, and then I felt good.

Kelly did make me feel like an idiot, because I missed the obvious implication of the sniper scene. “Why are you shooting at that guy?” “I dunno, he’s shooting at me” is a pretty solid illustration of the pointlessness of knee-jerk partisan bickering.

Although in reality no one ever gets anywhere in a petty partisan argument, which is what makes it pointless, but the snipers actually do win the duel, so it’s kind of a flawed metaphor.

It makes me wonder what else I missed though.

A huge problem I have with Civil War is that, in my read on it, this is a take on Apocalypse Now - it’s a roadtrip (this time in an actual car) through a series of absurd vignettes that serve to illustrate a number of truths - but without all of the things that makes Apocalypse Now great.

One of the things it lacks is the feeling of continuity between the vignettes. Part of what makes Apocalypse Now good is that no one in the boat is the same person by the time they reach the end of the river.

In Civil War, everyone is exactly the same by the time they get to the White House. I don’t think Garland makes much of an attempt to make his characters even half-way sincere, and that just pisses me off.

Heh, I had the same feeling! I never read a forum thread for something I know we’re going to cover on the podcast, and I’ve known for a long time now we were going to record Civil War, because Kelly told me he was working on a synopsis way back when it first came out. So I saw the movie, and while we waited to record, I watched the post count in that thread climb, and I could only imagine what y’all were saying. I was sure we were going to record, then I was going to duck into the forum thread, and see that a bunch of you liked it, and I was going to feel like odd-man-out again! But, nope, it seemed pretty universally reviled in there. I felt good. : )

Don’t be so hard on yourself. This movie did a miserable job of worldbuilding. Just miserable. It’s toothless, anodyne, laughably implausible, and glaringly trite in its observations. Even the sniper scene is derivative (Hurt Locker comes to mind, as does Doug Liman’s excellent The Wall, and there’s the Apocalypse Now comparison you raised).

I know I’ve admired a lot of Garland’s early scripts, but it’s hard to remember that watching Civil War. The whole thing is feckless and cowardly.

“We take pictures so others can ask these questions”.

Well, I liked it. Somewhat.