"If you think you're free, there's no escape possible" - Ram Dass

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Drool in a Crisis: JURASSIC WORLD vs. the Heche VOLCANO

Who'd of thought that real life dinosaurs of JURASSIC WORLD (2015) would one day become so banal that the DNA designers would invent the NEW Indominus Rex - only from InGen? The park needs a hyper-unnatural super predator to, as the bitch-snooty feminist park executive Claire (Bryce Dallas-Howard) puts it, "up the wow factor." And oh wow, this baby has it all: bazooka shell-resistant teflon exteriors, cup holders, optional child restraints, heat signal-blocking chameleon camouflage, a 'raptor's agility, a Rex's bite, and a 'Ted Bundy amok in a sleeping sorority' bloodlust, and no social conditioning whatsoever. "You can't have predator features without the accompanying aggression" notes InGen gene splicer Dr. Wu (BD Wong) once the thing busts loose --which isn't long, don't worry. We just need to 'bond' with the characters and note the start of their arcs, trite as they may be (we wouldn't miss any of these people if they got eaten). Most offensively, underwriting all the set-up and take-down, is a basic confusion between finger pointing and a genuine moral. The carnage wrought upon all these extras and CGI monsters by this wow-factor Indominus Rex is our fault, because we're so easily jaded, as Americans, as an audience. That old wow factor has sunk mighty low since 1993, when the first CGI Jurassic Park blew us all away. But before we can even fire back a "no it's your fault, Spielberg!" retort, the movie switches on its headphones and starts blasting that John Williams saccharine 'sweep.' Shhhhhh.


Naturally, we want this Indominus to get loose. There wouldn't be a film without it. And having the pterodactyls and pteranodons attack the fleeing, fanny pack-bedecked tourists en mass is a lovely Roger Corman-esque event. This being a big budget movie, these CGI monsters aren't just video game-style chroma keyed-up overlays but detailed creatures with perfect amounts of shade and sun glinting; it's the people that aren't properly shaded and shadowed, especially Claire (Bryce Dallas-Howard), the uptight caricature of female executive control freak bitchiness ("it's all about control with you people," snaps raptor-whisperer Owen [Chris Pratt]) who expects men and monsters alike to heave to when she pouts and stamps her corporation-gray heels. The type of person who uses "we" when speaking (since she represents the corporate brand): "we'd like you to visit the tiger cage on your way out"; her sister (Judy Greer) is the same way, sending her children, two boys off to the park to visit "Auntie Claire" so she can divorce their dad without having to look into their wounded doe eyes. Naturally the boys are fobbed onto an assistant and naturally they get lost in the hot zone and naturally Claire will have to kick off those grey heels and come crawling back to the one man who can find them for her (she's scared more of telling her sister than the kids being eaten, making her the female version of the dad of great adventure --the 'aunt desexed by her ambition'). Do I even need to mention that he and Claire went on one date awhile back and didn't get along because she brought "an itinerary" and her "diet wouldn't allow tequila." 

Meanwhile for a zoo executive she knows less than a five year-old about her corporation's stock and trade. "Animals raised in isolation aren't always the most sociable," Owen says, subtextually implying Claire needs to get laid. Illustrating the validity of Camille Paglia's anti-feminist theories, Claire dismisses everything Owen says as sexist dogma. The alleged human villain this time is a military defense contractor (Vincent D'Onofrio) who wants to train raptors to sniff out and eat the Taliban, but hey--at least he tries to be friendly; Claire's the real villain, the symbol of woman as desexed ball buster. Owen notes 'these are animals' and what he has with them is 'a relationship.' He's the only one to call the killer dinosaur hybrid a "she" instead of an "it." You get the drill. He's the only employee of the park with any balls, foresight, intelligence, knowledge of predator pack mentality, or eye-hand coordination. Claire calls the dinosaurs 'assets' and presumes smirking at Owen's survival tips will somehow bend the reality of nature to accommodate her like a patient doorman angling for a tip. 


Thank god for Chris Pratt, then, savior of three-dimensional humanity. Lord knows Hollywood's been needing a rugged tough guy who for once is not Australian. Pratt offers belated proof that American masculinity is not an oxymoron.  The ultimate hybrid animal himself, Pratt is able to play a range worthy of a real human, despite dialogue homogenized into banal bytes by legions of overpaid writers. Part quasi-sincere slacker/stoner comedy bro/ part hyper-competent SEAL / Ranger romantic lead, Pratt's able to convey naturalism without crunchiness, charm without narcissism, guts without indifference, cool without callousness, sensitivity without sentiment, and self-awareness without self-absorption. No non-Australian has been able to manage such a combination since Brando. And he's already proven his ability to take orders from a bossy redhead (Zero Dark Thirty). Do I need to mention that when Claire comes to his trailer to ask for help, he's outside by the river fixing his badass vintage Triumph motorcycle in a T-shirt and jeans, while she's stomping around in the mud wearing unflattering (waist-hiding?) 90s business skirt/slacks combo and rocking terrible Prince Valiant hair?

Pout at the devil: Claire demonstrates the 'hurt puppy eyes' method of leadership.
The rest of the cast of course is just another rack of digestible tourists and 'one quirk-apiece' staffers somehow even more aggravating then the self-righteous animal activists played by Vince Vaughn and Alessandro Novo in the past films, or the sickening "life will find a way" sentiment-spewers Richard Attenborough and Sam Neill. I always cringe the way spontaneous hermaphrodite reproduction is something both men 'own' through getting strangely pious and sentimental over it --"life found a wayy..." -- it's downright creepy that we're supposed to bask in some kind of baby crib familial glow at these words, while John Williams' uber-trite 'sweeping' "Jurassic theme" presumes will cry and salute at the same time.


At least here in the JURASSIC WORLD the "you're playing God!" sermonizing is all leveled at the boo-hiss military guy (hairy arms, golf shirts and a big gold watch) and BD Wong's dispassionate mad scientist (racistly Asian) gene splicer, and even there it's more along the lines of animal rights rather than the 'awing baby chicks at the 4H Fair' vibe, which is far easier to take, even if the lack of any real (as in not cliche'd 'stock') genuine character detail casts a sickly pall. One longs for at least one 'real' termite detail. We used to get some: Jeff Goldblum's relationship with his black daughter (in part II); how Neill and ex-girlfriend Laura Dern are still friends even though she's married (to a different guy) with a kid (in part III). But here in the fourth film, we're at a whole new zenith of trite, as the casting director, costume dept., make-up, script, and actor are all presuming they're the only ones who are supplying the character's essence. It's not enough that the imbecilic glazed-eyed security guard doesn't notice the one dinosaur he's supposed to watch has slipped away from him, he's cramming a sandwich into his fat face right at the moment the dismayed visitors point it out and even then doesn't stop eating or get his fat ass off his stool. That's just one example. The most offensive is the younger nephew of Claire, who has that face where a year ago it was cherubic and now it's time to kick him out the door so stops hanging out with mom and goes outside and starts playing with boys his own age. He professes to love dinosaurs but he's clearly terrified of bending a rule, even in the company of his 'cool' older brother, whose smoky eyes (new from Coverboy mascara?) keep playing tag with gaggles of conveniently cute and similarly parentless girls, to whom, rather than try to play along and pick up a girl himself OR get shy and blush, the younger kid acts like Bambi watching his mom flirt with the hunters. In other words, older brother has to constantly remind younger that they'll always be brothers, in dialogue clearly written by an only child raised in a test tube.


I'm not asking for Eugene O'Neill here, man, but it's not that fucking hard to write good brotherly dialogue. Roger Corman would just have them maybe rehearse and go see movies together or something, so they could improv even a hair. But that's the problem with 'big' movies like this, the director is rarely even in the same square mile of cords and gaffers; unions forbid touching dialogue written long ago by teams of hacks better at talking their way into jobs than actually listening to what other non-Hollywood people are saying. A good writer (or even producer) knows the more specific you are, the more universal the appeal; generalities work only in how equally they bore audiences of all nations and ages. But that's the problem, isn't it?

Not to harp this point but I keep imagining what a kick ass movie if the two brothers had a cool deadpan rapport - going into character like Vincent and Jules, albeit with whatever films they liked or something other than this 'on the nose' crapola. J.J. Abrams or Joss Whedon might have provided some dialogue like that or just letting the kids improvise. I know kids aren't allowed to play with cap guns anymore like my buddy Alan and I at the same approx. age, but they can't be this square... man. Just can't be.... but when they finally overcome their terror and feel exhilaration through zapping an attacking raptor as it tries to climb in the back of their SWAT vehicle, the kid's first exclamation is "I can't wait to tell mom!" What, is he gonna run in and tell her after he smokes his first joint... when he's 45?



Maybe their arrested maturity can be explained by the way the mom (Judy Greer) calls them on the phone constantly, nagging them for not calling her the minute they got off the plane, the minute they got to the park, etc., asking if they're having fun while trying to guilt trip them at the same time with her unflattering pouty spoiled brat frown (above). She wants them to have fun in that oppressive sort of way, where no matter what level of fun they do have, it's not enough and/or too much of the wrong kind. If they enjoy the park without her, they're ungrateful. If they don't, they must not be trying, in order to piss her off.

Other examples of this too-muchness swamping bit characters: the nerdy comic banter of two of the techs (he's got a big collection of plastic dinosaurs on his desk), the schmuck handler who falls into the 'raptor cage's dumb glassy-eyed slack-jawed idiocy; the guy running the hamster balls who can't just say "they're all present and accounted for," he has to add "it's my job." Vincent D'Onofrio saying "if only we'd had these things at Tora Bora;" the Asian geneticist drinking green tea in a clear glass cup in a Bruce Lee style black sweater; and naturally the first person eaten is of Latino persuasion. Wouldn't want to break Jurassic tradition.

Latinos: first in the field; first to be eaten.

But as feminist critics have noted, Claire is the worst of all: the most dated and cookie cutter trite 'bitchy exec' in the history of movies. Void of anything remotely like survival instincts, when flying dinosaurs are carrying women and children off to their deaths all around her she figures the time is right to stand up on top of a jeep and shout for the boys' attention. While she and Owen are hiding from the Indominus Rex she shouts at the top of her lungs to see if the kids can hear. "The kids are still alive, but you and I will not be if you keep shouting like that," Owen tersely whispers. She glares back at him, too caught in that zone Camille Paglia writes about in Sexual Personae, the presumption that somehow wild animal nature can be brought to heel simply by making a sour face at the man trying to tell her it can't. And if the man tells her stomping her feet won't help her avoid being eaten then he's being a misogynist. Naturally when she winds up in jeopardy, he must risk his life to save her while she's a hero because she waves her arms at a viewing screen and screams "For gods sake, Harry! Be a man and Do something!!"



It's all worth it though because, in the end, doused in sweat and down to her strappy tee (above), she finds a pose she can assume without looking hippy (in the anatomical sense), presumably why in all her shots she has jackets tied around her waist and/or is shot from the navel up (though far be it from me to be genuinely sexist about pointing such things out). Assuming the sexy pose of Julia Adams in Creature from the Black Lagoon or a cave girl from either When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth or One Million BC, that sexy submissive crouch that helped launch the hormones of a generation of 12 year-old boys (and some girls) on TV back in the 70s, Opie's little girl doth rock it at last.


There's other good moments: the comical punchlines and counter bites of the flying dinosaur attacks, all very indebted to Spielberg and Joe Dante. And Pratt practically does save the film as well as the day : "Your boyfriend's a badass." says the older brother. One can't deny that, what with his driving a motorcycle into battle, his raptor squad racing around him; but actually being her boyfriend seems just too dangerous, maybe worse in the long term than being torn to shreds by a pterodactyl (I'm amazed I can still spell that word, it's been at least 40 years!). Her idea of guardianship: drive the kids to the dinosaur attack zone, then lock them in the back of a windowless truck and leave them there; don't even let them watch the take-down from a remote feed, which at that point is like one of those things where the returns Vietnam vet's mom still expects him to obey his old curfew. One need only look at that buzzkill frown of Judy Greer to understand the damage wrought by this insidious type of maternal manipulation, the type that breeds Normans rather than Owens. That they can even recognize Pratt's badassery is testament to their resilience, not hers. If kids of these two Tyrannosaurus Reginas ever screw up bad enough they get sent to military school then maybe they'll finally have a fighting chance to be men. If not, they'll never fight again, except with the cleaning lady when she accidentally starches their socks.




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Some in typing pool might argue women have to be ball-busters in order to earn men's respect at the office but that argument evaporates when you see Anne Heche in VOLCANO (1997). Her dialogue is so full of quick-thinking expertise and decisive commands so expertly, beautifully, naturally delivered that we realize inept, ditzy, bitchy, uptight or dumb professional women characters are the weakness of lazy screenwriters who make no attempt to understand the field they're writing about, and rather than doing some actual research, just write neurotic female experts who don't know either.

Part of the fault, naturally, falls with the way Hollywood coddles the beautiful children of the rich and famous. A lifetime of being beautiful, rich and connected has left them with no real idea of what life is like. Naturally they confuses seriousness with scowling. That's how it looks on the outside, so that must be all it is.

I say to these actresses: look upon Anne Heche in VOLCANO! And take goddamned notes.


If you've already seen VOLCANO and thought 'meh' due to some of its more groan-inducing Crash-esque post-Rodney King LA healing incidents and the dimwit clingy daughter played Gaby Hoffmann, then I say look again, and ignore everything but Anne Heche.

She's so damn good in this film she had to be demeaned by a hostile media after some mental aberrations and substance issues that would have been forgiven with a wink were she a man (or the daughter of some major power player or icon). She should be as honored and A-listed as Robert Downey Jr. If she's not, well, it's because she's crazy and because the man is scared of her. And you can see why when you watch VOLCANO.

If the time frame between JURASSIC WORLD and VOLCANO is too great for you, consider it against the 'other' volcano movie of 1997, DANTE'S PEAK. They came out at the same time, though DANTE'S beat it to theaters by two months, and hack shiite it is, but it follows all the rules of the Spielberg thrill ride blockbuster, while VOLCANO is more a TAKE OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE kind of real-time disaster maintenance in a high population urban center film -- right in step with 1978 but way too mature and complex for the average suburban mall family outing. But today PEAK is recognized as shiite and VOLCANO gets better with each viewing. What we wanted on the big screen in the late 90s is not the same as what endures as relevant in the 21st century post-9ll world. While a quick thinking big canvas disaster movie that tears through the real Los Angeles in practically real time, VOLCANO has enough well researched cliche-free back-and-forth between city department heads that it touches the rattatat genius of Paddy Chayefsky or 70s films that know the subject they're exploring--the sometimes curmudgeonly affection and good-natured combativeness between City Hall, The Fire and Police Depts, FEMA, and so forth-- inside and out. The writers and actors having clearly spent time embedded in the company of firemen and relief coordinators, nail the way experts and officials have to become quick thinking order-givers, promoted over time to the current point by their ability to stay cool in a crisis and mobilize team heads and be constantly inputting and computing results rather than freaking out while the fireballs fly. It's rich with mature people and overlapping dialogue flowing past us in savory rushes with no chance to catch our breath or explain to ten year-old without pausing. Rather than the DANTE's majestic adventure sweep, where every emotion we're meant to feel is broadly choreographed, VOLCANO's got that 'just another fucked day in NYC' kind of blue collar guy professionalism (transplanted to LA). The bits of character business feel real, ala (the original) PELHAM 123 and DOG DAY AFTERNOON.

There's only one or two weak points in VOLCANO and alas, they're what most people remember: 1) An absurd (but effective) bit of Rodney King commentary as a cop tries to arrest a guy for being black while downtown LA is erupting around, then they work together to halt the flow, etc. 2) Jones' simpering little brat daughter who drags herself along in the car while he juggles the madness. Neither has bupkis to do with Heche's character, though. The city's national geologist spokesperson, Heche's character is mature, gutsy, engagingly written and acted, sexy and in the moment, loose and joyous and above all, competent.

DANTE'S PEAK relies on its quaint isolated setting to avoid having to find out what the real world is like. It's worse even than JURASSIC WORLD as far as lazily etched characters. As if they're afraid Pierce Brosnan's shaky geologist widower and local mayor Linda Hamilton (right) won't look rosy enough unless surrounded by evil squat toadying acne-ridden greedheads and/or adenoidal tech nerd thorns. Two attractive smart people in a world tossed with ugly idiot characters copied off TWISTER's math test, Brosnan and Hamilton (Bond and Sarah Connor) have a believable chemistry. Their mature and Bridges of Madison County pastoral romance lures us in buttheir almost-kiss is interrupted by volcanic shizzz; meanwhile the burly bear guy in charge cautions the town about evacuation as it hurts tourism; the tweaker little shrimp tech has his one 'quirk' a limp bid at Tarantino chatter as he won't shut up about gourmet coffee. As with the TWISTER storm chasers, the banter is douche chill-inducing hackneyed it actually reverses character development like an overexposed negative.

VOLCANO provides an unavoidable, sudden calamity that feels like it's bringing out the best in people over an approx. 48 hour period, but--much easier to write--DANTE's calamity hinges on greed and stupidity (in everyone but Brosnan and Hamilton) during poorly etched-out week of research, as if the mayoral greed of JAWS has been watered down and spread around to poison all the children on Harry Lime's hospital list. The town leaders won't evacuate despite the ominous portents, as if they can argue fiscal deadlines with boiled backpackers; Hamilton's kids put her and Brosnan in danger by driving themselves up the mountain into the ash storm to get grandma (who won't evacuate). Rather than in-the-moment quick thinking of the type we see in VOLCANO, the adventure in PEAK hinges on the kind of stupidity chains which wipe out whole communities, one rescuer going after the other until none are left but Darwin and Emerson chuckling from on high.

Its attempts to add CRASH racist LA morals or no, VOLCANO is the opposite. Extremely well written and researched and, I'm guessing, rehearsed, it certainly should have put Anne Heche in the same A-list company of Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock if she wasn't already, but she got ground up in the hot button issues with Ellen and mysticism. Nothing as bad as Robert Downey Jr., but she was a woman, from a poor family, and 'out' (and then straight again) and suffering from a mental illness, which makes it harder to insure you.



That's part of it, but I also feel the mainstream press is far warier of recognizing scary assertive talent in women. They like their female stars to be either stunning beauties with very little range, or else moms and/or daughters first, professionals second. They only recognize great acting if it occurs in "great" pictures of Oscar calibre. If they're going to play professional career women they must be frigid bitches just waiting for the right middle-aged hero to gentle them down off the ledge. But this is not at all the m.o. of our cool professional Anne Heche. Thinking of her friend who was sucked into the flaming bowels of the earth under the La Brea tar pits the night before, she looks at all the erupting lava and chaos in downtown LA-- the horror and devastation--eyes wide, she says sincerely, "Rachel would have loved this!"

Fuck yeah!

I almost fell out of my chair with joy when I finally re-watched this movie last week and heard that line. Why is it that Heche is the only woman cool enough to say that kind of shit, EVER? Is it any wonder male Hollywood was threatened? There hadn't been a female character this resilient and ahead of the curve, this free of buzzkill mom morality, since FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL. Usually a woman is left at home with the kids, there to make angry phone calls demanding husband return because he has "responsibilities here too. We need you here, too, David!" and then when he's in trouble calling the precinct or wherever and demanding they do something! If they end up tagging along they certainly disprove of heroism and any display of enjoyment in courting danger. They provide exposition gaps, rolling their eyes like the volcano is somehow dad's fault, his excuse not to come home. Come home, David!

Heche's Anne is light years ahead of all that. Stunned but invigorated after her near death experience in the subway tunnels below the street, she hangs around in the thick of the eruption all morning, day, and night, not whining for Tommy Lee Jones' attention like his idiot daughter does, but doing her job, improvising, finding the path of the lava by watching a ball liberated from a looted toy store window, making calculations, etc. and barking them out super fast to Jones, who doesn't question them or give her shit cuz she's a woman but merely reacts and mobilizes his team to follow her instruction without a second thought. There's no spare time to second guess whether her advice is just that of a girl... standing in front of a man... and asking him to evacuate the city blocks between La Brea and the Pacific ocean. There's not even time for her to go "Tommy! Tommmeeee! I have something to say." Her understanding of the lava and his understanding of the city form a fluid machine where urgent calamity is responded to in ways their opposite numbers in DANTE'S would never dream possible... being too busy trying to dig themselves out of stupid predicaments created by idiot grandmothers of idiot children and idiot superiors worried about idiot tourists and clearing everything through idiot councils, like how the French lost to the Nazis.

But more than just being smart, capable, and able to think on her feet logically rather than getting bogged down in the tar of 'emotional conviction,' Heche is playing one of the few heroic female characters allowed to genuinely love being in the thick of danger. Usually enjoying calamity is the sole domain of villains, "sluts" femme fatales whose jubilance gets people killed or seems otherwise monstrous (as in she needs a man to shout: "Damnit it Kate, those aren't statistics, numbers in a notebook, they're people! With families!") In other words, Heche is not the type to think shouting "Somebody DO something!" in a moment of extreme crisis qualifies as being a capable manager (or like Jones' idiot daughter, let emotional prioritizing commence a whole chain of doomed rescuers as she pursues a lone dumbass infant into the blast zone, and dad has to go after her and risk his life as well).

But daughter's dumb decision has little to do with Heche, who doesn't have a daughter to deal with. In fact, Heche is the one who rescues them more or less, and though Jones has all the earmarks of the Dad of Great Adventure there's little of the annoying tics of the type, since the good aspects of Tommy Lee's character (he's able to stay cool and process loads of information during a natural disaster--and after all, it is his job) are also the bad (he can't ever just relax and let someone else take over even for an hour or two). We generally loathe micro-managerial bosses but we know Jones is cool because his staff tease him about it and he just rolls with it. As with his back-and-forth with Heche, dialogue with the staff (including second-in-command Don Cheadle) is all believable, the jokes and banter and character etching deftly woven into the action and exposition, rather than the 'here's three pages of character banter and now three pages of exposition and now three pages of disaster management' lameness of DANTE'S PEAK, a film that can't chew gum and walk at the same time.


Confession: when saw them the first time I loved DANTE'S more, mainly due to the heat so effortlessly generated between mayor Linda Hamilton and coiffed vulcanologist Pierce Brosnan--I loved his Bond, and loved her Sarah Connor and it was the late 90s. In PEAK she made me want to date a mother of two and move to a cool house in the shadow of gorgeous Colorado mountain. VOLCANO seemed much too busy, too full of business (then again, I was probably drunk when I rented it). Now I don't get how I didn't get it then, or how I let a few Rodney King hand-holding "we are the children" moments rush me to snide dismissal. But now, on widescreen DVD it's DANTE that looks willfully naive; Brosnan especially seems much too handsome and composed to be believable as a roving geologist. Look at him up there, not a single fleck of ash in that hair, and baby that ain't snow outside. Hamilton's mayor meanwhile leans on her maternal sweetness to convince the town to blindly follow and believe everything Brosnan says, his immaculate TV looks carrying a kind of absolute law she's been waiting all these years to capitulate her mayoral authority to.

Heche on the other hand, makes that ash dusting work. Her character is the spokesperson for her department and she handles the press conferences with ease and poise and oomph --no bitchiness or stomach butterflies or Kathy/Lucy-like "waaahs" of exasperation. I can only imagine how great she would have been in the Bryce Dallas Howard role of JURASSIC WORLD, especially if she could have some character and wardrobe input. It would have been cool to see her get it on with Chris Pratt, that would have been innovative like the platonic post-relationship friendship in JP III and the mixed-race family of JP II. She might have even pulled it off without someone having to use the word "cougar. And her being older and more self-assured would make more sense as an executive. Is it my fault for liking Brosnan in the 90s that characters like Heche's in VOLCANO are long gone, and feminism is in such shit straits?

Of course not, but it does show that big budget scripts aren't necessarily worth their money, and legacies (as in Howard's famous power player father) don't often bring much to the table beyond a tolerable actress with a pedigree (rather than a great one with possible problems).

My guess? Heche has suffered (a rough childhood, unstable parents, etc.), Howard hasn't. Even after all the bodies are hauled away the next morning, Howard's Claire doesn't seem changed, sharpened by trauma and the exaltation of her "Rex-whisperer" bravery; she just seem tired from being up all night and when she cries in the arms of her sister it's only from exhaustion and relief --take the damn kids! Now if they get eaten, it's on you.

At the end of VOLCANO, on the other hand, Heche is exhilarated, turned-on. You can feel her blood surging in her veins, singing with life. That's my kind of crisis-handling bitch.

If only it was America's.
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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous31 May, 2016

    This is substantially revitalizing to the Heche. Now I can't help but picture her in various female roles of the present and fantasize about what may have become of her if not for us Dante's Peakers. But my favorite part of Volcano is when Jones yawns and says "eggs are ready." It's so weird.

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  2. Just scanned this so far - I'm bookmarking it for later reading - but this line just leaped out at me and I wanted to applaud it ahead of time: "as if the mayoral greed of JAWS has been watered down and spread around to poison all the children on Harry Lime's hospital list"

    This is gonna be a good one.

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