Ruminations, etc..

Musings, rantings, and pie.

Simple Solutions to Complicated Movie Problems: The Usual Suspects Edition

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Back when I was in a barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois, we used to watch the Usual Suspects all the time.  And again, one thing always bothered me: there was a more simple solution to their problems with the boat at the end of the movie.

For those of you who haven’t seen this movie, stop reading and go rent it.  It’s way too complicated for me to summarize, and this article assumes a lot of basic knowledge of the movie. I know, I know… I’m mean.  Well, it’s not my fault you haven’t seen this classic of neo-noir.  Don’t get in my face because you have a problem!

Have I alienated enough readers yet? Okay. Enough of this gristle!  On to the meat!

You call this a solution, Krol?

So here’s the situation: four guys need to kill a bunch of Argentinians on a boat in San Pedro harbor or they’re all dead. To sweeten the deal, a pack of Hungarians are showing up with 90 million dollars to buy some coke from the Argentinians on the boat.  If the four guys can kill everybody, they get the money.

Not a bad deal right?  Kill a bunch of people and get 90 million clams to split four ways.  Cool. I’m in.

What follows in the movie is a completely boneheaded plan and they all end up dead.  Except for one guy,  Kevin Spacey.  (I mean the character Kevin Spacey plays.  Not, you know, Kevin Spacey himself.  Though what would be really cool and meta.)

Okay, first things first.  I really like this movie.  Despite starting the unfortunate trend in movies where the final scene is a twist (a shtick M. Night beat into the ground), it’s a well paced and well constructed thriller.  So this is not a case of me just hating on a movie.

And yeah, I know that the movie is being told to us by an unreliable narrator, and everything we know about the boat, money, etc, could be wrong.  Yeah, I’ll grant you, Kevin Spacey in the movie is an unreliable narrator (unlike Jason Statham in Snatch, who always pays the rent on time, is never late, and will always pick you from the airport, making him a reliable narrator), but we do know there is some truth to the matter.  For instance, the movie, outside of Spacey’s narration, establishes that there was a boat in San Pedro harbor that was attacked the night before.  This shows there could be some truth to what Spacey is telling us.

So my solution is based on a few assumptions.  Sue me. If you don’t like it, there’s always LOLCats for you to read.

Anyway, Gabriel Byrne and the boys decide to attack the boat directly.  This after he determines the task  cannot be done.   You know what I do after I find I’m in an impossible task?  Yeah that’s right, I attempt the hardest possible solution.

What they should have done was hire a bunch of guys.   Easy solution right?  Take 10% off the top — 9 million — and offer it to a bunch of killers.  Like 30 of them.  Set them loose in the harbor.  And once everyone’s dead, drive the cash away.

How DARE you call me a right-wing hack! Oh...yeah...

Of course Spacey and the boys now have the problem of a bunch of killers knowing that you have 90 million in your possession .  That’s when they hire another set of killers to get the original set of killers.  Brilliant, huh?  With problem solving skills like these I could be the Mayor of Springfield.

Or, how about this: get some scuba gear, get close to the boat in the San Pedro harbor and put explosives all over the boat, right by the water line.  And I’m talking lots of explosives. Enough C4 to take out Poughkeepsie, at least.  Swim away, radio to Kevin Pollack that you’re clear, and blow the boat the fuck up.  Easy.  All the guys in the boat are dead.  Now, with two machine gun nests strategically placed, make the van into Swiss cheese.  Drive away with the money and blow it on coke and whores. Assuming you hired some additional guys to help, there are extra points if you double cross the guys you hired by shooting all of them after blowing the hell out of the van.

So there you have it.  Another instance in life where you can blow the fuck out of your problems.  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to indulge in a triumphant cocktail for a job well done.

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Written by B. Michael Krol

July 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

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