OBJECTIVE: Watch a popular or critically acclaimed film we’ve never seen to the halfway point. Pause it. Work together to predict the ending.
MAD MAX (1979)
THE LAST THING WE SAW: We paused at 00:47:30, right after Goose got caught by the baddies and was set on fire. Max has just entered the room, so we have no idea what the extent of Goose’s injuries is.
And now… discuss!
Phil: So, I’m going to be honest here: I can’t really tell you what has been going on, let alone what is about to occur. Could you please enlighten me? Because as far as I can tell it’s been a lot of car chases and fights with a lot of plot points that have baffled me.
Ben: Why don’t we do it this way: tell me what you know, and I’ll “Phil” in the blanks?
Phil: Sounds good, Ben Halfflick. So this dude named Night Rider was killing cops.
Ben: Checks out so far. And then…?
Phil: After a ton of carnage and mayhem, Max (who I am assuming is of the Mad variety) attempts to apprehend him. Max’s pursuit ends in the deaths of Night Rider and his moll.
Ben: I think the title might mean “The Crazy Police Force As A Whole” rather than “That One Aussie is Wicked NUTS,” but otherwise sound. And thennn…?
Phil: This is where things break down for me. Then this fluffy-haired guy comes out to avenge Night Rider with his posse, but he also gets wicked distracted with dragging people around, attacking a random couple in a sweet red car, beating the crap out of said car, shooting department store mannequins, and finally, with a little more focus, taking out one of Mad Max’s buddies. And I don’t understand any of this.
Ben: Ah, so I saw the violent jostling of innocents as character development (or introduction) rather than a cogent or sequential plot point. Gay Biker David Bowie seems to be the ringleader of the remaining outlaws who wants revenge on the Max Police Force for “killing” Night Rider, who want revenge on the gang for evading charges, and then 6 movies later they all want revenge on Kevin Bacon or something.
Phil: Well, perhaps I was putting more importance on these scenes, because the ringleader seemed pretty berserk from the get-go. Unless they add to the plot somehow, all the scenes not involving Max or Goose seem pretty superfluous—and baffling.
Ben: Fair, but again, pretty sure it’s just revealing the scope or extent of the gang’s malice. The storytelling isn’t exactly stream of consciousness, but it’s less cut-and-dried linear than some flicks, and it’s not like film scholars have extensive arguments about the plot of Mad Max, so I’m taking it all at basically face value.
Phil: I’m probably trying to read more into what is likely, as you say, just a series of crazy events adding up to a rather straightforward Cops and Robbers type of story. Well, I wrote down a prediction a few minutes before we stopped, which was that Goose would be killed by the fluffy-haired mane-iac and his gang.
Ben: We’re in this weird Schrödinger’s Pause scenario where we don’t quite know if that’s true yet. Looks like Goose is in some sort of breathing tent/iron (fabric?) lung/Blanket Fort of Solitude that will reveal his fate shortly.
Phil: Yeah, my guess is that since they didn’t show us a cadaver, he’s most likely just severely maimed and will eventually recover.
Ben: The way this film has been going? Nah, I think Goose will die within minutes to further the get-revenge-on-you-for-getting-revenge-on-me storytelling.
Phil: Oh, and he has some wild last words that spur Max on? I’ll stick to my guess, but, with all the violence in the movie thus far, I wouldn’t be surprised either to see yours manifest itself. Either way, from what I have seen from other movies, it seems that being a sidekick and calling yourself Goose will not end well for you.
Ben: If you’re a partner named Goose in an ’80s movie, your life’s gonna suck, but I’m reminded more of Nordberg from the Naked Gun flicks or the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Mad Max‘s Goose starts off with a broken leg, now he’s in an oxygen tent, next he’ll need a bionic arm, until finally he’ll just be a brain in a jar and Steve Martin will fall in love with him.
Phil: My next prediction: … pffff.
Ben: You got nothin’?
Phil: Honestly, I am having trouble with this movie. It has been such a random hodgepodge, all I’m coming up with is that Mad Max will catch the hairy antagonist, and before this, said hairball will… put on a tri-cornered hat, shoot a gun, and dance with a flamingo?
Ben: That would be a good Grandpa episode of “The Simpsons,” but I can see where you’re coming from; plot’s a bit thin ’round these parts. I agree that Goldilocks and the gang will have a final showdown with Mel Gibson’s character, who… is he really named Max? But the cops are called Max Police Force! That’s like having a character on the Super Officer Squad and calling him “Super.”
Phil: Maybe he’s called “Mad” Max, because he’s from the Melbourne Arsenal Division? (That would make more sense than this movie has shown thus far.) Facetiousness aside, I predict that Max’s best pal’s maiming (or, in your case, demise) will spur him into rage-fueled action, being the Achilles to Goose’s Patroclus.
Ben: I recognize some of those letters. If we’re getting into specifics, I think the gang is gonna try to off Max at his home, if only because I’ve seen Lethal Weapon too many times.
Phil: Yeah, that’ll be a cool scene, where he uses everyday objects as weapons, like pans and pepper shakers and tangerines and whatnot. He’ll save his girlfriend and son, yeah?
Ben: Actually, I bet that the bleached-haired baddie will target Max’s baby mama, Australian Jennifer Grey, only to be shot by their infant. Remember, when we last saw the baby, he/she was playing with a revolver unsupervised, because it’s exactly as lethal as anything else in Australia.
Phil: Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. While I agree that the kid will save the day during this particular stand-off, I feel this will come in around three quarters of the film, and that the final showdown will happen on the highway in his beach-ball-colored cop car and on their motorcycles.
Ben: Only in Australia would you ride a motorcycle with a broken leg, wreck the bike (again), borrow a pick-up truck, have a steel wheel thrown through your windshield, roll the truck into a field, and then have to say, “When the meth-head gang-banger set the truck on fire, that’s when I got injured.” Well, Australia or Florida.
Phil: So… that’s a yes?
Ben: …wait, what did you say? Oh. I can see where you’re coming from, but I think my scenario is a perfectly fine ending. If we’re talking three-quarter predictions, I think the cops will convene/beef up security at the Halls of Justice, since right now, it’s more penetrable than a divorcée at last call.
Phil: I predict there will be three major stages to the ending. This movie is like a violent Australian film inspired by Pierrot le Fou in its randomness and craziness, so in Stage 1, Goose’s injuries will send Max down a crazy path, vengefully tracking down the gang via wacky vigilante methods.
Ben: He’s like Aussie Bronson in Outback Death Wish, except it’s actually his job.
Phil: Now, how these wacky methods will occur is mysterious, obviously, because, knowing the randomness of this movie, it’ll be something ludicrous like throwing a wallaby at their faces. Joking aside, though, my true prediction is that Max’ll cruise around in his car, find them, and bash their skulls together.
Ben: Max will steal a biker’s chopper, rig it to blow, and a slow-mo explosion will propel the left-behind stoolie from before into the ring-leader’s skull, and they’ll die in a heap with their balls touching.
Phil: Stage 2 will be the home invasion, and Stage 3 will be a crazy car chase ending in the Woolen Wonder crashing his motorbike into something and dying in a gigantic fireball.
Ben: Actually, I’m fine with that. Who am I to argue with a giant fireball of doom?
AND NOW, WE FINISH THE MOVIE: