The number one thing that bugs me about most sci-fi and fantasy is that they pick the most awkward moments to abandon versimilitude. You know, Superman is standing there and the bad guy is shooting at him until he runs out of bullets, click click, he throws the gun and Superman dodges. You lean back and say “wait, what?” and it’s too late… you’ve been yanked out of the show.

Worse than that, it happens so often that I start waiting for it to happen and predicting how they’ll do it. “There will be a GUI on the computer even though they said it was Unix.” This has gotten so bad that when stuff happens, like in the most recent Tron movie, that the guy sits down at the computer and types something like “uname -a” then I sit up and when he types “history” to figure out what the previous commands were, I positively swoon and am more than willing to forgive the next 90 minutes or so. (The argument between Flynn and Clu at the end was worth the price of admission for me (no religion). I can totally understand how others would think that the movie was awful, however.)

One movie that kept having me guess when and how it was going to drop versimilitude (and kept surprising me by how it kept getting *BETTER* was Children of Men. I’m not going to give *too* many spoilers because I want you to see it but I’ll tell you this much: there is a fertility crisis on the planet and people have stopped having babies entirely. It has been more than a decade and almost two since a baby has been born.

London is one of the last stable cities on the planet and there are posters explaining how fertility testing is mandatory. Like, everywhere. Billboards. Different wording in different places but the same message is pasted up all over everywhere. The versimilitude I kept expecting to break would be to have two characters walking down the street, stop in front of one of these signs, then have one sweep his arm and say “like these billboards here!” or something like that.


They walk around, sure, but they ignore the billboards the same way that normal people ignore billboards, every day. The billboards may as well be invisible to the characters.

Now, there’s a lot of things that *DO* happen in the film (a car chase scene and a foot chase scene that are single shots and minutes long… normally I don’t care about such things being filmed in a single shot but these two are done PERFECTLY) and it’s one hell of a wild ride. You’ll find yourself holding your breath in, oh, 2 other scenes that I can think of off of the top of my head.

This isn’t a movie that holds your hand. It rewards you for paying attention and leaves you exhausted and spent at the end. One of the best movies I’ve seen in the last 10 years.

So that’s my recommendation for you this week.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I did not like this movie too much, but I think it was the ending that bothered me. It has been too long since I saw this one and do not remember much more about it or why the ending bugged me.

    I always fine it interesting what keys you to like a movie Jaybird. 🙂

    I sometimes have to shake my head at what breaks verisimilitude for me. I will sit and watch a sci-fi/fantasy/superhero movie and not blink an eye at lasers, FTL, magic, and/or superpowers, but when the movie breaks some physics or some other thing that I think should follow real world laws, then it bothers me. Why do I feel these things must follow what I expect, when so many other things in the movie do not follow these rules?

  2. I loved this movie, for all its bleak bleakiness. (It made me want to nuzzle every newborn I saw in the office for the next two weeks or so.) And I agree that the action is woven seamlessly into the dystopian society depicted, without any need for attention to be paid to the latter in a heavy-handed way.

  3. The strange thing about Children of Men is that it had nothing – nothing aside from the premise of “people have stopped having children” – in common with the (very good) PD James novel that it is purportedly based on. To the degree that I have to wonder if it’s one of those movies that was written under a different title and sold as an adaptation in order to bring in more viewers (e.g, like “I, Robot” was).

    It’s still a good film though.

  4. OFF TOPIC – Are we going to discuss Avengers here at some point? I’m going to see it tomorrow (finally! yay!). It just seems like something that would fit within your sphere of interests.

    • It does! But it fits within my sphere of interests due to Religion and Politics. I will be writing an essay about the movie tonight and posting it to the main page.

  5. This is the only movie I can remember walking out of the theater before it had finished.

    It was during or right after the second of those long, long tracking shots with the authorities searching for the protagonists. And it was all cinema verite and stuff and there was dirt and blood on the lens. Which COMPLETEY messed me up and yanked me out of whatever immersive effect the scene was supposed to have because if there’s a lens, there’s a camera, and if there’s a camera, there’s a cameraman, and I didn’t recall anything about a fricking cameraman in the story up to this point.

    Willing suspension of disbelief shattered, I started to immediately resist the movie. I thought about the characters and I didn’t care about any of their fates. I thought about all the awful fictional events the film had put me through and I asked myself if the last five or ten minutes were likely to have any kind of redeeming payoff for me. And it seemed really unlikely. So I left.

    • Oh yeah, the shaky camera thing. I want to say that this was the scene in the car when they were being chased by the guys on motorcycles (and I remember being pulled out for a second by the blood on the lens). The weird thing is that I found the cameraguy looking out the front, then turning to look out the side, then turning to look out the back, then spinning to look out the front again more distracting than that stuff on the lens… but it didn’t pull me out of it the way that, say, most stuff pulls me out of a movie at the drop of a hat.

      It always drives me nuts when people tell me to just let stuff go and run with it (and so I’m not going to tell you to do that) but I think that the camera games, done well, are something that I can just let go and run with it.

      • In many ways, those scenes were brilliant.

        • I was holding my breath during them.

          That said, I can totally see how someone might say “why in the hell is there a lens flare? Why is there water on the lens? Why is there a lens?” instead of looking at what the director ostensibly wants you to be looking at.

          “Dude, if you were there, you’d have blood and water on your face!”

          “But I wasn’t there.”

          “But if you were!”

          “But I wasn’t.”

          (And so on.)

          • I supposed it’ s the danger of being “too clever”–it was, for me, the cinematographic equivalent of commenting on the propaganda posters. (The design and overall look of the film was brilliant, I agree.)

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