FF119 - Black Hawk Down

Intro by Ben Harrison

One of Ridley Scott's most extravagant war films was released in the United States just a few months after the September 11th, 2001 attacks. While it is a tale of a brief and somewhat obscure but bloody military engagement during the Clinton administration, it was a powerful draw on the film going public who spent over 100 million dollars going to see this film in theaters.

Mogadishu, once known as the White Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is now in a period of reconstruction, but it was plagued by violence for decades. Somalia has become a punchline for facile political jokes about pirates and failed states, but the repeated coups d'état that have kept the country in chaos since it gained independence from Italy and Great Britain have led to a situation where civil society and infrastructure are scarce resources.

Even scarcer are actual resources, as this country, long dependent on the rich fisheries surrounding the Horn of Africa, has been unable to defend its territorial waters from illegal fishing operations from other countries. The desperation and privation facing the people of Somalia have led some to turn to piracy and other forms of organized crime, while others have clung to religion, yielding dangerous extremist groups like Al Shabaab.

The opening of today's film gives us a crash course in the geopolitics of the mission it depicts over plaintive music, sung in a decidedly Islamic tone scale, and images of corpses and famished children and hospital cots. The term of art used by people who work in global health and development economics is Poverty Porn. We have seen the same kind of imagery used in television commercials that try to persuade us that for a monthly donation that costs less than your daily cup of coffee, you could keep the horseflies out of the corners of one child's eyes. There are a zillion valid criticisms of these kinds of depictions that we don't have to go into here, but the film is definitely reminding its viewers of that logic.

The cost to feed and clothe people suffering the way Somalis were suffering in 1993 was actually fairly trivial compared to what our country spends on something like, say, defense, but the reality on the ground never seems to allow for those resources to be distributed in an efficient and equitable way. Many of the same issues that led Somalia's central government to collapse made it impossible to help people that we wanted to help. The country lacks infrastructure and lacks institutions on the ground that could be trusted to help distribute aid.

The action in today's film is spectacular. It depicts an elite American strike force entering Mogadishu to capture men associated with Aidid, the local warlord preventing U.N. food aid from making it to the people. When the raid encounters more resistance than expected, the troops lined up in a much more pitched battle than anyone was expecting, and what was meant to be a quick operation spins into a protracted overnight battle in which the Somalis successfully shoot down two Blackhawk helicopters.

But whether it gives the viewer a good sense of the battle is another question that we are gonna get into. Is this film Military Porn, analogous to the poverty porn it indulges in in its opening moments? "Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit goes right out the window!" Today on Friendly Fire: Black Hawk Down.


B: Welcome to Friendly Fire, the war movie podcast that thinks it is here to kick some ass, but is actually probably here to fall out of a helicopter. I'm Ben Harrison, …

A: …, I'm Adam Pranica…

J: … and reporting live from Hawaii: I am John Roderick!

B: Yeah, so if you hear a tropical bird in the background: that is coming from John’s mic!

J: That is right. There is a lot of coo coo coo coo ing and gobbling and other bird sounds.

Racist casting choices

A: Weren't you expecting, with all of the set up this film did, for guy-to-fall-out-of-the-helicopter-guy to be Ewan McGregor’s character? I was shocked it wasn't him and all of his coffee grounds going with him.

B: Yeah, the guy that Ewan McGregor played has some really grizzly crime against a child that he was arrested for after his participation in the events depicted here.

A: Yeah, now he is making coffee in prison on a 30 year sentence, I read.

J: The Ewan McGregor character is a fictionalized person and a lot of the other characters aren't?

A: Ewan McGregor's character is based on a real person that they then renamed because of what happened to the real person, is what I read.

B: Many of them are less fictionalized than him.

J: There are so many stars in this movie. James Franco is the only actor in Hollywood at this time that isn't in this movie.

B: Wasn’t he like 16 when this movie was made?

J: It didn't stop all those other guys. This is Tom Hardy's first movie? He looks 15!

A: … and Eric Bana’s, too! And Eric Bana is fucking great in this. I can't believe this was his first movie!

B: This is a war movie trope, right? The ”We tip Hollywood up at one end and dump out all the That guys”, and unlike The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far it is not just a movie poster of that guys, but it seems like it could be!

A: If this film were made 30 years ago or more, everyone would be Sam Shepard's age. Josh Hartnett would be Sam Shepard.

B: Was the actual group of Rangers and Delta Force depicted as ethnically homogenous as this was? Because there is one black guy on the American side in this movie.

J: Yeah, that is an interesting observation. No Asian dudes for sure!

B: Yeah. I think of our military as being one of the most ethnically integrated institutions in our country at this point.

J: And it may be that Special Forces is still an area where demographics are different in the military.

B: Or maybe in 1992-93 or whatever it was different?

J: Well, it was such an integrated military in 1992.

A: It would surprise me if it were a choice and not another example of the many ways the film tried to adhere to its book source material, which my understanding is that they really tried hard to do.

B: I am looking at a group photo of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Somalia in 1993 on Wikipedia and I do see one identifiable black face, but also it wouldn't surprise me if this movie did something racist because this movie is exquisitely racist.

A: Go on!

B: I mean, it is a movie that is set in Somalia, it has no Somali actors, they didn't bother having the people portraying Somalis speak Somali, the way it depicts the local population is extremely problematic to my mind. They are basically shown to be homogenously pro-warlord and it really killed me at the end of this movie when it ends on a title card that says: ”19 Americans lost their lives and over 1000 Somalis died” It feels like it really draws a distinction between the value of American lives and Somali lives.

Depicting a very recent event, having no operational strategy

A: Yeah, it was frustrating to watch this film and see no context, or barely any context, given for the conflict happening there and the horde that the locals are depicted as. I have a feeling things are a little more complex over there than running around with a machine gun, shooting everything that moves, but that is the version of this country that we get in this movie.

B: Yeah, I don't know. I was thinking a lot about the way the American military is depicted in this movie and at the time this movie came out, this was winter 2001, this was what I imagined the American military looked like and did in winter 2001. This movie really entered my brain as: This is what it is like to be deployed to some country if you are in the American military, and I can't imagine that I am unique in that. It probably helped make a public receptive to the idea that we were going to send this totally elite force that, even when things go totally sideways, can rack up a body count as disproportionate as this and get the job done.

A: It is weird: the effect of depicting local Somalis in this way also counteracts the very real sense that I got about how flawed this mission was and how much of an own goal this was. This shouldn't have happened and a major reason that it did - and I was doing some research about the mission - is that they use these tactics over and over again, the whole idea of four corner raiding a building and getting people out and using convoys covered by helicopters. This is not a mission that someone drew up the day of, but this was version 33 of that mission or something.

B: They mentioned that in the movie: This is just like the last one!

A: Yeah, and it is so glossed over and the mission is deployed in the face of such an overwhelming horde that it makes it seem as though it is the horde that is the cause of the failure and not us, in a way that would be a more interesting and maybe even truthful way to tell that story. But when you are facing a horde, another consequence of that is that your own troops are depicted as more valorous and heroic up against an opposition that seems impossible to defeat, right?

J: There is a lot of very clever strategy on the part of the Somalians, even though there aren't any Somalis in the movie. They aren't acting just as a horde, but they are acting as a pretty organized force, despite appearing very disorganized to the Americans. Their ability to basically block off all the roads into the center in a very coordinated fashion and there are many, many instances where the response of the people in Mogadishu is coordinated and directly thwarts the American effort. So it is not just that the US is fumbling due to their own mistakes, but they are up against a formidable enemy and not just formidable in numbers, but there is a hand behind their actions, multiple hands.

B: It is an extremely modern form of warfare, too. The use of cellular technology to coordinate the counterattack that the Somalis stage is pretty of the moment in terms of: That probably wasn't possible five years before this incident happened.

A: …, and it is interesting how communication as depicted on both sides is, in the way you are saying, Ben, positive for the Somalis and every time we get on the horn with anyone on the American side it is always bad news or an order that: ”Ugh! God! Really? That is the strategy?” There is a yin and yang there that is apparent.

J: There is no strategy, yeah! This is a turning point - and Ben you are right - this coming out in December of 2001 within three months of 9/11 I didn't see this movie in the theater at the time because because it felt very jingoistic coming out. This was not the moment where I wanted a rah rah American war pic. It also felt very much like fairly recent history. It is a thing that we see now: Zero Dark Thirty came out before the paint was even dry on the Osama bin Laden raid and this felt like it was fairly recent events for a movie to come out.

B: It is the ”ripped from the headlines”. They always do that on Law and Order and this is an idea popularized around that time.

America’s role in getting involved in regional conflicts elsewhere in the world

J: America since Vietnam has had a pretty bad run in terms of getting involved in regional conflicts and making the difference that America thinks it is going to make in getting involved and getting out with its objectives realized, but this is the beginning of the era of street insurgencies or urban insurgencies, this isn't a situation where the rebels retreat up to the mountains and we are bombing them from afar with drones or whatever, but this is the beginning of the American military being engaged in block-by-block pacification and you turn around to shoot a bad guy and it is a mother and a baby and then you turn your back on them and all of a sudden the mother shoots you, all this kind of stuff that became our experience in Iraq. We were on the eve of this becoming our protracted American military experience. This was one of those formative events in US military evolution.

B: Watching it now, this movie as being pretty sanguine about the risks of that. These guys go through hell and it is visceral experiencing that with them as you watch the film, but somehow just because it is such an awesome action movie, if you watch it with your critical faculties turned off this is just a totally ass-kicking action movie and somehow you don't mind that the difficulties of this kind of combat, this kind of use of our military and our special forces… you don't lose your appetite for it watching a movie like this, somehow.

J: Looking at this movie and leveling charges of racism, you cannot avoid doing it because the Somali are an ethnically very identifiable group of people, and there are none in this movie. As soon as the movie opens on Mogadishu, you look down and go: ”Wait a minute! Why are there no East Africans there?” East Africans do not look like West Africans, so you cannot situate yourself in Somalia watching the movie, you are just like: ”Why are there a bunch of Nigerian actors?” or whatever. From that you can stack up all the other attendant charges of racism, the fact that the Somalis act as a horde, the fact that it seems like their lives don't have any value to the filmmaker, et cetera, et cetera. This is an extremely challenging form of warfare where you land in a ungoverned city, or rather a city governed by warlords, where there are people everywhere, impossible to know who is a friend and who is an enemy. The city is divided into friendly and unfriendly, that is one of the spookiest moments of the movie when they cross some imaginary line and all of a sudden they are greeted as heroes. It is so obvious that Ridley Scott did not make the movie with any consciousness of the Africans beyond them being a horde. I can't help but feel like the experience of the military in a situation where they think they are just going to go in and do a thing that is some simple thing that somebody drew with a crayon, and all of a sudden it goes sideways, and that moment when Sam Shepard is like: ”We have lost the initiative!” when the first helicopter goes down and you just see his blood run cold, because if the thing doesn't go off exactly as planned, then all bets are off.

B: This movie could be a huge indictment of that and somehow it doesn't feel like it.

J: It is weird. It is weird!

A: Did you feel its tension about it? I felt like the film was straining against itself in that way. I can totally understand that any film based on source material written by someone who was there is going to want to tell that story to the exclusion of all other factors, and the other factors surround this movie and its characters in such a way that… I am really torn about it because if what you are trying to do is just tell the story of the soldiers this is a film that tells that story effectively, and it is how much credit we can possibly give a thing for not doing the thing it didn't intend to do to begin with.

J: In American culture we flatter ourselves that we are capable of telling the story of both sides of a situation like this, and this is the flip side of both-sides-ism, the idea that we are even capable of understanding what it is like to be a Somalian in Mogadishu after the government of Somalia fails. And you can hear a screenwriter a couple of times in that scene where the pilot is being interrogated and the arms dealer says: ”How long have you been in Somalia? Six hours? Forget it, you are not going…” That feels very much like something from a screenwriter's hand.

A: That feels like Three Kings!

B: They totally borrowed that from the oil on the Michael Jackson CD scene.

J: Right!

Ask your question, man. Does it hurt?

J: It was only a year later that the Rwandan genocide started and the reason we didn't intervene in Rwanda was that Clinton felt burned by what had happened in Somalia. Our failure to act in Rwanda for just a little bit, for just a couple of weeks, was all it took for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people to die. To even imagine that you could make a movie like this that even begins to show what the experience in Africa is… 300.000 people had died of starvation in Somalia by this point because Aidid had been stealing the food? 300.000 people have died of starvation!

B: Speaking of genocide: That is the term that General Garrison uses to describe that deprivation, which…

J: He says that to the arms dealer and the arms dealer just scoffs at him.

B: It is both a malapropism, but also serves to give moral weight to why the Americans are there, but it is so amorphous why they are there. They have the obligatory scene where Josh Hartnett is the only one that has a nuanced opinion (J: … who went to college…) He is like: ”I am not just entirely racist against these people. I have a slightly…”

A: Josh Hartnett was told he is in a Terrence Malick film and everyone else knows they are in a Ridley Scott film.

J: What is astonishing about that scene is that he is African-splaining to the one black person in the movie on the American side, and the one black soldier is like: ”Man, I am just here to do my job and kick some ass!” and Josh Hartnett is like: ”Well, I am just here because I am interested in the people of the… we need to respect the people of Africa!” It was so strangely… (B: post-racial America!) It really was! It was the last fucked-up scene of ”post-racial Hollywood”. That definitely rubbed! But to consider your question, Ben: The US is here under UN mandate, so this is in an era when we are nominally allowing, I guess is the word, the UN to determine what… the US military is working as part of this coalition, it is the United Nations.

B: This was started under the George H.W. Bush presidency, I think! The Marines were deployed to Somalia to provide stability while food-aid was given out.

J: But as part of a United Nations group, so that is why the Pakistanis are there, that is why the Malaysians are there. The United States, although the US never really subsumes itself to the United Nations, but we are there either under cover of a UN mandate or because we genuinely are invested in… we spent so long trying to establish the United Nations peacekeeping forces as an actual workable military force that would go into situations like in Yugoslavia and be a stabilizing presence and over and over the UN ended up not doing that.

B: It is almost like deploying a bunch of tanks and helicopters and armed guys to something is not a stabilizing act.

J: But also the rules of engagement were like: ”Well, you can't shoot back!”, or: ”Sorry, we can't protect you. We are just here to drive around!”

A: The film stays out of that as an issue though, do you think? It is not politicizing itself in that way.

B: The context feels so strange now because it is so hard to imagine us getting into anything like this ever again, especially in a country that doesn't have oil that we can take afterwards.

J: I think what you are identifying, Adam and Ben, both of you, are a sort of post-Iraq-Afghanistan cynicism that we have about the US now. And in the language of the time when this movie came out it would have been more self-explanatory to people that the US went places and did things in an attempt to be helpful.

B: Team America: World Police!

J: Yeah, there was an altruism driving the idea that: ”Oh, the government has fallen!”, and the cynics listening to the show are going to say: ”American foreign policy was always imperialistic!”, et cetera, et cetera, but that isn't true. It is neo liberalism and it was neoconservativism, too: the notion that we were a stabilizing force in the world and that that stabilization or that stabilizing force was for good ultimately.

A: That is such an interesting point to see this film in its time because this film is totally in keeping with that Vietnam and post-Vietnam idea that we would win every war if we were only given the budget and the material to do it. Some of the knocks that I read about this film on the mission were like: ”Fucking Bill Clinton, man! If he didn't cut the defense budget, we could have gone in there and kick all the asses that we were supposed to!” It is just that retroactive policy-revisionism as a reason for failure in these theaters. That happens later, but not at this moment when this film came out.

J: Sam Shepard says it right at the beginning of the movie when they are planning the mission. He says: ”I was going to bring in a AC-130 gunship to cover this whole thing, but the powers upstairs told me I wasn't authorized!”, so there was this sense,… and the camera lingers on it a couple of times. There is an AC-130 or at least a C-130, presumably one that is Puff the Magic Dragon-ed sitting there on the tarmac.

B: What does that mean?

J: That was for Adam!

A: John, could you imagine a C-130 circling this area? It is an insane idea! I actually think that keeping it out of this fight makes a ton of sense!

B: The hundreds of civilians that died during this… that number would have exploded, right?

A: Oh, yeah!

J: Because it would have had these massive Gatling guns!

A: It would cut buildings in half!

J: … but it was there, and there were a few moments where it felt like it was a tool in the general's arsenal that he couldn't use because of Washington. He doesn't linger on it, but the Clinton's first secretary of defense Les Aspin actually stepped down as secretary of defense because of this, because General Powell in his early days as he was becoming a national figure, went to him and said: ”Hey, can we use all of our big guns in Mogadishu?” and it was the secretary of defense that said: ”No!” and so when the Black Hawks got shot down it was a big scandal and this was (B: blamed on the civilian leadership) blamed on the secretary of defense who actually stepped down. This was an example of the Clinton administration…

B: Imagine a government bureaucrat accepting blame for a bad decision.

J: I know! He was like: ”You are right! It was a mistake!” This really fed into the narrative that Democrats were wusses.

B: It was not a mistake! Looking at this with hindsight being 20/20, the idea of the aerial Gatling gun just raining depleted uranium down on the city is horrifying to contemplate.

A: Taking the collateral out of that, it is too much of a blunt object strategically. Providing air cover for helicopters that are down generally is what you want to do, but specifically that just doesn't make any sense as a platform for that. You can't be strategic with that, I don't think, on a mission where strategy is so required for when your helicopter is in town square.

J: And I think that does reflect an actual problem in the higher offices, that we are dictating these conditions. Les Aspin is saying: ”We can't just treat Mogadishu as a place where every single person in the city is more or less expendable in the course of us on some dumb mission!”

A: Sorry, what does that mean?

J: Expendable? It is like if you go to a party and nobody cares if you are there or not!

A: I think I get it now.

J: The people of Mogadishu were at a party, but nobody cared that they were there. The idea of showing that restraint was regarded as lily-livered or weak in the popular press. It is not just that Ridley Scott is insensitive…

B: … he is living in the same society that produced the popular backlash to this decision.

J: If you think about Fallujah, if you think about urban conflicts that the US military faced in the 20 years subsequent to this, they generally didn't call in AC-130 gunships and just mowed down blocks of Fallujah, either. It did become somewhat policy.


B: We are talking about this happening in the post-racial America and the racial blind-spot of that, but it is interesting that there was evidence of an evolution of thought: Somebody in the US government had decided that civilian lives were worth saving here, that was the entire point of the mission: Go in and make sure these sacks of grain get distributed to the people that actually need it!

J: And this is another example of the kind of action bias that you have to confront when you use the military to do a job that has a peacekeeping or civilian component to it. We don't have another tool in our toolbox to protect grain.

B: It is so hard to imagine the police that we deploy to foreign countries. It is not a thing! Or the social workers.

J: Exactly. If you had sent 400 khaki-clad US aid volunteers, they would have all ended up being in thumb handcuffs and carted off. There needed to be some kind of stabilizing force, but if you take the army, and in particular the special forces and say: ”Hey guys, go in and make sure that the water is clean and everybody gets three squares a day!” the army is going to go: ”Well, let's see, what do we have to use here? Missiles and machine guns. We don’t have any spoons!”

B: ”What if we make them eat lead?”

J: That is funny and awful…

B: Yeah, gallows humor here on Friendly Fire!

J: …, but also thinking about in particular America's sense of responsibility for the world at the time we saw just a few months later that if you don't do anything, which is what we did in Rwanda, then hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people die and you feel like it is your fault. We felt like the Rwandan genocide was something we could have done something about, should have done something about, and didn't, and the reason we didn't is because we were now going to try: ”Well, what happens if we don't do anything, because when we did something it didn't work out?” It is legitimate America's identity crisis.

B: It is also that our foreign policy swings somewhat wildly every time there is a new administration that has a new idea of what that should be.

Well, I wouldn't know about that. I'm from Texas!

J: Somalia doesn't have any oil. You could argue that there is some strategic significance to its position.

B: It is the heart of Africa! It has the longest coastline of any country in Africa and it is right there…

J: Osama bin Laden claimed he had a hand in this event. Osama bin Laden claimed later that he was training the fighters in Mogadishu and that this was part of his global effort. Whether or not that is true, the movie came out during the moment where we were developing an American policy position that we were at war with Islam, but in the events that the movie depicts: There wasn't this war on terror and Muslims were not our foes.

B: Right, and it was in this middle period where we didn't have the evil empire of the Soviets and to our country's great discredit we had an identity crisis about what we do in the world because we didn't have an enemy to fight.

J: I kept seeing Nicholas Cage three steps back, selling shipping containers of rockets.

B: Lord of War-ing

J: Yeah, Lord of War would have been Puff the Magic Dragon-ing behind the scenes of this for sure!

A: When we do get to talk to the arms dealer in this film, he says something to Garrison that goes something like: ”Why are you here? This is a local matter! This is a civil war!" Is that an American author, an American soldier, putting words in his mouth, or was that a feeling that Aidid had about wanting US and NATO intervention out of the country so that he could continue to fill the power vacuum the way he was doing? In what way is that true or not, that sensibility I mean?

J: Somalia had a long colonial history in Africa and their period of long 20th century stability was under a socialist government. The Somali Democratic Republic was one of the African socialist revolutionary governments, so the Somali socialist regime, which katzoled (?) up to the Russians during the Cold War and went through a lot of those socialist reforms. The way that the clans operated in Somalia traditionally, the socialist government tried to put the kibosh on clan identity and put over the top of it the sort of communist idea that we are all brothers and clans no longer are operable here and clan life went on.

B: Similar in some ways maybe to what was depicted in Lawrence of Arabia, where it was like: ”Think of yourself as Somali, not as a member of Clan X!”

J: Right. That is the socialist imposition of: ”We are all atheist now!” and the church just continues on. Clan relationships continued on and the socialist government lasted until 1991. When it collapsed, and it collapsed for what you would think were all the right reasons: It had become autocratic, it had become a cruel administration, in the early days it was like Ceausescu, and Siad Barre //(John says Muhammad) was like a hero, but he became an autocrat.

B: I was reading that he got in a car accident and he went to Saudi Arabia to get operated on and recover and the government responded to the absence of the head of state by hardening and becoming a lot more arbitrary and authoritarian.

J: The power vacuum that happened after he was overthrown, is that the clans were reestablishing themselves as like: ”Well, the people in the north are not going to follow the people in the south on this!” and the people in the south are like: ”Well, in that case the people in the north can find their own source of water!” or whatever it is. It echoes a lot of movies that we have seen, or a lot of conflicts that we have examined. As soon as the Algerians kicked the French out it became then an internal conflict. You can see the echoes of colonialism, but it is a much deeper and older conflict that happened. Afghanistan is the perfect example: Here is your foreign policy question, here is your master's thesis: Does America have no responsibility in Sudan or in Rwanda or in places where one ethnic group decides that they are going to exterminate another ethnic group?

B: It is hard to know!

A: Yeah, what is your policy, Ben?

J: Progressives want to send aid, but what do you do when aid gets stolen?

B: It seems like a Gordian knot in some ways. Every thought experiment you try seems to have obvious flaws and there are lots of really smart people in the world that work on these things and work on market-based solutions and building civil society institutions and it never seems like it happens fast enough to save the lives that it is trying to save. It is extremely discouraging and this is a depressing podcast.

A: I think it is interesting that this episode in particular is leaning so far away from the film itself and into the world that the film is is depicting.

Moment of pedantry about a book

B: Let’s talk about the film a little bit more. I have a moment of pedantry that maybe we can get into it with. ”While flying into Mogadishu, one soldier holds a paperback edition of John Grisham’s novel The Client. In October of 1993 this book was only available in hardcover. The paperback was not published until March of 1994!”

J: Boom! Take that!

B: Paperback pedant!

A: God, a Grisham book was so of its time!

B: I thought that that novel was going to become an important totem in the plot somehow

A: I just think it is great that the publisher worked so hard to get their product into Black Hawk Down. Whoever was responsible for that should get an award by their…

B: Simon and Schuster and Oakley were the two companies that got product placement in this movie.

A: Whatever award show exists to reward product placers. I sure hope that person was nominated and won! Good job!

B: How about those Oakleys on the least subtle undercover guy in the history of going undercover?

J: That was so crazy! Eric Bana just walking around the streets of Mogadishu, the only white dude,…

B: … with a mountain bike …

J: … just having a cup of coffee, just reading the newspaper.

B: ”Oh, what are you doing?” - ”Well, you know, I'm in import export!”

J: … and just wearing those Oakleys that are a sign around your neck that says: ”I am an asshole American Special Forces guy undercover!”

B: … or a pitcher in Major League Baseball.

J: I hate those sunglasses so much!

This movie purely seen as a Ridley Scott film

J: From a Ridley Scott standpoint… talk about this movie as a Ridley Scott joint because he got an incredible filmography and we think of him as one of the legends of our time, or at least I do because he made Blade Runner, but where is his DNA in this? You said already, Ben, that strictly as an ass-kicking adventure movie the movie scores pretty highly.

B: Oh, yeah! It is so capably made! Every action scene is exciting. It is easy to understand what is happening in it, despite the fact that we are all over the city in an environment that is very foreign and hard to understand. And yet, you are never confused at who is shooting at what. I am not saying there aren't things I don't like about this movie. I am just saying looking at it from the perspective of Friendly Fire and from the perspective of wanting to think critically about these things, there is a lot a to love here, it is a fun fucking movie that has some really bad stuff in it.

It is three miles to the target area. We are never off the main road

B: I love Sizemore in this movie. This is Peak Sizemore for me, where he is stamping around with his helmet on, not flinching when bullets are landing all around him, not ducking, not taking cover, he is basically talking about how much he loves the smell of napalm in the morning the whole film. He even gets a half bob, which he doesn't in USS Indianapolis.

A: God, I was going to say that! Wasn't this the most surprising depiction of a half bob in a war film? Did not see that coming!

B: You see that guy get blown up and it is 10 cuts before you see that he is a half bob. That is a big reveal!

J: Pretty harsh!

A: It is inarguably well done. This film as made by Ridley Scott is great and I can't say anything bad about it visually or even really about the story that it seeks to tell as confined in the way that it is. I think it is expertly made. It won't surprise you at all that Ridley Scott is not my favorite Scott. I am a Tony man through and through.

J: What? I thought you were going to say Kristin Scott Thomas, but that is me.

A: I also stand Kristin Scott Thomas for sure, but it is great. The things that are there to dislike about this film are not Ridley's fault in any way.

B: Actually, this movie really feels much more like a Tony Scott film in some ways. All the table setting that happens at the base before they deploy on the mission really gives me a strong beginning of Crimson Tide vibes.

A: Yeah, I get that, too!

B: It is like Ridley biting his brother's rhyme a little bit.

J: Ridley Scott doesn't make movies that are this ripped from the headlines and Tony does. You do get several standard war movie set ups, but one of the ones that you don't really get is a burdensome amount of character development to the soldiers. There isn't actually a Brooklyn guy, a Jewish guy, but what you have is 20 of the handsomest young actors in Hollywood, but each one of them becomes an individual in the film without any commanding officer needing to read their dossier, with the exception of Ewan McGregor, who we get a lot of establishing information about him being a desk jockey, and Josh Hartnett is revealed to be someone who has read a book…

B: … via the medium of showing him reading a book…

J: …, we get some character development of Captain Steele as the hard-ass who is almost certainly going to get his ass handed to him later and does and doesn't.

No one gets left behind, the Delta Forces

B: I would say that the key bad guy on the American side is Colonel Harrell, the Željko Ivanek guy who is just sitting up in his helicopter, trying to basically Google Maps everybody, just totally oblivious to how fucked up the situation is on the ground.

J: Yeah, although you can feel that person's pain in being so powerless to do anything. All they can say is: ”Nope, sorry! You are going to have to… can't help you!” That has to really hurt. But what is great about this movie is that every one of these people… they each have a one or two note theme, but they are not fulfilling war movie tropes cliches and you believe them. You believe in these guys and you believe ultimately that they are in the situation that they are in and that, if they get out of it, it is not because any one of them is some superhuman war fighter. They are just taking fire from all sides and they are just trying to get out, and that made for a compelling viewing.

A: It made it feel more like a disaster film than a war film in some ways.

J: Yeah, right!

A: The spirit of a disaster film is like that!

J: Halfway through this movie it is plausible that no one is going to live. You could be sitting in the theater and you could reasonably think maybe this is one of those movies where everybody dies.

B: There is a ”No one gets left behind!” directive that hangs over so many of the scenes and it is a really laudable ideal to uphold, but in some of these cases it feels like people were dying because they needed to cut the cockpit of a Blackhawk apart to get a body out and that seemed kind of insane, taking that idea to irrational extreme.

J: This is part of the American military culture that is very hard for us to interrogate because the idea that you would be sacrificing men in order to make sure that you don't leave the bodies behind. It is a calculus that has to weigh on people profoundly.

B: Yeah, but maybe that is what you need to have be the promise, to build the kind of esprit de corps that Delta Force has. The actors went and did the boot camps and trained with the types of soldiers that they were being cast to portray and basically universally came away from that totally amazed at the kind of bonds that are built between elite special forces soldiers.

What the hell is the status of those troopers?

J: I think that in the aftermath of this actual event there were a couple of pilots, a couple of American soldiers, whose bodies were dragged through the streets. That alone was extremely traumatic for the United States, to see some of our soldiers misused that way, their bodies just used as trophies, and there was a protracted negotiation afterwards to return those bodies. If you can think about what an amazing behind the scenes story it would be for some American diplomat to be in touch with a deed in a way that would eventually facilitate the return of these bodies, some of them having been really misused. That would be such an important thing for us to pursue, and whatever concessions we needed to make in order to… that is one of those stories that doesn't get told. Did we end up sending them a shipping container of RPGs in order to retrieve those two bodies? That kind of calculus is what ends up getting made.

B: To what extent was Oliver North involved in the recovery of the bodies?

J: But yeah, I think esprit de corps and also: It is not just a bad look, it is just one of the principal tenants: Don't leave a man behind! Those two Delta Force guys that roped down to defend that chopper, they both won the Medal of Honor posthumously for that action, and that just seems like the strangest decision to make as you are circling that battlefield and say like: ”Well, this is almost certain death, but we are going down there together to last stand this helicopter, to protect the gravely wounded two people who survived the crash!” A lot of these things are decisions I would have a hard time knowing what I would do in that situation.

A: And conversely: knowing what I would want to be had I been the injured or the dead, like: ”Don't come back for me! Don't risk your life if it is a lost cause!” is the feeling that I had. I thought for sure, not knowing this story, that Durant would shoot himself in the head as the Somalis grew near and yet: a major part of this film’s story is untold, the 11 days he spent as a prisoner.

J: … and then was ultimately released and lives on!

A: He went back to fly and then he taught other pilots. The guy is amazing! But that whole story? Wow! How badly do you want 20 minutes of that? Part of Durant's deal was that he talked his way out of his captor’s care. He convinced them to let him go free in those 11 days. Give me some of that story!

B: Give me it!

J: Pretty intense!

A: … or make an entire movie about that, which I am not sure doesn't already exist. It seems like it probably should!


Rating the movie

A: One thing that must exist at the end of every Friendly Fire episode is the construction of a rating system and our reviews. Guys, have we talked about everything we need to about this film before turning the page?

J: Yeah, there is nothing left that I can't that about in my 11 minute long review soliloquy!

A: Great, or your profanity-filled tirade on Facebook against someone. You can save it for that, too!

A: I am in a fair amount of conflict about how to review the film based on that idea of: ”Should a film be graded on what it does or what it doesn't do that you wish it had?” I think you guys nailed it on the head as far as it being an exciting action film, even a disaster film that it is. I think it is best in breed in that way and I think war films are so great at depicting situations that make a person try to imagine what it would be like to be in a bad situation or a terrifying situation or maybe just simply an uncomfortable situation being without coffee, but a war film does that thing to me every time that I can't turn off, which is: ”What is the job I would want to do the least?” and this film has so many of those and I think the film does a great job in depicting the discomfort that a soldier has in taking those orders and acting upon them. I don't think there is any question that the hardest job in the film out of all of these incredibly difficult jobs is the Humvee convoy job. They don't get the benefit of being above and seeing the territory, they are dependent on so many other people to guide them through the city, they are basically blind, and they are the most proximate to the danger. If the danger is on the ground and it is made up of the townspeople carrying guns and driving jeeps into them, it is Humvees all the way down, and for Tom Sizemore to be lead Humvee guy, that is all you want in a war film. His face contains an expression that is 10.000 words of frustration, but: ”All right, I will do it anyway!” This is what he is the best at and I love him! So on a scale of 1-5 Humvees we will rate Black Hawk Down. Eric Bana's character gets the money quote here when Josh Hartnett character asks him why they do it and when he says that you just do it to help the guy next to you and that is as simple as it gets. That helps me figure out how to rate this film, that is what the film is about. It is not about anything greater than the people we are with, and in that way I am going to give it 4.25 Humvees. I don't think it is great because of how much story it leaves out there, and I really cannot believe that more of Durant story isn't a part of this. He is a character in the film that could be elevated into main character status if not for Josh Hartnett being an above-the-title-actor. I think it doesn't miss so many opportunities as to degrade what one might get out of watching the film. I think it represents its time very well and I think it is a quality film to watch it. It made me scared and it made me sad and it does many of the things that great war films do. So that is my score.

B: This is a movie that I really loved when I saw it in the theaters and I had thought back fondly on it and seen it several times and then in college my boss in my work study job pointed out to me how much it dehumanized the Somalis and his contention was that this and Saving Private Ryan had been part of a cultural shift where we started to really show the blood and guts of war in a way that was actually coarsening our disposition as a society. making entertainments out of that brutality was quite offensive to him. He was an interesting guy, he was from Korea, and he had a really interesting perspective on American culture that I learned a lot from. I hadn't revisited this movie since I had that conversation with him in 2003 probably. I probably watched it six times in the couple of years after it came out and then haven't watched it since then because I was afraid to go back to it and I liked the movie and I didn't want to go back to it and find that I was disgusted by it or put off by it or something, and I guess I was really bumming out last night after I watched it because I had found some of his criticisms to ring true to me, and since college I have made friends with several people of Somali descent and I don't think that you need to have a personal relationship with a Somali person to sympathize with the plight of Somalia in the aftermath of the failure of the Somali state, but having gotten a little bit of insight into what I think is a very beautiful culture in a lot of ways, it did feel especially grotesque how much this film just doesn't care at all about that culture and doesn't care to depict it accurately or otherwise. It is just a horde of people with Kalashnikovs, but I also found that this was still a fucking kick-ass action movie and I think that I can have both of those things in my mind at the same time and I would like to be able to watch a movie like this and dislike it for its failures and like it for its achievements. I don't know. I guess I am hoping that is something that is growing in me and I hope that our listeners are able to do that, too, so I don't know, I guess I will give this 3. I feel really split on this movie and I think I am going to give it 3 Humvees.

A: It didn't have to make us choose whether or not it could be about the heroism of these soldiers at the expense of any other details.

B: Right, they could have had in the way you bring in military consultants to teach guys how to hold their guns and how their uniforms should look, you bring in cultural consultants from the perspective of the Somalians. They could have done it!

A: Bigelow has a greater interest in doing that in her films set in regions like these. They aren’t main characters, but they are something.

J: They filmed this movie in Morocco because Ridley Scott had worked there before fairly recently, and he found it to be a congenial work environment and there were Moroccan cityscapes that could fill in for Mogadishu. The decision to cast East Africans would have been so easy and if you think about the movie Captain Phillips where all of the Somalis in that movie are played by Somalis, it is not verisimilitude, you are just there more, you at least know whom you are dealing with. You see people's faces and you can locate those faces in a place. That would have been such a simple decision and it is such a crazy oversight and it doesn't feel like an intentional one, it just feels like: ”Oh, we are filming in Morocco and we need some black actors who speak English. Put out a casting call!”, or whatever, a kind of blindness that you cannot blame on 1999 or whenever this movie was in production, because by 1999 there were hundreds and hundreds of war movies where an attempt had been made to portray your adversary in a knowledgeable light. It doesn't even have to be sympathetic, it just has to be knowledgeable. You don't film a Vietnam movie and cast Indian actors as the Vietnamese, just because they are from Asia.

B: That is a perfect analogy of what happened here!

J: Because we talk a lot on this show about hordes, about the enemy being faceless, about never knowing your enemy and they become a dehumanized other that then it becomes okay to mow down. We see that in movies all the time: The adversary is inhuman in their unknowableness. But what is crazy about this movie is that we are introduced to multiple African characters and attempts are made to show us situations where we are asked to sympathize, and one of the most devastating moments in this movie is one of the most devastating moments in any war movie I have ever seen, where the American soldier is lost and he ducks inside of a little school and there is a teacher there with a bunch of little kids huddling, and he goes out the other door and his boot slips in the dirt and he is being tracked by what is revealed to be a father and son, and he slips in the dirt and the son, who is only nine turns around reflexively and just pulling the trigger, just bullets flying, and he kills his own dad. We watch the little boy run over and hugging his father as his father dies, just devastated at what has happened and completely forgets the American soldier who just steps around them and is like: ”Oopsy daisy!” That stuck with me, it burned itself into me, that little boy and what happened. Add trauma upon trauma upon trauma and then that little tiny moment. For a filmmaker to put a moment like that into a film and treat it as sympathetically as Ridley Scott did, even though it is only a few seconds, that is a compassionate moment, a terrible one. It is not just that he dehumanized a people, but he tried as a Hollywood guy at least to give us some glimpse, but didn't bother even to cast the five lead African actors from East Africa. That is a stunning problem! But I loved this movie and I didn't see it in theaters, I don't remember when I saw it first, but whenever it was, whenever I got over the ”Oh, Black Hawk!” When this movie came out I still felt as I felt like Vuarnets are the last interesting sunglasses I also felt like Huey helicopters are the American helicopter and Black Hawks I just thought they had a dumb name. Black Hawk? I guess, man! A Huey is a nickname that is derived from its called letters, the letters of its production. Black Hawk sounds like something that some dumb-ass picked as its name. Black Hawk? Fuck! When Black Hawk Down came out, I was like: ”Oh, Black Hawk! Sure! Operation Enduring Freedom or whatever! Fuck you! I hate this new world where everything sounds like it is from 1984!”

B: Do you know the the name of the operation depicted in this movie? Gothic Serpent!

J: Gothic serpent?

B: Yeah, isn’t that awful?

J: The Department of Defense should hire 15 poets every year. They have trillions of dollars, they could hire 15 poets to come up with names for things, or just some ad dude. No no no, wait let me take that back! No ad-dudes! But as far as an adventure movie goes, as far as a war movie goes, I definitely ding movies all the time for the crimes that this movie would deservedly be dinged for, but as an ensemble picture, as one where you are just gripping the edge of your chair through the whole movie, and in particular as a movie where you can locate yourself in so many of these different roles and say like: ”If that was me? Whoa!” We forget that this happened during peace time. There are a lot of soldiers in this movie that basically signed up for a peacetime army and they are special forces people, but so far in their military career for the most part, some of them are veterans, but a lot of the young guys? Not only have they not seen combat, but they don't have any prospect of seeing combat. There is no war on the horizon anywhere, these guys are a peacetime army, and all of a sudden they go from playing tiddlywinks at their base to being in a sustained 24 hour firefight and none of them would have known anything about Somalia or the Somalis. So their ignorance belongs in the movie. I want to take a whole Humvee away, just take it out of contention, for the fact that they didn't make even the 5% extra effort to set this where it belonged, but in taking that one Humvee away I feel like there is nothing else to take away from this movie. It is a solid and strong 4 Humvee film and I would have rated it higher.

A: I wonder if you would have rated it higher, had a rightly made the rating system something having to do with the helicopters involved in this film, which I totally understand the insanity of making this one out of five Humvees and not either the Little Bird or the Blackhawk, because one of the greatest parts of this film or any other war film is the depiction of this SOAR group, the Special Operations Aviation Regiment, those were the guys from Zero Dark Thirty that flew those helicopters in, these are the absolute best helicopter pilots in the military, and their pilots were in the film, flying the helicopters as shown here.

J: There are going to be some Navy helicopter pilots that are going to take issue with you for that characterization.

A: It is recency bias and I am sure when we see a war film depicting a Navy helicopter pilots, I will say something very similar about them.

B: Adam has got a good friend who is a helicopter pilot in the army, right?

A: I do and I talked to him quite a bit about this film and about the Black Hawk in general. That is a helicopter that he has flown before. It is incredible to hear what aviators at this level go through. These guys are flying in the dark almost all the time, looking through goggles to do their missions, which is just another layer of difficulty in flying a rotorcraft into a war zone, which in and of itself seems really insane to me, but these are great pilots, and as much as I am a huge fixed wing aircraft guy, I have got nothing but respect for helicopter pilots. They are just amazing people!

J: Let me say that the Little Bird, particularly one that is really heavily armed, is one of my favorite of all pieces of military hardware. It is such a sexy helicopter and I don't know whether that is because I am so influenced by my childhood watching Magnum PI that had a particular Bell helicopter…

A: You are a big TC guy!

J: TC's chopper was super-duper rad.

B: Boy, that strafing run they do on the roof of the building is one of the most amazing sequences in the film!

J: But it seems like you can fly one of those little birds down a city street, make the corner, wait at the stoplight. They are so cool little devices!

A: I loved for as much of the film show soldiers on the ground and helicopters from above we are shooting down, looking over the top of helicopters 90% of the time here. It really gives an interesting perspective. It really makes it look dangerous!

J: It is a cool look!

Who is your guy?

A: No small amount of danger inflicted upon the many guys of this film. Ben, who is your guy?

B: I am going to give my guy accolade to Danny Hoch who plays Pilla. He is the guy that is doing his impression of Captain Steele before they go out on the road and Captain Steele is standing right behind him while he is doing it. I am always that guy. I am always the one that is doing a bit about somebody and not realizing that they are standing right behind me. I am not proud of that, but I located myself in the film. This movie gives you two characters to really gut punch you when they die, the first one being the Orlando Bloom character and the second one being him, and you think that you are through it when the Orlando Bloom guy gets it, and then when the Danny Hoch character takes on in the neck it just comes out of left field and it is a very astute bit of filmmaking to have established as sympathetic a guy as that, and then take him off the board as early as that, but I really like Danny hoch, he is a theatre performer and writer and I used to see him around my neighborhood in Williamsburg all the time and I am a big fan of his, so he is my guy.

A: Good guy! In a film with so many characters it feels like Black Hawk Down could be a Band of Brothers type HBO series because there are so many separate stories that you could go chase down to their end. One of the stories that this film actually chooses to tell is the Ewen Bremner story of being left behind by the convoy and having to go chase after it on foot. I have always really liked his work as an actor. Most people might know him as the stuttering guy from Pearl Harbor as well as a lot of other films. I am using Friendly Fire recency bias to use that as an example. He was also in Trainspotting, right? That is what he is most known for, I know! But as soon as the film pivots into what could be: ”Oh my God, I have been left behind in the most dangerous place I can think of!” everything tightened up for me and he is an actor uniquely suited to bring that kind of fear and empathy for. He is clearly a soldier and a capable soldier, but there is something about the way he is that makes it even scarier, and he is deaf through a lot of the film. It makes me nauseous to think about, but in a series-iffication of this film I could see an entire episode about his journey and I couldn't help but think about it a lot during this movie. So Nelson is my guy!

B: Good guy!

J: To make this into a Band of Brothers series you would have to really pull a Hobbit on it and take a book and turn it into three books because all the events is less than 24 hours. There is that whole TV show 24 that does that!

A: Can be done!

J: As a person like me who loves the Special Forces this movie is so wonderful because even your most basic soldier in this movie is already an Army Ranger. I think there are a couple of para rescue guys, you have got some real cream of the crop stuff here. But the character of Eric Bana, when I watched this movie the first time he felt like a secondary character because I was so focused on the mission and what was happening and these commando guys just felt like they were tertiary. When I watch the movie now I see that: ”No, Eric Bana is a central character! He is one of the leads!” His portrayal of Hoot, which is the greatest Delta operator nickname, I think of every seal or Delta guy as nicknamed Hoot, they just all seem like Hoot!

B: ”Hoot, why do you do it?”

J: ”I do it because I am told to do it. Don't think too much! I do it because on the other side there is a can of chew waiting for me and so I left it at home just to give myself something to come back to!” His willingness to just: ”Well, I am just going to run into the center of the city because your trucks are too slow!”, his profound confidence that he is in a way bulletproof. So he is my guy and he is one of the great special forces guys in all of modern movies.

B: That role was originally offered to Russell Crowe, who couldn't do it because he was doing A Beautiful Mind and he suggested Eric Bana to replace him.

A: Hey, nice referral!

J: Eric Bana appeared pretty recently after that in the movie Troy, which is an absolute… (B: Oh year, that is on our list!) It is on our list and I have only seen it once, but I considered it a total abortion. So…

B: I am pro-abortion, so I am better to watch it!

Choosing the next movie

A: Well, are we pro doing another film after this? Only the 120-sided die can tell us, but instead of that, maybe we should use a random number generated by John Roderick’s mind. What is it going to be for the next episode, John?

B: Hey, I think this is actually going to be our 120th episode, this next ep!

J: Really?

A: How about that!

J: All right, well, let me roll the 120-sided coffee cup on the table here. I don't know if you can hear the rooster.

B: We have been hearing the rooster!

A: Roll the rooster.

J: 120-sided rooster. Here we go! 84! 84 is the number!

B: The film is a World War II film from 1977, directed by Sam Peckinpah. It is Cross of Iron.

A: I stopped listening after 1977 and Sam Peckinpah. I think that is enough for me!

J: How is there a war movie from 1977 directed by Sam Peckinpah that I not only have never seen but never heard of? I have never heard of Cross of Iron!

A: He wasn't really a war film guy.

J: Sam Peckinpah? No, but in 1977 I was nine years old. I was a war movie guy.

A: Nine is the right age for Peckinpah!

J: Well, that might be the problem. If it is super bloody I might not have been allowed to see it, but I have never even heard of it!

A: Well, we are going to talk about it in the next episode.

B: Staring James Coburn, wow!

J: What? How have I not seen this movie?


B: Well, that will be next week on Friendly Fire. We will leave it with Robs from here. For John Roderick and Adam Pranica I have been Ben Harrison. To the victor go the spoiler alerts!

R: Friendly Fire is a Maximum Fun podcast, hosted by Ben Harrison, Adam Pranica, and John Roderick. The show is produced by me, Rob Schulte, our theme music is War by Edwin Starr, courtesy of Stone Agate Music, and our podcast Art is by Nick Ditmore. Friendly Fire is made possible by listeners like you, and if you would like to make sure that the show continues, please head on over to maximumfun.org/join. Once you pledge your support, you will receive all of the Maximum Fun bonus audio content as well as our monthly Porkchop episode. If you would like to talk about this episode on social media, please use the hashtag #friendlyfire or join one of our online discussion groups on a platform like Facebook. You can find Ben on Twitter at @benjaminahr, Adam is @cutfortime, John is @johnroderick, and I am @robkschulte. Thanks again for listening and we will see you next time on Friendly Fire!

Deleted scene: Oakley vs Vuarnet sunglasses

A: Do you remember how popular they were at the time? Those red iridium lenses in the Oakley sunglasses specifically were such a thing!

J: They were sunglasses that immediately identified you as someone I did not like. It was so great back then because you could see one thing…

A: The Vuarnets never mixed with the Oakleys, John. They never did! They never got along!

J: If those guys were wearing Vuarnets, I would have been like: ”Yeah, what’s up, bros?”

B: I remember there was a real distinct dividing line in my middle school between the kids that had Oakleys and the kids that had Foakleys because you could go to San Francisco and walk down the street and somebody would be selling for $11 perfectly fake ones…

A: Yeah, and the fakes ones you could bend the arms at around really easily, I remember that!

B: The rubber on the side was of obviously inferior quality, but you could get away with it sometimes.

A: Everyone had them!

J: It is so funny because certain sunglasses were so important to me up until a point. It is just like Rock’n’Roll music: I got to an age where I no longer felt like the sunglasses wars were things that I was still… I knew the sunglasses that I liked and I didn't need to listen to your new sunglasses because it just sounded like yelling to me.

B: I had found a pair of Oakleys on the sidewalk outside a church in Berkeley that were the Wayfarer kind with the old Oakley logo when I was 11 and I picked them up and put them in my pocket and took them home, but I didn't think they were cool because they weren't wraparound sunglasses.

J: Oh, I thought you were going to say that your mom made you go back to the church and give them back.

B: Well, the cools all wore wraparound sunglasses and when I was in college and Wayfarer sunglasses seemed cool to me I was like: ”Oh man, I have a vintage pair of Oakley wayfarers in a drawer back home somewhere!” and I went home for a Thanksgiving or something and found them and some glue or something had leaked on them and totally corroded one of the lenses and I was devastated because I thought that I had a really rad pair of vintage shades on my hand and I did not.

A: You know, you run those glasses under cold water, Ben, and I am sure that ”glue” would come off a lot easier!

B: Yeah! A lot of people don't realize that that particular type of glue clots up in hot water.

A: For a lot of people our age, Ben, I feel like the premium sunglasses were the first and most significant luxury item that you could have as a high school kid, and so there is a reason why they were so significant to people our age and so reviled by people who preferred Vuarnets like John, people with an actual sense of style. Because I will admit there was no style to the Oakley, it was all class.

B: No, yeah, it was 100% a class thing, especially when you are a 12 year old trying to understand how the world works. That stuff became very attractive to me.

A: Well, that will be an interesting segment to put after the credits on this episode.

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