Kevin: Years from now, one of the great questions that will bond people together will be, “When did you officially fall in love with ‘Geostorm’?” Was it the first of many shots of a countdown clock showing “Time to Geostorm”? Was it when Ed Harris, playing the Secretary of State of the United States, pulls a rocket launcher out of the trunk of his car in order to kill his boss the President? Was it when a single bolt of lightning fulfills every Republican’s fantasy by blowing up the Democrat National Convention? Or was it when the world’s best scientist, played by Gerard Butler, cracks open a Coors Lite at 11 a.m.?
CJ it’s been a few days since we’ve seen “Geostorm,” and while we will likely be discussing and analyzing the pure joy this film gave us in the months and years to come, what’s your initial gut reaction after the agonizingly long wait we had to endure after putting it on our Must See List in January? And do you agree with my initial assessment that the people who are missing out on seeing “Geostorm” in the theater will look back and consider it one of the greatest regrets they’ll ever have in life?
CJ: Absolutely yes, and I was 100% in during the opening few minutes. This is because Gerard Butler plays Jake Lawson (although if his name turned out to be “Jake Geostorm” then Kevin and I would have immediately crowned this the greatest film of all time), who has been called to testify before the Senate. But instead of slumping in and trying to reason with our duly elected government representatives, Jake walks in and snarls, “Sorry I’m late, I literally flew in from space,” then spends the next three minutes verbally pistol whipping Richard Schiff. Right off the bat Butler has done what so many of us have wanted to do: tell Richard Schiff to go fuck himself.
Personally, I don’t even think that was in the script, I actually think someone grabbed Butler from his dressing room before he could finish “Banning” a couple of models (get it?) and he just decided to take it out on the first person he saw. It’s why, among other reasons, I am an adult male who has a whole room covered in nothing but Gerard Butler posters.
Although if that wasn’t enough to show you that this movie is the best, maybe this will: Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess play brothers (Jake and Max). Jake is the man behind “Dutch Boy,” a revolutionary global machine that can control the weather and prevent its destructive forces from laying waste to the planet. Max is the younger brother who sends Jake angry-face emoji texts and, frankly, they don’t ever explain what his qualifications are, but it’s enough to have him become Jake’s boss though.
Why? Again, it’s not explained, but it happens right after Jake basically grabs his crotch and flips off Schiff. Max tells him that he is now in charge and Jake is fired. Again, not sure why. Point is, the next scene says “Three years later” and Max has the exact same haircut.
Another thing: I was seriously worried that they were gonna name their weather machine something dumb like Orion 9, or Matilda. I gotta say, Dutch Boy was actually kind of clever (based on the Dutch legend about a boy who stuck his finger in a hole to plug a leak in a wall). Although I’m pretty sure it’s actually named after some new cool sex move Butler recently invented.
Kevin: So I’m still a little unclear about how the whole Dutch Boy operation works, especially the chain of command. The movie makes it abundantly clear that this is an international effort, although apparently the U.S. and China were the biggest contributors (coincidentally they are also the two biggest film markets in the world as well). We keep hearing that 17 countries took part in this super expensive, super high-tech satellite system, and not to sound like an ugly American, but I kind of feel like after about six countries that the other 11 maybe weren’t that vital. For instance, we find out that apparently Mexico was very essential to the creation of this incredibly advanced space program, and again not to go all Donald Trump here, but ha ha ha, sure, whatever you say “Geostorm.”
Either way, after Dutch Boy freezes an entire Afghan village (we are told that the death count is in the hundreds, although from what we see this “village” is smaller than a studio apartment), Jim Sturgess comes up with the incredibly novel idea of sending someone up there to see what the fuck is going on. Seriously, this thing has the capacity to destroy the planet, but everyone at the White House – including the resuscitated corpse of Mare Winningham – is all “Oh yeah we forgot about that thing, maybe someone should do a quality check at some point.”
Also let’s note that apparently Ed Harris’ years-long plan in the making involved putting Jim Sturgess in control of Dutch Boy and then his brother Gerard Butler to do the maintenance, on the assumption that both of them would totally be incompetent at their jobs. If I was either Jim or Gerard I’d be kind of insulted (although if I was Gerard Butler I’d be too busy drowning in Coors Lite and hot women to give a shit). Let’s also note that the movie at least acknowledges their respective nationalities by stating that they were born in the UK before coming to America, although it doesn’t explain why Jim tries to adopt an American accent while Gerard reverts to his usual Scottish brogue. Also Gerard gets to beat the shit out of the turncoat on the space station who just happens to be a pompous annoying Brit, which was probably as enjoyable for Gerard as it was for those of us in the audience.
Either way, Gerard gets on to Dutch Boy for the first time in three years, and he immediately starts finding all kinds of problems, like a transformer that should have been replaced months ago. When he brings this up to the woman who greets him, we get one of those delightful misunderstandings in movies like this: “Hey honey why don’t you point me to the head scientist, Dr. Fassbinder.” “Well you are meeting him, because I am Dr. Fassbinder.” “A female scientist!” (‘boiiiiiing!’ sound effect, steam coming out of ears, “Does Not Compute” sign flashing on forehead.)
Although it turns out she’s not exactly the best role model for women in STEM, because when Gerard is all “Yeah this is basic shit that you need to fix so you don’t die,” she tries to guilt trip him with some variation on “Well we just had one of our friends get killed so it hasn’t exactly been on our radar,” but it still doesn’t change the fact that you needed to change out that transformer a long time ago there sweet cheeks.
(Honestly Gerard is way more polite than I was when I rented my house out while I worked in New York and came back to discover that my tenant wasn’t watering the lawn enough and didn’t change out the air filter in like two years, and my little crappy house didn’t have the capacity to destroy the entire world.)
CJ: Yes considering this project probably cost somewhere in the trillions, I’m a little concerned their IT support is on par with the Geek Squad. And not the Geek Squad from “Chuck” who all happen to be super hackers, but the Geek Squad from Best Buy who can usually be found eating gummy worms off the floor.
I do feel like they overlooked how much that place was falling apart. Sure, she’s dealing with a murder, but maybe a blown transformer could eventually lead to the whole place exploding. I also hate the team Butler works with. He shows up to help, and first they are like “Fuck this douche,” but why? All they know about him is that he is there to help fix the place and solve a murder. But even weirder is how their assholes pucker up the minute they realize he created the place. When that one guy insults him about his age, then wonders if he will be fired, I would have gone spaceship prison rules on him and been like, “You are 100% fired. In fact, you will be pushed out into space. Never insult me like that again.”
Also, holy shit, Mare Winningham was in this?????
Kevin: Anyway, for the first 45 minutes or so “Geostorm” is perfectly down-the-middle okay, almost to its detriment. Then we get to the part where Gerard discovers that a mysterious villain has hacked the satellite and is using it as a weapon. For some reason everyone assumes it’s President Andy Garcia (and despite totally acting like the big reveal is some kind of shock, if you couldn’t figure that Ed Harris is the bad guy in like the first two seconds you have obviously never seen a movie before).
Gerard has to figure out a way to get this information to his brother without alerting anyone else. Now earlier in the movie Jim Sturgess tells Gerard’s daughter that he and her dad used to have a special code when they were kids, and I hoped and prayed that this would pay off in some hilariously stupid way later in the movie, and thank god “Geostorm” answered those prayers.
CJ can you let me know if I forget anything here? So Gerard gets his brother on the giant screen in the wastefully expensive virtual conference room (why couldn’t they just Skype?) and goes into a long story about “hey remember when you and me and dad went fishing once and he dropped his cell phone in Key Biscayne.” Jim immediately makes the most logical assumption any of us would make, which is that Gerard’s long-ass monologue contained a secret code, and the “key” (as in Key Biscayne, get it? No really, do you get it?) is his cell phone number.
He then replays the speech and keeps skipping ahead in the video a number of seconds corresponding to each number in Gerard’s cell phone, which results in a remix in which Gerard somehow timed it perfectly to say “Government … spy … is … hacking … the satellites … possibly … the president … get … the .. kill … codes.” Would you agree that this is the moment most of our audience knew we were watching something special?
(Also I like how Jim still remembers his brother’s cell number even though they have been estranged for three years, whereas my wife and I have been together for longer than that and she still doesn’t know mine from memory.)
Either way, the corrupted Dutch Boy satellites start creating more weather events, leading to the “Time to Geostorm” countdown clock that we will go back to many, many times. Now normally I would be pissed that I paid money to see a movie called “Geostorm” that turns out to be all about trying to prevent said geostorm, but I also love a ridiculous ticking clock scenario even more. We do get to see some scenes of creative destruction though, as Rio is hit with a blast of Arctic ice, Japan with giant destructive hail, India with multiple tornadoes, and Russia with … a big fucking laser apparently. Weirdly Dutch Boy also never hits a city with more than one extreme weather event, it’s always just a single customized disaster scenario per city.
We also get a weird recurring motif where they try to personalize the millions of victims across the globe by focusing on one complete stranger per city. So in India we see the plight of a boy and his rat-faced dog, while in Dubai we keep going back to some oil sheik who apparently is closing a deal with some Americans in the Burj Khalifa. I think we both laughed at the end because this guy has no connection to the movie otherwise and does nothing except watch Dubai get flooded from his conference room, but the movie makes sure to show he is safe, as if we were really worried about him. Whereas strangely we don’t find out what happened to the chick we are introduced to on the beach in Rio. Honestly she may be the most badass person in the movie since she outruns a killer blast of freezing ice AND a crashing airliner in just a bikini and sandals.
CJ: First of all, “Time to Geostorm” is what I’m now saying when I bring a lady home. I feel like it’s a bold statement, but it lets everyone know that we’z about to get busy. Frankly, this phrase needs to sweep the nation.
I would also like to commend Andy Garcia on his career ascension. It was only a year ago that he was playing the Mayor of NYC in “Ghostbusters” (the super hilarious and empowering 2016 version that has clearly stood the test of time), and here we are and he is now the Commander in Chief. Although clearly he isn’t very sure about himself, as he attends the DNC and decides that his Vice President is more worthy of being the headliner.
Now regarding his somewhat less than loyal Secretary of State, there is a very enjoyable moment when Ed Harris is claiming that these disasters are taking out all of America’s enemies, at which point it became a race between Kevin and I to point out that especially when it comes to Rio, scantily clad hot Brazilian women shaking their rumps during Carnivale are NOT enemies of the state. In fact, fuck you for trying to thwart that Ed Harris!
I do like to think the attack on Dubai was more a commentary on us, as we watch FILTHY AMERICAN (WHITE!) BUSINESSMEN all tumble around as they meet their much-deserved deaths. But as for the sheik who built his empire on the backs of imported slave labor? Not only is he cool, but everyone enjoy the 2022 FIFA World Cup from Qatar!
Kevin at one point you got up to pee and missed one of the truly great moments in this movie. As Ed Harris and his Secret Service agent head outside of an Orlando that is in the midst of complete annihilation (which I guess means it is also considered an enemy of America … actually that one was correct), he says they will wait for the president to head their way, as he has tracker on him and Harris can see he is coming down that particular highway. To prepare, Harris pops the trunk and, amidst a plethora of weapons, pulls out a giant rocket launcher. I’d like to point out that the entire theater laughed at this one, which I assume meant we now had a full theater of people agreeing this is the best movie ever.
Before we leave Orlando, the attack Ed Harris has planned was to have countless random lightning strikes pummel the city, leading to a phenomenal moment where one single strike not only hits the convention center hosting the Democrat National Convention, but blows the entire thing up! And while it’s true many people died in that explosion, it didn’t make it any less hilarious to me. The message, as always: fuck you Florida, no one likes you, just go away.
Kevin: Yeah so let’s talk about Ed Harris’ overall plan, which I guess he started working up the day after he was confirmed as Garcia’s Secretary of State. He puts in motion events with an eye toward years later when he is secretly controlling Dutch Boy and using it to destroy the Democrat National Convention in Orlando, because that’s the only date in which he knows the president will absolutely be there. Apparently the plan is to kill everyone above him in the line of succession, and take over as president after destroying America’s enemies such as, uhhh … Japan, Brazil, and Dubai?
While I think we both agree that on paper this plan is absolutely foolproof and I can’t see any reason why it would go wrong, I’m still unclear about why he wants to be president so bad, especially over a country that could very likely be an ungovernable dystopia based on his actions. Even if not, there is still an election just a few months away, and would he even be guaranteed to be on the ballot in November? Or is Harris just planning on killing anyone who gets in his way with a lightning strike? (By the way, what would be the percentage of Americans who would see the DNC getting blown up by a lightning strike as divine retribution from God?)
Although just in case this whole lightning idea doesn’t work, Harris still has his 24/7 assassin on call to chase after and try and shoot the president, which I think would be harder to explain on the coroner’s report. I will say this guy is dedicated, as he continues trying to finish the job even while Orlando is on the verge of complete destruction all around him.
Either way, we get a touching moment when Gerard decides to stay behind on the self-destructing Dutch Boy, and right after a very drawn out scene in which the president and his brother salute his heroic sacrifice, Gerard’s like “Nah fuck this” and decides to try and save himself as well as the Earth, knowing that a world without Gerard Butler is one none us would want to live in.
CJ: First off, I think you meant to say, “let’s talk about Ed Harris’ super genius slam dunk plan”! But yeah holy shit, Garcia must have just been sworn in and Harris’ thought process was already “Oh good for Andy, he’s worked so hard for this” *eyes narrowing* “I must kill him.”
And how does this plan work, by the way? Meaning, how does he sell this idea to his Secret Service agents to commit treason? Garcia has been in office for 18 seconds and Harris’ pitch is what? “Hey let us plan a series of weather disasters that will kill millions of innocent people, cripple infrastructure, throw global powers into utter chaos, incite panic, and most likely result in The Walking Dead. Okay, hands in, ‘Go Team Ed’ on three!”
Now as far as the usual Constitutional constraints that would normally keep Harris from being president for life, I’m guessing the thought process is that with control of Dutch Boy he can basically do whatever he wants. Another country has a problem with it? Enjoy this tsunami! Americans revolt and try to vote him out in November? Here are a million more lightning strikes on anyone who does not kneel before Zod. Ed Harris basically becomes indestructible. Now it’s just a matter of us trying to find a way to take him down. Lucky for us, we can call on the only two people on Earth who have already accomplished this: Nic Cage & Sean Connery.
So as you mentioned, while the Dutch Boy is self destructing, Gerry sticks around and all of a sudden can’t open the door to the room that will let him input the codes he received from the president, at which point Dr. “Yeah yeah I’ll get to that transformer thing tomorrow, okay?” reveals she never left the station and gets him in. Now Butler – and those of us in the audience – were under the impression she left with the evac shuttle 30 minutes ago, so my question is, what the fuck has she been doing this whole time? Was she just always hiding 20 feet behind Butler, watching but saying nothing? And knowing that they only had precious seconds to get across the station and input the codes, why didn’t she speak up earlier? Why did she wait to watch him go to the wrong door? Did she want to help, but still thought, “This whole thing isn’t quite teetering on the edge of disaster enough for my taste, let’s give it a minute”?
Seriously, how do you explain that kind of thinking back on Earth? I feel like if I was Butler, I would listen to how she was there the whole time but wanted to wait, and then I’d just drown her in whatever ocean we landed in. Also, by showing up she screws up Butler’s sacrifice, because when it came down to stopping the geostorm, it was actually Butler who volunteered to stay behind and input the codes, accepting an almost certain death. NOT SINCE ARMAGEDDON HAS SUCH A NOBLE GESTURE BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES!
Kevin: Yeah apparently on her list of priorities, “preventing a geostorm” came a distant second to “make sure to really surprise Gerard with a dramatic and dramatically absurd last-second appearance out of nowhere.” But either way, everything worked out. The world was saved, Andy Garcia is still president (although he now has several positions in his administrations that need filling, and he lost at least 50,000 motivated voters with one lightening strike), Dubai is set for a big construction boom, Gerard obviously had a good time filming in New Orleans because he looks a tad hungover most of the movie, and CJ and I can now look down on most of humanity because we have seen “Geostorm” and they haven’t.
I would say the only thing wrong with “Geostorm” is that we don’t get to see Gerard tell Richard Schiff off one more time at the end (by the way, is the ratio of people who have told politicians to fuck off during nationally televised hearings in movies versus reality still 327:0?) and that we never actually get to see a geostorm, but I’m sure that will be remedied in the sequel – “Geo2torm: Battle for Beijing” – once the original blows the doors off the Chinese box office.
Oh almost forgot, remember CJ how Gerard gets to Cape Canaveral and we discover that in the world of “Geostorm,” giant space shuttles are apparently launched into the atmosphere at about the same rate that United flies planes out of La Guardia? As you pointed out, maybe this is the fucking reason why the Earth’s environment is so messed up.
CJ: Yeah, it’s like a guy who gets drunk, crashes his car, gets out, and is like “We need to do something about these roads!”
That also reminds me, remember when Butler and Fassbinder go out to grab a broken panel that has gotten stuck? At one point Butler’s suit “malfunctions” (courtesy of the whiny Brit Harris paid off) and he starts hurtling into space. Everyone acts like if he doesn’t stop himself he will float endlessly, but this goes completely against the earlier scene where we learn about the million shuttles they have (and how randomly they deploy them, seeing as Butler has one all to himself when he first gets to the space station). I mean seeing as they have 20 shuttles, Butler floating out into space would have lasted 5 minutes until another shuttle picked him up. He did the space equivalent of missing the bus.
Kevin: Well while it’s gonna be hard to now live in a world where we don’t have “Geostorm” to look forward to seeing for the first time again, I just realized we have another reason to keep living: “Angel Has Fallen,” the third adventure for Butler’s quip-loving, stab-happy Secret Service agent Mike Banning! See ya at the theater CJ, that day can’t get here soon enough.
CJ: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
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