What Good Sci-Fi is Out There? – Part 2

What Good Sci-Fi is Out There – Part 1

The first part of this post (link above) sparked quite a bit of interest and the feedback led me to re-evaluate how thorough I had been in tabulating what I thought of as “Good Sci-Fi Movies.”

One obvious omission is one of my favorite modern sci-fi universes, that is the ‘Verse of “Serenity” and all things Firefly. Sure, the creator of this space cowboy terra-forming future is Joss Whedon, perhaps the most virulent social justice warrior in all Hollywood SFF circles. And sure, River Tam is a five-foot-nothing, eighty-pound girl who can single handedly defeat an army of homicidal maniacs without even so much as a pop-gun. But any world that contains Jane Cobb must be doing something right.

Another omission that can be excused due to competing category confusion is “Galaxy Quest.” The movie is a brilliant parody of Star Trek. Humor is the primary motive of this film so assigning it to the Comedy shelf makes perfect sense. But it does include star ships, alien races and Sigourney Weaver so what the hell.

Three movies that were nominated by readers were Dark City, John Carter and Edge of Tomorrow. Now the mention reminded me that I had seen Dark City and liked it. It’s a very atmospheric almost noir-like film. And once you discover the mystery of the action it is seen to be a sci-fi film. So that was a good call.

I, of course, know of E.R. Burroughs Barsoom stories so I had heard of the John Carter film but the news coverage was all about how expensive it was and how much money it lost. Edge of Tomorrow was a big movie with Tom Cruise starring but it came out when I was too busy for movies unfortunately. So, I’m going to have to check these two films out on Netflix in the near future.
I’d love to hear from any of you readers out there that would like to put in a vote for a sci-fi movie that came out in the last twenty years or so. Give a little info on what you liked about it. The people who read this site are of course among the most discerning individuals so their opinions deserve to be heard.

Let me round off with some films I didn’t like (always a dangerous road to take). I hated the second and third Matrix installments. I thought they were plodding and incoherent. By the end of the third I wasn’t sure if there was anyone to root for. I was kind of hoping Agent Smith would win and destroy both the Matrix and Zion. After seeing how annoying they had all become I figured organic evolution should be given the chance to try again.

I really wasn’t crazy about Gravity. It was visually interesting and there was some dramatic tension and I like Sandra Bullock but I don’t think there was enough there, there, as they say. I know opinions will differ.
I tried to like Solaris. Some of it I did. But not enough to call it good. Let’s say it was pretty good.

I was told to watch Moon. There was some clever stuff in it. I didn’t love it. Maybe it was too realistic (claustrophobic) to enjoy. Well done but not enjoyable for me. Some people will really enjoy the cleverness.

So, there we have it. I’m pretty picky. I’d love to hear what you all think. Even (maybe especially) if you disagree. After all, wouldn’t it be boring if we were all exactly the same. Sort of like the Borg.
Next up will be my views on Fantasy films.

What Good Sci-Fi is Out There?

Sci-Fi movies have a long and checkered past. They run the gamut from such high concept films as 2001: A Space Odyssey to such dreck as Plan Nine from Outer Space. And in addition to quality these films vary by sub-genre. There are movies that concentrate on technology and how humans will adapt to it. This category includes such movies as I, Robot and The Martian. There are movies that are mostly about contacts with alien life of one form or another. This would include everything from War of the Worlds to Independence Day. Then there are movies that are basically monster movies like Alien and The Thing from Another World where the science fiction is just a vehicle to allow things to jump out at the protagonists from dark corners.
I will confess that I can enjoy almost any of these types of movies on any given day if given the chance. But it seems of late the quality of sci-fi is in decline. All kinds of money is being spent on special effects and the acting is really no worse than it’s been in the past. So what’s different?
First, I would say, is the quality of scripts. The words coming out of the characters mouths are getting less interesting. I have been assured that motion pictures are a visual medium in which dialogue is an ancillary dimension of the experience and entirely superfluous. That a good movie shows you not tells you. I disagree. Of course the visual is primary. But if the movie is about people then they need to talk to each other and if the dialogue is bad then the film is bad even if you blow up all the planets in the solar system in alphabetical order in vibrant Technicolor. Let me clarify one thing. I am not advocating for highly polished dramatic set pieces. Dialogue between a street dweller and a policeman can be good without breaking into Shakespeare. All I’m saying is the dialogue is either lame or non-existent in most sci-fi movies today.
Second, the majority of the protagonists are not particularly likeable. Once again let me qualify. I’m not saying I want the good guys to be boy scouts, far from it. But a flawed character can still be the character the audience identifies and empathizes with. As an example from detective fiction, think about Sam Spade. He’s cruel, selfish and violent. But there’s never any doubt whether we want him or his adversaries to come out on top. The characters now seem either evil or just ciphers.
And lastly, the stories that these movies are based on are usually not very substantial. Think of some of the great stories that have been written. Even restricting myself to one author, Heinlein, I could point out a dozen books and short stories that could be made into excellent films. Wouldn’t “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” make a great movie? And how about “Farmer in the Sky”? And I think audiences would eat up “Have Spacesuit Will Travel.” The danger is that the studios would turn each movie into a franchise and we’d be subjected to hacks tacking sequels onto completed stories. I’ve heard “Starship Troopers” might be remade as a faithful interpretation of the book. That would be great. But I’m not holding my breath.
Now I’ve ranted against what I don’t like. Let me see if I can identify some that I do. Caveat, I haven’t gone out of my way looking for good sci-fi. But I’ve managed to bump into a lot that’s bad. And I’m leaving out all things Star Wars and Star Trek. I won’t even go there.
• “The Martian” was okay. Despite the fact that I despise Matt Damon he did a decent job and the story though far from brilliant was somewhat engaging and clever.
• The first installment of “The Matrix” was pretty good. Granted it’s almost twenty years old but being much older I will include it in recent.
• If I’m allowed to stretch apocalyptic films as science fiction I’ll point to the “Book of Eli.”
So that’s it. Maybe I’ve missed some. If anybody has any movies from the last twenty years that past muster, leave a comment. We can discuss.

Why No Love for the Craft of Howard Phillips? – Part 1- The Whisperer in the Darkness

I originally discovered H.P. Lovecraft because in the 1970’s the Ballantine Fantasy book imprint put out a series of paperback books of Lovecraft’s stories that sported covers that were wonderfully disturbing.  The one called “The Shuttered Room” had an image of a human head with sharp shards of glass sticking out of the forehead and cranium area.  The eyes were alert but the head terminated at about the upper lip. Below that it was just a dripping ooze of decay.  How could I resist?

The world divides into two camps.  Those who think H. P. Lovecraft was a great writer and those who don’t.  I fall solidly into the second camp.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate the guy and some of his writing is somewhat interesting.   But his writing style (if it can be called that) makes you want to throw the book at a wall or tear it in half.  Plot twists are telegraphed so blatantly that surprise is virtually impossible.  The plots themselves are sometimes so badly contrived as to suspend the suspension of disbelief in even the most sympathetic reader.  The prose is so arch and artificial that it descends into self-parody.  Sometimes he appears to be imitating Edgar Allen Poe but Lovecraft never makes it work for him.  So that’s my case against him.

That being said, I think Lovecraft had a very powerful imagination.  Buried inside some of his stories are elements that strike a nerve.  Sometimes he’ll describe a scene or paint an image that resonates.  Something primal and disturbing.  It’s almost as if he could pluck things out of his nightmares and embed them into a framework of poorly written and inept story elements.  I believe that Lovecraft’s horror talent was of a visual nature.  I have a theory that the best way to present his work is cinematically.  If a writer/director was sufficiently attuned to what is authentically frightening in Lovecraft’s works, I believe films based on some of his stories could be much better than the stories that Lovecraft left us.  But is there enough there?  The stories are a hodge-podge of plot elements and scenes.  Quite a bit of work would be needed to create a movie from any or even several of them strung together.  And is there actually enough of an audience to even warrant the expense of a major motion picture?  Director Guillermo del Toro attempted to bring “At the Mountains of Madness” to the screen but failed.   So, we’re stuck with the stories.

In this series of posts, I will give a few examples of what I think is some of his worst writing and then I’ll finish with some things that I felt were well done.

The first story is “The Whisperer in the Darkness.”  This is the story of two New Englanders communicating mostly by letter about an infestation of super-intelligent space-faring winged, giant lobster-shaped fungus creatures in northern Vermont.

There are many examples of terrible prose to choose from but one of my favorite passages is the one where the narrator recognizes the lobster man’s footprints, “Too well did I know the marks of those loathsome nippers, and that hint of ambiguous direction which stamped the horrors as no creatures of this planet.  No chance had been left me of merciful mistake.  Here, indeed, in objective form before my own eyes, and surely not made many hours ago, were at least three marks which stood out blasphemously among the surprising plethora of blurred footprints leading to and from the Akeley farmhouse.  They were the hellish tracks of the living fungi from Yuggoth.”  (italics by HPL).  So, the footprints are blasphemous?  I’ve got 12 years of Catholic school education and not once were lobsters mentioned except as an abstention during Lent but no blasphemy angle.  And he calls them the living fungi.  If they weren’t alive wouldn’t the story be kind of pointless?

So here we have a giant lobster that walks upright and apparently is able to propel itself through interstellar space on wings.  Also, even though these creatures have technology that allows them to traverse intergalactic space, wage war on super-intelligent aliens and remove human brains from their bodies and keep them alive and sentient inside a metal tank they are unable to prevent themselves from being drowned in the flooding of small Vermont streams and are also highly incompetent when confronted by a farmyard protected by an old man with a rifle assisted by his german shepherd dogs.

And one of the dopiest plot holes is the fact that every night the old man would withstand a siege at his farmhouse by these creatures but by the next day, he was free to go unmolested for miles in every direction to buy bullets and new guard dogs and even post the letters that were the text of the story.  Why didn’t he just keep driving until he got to Montpelier and then show the authorities the proof of his discovery.  Or at the very least just drive away and escape altogether?  Was he afraid the lobstermen would come after him in Boston or Providence.  Wouldn’t they be kind of conspicuous with the wings and claws and fishy smell?  And also New Englanders really like lobster meat.  I’d think of this whole invasion as a sort of food business start-up opportunity for the protagonists.

In addition to the ludicrous details of the flying-lobster-mushroom-men is the absurdity of the protagonist being unaware that one of the lobster men is dressed up as his friend and talking to him in the same room.  Endless clues are provided that point obviously to the identity of the “Whisperer” but apparently the narrator is possessed of such indestructible stupidity that at the end of the story he is shocked to discover the truth.  Maybe this is Lovecraft imitating some 19th century gothic horror story convention.  But it’s just plain ridiculous.

This story more than any other had me for a while entertaining the idea that Lovecraft was actually writing comedy.  I was imagining John Belushi or Chevy Chase dressed in a giant lobster suit with big floppy wings and covered with mushroom decals sitting across a dining room table from Wallace Shawn performing the dialogue from “My Dinner with Andre.”

Then I wondered if Lovecraft was a morphine addict.  But finally, I settled on the obvious reason.  He was a starving hack writer chronically broke and churning out dreck as best he could.  And this was what he produced.  Very sad.

Stay tuned for more Lovecraft complaining soon.

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 3 – Season 2

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 2 – Season 1

Thanks to the magic of Netflix’ DVD service, I and Mrs. Photog (aka Camera Girl) have been burning through Justified at a goodly clip.  We finished Season 2 last Friday and are now barreling along through Season 3 like a meth-head racing to a pawn shop with an ill-gotten Rolex.  But that’s a story for another post.  Right now, I’m reporting on Season 2 and I’m happy to report that it lives up to Season 1 and maybe even surpasses it too.  In Season 1 we met Raylin Givens and his kin and spent the season getting to know the Crowder clan.  That was fun.

In Season 2 we meet the Bennetts.  The matriarch is Mags Bennett and she has three sons.  One of them is the sheriff of Bennett, Kentucky.  The other two help Mags run the Bennett store and their thriving weed business.  It goes without saying that Raylin has history with the Bennetts and the season builds up to a climactic encounter.  Along the way Ray becomes more formally involved with his ex-wife Wynona and Ava becomes Boyd’s girl.  Many sub-plots involve all manner of exciting and amusing scenes.  Probably the outright funniest is Ray’s boss Art trying to apprehend a geriatric outlaw trying to escape onto a private plane at the airport.  Having reached a certain maturity myself I could see the humor of two old men in a foot race that neither can possibly finish.  By the finish both are gasping on the ground recovering their breath for the slow stroll back to Art’s waiting car.

Just as an aside, a recurring role, Loretta, is played by 14 year old Kaitlyn Dever, who played youngest daughter Eve to Tim Allen on “Last Man Standing,” another show that I enjoyed until its recent untimely cancellation by social justice network jerks.

Justified is fast becoming my favorite series of all time.  And that is saying something.  I’ll always have a soft spot for Firefly but if Justified can continue to be as good as it’s been for another season or so I don’t rightly see how I can deny it a place of preference if for no other reason than more hours of enjoyment.  It’s really a show that does not disappoint.  I know I’m beginning to sound like a paid shill for the network that produced the show but I must say I highly recommend it to anyone who likes crime drama with a heapin’ helpin’ of humor thrown in on top.

Stay tuned for Season 3.  It’s already looking very good.

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 2 – Season 1

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 1

I just finished watching the last two episodes of Season 1.  This is some kind of crazy show.

I guess I better preface my opinions by saying I haven’t been a member of the audience during the much touted “golden age of cable television” that’s been going on for the last decade or so.  I never cared about “The Sopranos” and I didn’t care about “Madmen” although I watched a few episodes a while back.  Likewise, I started watching the “Breaking Bad” episode where he is burning his money on the barbecue and then throws it into the swimming pool.  All I saw was Hal from “Malcom in the Middle” in his underwear making funny noises that weren’t particularly funny.

So maybe I’m not up on what’s current in TV Land.  Take that as given.

This is some kind of crazy show.  Apparently, Kentucky is located in the Twilight Zone where endless criminal activity and gun play is completely routine.  Timothy Olyphant’s character (Raylan Givens) is literally submerged in family, friends and strangers who all seem to be at each other’s throats twenty-four, seven.  Over the course of those two episodes at least sixteen people were shot dead.  And this is ignoring beatdowns, kidnappings, arson, non-lethal shootings, and even shoulder mounted rocket attacks.  And the cast of characters are almost exclusively highly conflicted and dangerous individuals.  Perhaps the only exception (and it’s a little early for me to be sure of this) is Ray’s boss, Art Mullen, the Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal (played by Nick Searcy).  He is, of course, surrounded by the insane happenings but so far seems to be operating as a sane law enforcement agent trying to manage his team and stay within the law.  But I’m sure in the course of the show’s six-year run he must crack.

Season One documents Ray’s return to Kentucky.  And the circumstances highlight Ray’s already unorthodox perspective on law enforcement.  He has a code of behavior that allows him to supersede normal legal protocol when he determines that someone isn’t just a normal criminal.  In other words, if someone has figured out how to game the system to commit acts that Ray cannot allow to occur he is determined to use extra-legal activities to curtail them.  He takes the law into his own hands.  That’s the premise of the show.  In his mind, he’s justified.  I guess we’ll find out if the world confirms this or changes his mind.

So as of the end of season 1 I am enthusiastically a fan of the show.  As I said the character are conflicted and most of them are not good people by any definition of the word.  But several of them have been shown to be interesting.  Of special importance seems to be Boyd Crowder, played by Walton Goggins.  Boyd’s criminal family is the focus of much of season one’s action.  Boyd is both a career criminal and Ray’s boyhood friend.  They worked together in the Kentucky coal mines.  And it seems apparent they are meant to be two sides of a coin throw.

The show maintains a very active pace with rarely a dull moment.  Ray’s romantic life is, so far, the least interesting part of the show but perhaps with additional insight into the motivations and back story of the main women in his life we’ll get a better understanding of why we should care which of them is his leading lady.  Of course, that is assuming any of them lives long enough to develop a domestic back story.

And as a point of information on the female reaction to Justified, Camera Girl (or more formally, Mrs. Photog) is also enthusiastically a fan of the show.  But she is more blood thirsty than I and less philosophical.  So that makes it less surprising to me.  Stay tuned and I will update this as I view the succeeding seasons in the coming weeks.

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 3 – Season 2

Justified – A TV Series Review – Part 1

There’s not much left on TV for me to watch anymore.  I remembered hearing over the last few years from several reviewers who were not progressives that “Justified” was pretty good.  Well, last week my Netflix queue was completely empty so I added season one of Justified to my queue. With some trepidation, photog and camera-girl settled in this week and watched the first two disks.  And eight or nine episodes into the season we still haven’t seen a bad show.  It’s actually very good.  Timothy Olyphant is the protagonist playing a US Marshall named Raylan Givens.  He’s been sent back to his home state of Kentucky after shooting a drug lord in Miami under questionable circumstances.  This puts him in contact with his family, friends, associates and enemies.  And the amount of overlap between all of these categories in the episodes I’ve seen is quite remarkable.  And here we run into the expected stereotyping of the Appalachians.  For instance, Ray’s father is married to Aunt Helen.  I’m not far enough into the story yet but it appears she was Aunt Helen before she was married to Ray’s father Arlo.  So, the incest and inbreeding jokes can’t be far off.  Also, one of Ray’s old friends from his time as a coal miner is now a bank robber who dabbles in white supremacy and shoulder launched rockets.

Needless to say, Ray’s personal and professional lives become extremely entangled and pretty early on he finds himself sleeping with a woman he shouldn’t be.  He had been investigating her for shooting and killing her husband.  Subsequently she is his witness in his shooting of her brother in law.  Add into the mix that the brother in law is also that coal miner / bank robber friend of Ray’s and it starts getting extremely complicated and confusing.  Also, Ray’s father is a criminal.  Ray’s ex-wife is married to a man in hock to mobsters and Ray’s boss is starting to think he’s unstable.  Oh, and the investigation into that drug lord he shot is getting complicated by all the other guys Ray’s been shooting since he got to Kentucky.  And finally, the drug lord’s friends really, really want Ray dead.  It’s a really fun show.

I’m only about half way through season one and so it’s hard to say where this will all be by season six but so far this is a crime drama that’s well written, filled with action and includes characters that while far from unconflicted are quite sympathetic for the audience.  Timothy Olyphant is the obvious star but the supporting cast is quite strong and fun to watch and listen to.  I especially enjoy Nick Searcy as Ray’s boss, Art Mullen.  He brings a dry wit and long suffering attitude to the job of overseeing Ray’s overcomplicated work-life balance.

So, that’s my first installment.  I will be watching a bunch more of these in the next few weeks and will give an update on my recommendation.  But so far, I’d have to say watching Justified is definitely justified.

My Favorite Iowahawk Posts

Iowahawk is one of the funniest conservatives on the planet.  During the Iraq War his mockery of Al Qaeda psychopath Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi (or as featured in Iowahawk the Zarkman) provided a little bit of dark humor during some of the darkest days of that war.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2006/04/i_hate_email.html

When Zarqawi was finally dispatched with a 500 lb laser guided bomb Iowahawk provided this gem:

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2006/06/paradise_blows.html

During the 2008 election William F Buckley’s son Christopher joined the other Rockefeller Republicans in signing up for the Obama Historic Disaster.  They couldn’t countenance Sarah Palin as part of the ticket.  Iowahawk brilliantly lampoons the Buckley upper-crust horror at Palin and the swooning descriptions of Obama.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/10/as-a-conservative-i-must-say-i-do-quite-like-the-cut-of-this-obama-fellows-jib.html

During the Obama campaign Iowahawk provides this epic tale of the great Obamacles.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2009/01/the-idiossey.html

And finally after the election Iowahawk parodied the countless descriptions of the amazing and historic victory of America’s first black president.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/11/election-analysis-america-can-take-pride-in-this-historic-inspirational-disaster.html

Unfortunately in 2014 Iowahawk ceased writing posts to his website and seemed to restrict himself to Twitter (which I’ve never followed).  So, I never had a chance to follow his thoughts during the Trumpocalypse.  Well, all good things must end sometime.  But I figured I’d share this bit of right-wing internet history for any who missed it or were too young.

A Short Review of Rod Dreher’s Book, “The Benedict Option” – Part 1

Two weeks ago I was watching Andrew Klavan’s podcast on the Daily Wire ( http://www.dailywire.com/podcasts/16856/ep-320-death-stupid-andrew-klavan ) and he had an interview with Rod Dreher who has a book called “The Benedict Option.”  I had heard the title before but thought it had something to do with Pope Benedict abdicating. But the Benedict of the title is Saint Benedict who founded the Benedictine Monastic Order.  The sub-title of the book is “A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.”  The thesis, as he explained it, is that America is no longer a Christian nation and in fact is now a place inimical to Christians trying to live their faith and raise their children in it.  He drew the analogy of Benedict coming from an Italian town to the city of Rome about twenty five years after the last emperor was deposed by a Germanic King.  Benedict found it a hollowed out and corrupt place.  He decided that the only way to live a Christian life was to separate from the dominant culture and set up a separate society.  According to Dreher this was the basis of the survival of Christianity and the remnants of roman culture in the Middle Ages.

Needless to say, I ordered the book.  I’ve only started it but the introduction basically states that the majority of Americans are not Christians and do not support the traditional concepts as illuminated in the Bible.  He believes that there is no chance that the culture will return to where it was even twenty five years ago but will instead continue down the progressive slope to Gomorrah.  And in fact traditionalist beliefs will be criminalized.

Sounds pretty depressing.  But instead, he says it’s an opportunity.  He thinks this will be the start of a revival.  And we should, like Benedict, gather the faithful and build a New Jerusalem.

When I finish the book, I’ll give you my opinion on his idea.  For now, let’s just say I’m intrigued and I think this idea has relevance for even those who are not Christians but feel that all traditional values are disappearing from the Western world.  After all it’s not that hard finding analogies between the present era and the Late Roman Empire.  Perhaps this time instead of Attila the Hun being the Scourge of God it will be Lady Gaga.

Plug for An Article on the Z-Blog – On Atheism

The Z-Man has a very interesting article on faith, skepticism and atheism.

On Atheism

That he is a skeptic but sees the hollowness of the militant atheists is I think quite perceptive.   His final statement,  “I do know I’d never want to live in a world ruled by atheists“  resonates for me.  I imagine that almost all reflective religious people wrestle with questions about how to reconcile an omnipotent, benevolent God with the world such as it is.  But the world view of people who feel their highest calling is to mock Christians speaks of individuals nursing an enormous inferiority complex whose egos need to be constantly revalidated.

OCF Classic Movie Reviews – The Sting

Can a movie made in 1973 be a classic?  Hell yeah!  The Sting, to my mind, is one of the last identifiable big studio system type movies.  Everything about it exudes quality.  The cinematography, music, actors, sets, sound and script show attention to detail and professionalism.  The only thing that sets it apart from earlier productions is a little profanity that wouldn’t have gotten past the Hayes Code censors of twenty years earlier.

The plot is grifters versus mobsters in 1930s Chicago.  Revenge for a murdered grifter has the two stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford partnering to orchestrate a “big con” against a vicious mobster played by Robert Shaw.  Supporting cast includes Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan and a host of familiar faces.  George Roy Hill directed it and the ragtime music of Scott Joplin suffuses it from beginning to end and reinforces the feeling that you are immersed in an earlier era.  I cannot think of a false note in the whole movie.  Newman is at his best.  Redford is very good and Shaw chews up the scenery with his best Irish gangster characterization.  His mannerisms are fantastic.  One of his best bits has one of his henchmen asking if it’s worthwhile hunting down the grifters who stole such a small amount of his money.  Shaw’s on a golf course and he points to another golfer and says to the hitman, “Ya see that fella?  He and I went to fifth grade together.  If he finds out that a two-bit grifter got away with stealing from me I’m gonna have to have you kill him and every other small timer from here to Atlantic City.  Yafalla (which means do you follow)?

The plot is intricate involving Newman’s crew of con-men, Shaw’s gang, hired hitmen from out of town, local police and even FBI agents after Newman.  There are twists, turns and surprises.  The movie combines comedy, action and some drama in a fast-paced and highly entertaining way.  It’s an homage to the gangster movies of the 1930s that feels like it could have been written by O’Henry or Ring Lardner.  But there’s a modern feel to the pessimistic tone of the ending.  When Newman asks Redford what he’ll do with his cut, he says he doesn’t want it.  “I’d only lose it anyway.”

Give it a try if you’ve never seen it.  Highly recommended.