Swiss Army Man Review (Spoiler Free)

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What can I say about this film that would capture how utterly bizarre and simultaneously beautiful it is? Swiss Army Man, a film by The Daniels Kwan and Scheinert, stars Paul Dano as a disillusioned man stranded on a deserted island. Dano’s character Hank is just about to commit suicide when he sees a body wash up on the shore. Daniel Radcliffe plays the flatulent corpse that Hank names Manny.  After realizing that Manny is already dead, Hank goes back to his suicide attempt. He quickly realizes though, that just because Manny is dead, doesn’t mean he’s useless. Thus begins their journey of incredible friendship and self discovery.

Still with me? Yes, this film is as odd as it sounds. One of the main characters is a dead body with a gas issue (which is remedied by a wine cork – don’t ask) but if you can get past that, this film is so much more than a fart joke. Its about the uncomfortable truths of friendship and society and all the ways that they impact us.

As they trek through the wilderness on this epic adventure to bring Hank back to society and the woman he loves, they both discover what life is about; why we hide certain aspects of ourselves, and what it means to be free. This is a film about accepting every part of yourself and every part of life. The good, the bad, and the strange.

The Daniels have gifted us with some beautiful cinematography here. Their understanding of creating scenes that entice the senses is truly amazing. There are a few moments that are nothing short of ridiculous but the way they are framed and the interesting use of music push the viewer past any preconceived notions and towards accepting something different.

If you are open to adventure I highly suggest you go see this film. In a world full of remakes and a formulaic sameness this film is a slightly bewildering breath of fresh air.

Watch the trailer for Swiss Army Man on YouTube:

Dungeons (Prologue)

So I joined the D&D club at my school. For those who don’t know, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a pen and paper role-playing game. It’s mostly (only?) played by nerds. Largely male nerds. And me, I guess.

I was outside my Saturday 9 am math class (gag) when I spotted the flyer. I have never played D&D before but I was always interested. Two years ago I did a campaign in Pathfinder, but it was abandoned after a few games due to scheduling issues. So, I was really excited to learn that my school had a club. I emailed the DM (Dungeon Master – the person who runs the game and directs the adventure) and let him know I planned to come to the next meeting. He emailed me back in character and I knew then that I was in for some very nerdy times.

I sort of feel like I was initiated into this club via the completion of a quest. The flyer I had seen was apparently from the previous semester and when I entered the location it specified I was greeted by a room that was empty except for one very confused looking professor. She looked even more confused when I started asking about dragons.

I tried to email the DM again to no avail, so I headed to Student Activities to find an answer. Of course, no one was attending the post! I stood around like an asshole for a while until I noticed the board with a bunch of flyers for different clubs and things. I found an updated D&D club flyer with what I hoped was the correct location and then climbed up a treacherous mountain (medium large hill) to the door.

After catching my breath, I walked into a room full of male nerds who looked very surprised to see me. Finally, I was in the right place (quest complete), although not everyone was so sure. One gave me a perplexed, “Can I help you?” as I walked past muttering greetings and took a seat. The DM even looked surprised that I had showed up (probably because I was 30 minutes late at that point) and took about 15 minutes to muster the courage to introduce himself.

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They were in the middle of killing a dragon (or being killed by one) and there was a pink Tyrannosaurus carrying a sleeping paladin in his baby arm huddling in the corner. Good times. The DM introduced me to the group and they went on playing. I didn’t join because I hadn’t finished my character yet and I wanted to just observe them and get a sense of how they played and who they were. I’m a natural introvert and I blend in seamlessly when I’m observing so they quickly got comfortable again.

These guys truly love the game. They really seemed to enjoy every aspect of it and they knew the rules backwards and forwards (intimidating). There were a few jokers in the group and I heard references to Dragon ball, Harry Potter, Geek and Sundry, and plenty more that I can’t recall or just went over my head. So I think that I’m in for a good time. I’ll try to learn names or assign nicknames or numbers or something.  I can’t wait until the next meeting when I will be able to join in!