Episode 156: Primer (2004)

Welcome to this week’s installment of “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel”! Or, if you’re stuck in a causality loop, welcome back to this week’s installment.  Or you will be welcome to this week’s installment when it arrives sometime in your future.  Again.  To paraphrase Calvin, time travel weirds language. This week’s example of time-bending and mind-bending is “Primer,” suggested to us by our great buddy from the Great White North, Vince! Thanks a lot, Vince.  Thank you so very . . . very . . . much.  This is the movie that proves you don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a movie about time travel to hurt your audience’s frontal lobes; this flick was made for about seven thousand smackeroos and it hurts plenty! Are you listening, Christopher Nolan? No, no, of course you’re not, let’s not kid ourselves.  But we hope you’re listening because this is a pretty intriguing film and we’re two darn intriguing guys here to intrigue you intriguingly into intrigue! Words! So give a listen, eager young Time Cadets!

Poll question: if you could own any one prop, set item, or Maguffin from any movie production, what would it be?

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5 thoughts on “Episode 156: Primer (2004)”

  1. Aaaargh. Post got deleted.

    Return of the King makes me cry when Frodo leaves. I think it’s something about the shock on Merry’ and Pippin’s faces, how they thought they’d always have their friend around.

    Anyways, I wanted to talk about entropy. Basically, as far as we can tell, entropy and time are directly and perhaps causally linked, but a lot of this is enlightened guesswork. Entropy gets a bad rap, but at it’s core entropy is just the label we put on the fact that chemical reactions go one way and not the other–a lump of sugar dissolves in your tea, and once that’s done you’ll never see your mug spit out a sugar cube. Theoretically, and because of how consistently reactions happen in one way and not the other, this means that there’s something underlying this relationship, and so by decreasing entropy you may very well be able to reverse time. However, doing so requires a commensurate increase in entropy somewhere else plus a little extra, and that’s where the problem arises. You’d have to find someplace outside of the universe to stash that entropy, which is understandably difficult to imagine.

    However, there’s a lot to be learned. We have strong evidence that this paradigm breaks down at extreme conditions (very cold crystals do weird things), so it’s a subject of active research. Maybe we’ll even find out one day!

    1. Thanks for both comments, Ned! Sounds like you know a HECK of a lot more about entropy than either of us does. That being said, it sounds like you know a lot more about it than Christopher Nolan does, too. 😀 That aspect of the movie just didn’t make sense and didn’t even seem to do much. Thanks, too for the poll question answers! We always love those. Take an extra ten BumpyBux out of petty cash. 😀

  2. Dang it, the other comment went here instead of to last week’s episode. That’s fine.

    Props: anything from Lord of the Rings would be nifty, but if I had to pick a specific thing as a keepsake the oscillation overthruster from Buckaroo Banzai would be fun. Apparently someone makes and sells a vape pen in its likeness, though, which renders it a little less exciting.

  3. I think Primer is a fantastic effort as you guys said, especially since it is sort of a one man show sort of thing and cost less than some software on my computer does now. The director/writer/dessert topping apparently worked out the timelines pretty thoroughly so they can be worked out if you want to go insane trying. The whole thing is fascinating and kept my interest though multiple viewings and very few films really do that. I have a copy of his second film which something to do with mind altering parasites and pigs.

    If I could have any prop it would be the robot from Metropolis. Some guys made a copy of the suit from the original plans with the original materials and looked amazing. Much better than the paper maché thing I saw at the Berlin film museum a fews back.

    1. Primer, even flawed, was surprisingly effective, perhaps because of that tiny budget. Even though I didn’t really get it in the end, I knew what the characters wanted and saw where they were going though I could not for the life of me explain how they were doing or were going to do it. “Maria” was a marvel of design and clearly influenced Ralph McQuarrie when he was designing droids for Star Wars. The original C-3PO design has a direct relationship there. As always, BumpyBux are now yours! Spend them all in one place!

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