For those of you who DON'T or DIDN'T understand "Southland Tales", I did a breakdown of it so that people CAN understand it and I figured I'd post it here in case anyone's curious and maybe help some of you all out. Sorry if this is posted in the wrong location. The text below was the script to the video I did, which you can find on Youtube, just search for Ugo Strange. Anyways I HOPE this helps. This looks like a fun site, ENJOY!
Okay ! Since no one else is going to do this, I suppose I'm gonna have to ! "Southland Tales" is Richard Kelly's follow up to his hit cult film "Donnie Darko". A lot of people have seen "Southland Tales" and the reactions have been either they really loved it, or absolutely hated it, aside from the polarizing reactions, the common reaction among fans and haters is that not many understand it. So as a courtesy to fans and haters alike I will provide a breakdown of the film and HOPEFULLY by watching this video you'll understand this movie.
"Southland Tales" is one of those movies that needs to be watched a few times before you completely get it. Personally I feel that if you know the ending of the movie ahead of time it'll make much more sense. This movie is filled with references to The Bible, Robert Frost, T.S. Elliot, Karl Marx and metafictional reality. Ultimately it's a movie full of ideas BUT before I go on, I need to see that this movie is NOT meant to be taken seriously. Richard Kelly has gone on record saying that he wanted the movie to have a modern and glamorous feel, hence why many of the characters in the movie are played by easily recognizable people, from The Rock, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Mandy Moore and Justin Timberlake. This movie is essentially a parody of it's self. In order to understand this movie you need to be privy to a few things in the Science Fiction realm. If you're not a science fiction fan, you will NOT understand this movie at all! Many people who've seen this movie said that the characters are crazy, the story makes no sense and everything seems REALLY senseless...BUT there IS a very valid reason why everything in this movie appears to make
If you're a comic book fan, and specifically a fan of DC Comics and have read "Final Crisis"...you can consider "Southland Tales" to be it's movie equivalent. Both are metafictional stories that can ONLY be made sense of by those who take the time to sit down and actually analyze the material, which are few and far in between. For those of you who wanna know more about "Final Crisis" there's a link below to a podcast that provides a VERY in-depth explanation of it. Anyways back to the topic.
For starters the entire movie is basically summed up in this ONE scene:
The scene I'm talking about is when The Rock (Boxer Santaros) pitches his movie "The Power" to Seann Williams Scott's character (Roland Taverner)
For those of you paying attention and NOT asking "What ?" "Huh" the concept is very simple. But before I go on, I have to address a few thing in the movie. The Rock plays a character named Boxter Santaros. Boxter Santaros is an actor. He along with porn star Kystra Now played by Sarah Michelle Gellar wrote a screenplay titled "The Power". "The Power" tells the story of a man named Jericho Cane...this a reference to the 1999 film "End Of Days" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In "The Power", Jericho Cane is a renegade L.A. police officer in a world gone mad. He teams up with Dr. Muriel Fox...
a psychic stripper to protect a miracle baby named Caleb who does not have bowel movements, eventually they discovers an inter-dimensional riff above Lake Meade in Nevada that's causing the Earth's rotation to slow down at a rate of .000000006 miles per hour every day. Remember that, that's VERY important information.
Boxer and Roland get lunch at a restaurant and they reveal that on some strange level they know each other. Boxer also explains "The Power" more to Roland and tells him the miracle baby Caleb who is incapable of having a bowel movement. Roland reveals that he hasn't had a bowel movement in 6 days...which in retrospect makes sense and I'll explain that later.
Shockingly enough, That's the entire movie summed up. Boxer takes on the role of Jericho Cane and Starla, a USIDent employee has taken on the role of Dr. Fox...because she read "The Power" and is in love with Boxer. In "Southlande Tales" the Earth's rotation IS actually slowing down BECAUSE of an inter-dimensional rift above Lake Meade. Because of this rift the world is essentially going mad...remember when I said there's a reason why everything seems so crazy in this movie ? That's why. So what's causing the Earth to slow down ? That would be Fluid Karma.
What is Fluid Karma ? Fluid Karma is an alternative fuel source that Baron Von Westphlan (essentially the villain of the film) discovered while drilling off the coast of Israel. From my understanding Fluid Karma is an energy substance that is tied somehow to the Earth's gravity as well as the tide...essentially it's kind of like the Earth's life force if you will. Fluid Karma is a perpetual energy source, which makes Baron Von Westphlan a VERY rich man and Fluid Karma the most sought after substance in the world.
Fluid Karma can also be used as a drug when it's distilled into a liquid form. When Fluid Karma is used as a drug, the user will develops psychic abilities, most notably telepathy, and the ability to see the past and the future (remember this because this is important). Fluid Karma was used as a drug in experiments on soldiers in Iraq, most notably Roland Taverner and Pilot Abilene (this is important information also).
So with all that set up, what exactly is going on in "Southland Tales", well Boxer Santaros gets a call from Starla posing as Dr. Fox who tells him that "The Power" is true and everything Krysta and Boxer wrote is actually happening. This causes Boxer to go on an adventure to discover what lead up to his kidnapping and his loss of memory. Boxer is also the husband of Madeline Frost, the daughter of Senator Bobby Frost, an ambitious Senator running for President with heavy endorsements from The Treer Company, which is owned by Baron Von Westphlan. Bobby Frost's wife, Nana Mae Frost is the head of US-IDent. US-IDent is an Orwellian form of the Patriot Act. At the very beginning of the film an atomic bomb goes off in Texas, which essentially causes World War III. Because of this ALL communications are routed through US-IDent. This subplot mostly involves The Neo-Marxist trying to undermind US-IDent. Their first attempt to do this was to involve Boxer Santaros in a staged murder of a husband and wife by Roland Taverner. This plan of course goes arry...but that's not the point.
Eventually Boxer meets Baron Von Westphlan's people who have also read "The Power" and encourage him to get aboard The Mega Zepplin. Boxer makes it on board the Mega Zepplin and meets Simon Theory. Simon Theory is one of Baron Von Westphlan's lead Scientists who reveals to Boxer that once again everything in "The Power" is the absolute truth. The tampering of Fluid Karma has opened up a rift above Lake Meade in Nevada and Baron Von Westphlan, not wanting to miss out on a scientific discovery decided to send someone through the rift. Who did he send ? Boxer and Roland Taverner. Boxer is then put face to face with himself. As it turns out the rift above Lake Meade is a space time
continuum rift that sent Boxer and Roland 69 minutes into the past...therefore making clones of them both, however the clone of Boxer died in a car explosion for reason unexpressed in the movie.
When Boxer discovers this, he finally makes the connection that Roland and Ronald are NOT twin brother but rather they're the SAME PERSON. Remember when I said Roland hasn't produced a bowel movement in 6 days, well that might be a side effect of inter-dimensional travel, but Boxer traveled through the rift as well...so...that theory falls apart...but it's out there at least. This is something the movie has been hinting at all along, that the world will end with a handshake. Through out the movie Roland has been looking for Ronald and at the end they finally do meet up and interlock hands. When they do this, the space time continuity of the universe begins to breakdown. Roland and Ronald Taverner because self generators of Fluid Karma. Remember when I said Fluid Karma is somehow linked to The Earth's gravity ? Yes well that explains why The Ice Cream Truck starts to float. Because Roland has been treated with Fluid Karma in the drug trials and is essentially generating Fluid Karma himself, he is able to link to the mind of all those who've been treated with Fluid Karma and Roland links to the mind of Pilot Abilene. Roland and Pilot served in Iraq together, and
because of an error on Roland's part he accidentally caused Pilot's disfigurement. So at the end of the movie Pilot, speaking through Ronald is telling Roland that he forgives him.
It's not entirely expressed BUT we're lead to believe that this causes The End of The World. I can only assume that because Roland and Ronald are generating Fluid Karma which is counter acting Space Time and Gravity and Energy it's self, the world is about to collapse on it's self. Thus ending the movie.
Whether you loved or hated "Southland Tales" I HOPE this breakdown has given you some ability to understand what it was you just watched OR what you will be watching. Keep in mind that the original cut of this movie is 3 hours long. Many people found this hard to understand and I'll admit, I had to watching 3 or 4 times myself before I actually got it, BUT I enjoy movies like this that only become more clear in multiple viewings. "Donnie Darko" is also one of those movies that can't be fully appreciated in a single viewing. Now I understand that there is a LOT going on in "Southland Tales" and there are also the 3 prequel graphic novels that flesh out the story, BUT without those and JUST the breakdown alone you should have a basic understanding of this movie and what's going on.
I won't deny that "Southland Tales" is a VERY convoluted movie, but as I said before it's that way for a reason. We're essentially being driven mad along with the world of "Southland Tales". I'd like to go on record by saying I greatly enjoyed this movie, it's not in my top 10 but it holds a special place in my list of movies BECAUSE of it's visual style, it's storytelling and it's overall theme of weaving comedy, sci-fi, fantasy and psychological thriller in one insane dazzling story. Plus the soundtrack by Moby IS AMAZING! Despite my love for this movie I won't defend it against people who hate this movie because I can certainly understand why and I don't blame them. With that being said I hope this helps you and I hope you enjoyed this video.