Palm Springs

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S1: The following podcast contains explicit language like.

S2: Charlotte grading paper by.

S3: What’s in the box?

S2: Know?

S4: Hello and welcome to another Slate spoiler special podcast today. We are spoiling the Hulu original movie Palm Springs starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. I am Dana Stevens, Slate’s movie critic, and I’m joined today by Willa Paskin, Slate’s TV critic. Hey, Willa. Hi. And also joining us is Slate senior editor and the editor of our culture blog, Braby, Sam Adams. Hi, Sam. Hello. All right. So Palm Springs, I think I’m going to start, as I usually do, by going around the virtual table and asking you, all of you, just if you would send your friends to watch this movie. It’s not a huge sunk cost. It is a 90 minute movie that’s really available on Hulu. If you have Hulu, but I’ll start with you, Sam. Would you send your friends see Palm Springs?

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S5: Well, you say send as if people are leaving the house to see it.

S4: Would you make them arduously press a few buttons on their remote?

S5: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I would urge them to subscribe to Hulu if they don’t already. Yeah. It’s totally worth it. This is a movie that I saw at Sundance for the first time in January when it was kind of a big buzz worthy title and ended up selling for, I think, upwards of 17 million dollars, which is a huge and maybe somewhat ill-advised sale. But, you know, I saw it there and it’s super charming romantic comedy with, I guess, a twist or a nifty premise, which we will get to shortly. Watch it again last week. And it definitely holds up those more second time through once you know what the plot is going to be. Andy Samberg and Kristen Milioti are both very charming. Have great chemistry, et cetera, et cetera. So, yes, I would.

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S4: All right. So you’re. Yes. And what about you, Will? Yeah. Totally fun movie. Yeah, I agree. This is this is a no brainer as far as that is concerned. And I’ll say for my part that I was just incredibly grateful that this this movie existed last week. I mean, we’re just we’re in such a dreary time loop of our own, right. I mean, I don’t think there’s any review of this movie that hasn’t mentioned how strangely prescient it is obviously was made before we all got locked inside, but is about that same kind of tedious internal day they were all locked into. And yet it’s so tedious. And I really appreciated that it was at the same time an easy watch and not stupid. Right. I mean, it’s very light, but it’s not without its intellectual demands. And we’ll get to that to what some of those are. I mean, I think it is the kind of movie that you want to see a second time. I also saw it twice. Sam and I really feel like seeing it a second time. SEALs in the goodness. And you start to realize how some things are planted very early on that you might not have noticed the first time. And I won’t talk about some of those are. So maybe we should begin by just setting up the premise actually that we’re going to begin begin before we even do that is mentioning the writer in the director, because as I mentioned, for some reason, maybe because Andy Samberg is the lead in this and he is also one of the producers on the movie and has always been one of his own writers with his Lonely Island comedy gang. And so it feels like an Andy Samberg movie, but it does have a director and it’s a first time director. And I think he produces a very accomplished debut film. His name’s Max Barbagallo. And I’m curious to see what Max Barbacoa does next. The writer, Andy ICRA, this is his first feature that he’s written. And so I think this movie, even though it’s about a premise that we’ve revisited in a lot of things since Groundhog Day has a feeling of freshness and collaboration that comes from maybe these two guys both making their first feature together and the kind of an energy around that. So let’s set up the premise. As I just mentioned, it is a Groundhog Day movie if you go into it knowing nothing about that. I think it’s kind of ideal. You shouldn’t know too much. But since this is a spoiler, let’s get into the details of it. When we first join Niall’s the main character played by Andy Samberg, he is already in the loop, which is not something that I realized the first time I watched it. I think I thought he was having his first day and that we would then see repetitions of it. But in fact, he is already having a day that he’s had some infinite number of times already. Well, I’ll start with you. Do you want to describe that day?

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S6: Yeah. He wakes up in the morning every day, seems to open with his girlfriend who doesn’t like him and who he doesn’t like, saying open your eyes. And she’s putting lotion on the bed and they perfunctorily fuck. And then he goes into the pool. He sits in the pool. He has some beers in the pool. That and then a friend of his jumps in and he tosses him a beer and like they have the same conversation. And then they end up at this wedding where he is so familiar with all the beats that he essentially like, swoops in and gives the wedding toast. The wedding is for Christina Muladi of character’s sister and Niles and his emerick’s character’s girlfriend is in the bridal party. He’s not super familiar with the bride and groom, but he gives this toast. So Sarah is supposed to give a toast and she has not prepared for it. She’s you know, she’s just sort of like the Rachel getting married, a sister of this situation. Actually, that becomes more true as the movie goes on and he swoops in and gives this sort of bizarre but charming toast. Then one gets the sense that he’s sort of like. He’s like in a video game or something, or he’s mapped out every level. And so he just, like, decides what he wants to do that night. So, like in the night, the first day that we see, he sort of is flirting with Sarah. But this involves like, you know, there’s a partner. He’s like dancing on the dance floor. And he knows exactly when this drunk guy is going to fall down to me, like, swivels a chair underneath and like, he’s been there a million times, basically. You know, they fool around and then dessert of the night, they’re fooling around. And suddenly in the middle of the desert, someone shoots him with a bow and arrow. And this is like very jarring because it’s like you’re starting to figure out what’s happening as like this. 20 minutes of the movie are going on. It’s like very light and jaunty. And then he gets shot with a bow and arrow. You’re like, that’s not like Groundhog’s Day thing. He’s sort of like runs through the desert to this cave, which is essentially the mystical cave. That’s the thing that creates the time loop. And he he drags himself and he can start the day over and he’s like, don’t come to Sarah, but sort of perfunctorily because he’s like being shot with an arrow. And she does. And so then, boom, it starts all over again.

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S4: The MacGuffin is the cave. Right. I mean, the thing. I don’t know the governor’s exactly the right term for that narrative device. But the thing that makes the time loop begin is this mystical cave that opens up once every day once. And this is ever repeating day every day. And then if you go into it, you fall into the time loop.

S5: Yeah. So he has been stuck in this time loop for some possibly millions of iterations. And Sarah, by following him, kind of gets stuck in it unwillingly. Once she figures out what was going on, it freaked out. And I think it’s like furious with him because he’s kind of condemned her inadvertently to the same kind of hell of repetition that he’s in.

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S6: Yeah. And also what’s interesting is that, like, he seems like he’s our point of view character. Right, because he’s like the protagonist and we’re sort of close with him. I mean, that stays true. But she actually is the one who’s having life experience we’re having. So basically, she starts from scratch trying to do all the things he did, like kill herself many times and leave and like drive as far as she can just to stay awake forever. Like she goes through all the things we presumably he did. But he’s the one who knows now. So we’re sort of sitting on his shoulder, like beginning everyday, kind of with him until her halfway through the movie. But she’s the one who’s like the newbie.

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S4: She’s also the protagonist. You could argue in the sense that she’s the one who wants to change and tries to change. Right. I mean, the whole movie becomes about their two different approaches to being stuck in this eternal day. Hers is this very first anguished one. Right. And then later it becomes this kind of constructive. You know, she applies her full intelligence and will to trying to get out, whereas he is this kind of nihilists who’s just resigned himself to enjoying that one day over and over again as much as he can.

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S6: But when she starts to be able to do once she joins him, he’s like dead inside before she shows his idea of enjoyment changes.

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S4: Right. I mean, before who he is, this sort of hedonist who’s just decided the most I can do is just sort of, you know, drink and fuck my way through every day and just sort of try to enjoy it and my my bleak, needless manner. And when she comes along, it starts to open up.

S6: I feel like he isn’t even enjoying it. He’s just like, I can’t die. So like I do.

S4: Well, that speech, that conversation that they have in the car early on, is it? I mean, it’s just a great moment when the kind of philosophical fundaments of the script are laid out. Right. Where the different possible ways of approaching this life are laid out and how unsatisfactory his is, but how unable she is at first to kind of create any alternative to it.

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S5: Well, his feeling is basically I’ve tried everything there is to try. I’ve done everything there is to do. You find out eventually. Yes. That he’s, like, fucked everyone there as fuck. And he’s, like, killed himself in every way there is to kill himself. None of it makes any difference are. Now, his goal is to just kind of get through things with his little interaction as possible. Why? I mean, one of the things about this movie that I kind of enjoy, it’s so stupid thinking it’s really great is I feel like there’s so much resonance in this premise that the movie doesn’t really dig in to past a certain point. But there is some idea that they are both Nilles and there are people who are in some way kind of stuck in their lives. They are just kind of going in circles. And this time loop situation makes that literal. And then they have to find their way out and kind of reconnect with life in some way, which is sort of that more than anything, is kind of the Groundhog Day redux of this more than the premise. Even I think. But then we’ll get to the ending later. But it does sort of take, you know, some sort of turn away from that eventually. But that idea of that, they’re just kind of going through life, going through the motions day in, day out, not really trying to improve their lives or do anything significant is what kind of gives the repetition. It’s makes it more than just kind of a problem they have to solve.

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S6: Well, one of the interesting things also about their sort of philosophical disagreement and the movie is it’s sort of in this conversation with how much their past matters. So, like, they get to know each other incredibly well. I would say, like, the most fun of this movie is sort of segment where she there’s a beginning where she’s sort of is inducted into the loop. And then there’s sort of the beginning of her induction to loop where she’s just basic. We like trying to get out of it. Trying to kill herself, furious, like trying to sort of figure out what’s going on. And then she sort of gets on board with him of like them just being stuck. And they proceed to have like a montage of good times, very charming. They just start to amuse themselves on each other and they just, like, do crazy things together and have a blast.

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S4: I love the black humor of that montage because it includes everything from, you know, having a flashmob dance in a bar to just crashing a plane because you don’t fly since you can just factor death into their, you know, fun day montage with without any repercussions.

S6: Totally. And throughout this whole thing, they’re sort of like decided in like a fully phony baloney way, like they’re not going to sleep together. You have to spend so much time together and are like this is seems very contrived romantic comedy like Tenjin thing that’s happening here. But they keep having combination of how much they need to know about each other, like in their past, and whether or not this is just like being in the present in this constant interaction is a real like giving themselves knowledge of each other. That’s all that really matters. And they’d like to have a longer version of this conversation when they’re sort of camping in that one of the dramatic climax, the movie, which we could talk about where they do sleep together. And then everything, of course, goes to shit.

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S4: Yes. I can’t wait to get to that scene, which fascinatingly is right in the middle of the movie. I feel like the symmetry of this movie is part of what’s fun about it is exactly 90 minutes long. And that happens exactly at the 45 minute point that they sleep together and sort of, you know, turn a new page in their relationship.

S6: You can tell that she’s kind of a mess and the way in which she’s a mess. And you tell that more and more about his whole thing is like you’re just I think you’re imputing a lot of like Andy Samberg manchild stuff, too. Like the audience is bringing a lot of that. Right. We’re like, what’s his deal? Oh, probably. He’s just like like a grownup who doesn’t want to grow up. And I think that because that’s an Andy Samberg character. Right. We don’t actually ever find anything out about Niall’s.

S4: Yeah. I mean, this is a place where I kind of agree with Sam. If I was reviewing this movie, I feel like I would have almost all just lovable, cuddly things to say and send people to see it. But I think a place that it could have dug deeper is teaching us a little bit more as we go along and letting them learn a little bit more about their lives before there’s that moment. Also in the, you know, the climactic scene where they’re doing mushrooms in the tent and they end up sleeping together where she asks what his job was and he can’t remember. That’s a great moment. But it would be great later on if he did get some revelation about that. Or, for example, her family, she mentions that her mother has died. And, you know, the mom at the wedding is her step mom. We hear something about her brother needing a blood transfusion or marrow transfusion from her sister right at one of the wedding toasts. There’s this moment of like, remember when her sister saved her brother’s life? Like, that’s kind of a big deal and that never reappears. I mean, I didn’t need, you know, big flashbacks with psychological revelations, but I think it would have deepen the relationship if they had brought a little bit of their past into the story. Maybe that was a deliberate omission.

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S6: But I feel like with her, we got enough of it. Like, I got, like, the kind of dysfunctional. Picture there, a painting of her. Not to jump ahead of ourselves, but it basically at sort of a half a little pass us halfway point, it becomes clear that she slept with her sister’s fiancee the night before the wedding. And part of the reason she’s so desperate to get out of the loop is that every morning she keeps waking up in his bed. So she’s like every day she’s confronted with what a terrible person she is. So I think they did a better job of being like, this is where she’s coming from. His thing is like a little bland. It’s a nit picking. It was very fun. Anyway, as we talk about the.

S4: Yeah, there’s a lot to talk about there. I mean, one of the things I because you just want to be eternally unsolvable mysteries that this movie, which is why do they see Dinosaurus? Why is there a row of brontosauruses majestically moving in the background at a certain moment? Are they just sharing a mutual drug trip vision? Or is there something about the time loop that makes it involve prehistoric time?

S5: Yeah. I mean, the first time they’re kind of tripping, but the last shot of the movie is the dinosaurs coming back, which feels like just a little bit of like a screenwriter, Lee. You know, Philip or something. But definitely the flash of the movie is not a point of view shot. They’re not on clueless, energetic drugs at that point. So that would seem to be real somehow.

S6: It’s like the first and has ever happened. I watched this on my computer, like just my laptop. And in both times I could not see the dinosaur. Like, I mean, I had to I went back and found the dinosaurs after reading about it. But it’s like the first time where I was like, oh, the experience of watching this movie on, like, such a small screen. Literally, like, made me miss like a significant like a 100. I heard them talk about the dinosaurs in the middle once I knew that had happened, but I didn’t see them in the last shot until I was like reading spoilers about the movie. And I’m not the only person I’ve talked to some other people in Slate who were like, yeah, I didn’t even notice the dinosaurs the end.

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S4: There’s an argument for theatrical experience. He’ll miss a major plot point if you don’t see Palm Springs on a big screen. What is your theory about what the dinosaurs are doing in their will?

S6: Well, this is getting way ahead of ourselves, but sort of the readings of the dinosaurs. The L.A. Times ran a piece and sort of about like the ambiguous ending of Palm Springs and the dinosaurs in that context, like like, oh, the dinosaurs are still here and we’re jumping ahead of a whole bunch of flat. But basically, they get out of the time loop. Sam spoke with a physicist about this, so we’ll let him know how exactly that happened. But like, they get out of the time loop, there’s this explosion. And the last thing in the movie is them at their hangout spot in a pool, literally saying it’s November 10th. Like, they moved on to the next day and then the camera pans up and you see these dinosaurs. So, like, one way could be like, oh, it’s just this sort of symbol of like there, you know, of how love is like a dinosaur, like it’s still here. You know, they’ve gotten out of the time loop in this piece of the L.A. Times is like. Or is it is it saying, like, everything is still super weird and and it’s ambiguous and maybe they didn’t maybe they’re in some other time zone or whatever. And I just think, like, if this movie was trying to be ambiguous about the ending, like they should have ended up explosion. And the dinosaurs are like kind of weeks ostomy, like they got out at the time loop and like, everything is fine and that’s fine. Like, that’s a happy ending to their movie.

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S4: I just think if they really wanted to be ambiguous, the dinosaurs are like, yeah, I’m in a movie that is so big on tying things up, you know, that ties up so many things impressively. Well, it’s not that the dinosaurs are an untied loop. It’s that they’re a piece of string that was meant to be untied from the beginning. And I love that because it just keeps me wondering what’s going on. But, yeah, I’m not sure that I can really justify it. Its place in the screenplay.

S5: Yes. Well, I mentioned I interviewed Clifford Johnson, who is a theoretical physicist who is the consultant on this movie. And that was a really interesting conversation. One of the things he kind of made clear in the conversation is that, you know, when they approached him and apparently there’s some sort of like hotline you call if you want a physicist to, like, consult on your script. He’s done done this service for, like Marvel movies. He helped with the time travel mechanics in The Avengers and game movies and stuff like that. So one of the first things he told them is that like infinite time loops are impossible. My sense is now that there’s sort of a thing where there once the gravitational waves were kind of they found evidence of them a few years ago. So now that it’s square in the place where time loops are sort of mathematically possible but physically impossible, like there’s no place in the universe where they could actually happen. So that’s sort of the first thing he told them. And then at that point, it’s well, I’m advising the theoretical physics. So, you know, when they’re like bends in the space time continuum or whatever, they tend to involve like black holes or the amount of force that was unleashed when the universe was created. So, like, don’t have a time machine because that’s stupid. Just have like a natural phenomenon because it’s a little closer to the truth. So it’s all kind of helping them just have a slightly more interesting breed of nonsense rather than actually working out the mechanics. If people get into like, well, you look at the ending like, you know, Andy Samberg is still in the loop, but he doesn’t know that there’s a loop because he’s escaped it. So is that like an alternate Andy Samberg? And are we in, like a splinter dimension that at that point and it’s just like this is not a movie where you’re actually meant to be doing that? Like, this is not like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, where they’re out there, like having Kip Thorne on tour with them, like explaining how all the time travel mechanics of the movie work perfectly and stuff like that. It’s just, you know, it’s a little closer to the truth. It’s a little more, you know, scientific or interesting or whatever. But I think you can you’re kind of waste that up. You spent too long thinking about it because I don’t think they spent that long thinking about it. So I think, yeah, the dinosaurs are just there to be I think not all this is explained. Right. Not all of it makes sense. You know, there’s always going to be some element that’s elusive or, you know, unnatural or illogical or whatever. I mean. The weirdest things in this movie is there are two characters in the movie, neither of whom we’ve any reason to assume. Speak Arabic. Who say shukran. At the beginning of the movie, one is the man who’s in the pool with Andy Samberg. The other is kind of a elderly grandmother played by June Squibb from the movie Nebraska. Why did they say shukran, like, you know, with the screeners, like, oh, it’s boring to have them say thank you. What about if they just say it in Arabic and said, like, there’s no reason for that? It doesn’t make any sense. You could come up with a theory about how this is like a slightly already a slightly parallel dimension where people say it instead of thank you or whatever. But it’s just I feel like it’s just to kind of spice things up and make it a little more interesting. So I feel like that’s what the dinosaurs are doing as well.

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S6: But the Jeunes good character is sort of implied at the end that she’s also been stuck in this loop. What happens essentially is like they have sex and it’s kind of like both like, oh, we’re in love with each other. Right. They like both wake up with a smile on their face. And then it just all goes terribly well.

S4: For one thing, the reveal. You notice that. The reveal that you love. Yeah. It comes right before happens after that morning. Right. Which I think implies a few things. I mean, it implies that the conflict is intensified now that she’s starting to fall in love with the Andy Samberg character. But it also invites us, the viewers, deeper into the movie. And that’s a very confusing reveal at first. You know, there was a moment that I thought, well, wait, did she think that she was sleeping with Andy Samberg? But she was really just with the groom guy. And I just it took me a moment to put together that that is part of her loop because we hadn’t seen it at any moment before.

S6: Yeah. It is also like an interesting. It’s like he can’t even remember, like, the days before. And so she’s getting further and further away from the person who would do that, like would sleep with her sister, who’s beyond say. But she can’t actually get further away like in time. I think that was kind of like poignant.

S4: Right. I have a question actually about memory and how memory works in this movie. And it’s one of the things that I really do think to me was an untied loop that I don’t understand, which is why does she not remember? And here was boiling something else that we even talked about yet. But why does Kristen Milliard, his character, not remember that she slept with the Andy Samberg character thousands of times as he reveals to her later on?

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S6: She wasn’t in the loop then, like all the people that are doing it over and over again for him are not actually in the loop. It’s his loop. Like they’re not right. They’re not there. So the thousands of times that they slept together, it was just him being stuck over and over again. But she right. Still on her thread. So, like, I mean, there’s like more than one version of her. I mean, there’s a thousand the version at four, although the movie doesn’t get into that. Right. Maybe those people just disappear at midnight or whenever he goes back in the hole. But so they’re all like chess pieces for him, even though they have their own free will. Sort of. So she’s just it’s not her memory. She didn’t do it. It wasn’t her. She wasn’t in the loop yet.

S4: And what about the very end? I mean, I only bring up the very end. You know, the little pop up credit sequence, because it brings up the same thing, as Sam mentioned, that, you know, we see the J.K. Simmons character we have to talk about at the bar with Andy Samberg and Andy Samberg doesn’t seem to know. Right. He’s priede loop again. Mm hmm. So what’s being implied by that is that and he’s out of the loop.

S6: Niles is out of the loop. At that point. They’ve exploded out. But Roy is still in the loop. So he comes back and expects to have a conversation with Niles where they’re both still in the loop. Right. So they, like, know each other. And Niles, as you know, he is anymore because Niles isn’t stuck in the loop. It’s like that’s why he’s like, oh, shit, he got out. That’s what Roy’s revelation is on talking radio.

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S5: Although if you logic that out, if Niles has been sort of ejected from the loop before he went into the loop in the first place, which is what the ending kind of implies, because when Rice has hired him, he doesn’t even recognize him. That means that also that his entire relationship with Sarah has been overwritten and erased, which is probably not what the movie wants us to conclude.

S6: But I don’t even think like it, just like Roy is still doing the same day. He’s stuck. He’s stuck and he’s in the right and they’re there, Niles and Sara, who weren’t there. That version of them is out. It’s an Orsay logic.

S4: It’s the same logic why Sarah doesn’t remember sleeping.

S6: It’s just like it’s not. Those people are still on the one time, like they’re on the one timeline. And it’s just the people who are stuck who keep encountering them again and again. It’s just from the point of view of the person who stuck. Everyone is like sort of all the other people to sort of orient around them for their their stubbornness. Right.

S4: But once you’re in the loop, you do retain information. Totally. How she figures out, you know, she devotes herself to educating herself in physics enough to figure out how to get out of the loop.

S6: That’s usually what happens, is that. So after they sleep together, they end up having this huge fight where she and Roy reappears, where she tries to kill her. I mean, it just it gets very bleak. Right. Like, she’s sort of that is the scene with Y right after where she has the police. Yeah. Right where she, like, shoots. Right. And she basically they stay separate for like, again, thousands and thousands of recurrences, presumably while she teaches herself quantum physics. And he just sadly won’t even go look for her. So there’s a part where he’s sort of like, so Voracek because he’s so bored and he’s alone. And he finally figures out what’s really eating at her, which is that she’d slept with her sisters, soon to be husband by like smelling her perfume, which has been sort of teased throughout the whole movie. And then there’s a cut and you’re like, oh, so now he’s going to show up at her door like at that like. Right. He’s gonna show up as soon as he wakes up, he’s gonna run and find out like 7:00 in the morning. And it just never happens. He’s just like passably is like, I guess there’s a wait for her to appear and like that. I couldn’t tell if that was just like a mechanic for the movie because they think they just needed to let her keep learning or watch us to take thing about his character. It’s like, oh, you’re so passive and ridiculous that like you’re then so sad that his girl broke up with you and now you know where she is and you won’t even go find her in the morning.

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S4: But isn’t he trying to go find her? I mean, do you mean he could have set his alarm earlier?

S6: No, he can’t get his arm. He can’t change when he wakes up like he doesn’t try to go find her. He’s like, oh, I figure that out. And then he just waits. Like he doesn’t try to go to where her roommate, like he knows where she slept that night. At the beginning, he tries to find her by going to where her family is and like being like where and she’s not. We know now she doesn’t sleep there that night. Right. She’s like but he now has this information about where she has he never shows up at that hotel room. There’s literally a smash cut in the movie. Or I was like, oh, now he’s doing a show up, like, knock on that door. And he didn’t he just wait to come back? That could be because it’s a weird writing or because he he’s really so passive and.

S4: Yeah. I guess it does go the passivity of his character. But you’re right, that is a moment where you could sort it out and come up with an alternate solution if you wanted to hide, because we haven’t mentioned him yet. I feel like we have to talk about Roy J.K. Simmons character, if only because I just I now really want a spin off is just entirely about Roy. He’s such a great character and just reminded me of how funny J.K. Simmons can be. I mean, I guess we’re used to seeing and be funny in that kind of martinet Yellingbo that you always see him in. But his character in this has a different quality of kind of sweetness. And I absolutely loved him, especially in this scene where they do some kind of drug that it seems that it wants to dye their noses bright yellow and bright green. I think it’s really farcical scene of the two of them getting high and bonding together. I loved it.

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S5: Right, which is how Roy ends up in the time loop in the first place. Like Nilles, just they do a shitload of drugs together. Nilles is just kind of totally blitzed, like wandering his way towards the cave at the end. It isn’t really aware that his meter dragging right with them or doesn’t it was too high to care at that point. And Surroi, like Sarah, is extremely unhappy about having, you know, pulled into this endless circle. So that’s why he is initially hunting Andy Samberg down with a bow and arrow. So you get that typical kind of J.K. Simmons hard ass character. He perpetually refers to him as shit bird. And then we get towards the end of the movie, he disappears for quite awhile from the plot. And then eventually Niles kind of tracks him down in Irvine, which is where he’s from. One of the plot points is that Roy kind of only shows up later in the loop because he, you know, lived away away from the wedding venue and had to make his way out to Palm Springs. So he only shows up in the afternoon now goes and tracks him down. And Roy has basically made peace with his situation when they’re doing drugs in the first place. Roy is talking about, oh, man, I got like, you know, so sick of being married to this woman. And I, you know, got her pregnant and got stuck and got married to me, had two kids. And he’s basically and I’m unhappy with all of that and kind of drowning his sorrows in Coke or whatever it is. And then when I finally tracked him down, Roy has kind of made peace with it and he’s, you know, outback grilling, you know, watching his kids play in the yard. You know, he’s cooking tuna steaks for everybody and whatever. He’s just found peace with his endless repetition, which is what the movie is going to really about. So you get to see this other, more soulful side of J.K. Simmons, which is not kind of, you know, the top line and his character actor resumé. Like it’s not the thing that you immediately call him for, but he has done in a few movies before. Like The Coen brothers, Ladykillers is when the kind of leaps to mind. You know, it’s nice that he gets to actually play like a range in a movie, which is not something that he gets to do very often.

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S6: Yeah, he like yeah. I mean, leaves office very funny. Like the montre of the movies. Like, fine, your Irvine is supposed to be like Zen koan and it’s like obviously ridiculous but works in the movie. It’s such a California. Irvine is like a funny, it’s a funny one for it to be like find her Malibu like not as funny. Don’t like saying someone would say that was horrible. He’s sporadically hunting down Nilles the whole movie. Nilles Like he only shows up every couple days. Yes. A schlep all the way from Irvine. And Sarah is always like you have to fight back. And basically Roy ends up getting pinned by a car and and we don’t see it happening when he dies in an E.R. and an ICU. And Niall’s has told us many times that dying in ICU is the worst. Let me never see anyone doing a business like this implication that they’ve actually all had. You know, the pain is real. The memory of it is real. So Roy has had this experience of finally like he understands what he’s put Niall’s through and he has this sort of like peaceful change of heart. It’s like torturing you. I was actually torturing you. I’m not going to do that anymore. But his his Zen is obviously not that Zen because. He does show up in that last scene in the movie looking to get out of the loop, right?

S4: I guess so that we don’t know exactly how far he is in the loop by then. That’s true. Why does he keep going to the wedding? I mean, I guess Roy could, in a way, solve his problem by just not going.

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S6: So Sarah becomes this physics expert and concocts this plan to basically blow up a bomb in this like very short period time, all there is in the cave, and it will hopefully bounce them out of the time loop that they’re in. They have, you know, the climax of the movie at them, debating whether or not to do that. But basically, right before she does this, she leaves Roy a message explaining the plan and he gets it. And the next day he comes and that’s when he sees that it’s worked. Right. That’s that. So it’s like he she’s told him what she thinks is the way to get out of the loop. And now he has that information. So, like, he he starts hysterically laughing. I mean, he, like, really guffaws when he realizes Niles has gotten out and your senses that he’s going to try to do the same thing. So he may have found his Ervine, but he’s like, I think he’s going to try to escape as well.

S5: Even in his, Lupi says, like, I’m never gonna see my kids grow. Right. I’m going to get taller than my wife, whatever. So, yeah. He’s made his peace with them. But now that he has actually come to appreciate what he has, it would be better for that to be allowed to kind of evolve forward in time.

S6: My one quibble with this movie is I think this movie is like really fun and enjoyable and it’s very satisfying through like 60 Minutes. And then I did just find some of like the romantic comedy mechanics, like literally the speeches. Not good enough. Like, it’s someone who just watched a lot of romantic comedies and found this one to be very clever and creative. Like the the like, you know, the speech that Nilles finally gives to Sarah when he’s, like, realized that he loves her like that. When Harry Met Sally, like when, you know, I’m the person, you know, you wanna spend the rest of your life with, you want it to start right now. Like that version of that speech was very pedestrian. And a lot of those beats felt like not like writer Lee Wise. They were not as creative as the rest of the film. So that there’s a real like you’re going downhill really, really fast, like, you know exactly what’s going to happen. And it does happen. And it doesn’t even happen in super interesting way, which is not at all true of the movie to that point, which is doing a lot of things that, you know, it’s doing, but in a really interesting way.

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S5: Right, you mentioned that kind of dance floor scene from the beginning of the movie, and one of the things I like, especially watching the movie a second time, is it’s sort of a, you know, very trippy like rom com scene where, you know, the heroine’s kind of watching here on the dance floor is a little unsure of him. And then he just seems to be preternaturally in tune with his surroundings, that he magically kind of falls into sync with other people who are dancing and, you know, pulls the chair up to the drunk guy is falling out right at the right moment. And just and it’s just that sort of like magic realism rom com, like this is the hero. You know, this is the guy you’re gonna fall in love with. Thing only. We later find out it’s because he’s actually lived through that precise moment, some infinite number of times, and so actually does know in advance. Literally every step everyone’s going to take.

S4: I’d say that the moment that this movie won me over that I really thought, you know, this is not just a pedestrian romantic comedy, but it’s it’s something special that I’m going to really engage in was the physical comedy of that dancing on the dance floor where he anticipates the movements of the other guests. And I can’t rember when other things are, but, you know, takes a sip of someone’s drink, you know, keeps someone else from falling down, leaps over another guy as part of his dance move because it was really good physical comedy. And I just respect that, you know, a movie that primarily is heady and verbal and is about ideas. I had this this key crucial moment that was about timing, timing and stunts, you know, very simple stunts, but very effective ones nonetheless.

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S5: So I liked the way that the incident repetition kind of undermines your plans with the infinite repetition of the rom com genre and the scenes that we all see in a gazillion times. But then when you get into the parts where it is actually just you’re supposed to treat this big speech as if it’s the first time anyone’s ever said something like that to someone in a movie, you’d naturally feels like a little air’s been let out of the tires at that point.

S4: I mean, I’m going to stand up for the relative lameness of those speeches. Maybe this is just because I have extremely attractive day. Andy Samberg and I would be happy if he said anything romantic to me. But I think there’s supposed to be kind of lame speeches, right? I mean, she immediately shoots them all down. I think the idea is supposed to be that he is struggling with being a romantic hero and that she is also over it. Right. And some of the jokes in those scenes are how she deflates him after he thinks, you know, I’m really bringing it this time.

S6: I guess I’m thinking specifically of the speech he gives, like at the cave, which is like a very you had me at hello situation. And like, it doesn’t have a you had me at hello line. I mean, that’s a very high bar, admittedly, but like it does. It just went on a long time for it to not be such a good speech and for her to shoot it down. I mean, also just the whole even up to that point. So basically they separated for this extended period of time. He’s totally miserable. He’s realized he’s in love with her. She’s we don’t know. But, you know, she’s probably right. She’s in love with him long before that. But she’s, like, trying to figure out how to get out. She shows back up. She finally sees him again. And she’s like, I have this plan to get us out. And they end up having this fight about the two philosophical poles of the movie, which is like she wants to try together to get on with their lives. It’s worth it to her, even if it doesn’t work, to try to move forward, like even if they die or explode. And he will just wants to stay stuck. And even just in how those converse, their frames, those fight, it’s just such not a fair fight because she’s gonna do it anyway. So there’s like some of the tension of like, well, that whole last piece, it just wasn’t as strong as I said. Maybe it’s not like, you know, I want a romantic comedy. And happily, I’m happy for all the pieces to go on their place. But it’s like you’re just waiting for him to be like, oh, damn, if I don’t do this, I’m gonna not get the girl at all.

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S4: Like I have it. No, you’re right. You’re right that in that particular scene in it, where the fight is, you know, is he going with her or is she going to stay with him? You know, there’s zero chance she’s going to stay with him. Right. And so there’s not really any event that causes him to change his mind. It’s just sort of she wears him down by refusing to do anything different.

S5: Yeah, right. And then a little twist on that moment, as she says, like, okay, you have one more sentence to say to me. And then he does this big, like, run on thing and he’s like, comma, semicolon. Yeah. She’s, you know. And it’s just like you have like grammar, grammar. Humor is what you’re bringing to this. Like, I feel like not only good Nancy Meyers do better than I like in Fletcher could do better than that.

S4: Like I was I raised my hand, make me laugh. I enjoyed Akesson. I had maybe a broader genre question before we get to the ending ending of the movie, which is how do you guys feel like this stacks up to me. Not necessarily stacks up in quality, but how do you feel like it differs kind of conceptually from something like Groundhog Day, which is this kind of foundation of the genre or Russian doll, a recent version of it. Edge of Tomorrow. Happy Death Day. I don’t know. Name your time loop comedy and or drama. What do you think that this brings that’s new? Or how does it rethink things? Because it does feel fresh to me. And I’m really, really surprised that a time loop romantic comedy could feel fresh right now.

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S1: I don’t know. I mean, it’s always like it is like it turns out that maybe that’s like actually a great format for a movie. You know, like, every single thing you just named is so fun. And I would watch it right now. Andrew, tomorrow. Great rationale, obviously. Great. Like Groundhog Day would watch. Like, there is something just very satisfying about it. That can’t be the answer. Right.

S5: Like, I guess the difference with those movies you mentioned, Dan, and I don’t know. This is extremely obvious. And I don’t know why it took me this long to think of it, but because they’re their own movies about one person stuck in a loop right there about I’m stuck in this thing, how am I going to get out and then not about like two or three people.

S7: Let’s go.

S5: Eventually, yeah. The Russian market does get into that. Yeah. But it just something about the kind of my identity of like a couple being stuck in it and kind of just getting sick of each other. I feel like that’s a nice twist on it.

S6: I mean, it is like the first rom com to use that, like it’s a good twist on rom com, like more than it’s a twist on that format.

S4: You know, it’s true. A Russian doll dangles the idea that it’s gonna be, you know, about two people hooking up and then very quickly discards that idea. Right. And this this picks it up and runs with it.

S5: I mean, for me, what it’s really about is I mean, you know, the time travel stuff is like fun. And it makes it interesting. But really like what the pleasure of watching this movie for me is just kind of watching these actors spark off each other. Andy Samberg and particularly Kristen Milli. Audie, I think it’s just like great in this. I mean, you know, people are having, like Kennedy, long discussions about like the time travel mechanics of it. And I kind of just want to talk about, like, her eye shadow. And this isn’t really, like, awesome. God, it was like Sulan like, you know, fuck you attitude. And there’s this great moment when you mentioned they did this kind of flashmob dance in a biker bar. And there’s this moment where, like, Andy Samberg kind of picks her up and they both extend their middle fingers then like spin around in a circle and like that energy that she brings to it. I just find, like, really it may just be my type or whatever, but I just find that really aging.

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S4: And I really just trashing out the AIDS basically.

S5: Right. Yeah, I was just crashing. Yeah. I mean, that’s. What else are you supposed to do. That’s what they’re there for.

S1: So where it is funny that they do like skipped the scene where she puts on so much eyeliner every morning, which she must. And also like it is funny about Christina Muladi, who’s been in so many things and it’s basically excellent and all of them. But he’s never like. Like you do. Does it feel like you’re like she should just maybe be famous now, but it’s like never quite really happened and you’re like, oh, is this gonna be the thing that happens, blah? But I’m not sure that it is. She’s just like, very good, but always like slightly.

S5: You don’t I’m saying, like, I wonder if she’s going to ever break out is like a little more edge in this, which I think helps. Like, she’s been so kind of nice. Like she sort of famously was the mother on how I met your mother. So she’s had this kind of like. Very nice, but sort of like not especially like distinctive roles. And I feel like there is like an edge to Sarah that might I mean, the release circumstance of this movie are perhaps not ideal for a big breakout role, unfortunately.

S1: But it is so weird because maybe more like there’s no way more people haven’t seen this movie now. And what if it came out in a theater like that’s sort of weird about this whole thing is like even if like, I know there’s Hulu, but even Netflix is like cooking the numbers on their movie releases. It’s still like so many million people. I don’t think it’s it is just like it just we don’t know how to pay attention to it in the right way.

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S4: I mean, I feel like I don’t know what the final take is going to be, but the filmmakers must be feeling like they lucked out because they’re premiering their movie in a field in a moment when there’s really not that much new opening. Pretty soon there’s going to be even less, you know. And we people seem like they’re jumping on it. I mean, everybody was talking about this movie when it premiered last week.

S6: Can I compare this movie to a not at all a Groundhog’s Day type of movie? Please. There’s just really plus one that is also on Hulu that DARS, my Erskine and the male actors name I’m blanking on. It is not nearly as good as her, but it is also about not real couple that goes to weddings over and over again. So it’s not like strictly Groundhog Day, but it has like a repetitive element that is also like the best rom com I’ve seen in a year. Like those two movies are both on Hulu and were not released in theaters and like. I just wanted pondering to I like to be almost as good as plus one, and it is almost like it’s probably tighter, but I don’t know, it’s it’s like it’s not quite as good as my is so good in that movie. But they sort of reminded me of each other. They’re like a conversation about to like people who obviously should be together figuring out in the context of a wedding over and over again.

S4: Right. I mean, that’s another genre in and of itself. I mean, setting aside the time loop, there’s the wedding romantic comedy. Right. Which is always about exactly that. Some sort of side participants at a wedding that happened to be trapped anyway. I mean, whether you’re in a time loop or not, a wedding has that quality of, look, we’re here, you know, we’re out of time in this weird place and anything could happen.

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S5: Right. And again, they’re like the repetition of the genre is kind of a theme because June Squibb has this line at the beginning of June. And you America about like, oh, you wouldn’t believe how many weddings I’ve been to. And it’s like, oh, like, let me tell you.

S1: And maybe they’re all that wedding. That’s all we find at the end. Do you think it suggested that June Squibb is in the loop, too? Yes, totally. When she said the last thing she says to him, what did she say? You don’t. Am I making this up? I don’t remember what she said. She said something to him that’s so suggestive that she’s like, been there, done that.

S4: I see. To me, I thought that was I mean, it was just me attributing more profundity to the movie than is really there, but that, you know, that being an old person was comparable to being in the loop. You know, that she was talking from a place of wisdom, of, you know, just having lived a human life, and that there was an analogy between that and this, you know, strange, unnatural life.

S6: I’m sure that that meaning is there, too. But I think, like, the fun of it is that it’s both, you know.

S4: So Christine really outis character figures out Veha self education about physics in a diner with a big pile of books. And by I guess zooming with the same physicist that Sam talked to does cameo. She figures out how to escape the loop. She sends a goat through the loop. We forgot to mention that there this, this kind of hanger on. He thought he had nothing to do with the wedding. But there’s just a local dude named Spud’s that they know who owns a goat. And this goat is the very first thing you see onscreen. Actually, in the very Burchard of the movie, the goat gets sent through the loop or through the cave, rather, and it appears to work because the goat never returns. I sort of wish that we had learned whatever happened to the goat, but we never see the goat again, do we?

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S6: I don’t think so. I don’t believe so.

S4: The goat is just out enjoying life somewhere outside of the time loop.

S6: They set up all this tension around. So she she is educated herself. She has this whole plan to blow them up essentially and sort of bursting them out of the box of energy that they’ve been stuck in. That’s like the gloss of what she’s trying to do. And obviously, the stakes are that they might die because they might literally blow themselves up or they might get blown into who knows where. Right. They’re stuck in this day. Maybe they’ll get blown into the future, maybe get blown into the past, maybe get blown into some other day. And they don’t know sort of what’s going to happen, but they’re going to take this leap together now shows up and agrees to take this leap with her. And then they go into the cave and smooch and blow themselves off. And this and I really thought the movie was going to end then because. I don’t know, it could have ended then, right? We just wouldn’t know. But it definitely would be so dark. What did you want the movie to end? That we don’t get under a pile of rocks. I think it was dark. It was like, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Like, who could say I’m not? I mean, that’s to me. Why? What I find sort of bizarre about the dinosaur move. It’s like if you really want to introduce ambiguity, like there is a lot of ambiguity you could have introduced by not like giving them this perfect, happy ending, which I’m not saying I’m mad about it. But anyway, so they explode themselves and then you see them the next day, like hang out in the pool. They’re like together. And he’s like, we got to go pick up my dog, I guess. It turns out he’s had a dog, his trip to the squad. And then the family who lives in the house, they’re in the swimming pool shows up and they’re like, ha ha, time. I guess they came back today and like, then there’s some dinosaurs. But, you know, time has moved on and they’re like, they’re gonna they’re gonna try to be a regular couple making it in the world.

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S4: Yeah. I wondered what it meant that they went to that pool right away. I mean, to me, it almost seemed like the first thing you would want to do if you got up the next day and and you were not in the time loop would be to get the hell out of there. I don’t know. I guess I guess I don’t know how they got as far as it being broad daylight and then being in the neighbor’s swimming pool without having figured out that they were out of the loop because they seemed to figure it out when the family returned.

S6: No, I think when they first go in the pool, he’s like, I come here and hang out. The family’s not here. I don’t know when they come back. So, like, the joke is like I guess they come back in November 10th. I don’t think that they didn’t think they were out. I think they knew their absolute. They just are making a joke about the family. They didn’t know the family right back.

S4: Yeah. All right. I mean, now that you mention it well, and maybe it would have been a satisfying ending if he had just said, I love you, which is the last thing she says before they go into the loop. Right. The idea being that, you know, they’ve now both kind of committed to a future together if they have a future at all. Maybe there would have been a way of filming the end that wasn’t completely dark and realistic.

S6: No, they could have done that. And then just done the right shot. Right where he would. And he’s not there anymore. Matt Niall’s isn’t there anymore. Well, we don’t know where he is.

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S4: Yeah. Maybe that would have been a better ending. I mean, I will say that as much as I was really down with this movie and like I said, just grateful that a simple 90 minute fun romantic movie exists in this moment in time. The ending with a little bit deflating. The ending had a tiny bit of it. Is that all there is kind of quality. And I’m not sure that the dinosaur, the dinosaurs, I think are beautiful and in the mushroom trip moment, but I’m not sure what they add to the end. Did you. Did you feel good with the NSA?

S5: Oh, I feel OK with it. I feel like at that point my expectations of it had kind of been lowered once. It was clear that it was only kind of going to do so much with the time travel loop and all the various implications of that. So, yeah, it feels like a little bit of a punt. But it also is I feel like it’s in keeping with the movie in the sense that, like. Right. The movie is called Palm Springs, part of the nature of it. Is that OK? You know, technically you can get as far as you can get an a day or so for them to be somewhere else. The ending, I feel like, would just sort of fracture the feeling of it. And I kind of like the idea that even though they’ve repeated, like, you know, however many millions or billions of times in this thing, there’s still kind of acting like they have all the time in the world and the like. The best thing they can do with their time now is just kind of like lie around with each other. They’re not super agenda driven and like it even takes a moment for him. Remember that he has a dog and stuff. But I guess that’s also like the memory of his former life coming back, having forgotten even what his job was and stuff like that. He’s just kind of coming out of the airlock and back into the real world. So I think it works is kind of a nice little Gracenote. This is the sort of movie that I enjoy a good deal and would like to leave just there, not try to make too much of it. So I think if you try to make too much of it, it starts to kind of fall apart. So it’s just, you know, it is sort of perfect for these times, both in the sense of, you know, it being about repetition and trying to get out, but also because it’s just like fine and enjoyable. And you don’t have to think about it too much. And you can just enjoy, like two attractive people being attractive together. And that’s it.

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S6: Decided that maybe you want to say two things. One is. Which is like it’s also. Like they’re perfect for each other in the sense of like now that resolves this thing about them being stuck in this loop, which had different approaches do and all they want to do is like hang on and pool to get like, you know, they are kind of both. Like slackers who are like chill, right? Yeah, I mean, that’s it’s putting across. They’re like, oh, they’re not that different. Like, she just she’s trouble. She just wanted to get out of this Fluke’s situation. Now she doesn’t care. They can drink beer and pool.

S4: Yeah. There’s a sequel to this movie. It doesn’t involve them doing great things and, you know, conquering the world and having incredibly ambitious plans. I see them doing a lot of floating on pizza shaped pool floats and drinking beer.

S6: I mean, I think if someone had pointed this out on Twitter, it doesn’t really feel like it’s taking place in Palm Springs and any, like, super meaningful way. Why? I’ve never been to Palm Springs, so I just like it’s mostly just I mean, it gets it could it’s like it’s like Joshua. It’s like any of those places. But it is like, you know, it could be called any number of things like Palm Springs to me is like also just sort of about like the art deco, like like there’s like a little more people around, like this is like Joshua Tree or something. And this is very fine. Like, I just don’t I don’t know, like the Palm Springs of it. It’s fine. Like it’s a good title for a movie, but I don’t. I don’t know.

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S4: Yeah, the Titlist is fairly generic. As long as we’re talking about places, it’s a weird place to end our conversation. I like the fact that she lives in Austin and then when she tries to go home, she drives from Palm Springs to Texas just because well, partly because I’m Texan, but also I just like when a romantic comedy has something non coastal in it, you know, doesn’t make it seem as if every single character has to live on one or two coasts. All right. Well, I will conclude this by saying that I’m interested now in Max Barbic, how this director and I hope he manages to make another movie that hits as just right. You know, sort of Goldilocks just right. Not perfect, but just good enough as Palm Springs.

S7: And thank you guys very much for coming in to spoil the fun. Thank you for having me. Thank you. Our producer today was Rosemary Bellson. As always, you can write us any spoilers at Slate dot com. If you have some feedback on this episode or ideas for other movies or TV shows or podcasts that we should talk about on this, call it special for Sam Adams and Willa Paskin. I’m Dean Stevens. Thanks for listening. And we’ll be convincing.