The Day After Yesterday, Part 1: The Bad Omen
This is a film made of four images – and four images only, taken successively during a snowstorm in a null zone of London – and a spoken narrative that concerns one forthcoming glacial tsunami, one or several Affleckish mammals, and an indistinct circulation of calories, rising and falling in the night. Lacking the roughly $200 million it would take to make this as a film in the more normal sense of the word, especially given the sheer number of Afflecks we would burn through in the battle scenes, I have made it in this way for a substantially lower sum and with considerably more freedom as to the content, style, quantity of ghost gang members, and use of Gary Oldman than a large-scale studio production would usually allow, at least outside of the North Korean film industry.
“Why paint snow, the leprosy of nature?”
Part 1. THE BAD OMEN
An omen, like a dead bird or one who’s totally faking it, is witnessed by Ben Affleck, or, to be more precise, by a slightly haggard version of him that (because there is no who in this film, just that, just apparatuses as far as the eye can see) loves his children very much but is separated from them and living in some variety of a mobile home with bachelor cuisine spilled carefully, one cigarette stubbed out like crumpled dicks into an evacuated can of tuna. He dwells in this dusk of men because his wife (who is either Jessica Alba or Mila Kunis and frankly either will do – despite certain differences – provided that the Alba or the Kunis is made to look tired and overworked with the difficulties of both Mothering and Missing an Affleck yet still maintains very white teeth in spite of the strain and still has a plenitude of moisture beneath the taut and swollen skin that no historically demonstrable trend toward desertification can change, and I mean ever) found his dual obsession with
- his dead father, dead in the way that fathers who chase extreme weather patterns end up, the body never, and I mean never, found after he just went too far, too far Dad (so mutters an Affleck in his stubbling sleep) into the tempest on the outskirts of the Delta and
- the prospect that climate change could generate what he calls a Delta Hyperstorm
too much to handle. His obsessions that is, not the storm as such, even though she loves him too, too much to handle even, such that it must be set free, if a trailer smelling of frozen waffles and unfrozen ejaculate counts as Freedom, and the camera lingers behind an extra sec after she hangs up the phone without comment when he says he misses her, it hangs on the twitch in the corner of mouth, so impossibly pouting and full that our suspicions are confirmed: the bee’s sting was coming from inside the mouth.
The music, meanwhile, will not shut up, swelling with zithers and lush cello ad infinitum every time there is a lip, a bachelor, a title, a father, a delta. A few in the theater have already given up, heart strings pulled and pulled past the point of return. The first evidence of a distinct smell of used scrapple.
Something is witnessed and is interpreted by the Affleck to mean that while that old saying regarding red sky at night or, in a apparently related situation, red sky at morning has plenty to say metaphorically about the complicated history of state socialism, it has nothing whatsoever to say about the queer, simultaneous confluence of red sky at morning and orange in the afternoon and a grey dominance of finely powdered white. Of course, his claims about the unmistakable presence, if less than manifest significance, of this climatological muddle fall on deaf ears, ignored by both
- mainstream meteorologists – You’re just as crazy as your old man! And you’ll probably die the same way! one yells, with mouth bent and slicked red, on the floor of a one-punch long-bar fight after being struck soundly by the one who lost his old man to The Storm, in a bar which, against all odds, is basically a meat-market for meteorologists, because, well, they have to fumble genitals somewhere, and yes, the bar has some weather related name, such as The Stormin’ Pourman – and
- The Church (the Catholic institution, not the Goth bar), which is in theory totally fine with extreme weather that will cleft all earthly existence in twain but that, having all but abandoned grisaille more than a couple centuries back, insists that the purgative rain to cleanse this hallowed orb of its sodomitic filth will be red and orange but not grey or white, for Good God’s Sake.
There’s also coworkers of the Affleck, one of whom is friendly but markedly unfuckable, one of whom is female and hence pining after him although respectful of his far-flung love, and one who is not a coworker but a supervisor and, being Gary Oldman, is not to be trusted, especially as he seems almost too concerned about the effect that the Affleck’s theory is having on his mental well-being and then there is the fact that when handed the report that he promises to pass along to his superiors he locks it in a drawer in his desk, a drawer where there is also a handgun which, for once in the history of the movies, will turn out to be a totally irrelevant fact.
At this point a janitor moves across the frame, he is an older white man, you can tell the film’s stewards and cobblers were really torn, I mean really fucking torn about the whole race issue, because there are twin demands at stake, one of which is realism, in which case given the California setting of the rogue meteorologists he is probably not a white man, and the other is the fact that look, Marty, I don’t give a rat’s dick if it is realistic or not, you’re telling me that you want to have one black or brown guy in the whole film and make him a goddamned janitor, you’re seriously telling me that, shit, if you do that, you could remake The Help with an alternate ending of total race war uprising in which Willow Smith decapitates 8 generations of the KKK with her hair and still no one would hire you again, you’d be cooked, kaputt, blacklisted for life and beyond
Gawd, what an awful pun, listen, if that’s such a big problem why not make Affleck black or mex or something, I mean, not in blackface, that’s not what I’m say, don’t look at me like that Gary, I swear, I just mean can’t we find somebody else?
And given the silence that follows and since there isn’t technically a black or latino Affleck available, an Affleck defined by its affable fusion of the generic with the universal in the form of Normal White Dude, it was decided that, well, you know, fuck realism and how about we just give him a black neighbor.
But he lives in a trailer park, oh no, here we go again…
So they go for a black president, which these days gets the double boost of realism and empowerment.
In the end, they remove the janitor entirely. Because, you know, unions, etc. Sheesh.
A janitor moves across the frame.
So, unswept and unbelabored, the dust gathers high as snow, swallowing the spotless brooms into its grey everpresent.
The dust is, therefore, the inverse visual complement of the three children of the Affleck-Kunis-Alba (AKA) triad, who are
- like their parents, technically two children, yet haunted by a decision left technically unsettled at a casting meeting, such that the the older child constantly slips between genders and hair colors, its mouth a garbled pubescent smear, the freckles flickering in and out of being as inconstantly existent stars or genders might
- living with their mother in a minimal condominium complex, which it has been stressed to us is very safe and protected against the dangers of a world beyond and all its dust, allergies – one of the children, the younger one, being particularly asthmatic which accounts for dramatic scenes of its little face puckering up and throating the world’s night -, ex-janitors, falling birds, their flu, men who are not Daddy, et cetera
- terrifyingly healthy as they press their faces to the double-paned and streakless window, so bursting with genetic input and blood and calibration and precision-fed diet that no one, and I mean no one, is buying the sick act. It’s almost like they ate up all the other kids and stole their energy, a voice called out from near the front of the theater. And as there have been no others in the film present in the film up to this point, this is not just a possibility.
Outside, the snow keeps falling, as inside the dust keeps gathering unwept to mourn and shout, as sure and increasingly certain of its doomish continuity as we are of the fact that the blooming health of these children can only be explained by their methodical consumption of an entire condominium’s worth of other children.