Aya vs. The Big Boys

AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS: SCARFACE + APOCALYPSE NOW

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“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find that Saturdays are for the boys!!!” 

This week on AYA VS, THE BIG BOYS, a podcast about watching “boy movies” for the very first time, Kevin and Aya face down two of the sweatiest sweaties in all the land: Brian De Palma’s SCARFACE and Francis Ford Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW. The only Coppola film Aya had seen previous to recording was BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, and the only De Palma she’d seen? Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” music video.

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OK, folks, let’s talk about Fidel Castro.

Think of your most hated man… Visualize him. Smell him. Now imagine what his favorite film must be. There’s a very good chance you just thought of SCARFACE. One of the most quotable, hyper-masculine, and obnoxiously lionized films ever made, this may very well be the biggest big boy the pod has ever covered. This is the dorm room poster to rule them all. Alongside the KPM greensleeves and an Otis Redding Greatest Hits compilation, SCARFACE may be the most sampled piece of media in all of hip hop, probably even all of pop culture… If it ain’t the most, it’s most certainly top five. And with most big boys, it’s victim to gross misinterpretation and lack of critical insight from many, on both sides of the worshipping/hating spectrum. How do you walk away from SCARFACE thinking any of this humid grotesquery is worth recreating? *Extremely problematic Tony Montana accent* Are you fucking crazy? At the heart of this very maximalist, insane movie is a sweeping portrait of a diaspora in a swelling nation bound to burst by its seams, the duality of falsely promised stability from war-mongering authoritarians and the street-side chaos of prospering under capitalism. It’s no mistake that the film charts the presidential changeover of Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. For being a Latin-American narrative with nary a Latin-American in creative control, SCARFACE is shockingly potent, largely in part to its acknowledgment of a greater, more corrupt seed rooting all of us in the dregs together.

On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the duo dives into Aya’s very first viewing of SCARFACE, an American institution, with observations on the warring political leanings between conservative Oliver Stone and nigh-apolitical Brian De Palma, a discussion between two Latinos on why Latinos have never cancelled Al Pacino for Cuban minstrelsy, and a square-off on just how badly Aya and Kevin want to suck Steven Bauer’s co-

Apocalypse Now Image

From one bearded Italian-American filmmaker adored by men to another, we transition from Brian De Palma to friendly peer, Francis Ford Coppola.

One of these days, Aya and Kevin will get around to discussing THE GODFATHER (which, of course, Aya has not seen), but until then, they discussed his third-most iconic motion picture, an absolutely insane sentence to write since APOCALYPSE NOW would rightly be any filmmaker’s most grandstanding achievement. War is Hell, and often so are war movies, these crusty exercises in machismo and nationalism, but they’re also some of the rare times men are allowed to be unapologetically sensitive in film, to embrace the friendship of other men and intimately engage with one another. Classic fragile masculinity to make it so the few times we see boys cry in movies without making a joke of it is when there are bullets whizzing over their scalps. APOCALYPSE NOW is about the relationships of men to other men, but it’s hardly loving—this is a caustic, horrific exploration of psyches broken long before being dropped into the Nung River made to ruthlessly pursue one another in the name of American glory, AKA, maintaining the fabrication of the United States’ sterling global reputation. It’s sour, it’s sweaty, and it might paint Vietnam more horrifically than it should, but it’s certainly an apocalypse.

On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the duo enlist themselves for Aya’s very first viewing of APOCALYPSE NOW, with insights on whether “anti-war” movies can actually be anti-war, the brash male-auteur egoism that has come to define directors of “great cinema,” and just how badly they want to suck Frederic Forrest’s co-

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