Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Dexter’s Alternate Ending and Kurt Russell in Fast 7

Dexter’s Alternate Ending and Kurt Russell in Fast 7

Photograph via artsonline

Dexter’s Alternate Ending

It feels like the end of an era! For the last eight years, Showtime’s Dexter has been making its audiences question their own moral compass as they grow to love—yes love—a serial killer with a very particular moral “code.” Until this Sunday’s series finale, Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall, killed only bad guys, well, most of the time that is.

To be honest, at first I was completely against watching this show. Who wants to see murder week after week; isn’t there enough of that already? But, a few episodes in, I was hooked by the characters and their dark humor banter. Like all shows that have been on for nearly a decade, Dexter has had its ups and downs, but the last two seasons in particular certainly did not disappoint. We get to see Dexter understand and embrace his humanity, a part of himself he has been fighting to find and accept all along. And for those that watched HBO’s incredible series Six Feet Under way back when (which I’d argue is still hands down the greatest written TV drama), where Michael C. Hall plays the emotionally volatile David Fisher, it is especially moving to see the finesse with which he portrays Dexter, showing the emotional breakdown of a character who is incapable of expressing emotion the way a “normal” person might.

Without giving away too many finale spoilers here, I’ll just say that the (SPOILER ALERT) ending certainly doesn’t foreclose movie potential. When asked about this in an interview, Michael C. Halls said, “You know, there’s been talk about that possibility, but I struggle to see it being worthwhile. I mean, if somebody can put something in front of me that was compelling, I would be excited, sure, but I have trouble imagining it.” I guess that means I best start writing my Dexter the Movie screenplay before someone beats me to the punch! (The Killer of Miami, perhaps, has a nice Shakespearean ring to it)

However, there are many fans dissatisfied by the show’s arguably sentimental conclusion. According to E!, “more than 60 percent of Dexter fans believed Dexter Morgan should die in the end.” Former Dexter producer Clyde Phillips responds to this by disclosing, for the first time ever, his alternate ending to Dexter. Whether you are a devoted viewer (like me), have never seen the show, or just haven’t kept up, this ending debate is interesting to consider in response to our notions of “good” and “bad” or “evil.” Who determines which person belongs to each category? And more importantly, who decides what “ending” he or she deserves?

—Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Poetry Editor

Kurt Russell in Fast 7

The news that Kurt Russell{{1}} will be joining Fast 7 may be disappointing to fans of the franchise, not because Russell is incapable of playing an anti-hero in an absurd action movie, but because his appearance is possible only after Denzel Washington turned down the role. For context, the Fast and Furious franchise is the biggest in the history of Universal Studios. Its six movies have grossed over $2.3 billion, while costing just—just—$569 million to make. The main allure of the first one, The Fast and the Furious (2001), is Vin Diesel driving souped-up street cars and then pressing the NOS (Nitrous Oxide System) button when he needs a 750 mph speed burst. Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and Paul Walker are also involved. The sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), mistakenly cuts Diesel and asks Paul Walker to carry the movie, but makes up for it by adding Tyrese, Ludacris, and Eva Mendes. The third, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), cuts everyone and has Bow Wow star. It has a straight-to-DVD feel. However, Jeremy Lin directs, and that sets the stage for the fourth, Fast & Furious (2009), in which Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez, and Brewster reprise their roles . . . which leads to Fast Five (2011), which brings back everyone, including Tyrese and Ludacris; adds The Rock (i.e. Dwayne Johnson); and is set in drug-and-corruption-riddled Rio de Janeiro. What could go wrong? What could go right? On a $125 million budget, the movie made over $626 million, which paved the way for Fast & Furious 6, released this past spring. Everyone’s in it, and The Rock is so muscle-y his body shape is a trapezoid. The result: $160 million budget, $788 million box office. People love these movies.

You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned nothing about the plots. I’ve seen Fast Five twice, and I saw the most recent one over the summer, and I can’t remember what either was about. Both are just a lot of stunts so mathematically improbable Vulture enlisted math experts to run the numbers on the safe heist and cargo plane runway. In these movies, there’s no such thing as the real world, yet family is the main theme and the force propelling the plot—the guys and girls get together mainly because they’ll do anything for one another (Paul Walker is married to Vin Diesel’s sister), even if their relationships are never explored; we’re to assume they’re all best friends.{{2}} Contradictions abound, like when the Fast 6 villain starts a speech by telling Vin Diesel that “all men have a code” and ends it by saying, “You’re lucky you live by a code; most men don’t.” (Quotes from memory.) Though the franchise has existed for over a decade, it’s taken the executives that long to figure out the two tenets on display in the last two massively successful editions: any action movie is eight times more enjoyable with The Rock; and when the post-9/11, post-Internet 2.0 America doesn’t have space for serious action movies about serious terrorism, coat your action movies in a veneer of irony.

SPOILER ALERT: Anyone who stayed through the Fast 6 credits knows that the movie-makers are going bigger and badder by adding Jason Statham and Kurt Russell. He’s no Denzel, but surely he’ll be fine.

—Nathan Schiller, Editor

[[1]]Useless sports/Hollywood trivia: Kurt Russell’s nephew, Matt Franco, was a Major League Baseball utility player who holds the record for pinch-hit walks in a season, with twenty.[[1]]

[[2]]The characters are most humane at the celebratory barbeque that tends to cap these movies, meaning in these scenes they most resemble people playing actors ostensibly playing characters, rather than aliens created to make a studio a ton of money.[[2]]