More and more, I notice that odd coincidences in relation to the Mid Week Challenges. In this case, I had just come back from a cheap Tuesday at the discount theatre, only to discover that the MWC for the week was about movies. The Challenge was to have 2 or more HL characters expressing opposite views on the same film. What a perfect situation, the movie was still fresh in my mind, and my first reaction was ambiguous enough that I could "play" both roles.


West Edmonton Mall would always be like a second home for Deb, even though it was a great risk of discovery. Friends and family from her previous life still came frequently to The Mall, but she could not stay away. This visit was a reward for a project completed under deadline: the discount theatre, and a show she had wanted to see for quite some time.

It is a strange but well-known phenomena, that the cheaper the movie, the more intense the opinions and this was no exception. By the time 6 feet of irritated Scot stiff-armed his way through the exit, the debate was in full swing. "Why in the world did I let you convince me to see that show? They were obviously trying to make a new 6th Sense, and they didn't even do that very well."

Deb was rushing to catch up to his long, angry strides, but did not hesitate to talk back. "We paid $2 apiece; for a two buck movie, I think it was pretty good."

"I can't believe you're comparing what we are to that story!"

"I never said that, I just pointed out that being who we are gives us a unique perspective on that characters experience." She used the word who on purpose, reminding him that they were still in public. "An ordinary man coming to the realization that he is not who he thought he was. Just look at the scene in the kitchen. Which was it that frightened him so much: his son with a loaded gun in his hands, or the possibility that the boy might be right?" MacLeod just gave a snort, an implied Been there, done that. She tried a different tack; "Get off your high horse, Mac; you were laughing as much as I was during the weightlifting sequence. ‘ How much is it this time?’ / ‘All of it’ / ‘What else could we put on?’ The gleam in his eye was just perfect!"

"Its hopeless. I'm trying to have a rational discussion with someone who can quote dialogue after seeing a show only once."

Deb sighed; he just didn't understand. She had to divert her attention to guide them in the right direction, gathering new arguments at the same time. "You just don't understand, I can tell. You have to be a comic book enthusiast to truly appreciate this film." Mac snorted again at the use of the word film. "Something doesn't have to be high cinema to be a good film."

"Tell me then, one thing that I'm supposed to appreciate."

"Camera angles."

"Camera angles?" This time she had provoked thoughtful curiosity rather than derision.

"Scenes and images that are framed, as if in a comic panel; skewed perspective, like the boy watching TV upside down; cutting quickly between images instead of panning, again as if you're looking at a sequence of panels. It all subtly suggests the graphic art form without trying to be a comic book."

Before MacLeod could answer, the debate was interrupted as they arrived at their destination; he looked up at the sign and moaned hopelessly. "We're supposed to meet her here?"

"That was the plan; is there a problem with that?"

"It's just that the last time Amanda went to a place called Death by Chocolate, she took it as a personal challenge."

"Quit exaggerating!"

"What makes you think I'm exaggerating? If I live to be a thousand, I will never understand the relationship between women and chocolate."

Deb laughed as she perused the illustrated menu; "Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, you never will." Mac ordered an overpriced hot chocolate while Deb requested a dessert the size of a small meal. The food would be delivered to their table as soon as it was ready. Amanda's table was easy to identify both by its pile of shopping bags and by the dinner place sized sampler she had ordered. As the two ladies grinned at each other, Duncan took his seat and ignored them both.

"What's wrong with the Boy Scout this time?" asked the dark-haired Immortal between mouthfuls of rich, creamy chocolate.

"Don't mind grumpy here, he didn't like the movie."

"Which one did you see?"

"Unbreakable, it finally got around to the discount theatre. Been wanting to see it for a while."

Amanda nodded sagely; "I saw that one; not bad. Bruce Willis doesn't look bad for a man his age."

"Actually, I've always thought that for a dramatic actor, Bruce makes a good action star. This time, though, he did a pretty good job."

Mac scowled to himself, muttering "Just another 6th Sense; he won't last."

Deb turned around and confronted him, "Stop using that argument over and over again. 6th Sense you can only truly enjoy once, after you know the secret, it's over. I'd like to see this movie again right now, just to find all the clues they left."

"The black gloves," Amanda spoke up without hesitation. Deb nodded; "That was one of them. I should have seen that one sooner: classic villain sign."

Seeing them both on the same side, Mac sighed; "Should I just give up right now?"

Amanda flashed a smile; "Don't you see it, girl? He doesn't want to admit he recognizes himself in this story, because he envies the hero. This unbreakable man has a family: a son who's proud of him, a wife, however fragile that relationship may be. Not only does he have them; he also keeps them, even after the revelation of his true nature. MacLeod is jealous."

When Duncan didn't deny it, the young author's eyes widened. "Is she right?" a reluctant nod. "I don't know if I'm surprised or disappointed; I'd expect more from you."

A new plate of tempting treats arrived at that moment, and Deb was momentarily distracted. She dropped the subject in favour of her fork; the table was silent for quite some time while they ate. Mac even managed to wrestle a couple of mouthfuls away from her, at the risk of his own fingers each time.

Deb always left a movie in high spirits, and she often felt a need to discuss it for hours; even chocolate couldn't subdue her for long. The server had barely taken away the plates before her thoughts found voice once again. "What I think intrigued me the most was Elijah's theories, especially the idea of them being at two extremes of a continuum. All the fragile people: the ones vulnerable to injury, to illness; balanced by the Unbreakable man. It made me think of what We might be balancing out—cancer, AIDS, centuries of plagues." Duncan looked at her seriously; even Amanda seemed thoughtful. "What I'm trying to say is that it made me think; and that's the finest compliment I can give any film."

As I said, when I first walked out of Unbreakable, I hadn't really decided if I like it or not. In the process of writing, though, my thoughts about the movie sort of gelled and by the end, my R/L view of the whole experience matched Deb's almost exactly.

Oh, and for those of you keeping score, this story was the first recorded mention of Death By Chocolate.

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