When I go to the cinema, I like to see a double feature. Or a triple even, but I do that very rarely. Once I did a quadruple if you can believe me. I think I could physiologically manage five or six full-length features one Saturday. But of course, there is no way the cinema would be showing that many interesting films. Anyway, I save time not commuting and I keep the environment a little cleaner as well that way.
Something funny happened again last time. I was watching Killing Them Softly, a revisionist gangster movie with Brad Pitt going around and killing people weaker than himself softly, he likes to kill them softly, with a distance and without the unnecessary tedious sentiments. The film has a bunch of strong supporting actors one of which is Scott McNairy in the role of a daring robber and one of those men weaker than Brad Pitt. Nobody can be stronger than Brad Pitt in a film with him.
Afterwards I saw Ben Affleck’s mission to Teheran — Argo — and Scott McNairy was there too. Again in a strong supporting role. Argo also stars Bryan Cranston and I incidentally watched an episode of Breaking Bad the day before (rewatching it slowly and complementing that with the wonderful insider podcast, I am currently at season 3, episode 8) and I could swear I heard Bryan Cranston yelling “Just do your fucking job!” at some dude like he does in Argo, he says the same thing.
Going back in time I saw The Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods one night. Both starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and what’s really a striking coincidence, both are written by Joss Whedon. Going back even further I remember having seen Black Swan and The Green Hornet together. Note the pattern in the titles here: color + animal.
What’s going on? I am opening Unweaving the Rainbow and I am going to read Chapter 7 again after some years where Dawkins talks about something very similar if I recall correctly which he describes as PETWHAC – Population of Events That Would Have Appeared Coincidental … Correct, he talks exactly about this uncanny coincidences. Here’s an excerpt:
I once had a girlfriend who had the same birth date (though not in the same year) as my previous girlfriend […] There are many other ways in which we could pair people off and still end up noticing an apparent coincidence. Two successive girlfriends with the same surname, although unrelated, for instance. Two business partners with the same birthday would also come within the petwhac; or two people with the same birthday sitting next to one another on an aeroplane. Yet, in a well-loaded Boeing 747, the odds are actually better that 50 per cent that at least one pair of neighbours will share a birthday. We don’t usually notice this because we don’t look over each other’s shoulders as we fill in those tedious immigration forms. But if we did, somebody on most flights would go away muttering darkly about occult forces.
Nothing mystic about my cinema coincidences I think. It’s film industry, people work on multiple projects, and I consume them. One can likely see a new Woody Allen movie every year. It’s unlikely the local multiplex is showing two movies both written by the same person. Yet it happens.