By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist October 29, 2013 at 2:21PM
Yes, for a film that none of us wholeheartedly loved (and some of us vehemently disliked), we remain kind of fascinated with the Ridley Scott’s toxic morality cesspool that is “The Counselor." Or rather we should call it Cormac McCarthy’s “The Counselor” because he is probably the true author here, in the best sense of the word. Scott—who mostly shoots the script as is to the letter—is more like the vessel and filmmaker who processes it to the screen, rather than the auteur who birthed it. Such is the nature of faithfully adapting the works of Mr. Bleakness and Lack Of Humanity himself.
In all seriousness though, “The Counselor” is a fascinating work because of the many ways that it fails (here's another piece we did on 5 wtf moments from the movie itself). The screenplay by McCarthy reads like another one of his great books, or perhaps an extended short story given that it's only 116 pages long. But one of the fundamental issues with the movie is just how uncinematic it is, at least in the traditional sense, and that’s the key problem of the transition to the big screen. In short, what works on the page doesn’t always work onscreen (and perhaps someone who read the script might have recognized this). McCarthy’s story is much like one of his novels, dark, twisted, hopeless and bleak as all get out. It’s a cruel tale of fate with the gods dispassionately looking down from above at the poor, dumb simpletons with the hubris to believe that they can outrun destiny and escape the immorality of their actions. In terms of trying to dissect why it doesn't work on film, as some have tried to, it has to be said that there is a bit of an ineffable quality to it (here’s our full review, btw).
Part of the problem is, aside from many philosophical digressions, that each monologue tends to say basically the same thing about greed and many of them act as a warning that the Counselor can’t heed over and over again. Then there’s the way people talk. There’s the philosophical cowboy (Pitt), the somewhat less philosophical vampire (Diaz), and the philosophical douchebag (Reiner). Some can argue that “The Counselor” is life’s equivalent of a septic tank spewing shit and that’s really all there is to it. Plot-wise there are circumstance in motion that The Counselor—the guy who erroneously believes he is the smartest guy in the room at all times—simply cannot undo; it’s like a man who’s trying to prevent the mudslide he’s causing with a spoon. But, we digress...
Despite some rumors to the contrary (or things we heard anyhow), there’s not a lot cut out of “The Counselor,” meaning there’s very few scenes missing in their entirety. However, many scenes are pretty ruthlessly cut down and others trimmed wherever possible. So below, we picked five of the best deleted scenes (i.e. ones didn’t make it to the final cut of the movie), the five most interesting scenes in their full extended form and 10 of the best quotes overall. Btw, if you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read this piece. It won’t make a lick of sense to you (and there will be massive spoilers).
The 5 Most Notable Deleted Scenes From "The Counselor"
1. Reiner’s “I Vant To Eat Your Pooosy” story
Javier Bardem’s Reiner character is a raconteur. We understand that from his now-infamous, burned-into-your-mind hilarious catfish monologue. (Which we discussed here and in this feature about weird and disturbing sex scenes), but in the movie we don’t really experience the full extent to which he tells stories. Some of them that have a point—the catfish scene is a long winded way of telling the Counselor that Malkina is unpredictable and dangerous—and some that don’t (hence the reason they were cut). Asie from that one, Reiner tells the Counselor one more long winded and hilarious story. This one involves a mutual friend named Peterson whose mother is from Brazil, thus he speaks Portuguese. Peterson’s Brazilian cousin comes to town, doesn’t speak a lick of English, but asks Reiner and a group of fellas at a nightclub to tell him how to say, “may I have this dance?”
Sensing a moment, the gang instead fucks with the Brazilian and tells him to say, “I vant to ate you poossy” instead. The cousin practices it over and over again until he’s got it down and then goes onto the dancefloor to find his mark. He leans in, gives his rehearsed speech and of course takes the woman aback. The group of guys bust into hysterics and the woman, noticing their antics, she eyes them, grab Peterson’s cousin and then “takes him out to this Mercedes van in the parking lot and proceeds to fuck his brains out.” She then parades him back inside and she “gives him this big sexy kiss and she cuts her eyes over at us to make sure we’re watching and she sends him back to the table.” When the cousin finally calms down enough to tell the story and its translated, it’s revealed he gets the works, a blowjob, etc.
The punchline is that Peterson himself then says, “fuck it” and tries to deliver the same line to other girls to see how far he gets. Peterson, who approaches someone he doesn’t realize is a married woman doesn’t get far and gets his head punched in. He flies under a table, lifeless (everyone actually thinks he’s dead for a while) and the husband and wife, much to everyone’s surprise, don’t even bother leaving the bar. It’s another hilarious, long (even longer than the catfish) monologue, and while it’s funny as hell, one can understand why it was cut from the movie.
2. The Mysterious Biker And The Dog Food Scene.
The man driving the Kawasaki motorcycle (Richard Cabral) in the movie is who exactly? Who does he work for and what’s his deal exactly? That’s not really the point of “The Counselor” and if you’re stuck on plot holes like that one, you’re going to dislike the movie even more. And yes, even the script doesn’t shed much extra light on him. We do know from the movie that the Kawasaki biker (or Young Man as he’s known in the script) is the son of Ruth (Rosie Perez), the prison inmate that The Counselor represents and is somehow connected to the drug deal that goes down. In the movie, he picks up a package that allows him to drive the truck that will eventually take a cargo of drugs to Chicago. But “The Counselor” is, if nothing else, full of betrayers upon betrayers so before he can do anything with the gizmo that gets the truck in gear, he is beheaded. The script tries to give him a little bit of texture. He goes to the store to buy dog food and the lady behind the counter asks him, somewhat stupidly, if he has a dog. The long and short of their exchange is that the Young Man tells her he does not have a dog and instead he eats dog food as part of his daily diet. In fact, he eats nothing else because it helped him lose almost 30 pounds. He also mentions that he wound up in the hospital, to which the woman asks if it was because of the dog food.
No, he replies, “Oh no maam. It wasn’t anything like that. I was sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me. You take care now, you hear?” In other words, the Young Man who is later revealed to own a pit bull is a sarcastic dick. Again, fun texture, but totally unnecessary for a character that is otherwise just a (fairly opaque) plot tool.