The Departed Fan Theory: Mark Wahlberg’s Dignam Used to Be Nice

Another edition of Fan Theory Fridays

This post is part of Fan Theory Fridays, in which we share and explore a new fan theory about a film, television series, book, or other fictional narrative. For more on what a fan theory is—and what it isn’t—please read D. F. Lovett’s previous explorations of the subject.

During a recent viewing of The Departed—a film I saw twice in theaters, have blogged about before, and have seen somewhere between 10 and 1000 times—something occurred to me. Something I hadn’t considered before. A question that seemed unanswered.

That question is this: was Staff Sergeant Dignam normally a nice guy?

“Maybe. Maybe Not. Maybe Fuck Yourself.”

This fan theory’s origin rests in one simple, throwaway line delivered by Alec Baldwin as Ellerby. The line occurs around the 25 minute mark. Baldwin delivers it at the end of a briefing scene, during which Dignam insults a team of cops investigating Frank Costello, including the resident FBI agent who is cooperating on the case.

One of his best scenes, and the one that inspired this fan theory,

At the end of the conversation—after insulting the FBI agent, the entirety of the room, Ellerby and Ellerby’s wife—Dignam departs on the line that “…feds are like mushrooms. Feed ’em shit and keep ’em in the dark.””

Baldwin’s subsequent line in this scene is the following, referring to Dignam after Dignam leaves the room:

“Normally, he’s a very, uh, nice guy. Don’t judge him from this meeting alone.”

Of course, the entirety of this theory rests on Ellerby’s statement in this scene being taken at face value. This might seem challenging, at first, considering that all of Dignam’s behavior throughout the film suggests he is anything but a nice guy. Continue reading “The Departed Fan Theory: Mark Wahlberg’s Dignam Used to Be Nice”


The Marmaduke Fart Paradox and What Should Bale Do

Try googling “marmaduke fart.”  No?  Does that not interest you?  Are you not entertained by what could only be an endless supply of humorous web pages centering around Marmaduke and farts?

If you have decided to type “Marmaduke fart” into a search engine, you probably notice that the blog I Hate Your Favorite Movie is on the first page of your results.  If you click on IHYFM, you will then notice that this is actually a rather intelligent blog that has very little to do with Marmaduke or farts.   Please, check it out if you don’t understand.

This is what is called the Marmaduke Fart Paradox.  Of course, everyone wants their blogs to be read… even if they are being read by people who only visit it once, are disappointed by a lack of the content they were searching for, and don’t come again.  And to have a blog that shows up on the first page of a search term?  That’s ideal… the catch, of course, being that it’s for dog-centric potty humor.

What Should Bale Do gets a fair amount of our traffic from search engine terms.  The good thing is that some of these are clearly from people who are potentially interested in what WSBD has to say: the number one search leading to this site is “bret easton ellis twitter” or “bret easton ellis 24 year old” or something else along those lines.  Which is excellent, because there actually is a post on here entirely about Bret Easton Ellis’s Twitter account.  The same goes for “batman george bush.”  If you end up at What Should Bale Do with such a search, you should find something along the lines of what you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, not all of the search terms that lead here are in the same boat.  Here are some of the more interesting searches that lead people to this site:

Continue reading “The Marmaduke Fart Paradox and What Should Bale Do”

The Fighter vs. The Town vs. The Departed

For whatever reason, it seems that 80% of people cannot discuss the films The Town or The Fighter without mentioning The Departed.  With the recent arrest of Whitey Bulger, it also seems that people have started talking about The Departed even more than before.  I suppose that the temptation is overwhelming: The Fighter and The Departed beg comparison because Mark Wahlberg is in both of them, while The Town and The Departed are obvious rivals because one stars Matt Damon and the other stars Ben Affleck.  Critics and audiences seem to love comparing Affleck and Damon, and, for whatever reason, 90% of people believe that Matt Damon is a better actor.  Even The Onion seems to think that Affleck’s career is so much worse-off than Damon’s that they joked that Affleck wished he was in a Bourne Situation sequel.  (Yes, I realize that article is several years old, but it seems the opinion has little changed). Furthermore, all three films  a) were made within the last several years, b) set in Boston, or the surrounding area, c) were Academy Award contenders or winners, and d) have “The” in the title.

I have had enough of hearing about how The Town is a worse version of The Departed, or that The Fighter didn’t compare to The Departed, which is why I am explaining why The Departed deserves the least amount of respect out of the three films.  An easy obvious solution would be to make excuses for The Town and The Fighter: neither of them were directed by Martin Scorcese, so one might argue that it’s unfair to compare them to the film that earned him a Best Picture.  I will not take that easy route.

Continue reading “The Fighter vs. The Town vs. The Departed”