Burning

grouchyeditor.com Burning

 

Until its ending, which I thought was unnecessarily ambiguous, Burning felt like a Korean version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A young man (Ah-in Yoo) falls in love with a free-spirited girl (Jong-seo Jun) in the first half of the film and then, after the girl vanishes, he spends the second half engaged in an obsessive search that leads to some very dark places. But until that abrupt and unsatisfying ending, the movie is compelling and filled with haunting images. Release: 2018  Grade: B+

 

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grouchyeditor.com Namath

 

More Celebrities You Like That I Hate:

 

grouchyeditor.com Ferrell

 

I suppose it’s possible that at some point over the years I saw Will Ferrell (above) in something and thought he was funny but, if so, I’ll be damned if I can remember it.

 

grouchyeditor.com Namath

 

Over the years, I have grown to really, really dislike Joe Namath (above, and at top). He’s neither cute nor amusing. He’s an annoying old drunk with an irritating vocal delivery. Any word with a consonant followed by the letter “l,” Namath adds a syllable. Flute becomes “fuh-lute”; include becomes “in-cu-lude.” Drives me nuts.

 

grouchyeditor.com Oprah

 

Oprah (above) is a predator, preying on people’s emotions from her exalted status as a “strong black woman.” Ugh.

 

grouchyeditor.com Ellen

 

Ellen DeGeneres (above). Hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about her that irks me. Something seems very fake about her. And no, it has nothing to do with watching football games with Bush.

 

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Every day, we are bombarded with fake headlines. Doesn’t matter if what you’re reading is left-leaning or right-leaning or apparently impartial, they all run fake headlines.

I know this, because I used to write some of them.

The problem would be solved if the media learned to regularly use a simple four-letter word: “says.”

A headline that reads “Senator X believes he will win the election,” or “Kim Kardashian wants more space for gerbils” – fake, both of them.

I take that back. They might be true, but the headline writer doesn’t know that. The headline writer is not a mind reader. The only thing the headline writer knows is that Senator X says he believes he will win the election, and Kim Kardashian says she wants more space for gerbils.

 

**

 

grouchyeditor.com Crown

 

I finished season three of The Crown and my verdict is in. The first half of the season is brilliant television. The second half is very good television – not quite up to the standard of the first half, but hey, very good is still very good.

 

grouchyeditor.com Crown

 

How is it that the British seems to have an endless supply of great actors? The same thing happened with the Harry Potter movies. Just when you think they can’t possibly add another outstanding thespian to the cast, they do.

 

**

 

I thought about doctoring a photo and placing Trump’s head on a porn star’s naked body. But then I thought better of it.

I didn’t want to destroy the last shred of sanity remaining in the far left’s collective head.

 

**

 

 

Speaking of heads, the average person has many microscopic face mites living on his or her head – hundreds of them for sure; possibly thousands.

Think about that next time you kiss a loved one.

 

 

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We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet.  They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Hybristophilia.

Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.

 

Hybristophilia

 

 

If you watch a lot of movies () and have an eye for nude scenes (), you’ll probably notice a cinematic fact of life – at least with low-budget productions:  The more nudity in the movie, the greater the likelihood that the actresses can’t, well, act. Or can’t act well. Starlets who do extensive nudity do not generally go on to win Oscars. I mean, watch something like H.O.T.S. and tell me how impressed you were by the actors’ emotional range.

At least that’s how it used to be. Increasingly, the line between girls-who-do and girls-who-won’t has blurred.  These days even the actresses who do win Oscars bare it all at some point in their careers.

I mention all of this because our most recent screener begins with a naked make-out session between two actresses which did not remind me of H.O.T.S. (Sorry, I seem to have that 1979 T&A bonanza on my brain).

The opener of Hybristophilia certainly caught my attention.

And so did the final scene of the movie, which frankly knocked me for a loop. It was as if Scorsese or Tarantino was brought in to this low-budget production for one day of shooting and left after filming an amazing five minutes.

 

The plot:   A small film crew is summoned by a serial killer called “The Sleepy Stalker,” who wants to do an on-camera interview. The killer wants to correct public misconceptions and to explain how he (or she) came to be such a notorious person. The crew obligingly sets up shop at a remote house in the woods and … things go badly.

The good news:  As mentioned above, the opening scene between Deanna Pak and Celisse Graves made me want to see more (yeah, yeah, more skin; but also more of the movie). And that final scene was remarkable. It has images I’ll retain for a long time.

The bad news:  The midsection is in dire need of ruthless editing. The killer drones on endlessly about her (or his) woe-is-me upbringing, with much bemoaning about the cruelty of society toward anyone who is different. Oh, and there is childhood abuse involved, because every serial killer movie has childhood abuse involved.

 

 

Trivia

 

  • That title – we had no idea what it means. See below.
  • How is it that the killer, who we are told was born and raised in the “Watermelon Capital” of Georgia, speaks with a heavy Russian accent? Just asking.
  • If the guy who plays the film crew’s cameraman looks familiar, it’s because you probably saw him in The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. Yes, you read that right. It’s Quinton Aaron.
  • We have to be very careful with this review. According to Wikipedia and other sources, the film’s director, Romane Simon, is the great-grandson of a president of Haiti, and a mixed martial arts expert, and the son (or grandson) of a voodoo priestess.  You tell me:  Should I be worried if he reads this review and doesn’t like it?
  • Also, this guy apparently has money, connections, or … something … up the wazoo. I’d never heard of him, but take a look at how many projects he has in the works: 

 

 

 

The Girls of ‘Hybristophilia’

 

(We could call it “The Girls of Romane Simon,” but that sounds sexist.)

(Wait … we ARE sexist.)

 

The Girls of Romane Simon

 

We asked our resident nudity expert, Rip van Dinkle, to provide the commentary below. Our apologies for that.

Rip and The Grouch interviewed stars Deanna Pak and Lilian Lev, as well as director Simon. The quotes below are from those interviews.

 

Deanna Pak

 

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Rip Says:  Deanna is a very hot Asian-American actress who plays one of the two ill-fated lesbians in the opening scene. From what I can tell (I did some research), this was her first nude scene. Although, according to her interview reply, it was “implied nudity.” This answer confused me, so I was forced to go back and watch the scene again. And again.

Hmmm. Seems to me that if you are clearly bottomless, that’s a bit more than “implied.” But who am I to quibble over words?

 

Deanna (right) and Celisse Graves get comfortable in a cabin in the woods.

Celisse likes what she sees. So do we.

 

Grouch:  I’m guessing that the love scene between two naked women (right before all hell breaks loose) was a great attention grabber. You certainly grabbed my attention. Was this your first nude scene? If so, what did you think of it? Is it difficult to take your clothes off before the crew, or is it no big deal?

Deanna:  I understand this scene was definitely an “attention grabber” type of opening. This was my first implied nude scene, yes. I was still not comfortable with certain parts being shown on screen, so the director, Romane Simon, worked within my limits, so I appreciate that. I felt comfortable on set with the crew and actors and I’m glad that we agreed to be shown on screen (and not shown) [and] remained consistent. I feel like although there was definitely some skin, it was still tasteful and done beautifully.

Grouch:  Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to promote?

Deanna:  You can find my first self-produced pilot, Hot Asian Girl, on my Instagram, which made some festival rounds last year. I also have other movies and TV shows coming up that I can’t speak of yet.

 

 

Lilian Lev

 

Rip Says:  Lilian (also known as Liliana or simply Lili) is a Russian singer-actress striving to make it big in Hollywood. If you Google her videos, you will find one that claims to show her stripping in the background while some dude in the foreground drones on and on in Russian. I don’t know; the chick on the stage doesn’t really look like Lilian to me, but who knows?

 

 

“I’m OK with nudity and my body in a great shape so I would gladly do it!” — Lilian Lev to The Grouch

 

Grouch:  Some of the actresses in the movie had nude scenes, but you did not. Is that something you consciously try to avoid? Have you done nude scenes in any other films?

Lilian:  For my character there was no place in the story for nude scenes. And it wasn’t in the script. I’m ok with nudity and my body in a great shape so I would gladly do it)))

Grouch:  You have a very interesting background. How do you compare being a musical star in Russia with being an actress in Hollywood?

Lilian:  My music career in Russia definitely helped me with acting. I’m a performer more than anything else. It helps with acting for sure. I’m open and charismatic since I was very little. I love performing on stage more than anything else. I was either dancing or singing most of my life. Since I was 7. I have zero shame in front of the audience.

 

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(Click on images for a larger view)

 

(To see this video, click here.)

 

 

 

Sara Hedgren

 

grouchyeditor.com Hedgren

 

Rip Says: Sara appears briefly in a flashback scene. We didn’t do an interview with her, but since she appears topless in this movie, she definitely qualifies as a “Romane Simon girl.” Oh, and we included a couple pictures of her appearance as a stripper in 2016’s The Lone Road. Because, why not?

 

 

 

Sadie Katz

 

Rip Says:  Oddly, Sadie does not get naked in Hybristophilia. I say that’s odd because, of all the actresses in the movie, she has the nudest acting resume. So we naturally couldn’t resist posting a couple of shots from one of her soft-core appearances.

 

 

Below, a couple Sadie shots from 2013’s Hidden Treasures.

 

 

“There’s something really fucking exciting about seeing an actress nude. I know that’s terrible to say, but I think there’s something really fun about it.” — Sadie Katz to “Mr. Skin”

 

Jenna Willis

 

 

Rip Says:  Sadly, Jenna Willis doesn’t show much skin in this movie (nor anywhere else, from what I could tell). But she is very good as a gung-ho reporter, and she appears with Lilian Lev in that knockout final scene (below).

 

 

Layla Dideban

 

Rip Says:  Layla is not in this movie. But she does make a memorable-if-short nude appearance in Blood Runs Thick (below), which is another Romane Simon movie from last year. Hence, she qualifies as one of “Romane’s girls.” Right?

 

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(Click on images for a larger view)

 

 

Romane Simon

 

 

Grouch:  The opening scene was quite an attention-grabber. Is it difficult to find actresses who are willing to take their clothes off for scenes like that, especially since they then get killed and don’t appear again?

Romane:  Actually yes it was so difficult to find an actor that can act and OK with nudity. I was so lucky to find two wonderful talent that was OK with nude scene and I make sure on my set everyone treat each other like family so not only it was a closed set. But I also communicate with them over and over to make sure they were comfortable and ready to go. My assistant Ameena she was like a mama bear to all the ladies on the set. Cause we all was in a cabin in the woods for weeks shooting in the middle of nowhere.

Grouch:  Will you be making anymore horror movies?

Romane:  Yes actually I have 3 horror-related films, one based on my bestselling book Red to Black — The Power of Love, also Voodoo Retribution so excited I also have two other horror film out. Our Way and Blood Runs Thick. I love making horror film. Growing [up] in Haiti around Voodoo help my creativity.

 

 

Last and certainly least, Rip wanted to ask the girls if they thought Hollywood was ready for a non-actor oddball with a small penis. Lilian had trouble answering his question:

Rip:  Hi Lili! I really got into your movie and I thought you were great. You probably haven’t heard of me, but I was kind of an underground celebrity at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant in 2013 and 2015. Do you think I should put that on my acting resume? Can a dude with a small penis become a big Hollywood star? Just asking!

Lilian:  (no reply)

 

Grouch (days later):  Our columnist Rip van Dinkle is disappointed that you didn’t answer his question — did you not see it?  (By the way, we are all very surprised that you haven’t done any nude scenes yet, because it’s obvious you are in great shape!)

Lilian:  I did answer it. Yeah, I’m saving nude scenes for big budget films and TV shows.

 

Rip (second attempt):  Hi Lili! I really got into your movie and I thought you were great. You probably haven’t heard of me, but I was kind of an underground celebrity at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant in 2013 and 2015. Do you think I should put that on my acting resume? Can a dude with a small penis become a big Hollywood star? Just asking!

Lilian:  Unless u r planning to be a porn star — it doesn’t matter.

Below, Rip competes at the third annual Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant. (Click on the image if you need proof that he does, in fact, have a penis.)

 

 

Rip posed the same question to Deanna:

Rip:  Hi Deanna. I enjoyed your movie. In fact, I thought your scenes were the highlight of the movie. Trust me, I know what it’s like to have to bare all in front of an audience. You probably haven’t heard of it, but I was a star at the “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn” pageant. Twice.

If I want to become a Hollywood actor, on my resume under vital statistics should I include information about my “shortcomings”? Why or why not? Thanks Deanna!

Deanna:  Hahaha. I would say magnify your strengths, and work on your “weaknesses” until they become strengths. I don’t think you have to acknowledge every shortcoming, but in today’s world with a one click access to social media, there’s a big audience for people who are real and upfront. So, in that way, it can work in your favor, especially if you are okay with making fun of yourself, but still carry the confidence like “So what? I’m still great” vibes. People actually appreciate when you can be real and not give a crap about every person’s opinion.

Hybristophilia is now available from on-demand video.

 

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Early reviews for season three of The Crown (above) are mostly glowing. What’s strange is that most of the naysayers seem to be members of the British press.

I’ve just watched most of the new season and believe we might as well just give it all the Emmys right now. Yes, it has a new cast, but the drama is just as good as ever.

Just as bad as ever: the Prince of Pedophiles (below).

 

 

Can’t wait for that miniseries.

 

**

 

 

Uh, I don’t think so. A “screw-up” implies something unintentional. This looks more like an intentional hit followed by an intentional cover-up.

 

**

 

 

Apparently much of the mainstream and social media are reluctant to out the Trump “whistleblower.” Screw that. Here is his name and here is his picture:

 

 

Eric Ciaramella

 

He looks exactly like the stereotypical millennial snowflake: soft features, prissy, arrogant expression, and a beard to compensate for a near-complete lack of masculinity.

Unless, of course, it turns out that this guy is not the whistleblower, but is simply some dweeb who toils in a cubicle. In which case … oops.

 

**

 

 

I don’t know. When even Tim Pool finds it necessary to do a story about the fart heard round the world, well …. I’m sure that sooner or later, we’ll get to the bottom of it.

 

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Don’t forget, this is the guy who got excited when prank phone-callers told him they had nude pictures of Trump:

 

 

**

 

Barring some new major scandal in the coming year – admittedly, always a possibility with this president – I think the country should prepare for four more years of Donald Trump.

 

**

 

 

Last week I said that I was dreading the upcoming release of Black Christmas – the second remake in the past 13 years of my all-time favorite horror movie (see my review of the original).

But perhaps I’m wrong. The trailer for the remake doesn’t look half bad.

I was curious about the new version’s director, a woman named Sophia Takal, so I Googled her and discovered that she is also an actress whose resume consists of ubiquitous nude scenes in movies you’ve never heard of — probably not a good sign for the new Black Christmas.

Introducing Sophia Takal:

 

 

Then again, Bob Clark, who directed the 1974 original, was also responsible for Porky’s. So, I guess you never know.

 

**

 

Dinkle vs. King

 

 

 

**

 

More views of the director of Black Christmas:

 

 

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Dolemite Is My Name

 

I’m old enough to remember when Eddie Murphy burst upon the American scene in movies like 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop and, of course, on TV’s Saturday Night Live. It was a dynamic time for Murphy and for his audience, because we hadn’t seen anything quite like him.

So it’s a bit melancholic to see middle-aged Eddie in Dolemite Is My Name, sporting a pot belly and lacking that brash, youthful energy of days gone by. But Murphy retains some of that spark, and in Dolemite he’s given a role that leaves behind fat suits and haunted houses in favor of some depth. Alas, the story of 1970s comedian-turned-movie-“auteur” Rudy Ray Moore is oh-so-familiar and predictable. It’s in the same ballpark as Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist, but not quite as good. Release: 2019 Grade: B-

 

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Bits & Pieces

 

Once upon a time, I cast a vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primary.

I must have been crazy.

 

**

 

Once upon a time, I thought Stephen King was a pretty sharp cookie.

I must have been crazy.

 

**

 

I opened my e-mail inbox and some Web site had sent me this picture of Jennifer Lawrence’s bare ass (and boob):

 

 

It might not be the world’s finest ass, but it is Jennifer Lawrence’s ass.

 

**

 

I often suspect that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham consider President Trump nothing but a useful idiot. Graham seems to want Trump only to keep our troops engaged in endless wars, and McConnell seems to want Trump only to enact tax cuts for the rich and to nominate conservative judges.

But what, exactly, does Trump ever get from them?

 

**

 

I’m glad that I’m not 12 years old anymore. If I was 12 years old today with all of the porn available on the Internet, I would never leave the house.

 

**

 

Once upon a time, when I was a young’un, I cast a vote for John Anderson for president.

Who is John Anderson, you ask?

Exactly.

 

**

 

I’ll say this for Netflix: Like Blockbuster Video in the old days, it is now the nation’s repository of straight-to-video crap. However, unlike Blockbuster, I do not feel compelled to watch more than five minutes of Netflix’s crap, because it doesn’t feel like I’ve wasted my money and time driving to and from the store.

 

**

 

Movie I want to see: Parasite

Movie soon opening that depresses me to think about: Black Christmas

 

**

 

I suspect that a lot of people have kids because they can’t find an adult who will actually love them. Kids, by virtue of being kids, are basically hostages forced to love their parents — or else.

 

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Isn’t it about time we stop building these presidential libraries?

Most of our ex-presidents retire and get rich giving speeches and “consulting.”  Isn’t that enough of a post-presidency perk?

If we must spend taxpayer money on libraries, let’s use it to construct regular libraries in poor neighborhoods, and stop building expensive shrines to these dudes.

 

**

 

Fire or Ice

 

I live in Minnesota and have endured scores of winters here. Last year was especially brutal, with bone-chilling temperatures that went on for weeks. This morning, November 2, I woke up to this depressing sight:

 

 

A few days ago I saw this headline:

 

 

What if the global-warming people have it backwards and Earth is about to turn into a giant ice-cube? I believe there was a Twilight Zone episode about something like that.

 

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Quid Pro Quo, or, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”

 

Silly me. I assumed this is a tactic that’s commonplace among all politicians, presidents, and other people with power.

Sorry, but Democrats seeking impeachment based on quid pro quo strikes me as a continuation of their three-year temper-tantrum-fueled crusade to oust Trump.

It appears that Dems are trying to boot Trump because, unlike predecessors Clinton, Bush, and Obama, Trump is a social bonehead. (OK, OK – Bush came close.)

Unfortunately for Nancy Pelosi and company, being a social bonehead is hardly a high crime or misdemeanor.

Plus, you are conducting secret impeachment meetings based on testimony from a secret whistleblower and if anyone in the public squawks about this, your reply is “just trust us.”

Uh … sure.

 

**

 

Disgraced California Rep. Katie Hill is blaming her affair(s) with subordinate(s) on the patriarchy and/or misogyny.

My guess is that if her nudes were hot, she’d still be in office. Instead, we had to see this:

 

 

Also … who at the Daily Mail did that black-bar censoring of Katie’s crotch? A third grader?

 

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Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery ….

Usually when a long time goes by without our hearing from or about some big movie star, it means it won’t be long before we’re reading an obituary.

Haven’t heard squat from these guys in quite awhile ….

 

**

 

 

According to The Daily Caller, the guy pictured above is a “Hollywood superstar.” Guess I need to pay more attention to pop culture.

 

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Mandy Kaplan (see sidebar) and Johnny Giacalone play a married couple experiencing the seven-year-itch – scratch that; seven-year-itch implies pining for new romantic partners. What these two have is more like “it’s-been-seven-years-and-nothing-about-you-lights-my-fire.”

After consulting with a marriage counselor, Nick and Willa embark on a 30-day program to spice up their love life. The program, however, is less Hallmark and more Hamster.com. Anyone game for anal sex?

 

 

Pros:  Although the film is raunchy, at heart it’s old fashioned and feel-good. The two leads are likable, which they pretty much have to be in a movie like this, and several of the supporting characters are a hoot. A few scenes are flat-out hilarious.

Cons:  The tone is often peculiar. 30 Nights mixes a Disney-movie sensibility with hard-core interludes. Sometimes this works because the contrast is so stark that it tickles. (Remember watching “June Cleaver” speak jive in Airplane!? Imagine June and Ward experimenting with anal sex, instead.) At other times this tonal juxtaposition just feels … off. I mean, golden showers in a feel-good comedy?

But there are several laugh-out-loud scenes, which is a tough find in 2019.   Grade:  C+

 

 

Director: Tom Metz III  Cast: Mandy Kaplan, Johnny Giacalone, Dan Fogler, Katie Walder Release: 2018

 

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From the Editor:  We asked Smallest Penis in Brooklyn contestant and Grouchy Editor contributor Rip van Dinkle to interview the star of 30 Nights of Sex to Save Your Marriage, Mandy Kaplan.

We did this not because we have anything against Ms. Kaplan, who was charming and a good sport; we did it because, well, we lost a bet to Dinkle and owe him an interview.

 

Rip van Dinkle:  As you know, the plot concerns a married couple trying to spice up their love life. To that end, they attempt all sorts of wild and crazy things. Or all sorts of tame and sensible things, depending on your perspective. Do you think couples had better sex lives in, say, the 1950s, or today, and will it be better or worse 50 years from now? 

Mandy Kaplan:  Being only 24 years old (what?) I wouldn’t know what things were like in the ‘50s. Was that the Mesozoic period? I assume people have always been kinky as hell, just less open about it. 50 years from now I assume everyone will be too open about their sex lives which will kill the fantasy or mystique. It is my firm belief that we are living in the sex sweet spot. Ooh, potential name for the sequel!

 

 

RVD:  As a male with a penis, I am often confused by the female point of view. On the one hand, we men are told never, ever to send “dick pics” in an e-mail. On the other hand, I know from first-hand experience that lots of women enjoy going to pageants where men show their little willies on a stage and get measured by female judges. Please explain.

MK:  We clearly hang in different circles. I have never heard of these pageants, but assume the women enjoy emasculating the men and feel this is a safe way to do it. Seems to be in line with something like a dominatrix (one of my favorite scenes in 30 Nights!)

RVD:  Finally, it seems that just about the only body part it’s still OK to laugh about is the tiny pecker. If you ever star in another sex comedy in which a role calls for a man with a wee one, I am hoping that you’ll consider Yours Truly for the role so that I can become a big Hollywood star. Deal?

MK:  Wait, you’re NOT already a Hollywood star? I was told this was George Clooney’s alias. Damn.

 

 

From the Editor:  We had to explain the meaning of “emasculate” to Rip. We did this by showing him this definition:

 

 

Below, Dinkle is measured by a female judge at the Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant.

 

 

“I have never heard of these pageants, but assume the women enjoy emasculating the men”

 

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