Cacti sit motionless. The sun beats down. Bloodthirsty crows circle forebodingly overhead. Prufrock drives his own Vintagemobile through the starkest of stark Nevada deserts, which clever location scouting dictates is really a park in Orange County with one dead maple tree and a particularly nasty-looking sparrow. You can almost hear Affleck at the first production meeting all, "Well, there's this one kind of isolated spot near Malibu I once spent about twenty-eight days in, which…oh, never mind." NotCooper holds his cell phone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other, informing Grace, "The man I spoke with, his name is Bodnick. What's his title at the casino?" The camera frames Prufrock at a different angle every time it cuts back to his car. That QuirkyLens 2000 is a miracle cure for this somewhat repetitive dialogue! Grace informs him that Bodnick "is not listed at the casino," which inspires in Prufrock the reply, "He's not listed at the casino?" I believe the only way to end this line of children's-birthday-games dialogue is by exclaiming, "Oh, a duck" before moving on to cake and punch. They banter about Prufrock's natural inclination for gambling, Grace claiming, "You're good with numbers. You could at least break even." But, as if seeking to prove a larger allegorical point than merely highlighting the degradation of a boozy night of collecting free whisky sours while your hands turn black on the nickel slots at "New York, New York" (this, um, happened to a friend of mine), Prufrock fortune-cookies, "Everyone loses in the end." Eh? He's just so disoriented from being filmed at so many different angles that the blood is rushing to his head.
Beep beep! Mercury hits retrograde right inside the Vintagemobile, as Prufrock's phone starts to beep with a low-battery alert. He asks Grace if she remembered to charge the phone because, when in doubt, blame your assistant. Perhaps two or three million fewer iterations of the sentence fragment "not listed at the casino" could have ensured many further hours of chatting, text messaging, and Snake. Shut up, Ben Affleck. Montage of Things Breaking, as the heat on the radiator climbs into the danger zone, the radio fails to register any stations, and the car finally succeeds in overheating, smoke pouring out from under the hood. Prufrock mutters a resigned "of course." Well, that's what happens when you drive a car from The Past. I don't see him careening off the road in a product-placed Toyota, do you?