Fincher on the Oscars and Dragon Tattoo – “Too Much Anal Rape”

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A friend of mine once had a theory we called the “anal sex rule,” which indicated that films featuring anal sex do not win Oscars. It seemed a very good theory and one we’ve come back to again and again (so to speak). And now, Mr. Fincher seems to agree, as he told Entertainment Weekly in a candid chat — and he’s right, you can’t win. The internet is a Greek chorus that monitors and judges ALL behavior. “They” so badly wanted to cast Fincher as the asshole last year (not warm and fuzzy enough to be an Oscar winner, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth) and with Benjamin Button as the guy who “wanted an Oscar.”

“There’s too much anal rape in this movie” to get nominated, he says, half-jokingly. “I think we’re very safe.”

Fincher says he isn’t preparing for the Oscar process, but he points out that “we didn’t gear up for it last time, either” (2010′s Social Network scored eight nominations). And he’s not opposed to campaigning, especially if it helps out his collaborators. “When it came to Benjamin Button, I wanted it for Brad [Pitt] more than Brad wanted it for himself,” he says. He also wanted to support fellow Social Network nominees like screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and star Jesse Eisenberg. “I thought that kid f—ing brought it, and I was incredibly thankful to be able to be there and record that performance. It’s an exceptionally brave and tremendous performance. When a movie is celebrated in whatever way, I think it’s bad form not to engage in some way, because people shower you with goodwill. It seems only polite to acknowledge it and be thankful for it. And then there’s 90 percent of it that is, ‘If you’re going to do this Q&A, you have to do this Q&A. if you’re going to do this, you have to do that.’”

More….

“It’s an incredible drain — a cosmic drain,” Fincher continues. “Because you have to be on your best behavior. Every little weird facial tic that you may already have is now going to come under weird scrutiny on f—ing YouTube.” As an example, he tells a story about last year’s Directors Guild of America Awards ceremony. “It’s so funny: It may have been in the middle of [King’s Speech director] Tom Hooper’s acceptance speech, somebody who shall remain nameless who was seated at the table with me got up and left. I stayed to the end and wished Tom the best, did the whole thing, got a drink, left late. Then one of these bloggers was like, ‘Fincher bolted right in the middle.’ I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I actually stayed and I got credit for bolting.’ You just can’t win.”

Last year’s debacle has faded into memory at this point — there is no arguing about which film is better — they are different movies that appeal to different people. Feeling and thinking are two very different things and most people go to the movies to be MOVED, not necessarily to think, especially tired and retired Academy members who have been there, done that. That is why I’m glad the Dragon Tattoo isn’t being considered an “awards movie” right now. The Oscar beast, I think, kills all beautiful things — but those dead things eventually sprout back up again and live better lives. We should never make the mistake of thinking that the Oscars reward the best. The best is a matter of opinion. They reward what most people can agree upon is the best, you know, like Presidents.

But last year taught me to remember that loving movies, looking forward to great works by filmmakers like Fincher, Bela Tarr, Oren Movermen, Rupert Wyatt, Lynne Ramsay, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Bennett Miller, Michel Hazanivisus and yes, maybe even Steven Spielberg doesn’t mean they are any less so because they aren’t recognized by the 9,000 in the DGA or the 6,000 in the Academy. I look forward to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because David Fincher and co. never fail to rock my world. And for me, especially after last year, that is more than enough.

Let’s never forget that choosing great films that have lasting value, that birth whole generations of new filmmakers, are usually those that never won Oscars. The most influential directors of all time — with a few notable exceptions like Billy Wilder, John Ford, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg are directors who never won Oscars.  Let’s also never forget that when the Academy rewards great films it makes them look better, particularly in retrospect.  When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.

For David Fincher or Martin Scorsese or any other director trying to continually do different things artistically, they can’t think about appealing to large bodies of voters — to do so is make something conventional.  We keep wanting to change the Academy to suit better films, and yet — it always has to be that the filmmakers have to change to suit the Academy.  That’s why there were two Best Picture winners last year, to my mind.  The industry’s and the critics.  I’ll stubbornly hold to that notion because I realize the end goal for both was completely different.  Vive la difference.

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80 comments

  1. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    “When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.”

    In some cases, winning an Oscar makes a film or performance look worse.

    Like Dislike
  2. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    “When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.”

    In some cases, winning an Oscar makes a film or performance look worse.

    Like Dislike
  3. Antoinette 4 years ago

    Well how much anal rape IS in it? I was gonna take my old Ma.

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  4. Antoinette 4 years ago

    Well how much anal rape IS in it? I was gonna take my old Ma.

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  5. Mark 4 years ago

    And yet Shame, which depicts consensual acts, remains the most sexually controversial film of the year?

    Like Dislike
  6. Mark 4 years ago

    And yet Shame, which depicts consensual acts, remains the most sexually controversial film of the year?

    Like Dislike
  7. Mitchell 4 years ago

    ^ Maybe because Dragon Tattoo hasn’t been released yet. Chill.

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  8. Mitchell 4 years ago

    ^ Maybe because Dragon Tattoo hasn’t been released yet. Chill.

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  9. Mark 4 years ago

    Call me when it gets an NC-17 rating. The original European films didn’t even get hit with it.

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  10. Mark 4 years ago

    Call me when it gets an NC-17 rating. The original European films didn’t even get hit with it.

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  11. Mark 4 years ago

    (Rape is really more an act of violence than a purely sexual crime, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the MPAA’s decision.) :/

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  12. Mark 4 years ago

    (Rape is really more an act of violence than a purely sexual crime, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the MPAA’s decision.) :/

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  13. jhg 4 years ago

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards. why deny it when dragon is blatantly set for december awards release. that is why people hate Fincher, he pretends he doesn’t care but he really does.

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  14. jhg 4 years ago

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards. why deny it when dragon is blatantly set for december awards release. that is why people hate Fincher, he pretends he doesn’t care but he really does.

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  15. Sasha Stone 4 years ago

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards.

    Bullshit.

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  16. Sasha Stone 4 years ago

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards.

    Bullshit.

    Like Dislike
  17. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    jhg,

    “made and positioned to win awards” — only a shallow moviegoer could think this way. What, in your mind, would constitute a movie that’s not “made and positioned” to win awards? Sloppyass movies released direct to video? Would you be happier if everyone made shitty movies and released them all in March?

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  18. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    jhg,

    “made and positioned to win awards” — only a shallow moviegoer could think this way. What, in your mind, would constitute a movie that’s not “made and positioned” to win awards? Sloppyass movies released direct to video? Would you be happier if everyone made shitty movies and released them all in March?

    Like Dislike
  19. Colin Biggs 4 years ago

    The Swedish film turned me off, but then again the acting in that film was wooden. I don’t anticipate the same problem in Fincher’s adaptation.

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  20. Colin Biggs 4 years ago

    The Swedish film turned me off, but then again the acting in that film was wooden. I don’t anticipate the same problem in Fincher’s adaptation.

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  21. Gerold 4 years ago

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released. Thats up to the distributing company and the producers. And who hates Fincher? Just because you jhg obviously don’t like him doesn’t make a statement like “that is why people hate Fincher” true.

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  22. Gerold 4 years ago

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released. Thats up to the distributing company and the producers. And who hates Fincher? Just because you jhg obviously don’t like him doesn’t make a statement like “that is why people hate Fincher” true.

    Like Dislike
  23. Pierre de Plume 4 years ago

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released.

    Took the words right outta my mouth, Gerold!

    Like Dislike
  24. Pierre de Plume 4 years ago

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released.

    Took the words right outta my mouth, Gerold!

    Like Dislike
  25. AD 4 years ago

    Sasha I would add to your list of great movie makers David Cronenberg I just wished he was celebrated more because not only he is a incredible director, he is also a great human being!

    Like Dislike
  26. AD 4 years ago

    Sasha I would add to your list of great movie makers David Cronenberg I just wished he was celebrated more because not only he is a incredible director, he is also a great human being!

    Like Dislike
  27. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Is Silence of the Lambs the only winner where they even talk about sodomy? Brokeback Mountain came close to winning, but they should’ve used proper lube and not spit, and it has to be between two consenting adults. Then you may win. Fincher’s film will be all dry and RAPE.

    How many best picture winners have a rape scene of vaginal or of any kind? Platoon kinda had one suggested.

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  28. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Is Silence of the Lambs the only winner where they even talk about sodomy? Brokeback Mountain came close to winning, but they should’ve used proper lube and not spit, and it has to be between two consenting adults. Then you may win. Fincher’s film will be all dry and RAPE.

    How many best picture winners have a rape scene of vaginal or of any kind? Platoon kinda had one suggested.

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  29. Roger Ebert 4 years ago

    I like anal rape.

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  30. Roger Ebert 4 years ago

    I like anal rape.

    Like Dislike
  31. Yogsss 4 years ago

    Oh, I know someone who’s going to LOVE this film:

    http://blog.pubquizusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/analrapist1.jpg

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  32. Yogsss 4 years ago

    Oh, I know someone who’s going to LOVE this film:

    http://blog.pubquizusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/analrapist1.jpg

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  33. Sam 4 years ago

    David Fincher has no control over how well the Academy will respond to his films. Both The Social Network and Benjamin Button were nominated. Even though I thought TSN was a lot better than Benjamin Button, the Academy made a royal error by not nominating his more superior work, Zodiac.

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  34. Sam 4 years ago

    David Fincher has no control over how well the Academy will respond to his films. Both The Social Network and Benjamin Button were nominated. Even though I thought TSN was a lot better than Benjamin Button, the Academy made a royal error by not nominating his more superior work, Zodiac.

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  35. chris 4 years ago

    I agree Sam. I think Zodiac is the finest film Fincher has made.

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  36. chris 4 years ago

    I agree Sam. I think Zodiac is the finest film Fincher has made.

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  37. aku 4 years ago

    Midnight Cowboy

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  38. aku 4 years ago

    Midnight Cowboy

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  39. Insider 4 years ago

    Midnight Cowboy is one of the best films in history. Also, one of the bravest and best Oscar winners.

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  40. Insider 4 years ago

    Midnight Cowboy is one of the best films in history. Also, one of the bravest and best Oscar winners.

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  41. Ripley 4 years ago

    Zodiac was his best so far, and that’s saying a lot. And yes he does care, otherwise release it in March where it will be forgotten by the following year. Everyone likes to be honored for their work and to me nominated is recognition, especially now with the 10 BP noms.

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  42. Ripley 4 years ago

    Zodiac was his best so far, and that’s saying a lot. And yes he does care, otherwise release it in March where it will be forgotten by the following year. Everyone likes to be honored for their work and to me nominated is recognition, especially now with the 10 BP noms.

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  43. Knative 4 years ago

    I like Seven the best. Gwenyth Paltrow gets beheaded in that one, and for that, I have much love for David Fincher. <3

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  44. Knative 4 years ago

    I like Seven the best. Gwenyth Paltrow gets beheaded in that one, and for that, I have much love for David Fincher. <3

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  45. MJS 4 years ago

    I think you may be underestimating the Academy here. I mean, recently they’ve nominated the likes of Black Swan, District 9, Precious, and Inglourious Basterds, and while none of those specifically have anal rape in them (although there was incest rape in Precious) they certainly don’t fit within the stereotype of “safe conservative award-bait.”

    What’s more this seems to forget that this material has already been embraced by the middle aged women market in book form, in fact I feel like those books are far more popular among the middlebrow audiences that mirror the academy than they were among the younger audiences that tend to champion Fincher’s other work.

    BTW, it probably isn’t the Academy’s fault that they didn’t nominate Zodiac. Blame the studio that released it in March and the public which decided not to see it.

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  46. MJS 4 years ago

    I think you may be underestimating the Academy here. I mean, recently they’ve nominated the likes of Black Swan, District 9, Precious, and Inglourious Basterds, and while none of those specifically have anal rape in them (although there was incest rape in Precious) they certainly don’t fit within the stereotype of “safe conservative award-bait.”

    What’s more this seems to forget that this material has already been embraced by the middle aged women market in book form, in fact I feel like those books are far more popular among the middlebrow audiences that mirror the academy than they were among the younger audiences that tend to champion Fincher’s other work.

    BTW, it probably isn’t the Academy’s fault that they didn’t nominate Zodiac. Blame the studio that released it in March and the public which decided not to see it.

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  47. James W. 4 years ago

    On the inappropriate “anal rape and Oscars” topic, we’re forgetting one additional film: Midnight Express.

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  48. James W. 4 years ago

    On the inappropriate “anal rape and Oscars” topic, we’re forgetting one additional film: Midnight Express.

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  49. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    And that film did not win. Did they show any raping? No, off screen.

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  50. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    And that film did not win. Did they show any raping? No, off screen.

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  51. Beth Stevens 4 years ago

    Lawrence of Arabia had anal rape – again, off screen.

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  52. Beth Stevens 4 years ago

    Lawrence of Arabia had anal rape – again, off screen.

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  53. TonyBiigood 4 years ago

    Mara said “Fincher is always right”, I hope he’s not this time :). I think the particular statue of the film will help him in the race. This is the only picture which is dark this year.

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  54. TonyBiigood 4 years ago

    Mara said “Fincher is always right”, I hope he’s not this time :). I think the particular statue of the film will help him in the race. This is the only picture which is dark this year.

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  55. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    Beth, I mentioned that in a Tweet to Sasha yesterday too, .

    @filmystic
    @AwardsDaily @darkavm offscreen count? “The Turks, as you probably know, did it to me by force” – letter from T.E. Lawrence to E.M. Forster
    10 hours ago

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  56. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    Beth, I mentioned that in a Tweet to Sasha yesterday too, .

    @filmystic
    @AwardsDaily @darkavm offscreen count? “The Turks, as you probably know, did it to me by force” – letter from T.E. Lawrence to E.M. Forster
    10 hours ago

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  57. MJS 4 years ago

    Deliverance was nominated in ’72…

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  58. MJS 4 years ago

    Deliverance was nominated in ’72…

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  59. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    ooh, good call, MJS.

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  60. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    ooh, good call, MJS.

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  61. Jeremie 4 years ago

    The King’s Speech? We all know what really cured that stammer…

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  62. Jeremie 4 years ago

    The King’s Speech? We all know what really cured that stammer…

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  63. Beth Stevens 4 years ago

    Shawshank Redemption was nominated, but didn’t win. I suppose what distinguishes Dragon Tattoo will be the graphic depiction on screen.

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  64. Beth Stevens 4 years ago

    Shawshank Redemption was nominated, but didn’t win. I suppose what distinguishes Dragon Tattoo will be the graphic depiction on screen.

    Like Dislike
  65. mjs 4 years ago

    Another one I just remembered was pulp fiction

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  66. mjs 4 years ago

    Another one I just remembered was pulp fiction

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  67. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Good call, mjs. Can’t believe that this was mentioned so late. Ok, we see that MANY have been nominated, but none won.

    Of the ones that show at least a bit are only Pulp Fiction and Deliverance, right?

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  68. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Good call, mjs. Can’t believe that this was mentioned so late. Ok, we see that MANY have been nominated, but none won.

    Of the ones that show at least a bit are only Pulp Fiction and Deliverance, right?

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  69. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    aha! Jeremie!

    Fuck, fuck and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, fuck, fuck, arse!

    It all makes perfect sense now.

    Ebert may have found another incidence:

    The Twilight movies have devoted three episodes to Bella Swan’s clinging to her virginity … She holds out until after her wedding. Then she and Edward fly to Brazil and a luxurious honeymoon hideaway on the beach, where the morning after her wedding night she is black and blue with bruises, the frame of the bed is broken, all of the furniture is tossed around and the draperies are shredded. Good gravy! What happened?

    We have no idea. The movie doesn’t show us! Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen…

    um-hmm…

    Like Dislike
  70. Ryan Adams 4 years ago

    aha! Jeremie!

    Fuck, fuck and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, fuck, fuck, arse!

    It all makes perfect sense now.

    Ebert may have found another incidence:

    The Twilight movies have devoted three episodes to Bella Swan’s clinging to her virginity … She holds out until after her wedding. Then she and Edward fly to Brazil and a luxurious honeymoon hideaway on the beach, where the morning after her wedding night she is black and blue with bruises, the frame of the bed is broken, all of the furniture is tossed around and the draperies are shredded. Good gravy! What happened?

    We have no idea. The movie doesn’t show us! Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen…

    um-hmm…

    Like Dislike
  71. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Haha, thank God I didn’t go to see that Twilight movie the other day. Even one of the “nobody-stars” was present at the screening. Some girl who plays a werewolf. Julia? Of course, fans screamed at her, too. We are lucky that it’s not an 8-part series.

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  72. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    Haha, thank God I didn’t go to see that Twilight movie the other day. Even one of the “nobody-stars” was present at the screening. Some girl who plays a werewolf. Julia? Of course, fans screamed at her, too. We are lucky that it’s not an 8-part series.

    Like Dislike
  73. R. 4 years ago

    I also hear from a reliable insider that atop of the anal rape the film’s final cut is quite long: 160+ minutes.

    what to make of that? a more encompassing film than than the Swedish version?

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  74. R. 4 years ago

    I also hear from a reliable insider that atop of the anal rape the film’s final cut is quite long: 160+ minutes.

    what to make of that? a more encompassing film than than the Swedish version?

    Like Dislike
  75. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    It was expeed to be long. The Swedish version (uncut) runs three hours and even the theater version is over 2,5hrs.

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  76. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    It was expeed to be long. The Swedish version (uncut) runs three hours and even the theater version is over 2,5hrs.

    Like Dislike
  77. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    *expected

    Like Dislike
  78. Tero Heikkinen 4 years ago

    *expected

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