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Michael and Us
5 minutes | 3 days ago
PREVIEW - #212 - The Conformist
PATREON EXCLUSIVE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47869131 For this month's Superdelegate pick, we watched Bernardo Bertolucci's masterpiece The Conformist (1970), about a secret police officer in fascist Italy assigned to assassinate a left-wing intellectual who was once his university professor. We discuss what it means to be a fascist, and the lure of seeking normalcy even within an evil system. PLUS: 50 Shades of Grey, old movies, and what, exactly, is "the canon"?
5 minutes | 3 days ago
PREVIEW - Interview: Clearing The Smoke Around Joe Biden's Climate Policy w/ Kate Aronoff
PATREON EXCLUSIVE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/interview-smoke-47833534 Joe Biden issued an executive order recommitting the United States to the Paris climate agreement and rescinding the construction permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, moves that have been heralded throughout the media as the beginning of a new era for climate policy in the United States. But what are the real prospects for the transformative policies actually needed to combat climate change in the years ahead? What will Biden’s much-touted green jobs initiative do in practice? And how has the fossil fuel industry responded to Biden’s early moves? Luke talks to the New Republic’s Katie Aronoff (coauthor of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal, coeditor of We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism — American Style, and author of the forthcoming Overheated: How Capitalism Broke the Planet — and How We Fight Back) about climate policy under Biden.
61 minutes | 7 days ago
#211 - Post-Partisan Struggle Session
Just when we thought we'd found the bottom of the barrel, we scrape a little bit further. From executive producers Van Jones and Meghan McCain, THE REUNITED STATES (2021) seeks to open a new chapter on the American story by highlighting people trying to bridge the left and right. But does a political "movement" that believes in nothing more than "listening to each other" actually do anything to address the issues allegedly dividing us? (Hint: no).
4 minutes | 12 days ago
PREVIEW - #210 - The Pope of Trash
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47524164 John Waters' transgressive masterpiece FEMALE TROUBLE (1974) envisions a moral and aesthetic universe in which everything ugly is beautiful and vice versa. We discuss the film's radically queer vision, and the way it dissolves the barrier between high and low culture. We also discuss the seismic impact that John Waters had on one of the cohosts as a young man (hint: it's Will), and how an iconoclast becomes an elder statesman. PLUS: Trump's (non-)impeachment, Woody Allen's new movie, and why it can be more productive to criticize liberals than conservatives.
58 minutes | 15 days ago
#209 - Tony Benn: Against the Tide
For decades the most visible socialist in Britain, the late Labour Party MP Tony Benn is the rare instance of a left-wing politician who became even more radical as his political career progressed. The 1990 documentary TONY BENN: AGAINST THE TIDE, 1973-6 looks back at four years where radical change seemed possible and Benn was at the height of his power within Labour. We discuss his thwarted political vision, and how his politics remained consistent through the dark winters of Thatcher and Blair. PLUS: American media under Biden, and the death of Larry Flynt. Watch the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h9qv1HQ4w8&ab_channel=ModernLonelyTV "Tony Benn Spent His Life Fighting for Democracy and Socialism" by Leo Panitch and Colin Leys - https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/04/tony-benn-birthday-labour-party-uk-new-left
4 minutes | 16 days ago
PREVIEW - Interview: How the Right Won the Economics War w/ Marshall Steinbaum
PATREON BONUS - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47344547 Sometime after the Second World War, neoliberal economics became the default economic theory. How did this happen? And is there any hope for a return to New Deal economics? Our own Luke Savage talks to Marshall Steinbaum (writer and assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah) about how the neoclassical right’s astonishingly successful intellectual revolution came about, its core beliefs, and the profoundly antidemocratic animus it owes to the liberalism of the nineteenth century.
3 minutes | 20 days ago
PREVIEW - #208 - A Good Man Out for Justice Above the Law: Special Ops
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47190155 At the height of his fame, Steven Seagal directed and starred in his passion project: ON DEADLY GROUND (1994), a big-budget action movie about saving the environment and bringing down Big Oil. This legendary disaster is the ultimate Seagal film. Come join us as we have some fun hitting the low-hanging piñata that is the Mojo Priest. PLUS: the ominous Proposition 22 - where it came from, and what it represents.
56 minutes | 22 days ago
#207 - A Fistful of Quarters
The story of two men competing for the world Donkey Kong championship becomes a metaphor for so much in society, from celebrity culture to institutional power. We revisit THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS (2007) and celebrate two universal archetypes: Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell. PLUS: fiery hot takes on the Golden Globes, the Democrats' impending midterm strategy, and the lingering discourse on the Bernie mittens meme. "PIXEL BURN - A King, Konquered: The Fall of Billy Mitchell" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNLqrOqUtEM&ab_channel=Bitscreed
2 minutes | 22 days ago
PREVIEW - Exit Through the Gamestonk w/ Edward Ongweso Jr
PATREON EXCLUSIVE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/interview-exit-w-47079354 We all got a kick out of watching the Redditors beat the hedge funds. But can finance be democratized within the framework of capitalism? That answer may not surprise you! Luke talks to Edward Ongweso Jr., a labor and technology reporter at Motherboard and cohost of the This Machine Kills podcast, about the Robinhood trading app and the implications of l'affaire Gamestop.
4 minutes | a month ago
PREVIEW - #206 - "What's the Deal with Poor People???"
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46893915 The Superdelegates have voted and forced us to watch Jerry Seinfeld's Netflix show COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE. Jerry and a range of ultra-rich showbiz pals (from Ricky Gervais to Bill Maher to Ellen Degeneres to... uh, Barack Obama) go for a spin, roast a brew, and engage in lighthearted chatter that will have you asking if America's most beloved sitcom star might actually be a sociopath. PLUS: thoughts on QAnon, "the Year of the Mod," and the sad return of America's most venerable media brand.
2 minutes | a month ago
PREVIEW - Interview: Will Sommer on QAnon after Trump
PATREON BONUS - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46829970 What is QAnon? Where did it come from? And where does it go now that "the Storm" didn't happen? Luke talks to Daily Beast reporter and QAnon expert Will Sommer about this most ridiculous of Trump-era phenomena.
43 minutes | a month ago
#205 - Dustbin of History
Between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the War on Terror, James Bond went on a mission to find... relevance. We watched GOLDENEYE (1995), the first end-of-history Bond film, to find how 007 fit into the New World Order. PLUS: reflections on the inauguration, Canada's wacky system of governance, and the passing of Larry King.
6 minutes | a month ago
PREVIEW - #204 - A Cutthroat War of Memes: Arthur Chu, a People's History (w/ Alex Ross)
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46613211 In 2014, Arthur Chu launched a winning streak on Jeopardy that made him one of the show's most famous (and hated) contestants. He then worked to parlay his newfound celebrity into a career as a writer/speaker on politics and nerd culture. There's a very good chance you are blocked by him on Twitter. We were joined our old pal Alex Ross to watch the surprisingly depressing documentary WHO IS ARTHUR CHU? (2017), discover where it all went wrong for Arthur, and diagnose a root problem in liberal online discourse. PLUS: thoughts on Joe Biden's inauguration and Bernie Sanders' coat/mittens.
53 minutes | a month ago
#203 - Everything's Just Great
After the upheaval of 1968, Jean-Luc Godard said goodbye to commercial cinema to create a new kind of radical Marxist filmmaking. With TOUT VA BIEN (1972), Godard and his filmmaking partner Jean-Pierre Gorin tried to meet the audience halfway. Taking place in a moment when the student protests, the French New Wave, and even Godard's own militant phase were receding from view, this fascinating Brechtian exercise starring Jane Fonda and Yves Montand may or may not have room for optimism. PLUS: bold predictions about the incoming Biden administration, and the politics of another cinematic legend: James Bond. Check out our Patreon for exclusive bonus episodes: https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus
3 minutes | a month ago
PREVIEW - #202 - Why We Love Canada's Worst Reporter
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46305967 When Toronto mayor Rob Ford was at his lowest ebb, one reporter remained his loyal stenographer. When a BBQ restaurant owner was arrested for disobeying COVID regulations, one reporter called him a freedom fighter. When Billy Ray Cyrus was conquering the charts, one reporter stood up for him against imagined enemies. The City of Toronto has lived with buffoonish reporter Joe Warmington, and now you will too. PLUS: memories of the Rob Ford years, Ben Shapiro in Politico, and why season two of The Wire is good, actually.
49 minutes | a month ago
#201 - Pretend It's an Insight
Martin Scorsese's new Netflix documentary PRETEND IT'S A CITY (2021) is nothing more or less than a series of jokes and riffs by former writer and current professional curmudgeon Fran Lebowitz. We take a dive into this New York institution and discover what happens when a legendary wit is sorely lacking a worldview. PLUS: new lockdown restrictions, what happens to politics and the media post-Trump, and Marvel vs. 1950s America. "Pretend It's an Insight" by Will Sloan - https://willsloanesq.wordpress.com/2021/01/10/pretend-its-an-insight/
3 minutes | 2 months ago
PREVIEW - #200 - Roger & Me Revisited: The 200th Episode Spectacular
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46004627 For our 200th episode, we're once again returning to our roots. We took another look at Michael Moore's first and best film, ROGER & ME (1989), and found an unsparing depiction of American capitalism that has only grown better with age. PLUS: big-tech censorship, Trump's deplatforming, and Tim Allen discovers Plato.
40 minutes | 2 months ago
#199 - Snobs and Deplorables
In the aftermath of the siege on the Capitol, we looked at a movie that depicts America as at war with itself. The 2020 action-satire THE HUNT is an "equal-opportunity offender" in which Liberal Elites hunt MAGA Chuds for sport - and like most "equal-opportunity offenders," it misses all the real targets. PLUS: thoughts on the Georgia runoff elections.
5 minutes | 2 months ago
PREVIEW - #198 - The Luck of Barry Lyndon
PATREON EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/45808512 It's the first episode chosen by our SuperDelegate Patreon tier, and they mercifully chose a good movie: Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON (1975). We discuss the stark materialist philosophy of Kubrick's vision of a small man against the backdrop of history. PLUS: the libertarian take on human rights, staying sane in winter quarantine, and - you guessed it - Frank Stallone.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
#197 - Winter Light
A lot of us are feeling cold, isolated, and depressed right now, so what better time to revisit Ingmar Bergman's WINTER LIGHT (1963)? We discuss crises of various kinds of faith, and the personal and political implications of the silence of God. PLUS: Why won't the pundit class (and specifically Paul Krugman) get behind a $2000 stimulus?
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