Created with Sketch.
Movies We Dig: The Ancient World on Film
107 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
Episode 35 – Gladiator (2000)
We're back for the big one (because it sold us queer giraffes!). A critical and commercial hit, Gladiator spawned a revival for a genre that had been presumed dead for at least 40 years. It also inspired, for better or worse, no small amount in interest in ancient Rome over the last two decades. We get into all the details of this movie, its legacy and the impact its vision of Rome had on 21st audiences. Plus, we share our hopes and dreams for upcoming, albeit unnecessary, Gladiator 2.
62 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
Episode 34 – Cleopatra (1970), with Chiara Sulprizio
Get ready for a real trip back to ancient Egypt, where Caesar is green, triumphs feature sports cars and gladiators bring handguns to the arena. Joined by animation expert Chiara Sulprizio, we dig into this animated adult fantasy/sci-fi/historical epic by Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto. This is really one of the wilder takes on ancient history we've ever seen and even if it's not your bag - which for many it probably won't be - it is definitely worth a viewing, if only to take in its sheer wildness. You can read more from Chiara about animation and the ancient world at Animated Antiquity
54 minutes | Nov 24, 2021
Episode 33 – Fellini Satyricon (1969), with Sarah Bond and Gregory Hays
This is simultaneously an excavation of both Imperial Rome and late 60's Italian cinema. Joined by the amazing Sarah E. Bond and Gregory Hays, we dig into Frederico Fellini's dreamlike, even frenetic, adaptation of the Satyricon by Petronius. This is a film which has a lot of offer when it comes to classical reception. In lieu of 'historically accuracy' (if we care about such things), Fellini presents us with a fantastical and at times unnerving vision of ancient Rome. In some ways, Fellini Satyricon is the true embodiment of how we receive both Petronius' work and the ancient world at large: fragmentary, perplexing and often unknowable. Final Verdict (courtesy of SEB): Watch more movies! Care less about accuracy!
81 minutes | Nov 10, 2021
Episode 32 – Interview with Charley & Vlas Parlapanides (Blood of Zeus), with Zoé Elise Thomas
In a very special episode, Colin, Eli, Christie and special guest Zoé Thomas sit down with Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, the creators and head writers of Blood of Zeus (2020). We dig into the brothers' inspirations for the show, their strong ties to Greece and Greek culture and their approach to a forward-thinking adaption of ancient myth. Other discussion topics include the underappreciated tradition of Helen in Egypt, fully funded dream projects and "monster tiddies".
78 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
Episode 31 – The Last Legion (2007), with Ayelet Haimson Lushkov & Pramit Chaudhuri
Sometimes we review movies we're very passionate about and sometimes we review The Last Legion. Fortunately we have special guests Ayelet Haimson Lushkov and Pramit Chaudhuri, hosts of Calcutta Arthouse Podcast, to save Rome(?) with us. Where to even begin with this one. It's a movie where every scene and line of dialogue competes to be the most absurd, confusing or just ridiculously hammy thing every put to screen. There's something to be unpacked about the way this movie wholeheartedly embraces a lot of misconceptions about the "decline and fall" of the Roman Empire, including: Rome was an inherently good and freedom-loving absolute monarchy, it came to an end in a single violent invasion of *waves hand* barbarians, the Caesars were this magical bloodline of conqueror-kings, that Tiberius was a nice guy. The list goes on. Perhaps the best way to watch this movie is on an Aeroflot from 1980.
73 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
Episode 29 – The Odyssey (1997), with Deborah Beck
We're back at Troy, where shirts are optional, digging up an artifact from a bygone era: late 90's television. Joined by the wonderful Dr. Deborah Beck, expert Homerist from UT Austin, we we break down the 1997 Hallmark miniseries, The Odyssey. This movie, by its director's own omission hones in on the action-adventure aspects of Homer's Odyssey. But, we scholars ruminate, are those really the best parts of the story? We mediate again on the pitfalls of sticking to the plot of a story while missing its larger themes. We also tackle two of the great questions of our time: Iliad or Odyssey and who had the best mullet? You can find podcasts on the Iliad and Sophocles' Antigone by Deborah Beck with her students at UT here and here
116 minutes | Oct 13, 2021
Episode 28 – Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Do you even Argo bro?!? Christie Vogler is back with us again but we've decided to leave her name out of the title tos ave money on digital ink. We're back with Ray Harryhausen's most celebrated film, Jason and the Argonauts, in which Colin's cat does battle with a Zoom background of Talos, the Bronze Giant. Should this movie actually be a heist film? Is Jason really such a hero? Why do we expect historic/mythic settings to feature British accents? How do special effects affect storytelling, especially myths? Can skeletons swim? We get into these and many more topics this is love child between prestige sword and sandal and B-theater creature features.
98 minutes | Oct 6, 2021
Episode 27 – Clash of the Titans (1981), with Christie Vogler
We're back with our first episode of season 2. Joined by threepeat guest and avowed servant of Rita Repulsa, the always amazing Dr. Vogler, we dig into Ray Harryhausen's 1981 Clash of the Titans. Naturally, we spend the first 5 minutes talking about our speaking habits and fancy vocab words before getting to the actual movie, but his film is fascinating to us both as a work of classical reception and as an artifact of modern cinema. It's a fairly down the middle adaptation of a myth and perhaps the last example of a Hollywood tradition of movie-making embodied in the effects of Ray Harryhausen. Listen to our takes on the gods, heroes, monsters, behind-the-scenes drama, whales and more. At one point we mention posts on Twitter by Aimee Hinds Scott on the film legacy of Medusa, which you can check out here.
9 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
Proem for Season 2
After a short hiatus, we're back to announce MWD will be returning for another season. More movies, more not-movies, all the hot-takes. We talk briefly about our vision for the show and tease some upcoming films, shows and video games we'll be discussing. You can also read more about our past and future plans over at our friends SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE. Special thanks to Joel Christensen for magnanimously offering us a platform upon which to pontificate. Get Excited For Movies
109 minutes | Jun 19, 2021
Episode 26 – Blood of Zeus (2020) Part II, with Christie Vogler & Zoé Thomas
Gigantomachy II: Electric Boogaloo! Our longest episode to date, we really don't lack for things to talk about. There's a a lot to love in this show and some to look critically at but we really only have one question: who are those people in the bed with Apollo? We get into a lot, such as Zeus as a father, whether the Fates' baby on the table makes any sense, how Heron should dress and which was our favorite giant. Plus, a loooong discussion about sexy lamps and winged phalloi! Stay till the end for the gag reel. Enjoy!
71 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Episode 25 – Blood of Zeus (2020) Part I, with Christie Vogler & Zoé Thomas
"Screw your winged horse, I want a Manticore!" We break down the first four episodes of Netflix's original anime series with repeat guest Christie Vogler and newcomer Zoé Thomas. We dig into the show's pop cultural influences, its novel takes on mythology and the design choice to make everyone super hot. We also talk at length about Hera's anger, Zeus' faults and convenient vases depicting exactly the myth you need to tell. The mention of unmixed wine also really shakes our kraters. Additional questions: Would a similar show set in Rome with as much attention to artistic style feature too many ugly sculpture? How many brains does a three headed dog need? Should we all just play kottabos when we party? We also introduce new literary lens where all stories are actually about Alexander the Great.
63 minutes | May 21, 2021
Episode 24 – Troy: Fall of a City (2018), Part III, with Ava-Elana Tolley-Enstrom
“A man who thinks that he has been done wrong is a mad, mad man.” (the Iliad, abridged). Get these and other hot takes as we finish off our miniseries on this miniseries the only way we know how: by climbing into a big wooden horse and hoping for the best. Joined by another wonderful UT undergraduate, we break down the final episodes of Netflix’s historical action-adventure romance drama. We dwell on the rage of Achilles and his susceptibility to very obvious schemes. We pick apart the denouement of Helen and Xanthias the spy, in all its contrivances. We lament the short-lived presence of the Amazons. Plus, we start asking the big questions. Should Odysseus be empathetic or cruel or somewhere in between? Is Aeneas not bland enough? Does Priam dye his mustache? Count how many times we say “the Iliad” when we actually mean some other text. When you’re in the moment, they’re all the Iliad!
56 minutes | May 7, 2021
Episode 23 – Troy: Fall of a City (2018), Part II, with Lucile Chambon, Jordan Engstrom and Mitchell Jackson
Joined by three fantastic first year students from UT Austin, we continue our discussion of Netflix's miniseries as we get into episodes 4-6. We discuss how this show has updated the tale for this generation of viewers and how it compares to the 2004's Troy. What characters work and don't work for us? Do we want a good or a bad Hector? Are the gods necessary or superfluous? Is what this show needs just more blood? Also witness the exact moment when Colin realizes Aeneas was Dean Thomas in HP. Answers to these and many more await, along with repeated plugs for Shadow & Bone.
64 minutes | Apr 24, 2021
Episode 22 – Troy: Fall of a City (2018), Part I, with Adam Rabinowitz
We launch the first of a special, three part miniseries on the Netflix/BBC original on the Trojan War. Joining us is UT Classics professor and archaeologist Dr. Adam Rabinowitz who is currently teaching a class on the stories of the Trojan War. We talk about our initial reactions to episodes 1-3, as well as more broadly on the show's place in the modern TV landscape. Is this series actually about family more than love or war? Is there much more to Helen's character than we might detect on first viewing? Why is an extra hammering bronze? What's with the ostrich? You can find Adam online as well as through his work with the following projects: Planet Texas 2050 - a research initiative dedicated to sustaining Texas' critical resourcesLearning from Histria - Adam's archaeological work on settlements in the Black Sea, which you can also read about here and hereYou can also hear Adam speak about his work in Romania on the Slavic Connexion
60 minutes | Apr 17, 2021
Episode 21 – The Eagle (2011)
Get your checkbooks ready Hollywood producers because we basically re-pitch a new, better version of this now 10 year old film. On top of that, we dig up the literary and historic source material inspiring the plot, along with the larger ideas and implications tie to its Heart-of-Darkness-esc depiction of Hadrian's Wall, Northern Britain and Roman imperialism. Overall, we found more to chew over than we first thought. Much of that being the thought process behind casting its lead. It comes so close to an interesting and complex depiction of the Roman but trips up at the very end. More importantly, is there an intertextual relation between Esca and Jar-Jar Binks?
71 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
Episode 20 – Pompeii (2014) with Christy Schirmer
Are you ready to go back to Titanic Pompeii? Accompanied by another fantastic host, Christy "I didn't want Kiefer like that," Schirmer, we dig into a movie where being a gladiator is a non-stop killing bonanza and the fastest way to a woman's heart is by euthanizing a horse. Is this just a big heap of hot, pyroclastic garbage? Considering how much archaeological material we have from Pompeii, it's almost amazing this movie engages with practically none of it. We, on the other hand, do talk about the actual Pompeii as well as Herculaneum as well as the plot of this and other arguably much better films. Our great revelation is this movie is not about gladiators or love or volcanoes, but horses.
66 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Episode 19 – Agora (2009)
Two questions: 1) Is this a nuanced and thoughtful take on the religious and political strife in Alexandria and the wider Roman world in the 4th/5th century CE? 2) Why is this movie called Agora? We dive into both issues as well as what we know about the real Hypatia (not enough), why she's a great candidate for a dramatic treatment and why seeing Earth from orbit will make you realize that all our differences are just the petty squabbles of losers who haven't been to space. Colin tells a very relevant story about a philosopher who reveals a vampire. Larger question, if you were sent back in time (to say ancient Rome), what knowledge or technology would you be able to bring with you to give yourself an edge? Was this all just an excuse to talk about Game of Thrones?
69 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Episode 18 – Black Orpheus (1959) with Rebecca Futo Kennedy
Depressa! Toma! Toca faz o sol nasce! Bolstered by yet another mega guest, Dr. Rebecca Futo Kennedy, the creative mind behind Classics at the Intersections, we get into Marcel Camus' French-Brazilian adaptation of Greek myth, Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro). We also tease our future dive into Thermae Romae and bring in It Follows into the mix. We dive into the importance of play, aging, death, Casio keyboards and how this movie might secretly be a horror film masquerading as a tragedy. Final verdict: Cala boca! Ele está fazendo levantar o sol.
59 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
Episode 17 – Ben-Hur (1959)
Is this movie the spiritual predecessor of The Phantom Menace? Probably not, but we explore that idea anyways. This week, Colin and Eli dive into MGM's chariot-smashing mega-epic starring Charlton Heston. We're here for the chariot/pod race and Judah's horses deserve an award. We're a a bit more split on the religious overtones and general length of the film. Maybe we just want more revenge? Should we see the remake? One thing's for sure, not all cylinders were firing for us when we recorded.
67 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Episode 16 – Spartacus (1960)
We're Spartacus! This week Colin (aka Spartacus) and Eli (aka Spartacus) take on the classic epic written by Dalton Trumbo, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas. This movie stands out among its peers to us in that it's really about something. Is this a case of a movie telling a sort of collectivist narrative? Is Spartacus the hero of the left? We get into the details of both this film's relation to the historical Spartacus, the Red Scare in Hollywood and the creative minds which led to its production. Do we want Large Spartacus of Small Spartacus? Crassus is the reason we need to federalize it. There were some technical difficulties while recording so please excuse any audio infelicities and background noise.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2022