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65 minutes | Jul 22, 2022
Episode 91 – 'Red Carpet' w/ Author Erich Schwartzel
Though it had been widely predicted to happen sometime later this decade, China managed to surpass North America during the pandemic 2020 — during the first year of decade — in domestic box-office. A big part of that was the fact that China had built more movie theaters than North America. Permalink
76 minutes | Jun 10, 2022
Episode 90 – Whatever Happened to George Lucas's Post-Retirement Experimental Films?
George Lucas has been talking retirement since 1977. Weary of the mainstream cinema he helped to created, he began saying in interviews that he was planning on getting back to the cinema of his college days, the avant-garde “tone poems” of his U.S.C. short films, or his of his first feature, THX-1138 — even before he returned to feature directing in the 2000s, with the Star Wars prequels. Now, that Lucas has all but officially retired — not having directed a feature in 17 years — I’m joined on this episode by Dale Pollock, Lucas’s first biographer, to discuss whatever happened to these post-retirement promises. We discuss: - Steve Silberman’s 2005 Wired article, “Life After Darth,” which voiced all these questions, the year of Lucas’s retirement;- what were the exact circumstances of Lucas opening up his life to Pollock as a biographer during the filming of Return of the Jedi;- does Lucas deserve his reputation as a tin-eared regurgitator of poppy pulp tropes;- is he not only one of the greatest editors of all-time, or — easily — one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time? Also: - the abbreviated career of his first wife and early collaborator, Marcia Lucas;- why the critical reception of the Star Wars prequels guaranteed Lucas would never return to film directing;- is Lucas making — maybe even stockpiling, these movies, unseen;- and is he setting up these experiments to be released after his death? Dale Pollock is a journalist, film producer, professor, and festival programmer. Along with writing the biography Skywalking: The Life and Times of George Lucas, he’s also written for Daily Variety, the Los Angeles Times, Life, People, and Esquire. He’s executive producer 13 films, including A Midnight Clear and Blaze, taught at both USC and the University of North Carolina School of Arts in Winston-Salem, and ran the RiverRun International Film Festival. More can be found at his website.
87 minutes | Jun 2, 2022
Episode 89 – 'Blood, Sweat & Chrome' w/ Author Kyle Buchanan
Hiatus over! When Mad Max: Fury Road came out in 2015, a 30-year gap since Beyond Thunderdome, its breathless and near-universal reception as — already — one of the greatest movies of the decade and — already — one of the greatest action movies of all-time, automatically erased the two-decade lead-up to the film’s execution and completion, erasing previous versions and false starts. Yet, once the final studio greenlight came, that only began the film’s arduous production. On this episode, Kyle Buchanan talks the oral history book he’s written about that epic production, thusly untold and way more epic than previously thought — all leading towards the triumph as one of the best action movies of all time. We discuss: - the silent-movie, low-dialogue inspiration for whole production;- the extremely thorough pre-production, where even cameramen were given extensive audition processes;- what would Mel Gibson in Fury Road really have felt like?- or the in-sequence shooting schedule which focused the million-dollar production on, ostensibly, seconds-long inserts. Also: - how the shoot was bolstered by a crew-member and long-time Max fan named “Toast”;- the intensive storyboarding/writing process,- Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy’s (pre-known, pre-excerpted) on-set tension,- and how the next Mad Max film, Furiosa, was implanted and planned from this film, starring Chris Hemsworth as a previous-revealed villain. Kyle Buchanan is a pop culture reporter and serves as the Projectionist, the awards season columnist for the New York Times. Prior, he was a senior editor at Vulture, New York Magazine's entertainment website, where he covered the movie industry. A native of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles. Blood, Sweat & Chrome is his first book.
116 minutes | Jan 3, 2022
Episode 88 – The Annual Richard Lester Year-End Dinner: 2021
It’s been a year-end tradition that me, Aaron Smith, and Ted Haycraft usually meet sometime after Christmas but before New Years at an IHOP or Denny’s, recap the year among friends, and eventually get into an argument as to whether Richard Lester is the father of the music video. It happens. Every year. For the second podcasting year, we’ve migrated away from in-person dining to the podcast episode, where the three of us talk: - how Ted’s disdain of making a top ten list, in a small market where most top ten films have not yet been shown, led to him creating his own year-end award categories;- with categories such as Best End Credit Tag, Needless Film of the Year, Guy Ritchie Doing Michael Mann, Overlooked Indie, and Most Insightful Documentary;- or other Ted categories like Most Fun Artsy-Fartsy Film, Deserves More Attention, or Number One Film of the Year (Question Mark?), Also: - Why that hasn’t stopped Smith or me from making our own top twenty lists;- our mutual love of Mitchells vs. the Machines, which Smith has seen multiple times for his kids, and I’ve seen a second time just to confirm that I like it as much as the first time;- and how, despite it all, we all mutually agreed on our number one movie from 2021. Aaron Smith is the lead manager at Showplace Cinemas East in Evansville, IN. Ted Haycraft is film critic for WFIE-14 and co-hosts Cinema Chat on its Midday show. He can also be found on Cinema Chat’s Facebook page.
70 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
Episode 87 – Steven Spielberg's Musical(…Sequence)s
After 32 features, Steven Spielberg has finally directed his first full-fledged musical! The director whose camera has visually danced compositionally on screen more than any other for almost 50 years, it all begs the question: Why did it take so long? And what other attempts at the musical form has he made over the years? I’m joined by Ted Haycraft as we discuss: - Why the most obviously salvageablely revelatory sequence from 1979’s 1941 is its muscial Jitterbug dance sequence;- the cut-off Busby Berkeley opening for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with its reverse dance shots;- and why the key to good musicals, from stage to screen, is musical numbers that advance the story or theme forward. Also: - Why 1991’s Hook should have committed to its original conception as a musical;- Spielberg’s intention of stuffing other musical sequences into A.I. or The Terminal;- the debate over whether the new 2021 West Side Story and the original, universally considered one of the greatest movies ever made, should have have been remade,- and if the 2021 version, with all its updating, might legitimately be superior. The 2021 West Side Story is currently available in theaters for who knows how long. It’ll likely end up streaming on Disney+ eventually. 1941 is available on DVD and Blu-ray; as is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in streaming and physical media, and Hook DVDs and Blu-rays.
107 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
Episode 86 – 'All of the Marvels' w/ Author Douglas Wolk
In his magnificent second book on comics, the great critic Douglas Wolk has synthesized 60 years of continuous storytelling from Marvel Comics authors and declared it, collectively and thusly, the longest, greatest, most sustained narrative in human history — longer than any daily soap opera, Remembrance of Things Past, or the Mahābhārata. From its origins, written and drawn by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby, multiple creators have expanded and expounded its creation to synthesize multiple genres — action, super-hero, horror — to a hybrid-genre that would, ultimately, take over movies. On this episode, I’m joined with Ted Haycraft as we discuss with Wolk: Wolk’s origins as a comic reader, from his first comics to his career working for a direct market store during his college years; how the Marvel Universe story works its magic through broad collaboration and improvisation, especially in a story that will never end or begins, nor is intended to ever end. Also: Which Marvel characters merited chapters in early drafts that didn’t make it to the final draft; why the hardest Marvel character for Wolk to read was the Punisher; where the extra-Marvel universes of IP licenses like Conan or G.I. Joe, newuniversal, or 2099 played into his comprehensive reading; and why his son and the next generation’s ethos or justice was the integral inspiration to the entire project. Douglas Wolk has been a National Arts Journalism Fellow at Columbia University and a Fellow in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program, who has written about comics and music for magazines, newspapers and web sites including Time, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, The Believer, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Slate and Pitchfork. His books include Reading Comics and 33 1/3: Live at the Apollo. He currently teaches at Portland State University and hosts the podcast Voice of Latveria. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Wolk’s All of the Marvels is available online and at book-and-mortar booksellers everywhere. Permalink
71 minutes | Nov 29, 2021
Episode 85 – 'Let It Be' v. 'Get Back'
Which is your favorite Beatle(s’ documentary about making their last released album, one that ultimately documented simmering tensions that would lead to the band’s breakup within a year)? The Beatles originally planned on following up their White Album recording sessions by getting back to their roots, recording without studio trickery or overdubs, and film the proceedings from January/February 1969 for a TV special. It didn’t end up that way. The footage didn’t show until well after the band’s breakup, in 1970’s 80-minute Let It Be, directed Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Out of print for decades, a long-promised restoration plan for that film morphed into the recently released three-part Get Back, directed by Peter Jackson, and clocking at 468 minutes — but without ever releasing the original film. Beatle lovers Ted Haycraft and Aaron Smith are on this episode as we discuss: - When the second volume Mark Lewisohn’s mammoth All These Years three-volume Beatle biography might see the light of day;- misremembering all that Let It Be did not include of such a dramatic session;- whether or not Jackson and WETA’s restoration work on the footage was overcooked;- or did Let It Be just need a subtitle track? Also: - Why Get Back is such a treasure for completists even if it’s only played as background noise;- how its Thanksgiving release relitigates all questions of the Beatles’ 50-year-old breakup;- (should they have made more an effort to integrate Harrison’s eventual All Things Must Pass songs he offered?) (did Yoko Ono hang around way too close to Lennon during rehearsals?) (does she deserve to carry that weight she — still — gets from Beatles fans?);- and where these films stand on all-time behind-the-scenes music docs. Let It Be is not commercially available, though versions can be found online. The new three-part documentary Get Back, made from the same footage (restored and given VFX sweetener), is now streaming on Disney+.
107 minutes | Nov 22, 2021
Episode 84 – 'The Show' & Alan Moore's Cinema
Though comic book writer Alan Moore has officially finished his final projects and begun a well-deserved retirement from the medium of sequential art, he has also full turned his eye to, among other mediums, film — which, at least in adaptations, has treated him poorly. After a cycle of hometown prequel short films, some of which were gathered in the anthology feature Show Pieces, Moore’s collaboration with Northampton director Mitch Jenkins was finally released in cinemas and VOD this fall: The Show. On this episode, I’m joined by comic book/film/TV/pop culture writer Rich Johnston to discuss: - how Moore’s influence from film helped his innovative comics work from his career’s outset;- what early projects, like his Fashion Beast screenplay, may have taught him of writing for film;- why his best adaptation might be a Justice League Unlimited episode;- and yet, why a string of insultingly stupid adaptations, ones that often completely ignored the source material, soured him on the medium for such a long period, leading to him taking his name off V for Vendetta, the Watchmens, and The Killing Joke. And: - How, by the way of Watchmen’s flashback influence on Lost, Moore influenced all modern American television;- why The Show’s funny world-building works better with subtitles and rewatches;- how Edgar Wright might have contributed to The Show finished film;- and why the proposal of its prequels, feature, and five seasons (with a pilot written by and those seasons plotted by Moore), leads to the promising prospect of Moore (and Jenkins) mastering the film medium. Rich Johnston is the founder of the Bleeding Cool website, is the longest-serving digital news reporter in the world (since 1992), and is author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, and Chase Variant. He lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics, is a political cartoonist, and a father of two. The Show is available on VOD.
117 minutes | Nov 15, 2021
Episode 83 – John Carpenter's Apocalypse Trilogy
The workman Master of Horror, John Carpenter’s career has been checkered by commercial successes and, in the midst straight-forward meat/potatoes storytelling, some truly unnerving and unsettling filmmaking. None more than his self-named “Apocalypse Trilogy,” all three of which have been punished with box-office disappointment and eventual reassessment. On this episode, editor Keith Fraase joins me and Ted Haycraft to discuss: - Why Ted, a genre-lover who was buying tickets to these films as they were released in theaters, gave up on Carpenter just before Prince of Darkness;- how Carpenter’s low-budget productions and his ability to “know where to put the money” led to his box-office successes while his studio, bigger-budget films led to financial disappointment;- the oddities of Carpenter’s pacing, where dread usurps payoffs or anti-climatic action. And: - Whether a lighting effect strategy revealed by Thing DP Dean Cundey ruins or enlivens the film;- how Prince of Darkness’s schlocky, heady ideas culminates in a series of haunting mirror sequences and shots;- if Mouth of Madness is the best H.P. Lovecraft adaptation because its meta-apocalypse media ends with its main character realizing he’s a character in a fiction from a malevolent author;- what is the current state of John Carpenter’s reassessment from film fans, and is it fast or wide enough? Keith Fraase has edited such narratives features as Knight of Cups, Song to Song, and Chappaquiddick, along with the documentaries Voyage of Time and Long Strange Trip. His most recent edited film is A Mouthful of Air, currently in theaters. The Thing (1982) is currently streaming on Starz and DirectTV, while a blu-ray is available from both Universal and a Shout! Factory Collector’s Edition. Prince of Darkness is currently streaming on PeacockTV and is available on blu-ray and 4k UHD/BD from Shout! Factory. In the Mouth of Madness is currently available to rent VOD and on a blu-ray Collector’s Edition from (you guessed it) Shout! Factory.
85 minutes | Nov 1, 2021
Episode 82 – 'Dune's
We finally (finally!) have a good cinema version of Dune! Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel has been the beneficiary — often “of a doubt” — of many film adaptation attempts over the years, all trying to nail its details and maximalist world-building, only to be left with the accusation of being “unfilmable.” But was this complex narrative always destined to be this way? Ted Haycraft is back for this episode to examine Dune’s many big-screen attempts and iterations over the years. We discuss: - What an Arthur P. Jacobs produced, David Lean version would have looked like;- how Alejandro Jodorowsky’s infamously epic pre-production, made famous by the Jordorosky’s Dune documentary, would’ve led to the greatest incomprehensible, 16-hour Holy Mountain spiritual sequel;- and what Ridley Scott’s abandoned late-’70s streamlined, Rudy Wulitzer-scripted version might have accomplished. Also: - Why did visionary filmmaker David Lynch end up being a material mismatch for such an imaginative, world-bending narrative;- what does the 2000 SyFy Channel Mini-Series nail in terms of narrative with its budgetary sacrifice of scope?;- and why is the recent theatrical Villenueve Part One the most promising explanation of not only previous influence — Star Wars, Neuromancer — but, also, of Herbert’s galaxy-wide political and power explanation? The documentary Jodorowsky's Dune is available on DVD/Blu-ray and digital. David Lynch’s 1984 Dune is available to stream on HBO Max, and also on DVD/Blu-ray; its “Alan Smithee”-authored “Extended Edition” is available on DVD/Blu-ray and digital; its “Alternate Extended Redux” fan edit is available on YouTube. The 2000 SyFy mini-series Frank Herbert’s Dune is available only on DVD, though bootlegs pop up on YouTube. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (Part One) is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max through November 21.
64 minutes | Oct 25, 2021
Episode 81 – Ridley Scott's 'The Duellists'
Our second Ridley Scott episode! With his newest theatrical film, The Last Duel (at least, for two more months, until House of Gucci), already coming and going from theaters despite solid reviews, it became notable that Scott’s first feature film also has “duel” in the title — The Duellists. Ted Haycraft joins this episode to talk Scott’s forgotten films, both his recent outing with a Affleck/Damon (and Nicole Holofcener!) script, and his pre-Alien debut. We discuss: - why even the most dedicated cinephiles, from Ted to Edgar Wright, have blindspots of movies they haven’t seen;- the tired narrative of adult movies being too smart for audiences and thusly doomed to failure;- The Last Duel’s Rashomon-structure;- and when Scott’s output pace went from visionary, to intermittently forgettable, and back to the occasionally brilliant, such as with The Last Duel. Also: - Scott’s pre-feature experience in commercials;- why The Duellists’s reliance on Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon makes it Scott’s only derivative film;- how many major directors’ debut films did Harvey Keitel star in;- and why Scott’s output pace obscures how his lesser films would be other directors’ masterpieces. Though its most recent Blu-ray is out of print, The Duellists is available on VOD and other services, like Kanopy. The Last Duel is still in theaters.
81 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Episode 80 – 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
After several delays, the newest James Bond film, No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing, was finally released. It’s gotten solid reviews, an emotional reaction (from, at least, us), and the most amount of references to what has become considered in the last few years the finest Bond outing: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. On this episode, Bond fanatic Ted Haycraft joins to talk his favorite franchise and both of these outings from it. We discuss: - when exactly did OHMSS go from punching bag to become cinephiles’s favorite Bond;- George Lazenby’s hated and beloved legacy;- and Steven Soderbergh’s essay on the film, declaring that the film “took all the ideas of the French [N]ew [W]ave and blended them with Eisenstein in a Cuisinart to create a grammar that still tops today’s how fast can you cut aesthetic.” Also: - the serialization nature of Craig’s Bond films;- their relationship to the tight(er) continuity of Ian Fleming’s original novels;- and if this, along with No Time to Die, are the most “emotional” entires in the series. On Her Majesty Secret Service is currently available on Pluto.tv, VOD and Blu-ray. No Time to Die is currently in theaters.
69 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
Episode 79 – Neil Postman's 'Amusing Ourselves to Death'
During the pandemic, most of us wanted comfort content to get us to sleep. But did we err too far away from fulfilling art, and towards escapism? On this episode Terra Fernandez and I debate a now-36-year-old book that seems to have gained — or maintained — relevance recently in the world of social media, using a debate between George Orwell (and his 1984) and Aldous Huxley (and his Brave New World) as the modern precipitator to the media environment we currently face. We discuss: - the reputation of this book, from media luminaries like Tristan Harris recommending its critique;- alternate theories of TV influence, from gatekeepers to “the cone of silence”;- Terra’s experience working in advertising, on TV, online, and with branded content. Also: - how quaint the book’s polemic is against Reagan post-Trump;- how dated the book’s TV polemic has become, with its viewership going down;- but how prescient the book’s polemic has been when applied to the internet. Terra Fernandez is a director of content partnerships in advertising. While this photo of her is indicative of her skeptical thoughts on the book, it was also, in the moment, an impression of me. Amusing Ourselves to Death is available in multiple editions, including its 20th anniversary edition, online and at brick and mortar bookstores.
142 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Episode 78 – Jamie Kirkpatrick / 'Open Range'
Working from home, Jamie Kirkpatrick edited a solid, tight Western script that was proposed to him as “a Wal-Mart movie,” only to realize from the dailies that it was actually turning into a great movie. Months later, after successful reviews from the Venice Film Festival, writer-director Potsy Ponciroli’s Western is in theaters and one of the year’s best movies. In particular, one of the influences for the movie discussed between editor and director was Kevin Costner’s underrated, last directorial outing, Open Range, and in particular its messy gunfight finale. On this episode, joined by Ted Haycraft, we discuss: - The wide list of Westerns Kirkpatrick studied while editing, from Blazing Saddles to Pale Rider;- two editors shop talk, particularly about editing a film remotely frame-by-frame on software that lags significantly;- then they talk shop more, particularly about Kirkpatrick’s short editing schedule for Old Henry;- and then, somehow, they talk more editorial shop. Also: - Kevin Costner’s tiny directorial trilogy of lengthy, cinematically-informed films, which talk back to film history;- why certain perfectly-great film’s Oscar success hurts them in posterity, when they won over other beloved films (Dances With Wolves v. GoodFellas);- how many bullets are actually in a movie six-shooter, at least from an editor’s standpoint;- and also: more editors’ shop talk. Jamie Kirkpatrick is a New York-based editor and filmmaker. His feature editing credits include Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Ed Burns’ The Groomsmen, My Friend Dahmer, We Summon the Darkness, and Critical Thinking. Open Range is available digitally to rent or buy. Old Henry is currently playing in select theaters.
60 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
Episode 77 – @ScottPropAndRoll
During the pandemic, Austin-based prop master and art director Scott A. Reeder started messing around on TikTok, combining short but entertaining behind-the-scenes tidbits — alongside dad jokes. One-point-five million followers later, this work-based lark has turned into a phenomenon. On this episode, I’m joined by Jacob Gay, a former Evansville native who works with Scott on the CW’s current Walker reboot. The three of us discuss: - How his daughter prompted Scott, who’d always been shy about telling jokes, to make his first post;-Scott’s work on both generations of TV’s Walker;- and how his brilliant paper/rock/scissors Good, the Bad, and the Ugly parody was overshadowed by a breakthrough walking-home-from-the-bar joke. Also: - How Reeder translated his professional craftsman expertise into a social network following;- why social networks are becoming promotional to working, below the line crew members;- and the nuts and bolts of monetizing a social media from a side-gig into a main income stream. Scott A. Reeder is a prop master and art director who’s worked in TV and film (Machete, the Friday the 13th remake, Grindhouse, The Leftovers, Friday Night Lights, Panic, and Walker: Texas Ranger), including his work as co-writer/director (Boondoggle). His TIkTok, YouTube, Instagram, and various social media accounts can be found through his Linktr.ee. Jacob Gay is a production specialist working in the Austin, TX film and television community. Originally from Evansville, IN, he loves comedies, playing the mandolin and watching basketball (go Pacers!). And podcasts, too, obviously.
67 minutes | Sep 17, 2021
Episode 76 – 'For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close' w/ Director Heather Ross & Co-Editor George Mandl
Del Close was an early member of the Compass Player (later Second City), an early proponent of “Yes, and” improv method, the “Harold” longform improv format, and an unironic “guru” of almost every major comedy player who came out of Chicago into Saturday Night Live into your favorite comedies of the last 40 years. Yet, why isn’t he known to many, or all, and why do those who did knew him personally describe him as a “madman”? On this episode is Heather Ross, director and co-writer of the new Close documentary For Madmen Only, along with her co-producer and -editor George Mandl, and former Chicago improv student Dustin Levell. We discuss: - How Ross’s doc work with women in Chicago kept her hearing stories about this “Close guy with a needle hanging out of his arm” who trained all her favorite comedians; - the closest Close had to an autobiography, the late-’80s pre-Vertigo comic Wasteland, and how its visual narrative contributed to the doc; - his degree of shock-seeking and self-mythologizing; - and why Chicago improvers from Mike Myers to Bill Murray have wanted to make a biopic out of Close’s life; Also: - The difference between the ‘60s San Franciscan Harold versus the “Teaching” Harold; - the influence of the book Close’s tri-authored book "Truth in Comedy" and its profound wisdom, both personally and artistically; - the ambivalent nature of being a great “guru” and having one’s students surpass in levels of fame; - and why the 4-20% of genuine good improv is ephemerally like the being around your funniest friends at the lunch table in high school — you had to be there, and it can never be recreated. Heather Ross is an Emmy-Ward winning documentarian for her film "Girls on the the Wall," along with producing on the genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are." She also directed several shorts in the “It Gets Better” series of advocacy films. George Mandl is a film editor based out of Los Angeles. He and his work can be found at his website. https://www.georgemandl.com Dustin Levell is a Chicago-based comedy writer, performer, and stage director who trained at Second City and Improv Olympic. "For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close" is currently available to rent or buy on VOD. And, also, on Kanopy. https://www.kanopy.com/product/madmen-only
65 minutes | Sep 10, 2021
Episode 75 – 'Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol'
Every child who was raised post the invention of VCR, post-DVD, post-streaming, developed the same habit, one encouraged by (a) tired and beleaguered parent(s): watching the same dumb, terrible movie, hundreds of times, over, and over, and over. For me and my brother, the movie my parents taped off HBO and left for us, one I count having watch maybe over 100 times before I was 10 years old, was Police Academy 4 (other candidates included Police Academy 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I and II, and Return of the Jedi). On this episode, I’m joined by my brother, Chris Hazen, as we discuss: - this sequel to our 50th, drunken episode;- how absolutely, truly dumb this Police Academy sequel is, in terms of its reliance on skateboarding; ninjas; ’80s stereotypes on gay bars and voodoo;- its before-their-day stars, in their roles (Sharon Stone, David Spade);- and the obnoxiously familiar ways we love this movie as brothers. Also: - What VHSes we had access to from our father’s cabinet collection;- the power of a movie’s 3rd act on a child who’s only seen a few plots/movies;- the grab-bag logic of connecting this sequel to a highly successful, yearly series;- and why we, as brothers, diverted our identical movie tastes after we hit puberty. Chris Hazen lives in Newburgh, Indiana.
117 minutes | Sep 4, 2021
Episode 74 – Mark Yoshikawa / 'After Life'
The kindest, humblest, most talented, best-combo film editor I’ve ever worked with was Mark Yoshikawa. From his humble beginnings assistant-editing for Richard Chew (Star Wars, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), to his rise through the ranks to co-picture editor for Terrence Malick (The New World, Knight of Cups), Yoshikawa’s ascendancy was always measured and earned, learning through the process as he made his way to large studio blockbusters. On this episode, we talk half Mark’s career, half one of his formative films, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After Life, and Kore-eda’s career. And: - Mark’s most recent work, Reminiscence, how it called on skills he loved such. as non-linearity, that he developed for Lisa Joy on HBO’s Westworld;- how that AE ascendancy, from That Thing you Do! to Best In Show taught him the skills to “run the room” and be a calming presence in multiple editing rooms;- and why his work knowing the footage on Malick’s The New World led to a picture editor promotion. Also: - Mark’s formative viewing of After Life at a Los Angeles Little Tokyo festival screening;- that docu-sensibility of “movies as memory” application of both After Life and Reminiscence, and cinema as a memory as a “story that you tell yourself”;- and the true work of We-Wei and “avoiding the filmmaker’s hand” in regards to finding pristine performers’s genuine behavior. Mark Yoshikawa is a film editor best known for his work on The Tree of Life, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2, HBO’s Westworld and the pilot to Succession. His most recently work, Reminiscence, starring Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, is available in theaters and on HBO Max. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After Life is available on VOD and on physical media from Criterion.
84 minutes | Aug 26, 2021
Episode 73 – TV G.O.A.T. Pt. 3: 'The Wire'
The last pick in this series of TV G.O.A.T.s is mine and an obvious, modern one: HBO’s The Wire. On this episode, joined by Ted Heycraft, we discuss: - Why a friend’s recommendation of many hours of content, even why the say it a show is “the greatest,” might lead towards a long time before following up;- how the literary social novel survive into the genre of Peak TV, in which a story might take a long, boring time, to setup its reveals?;- when the payoffs start happening, how this seems like some of the most sophisticated filmed entertainment ever when it comes to cause and effect.- and how a pristinely plotted show could still do throwaway actions such as putting a reference line from Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch into ever episode of its second season. Also: - Why everyone’s favorite “definitive” character from the show has their fate end in a Jesse James / Robert Ford fashion;- why the show’s real definitive character, beyond the city of Baltimore itself, may have their big moment in a monologue in the show’s penultimate episode;- how this murder’s row of novelists filled into a writers-room leads to the first three seasons “being better than the first two Godfathers”;- the beauty of each season withholding music until its final 20 minute montage;- and if this show’s legacy of delegitimizing the War on Drugs is still enough. The Wire is available from HBO, currently streaming on their MAX service, and also on Blu-ray.
70 minutes | Aug 19, 2021
Episode 72 – TV G.O.A.T. Pt. 2: 'The Singing Detective'
Before Peak TV, what was considered the television medium’s G.O.A.T.? One prominent candidate among TV critics for many years was another British import, this 1986 mini-series from the famed playwright/novelist/screenwriter Dennis Potter. On this episode, joined by Ted Heycraft, we discuss: - Why this TV mini-series works as a deep, literary genre-hybrid;- how that hybrid incorporates with Potter’s distinct, self-proclaimed genre of the lipsync-musical (with examples likes Pennies from Heaven);- its relation to the American Singing Detective feature, directed by Keith Gordon. Also: - The three-level fever-dream aspect of blending detective fiction, hospital disease-feature, and autobiographical skin-disease time;- how long — and cinematically — it takes to reveal the biographical details;- why this show, previously a critical favorite, has been forgotten;- and why it ends with such a deceptively happy ending, and whether it deserves it? The Singing Detective TV series is not streaming anywhere, not even at the BBC. It is available on DVD.
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