The Pick: The Asphalt Jungle

Do you know where you are? You’re in The Asphalt Jungle, baby. And you’re gonna see some guys die! Or just get caught while trying to pull off a heist. This episode, we’re keeping it in the ’50s again with one of the more influential caper flicks of all time, while also looking a bit at the multi-faceted career of director John Huston. We also spend a lot of time discussing big knives, big guns, and big books on the movie posters of Hollywood’s past eras. Continue reading

The Pick: Them!

This episode, we’re getting a little antsy while talking about those giant invasive species from 1954’s Them! We’re celebrating the film’s 70th anniversary by taking a look at the era of 3-D glasses, communist paranoia, and giant monsters borne of the atomic bomb. There’s also plenty of talk regarding the Wilhelm scream, the legendary stock sound that was used in Them! as well as countless other later films that caused it to become one cinema’s most prolific easter eggs. Continue reading

The Pick: eXistenZ

This week on The Pick, we’re going back to the ’90s (again) and back to David Cronenberg (again) by taking a look at 1999’s eXistenZ (which is not pronounced how you’d think). Yet, despite the familiarity inherent in this episode’s Pick, it’s far from a run-of-the-mill movie, even if it does feel fairly par for the course in Cronenberg’s bizarro filmography. There’s lots of talk about game pods and bioports as well as Cronenberg’s liberal interpretation of what video games are. We even do a little bit of a look at where video games were at when this movie was released, while Sean offers one of the more unusual Little Picks. Continue reading

The Pick: Cabin Boy

We are, once again, back. We’re also back on our bullshit reviewing a movie with a cult following and a strange cultural footprint that we’ve been meaning to get to the bottom of. In honor of its 30th anniversary, we’re taking a look at Cabin Boy, the first and only big-screen collaboration between Chris Elliott and fellow Late Night co-conspirator Adam Resnick. We dive into the movie’s abysmal reception when it was released and why it has been reassessed by comedy nerds over the years. Also, we couldn’t let the release of Dune: Part 2 go by without talking about it, so we forgo our little picks for an in-depth discussion of the year’s first big blockbuster.

Oscars Fortnight: Past Lives

Past Lives (2023)

The 96th Academy Awards (2024)
Nominations:
2
Wins:

What do Casablanca, Titanic, Brokeback Mountain, Atonement and Call Me By Your Name, all have in common? They all were nominated for Best Picture, of course! But beyond that, they’re all tragic romances about missed connections. The right people meeting at the wrong time. This year’s Past Lives participates in that proud tradition but very much in a cool, In the Mood for Love slow, unspoken way. Will that be enough to bring first time writer-director Celine Song Oscar gold in a few weeks? Probably not but it’s nice to dream.

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Oscars Fortnight: Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland (2004)

The 77th Academy Awards (2005)
Nominations:
7
Wins: 1

Why am I drawn to the worst films nominated for Best Picture? Finding Neverland is not terrible but it has no business being selected as one of the Best Films of 2004. The 77th Academy Awards did otherwise deliver a solid lineup; Million Dollar Baby (the winner), The Aviator, Sideways, Ray, but Finding Neverland? You could have given that spot to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Collateral, or The Incredibles (yeah, right they aren’t that cool). So why Finding Neverland? Answer: the Oscars LOVE middling biopics.

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Oscars Fortnight: Joker

Joker (2019)

The 92nd Academy Awards (2020)
Nominations:
11
Wins: 2

I was thinking about this the day I watched Joker (because I was also thinking about Vampire Weekend announcing their first album in five years), but 2019 really was a different time. Covid hadn’t happened, we’d started to (sort of) adjust to Trump being president, and superhero movies were at the peak of their popularity. The latter two of these things of course coalesced in the movie Joker, melding Batman’s greatest foe and incel culture. So like many cultural moments of the Trump era, there was a lot of Discourse around it.

Now, with a new Joker movie coming out later this year and the benefit of a few years of distance from the film’s release, I wanted to try and revisit this movie without all of its cultural baggage and take it in more on its merits as a film, which apparently there was enough of to earn Oscars. Though that’s going to be a little hard, since its messaging (or lack thereof) is still a little hard to separate from what this movie is doing within the confines of its own vision of Gotham City. Continue reading