Colin Wessman

The Pick: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Despite the gap, we keep things in line with our previous episode by staying in the heist genre in this episode with the Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges vehicle Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Though things had changed a bit in the heist movie by the time of the film’s 1971 release, there are still plenty of touchstones it shares with our previous film, The Asphalt Jungle. We get into the film’s buddy vibes, hangout vibes, and indispensable George Kennedy vibes. Mostly, it’s just a movie about guys enjoying each other’s company, which feels about as appropriate as it gets for The Pick. Continue reading

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: 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

Oscars Fortnight: Howards End

Howards End (1992)

The 65th Academy Awards (1993)
Nominations:
9
Wins: 3

For a brief period in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it seemed like the films produced by Ismael Merchant and directed by James Ivory were a bit of an Oscars juggernaut. Granted, none of these movies ever won Best Picture, and they only occasionally get talked about nowadays, usually as an obligatory example of a staid British period piece. But they seemed important at the time, even if they haven’t remained all that accessible. So I’ve had a vague interest in watching at least one of these movies, and the best place to start seemed to be Howards End, which is probably the most acclaimed of the Merchant-Ivory productions. Luckily it turned out to be pretty compelling and full of ideas that still ring true, even if it may appear a bit stuffy on the surface. Continue reading