We’re back to business as usual this week, starting with MEASURE OF REVENGE (3:02), an atrocious, amateurish thriller starring Melissa Leo as an unhinged stage actress seeking revenge for her son’s murder. Then we review Domee Shi’s moving Pixar film TURNING RED (18:49), which uses a Chinese Canadian girl’s magical transformation to deftly explore the struggles of puberty. After that we cover Adrian Lyne’s disappointing “erotic” thriller DEEP WATER (36:38), starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as a vindictive, dysfunctional couple coming apart at the seams. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about RETURN OF THE JEDI!
It’s movies-that-studios-are-pushing-for-awards week on Spoilerpiece! First up, Evan and Dave talk about Mike Mills’ C’MON C’MON (1:48), a funny drama starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny, who steps in to take care of his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) while Jesse’s mother Viv (Gaby Hoffman) tends to her husband, Jesse’s father, who has bipolar disorder. That’s a clunky description, but don’t hold that against us because it’s a great conversation about a movie that’s firmly plugged into its emotional arc. Next, everyone saw THE TENDER BAR (22:03), director George Clooney’s coming-of-age drama, about JR (Daniel Ranieri as a kid and Tye Sheridan as a young adult), who moves with his mother (Lily Rabe) to her childhood home. Good news: Her brother, JR’s Uncle Charlie, is Ben Affleck. The bad news? Not enough Ben Affleck. Lastly, we talk about RED ROCKET (39:15), Sean Baker’s alternatingly funny yet uncomfortable comedy-drama. A washed-up porn star (a terrific Simon Rex) returns to his working class Texas hometown, crashing into his estranged wife’s life, and striking up a creepy romance with a 17-year-old (Suzanna Son), whom he’s trying to groom into a porn career that he hopes will restart his own.
Over on our Patreon, we talk about FARGO, the Coen brothers’ comedic thriller starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi. If you join our $5 tier, you’ll get immediate access to that conversation and more than 200 bonus episodes!
Dave’s on vaca one last week, so Kristen Halbert fills in to discuss a panel about video game to film adaptations (4:05) that she and Evan attended at PAX East. After they explore ideas for future adaptations, Megan reviews the new Pixar film ONWARD (21:23), a heartwarming family tale. Next she and Evan discuss THE LODGE (29:30), a creepy horror flick they’re split on. Finally, everyone digs into THE WAY BACK (47:35), a Ben Affleck film about addiction that leaves one host feeling less than enthusiastic.
Strange things are afoot this week at Spoilerpiece Theatre, and we’ll just leave it at that. Kris leads off by reviewing THE BYE BYE MAN (at 3:48), a horror movie where the villain has no goal other than to mess with people until they die, so his dog can eat them. Just like with THE FOREST, Kris almost spoilerpieces Dave into wanting to see it, although thankfully Dave comes to his senses when he realizes how stupid it is. Evan follows with 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (at 26:48), a Mike Mills movie set in 1970s Santa Barbara with good bones, great camerawork, and charming performances, but annoying stream of consciousness storytelling like Mills’s film BEGINNERS. Then Kris and Dave wrap up with LIVE BY NIGHT (at 41:39), the Ben Affleck gangster picture where people do a lot of living by day. Sienna Miller blends in, Brendan Gleeson goes too soon, and Chris Messina is the only one who belongs in this story with lots of clothed sex and heavy involvement from the KKK. The guys reveal that it looks great despite being weird, even though they agree that you should probably live by not seeing it.
This week Dave recalls a random middle school experience that struck a chord with him for very middle school reasons. Following his hilarious anecdote, the guys all review the Ben Affleck thriller THE ACCOUNTANT (at 4:36), which has good solid killing, a scrappy Anna Kendrick, and a story that’s delightfully narrow in scope, however it does fall victim to clunky exposition in its second act. Next, Kris reviews THE DYBBUK (at 45:16), a really good pre-World War II Polish movie in Yiddish about possession and conjuring Satan (which make it so metal). Lastly, Dave covers with the Swedish picture A MAN CALLED OVE (at 55:24), a story you’ve seen a million times about an old guy with a dead wife. Its characterization of this perpetual grump’s interactions with young people and his botched attempts at killing himself are charming in a way that only a non-American filmmaker could pull off.
Dave couldn’t make it at the last minute, so frequent guest Charlie Nash steps in to help out this week. After the guys discuss an idea Kris has for a movie, that he definitely shouldn’t be the one to write, they delve into the zany short film KUNG FURY. Charlie hasn’t seen it, so Kris and Evan convince him to check it out by spoilerpiecing how its hero acquires his kung fu powers. Then it’s up to Evan to describe MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2, or as he calls it, MY BIG FAT SEQUEL. He’s annoyed by how hypocritical it is, which leads to a tangent about another hypocritical movie: I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY. Once he finishes sharing all the reasons why MBFGW2 wasn’t good, all three guys tear into BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Charlie describes how it looks like shit (dark, murky, and brown) and explains why Batman and Superman are wrong in their worldviews. Evan craps on it too for its poor direction and editing. Kris is no fan either, but he provides interesting context for the movie in relation to comic book storylines and describes the few things he did actually like about it.
It’s time to talk Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall and THE JUDGE, and so much of the movie works but even more of it doesn’t. How many subplots can one film have? Well, how often can we break off into tangents (covering Van Halen, David Fincher’s body of work, how watching THE BIG LEBOWSKI is kind of like watching THE JUDGE except better, and the pros of having Evan AND Kris on this week’s episode) when discussing GONE GIRL? HOW MANY, WE ASK YOU? And somehow ANNABELLE snuck in for a moment this week, but that’s what evil dolls do.