This week’s episode kicks off with, what else those effin’ Oscar nominations (2:17), recognizing outstanding achievement in male mediocrity. There are some deserving nominations — BLACK PANTHER, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, BLACKKKLANSMAN — but c’mon already. From there, Kris recaps STAN & OLLIE (11:55), a well-meaning film about Laurel and Hardy in the last year of their joint career. It has some great attributes but never gathers enough momentum to explore the more interesting or entertaining dimensions of its plot. Last up is DESTROYER (21:13), a meandering neo-noir that has some good things going for it but it could have done with a bit — or a lot — of streamlining.
This week we’re joined by friend of the show Greg Vellante! Greg kicks things off with a recap of Sean Baker’s career. Best known for recent successes like TANGERINE and THE FLORIDA PROJECT, there are some real gems early in his filmography, in particular TAKE OUT (3:57). Stay tuned for Greg’s piece in Spectrum Culture! Next up, all three guys spent some time with BANDERSNATCH (18:37), the standalone BLACK MIRROR film where the viewer decides what happens next — or is it simply the illusion of choice?! Closing out the episode is THE UPSIDE (31:12), which is a very misleading name. There are no upsides to this movie.
This week, our friend Megan Kearns returns to the show! She kicks things off with PRIVATE LIFE (3:02), a frank and moving depiction of a couple’s attempts to conceive. Next is Evan with LIFE WITHOUT BASKETBALL (7:37), a documentary about a Muslim American woman who faces discriminatory rules regarding dress, preventing her from advancing her basketball career. Then, Kris runs us through SALEM’S LOT (11:31), the classic spooky miniseries based on the Stephen King story, as well as Orson Welles’s THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (15:33), a film forty years in the making. It’s a true masterpiece, argues Kris, and you should all see it on Netflix now. Then, Kris and Evan look at BOY ERASED (21:48), Joel Edgerton’s film about gay conversion therapy, with some good qualities but an unfortunate amount of overlap with THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. Last up, all three get less and less enthusiastic about Steve McQueen’s WIDOWS (40:11).
This week starts with Dave’s recap of the all-night Halloween Marathon at Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre (2:30) featuring some of the best in classic zombie flicks. Next up, Kris recounts his spooky double feature, LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH and MESSIAH OF EVIL (16:09), both of which are great slices in 1970s weirdness. Dave runs us through THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (28:32) and does not buy into the hype. Dave and Evan team up for LBJ (34:39), the latest take on the president with a complicated legacy. Last up, all three talk about the surprisingly delightful THOR: RAGNAROK (44:37) from Taika Waititi.
While discussing highlights of Billy Joel’s musical career on this week’s episode, Kris and Dave enlighten Evan about Joel’s brief metal period in the band Atilla. Without wasting much time after that, the guys get into the week’s movies. First up is Kris, to talk about THE RED TURTLE (at 2:56), one of the shortest spoilerpieces ever, because the sort-of-Studio Ghibli animated film has no dialogue. Kris kind of likes it, although he doesn’t know why. However he does know that he feels the emotions of it. Next is Evan, to discuss LION (at 9:08), a drama about an Indian man played by Dev Patel, who decides to search for the family he was separated from as a child. The film’s first half is heartbreaking and its last act reaches an emotional conclusion, yet Evan feels like its scenes of Patel searching on Google Earth in the middle really drag the story down. Finally, the guys conclude by gushing about PATERSON (at 23:50), Jim Jarmusch’s pleasant, slice-of-life picture about a poet and bus driver played by Adam Driver. They talk about how the movie is about poetry on micro and macro levels, while revealing why it makes you want to sink your teeth into every moment. With a little time left, Dave caps the segment by sharing a brief hilarious encounter he had with Mr. Jarmusch in New York City.
This week Spoilerpiece turns 1 year old AND Dave is back! The guys talk about whether it’s okay for him to make “Your Mom Jokes” now that he is a dad. Then Dave jumps into STRANGERLAND, which he dubs “the cinematic equivalent to spit up.” He jokes about how acting skills don’t run in the Fiennes family and wonders how Nicole Kidman is still making movies considering she hasn’t had a good one since 2004’s BIRTH. Dave did see something good though: A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH RELFECTING ON EXISTENCE, which has a terrible title but a really interesting premise. Evan covers MINIONS, a film that stars characters who work better in small doses. Finally Kris wraps up the show by reviewing MR. HOLMES, where an elderly Sherlock Holmes has a housekeeper that’s definitely NOT Scottish and he flashes back without acid. Stick around after the closing music for an added bonus.