We start by reviewing Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical film THE FABELMANS (2:14), which explores his love of filmmaking, his parents’ marriage, and the antisemitism he experienced growing up. They’re themes we’ve seen him tackle before in his movies, but we’re split on whether there’s enough unique value that makes this movie worth watching. Next, we delve into Sarah Polley’s WOMEN TALKING (33:34), a compelling chamber piece drama about women from a religious community who have been abused by the men in it, debating whether they should forgive them, stay and fight, or leave. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we discuss a Patron’s choice, the Hallmark movie HANUKKAH ON RYE!
We start the show by offering our brief reactions to this year’s Oscar nominations, which were released this week. After that we review Disney’s ENCANTO (6:39), a heartwarming animated tale about a magical Colombian family, which features incredible songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Next, we dig into Guillermo del Toro’s stylish, yet long film noir NIGHTMARE ALLEY (25:44), which has us split. Then we discuss Kat Coiro’s delightful rom-com MARRY ME (40:09), a film about nice things happening to nice people, starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Greg Berlanti’s 2018 queer teen rom-com, LOVE, SIMON!
It’s a heapin’ helpin’ of Spoilerpiece this week, as the guys tackle six movies (!!), and welcome special guest Max Covill! Max writes for Film School Rejects and co-hosts his own podcast, It’s the Pictures. Max gets things a-goin’ with A GHOST STORY (4:15), a movie that stars Casey Affleck as one of the kids from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and Rooney Mara as the woman who loves him. It’s the kind of movie Kris wishes he’d seen, but hasn’t yet. There’s a brief tangent into what makes a horror movie a horror movie (A GHOST STORY is not, FYI) at 12:30, and then Riedel’s Recaps with THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (17:00), one of Clint Eastwood’s least Clint Eastwood-like pictures. Max takes over at 27:15 for WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Kris tackles THE LOVELESS (41:30), Kathryn Bigelow’s first film as director, and Evan spoilerpieces THE BUBBLE (47:50), a film in which an Israeli man and Palestinian man fall in love and lots of people are unhappy about it. The big ‘un this week is OKJA. Everyone has seen it. AND THERE ARE SUPER DIVERSE OPINIONS! This week’s episode was brought to you by factory farming, btw.
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.
Merry Christmas from Spoilerpiece! Dave is out sick with a stomach bug, so Kris decides to share his own gross stomach bug experience out of solidarity. He and Evan then talk about the lush visuals and excellent craft in CAROL, a Todd Haynes movie that impressed their colleagues, but underwhelmed both of them with its inert plot. After that they review THE BIG SHORT, an unexpectedly sharp film about the financial crisis made by the same guy who did STEP BROTHERS and the ANCHORMAN movies. They wrap with their extensive thoughts on Quentin Tarantino’s latest picture THE HATEFUL EIGHT, a sadistic story that will forever change your perception of the song “Silent Night.”