Megan’s on vacation (and we miss her), so we invite a very special guest to join us this week: former Spoilerpiece co-host Kris Jenson! We’re excited to have Kris back for an episode, but feel bad about the movies we made him watch. At least we have some great discussions about them! First up is Michael Pearce’s muddled sci-fi film ENCOUNTER (4:26), starring Riz Ahmed as a father trying to protect his two sons from an alien invasion. Then we cover Camille Griffin’s uneven mix of sci-fi and dark comedy, SILENT NIGHT (31:17), which is about old friends who get together on Christmas as one last hurrah before their imminent demise. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk with Kris about Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi action film TOTAL RECALL, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger!
We get a good laugh about how the one-word titles we’re reviewing form a sentence, but after that we get serious about this week’s movies. First, we discuss Tracey Deer’s BEANS (2:22), a layered coming-of-age drama set against the real-life 78-day standoff between the Mohawk community and government forces in 1990 Quebec. Next, we cover Rebecca Hall’s PASSING (22:39), a compelling 1920s drama about race and class starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. Lastly, we review FINCH (42:21), Miguel Sapochnik’s moving post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama about a man (Tom Hanks) who builds a robot that he must teach to take care of his dog. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Penny Marshall’s 1992 baseball film A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Tom Hanks!
We start the show this week with TINA (1:41), the comprehensive HBO Max documentary about music icon Tina Turner, who we all love, but one of us much more than the others. Next, we review VOYAGERS (16:07), Neil Burger’s LORD OF THE FLIES on a spaceship, a sci-fi thriller that gets us all extremely riled up. Then we discuss MONDAY (31:23), the Argyris Papadimitropoulos romantic drama starring Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough, which two of us HATE and one of us likes. Lastly, we dig into JAKOB’s WIFE (45:46), the delightful Travis Stevens horror comedy starring the always entertaining Barbara Crampton. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Billy Wilder’s quintessential film noir DOUBLE INDEMNITY.
This week kicks off with a special edition of Riedel’s Crewind, as Dave and Evan talk WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (4:12), the Mr. Rogers documentary that has been charming critics and audiences the world over. Next up, Kris talks ADRIFT (14:18), a true story starring Shailene Woodley as a young woman left to fend for herself and her injured partner after a hurricane destroys their boat. It’s a tad uneven, but the sheer physicality of Woodley’s performance and the fascinating focus on just how taxing survival can be. This leads Dave to quickly recap DEAD CALM (25:08), before Dave and Evan wrap things up with gritty, violent, and inventive sci-fi flick UPGRADE (31:02).
After 148 episodes, Evan suddenly airs his distaste for poetry, and in explaining his rationale, he unwittingly realizes the one exception to his rule. Then it’s onward to the week’s movies. First, Dave and Kris go deep on ALIEN: COVENANT (at 6:17), a film that takes the worst ideas of its predecessor PROMETHEUS, and capitalizes on them, by following a group of characters that are morons. Next, Evan covers the Israeli movie THE WEDDING PLAN (at 41:32), where a bride dumped a month before her wedding decides to go ahead with the ceremony anyway?the kind of tale that’s worth watching for its unique story, even though it’s a little slow and long. Evan and Kris close with BUSTER’S MAL HEART (at 53:03), a weird, crazy flick starring MR. ROBOT’s Rami Malek, and a charismatic conspiracy theorist played by DJ Qualls, that has the exact sense of irony that Kris appreciates.
It’s been a while since the guys have done some singing, so they decide to make up for it at the start of the episode. There are just two films on their docket this week?one is animated, and one live action that’s also an action movie. First, Evan reviews YOUR NAME (at 4:00), a touching anime tale about two teenagers who mysteriously start swapping bodies. Dave tries to compare it to other body-swapping films like VICE VERSA and DREAM A LITTLE DREAM with moderate success, while Kris realizes he’s into it for reasons he doesn’t fully understand. Then all three of them set their sights on FATE OF THE FURIOUS (at 20:04), a loud action movie that’s almost unbelievable even by franchise standards, but boy is it still fun to watch, because it surprised them with some of its new tricks with cars.
This week the guys attempt to answer the age old question, “Who’s the luckiest person in show business?” with mixed results. Each of them have some catching up to do on movies that they’ve seen, so they do some quick recaps (starting at 4:26) before they dive into these week’s movies. Kris shares short takes on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and PERSONAL SHOPPER, prior to Evan offering brief thoughts on 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, and Dave revealing what he took away from the rest of OJ: MADE IN AMERICA. After that Kris and Evan discuss WILSON (at 19:32), a film based on a Daniel Clowes graphic novel, where Woody Harrelson plays a guy walking through life telling everyone bullshit and acting like an asshole. Then all three guys discuss the sci-fi horror movie LIFE (at 41:11) which has great actors giving mediocre performances. They compare various parts to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and ALIEN, however they describe why it gets dumber the more you think about it.
Baby Henry is under the weather, prompting Dave to quarantine himself – so guest Dede Crimmins joins Evan and Kris this week to talk about the ‘90s and lots of film-related topics. Dede fills the guys in on her latest adventures, which include recording a DVD commentary, and participating on panels at the Arisia science fiction convention. Following some philosophical discussion about horror, Dede shares three movies to look out for this year (at 13:00): RAW, THE BAD BATCH, and COLOSSAL. After that, she and the guys discuss the 2017 Oscar nominations (at 21:52), revealing surprises and disappointments in the major categories. Finally, all three of them review this week’s new release GOLD (at 33:50), the Matthew McConaughey gold prospecting movie that Kris describes as AMERICAN HUSTLE on NyQuil. Evan and Dede find it charming for McConaughey’s spirited performance as a balding, overweight, drunk, but they admit that they’ll probably forget it in a week.
So much Spoilerpiecing to do this week! We lead things off with a call from a friend in France, and then we get down to spoiling the snot out of ASSASSIN’S CREED. Evan follows that up with Almodovar’s JULIETA, and then Kris uses all his strength to get through PASSENGERS, which sounds like it was an ordeal and a half. Finally, Evan and Dave talk FENCES, Denzel’s latest directorial effort (an adaptation of August Wilson’s renowned play).
On this week’s episode, Dave gripes about his record club’s inability to send him records he wants, before discussing his burgeoning November beard and his latest Baby Henry story. After the guys get some good laughs in to compensate for their election sadness, Kris gets things going with ARRIVAL (at 6:10), a sci-fi film starring Amy Adams as a linguist that speaks heptapod. Adams plays the same character she always does, but it does some very interesting things Kris doesn’t expect and really turns out to be the kind of high concept sci-fi he enjoys. Next, Evan and Dave keep the good movie momentum with their description of LOVING (at 21:26), an emotional drama based on a true story with amazing performances by Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton. Kris follows with his take on MOONLIGHT (at 33:32) a three-party story of a gay man’s life that’s not revolutionary, but so well-assembled that it kind of is. Evan closes out the show with THE ORIGIN OF VIOLENCE (at 48:36), a French film playing at the Boston Jewish Film Festival that turned out to be more about the Holocaust than he expected, although not in a bad way, since the film uses it to tell a compelling story.