Brace yourselves for moving documentaries and Netflix horror this week! First, we discuss NO ORDINARY MAN (2:14), Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s emotional documentary about trans jazz musician Billy Tipton, which features insightful commentary about the trans experience, and seeks to reclaim Tipton’s life story for the trans community. We continue on in documentary territory with Morgan Neville’s ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN (18:57), a haunting examination of the famous chef/television host’s life, addictions, and loneliness that also beautifully honors his legacy. Last but not least, we dig into FEAR STREET: PART ONE – 1994 (41:39), the fun first installment in Leigh Janiak’s Netflix horror trilogy, which is based on R.L. Stine’s famous book series and stars Kiana Medeira, Olivia Scott Welch, and Benjamin Flores Jr. And in this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we talk about Nora Ephron’s 1998 rom-com YOU’VE GOT MAIL, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!
This week, we open with the Netflix drama MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (3:34), starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the George C. Wolfe-directed adaptation of August Wilson’s stage play about the blues singer and her band. Then we review George Clooney’s post-apocalyptic Netflix sci-fi film THE MIDNIGHT SKY (15:18), with Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo. Next, we discuss the first-ever Tom Hanks Western NEWS OF THE WORLD (29:21), directed by Paul Greengrass and co-starring Helena Zengel. We wrap up with Emerald Fennell’s darkly comedic revenge tale PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (42:42), starring Carey Mulligan. And on this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we discuss the 2006 Nancy Meyers rom-com THE HOLIDAY, because tis the season.
This week Evan shares some of his favorite French film titles seen in Montreal before Megan reviews FROZEN 2 (4:30), a sequel with meaningful themes. Next Dave covers 21 BRIDGES (14:35) a predictable film far beneath its talented lead Chadwick Boseman. After that Megan discusses A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (23:55), the poignant movie about Mr. Rogers starring Tom Hanks. She and Evan have disagreements about the following film AFTER CLASS aka SAFE SPACES (37:58), which played at this year’s Boston Jewish Film Festival, although they still appreciate a lot of the same scenes. To wrap up, everyone chats about KNIVES OUT (49:02), a hilarious whodunit that could have been tighter and more loaded with twists.
This week, friend of the show (and the hosts!) Charlie Nash returns to the guest seat in Dave’s absence. The first review of the night is Evan and Charlie with MOLLY’S GAME, Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut. The famed writer of A FEW GOOD MEN, THE WEST WING, and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, known for his tight and layered dialogue, would have benefited from applying the same discipline to his camerawork and pacing, as a worthwhile story with good performances gets buried under its own weight (and penchant for mansplaining). Next up is Charlie with a captivating recap of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Luca Guadagnino’s coming of age tale love story starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. It boasts lush visuals and a deep exploration of discovering sides of ourselves we neither understand how to express nor contain. Wrapping things up is THE POST, Steven Spielberg’s latest masterpiece — yes, it really is — about the publishing of the Pentagon Papers. With a top-notch cast and a clear understanding of the stakes, it’s a must-see for history buffs or anyone who cares about valuing truth and accountability above comfort and stability.
As the guys imagine their dream pets, Kris reveals some horrifying aspects of Venus flytrap ownership at the start of this week’s episode. Then Dave jumps into the Tom Hanks/Ron Howard vehicle INFERNO (at 5:24), a movie that contains a surprising amount of swearing (at least according to him). He laments the picture’s misuse of Ben Foster, while also wondering aloud why Hanks and Howard continue making rotten films from shit Dan Brown books. Next up is Evan to take on the Jim Jarmusch documentary GIMME DANGER (at 36:10), which chronicles the rise, fall, resurgence, and influence of Iggy and the Stooges. Jarmusch has the right sensibilities and sympathy for its subject, but his toolkit is limited and the experience suffers despite some fascinating insights about Iggy Pop’s upbringing and his attitude as musician. Kris closes out the episode with his exploration of the 1994 Academy-Award-Winner BURNT BY THE SUN (at 48:06), a Russian movie by Nikita Mikhalkov that tackles some heavy subject matter, yet still contains a lot of antics and shenanigans. Before ending his segment, Kris teases analysis of the movie’s unexpected sequels, which he’ll conduct on next week’s show.
This week Kris shares the advantages to playing board games with Canadians, before he reviews Clint Eastwood’s latest movie SULLY (at 2:38). The mediocre film has a lot in common narratively with Eastwood’s last effort AMERICAN SNIPER, especially since the same things work well (a focus on the effects of trauma) and the same things don’t (artificially created villains). After Kris explains how the movie ends awkwardly on a joke, Dave delivers a quick “Riedel’s Recap” of DON’T BREATHE (at 19:57). Following the segment, Evan describes the coming-of-age film MORRIS FROM AMERICA (at 20:58), which has great music, and features the fantastic Craig Robinson in a rare dramatic role. Finally, the guys arrive at their main event: the ‘80s horror flick SLEEPAWAY CAMP (at 30:32). They describe its weird flashbacks, its endearing incompetence, and the craziness that runs in its blood as they dig into this time capsule, which 2/3 of them agree is good for what it is. Be sure to stick around post-credits for a completely unrelated bonus story.
Dede Crimmins sets a new record with her fourth appearance as a Spoilerpiece guest. Fresh off her trip to Fantastic Fest, she fills Evan and Kris in on her favorite films from the fest: THE LOBSTER, HIGH-RISE, GREEN ROOM, and SOUTHBOUND. Then the three of them talk about CRIMSON PEAK, which is beautiful, creepy, and fully-conceived. After that Dede shares her thoughts on GOOSEBUMPS, a movie for kids and big kids like Evan who read the books growing up. Next Kris tackles STEVE JOBS, which is directed by Danny Boyle, the first person to direct at the speed Aaron Sorkin writes. Finally, Evan and Kris close out the show with BRIDGE OF SPIES, a picture that’s tense, good-humored, and committed to its character.