The Rules of the Funny

Posted in Side Topics at 9:14 am by Stephen

Last week we had a discussion about what makes funny stuff funny. In a similar spirit, I thought I’d present the golden rules of comedy, as dictated by Preston Sturges, one of the funniest writer/directors who ever lived (I’ve mentioned it on the show, but I’m not convinced there’s a funnier movie than The Lady Eve).

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Recent Movie Trailers

Posted in Side Topics at 10:00 am by Stephen

My favorite thing about going to the movies — aside from actually watching the movie, anyway — is seeing new trailers. I know I can watch them online, but I see enough movies in the theater that I generally like to just see them fresh in the theater. Here are some trailers I’ve seen lately and my thoughts on them.

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The Prestige

Posted in Side Topics at 10:55 am by Sam

Spoilers ahoy! This thread is for discussion of The Prestige, a movie we talk about in an essentially spoiler-free manner in Episode 9. Also see Stephen’s non-spoiler review here. But I’m opening up this area here to allow those who have seen the movie to talk about its secrets. Beware spoilers.


All Movie Talk, Episode 9

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents, with start times:

  • Second Take: The Prestige (1:23)
  • Trivia Question: United Artists (9:00)
  • Best of the Year: 1940-1949 (9:44)
  • Film Buff’s Dictionary: Smash Cut (20:17)
  • Top 6: Directorial Debuts (23:43)
  • Director Spotlight: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (43:07)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (56:57)

Press the Play button below to listen to the podcast, or the Download link to save it. Here’s how you can download new episodes automatically.

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icon for podpress  Episode 9 [58:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Top 6: Directorial Debuts

Posted in Top 6 at 4:59 am by Sam

For Episode 9, our Top 6 is about great directorial debuts. Some great directors, like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, start out under the radar and build to greatness. Others are great right off the bat. In some cases, a director’s very first film winds up being his best.

This is most notoriously the case with Orson Welles, whose directorial debut of Citizen Kane (1941), one of the greatest of all films and pretty much universally regarded as the best directorial debut in cinema history. For that reason, we have excluded Citizen Kane from our list of Top 6 Directorial Debuts, just so we can talk about some other choices. It’s the best. We agree with the consensus. So let’s move on.

Another unusual thing to note about this list is that Stephen and I conspired and purposefully chose not to duplicate any of our choices. We did this because there were a lot of great choices, more than we initially anticipated, and we wanted to make sure we got to talk about twelve different movies. So, as we say in the podcast, a couple titles on each list would have gone on both, but we agreed to divvy them up between us.

What are your favorite Directorial Debuts Other Than Citizen Kane?

As always, we recommend listening to the episode before reading further.

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Lawsuit of the Rings

Posted in Side Topics at 11:38 am by Sam

This is old news by now, but still quite unsettled news. If you hadn’t heard, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh published an open letter to fans, explaining why they will not be returning to make a film of The Hobbit, nor a second planned film that takes place between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

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Blooper: Bad Music

Posted in Bloopers at 5:00 am by Sam

Bad music is, of course, hilarious, as this blooper from Episode 5 attests.

icon for podpress  Blooper: Bad Music [0:11m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Blooper: Hammers

Posted in Bloopers at 5:00 am by Sam

Another spoonerism, this one from the DVD Preview segment of Episode 7, cracked us both up.  If Stephen hadn’t muted his microphone, I’d still be trying to get through that line.

icon for podpress  Blooper: Hammers [1:34m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Robert Altman

Posted in Side Topics at 6:07 pm by Sam

Robert Altman is dead at 81 as of yesterday evening. On one hand, how can his death be thought of as a shock? He looked frail in the behind-the-scenes footage of A Prairie Home Companion, his last film, and yet….

And yet he just never stopped working. He never even slowed down. He directed four films in the last six years, plus a mini-series for television and various stage productions. He certainly showed no signs of stopping. And, a rarity among aging directors, he just never lost his edge. His more recent films — Gosford Park, Cookie’s Fortune, and the aforementioned A Prairie Home Companion — do not suffer in the company of his early output from the 1970s, including M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Three Women, and Nashville. No, age did not slow him. What did slow him was the 1980s, a period of film history ruled by the studios at the expense of artistic vision. But when independent film was reborn in the 1990s, Altman was ready for it, and two of his absolute best films were The Player and Short Cuts, made back-to-back in 1992 and 1993. The latter is one of my favorite movies of all time.

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Casino Royale

Posted in Side Topics at 3:14 pm by Sam

Rather than have people try to work non-spoiler comments of Casino Royale into the Episode 8 thread, we thought we’d open a new place for that discussion. So, what did you think of Casino Royale?

Spoiler warning for the comments that follow!

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