Once again commissioner Fernando Rodriguez (you may better know him as FernNYC17 on our forums) steps up with a choice selection, this time the oft maligned Return of the Jedi. Often dismissed as derivative or childish when compared to A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back respectively, we have nothing but love for the climax of the story of Skywalker. It’s got the best space battle, the best lightsabre battle, and the best puppets in all of Star Wars. The Special Edition changes? Not so much love.
Special thanks to Ethan and Allison for commissioning Batman Begins, the first in the Nolanverse Batman trilogy (you can see our podcast on Batman: The Dark Knight here). This is a fantastic comic book movie that also happens to be a fantastic film in it’s own right. We love the fusion of gritty realism with the strong emotional core and exploration of Bruce Wayne and his struggle to walk the narrow path between justice and vengeance. Excellent casting, excellent performances, and while the third act perhaps leaves something to be desired in light of a decade of super hero movies continually trying to outdo themselves in terms of spectacle, the movie holds up like a champ and is an undeniable part of what makes the sequel work so superbly.
Special thanks to Steven Sprague, celts77, Laura Hamilton, ztziemke, and Don C for commissioning this podcast, on the 1992 Quintin Tarantino crime drama, Reservoir Dogs. We discuss the writing, the performances, our opinions on the true meaning of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”, the insights QT has on crime and society, and debate it’s place in the Tarantino pantheon. Thanks again to all of our commissioners, we couldn’t do it without you!
Special thanks to our twin commissioners, Steven S. and Mozbeet for commissioning one of my very favorite films, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, directed by Peter Weir and based on the Patrick O’Brian series that is my very favorite books of all time. Thank god Jim thinks it’s awesome too, or there might have been bloodshed. We discuss the film’s historicity and verisimilitude, the unique relationship between Captain Jack and Doctor Maturin, life aboard an 19th century Man o’ War, and I make a pitch for reading the original novels towards the end. Thanks again Steven and Mozbeet, this was a real treat!
Special thanks to Tyler Shumway for commissioning the 2008 musical web series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for our review. The creative fruit of the 2007 WGA strike, Joss Whedon employed his Hollywood friends and family for a whimsical take on Superheroes and Villains, casting Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion as a dynamic duo struggling to control the heart of their city, and one particular woman who dwells within it. From that fairly silly premise, a surprisingly good musical with plenty of heart is born. Also, there is an accompanying musical commentary track to go along with it. That’s something you don’t see every day.
For this week’s commissioned podcast, we got to watch one of the many great collaborations between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, the 2010 psychological thriller, Shutter Island. While neither of us think this movie cracks the top 5 of either gentlemen’s work, it is an effective film with a pretty good twist, and features a solid Leo performance that drifts into “great” territory later in the film, and has great supporting performances in Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, among many others.
Special thanks to DrKen (previous commissioner of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) for commissioning this great thriller from the 90’s, The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford as brilliant doctor wrongfully accused of the murder of his wife evading the dogged pursuit of Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Marshal. This is one of the tightest films you’ll ever see, effortlessly moving from one set piece to another, drawing strength and vitality from the charisma and presence of it’s two brightest stars, achieving the rare balance where you want the protagonist and antagonist to find a way to both win. We have fond memories of this film from our youth, and we found it held up like Ford’s Finger ‘O Doom. Thanks again, DrKen! If you ever have to evade justice, we got a couple of bucks and a bed in the basement for you!
This community commissioned podcast is for the 1990 television series, Twin Peaks. Created Mark Frost and David Lynch, we can only imagine the impact this had on audiences 30 years ago as 30 million Americans obsessively tuned in every week to answer the question, “who killed Laura Palmer?” Jim ultimately doesn’t like it, but I see it’s potential and got a lot of enjoyment from the crazy tonal swings and quirky, off beat nature. Also, lots of beautiful and interesting people on screen constantly, which always helps.
Special thanks to our commissioner Josh “Anubus21” from Saxapahaw, NC. This time he has something special to celebrate, his marriage to sweetheart Jessica. Congratulations, you guys! Josh selected American Gangster, the 2007 Ridley Scott crime drama starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Jim and I have never seen it, but it immediately fit right besides other greats like Godfather, Goodfella, Casino, and Scarface in the pantheon of films about the criminal underworld. It’s a great looking, well written, and extraordinarily acted film, that touches on a lot of Bald Move hot buttons of racism, crime, drugs, and $50k mink coats. Thanks again, Josh and Jessica! Enjoy your honeymoon!
Special thanks to all our community commissioners for this podcast; Steven Sprague, Spencer H., Libby Ross, dreduble, Cellmouse, Brooks Rittel, betmarik, cocoa2mc, nobrainsallsadness, Martin Karlsson, Eric Brown, rjjone2, and Keith A. This podcast is for the 1997 Quentin Tarantino movie Jackie Brown, which is based on the classic Elmore Leonard novel, Rum Punch. Awfully good bones to build a movie on, then you add an amazing cast featuring Pam Grier, Robert DeNiro, Sam Jackson, Bridget Fonda, Robert Forster, Michael Keaton, among many others, and filter it through a restrained, grounded Tarantino lens, and you get something pretty magical, that was beyond what Jim and I were expecting. Thanks again for treating us to this movie! We hope you enjoy your podcast!