Don't Encourage Us

The Oscars Best Picture Nominees (Guest: Matt Baughman)

Episode Summary

Back for part 2, the crew of Don't Encourage Us and guest star Matt Baughman dissect 9 of the whopping 10 Academy Awards nominees for Best Picture of 2024 - so you don't have to. Join in as they discuss the cultural impact and cinematic execution of Barbie, the Oscars' relevance, the politics of Oscar campaigning, the stellar performances of Oppenheimer, and the ups and downs of 90% of the top darlings of Hollywood's elite. Which one didn't they see? Well, haha, there's only one way was the one with Nazis living next door to a concentration camp.

Episode Notes

Back for part 2, the crew of Don't Encourage Us and guest star Matt Baughman dissect 9 of the whopping 10 Academy Awards nominees for Best Picture of 2024 - so you don't have to. Join in as they discuss the cultural impact and cinematic execution of Barbie, the Oscars' relevance, the politics of Oscar campaigning, the stellar performances of Oppenheimer, and the ups and downs of 90% of the top darlings of Hollywood's elite. Which one didn't they see? Well, haha, there's only one way to was the one with Nazis living next door to a concentration camp.

2024 Best Picture Nominees Trailers

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Episode Transcription

Speaker 1: Barbie in many ways for a long time, represented the problem when it comes to women's independence, right? It, it's exactly what a lot of advocates for women's rights pointed to as the problem. It was the, the poster character or product of what's wrong with how we raise women. And this film completely flipped that without it feeling fake and unnatural and being just wholly regurgitated or rejected or vomited up by the people who watched it, like for many years.

Like people who advocated for women's rights hated Barbie. And now in this, what third wave feminism, I, I'm not caught up with a whole with what the current thinking intellectually is on that, but the people who represent feminism now digested this and support it, right? And I think a lot of the credit goes to Margot Robbie, and I think, you know, Ryan Gosling.

Per the way he portrayed this character, and it was written and filmed, prevented the wider audience from rejecting this film as well, right? Because it's sort of like a little bit anti-male, but, but he's so like, charming and the way he plays it, it's like, ah, who cares? It's forgivable, right? So this, the way this film was executed, got, uh, the audience to ignore or accept like the charm of Margot Robbie to ignore or accept a lot of elements that could have easily sabotaged the appeal of this film completely, right?

Sunk it to the depths of the ocean. And that is s some sort of major achievement. I wouldn't label that best picture. Welcome to. Don't Encourage us the show where we talk about the big ideas behind fiction projects of all different kinds. Books, movies, TV shows, video games, nothing's off limits. Welcome back for part two of our Best Picture Oscar nominees episode.

And this time we're actually gonna discuss the best picture nominees. So welcome back. Thank you guys for returning. Welcome back and let's start with a review of the nominees. First of all, Killers of the Flower Moon starring, uh, DiCaprio De Niro. It's a Scorsese film, poor Things starring Emma Stone. And Willem Dafoe The Holdovers with Paul Giamatti Maestro with Bradley Cooper Oppenheimer with a, uh, big cast of celebrities directed by Christopher Nolan, uh, starring Cillian Murphy, or Killian Murphy, I believe Barbie.

With Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, American Fiction starring Jeffrey Wright Past Lives. A I believe it's a Korean film, if I'm not wrong, about that Anatomy of a Fall, which I think is in French and Zone of Interest. A, uh, world War II Nazi Prison Camp story. So first off, who saw what movies, because I, I don't think we've seen all of them, even between us.

So what did you guys, uh, let's start with Matt.

Speaker 2: What movies did you see? I'll say the only ones I have not seen yet are Killers of the Flower. Moon. Okay. Um, Anatomy of the Fall and Zone of Interest. Those are the only three. I haven't, I've seen everything else.

Speaker 1: Okay. Pretty good. Probably an a

Speaker 2: for, for effort.

An A. My, my goal every year for the Oscars. I'm a big Oscars buff. I love 'em. Um, so I. I don't usually like the movies all that much. Mm-Hmm. But I, for some reason, I like to be in the know of, of the award, so I make it a point to watch every single movie this year. So I will watch it. I just have, not in time, uh, but I'm looking forward to seeing an anime of the Fall and Zone of interest, uh, Killers of the Flower Moon.

It feels like it's gonna be a homework assignment. Um, so I will, I will give it a shot. Um, uh, I, I don't know if, if you, I think Steve, you saw Killers of the Flower

Speaker 1: Moon, right? I did, yeah. Steve, which ones did you see?

Speaker 3: I saw, uh, killers of the Flower, Moon, Anatomy of a Fall, Barbie and Oppenheimer, and part of Maestro.

I didn't finish that. Okay. Yeah. How about you?

Speaker 1: That's pretty good. Um, uh, so I watched, uh, Oppenheimer Barbie, American Fiction and Past Lives. So Zone of Interest seems to be the only one that we do not have any connection with or have not seen. Now, I, I will say I do know one person who saw it and she said it was good.

Uh, I don't know much beyond that. I know what it's about and so on, but I think we'll have to set that one aside and, uh, maybe qualify all of our recommendations or reviews based on the idea that we had not seen that one. So, yeah. Sorry. Uh, it is worth noting though, that prior to 2009, so between 1944 and 2009, the max number of nominees for best picture was five.

It's presently 10. So my point is it's their fault.

Speaker 2: And do you know why they moved it to 10? I don't. Do you. I, I think I do. It's because there was such a backlash for the dark Knight not getting nominated. Oh. Um, because, and they, so they said they thought, uh, that they need to expand it to include like more people like blockbuster type movies, which they did not do.

Um, which is quite open too much. But yeah, I mean, this year kind of did, 'cause Barbie would considered a Blockbuster and Oppenheimer I would consider a blockbuster. So not in your top five. They would be my top five. So then why do you need 10? Oh, I see what you're saying. Oh, yeah. Um, well, I guess you're right.

You're, I mean, I think last year, um, they had Top Gun Maverick in there. Oh. And I think if there was not, no Right. If there was not 10 nominees, top Gun Maverick would not have made it. I know. Honestly, I don't know if Barbie would've made it this year if it wasn't as popular. Mm-Hmm. As it was.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Well, that suggests there's some filler.

Uh, yeah. Which I

Speaker 3: think is true. Yeah. And I think filler really helps Hollywood in general. 'cause instead of five Oscar nominated movies for you to see, now there's 10. So that makes things a little bit, a little bit more interesting in terms of increasing the box office. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Or up to 10, in our case,

Speaker 3: no more than 10 and a half ish.

Speaker 2: Yeah. But I, I don't think the Oscars are like, indicative to what the normal public watches. Yeah. Um, otherwise I think there'd be like John Wick would be in here Mm-Hmm. And those type of movies. I think those, those, those type of movies would be in the top, top 10. I think beside, I think Oppenheimer was a surprise that it was such a big hit.

I think that was always gonna be kind of an Oscar contender, but, uh, I think it helped, it had that whole Barmanheimer. Uh, marketing, you know, story, connection, marketing connection. Yeah. So people went out and saw both of 'em, maybe even the same day. I think that helped. But if you look at the other ones, like Anatomy of fall, zone of interest, um, poor things.

They're all very highly acclaimed, but not, they're box office seats are really small,

Speaker 3: isn't it? Relatively recently too that they allowed foreign films into the best picture category, weren't they? Typically

Speaker 2: best foreign film. They still have best, uh, best, I think they call it best international feature.

Now they still have that, but I, I don't know if there was ever a rule against not having an international feature in a, in a best picture. I just don't think it was. I think that also helped with the extension of the 10 to add more. I, I don't know. I don't, I don't think there was ever a rule. Mm-Hmm. I know for international films, only one, uh, uh, an outside country can only.

Submit one, um, movie. Mm-Hmm. To be considered. Right? So if there's two big movies that are, two popular movies that are from India, they can only choose one movie to submit. But that doesn't mean they could still be nominated for best picture. That doesn't, that's international, that's everywhere. But for the international film, only one country can submit, only a country could submit one movie per country.

Mm-Hmm. Man, I'm, I'm on fire with my Oscar knowledge. Yeah.

Speaker 1: I'm killing it. Yeah. Actually, uh, the film that won cans did not get submitted. Uh, and instead it was Anatomy of a fall. Right. That was a controversial choice this year. I think so. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, so yeah, it's not an Anatomy of Fall is supposed to be a good film and we can talk about that a little bit later.

But it was interesting that they didn't choose the film that one can film festival. So. Yeah, there's some controversy, but it's a calculation in terms of, you know, marketing and getting attention to films outta the country. Right. So, uh, I guess that was the bet that they thought made the most sense.

Speaker 3: It's a pretty secretive process as to how these films get nominated.

Right. I know they're voted on by the academy,

Speaker 1: but it's a relatively small percentage. It's a small group. Yeah. Yeah. Very small. Uh, you know, four or five, 6% of the entire academy, um, bids or, uh, Ballots, what's the word? Votes on there. It is, uh, votes on, uh, certain categories. Right. Because it's limited to people who function in that profession.

So, uh, yeah. It's, um, I don't know. It kind of begs the question I, maybe it's too early to get into this, but are the Oscars still culturally relevant at the present

Speaker 2: time? Mm-Hmm. I don't think so. No. And I think that they're desperately trying to make, I think all award shows are not culturally, culturally relevant.

Mm-Hmm. Um, I think people just don't, they don't really care. Uh, especially I would say since Covid, since I, I guess inflation, like, you know, the economy kind of helps it. Mm-Hmm. They just don't go to movie theaters anymore. Mm-Hmm. That, that doesn't drive the needle. Um, awards don't really drive the needle as much anymore as when I was growing up.

I think they, a little bit, they did kind of where like Forrest Gump won Best Picture and that was a very popular movie. Um, uh, like Schindler's List, one Best Picture, I believe one year, um, saving Private Ryan was nominated. It is like, there's these big, the big cultural movies I think now. I think one year a movie called Nomadland won in Twenty-twenty or twenty-twenty-one.

And it was one of the most boring movies I've ever seen. And that was Mm-Hmm. A movie that was basically primarily Hulu. Mm. And then, uh, uh, Coda won, I believe the next year. Uh, and that was an Apple TV movie. So that wasn't even, that wasn't really, it had a featurely We, a feature release. So I do, I don't, I don't think it's very cultural.

I think they're desperately trying to, trying, that's why I think that moving it to the top 10, trying to get more blockbusters in so people would pay more attention. Um, and I think they've done that with the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes had a, a category was like best box office. Um. Category. Mm-Hmm.

Um, which was kind of a weird category, but it, it nominated Barbie, it had Oppenheimer, it had John Wick admission Impossible. So it was basically, I think it had to have a certain amount of box office money to be considered in this category. Uh, but it was kind of like to the Oscar pundits as kind of a, a joke.

Mm-Hmm. But essentially why this? Yeah. They dropped it. Yeah. This category was in there. Yeah. Um, I think movie buffs and, you know, critics and all that, I think they do, there's a small percentage out there that really do value the Oscars, but not as much as it used to be now. Yeah.

Speaker 1: I, I think they just have a different agenda or series of jandas and it's out of, uh, Sync with the general population or the, the prevailing culture.

Mm-Hmm. Right. Steve, what do you think culturally relevant? Um,

Speaker 3: no, but I would say maybe it's because of what we talked about during part one of the conversation, which is the entertainment. So many different options in terms of entertainment in general. And I think this like Mm-Hmm. Predominance of short form content, YouTube content, social media content that I think it's, it's added too many layers in terms of what you can actually pay attention to.

I think, you know, a few years back when all this technology was really new, streaming services weren't as popular, really Entertainment was focused around the movie Star, around Hollywood, around television stars. Yeah. And I think that's just changing year after year. Mm-Hmm. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Mm-Hmm. Like there, they, they talk about there aren't any movie.

There are not really any movie stars that drive people to the theaters anymore. Um, there's like, or at least new. Um, I think the Tom Cruise's, the Will Smith's, all the Will Smiths. Yeah. They all, all the Will Smiths, all the Tom Cruise's. They, they still can drive a crowd, but Timothy Chamolais is not gonna bring people in because he's in a movie.


Speaker 1: Side note, he's hilarious as an action star in Dune. Like, I barely believe that he could handle Willy Wonka's cane without falling over. But the idea that he could get into like a fight and win it. With really anyone

Speaker 2: is. But isn't that his character? Isn't his character supposed to be kind of like, not the, not a fighter, not a born fighter?

Um, I, I don't know the

Speaker 1: book very well. I do and he, the character in the book does fight. He's trained, right. Okay. There's a, the character who trains him, I think it was, uh, Aquaman who trained him in, in this version. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. So he is actually supposed to be pretty good, but his handicap is, he's used to fighting hand-to-hand combat with people who have personal shields.

Okay. He's a privileged elite where they have personal shields. And in order to get through the shield, you have to move slowly because the shield will automatically block anything that comes in with a certain velocity or kinetic energy or whatever the technical term in the book is. So, uh, there's a point where he's fighting with the, what is it?

The Fremen, I guess, the desert people. And they think that he's toying with his opponent because he Intentionally moves in quick and then strikes slowly, but it's just muscle memory from his training with the shield anyway. Uh, sorry you were saying, I went on a rant about Dune and

Speaker 2: Timothée. Chalamet Chalamet was the bomb in Wonka.

He was

Speaker 1: awesome. Well, it's very good. Unbelievable. You know,

Speaker 2: uh, man, he handled the cane. Okay. I'll let you know that. Oh, he is magic

Speaker 1: powers. That's how he can wear the hat and not fall over, but trapped underneath it.

Speaker 2: Um, yeah. Well, like I said, I just don't think the younger stars of today are gonna drive people to the movie theaters.

I think they, it's only properties that are gonna

Speaker 1: drive 'em to the theater. But isn't that an argument in favor of the Oscars being relevant because that, I think you guys are sort of in combination, maybe unintentionally suggesting that there's a lot of great stuff out there and we need award shows to draw attention to it.

Speaker 2: But the problem is the award shows are not nominating the movies that are agreed relevant

Speaker 1: to the, to yeah, to the audience you mean? Good.

Speaker 3: Yeah. So that's, that's kind of what the MTV Awards try to do.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah, that's, I mean, that's, that's what they do.

Speaker 1: That's what it's,

Speaker 3: was it like that's, was it like Vin Diesel and like, uh, Paul Walker nominated for like Fast and the Furious for that wasn't like

Speaker 2: best Picture nominee or whatever. I know. That was also, I think a nominee for

Speaker 1: Best Kiss. Was that a best kiss? I think so.

Speaker 3: Wasn't that all? Um, I mean, seriously, wasn't that what MTV was trying to do with that?

Like make it like an award show about the people and like

Speaker 2: what people are It's a award show for the, for the people. Exactly.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Make it relevant again.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Make it relevant. Yeah. I, and I don't know how well that does. I don't think it does. It probably does the same, well, the same as the Oscars. I don't know.

I, I think. I, I like, I, I think the, the Oscars, if they, if they chose, I think this year would be an interesting telecast because Barbie and Oppenheimer have been nominated for so many things. They're pretty much represented in all the categories or the big categories. It'd be interesting to see if the, the ratings get, are, are, get any higher because of that.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. That would be interesting to see if it, if it really gives it a boost. How would you suggest you would calculate popularity outside of an award show like the Oscars? Like if it was really gonna reflect what people are watching, would it only be box office, like only movie theater movies released in the movie theater?

So you could calculate box office and, and judge popularity that way and see what the nominees would be. Or if you were gonna include all these streaming services, how would you do it if they keep everything under lock and key in terms of what's

Speaker 2: popular, what isn't? Yeah. Yeah, I think it's, uh, it's, it's gotta be data-driven box office is the biggest, you know, data source.

Uh, if, and if, if streaming services won't release their numbers, maybe you have to look on rock reviews and see how many consumer reviews are there. Um, how many have them positive. I think that's kind of like shows what the, like, uh, Google metrics, anything like that. Maybe that's how you figure out the zeitgeist of what's, what's popular.

Because I think critical reviews are not, doesn't show if a movie is popular or not. Mm-Hmm. It could show if the critics think it's good, but they can't, it doesn't show what the general public think. That's why when I look at Rotten Tomatoes, I really do look at the audience score. Um, because like movies that are audience-based, like an 80, eighty-five percent or something like that, and the critics are 50%, you think something's wrong.

With that, that the critics didn't get it or the critics have some sort of agenda or something. I don't know. Um, I, I value the audience score more than the

Speaker 3: credit. I would be a really interesting award show. Now that you, you mentioned that like using Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic or Google Reviews, if one of those organizations came up with their own version of the kind of, it would be a lot more reflective of what, what's actually happening in society because they do have that data, like you said, in terms of audience popularity,

Speaker 1: right?

I think you're suggesting that the nominees are chosen in part by the films that rated highly in Rotten Tomatoes, and maybe you're not, uh, consider, or I should say the audience score for Rotten Tomatoes and maybe you're not considering number of votes, which I think is an important component of cultural relevance because a film can be, you know, a hundred percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it could be, there were three people who voted.

So, yeah, I think what you're talking about is buzz, but you know, it's, but I think that's the wrong angle. I think the problem here is who votes on, uh, on these films? I think those people, uh, the, the members of the academy who vote on nominees, I think they have their own agendas that are so totally disconnected from Yeah.

The general population or the culture. So I think the solution lies there. So I think you start with, uh, figuring out who's a better set of people to decide on nominees. These are people who have a natural sense of buzz and quality simultaneously. People who have, you know, like an appreciation for film enough to never nominate a Transformers movie.

But also, uh, appreciate they're wrong. Appreciate the, uh, the value of a film that connects with a lot of people positively. Like that really resonates with the population. So I think there's a subset of individuals who are both very knowledgeable but also still reasonably in line with most viewers, so that they would generate a list of nominees that could be voted on that the average American viewer, or maybe even people who just consume American film or, or film, uh, I don't what, what a good term is there of cinephiles or people who, like movies would say, oh yeah, that's a great list, right?

For 2023. Those are five movies that were great and I saw two of 'em or three of 'em, uh, because a lot of people did and they were awesome, right? So I think that's what you need is you need a different committee or group deciding on nominees, a group that has a different agenda, one that's more in line with current culture to be relevant.

Speaker 2: I agree. And I think also for the Oscars, it has to do with so much like, it's actually kind of political politically based within the academy as well, where the actors and the movie studios, uh, campaign and if they don't campaign, the likelihood of them getting nominated goes down for, for example, Leonardo.

DiCaprio didn't do any campaigning this year for his role in, uh, Killers of the Flower Moon. He took all his like, I guess his campaign energy and um, moved it to his co-star so she would get nominated and he didn't get nominated this year. And in the flip side, there was an actress last year. Um, named, I mispronounce her name, Andrea Riseborough, who is an in, in a independent movie called Two's Leslie, which literally no one saw, I don't even think it made a hundred thousand dollars in the box office, but a popular, I think it was like a, another actress basically, uh, tweeted saying, oh, this was the best performance of the year, she should be nominated.

And then people like Edward Norton got on board and retweeted it and said, saw this movie. It's the best. So it was kind of like this whole connection of hers got together and she ended up getting a nomination that year. And that was causing kind of a controversy because this movie, this Two's Leslie movie.

Was no nominated anywhere else, and it came out of nowhere, uh, but you got nominated. Mm-Hmm. So it is, it's, it's kind of like politically based. It's kind of like how well are you campaign campaigning, how you go out, you know, shaking hands and kissing babies type of thing. Well, and

Speaker 1: that just really illustrates my point.

I think about agendas, right? These people. Yeah. Who are voting in many cases are still actively creating projects, wanna work with certain people, right. They stand to gain a lot from who they nominate and so on. And I think that's Mm-hmm. A big part of why the Oscars disconnected from relevance, essentially, just to put a finer point on it.

So Yeah, totally. I think you have to correct that. And it has to feel like to the people who make movies, it has to feel like, look, we've done our work. It's out there. Uh, you know, it's now it's up to, you know, the audience is to respond to this and people who love film and who do not stand to gain anything from nominating us.

Mm-hmm. To, to be on board. Right. And I think that's refreshing, right? It takes some of the game of Thrones element out of this whole mess and Totally, yeah. It's a lot more interesting for audiences.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I even wonder with this, how we talk about all of these platforms collecting so much data. I would even think that maybe some of these social media platforms could also get involved in something like this because they would know how many times specific.

Media property gets mentioned, so Mm-Hmm. You know, and what the sentiment around it would be. 'cause they have all that, all of that data. I don't know how well that would, that would come, come off to the public being that they're just collecting so much data on us anyway. But I wonder how that, if that would be something that would actually work in terms, in terms of actually judging buzz around certain certain movies.

Either way, whether people love them or hated, hated them, they would actually know.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Right. Well, that's a good pitch to, uh, have AI get Transformers nominated. Personally, I, I think it's better in the hands of a, an elite group of people. The, A team who represent the general Exactly. A special missions force.

Uh, uh, yeah. So led

Speaker 2: by, yes, it led by Admiral. Sweetpants.

Speaker 1: Actually, that's, that's not a bad idea. I mean. Thank you. You're a performer and you have an appreciation and truly a love of getting awards. So I think you would be an excellent, excellent

Speaker 2: candidate. Yeah. I hope to, I hope to win one, one day.

Speaker 1: Uh, but actually, you know, I, I'm sure you're corruptible and, and maybe it would need to be anonymous on some level, but given how much of this kind of thing you consume and your relatively large knowledge base and investment, but you're still, uh, you know, a regular American citizen in a lot of ways.

Mm-Hmm. I think you would be an excellent member of a very large group of people who could say, these are the movies that I think really deserve attention and see what bubbles up to the surface. And I think there's a way for that to produce some nominees, you know, five nominees or four that people are really excited about.

You know that really interesting and it feels like a competitive hot contest up to the end. So yeah, I think you could, you could be in there minus the Transformers thing. Next year's Bach

Speaker 2: Transformers one coming out this year. The Bocchis,

Speaker 3: you should start posting that seriously whenever the Oscars come out.

B, you say this year's Bocchis Bocchis would go

Speaker 2: to this year's Bocchis

Speaker 1: Nomination for podcast. Most in need of improvement. Yeah, just it went to,

Speaker 3: got it. Best podcast guest. A razzy. What's the Razzie equivalent for

Speaker 2: podcast? The Razzie. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Alright, so let the right hand to our nominees, the Rat Rascals dive into our nominees.

Speaker 3: Sorry, I have to get that one out. Go

Speaker 1: ahead. Yeah. Okay. What was it again? One more time. The Razzcast.

Alright, so let's dive into some of our more interesting nominees. Uh, I think probably the most interesting nominee to discuss, uh, is Barbie. Now I could be wrong about that. Yeah. But I think we should start there. Did everyone see Barbie? Steve? Did you? Yes. Okay. Matt saw it. I saw it. Steve, you okay? I'm nodding.

Yes. Great. All right. So who wants to start? Matt? Steve, gimme your

Speaker 2: thoughts. Well, I'll give you my thoughts. I loved it. It was, uh, out outta my movies this year. My Outta the Bocches. It was number two. Um, so

Speaker 1: as if you have to tell people that, right. But yeah.

Speaker 2: So number two. Um. Uh, I saw it with my mom and I saw it with my, my, uh, wife and I saw it opening weekend and the crowd was just so into it.

Um, that was very clever. I thought it was well cast, uh, well directed, well written. Uh, it's definitely, it was better, you know, when you think of a movie, a motion picture based on Barbie, you didn't think it was gonna be very good or very thought provoking, and it was. Um, but all of it, I thought Ryan Gosling stole the movie.

Um, I thought Marco Robby was really good as lead. I really liked Will Ferrell. Mm-Hmm. And Michael Cera and they, and their characters. I think they were used well. Uh, I don't have anything negative to say about Barbie. Okay. And that's the only movie out of the Oscars that I, I can say that

Speaker 1: about. Wow. Wow.

All right. Alright. So only second. In the B. Only second. All right, well stay tuned. Find out what. Stay tuned for my number one, possibly defeat Barbie, given that it has the number one B. No negative things about it, but other films do. Is it sexism? Stick around.

Speaker 2: I'm an ally. What can I say? Well,

Speaker 1: I think you've said that very clearly, ladies. And, uh, that's right. If you need information free tickets, I will pass you, I'll pass your number along. Whoa,

Speaker 2: I'm married, ladies. I'm taking

Speaker 1: That just makes you more attractive and you know That's true.

Speaker 2: That's why I'm saying it.

Speaker 1: All right, Steve, hit me with your Barbie

Speaker 3: thoughts. I thought, I thought it was well written. The concept was, was really good. I thought Ryan Gosling was, was great in it. I hadn't, I didn't have any problems with it in terms of the acting or really the writing. The thing was that I, I kind of felt like it could have been a long-form sketch and not.

A movie. I think there were parts of it that just kind of got very tedious as it went on. 'cause it's kind of like I, I got the point I thought it was funny. It's kinda like when you like keep telling the same joke over and over and over again. That's kind of what I felt towards the end. Mm-Hmm. But I did think it was very clever and you, the set design, I mean, there's so many elements to it that were really unique and I agree with you.

I mean, you wouldn't think that a movie based on Barbie would take this shape. But I'm glad that it did in terms of the overall production. But I think I felt it was more of a sketch, a well-done sketch that lasted. A little bit too long as a movie.

Speaker 1: All right. Matt, you look like you wanna scream at him a little bit.

Speaker 2: No, I'm just saying it's, it's all about the patriarchy right now.

Speaker 1: Wow. There he goes. Accusations of sexism. I know. Already flying.

Speaker 2: It's so controversial. Controversial. Hey, he's, he's married. Two ladies. Oh God.

Speaker 3: Married two ladies.

Speaker 1: Who was the other one?

Speaker 2: Married. Two ladies. Married. Two ladies. There's room for a number three.

Oh man. Go ahead. Hashtag two C two. I'll get you a free ticket to it.

Speaker 1: Alright, so, uh, I, I think I'm the dissenter here a bit. Uh, I saw this movie. I enjoyed it. Uh, I, I did also go with a woman and she fell asleep briefly in it. I, there were several points in the film that where there were jokes and I thought it was very funny.

I laughed out loud. I was the only one in the theater who laughed out loud. It was packed, right? And it was a mix of men and women, but I thought it was quite clever, really, honestly, a brilliant film. Like, a little bit intimidating in the sense that I don't think I could write a film like this. I don't think I could, me neither specifically direct a film or even edit a film like this.

Like, I just don't think I could oversee any aspect of that process. And of course, the acting is just not my area. So, no, but I don't think I could ever reach that level, even if I really applied myself. But I don't know if this would go on my list of best picture nominees. Hmm. Why? Yeah. So before I say why, I just wanna ask you guys the same question.

I'm gonna ask this for every film, Matt. Would this, I think you've already answered this and it's number two, but this would go on your Nominee list for best picture. If you were, you know, running your own award show and charge the Oscars, right. You've, you've made that clear? Well,

Speaker 2: yes, if it was me,

Speaker 1: yes.

Okay. And Steve, would this go on your list of nominees for best picture for 2023?

Speaker 3: Surprisingly, yes. I think it would simply because I thought it was so unique. The take was so unique and like, I keep going back to it, but Matt, that that whole idea that it was just so unexpected from what you would think a movie about a doll, you know, a really famous doll would actually be.

And what you were saying, Jason, like you wouldn't be able to direct it, you wouldn't be able to, I, no, I wouldn't

Speaker 1: know. The nuance is insane. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 3: I wouldn't know the first thing about directing or even like directing the camera or like the, the camera moves in this or the set design or directing the actors at all.

I think I'd be just a terrible choice for it, but it's pretty spectacular what they were able to, to pull off.

Speaker 2: I will say two things have this going for to being an Oscar nominee. One is the director, Greta Gerwig and her husband, Noah Baumbach, who wrote it help or co-wrote it. Um, they're like Oscar darlings like Mm-Hmm.

Every, they get nominated a lot. Mm-Hmm. They, the, the academy likes them to the box office. I think the box office really helped. I feel like if this one, if this movie kind of bombed in the box office Mm-Hmm. It would not be nominated even, even if it was really good. And a guy was critically appraised, but it was not, uh, it was not as as big in the box off.

It was more of a dud, it would not be nominated.

Speaker 1: Right. I think with the lower budget, this would've been a great sort of classic camp film. Mm-Hmm. You know, like Rocky Horror. Yeah. We could see that. Right. You know, I, I think the budget helped this film a lot. Yeah. But totally. But only to elevate it to the level it's, it's at.

And I think it would still be strong and interesting in a lot of ways, uh, even at a lower price point for delivery there. Um, so yeah. So the reason why this would not go on my list of nominees for best picture, uh, aside from the fact that I'm horribly sexist, is that I consider this a, a real triumph of flipping the narrative on a product.

Right. That, that to me is where I'm blown away. So if British Petroleum. Came to me and said, we'd like you to write and direct a film where BP is the main character and saves the environment. Right. And we want a mass audience to accept this, and we want members of Greenpeace buying BP t-shirts afterward.

I don't know where I would even begin. You know, I, I just don't think I could craft something like that. I couldn't even cast it, you know? And to me, this film deserves to win a pr and marketing Emmy, right? Yeah. That is the true genius of this film. I, I actually think it's, it's okay as far as entertainment and, and, and film goes.

But in terms of taking something that represented one concept for so long and then completely flipping it over. To represent the critics of what the product originally represented for decades and have the critics not even complain about it and be supporters of the film. That is, in my mind, perhaps it's unprecedented.

I have not encountered it. It is insanely brilliant. Barbie, in many ways for a long time, represented the problem when it comes to women's independence, right? It's exactly what a lot of advocates for women's rights pointed to as the problem. It was the the poster character or product of what's wrong with how we raise women.

And this film completely flipped that without it feeling fake and Unnatural and being just wholly regurgitated or rejected or vomited up by the people who watched it like. For many years, like people who advocated for women's rights hated Barbie. And now in this what third wave feminism, I, I'm not caught up with a whole with what the current thinking intellectually is on that, but the people who represent feminism now Digested this and support it, right?

Yeah. And I think a lot of the credit goes to Margot Robbie and I think, you know, Ryan Gosling per the way he portrayed this character, and it was written and filmed Prevented, the wider audience from rejecting this film as well. Mm-Hmm. Right? Because it's sort of like a little bit anti-male, but, but he's so like, charming and the way he plays it, it's like, ah, who cares?

It's forgivable. Right? So this, the way this film was executed, got, uh, the audience to ignore or accept like the charm of Margot Robbie to ignore or accept a lot of elements that could have easily sabotaged the appeal of this film completely. Right. Sunk it. Yeah. To the depths of the ocean. And that is some sort of major achievement.

I wouldn't label that best picture.

Speaker 3: It's massive PR and marketing achievement. I was unbelievable gonna mention the, the marketing side before, because there's very few marketing campaigns that I can think of that are this profound and create like this type of reaction. And one of them would be into reverse

Speaker 1: it.

Into reverse it. Like, so effectively unbelievable

Speaker 3: to beers comes to mind. This idea a diamond is forever. Or when the commercials would say like, how many months does it, you know, is love worth or whatever their, their messaging was like actually telling the end consumer how much money they should spend on their product in a way that just leads them into believing that that's just a standard.

This is just the way it should be and this is the product, right, that you need. In order to make, to validate your love for another person. That's, to me that's, you know, yeah. Evil genius or marketing genius, or whatever you want to call it. But in this case, they, I mean, they really flipped the script and the way they were able to do it.

Culturally, it wasn't just an ad campaign for a movie, it was like a movement. No. A cultural movement with every product tie. It was almost like a back door. Yeah. Yeah. With every product tie-in imaginable to hit every demographic, there was not one person. Yeah. That you would ever come across that wasn't aware of this movie.

And there's been other movies. What GI, Joe and all these other toy movies that come out transformed transformers. Yeah. Right. Coming back to one of the, uh, what should have been nominated for the best

Speaker 2: picture. It's not gonna be not, it isn't

The Oscar Best Picture Nominees with Actor Matt Baughman Steve Second Pass: now. '

Speaker 3: cause it's too late. It's not. There's the first one. The first one.

It's, we'd have to go

Speaker 1: back in time and, and no, these, it's the patriarchy Worst could have been

Speaker 3: nominated. Maybe that's a plot of a movie. A couple guys that love Transformers and have to go back in time to make sure it gets nominated before the evil era. That's actually really the evil villain tries to stop him.

He wears, he wears like a tight blue shirt and a podcasting headphones.

Speaker 1: I don't know who we would cast for that.

Yeah, so I, you know, I'm not knocking this film and I'm really trying to be, uh, honest about my reaction. I enjoyed the film and Margot Robbie is so charming. Uh, there, there was a scene in the film that I thought was really interesting that really illustrates my point. So I, it's been a while. I saw it when it came out in the theater.

So, you know, I have to kind of recall from memory the details, but there was a point where, and it was really critical to the film, where the film was sort of pivoting. Like the, the narrative was pivoting around this idea that essentially the Barbie character at her worst, where she doesn't look great and isn't, she's no longer representing this ideal of beauty and success and everything.

She's still important and she still matters and there's more depth to her and that's great. And the film actually stopped the scene. To tag it with the line. Maybe if you're trying to make a point about beauty not being right, don't cast Margot Robbie, don't call us. Yeah, yeah. And I was like, man, that is such a great illustration of the degree to which they were aware and plugged in to every angle, every line, every expression, every beat, you know, every Millisecond of this movie.

So that they knew when they went a little too far, that they were gonna lose a little bit of the audience. And they were able to do something that wouldn't alienate the bulk, but would keep those people who'd be like, uh, are you serious? Like, Margot Robbie's gorgeous, right? And then they'd be like, oh, that's funny.

You spoke to my thought. Mm-Hmm. And now I'm back on board. And Barbie represents modern feminism again, somehow. Hmm. Right. Like it's, there's so many moments where you could be offended as a male viewer by how ridiculous Ryan Gosling and the other Kens or whatever those characters are, but then they just so perfectly choose the song, the facial expression, the, the, the, you know, the, the qualities of him that you're like, nah, I don't care.

This is good. Right. Yeah. It's genius. Absolute genius. Yeah, totally. Is it best labeled a genius of Seminet cinema? Or is it more like something broader? Again, if I was giving out awards for public relations and marketing, uh, I, I would absolutely this, you know, hands down, you know, this is a, a decade lifetime achievement.

Whatever film, uh, you know, I don't know. There's so much more that's happening here. I don't know if, if, if I would give it that. So anyway, any other thoughts about Barbie?

Speaker 2: No, I think we hit it from all sides.

Speaker 1: I'm gonna let the audience, uh, decide, handle their own visual on that one. There'll be, there'll be sub,

Speaker 3: there'll be subtitles on the

Speaker 2: audio. Yeah.

Speaker 1: So two outta three would put it on a best picture nominee list. Yes. Which brings us to, I think the other, or another, uh, major film to discuss Oppenheimer. So everybody saw that one, correct?

Yes. Yes, yes. Mm-Hmm. Okay. Of course. And I think that's relevant that we all three saw those two movies, so we should talk about that later. Uh, so reactions, I'm gonna start with Steve this time. What were your reactions to Oppenheimer?

Speaker 3: I thought it was extremely well done. The acting, especially, I think Killian, Murphy and the supporting cast were, were brilliant, I thought.

Mm-hmm. It did an incredible job of getting into the mind. Of a genius Mm-Hmm. Who's a flawed genius at that, while also having this backdrop of something that's like so horrifying in how he would have to deal with the ramifications of that. So, I'd heard of Oppenheimer before I understood that he was, you know, he ran the Manhattan project, but I didn't really know too much about him except for the scientific piece and, and what, what it entailed to, to create the bomb in a very, like, broad way.

But I think in the case of this movie, I think it, it just did such a phenomenal job to just showing that that conflict within him about what he was gonna do, you know? Mm-Hmm. Or what he was, what he was working on, like this, this, um, technology with which could, you know, really destroy the planet and just kill so many people, but at the same time feeling as if.

He had to do it, he had to move forward with it. He was on like a, you know, basically what seemed like a suicide mission. And I guess in a lot of ways it was for him in terms of his career and also I think the guilt he felt over what he ultimately did.

Speaker 1: Mm-Hmm. Matt

Speaker 2: thoughts? Yeah, I really enjoyed it. This one, it was actually kind of laid out like a play, like a three-act play.

Mm-Hmm. Um, like the first act was the, the theory of the bomb. The second act was the actual execution of the bomb, and the third act was the re ramifications of the bomb. Uh, I really enjoyed that. Again, like what Steve said, the acting really made it, I thought, uh, everyone was perfectly cast. It was nice to see Killian Murphy in this kind of role with, in a Christopher Nolan movie.

He's usually kind of like a supporting character. So it was really cool to see him taking the helm and, and carry the movie. Uh. I, I, yeah. You know, as I said in part one of this podcast, I am lazy and dumb. So I didn't get the whole black and white in color while I was watching it. Okay. Um, and then I had to look it up why it was that.

'cause it seemed, it seemed random. And after finding that out, figuring out I'm, it kind of like gave me an extra notch. I thought that was really clever. Christopher Nolan kind of does that in his movies where, um, I have to go back and like do some research after a movie to figure things out, which I think is, it challenges me.

So I'm okay with that. My only complaint, which is what I complain about a lot of Oscar movies, is it was too long. Mm-Hmm. I felt like it could have been cut down 20 to 30 minutes. I feel like the, after the bomb went off, after the test happened, I kind of felt like that third act was a little bit slow. It kind of felt like, kind of had like a.

Lord of the Rings type of deal where, um, you know, it was, I almost had like three or four different type of end where it could have ended and I kept moving going. Mm-Hmm. But other than that, um, I did, I did like it. And, uh, I'm going to watch it again. Uh, my wife didn't see it yet, so, and she does, she's like me.

She likes to watch all the Oscar movies too. And this is a movie that I would actually watch again. Uh, but yeah, I would give it, I, I think it deserves its nomination and I think it's, uh, it, it gets in the Bocches and, uh, I think it's gonna win. I. Yeah, I think, I

Speaker 1: think there's a, a high likelihood of that.

So you said it was a bit long, you would cut maybe 20, 30 minutes, you would cut that from the third act? Or

Speaker 2: where would you I think I would cut it from the third act, the, when it really went into like the Robert Downey Jr. Um, section Mm-Hmm. Where it was really focusing on him and the, the court trial.

Mm-Hmm. I would've probably cut a little bit of that out. Did you

Speaker 3: feel that was, that

Speaker 2: was really tacked on? I didn't think it was tacked on. Um, I think it was important. I feel like, uh, I just feel like scenes and time could be cut. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Okay. So I have a lot of reactions to this film. I had more notes on this movie than any of the other films that I saw, so I'll try to be brief. This is a film that Idealizes and exaggerates genius. I'm not a big fan of that idea. Hmm. I think it's difficult to visualize intelligence, and I have had the opportunity to interact with some people who are known for being intelligent and fictionalizing that is, I imagine, very challenging because they are often the kind of people who wouldn't necessarily be entertaining to watch with that close of a study, you know, or, you know, with the, the sort of tight focus that these films have.

So I, I don't off the bat really enjoy a fictionalization, that idealizes genius. That's, that's just a personal thing. Uh, the beginning of this felt very pretentious to me with the random in images inserted. Uh, again, I think this is a way you visualize genius is that you have to show what's in the mind.

It, and, you know, given that film is a highly visual medium. A lot of talking and a lot of complicated explanations, um, is not engaging. So Nolan made the choice to do these sort of flashes of images early on. He did a lot of ultra close-ups, the switch between color and black and white jumping between time periods.

The really dramatic soundtrack in conjunction with what is essentially just someone thinking, right? I like all of that. Felt like he was using every trick in the book to make it feel like more is happening in the story than actually is. I did not get swept up in that, right? I was very, very early on just sort of like, wow, he's trying really hard to make it feel like there's drama here, but really it's just an intelligent person thinking and learning and just kind of going through his life.

Um, so that put me off a little bit initially. Uh, there was a lot of quick cuts. Uh, I think up until about the last act or the last third of the film, it felt like I was watching Tik Tok. Uh, the, the film really lived by the principle in screenwriting of, in late and out early, so I felt like the scenes did not really have a chance to breathe.

Now again, later in the film, that was not the case, but there were a lot of scenes early on where I felt like you, you jump into the, the conversation or the action, you're supposed to kind of figure out what's going on. They exchanged some lines and then it's done right before anyone really reacts to any of the, uh, of what's happened in this scene.

You're already on to the next thing, and I don't like that. Uh, you know, Steve, you and I, we recently reviewed Notorious a Hitchcock film. Yeah, and we talked about how you build suspense, right? You stay in a scene and you maybe come in early or on time, and then you let the, the actors breathe the performance, breathe the information, come in more organically, and then you, you let the audience sit with what's happening and think about it so that you build some tension and some investment, right?

And I just feel like this film, uh, maybe the first 60% of it or so, really did not do that. It was just onto the next thing, onto the next thing. With quick cuts of explosions early on, long before we're even really introduced to the idea that they're gonna build a bomb or, or test it soon, or something like that.

So I, I didn't like that. I don't have a problem with somebody who did. I really don't, A lot of the dialogue felt pretentious to me, a little bit like smart for the sake of sounding smart. Uh, especially with, uh, Florence pews analyst character, kind of that, that old cliche of the most crazy person is the, is the therapist or the psychologist or whatever, or the psychiatrist or whatever she was.

So that, to me, felt a little bit forced and artificial. Uh, but I will say on the positive side that this cast was truly phenomenal and it was an incredibly deep bench. Mm. Right. Gary Oldman is Truman like, wow. Like, I mean, just Robert Downey Jr's performance, like hearing you say that you would cut that like, was hard because I really liked that initially.

I, it felt like he had no point in the story, but towards the end of the film, that is part of what made me really enjoy

Speaker 3: it. Benny Sty, I think that's his name. Um, you know the guy that,

Speaker 2: that Oh, Ben, yeah. Ben's after Ben.

Speaker 3: He was amazing. Yeah. He, like, he's one of the directors of Uncut Gems and what's that other one with?

Um, the guy from Twilight. Good time. Rob Pat. Yeah. I mean, those movies were amazing. I just didn't realize, realize that he was that good of an actor. Like I, yeah. And he was just, you know, one of the supporting actors, and I know he wasn't like a, a lead, but,

Speaker 1: oh yeah. There were a lot of, there were a couple of older actors who, I mean, they just crushed their roles, like the body language, the di, the delivery of the dialogue, like.

It's almost like they could have said anything and it would've had the same impact. Like it was so, so I don't know, like maybe Nolan has really learned how to direct actors or maybe these actors are really bringing their A game, but that alone was un incredible, like truly elevated the film across the board.

I don't think there was a bad performance in this film at, I don't think at there was anything short of a Exceptional or very good performance in this film. Uh, what's her name? Uh, the actress who played his wife. Uh, Emily Blunt. Yes. Emily Blunt. Even when the character was unlikable, it was like, how does Emily Blunt play a character that's like borderline unlikable and then redeems herself and so on?

She had an art, like it was just really. This is like a master's class in why you should not try to be a film actor.

Speaker 2: No, I agree. I Hundred-cent agree with that. And I do, I even though I wanted the movie to be cut and I felt like some of it could come from Uprooted down in Jr. he, he's my Baki of the year for best supporting Actor.

So, um, I, I, I think he, he deserves to win. I think he's deserve to be nominated. I, while you were talking about actually criticizing the movie, I find it kind of interesting 'cause you're, you know, you're into screenwriting, um, and I feel like you Viewed this movie from a screenwriters purpose. Mm-Hmm.

Whereas I viewed it from an acting purpose. Mm-Hmm. And I think Steve probably viewed it from a filmmaking purpose. Mm-Hmm. And I feel like that's why our views are kind of colored differently, because I would say it's the reason why I, you know, I, I feel like exactly like, can subscribe. Uh, I think the reason why my, um.

My review is so high is because of the cast.

Speaker 1: Like, I don't know. Yeah. I mean, I'll, I'd buy that any day. If someone said, this is the best movie ever, and the next thing outta their mouth was something related to the acting, I would just be like, yeah. I mean, I wouldn't even argue. Mm-Hmm. Because I get it, because I mean, it is incredible.

Even young Han Solo, who I'm not a fan of, solely because of that film was awesome, right? I mean, he just nailed it like every second. Like I heard prior to Young Han Solo that he was a great actor. I watched that movie. I was like, this sucks. He's terrible. But in this film, I'm like, no, he's really good.

Like, he is like extremely good at what he does for a living. So I don't know how much of that is Nolan coaching them, or I, I guess maybe none. I don't know. Maybe he just gets out of their way. But the, the performances were truly inspiring, almost like. Emotionally evocative just because of how you, that that's not that person.

Like there are many of them are playing famous geniuses and famous people and so on, but they own that role. Yeah. Like usually when a, when a, an actor, especially a famous actor like Robert, Downey, JR. plays someone, I forget the name of the actor who played Einstein, right? Anytime you have an actor play a, a well-known, famous person, uh, there's always like a, a, a, like, it's almost like an uncanny valley, right?

There's a disconnect there. None of that in the entire film. I didn't have one second of thinking. That's not who that is. And that's, I mean, it's incredible, truly the acting alone. And, and I will put this on my best picture nominee list on the string of the performances. Hmm. Yeah.

Speaker 3: I mean, they were, they were incredible.

There's nothing, nothing bad you could say about the performances. They were just spot-on in the directing of those performances just completely spot on. I want to go back just quickly about what you said, Matt, once you're watching a movie where the te like in this case, I was waiting for that test to happen.

Right? And there was just this like steady rise until you got to that point. Right? That was the culmination for me of, of what this movie was. And I kind of felt the same way you did about the way it continued. Like I kept, I don't know, I kept thinking like, oh this is it. The test is gonna work, but now we know what ends up happening.

So part of me was thinking like, yeah, do they start following the pilots who drop that bomb in in Japan? Like I was, yeah, it was very kind of, I dunno, kind of disconcerting watching it. And then that final piece, and I know it's really important because, you know, it talks about how his reputation was ruined and how they really worked hard to do that and the whole drama with Robert Downey, but it felt like.

I was watching two different movies, like it should have been like a different movie, like a different take on his life, which really focused on this whole idea that he was a communist or was accused of being a communist and they were trying, I just didn't feel connected to that part of his life, the way that I felt connected to his struggle, his internal struggle when building that bomb.

So to me it kind of felt like it. It really, there was like a denouement where there shouldn't have been like too early for me.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I agree with that. Totally. Do you like Christopher Nolan as a director? Like do you like his other

Speaker 1: movies? You know, that's a great question and I thought about it a lot in anticipation of this conversation.

I was kind of hoping no one would ask. I can say honestly, that I really want to, like his work. I, I really love the subject matter that he chooses. Mm-Hmm. But to be honest and direct, I don't, I don't like his films. Um, and it kills me every single time I go in, like Tenet, I was like, ah, man, this is great.

It's gonna be so good. And then I watched it and I was like, this is, it's like, he just doesn't even understand the point, the story. Like he, it's like he doesn't understand what makes sense, you know? Yeah. And, and I, and people who like it, it always blows my mind that they weren't bothered by the obvious plot holes.

Um, and I know that's really offensive to people who are, who are huge fans of his. And I, I kind of don't, I didn't wanna put that out there because I like that people like his work. And I think more movies like that with that subject matter in, in the scope that, which, at which he attempts are great, but I just haven't enjoyed his movies for a while.

Speaker 2: No, I, I, I think Christopher Nolan, um, kind of, kind of have a, has his movies, have an air to him where he's trying to show the audience how smart he is. Um, and doesn't he, he has a hard time telling a straightforward story, in my opinion. Mm-Hmm. With the exception of the Batman movies that he did. Mm-Hmm. I thought those were his best movies he's ever done.

But everything else, like, uh, Tenet was, was really confusing. Mm-Hmm. I didn't like, I did not like Tenet. Yeah. Um, uh, Dunkirk I enjoyed, but also felt like it was, it was trying, trying too hard to be smart. Mm-Hmm. Same with Oppenheimer. Yeah. I felt the same way with your, the, a lot of the cutting back and forth, the, the type of, it's like he's almost doing tricks in a way to kind of, to, to let you know that he's not really telling a straightforward story.


Speaker 1: Is it something about suspension of disbelief with his movies? Like with Interstellar, was it like you get bogged down by the science or what the

Speaker 2: science should be? Yeah. Interstellar too.

Speaker 1: Yeah. No, I, you know, I understand your point, and I firmly believe that there is a buy-in required, and it's important as an audience member to go in and accept the reality of the film, whatever the premise there, whatever the deviations from reality are that you get on board with that early.

What I think he does then is violate his own rules repeatedly. Mm-Hmm. And ignore obvious elements of the world he's created or the narrative he's created. And it blows my mind that the majority of people who see his films don't get annoyed by that. Like, this story doesn't make sense based on the premise and the setup that you created.

Christopher Nolan, this does not follow. Right? Like I, I walk out of his films that way. I did not see Dunkirk, so I can't say to speak to that one. But for his other moves, I think I've seen everything. He violates his own premise. He violates his, the own rules, the rules that he created. So I, I'm totally fine with suspending disbelief, but not repeatedly in contradiction to the, to what's been established in the film.

So it's a similar conversation to what we were talking about in a previous episode about Indiana Jones, that latest Indiana Jones. How so? Like the premise of that Indiana Jones and, and, um, what was it we were talking about the, this idea that the first Indiana Jones was like, based on faith and the other one Oh, the rules of Indiana Jones.

The rules. Yes. That last film, yes. Right. But, but I would say it's worse because Nolan does it in one film. If this was, um, Oppenheimer six. And in this one Oppenheimer is, you know, murdering communists with a machine gun. Uh, then I would say, yeah, you know, like, that's a great example. The character of Oppenheimer has changed and, you know, the third Oppenheimer movie really violates the first one.

So in a sense, I would say the Indiana Jones movie, the recent one, it's fairly consistent with itself, right. And I, I just don't think no one does that. Now people might say it's 'cause I don't get it, or I don't read the explanation online later, or watch a YouTube video from a person who explains every Nolan movie so that you can enjoy it after you see it.

But personally, it just keeps happening where I go see a movie and he tries to be specific and explain things, and then he breaks his own rules or ignores obvious consequences of, of the narrative as he's laid it outta the rules of this universe. And I don't, I, I just really, nothing will take me out of a film faster than that other than like torture.

Right? Yeah. Which we also encountered in a recent movie we reviewed. Yeah. So I said yes, I would put it on my list. I, Matt very clearly said the same. Steve Abbocchi for Abbocchi, this is a strong contender for Abbocchi, which really is the more important award. Steve, would this go on your list of nominees for Best Picture?

I think so. For Stevia? Stevia, yeah. It was A, No, I think it's a, a really incredible movie from so many different angles. There's only a, you know, Mm-Hmm. A few flaws that I would say that the fact that it was overly long and the fact that, like I mentioned before, this rise to that point where there's the, the test and then what happens after that seemed a little shaky, but it's, I think, vindicated by that incredible acting, like you mentioned.

Oh yeah. So yeah, there's, if somebody criticized the acting in that film, I would listen, I. Very closely, because I would be very curious how and why. Mm-Hmm. Uh, I can't think of anything like, no, Robert Downey Jr. Is, he's such an odd person from what interviews I see. He's such a genius though, really? But he can deliver.

Yeah. I mean, he, I don't know what happens, like, as soon as they say cut, he's probably doing something weird. But from the second they say action on, he seems like he has dialed the fuck in. Oh, totally. Like he is that, like he is doing what he intends anyway. I, I don't mean to like single him out, because so many of the performances are truly that good.

So, yeah. All right. So for the remainders, maybe we do it in brief, uh, killers of the Flower Moon. I think, Steve, you're the only one who saw this. Thoughts. Would this go on your list? What do, what kind of, what do you wanna say about that film? I'm a little bit conflicted with that film. I think. The acting is really great.

I think the script is really strong, but really the length Mm-Hmm. The length. Just it's mm-Hmm. It's so overly long that Right. A film like that, they could have literally cut an hour out of it and you wouldn't have missed anything. I think it would've just improved it. Mm-Hmm. So much more. Right. I can see why it's nominated to get an Oscar, but, um,

Speaker 2: why is

Speaker 1: that?

Well, because the directing is brilliant. It's one of those movies where you, you really can't find a real flaw except the length. So I think that it's well written, it's well acted. Mm-Hmm. The cinematography is really great. I think the sound design worked really well in that movie, but when you take all those elements and you just expand it out over such a long period of time, it's really difficult to sit through.

You know, it starts losing its appeal. You, your mind starts wandering, even though you don't want it to wander, you don't want to have that happen in a movie where it's, it's really a, a pretty compelling story overall. Mm-Hmm. Okay. So does this belong on your list? Best picture nominees? I'd say yes. But if we were gonna have a list from one to 10, I'd put it more toward the bottom that I think that's a great distinction.

And I was gonna ask Mm-Hmm. Would it make a top five? And it sounds like, no, I don't know that you necessarily could identify four others or five others that would be, but just in sentiment alone that it isn't a top five. Um, so it sounds like this is not a strong contender to win at least by, you know, pod our podcast, uh, estimates.

Yeah. I don't, I don't think so. I think there are other movies that are much stronger. Yeah. Okay. So moving on the holdovers. Uh, I know Matt, you saw that, I believe, right? I did, yeah. And Steve, did you see that one? No. Okay. So Matt, why don't you take the reins? What are your thoughts?

Speaker 2: Yeah, so that as an Alexander Payne movie, um, which I, I like his, his movies.

Uh, he did Sideways. Um, it's a, uh, it's actually a really good Christmas movie. Um, so it's based around Christmas Mm-Hmm. About, uh, these group of kids who are held over at a private school because they don't have either have family to go home to, or their family's on vacation or something and they can't take the kids.

Um, and then all the kids get to go, except this one kid who's kind of like an outcast. So it's kind of like a buddy movie between Paul Giamatti and this one. His name's Dominic Sessa, who I'm extremely jealous because is his first movie. He was awesome at it. He was discovered by doing a high school, high school play.

Wow. Um, so he didn't have to struggle to get an elite care, elite part in a movie. So extremely jealous. But that doesn't take the fact that he wasn't good. He was really good. Um, I, I'm gonna make sure I don't botch her name. Um, her name. She's also nominated for best supporting actress, uh, uh, Divine Joy Randolph.

Uh, she was, she plays kind of like a, the lunch lady who's also held over. Mm-Hmm. Yeah, I saw her in the trailer. Yeah. Doesn't have any. Uh, her son was killed in Vietnam, so she doesn't have anything and she kind of cover anything to go back home to, so she stays there too. And she has, she carries a lot of the emotional weight of this movie, and she's amazing.

And she, I think she's going to win the best act supporting actress, and she deserves it. I highly recommend you watching it. I, it is a Christmas movie, but I think you can watch it anytime of year. Okay. Act, I was gonna say acting and writing. I think it, that's, that's the two keys for this movie.

Speaker 1: Okay. So this film definitely belongs on your list, right?

Yes. Okay.

Speaker 2: Definitely on the top. Top. It would be in my top five

Speaker 1: too. Okay, great. So, moving on, uh, let's go to Maestro. And I believe, Matt, you saw that one, Steve, you saw part of it. Part of it, like half of it, and then I turned it off. Okay. So guys, do you wanna double team this one?

Speaker 2: Thoughts? Yeah. I, I go, since I saw, I, I sat through the whole thing.

Sorry. Uh, it was a snoozer. Um, it was there. I, I'll, I'll start with the positives. Bradley Cooper was good. Um, I thought his makeup did a lot of the work for him. Uh, he did kind of had a strange voice that he did. Uh, I don't really know Leonard Bernstein all that well, so I don't know if it was accurate to his voice.

Um, it kind of, there was kind of a cool, uh, how they, they kind of like, they, it's a basically a biopic, pretty standard biopic where, uh, they kind of went with the shooting styles of the period that they were in. So, and when he was starting out, when he was real young, it was black and white. And then in the seventies it kind of had that grainy feel, um, type of feel to it.

And then towards the end, when, when he was an older. Guy, guy, it was in the nineties. It had more modern, um, feel to the, the camera work. I thought that was kind of cool. Uh, but honestly, yeah, I, I, I don't, I could see why it was, you know, nominated. I also thought it was overly long. I. Um, like the acting was fine.

It wasn't anything to really write home about. Uh, I also think he, they, uh, they focused a lot on his personal life, which is not a bad thing. I wish they focused a little bit more in his professional life. 'cause that was more of what I was interested in. 'cause I, you know, he's famous for writing, uh, west Side Story and they didn't, they barely touched on that.

Uh, so I was kind of hoping they would do a little bit more of, you know, how his career trajectory, but it was mostly more, uh, the relationship between him and his wife, uh, and the other partners that he had within their marriage. So, uh, I, I, I would probably pass on it in my, on my opinion. And I'm guessing Steve kind of had a similar, because he didn't make it all the way through.

I just felt it was very

Speaker 1: disjointed as a biopic. I agree with Matt that they should have delved into his professional life. 'cause that's what. He's known as a public, you know, to the public because of those professional, um, endeavors. I mean, obviously biopic is gonna delve into the personal life, but it delved into his personal life in a very, like, I don't know how you, what do they call it?

Like a third-party observer sort of way. I felt very disconnected from the action that was happening on film, and things happened where he would like, take on a lover and then all of a sudden he was just part of his life. But you didn't know anything

Speaker 2: about him. Yeah, he was just, he didn't really explain it.

It didn't really kind of like, you didn't know if his wife was really okay with it. It was just really just, it was kind of like, it wasn't flushed out. It

Speaker 1: would jump around a lot. So there were like, there were scenes where you thought it was going somewhere, but it was just like a little snapshot. Mm-Hmm.

Almost as if you saw someone walking by in the hallway. You saw 'em downstairs in the lobby, but there was nothing joining them together. You don't really understand why there were neither of those two places to begin with. That's what it felt like to me. And there was so much of that going on. And there was one particular scene that I thought was just so odd where the camera was in his backyard and I believe it was black and white, and it was really, really far away.

And you couldn't see him talk. He was doing an interview or something and you couldn't see them talking to each other. Oh yeah. And it stayed like that for, I'd say, what, five, 10 minutes? Mm-Hmm. A really, really long time. Long time. So you're just watching some bushes with a static shot? Yeah. That whole time.

Which totally took me out of the movie even more. So the next time I saw him, I was like, what, what was that all about? And I couldn't stop thinking about it. But yeah. Overall, no, not in my, not in my Oscar list. I thought the acting was okay, but it's not a memorable film. And I think it's, it's not gonna go down in history as you know, a must-watch biopic.

He'll probably go down as like, um. Robert Downey, JR. played Chaplin or something like Yeah. You know, it happened, it was interesting at the time, but people don't really talk

Speaker 2: about it anymore. Right.

Speaker 1: Okay. So onto American fiction. This is the Jeffrey, Wright dramedy, uh, mostly a drama, but oddly, I thought of this movie as three movies that only kind of worked when combined.

Matt, I think you saw American fiction as well, is that correct?

Speaker 2: I did, but I'm looking forward to your review right now. Well,

Speaker 1: okay. But I mean, I'm happy to go first this time, but I'm Yes, go first.

Speaker 2: Okay. I, because I'm curious, I, uh, uh, 'cause my, my review is probably not gonna be as in-depth. I'd like to see if we're kind of on the same page.


Speaker 1: Okay. Well be brave and jump in when you completely disagree. Uh, so the three types of movie that I think are woven together in this film. Are a, a drama, a pretty heavy drama, a slapstick comedy, and, uh, a social commentary film, right? So I don't think that as a whole this movie, did any one of those movies well enough to belong on my list?

So, just jumping to the end, uh, the slapstick comedy, and Steve, I don't know how much you know about this movie, but it's basically about a black author who is having trouble getting published and he has a ton of, so the, the heavy drama part I'll get to in a second, but the slapstick comedy part is. He decides to sort of half jokingly and half out of bitterness and frustration, write what he thinks is a terrible, stereotypical black perspective, a novel about how hard it is to grow up black and be in and outta the prison system.

And he poses as a, a, an author who is actually on the run from the law. So he has to pretend to be very street and tough edged and stuff like in, you know, in his interviews, which he does, uh, voice only and things like that. So it's a, it's a quite privileged or upper class, uh, person trying to pretend to be a con and street and all that to sort of, uh, sell this idea that their novel that they made up as fiction is at least partially based on how tough their life is and so on.

And that's kind of the slapstick part. And then the heavy drama, it revolves a lot around his personal problems and more specifically his very challenging, uh, often. Damaged, unhealthy relationship with family members, the, the sudden loss of his sister, which occurs during the film early. And, uh, his difficulty with forming connections and, and meaningful connections or bonds with others.

So that's kind of the heavy drama part. And then the social commentary film is really about the experience of being black in America, white guilt, how you can sort of get hold into a certain role. Like if you're not feeding the white guilt machine, then your version of being a black American doesn't matter.

Uh, and there's a counterpoint for that and so on. So I, I think. There were some great scenes and there were some good moments, but I didn't find this film to be adequately funny, often enough to be successful as a comedy. I felt like the drama between the characters was only partially developed. It was a bit incomplete, and there wasn't a clear arc for their relationships or the main character's development as a person.

And the social commentary had several moments where it got started and got very interesting there. I think the most important scene in the whole film is in a break room. Between two black authors, and I feel like that scene was cut too short before it really gets to a meaningful point. So again, I, I wouldn't put it on my nominees for a best picture list in the top five.

It's definitely a great movie in a lot of ways. It can be a little bit boring at times, but it's good. I don't know that Jeffrey Wright was the right choice because Oh, interesting. Yeah, I love him as an actor and I think he's amazing. But the slapstick stuff where he's trying to be all ghetto and whatever, it's just he has too much class and it, I don't wanna say it's beneath him, but I just don't know.

He's a little stiff to play that. Right. It was almost like a, a Jim Carrey role, you know, or like a Martin Lawrence or something like that, you know, uh, to play like a relatively well-off. Uh, well-educated person playing, you know, ghetto and street, right? Like, that's, it. Just, I don't think he played that in as amusing a way as it, it could have been played.

So that's, you know, there's more I could say, but I think that that pretty much sums up the, the main thrust of my perspective. So, Matt, you, uh, I don't completely agree

Speaker 2: with all of that. I don't, I don't disagree with all that. I'll put it that way. I feel like you're, you're right. I think they did have three different types, three different tones in the movie.

I think they melded them. I think they are welded them together, uh, better than you thought they did. Um, I, I, I kind of enjoyed, uh, I also saw it in a packed theater and people were laughing hysterically throughout the whole thing. So that could, you know, cloud my judgment a little bit, um, uh, on how, how funny I thought the movie was.

Um, I was, it was marketed in a way I. See, it was market as kind of a slapstick comedy. Yeah. Where the trailer, it's really not

Speaker 1: Right. Yeah. The trailer that is part of the problem. The trailer sells it wrong. It's

Speaker 2: being switched trailer. Yeah, totally. It's more of a family drama than a, than a, uh, slapstick comedy.

Uh, I, I like Jeffrey Wright in it, but I can see your point. I think someone like Eddie Murphy would've really excelled in this part. Oh, yeah. Interesting. Um, so I, I, I, I kind of agree with that, I think, huh. But I think it was good to see Jeffrey Wright stretch himself a little bit. Yeah. Um, and try at least try the comedy.

Right. Uh, wow. I I thought it was,

Speaker 1: sorry, hold on. No, go ahead. Could this have been like the Comeback or for Eddie? Murphy? Yeah. Or someone similar.

Speaker 2: Totally. Yeah. It could have been his Oscar movie. Totally. For sure. Sorry, go ahead. Yeah, no, I agree with you. I think it could have been, I agree with you that one scene between him and the other author, uh, uh, played by Issa Rae.

That was really, um, that scene was, could have meant a lot more, could have gone on and had a lot more meaning. Yeah. But it, they, it, they really, I felt like that was, if there was, they botched any scene in that movie, it was that

Speaker 1: scene. It was such a great scene and there were, it was so interesting and it was almost like the film chickened out.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Yeah. I

Speaker 1: totally agree with that. That I think that really hurt my view of this opinion of this film.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah, I totally agree with that. Um, but I would give it, uh, I would still put it in my top 10. I would not put it in my top five. Okay.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so that brings us to the last film on our list and I don't think the least, oh, sorry, just one more, Steve, uh, Anatomy of fall.

Oh yeah, actually I forgot. Anatomy of fall and also zone of interest and um, uh, poor things. So, has anyone seen poor things? I have, yes. Okay, so hit me with four things.

Speaker 2: My best grip, my best positive critique of it is better than I thought it was gonna be. Mm-Hmm. I, it's very weird. Uh, I can't remember the director Yorgos Steve.

Do you know the, the, the director goes Lark,

Speaker 1: Lark illness or something? He's, uh, also

Speaker 2: did the lobster. He's done like the lobster. He did music videos.

Speaker 1: Favorite, is that right? No,

Speaker 2: I'm not sure if he came from videos, but he's, he's very famous. He's been around, he does really bizarre movies. Uh, I'm not a, I'm really not a fan of his, his movies.

I thought, uh, Emma Stone was really good. So it's essentially about, it's kind of like a Frank Stein movie, like a feminist version of a Frank Stein movie where, uh, this crazy scientist played by Wilhelm Defoe brings a woman back to life, uh, with a baby's brain. So Emma Stone. This character, this all happens in the beginning.

It's not a spoiler. She tries to commit suicide. Um, and she kind of, she becomes brain dead. So she's pregnant at the time. So Willem Dafoe takes the baby's brain that was, she was pregnant with and implants it in Emma Stone and tries to do an science experiment about how, um, how fast she will learn. And, um, it's very, it's, uh, it's highly sexualized.

Hmm. Um, if you wanna see Emma Stone Nude for 50% of the movie, that's the movie to go to. Wow. Uh, I, I, I'm not a prude obviously, uh, but I, um, I thought it was too much. I really did think. There was, uh, way too much, uh, sex and nudity in it. Mm-Hmm. Uh, and I felt like, uh, it, that could have been really trimmed down in the point the, the Feminist story behind it would've 'cause it was very much about her become owning her own body and homing her feminism and owning her.

Oh, okay. You know, her sexuality. Sure. And I felt like that all could have achieved by cutting those, all those scenes in half mm-Hmm. Um, I thought the person that stole the movie who I thought was kind of outta place, honestly, was Mark Ruffalo. He kind of played a Saturday Night Live type character version of this kind of like Lothario creepy lawyer who kind of takes Emma Stone away from the family and tries to show him the world.

And then he becomes really obsessed with her. Um, so I thought he was actually really funny in it, but it kind of felt like he was, his character was outta place in the movie. Mm-Hmm. Uh, I would not put this in my top 10. Um, I probably really wouldn't really recommend it to people because it's actually kind of, it's kind of gross in some ways.

Like there's a lot of like, um, like kind of like open brain surgery, science experiments that's kind of looks very realistic and I, I think you would've to go in very cautiously to this movie. Mm

Speaker 1: mm-Hmm. Alright. Interesting. Yeah. Uh, it sounds like the nudity was at least in line. With the theme of the film and Totally.

Oh yeah. Yeah. So that's something, but it doesn't mean that you enjoy it, so, yeah. Interesting. Um, alright, so that brings us then to zone of interest, which, uh, that is the director I was thinking of. Jonathan Glazer, who does come from music videos, Jamiroquai and, uh mm-Hmm. A few other famous, uh, music videos.

No one saw that. Right? I think we covered this earlier. No one saw a zone of interest. Okay. No. So, uh, maybe that's the best movie. Maybe it's not. Who knows? Uh, I would doubt it just based on the buzz that I've heard, but, uh, maybe it does belong in the top five nomination list. Uh, all right. So I think that then takes us to Anatomy of a Fall and we'll finish up with past lives.

So anyone see

Speaker 2: Anatomy of a

Speaker 1: Fall? Where was that? I saw, yeah, I saw Anatomy of a Fall. Okay. It

Speaker 2: was a

Speaker 1: Thoughts, I thought it was a really, really well-Acted movie. Overall, I think the way it delves into the, basically Anatomy of falls, really Anatomy of how someone dies. Was it an accidental death or was he killed?

Mm-Hmm. Basically the plot is a woman and her husband and son living kind of like a remote area. And the husband falls from like a second story, kind of like where he had his little, like a studio, like a, like a workshop and, Mm-Hmm. The son's blind and he goes for a walk and when he comes back he finds the father dead.

So the whole movie is about the trial that ensues, the woman's put on trial for his murder and just, you start, it's really brilliant the way it takes the viewer from like, oh, she's definitely innocent to like, I think she killed him to, I think she's innocent. It goes back and forth, back and forth. Mm. The kid's a big part of that.

Because at first you hear his story about like where he was when he found the body and what he had heard before the body was found. Like he heard some fighting between the the parents. But then as the movie goes along, you start feeling as if he's lying 'cause he's telling the police one thing, but he's on trial and he is kind of saying something else.

So you don't really know who to believe, like who's your, you know, point of truth. But the thing where it kind of fails is that you really don't know whether she actually did it or not. And it's typical for a lot of foreign films or a lot of French films to do that kind of leave it open-ended in terms of her guilt.

Like I thought up until the very end, I thought there was gonna be a twist. Like, uh, in basic instinct where the ice pick is under the bed, you know? So, you know, she's, she's, I thought something like that was gonna happen, but it just, that does that typical thing where it fades to black, where it kind of leaves you feeling like the whole point was that things are a lot more complicated than they seem.

They had a very tumultuous relationship, but you didn't really know that at first. You kind of felt like, oh, this guy was kind of a jerk to, to him. But they, it was about how they were really keeping each other down, and that was just driving a wedge between 'em. So you'd never really know. 'cause the evidence was kind of being argued from both sides.

Like he fell in this particular way, so that means he must have been pushed or a struggle must, must have ensued. But then the other side is saying, no, he could have fallen and this would've happened. Like, he would've hit this shed in this particular way and he would've landed here. So it was kind of, I.

It was very open-ended, but it was, I mean, really well acted and really well written. But I don't know. I like movies that have more of a solid ending where you, you can definitely point to a killer. I think it's just so much more, much more satisfying way to end a movie. But I think a lot of people would agree with that.

That can be frustrating. Yeah. Especially when you present a question, you don't answer it. Mm-Hmm. And I figured that was gonna happen because it's a French film and that, that typically happens in French

Speaker 2: films. Did, was it, um, in, was it subtitled? Yeah. Okay. The whole thing was, 'cause the previews I saw were in English.

It was subtitle. Yeah. Oh, okay. Must be done.

Speaker 1: I'm sure there's a dubbed version. Yeah. So anything else about that one before we move on to our final nominee? Nope. No. Great. All right. So past lives, I watched that. I, I, I'm interested in this conversation. I, I want to hear, I think, Matt, you said you saw this one, right?

Mm-Hmm. Yeah. I'm, I'm really curious what your reaction was, because I think I could understand a pretty broad range of reactions to this film. So what are your thoughts on this movie and it's a place in this nominee list?

Speaker 2: I liked it. I think, I think it was. A fine movie. I could say. I think it was good.

Speaker 1: Damned with faint praise. Yeah,

Speaker 2: I thought the two leads were really good. Uhhuh. Um, I really liked Greta Lee, who's the, the lead actress. Uh, I liked her and other things. I thought this was a really good role for her. I thought the concept was good about, you know, the, um, long last love or potential love and, um, coming back into their lives and she's already married and moved on, and I kind of went in a different way than I thought it was going to.

It really isn't really a romance story. It's more of like a friendship story. I felt like. Mm. I I thought it was a sweet movie in, in a sense. I, I, I don't know if I would put it in my top 10. That's, that's kind of like the one that's kind of like on a borderline, like I could give or take it. Mm-Hmm. Uh, my wife really liked it.

Hmm. I thought she, she liked it a little bit more than I did. Um, it's not long. It's less than two hours. So that, that's a, that's a positive for me too. Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. What did you think? I thought

Speaker 1: it was quite boring. Uh uh. Uh, that doesn't mean it's a bad movie. I think it's a fine Yeah. Small film. I don't understand why it got this much attention.

Yeah. The only theory I, I could come up with is that the particular relationship dynamics that are played out in this film are really interesting and really resonate with Mm-Hmm. Actors and creative types. Like this is the kind of thing that sort of catches their fancy. So to them this is profound and meaningful, whereas to those of us who, you know, I don't wanna say exist in the real world, but like, you know, deal with Profession or close personal relationships in different ways, this is really not that profound.

Um, so yeah, for those of you who haven't seen it, it's basically the story of a girl and a boy. They are friends in school same year, uh, what are they, elementary school or middle school or something like that. And yeah, they, you know, a little bit of crush on each other. I don't understand why, but before the family moves to America, the girl's family, the mother decides to encourage a romance between her daughter and this boy in her class.

So she specifically says to the girl, who do you like, oh, you like this boy? Great. I'll arrange a date. And then while they're on the date, she tells the other mom, yeah, we're moving to America. Uh, and so the two kids kind of bond in this moment. It's like their sort of coming-of-age, romantic moment. Uh, and then the family of the girl moved to America, which to me was beyond bizarre.

Why would you do that? So then we fast-forward and the girl, now a woman is in college. She's pursuing her big ambitions to be, I guess, a playwright or a writer. The boy is still in Korea and now a man, he was in the military. Uh, he still has feelings for her. He finds her on Facebook or something. Then they Rekindle a relationship now, I guess what in their early twenties or something like that?

Mm-Hmm. But second thing that was very confusing to me, she refuses to go visit him in Korea for some reason, even though they're talking all the time, she labels them visiting each other as a distraction from her riding goals. Like she can't ride on the plane, visit with him and then ride on the way back.

Like, I don't understand because she's spending tons of time video chatting with him, but yeah. But it, she won't visit him and I guess he can't visit her or whatever. They didn't explain that. That felt very pivotal to the film. Mm-Hmm. Then we fast-forward again, many years, I guess they're in their thirties.

I, I couldn't really tell, I, I'm sure we could count it up, but basically mid-thirties or something. She's now married to, uh, an American, a white guy, Caucasian, and I think he's Caucasian. Um, they didn't really get into that too much. And he is a successful writer. Uh, he's written a book called Boner, was the title of it.

Yeah, I don't, they didn't address that, which I thought was weird. And she's still sort of working on her way, working her way up and figuring out her dream. And again, this Korean guy, Seeks her out, decides to take time off from work and use his vacation to come try to reconnect with her, even though I don't know what he knows about her current status and so on.

And so really the, the meaningful aspect of the film or the, I guess the part they were trying to put forward is how do you handle that? Right. Mm-Hmm. If you're the husband, what's, what's a good way to react if you are the woman who is married and, and the object of affection from a very handsome Compatible match, how do you handle that?

And if you're the sort of jilted, uh, borderline, uh, health, you know, not healthy, but, uh, not creepily obsessed, handsome guy, how should you react to, to her reaction? I would think that would really be interesting to me. It, it was kind of boring. It was quite boring actually. Yeah. Uh, I'm gonna stand by my original statement, so it's fine.

And as a small film that did not have a lot of publicity, it's a little bit of a g that you might stumble upon. Yeah, I agree. That's fine. As an awesome nominee. It's confusing. Agreed. Yeah. Yeah. So, I dunno, any other thoughts about that one? I mean, it, it's, I would say it's worth watching if it interests you, I, I don't think you, you're necessarily gonna walk away with something really useful.

Or things, something you're gonna chew on mentally

Speaker 2: for a while? No, I, it's, uh, it's free on Paramount Plus right now in show time. So, uh, it's worth a watch if you have a free

Speaker 1: evening. Yeah, yeah. Okay, good. Uh, so I have a, a couple more questions just to wrap things up a bit. First of all, a little controversy around this, do you think?

Margot Roby, Roby? Is it Roby? Robbie? Are we doing that? Robby. Robby, thank you. I think, uh, Deserved a best actress nomination for Barbie.

Speaker 2: Uh, that's a good question. I, uh. And would be very definitive and say yes and no. I You heard it here first. I think her performance was, was, was great. She grounded a movie that was really, could have went off the rails.

Oh my God. And she was the grounding

Speaker 1: force of it. Yeah. This could have backfired

Speaker 2: hardcore. Yes. Uh, she had that emotional, um, core that the, the movie needed and it wouldn't have been successful without her looking at the nominees that there are. Um, I would be, I would put her above. Annette Bening who was in NIAID, which she was fine in, the movie was fine.

Uh, but she didn't have to carry the movie. Mm-Hmm. And like Margot Robbie had to. Right. So I would replace her for that. Is there someone besides Margot Robbie who should have been nominated, like uh, uh, let's say Natalie Portman for May, may, December, who I thought w did really well? Well on the job? Yeah.

Uh, really well in her, her role. Mm-Hmm. Um, I don't know, like that's kind of a toss up. But out of the existing nominees, yes. Margot Robbie should be in place of Annette. Bening.

Speaker 1: Okay. Steve Counterpoint. Um, I mean in terms of her acting, I guess it's, this is a question for you, Matt, like in terms of what you look at Mm-Hmm.

In terms of what constitutes a best actor nominee. Is it someone who's mm-Hmm. Carrying the movie? Is there something in terms of believability that you never really think of them outside of that character? What would you, what would you say?

Speaker 2: It's a mixture. It's gotta be a mixture of all of that. You have to make it, my, my personal opinion is you have to be true and realistic to the material.

Uh, that I think that, and the part has to be written well, obviously, but I think carrying the movie is part of it. I think for Margot Robbie that is, um, it's, it's not so much an individual performance. Her performance is the base of the movie. I'm trying to think of the other, lemme look up the best actresses, nominees.

I just

Speaker 1: tend to think of it more as like, is this role a really difficult stretch for the actor? In terms of like getting to a point where I feel as if they're completely immersed in that character. In this particular case, I didn't feel that,

Speaker 2: but no, I, I think there's two different ways to look at it. In my, in my, this is my opinion, there is someone who's playing, who can play a character who is not technically realistic.

Um, for example, Emma Stone in poor Things. She has to play a, basically a woman with an, uh, a baby's brain. So that's obviously not something that's realistic. Um, but that's, that's the part she has to play for Margot Robbie, what I was impressed with her is, is that she was so grounded and realistic. It might not have been a big stretch for her.

Um, as a character, as a part, but that doesn't mean if she didn't perform it well. Mm. Um, I think if you look at Kerri Mulligan from Maestro, she was nominated. Um, she also had a part where she had to play different ranges, um, of ages. And that's impressive on its own. Definitely. But again, um, I think it's also challenging, like sometimes actors, for me, the hardest thing to do is to look natural by walking into a room and opening the fridge and getting a soda out.

Mm-Hmm. That's hard to do. Knowing that there's a camera pointing at you to do a whole movie, to be realistic, to play real emotions. And on top of that, represent a very famous doll. I feel like that was incredibly difficult and I think she excelled at it. Mm-Hmm. That's a good point.

Speaker 1: So you think she deserves a nomination?

I do. Yeah. And Steve, what do you think? Where are you landing? I'm still on the fence because I think, I just look at, I look at these nominations a little bit differently. Like I tend to Mm-Hmm. To kind of lean towards the actor where I feel like it was a massive stretch for them to play the role. So like, I get pulled into roles like, let's say like a Christian Bale and the Machinist, these extreme performances are what really appeal to me or these transformations.

But oddly, I wouldn't say that with Bradley Cooper and Maestro. 'cause I felt that was a little bit, I don't know, it didn't seem as realistic to me as it would. But let's say Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for best actor, I would've, I would've said that yeah, he would definitely deserve to be, you know, best actor.

Does that make sense what I'm saying? Like the, it, it's, no, I a stretch that I get agree, impressed by not. Kind of like a, a solid, realistic portrayal in this type of movie, but maybe it's the context.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Mm-Hmm. I agree. I think it is context and I, I there are, it's just two different types of challenges and one is more impressive than the other.

I'll, I'll, I'll give you that. Like someone who playing a part that's against type and stretching it and playing a really bizarre character like Emma Stone did. That's, that is more difficult to do. I agree with that. But there is some also, um, difficulty in trying to persuade someone as a real person.


Speaker 1: mm-Hmm. It's a, it's really a fascinating question and I don't think there's any, any real right answer 'cause it's so context based and it's also, you know, how you're, how you're looking at acting in general. You know, is it the person who Yeah. Who stretches themselves outside of what you're normally used to seeing them play?

Or is it the person Mm-Hmm. That's so natural in the role. That it seems completely effortless, but that in itself is a massive effort. Like a, you know, Killian Murphy in in Oppenheimer, for

Speaker 2: instance. Yeah. That's the same way. Yeah. He's, it's, you know, you have to have that grounded base and I think that's, see, I feel like if Margot Robbie was a supporting character in Barbie, I don't think she should be nominated because her, um, I think the role basically of the lead character is to be the grounded person, to be the person who, uh, can have Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell and Michael Cera and have all these crazy characters go around them.

Because if Margot Robbie was, and Kate McKinnon too. If Margot Robbie was as big as them, the movie would be a disaster. Mm-Hmm. It would be way too much. You couldn't

Speaker 1: handle it. That's interesting. Yeah. That's a really good point. Right. It's, it's in a way you're making the argument for not reacting as an important part.

Right. Of being best

Speaker 2: actress. Yeah. Right. And I, I think a good example of this, um, have you, you've seen the Birdcage? Yes. Mm-Hmm, of course. Okay. So there's Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, and there's two characters here. And so Nathan Lane got a lot of the, the, the praise, which he should have, but he was playing the big outlandish character.

Mm-Hmm. Who got all the laughs, but Robin Williams had to play it completely straight. Like he had to be, um, sort of, he had to be the, the, the wall up against Nathan Lane, otherwise it wouldn't

Speaker 1: work. Yes. That's, that's an excellent example. Yeah. So I approached this question from a very different angle than either of you guys did.

Um, so what's really interesting to me about this is this film, as I've said, is trying to make. Barbie who is, uh, who has been held up as the unfair, overly idealistic, sexist view of what a woman should be in a film that's trying to make sort of the opposite out of it. Right. And the actress they cast, is that right?

She is that ideal. She's an 11 outta 10 mm-Hmm. I mean, you know, 10 outta 10 at worst, right? On a bad day. Like she is that blonde, almost unnaturally, proportioned, gorgeous woman who is simultaneously strong and vulnerable and cute and beautiful and glamorous and, you know, relatable and non-threatening at the same time.

So you put an actress who fits that image, that ideal so perfectly in a role like this, where the point is the opposite. It would've been so easy

Speaker 2: to ruin it. Mm-Hmm. And I think

Speaker 1: my guess would be that Margot Robbie got it. Like she understood what they were trying to do on such a high level of sophistication that she could deliver a version of a, Hmm, what's a word?

Sort of the opposite of a feminist icon. Right. Like the problem she could deliver a version of the problem that seems like the solution. Right? Mm-Hmm. And so, I don't know if, if I could, um, I, I think from a certain set of standards, you could say maybe there are better actors or better performances or things like that.

But again, given that this film, in my mind is a little bit less about film and a little bit more about public relations and delivering a message, I don't think there are very many. I. Attractive blondes of that caliber who could have played this role without being the weak link upon which the entire thing collapsed.

Mm-Hmm. So I would say on that alone, she belongs there and belongs on the nominee list. Strongly. Strongly. Right. And maybe in a, for different reasons than any actress has been nominated before, but I think that's reality now. I think we just need to accept it. And she should be on that list. So maybe, maybe I'm agreeing with Matt.

Maybe we're coming to the same conclusion for very different reasons. Uh, maybe the last thought here is, Steve, does that affect your placement on the fence? I mean, you guys pose very strong arguments. But I still stick to my guns, I think in terms of what I believe to be like being neutral. Yeah, exactly.

Um, leaning, it's aggressively centrist. Yeah, exactly. I'm Switzerland in the, uh, in this equation. No, I think I would lean more towards the actor where the performance is a stretch, but I think what you're arguing, Jason, is that this is the stretch, right? Like in terms of I just think it takes a certain type of brilliance not to ruin this film.

Right. I understand. Um. So that in that sense, yes. A stretch. Yeah. I mean, in that case, yeah. Because I mean, she's, she's gorgeous, right? I mean, stunning. Right. And Wolf of Wall Street, she plays a very different version of a stunning woman, right? And you can say suicide Squad and so on. So I think she's, just to maybe try to convince you for a second, I think she has shown that she can stretch, given the obvious limitation of being cast for her appearance.

Mm-hmm. Right. I agree. And I think it's easy, especially as men, to underestimate how hard that is to do. And in this film, Mm-Hmm. It is, it is like a thin razor wire. It's like thinner than like dental floss that she has to walk this whole film because the whole movie could have collapsed based on her perform.

Alright guys, you convinced me putting my, putting my vote in.

Speaker 2: She's in for a baki.

Speaker 1: You brought up some really, really compelling points and yeah. Now that I, I put some more thought into it. Like my, um, I guess my checkboxes, they're all checked in terms of a stretch. And you're, you guys were right. Like if it would've been played any other way, it would've been a camp type cult movie.

It would've been so, would've been so cheesy that you wouldn't have been able to handle it. It would've missed the whole point altogether

Speaker 2: in,

Speaker 1: in any, any scene almost. There were so many moments where just if her facial, ex facial expression wasn't just right, if her timing wasn't exactly perfect. And I know that's not all the performance.

I just know I couldn't do it and I can't even know I see of doing it,

Speaker 2: you know? Yeah. I mean, to be in a situation where I've played a lead character before where I, I am playing off or people are playing off me, I guess, um, it's very tempting to want to go big Mm-Hmm. And want to be the one 'cause you're seeing everyone else having so much fun.

Right. And getting all the laughs. And getting the praise and stuff like that. And it's very difficult to not like succumb to that Mm-Hmm. To like just jump in and let me, and I think, you know, part of it actually kind comes with the director and probably the director had something to do with it, I think so, yeah, kind of helped her, helped her stay grounded as well.


Speaker 1: for you, has it been the director that's helped you not succumb to that? Or has it been some kind of internal meter

Speaker 2: that you're, you pull back? It's, it's both. The director will like say, Matt, you need to tone it down. Or Or work model like

Speaker 1: we do here on the podcast.

Speaker 2: Matt, especially when I was y Yeah. I am like a, a cat stop down.

We off the catnip. I've come to appreciate Yeah. I've come to appreciate being the guy who assists the joke as opposed to the guy landing the joke. Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. Um, so I, I've, I've come to appreciate that. Yeah. Um, but when I was younger, no. I wanted, you know, I really wanted to get the yux right. They'd be the star.

Exactly. I wanna be the, the standout that's, uh, but the, you know, the, the, the, the person, the lead character, that's their job. You know, kind of have to look at it that way. That's

Speaker 1: interesting. That's a great insight. Uh, and it definitely impacts the way I in interpret and judge these performances. Yeah. And I don't know, I mean, now I wish I was there during filming to get a better sense of where the, the correct choices were coming from and editing as well.


Speaker 2: True editing too, I don't think can definitely change your performance. It,

Speaker 1: nobody dropped the ball. Right. That's the amazing thing. I wonder that a lot when I'm watching some of these, these performances in, in movies, like how much of it was the director's hand steering the ship either in right into port or out to sea, you know, like Right.

Mm-Hmm. I think there's probably a lot more cases than we realize where it could have been a great movie that the actor wanted to play a certain way. And the director just steered them away from that angle and just ruined the film altogether. It's gotta be pretty frustrating, I

Speaker 2: guess. Yeah, I think it's definitely as an actor, right?

Truly. Well, they say that, you know, um, film is really a medium for directors. TV is a medium for writers and theater as a medium for actors. 'cause in those way you're like, that's the more, I guess, focused aspect of each part. Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. Each genre of entertainment. So yeah, for movies, definitely. I think it could be, it, a performance could be made or break in the, in the editing

Speaker 1: room.

Yeah. I, you know, I am very aware of that. And the edits in Barbie, I didn't see any problems. And that's an extraordinarily challenging story to a symbol because it's also a message and an initiative and. Did. It's a retelling, like just to, uh, anyway, incredible work. Truly does. Does anyone know if they edited the film too, or how big of a hand They had No Bond back

Speaker 2: and credit Gerwig?

I mean, I think the director always has a pretty big hand, typically. But I'm

Speaker 1: saying like, was were they physically like editing the film? Like, you know, like Robert Rodriguez edits the film, you know what I mean?

Speaker 2: Oh, I see. Not that I know of. I don't

Speaker 1: know. Yeah, I'd be, I'd be curious to know. 'cause it's such like a visionary type of thing to do beyond a lot of other Mm-Hmm.

A lot of other films you would think you'd want to have such a meticulous, you know, attention to detail when it came to the editing piece. Almost like not letting the editors just like go off and do their own cuts, but really just be there like over their shoulder, like piecing it together. Right. I. So the, uh, film editing nominees for the Oscars this year, uh, come from Anatomy of the Fall.

Anatomy of a Fall, the Holdovers Killers of the Flower Moon Oppenheimer in Poor Things, which I think is crazy that Barbie wasn't on. I mean, honestly, the, that had to be such a challenging, maybe it just clicked and it just kind of flowed. But yeah, I, I don't know. I, I can't imagine that, that there wasn't agonizing over the smallest of quarter beats, you know?

Sure. And, and I mean, I would've thought the reshoots would've been crazy as well, but plus the effects, maybe not. Right, of course. Right. I mean, just the set design for that, like trying to nail that alone. I, it's, it's intimidating, right? There aren't a lot of films that come along where you're just sort of intimidated out of pursuing, doing that yourself.

But this, this is one, uh, and maybe the appreciation will grow over time or, you know, maybe there's something I'm really missing. But anyway, it looks like there were three editors just on that note for Barbie. Okay. Yeah. Like a

Speaker 2: team.

Speaker 1: I'm sure. I'm sure they're all exhausted. I'm sure. Still recovering. Uh, good.

All right. I have one more question, but I know there was some controversy, some other things going on. Anything else you guys wanted to discuss regarding the Oscars this year? Before I ask my final question?

Speaker 2: No, I'm ready for your final question. Okay. So am I.

Speaker 1: So I want to hear your pick. What is your pick out of the nominees for best picture?

Speaker 2: Oppenheimer. I think Oppenheimer should and Will win. Okay.

Speaker 1: Steve? Yep.

Speaker 2: Out

Speaker 1: of all the films that I saw, I wish I would've seen 'em all, but I would say Oppenheimer as well. I, I think that's right. Yeah. I, you know, I really wanna make it more complicated and I, I want to try to grab one of these other films, but for a variety of reasons.

Some of them are about quality of cinema and some of 'em are about just the nature of the politics and the game of Thrones in this kind of stuff. Right. That's where I would put my money if I was a betting man. So I think we all agree Oppenheimer is gonna win. Best picture 2024 Oscars.

Speaker 2: Mm-Hmm, right? I think so.

Now I have one last question for you guys. Oh. Did, do you think there was a snub, a movie that should have been nominated that you saw that this past year

Speaker 1: mission impossible? I don't know. I really, did you see they changed the name? No. What

Speaker 2: is it? No, I didn't. They they,

Speaker 1: they did. I hate it when they do this.

So when we did the episode on Mission Impossible, I said, it's ridiculous that they're doing this now. They did it with the Spider-Man Spider-Verse movie too, where they're like, oh, we're gonna do two of 'em, so we're gonna release one now and one later. And of course, what happened exactly what we said, like after the episode, uh, eventually happened, where they said, we're not gonna release part two of dead Reckoning, or whatever it was called, uh, until much, much later than we thought.

We don't even know when it's gonna come out. So they rebranded the first one with a new name and took out the Part one.

Speaker 2: Oh, no, I didn't know that. Yeah. What's it called now?

Speaker 1: I don't know. Who cares. Mission Impossible. Formally known as Part 1 20 23. Yeah. Did you see that Matt?

Speaker 2: Oh. Yeah, I loved it. I saw 'em at Peters.

Yeah. My best picture of the year was Godzilla minus one. Um, I thought, did you see it? What? Did you see it? No, it was amazing. It's called Godzilla minus one one. Um, it's Japanese. It essentially, um, happens in World War II era and this, uh, the monster just comes outta nowhere. No one knows what it is, and it comes outta nowhere and it attacks, uh, it's basically a World War II movie with Godzilla.

Hmm. Oh wow. It's awesome. I highly recommend it. Ninety-eight

Speaker 1: percent Rotten Tomatoes, 8.3 outta 10 in IMDb. I'm aware of it, and I've heard that it's a, it's really good film. I, the people I know who've seen it have, have really praised it uniformly. In fact, I think it got like a general. American theater theatrical release based on the strength of the reviews.

Mm-Hmm. So, yeah, you know, we should probably do an episode on it, talk about it a little bit. It'd be a good excuse to see it. Um, but I did not see it, so I can't say, but you know, that makes sense based on what I've heard. Yeah.

Speaker 2: I'll come back. You're poor side. I'll make myself come back. Just never leave.


Speaker 1: Never leave. Just stay on this, uh, on this stream for what? It's activated again.

Speaker 2: Yeah, we'll just keep it going. I'm never ever going to leave just a live stream and

Speaker 1: like, Hey, from his hotel.

Speaker 2: When are these guys gonna get here?

Speaker 1: Well, then they don't need free tickets to your show. They can just watch it.

That's true. Every time you perform, it's

Speaker 2: watching. We should really

Speaker 1: find out. Check out the bruises more about that show. Where's it playing? When, how long is it running? Maybe a little

Speaker 2: recap. It's the Cumberland Theater. Um, it's in Cumberland, Maryland. It is Friday through Sunday. Uh, Sunday matinee at two P.M.

Friday and Saturday P.M. It goes to, I believe, February. Whatever the day before President's Day is. I think it's for breaking, it goes to then, and I swear if this comes out and someone contacts you, I'll give you a free take.

Speaker 1: Nice. Okay. So pressure on me to turn it around in like two days or whatever. Um, okay, great.

So I, I actually don't like, you know, what best other best movie would I nominate? Uh, quantum Mania. Uh, Dungeon Dragons. Like, no, like, there's, there's really nothing. So I actually felt like it was kind of a weak year. Now, I, I didn't see Godzilla. Um, I don't know if it's better than Blue Beetle or Aquaman two.

Uh, it is. Okay. All right. Well, I'll take your seen 'em both. I'll take your word on it. I'll tell you. And based on having seen some of those movies and not the one you recommended, I will agree that the one you recommended should probably

Speaker 2: be not, should be nominated.

Speaker 1: There you go. All right. So, uh, as always, thank you to our special guest.

Uh, you bring, uh, an important dynamic. And a lot less negativity to our, uh, humble podcast. Thank you very much. Thank you. Sure. Uh, thank you to the people who made these projects. Uh, yes. Tons and tons of people. Very talented. Even when we criticize, we do it with an appreciation for how, how really professional and expert these people are.

So thank you. Without them, there is nothing. There's nothing to watch, nothing to do, nothing to complain about. Just a black hole. It is, yeah. It's just, it's just dead deadness in commercials. Thank you to the listeners. Appreciate you guys sticking with us for a, uh, double-sized, uh, two-parter, a doer uhhuh.

As always. Uh, stay away from those like and subscribe buttons if you wanna reach out to the show and get those free tickets. Uh, you want to get some, uh, video and photos of Matt showing off his bruises. Uh, if you wanna share his hotel room with him, you can reach us at Don' You can, uh, join the growing audience of, uh, trolls on YouTube.

You can connect with us on Insta Threads or what's left of Twitter. You can check out the show notes for more information and more links. And I'm gonna add here today, check out the previous episodes with Matt on them. They're all great. It's our best work. Hands down. And remember some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses.

See you next time. Take care everybody. Mm-Hmm.