Dearest listeners, we have returned from a short break to get freaked out by this summer’s horror-pastoral freakout, Midsommer. We discuss literary precedents, communitarian-phobia in cinema, grad students as villains (I hate that I’m linking to Slate but C pointed out that our point had been made), and more. Also, stay tuned for our first episode featuring an interview with a writer-activist who is doing rad, necessary things. We’re freaking out about this, but in a different way. Skål! <drinks mushroom tea>
We streamed Frant Gwo’s mega-blockbuster The Wandering Earth after a long weekend of find a place to live seeking, flat tires, and dead batteries. Our initial take: it’s a fun asplode fest! Is there more to this movie as we talk it out? Find out, dear reader, by listening.
Also, here’s some context that we dug up after our talk: There’s a lot of buzz about this movie representing a landmark in Chinese cinema–it’s first Sci-Fi blockbuster. Here’s a Vice piece by Muqing Zhang on Western techno-orientalist reception of the movie.
Also, errata: the movie does explain something we think it doesn’t explain–an unexpected spike in Jupiter’s gravity. Maybe our batteries were dead.
After Green Book won an Oscar, we toyed w/hate-watching it since Feb cinema is a dumping ground for lame movies. We decided instead to return to Boots Riley’s powerhouse directorial debut Sorry to Bother You. We talk it over in an end-of-work-week fugue state, get wildly off topic, and work our way back to the point: we loved this movie real hard.
We talked about this movie shortly after its release in 2012. 2019 internet tells me history hasn’t treated this one well, and I don’t think we would either. And we shouldn’t! Fortunately, there have been no shoot-and-cry flicks by American directors since. Right? –J
When Joe asked me to choose an episode from the archive to kick off our special “From the Archives” series, One Direction: This is Us immediately sprung to mind. Our conversation about this little piece of cinema really cemented, for me at least, the tone and tenor and caliber of all our film conversations that followed. Meaning: some sharp cultural analysis, on-point haircut critiques, and exactly one fight.
And for the curious, the description from the original episode below:
Joe and I felt that we had been reviewing too much fluff, so we watched the One Direction movie to lend some gravitas to this blog. The conversation got a little heated. It turns out we both feel strongly about this topic. Now we know.