FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #161 – “Little Women” (dir. Greta Gerwig), “Uncut Gems” (dir. Josh and Benny Safdie)

Poster for "Little Women" (2019 film)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel (with special guest Erika Spoden) descend into the darkness of consummate gambler and exhausting presence Howard Ratner, played with once-per-decade skill by Adam Sandler. Then we cleanse our palates with the thoughtful and colorful delights of Greta Gerwig‘s bold new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s Little Women (01:06:39).

Still from "Uncut Gems"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Uncut Gems): 8/10 (Erika), 9/10 (Glenn and Daniel)
FilmWonk rating (Little Women): 8.5/10 (Erika and Glenn), 8/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [02:21] Review: Uncut Gems
  • [17:14] Spoilers: Uncut Gems
  • [38:39] Review: Little Women
  • Music for this episode is the track “The Stranger” by Billy Joel and “The Morning” by The Weeknd, from the soundtrack to Uncut Gems.
  • CORRECTION: While discussing Kevin Garnett‘s appearance in Uncut Gems, we referred to a previous casting of an NBA player in the 2015 film Trainwreck, and mistakenly said that it was Kobe Bryant playing a version of himself in that film. It was in fact LeBron James.

Listen above, or download: Little Women, Uncut Gems (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #160 – "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" (dir. J.J. Abrams), "Christmas in Connecticut" (dir. Peter Godfrey)

Poster for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel conclude the Trilogy of Trilogies and finally figure out the answer to the question posed in the best film of the new Star Wars trilogy: What is it all for? But first, we take a gander at a ghost of Christmas past as Daniel selects his very favorite holiday film, a rom-com farce from 1945 (01:16:48).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Christmas in Connecticut): 10/10 (Daniel), 5/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker): 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [00:21] Review: Christmas in Connecticut
  • [21:53] Review: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • [46:46] Spoilers: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Music for this episode is a pair of tracks from John Williams‘ score to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Listen above, or download: Star Wars IX, Christmas in Connecticut (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #159 – "1917" (dir. Sam Mendes), "Marriage Story" (dir. Noah Baumbach)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the Western Front with Sam Mendes‘ groundbreaking, single-shot World War I drama, 1917. And then we check out a war of a different sort with Noah Baumbach’s artful confessional about divorce, Marriage Story, now streaming on Netflix (01:22:39).

Still from "Marriage Story"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (1917): 7/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Marriage Story): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:04] Review: 1917
  • [21:06] Spoilers: 1917
  • [36:11] Review: Marriage Story
  • Music for this episode is a pair of tracks from the 1944 Burl Ives 78 RPM record (as digitized on the Internet Archive), The Wayfaring Stranger. The tracks are titled The Wayfaring Stranger and The Bold Soldier
  • CORRECTION: In our example of the scale of warfare prior to World War I, we greatly overstated the number of casualties at the Battle of Antietam in the American Civil War – historians place the total at 22,717 dead, missing, or wounded (source). 
  • We made frequent reference to Dan Carlin‘s World War I historical podcast, Blueprint for Armageddon. Highly recommended work from a master historical storyteller.

Listen above, or download: 1917, Marriage Story (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #158 – “Knives Out” (dir. Rian Johnson), “Parasite” (dir. Bong Joon-ho)

Poster for "Knives Out"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel (along with special guest Erika) take in a pair of surprisingly apropos titles about the lives of rich and poor families: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (01:34:19).

May contain NSFW language.
Still from "Parasite" (2019 film)

FilmWonk rating (Knives Out): 8.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Parasite): 9/10 (Glenn, Erika), 6/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [00:01:59] Review: Knives Out
  • [00:19:57] Spoilers: Knives Out
  • [00:34:26] Review: Parasite
  • [01:00:41] Review: Parasite
  • Music for this episode is the track “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot, from the Knives Out soundtrack. And another thing.
  • Stay tuned at the end for a Trotskyist blooper.

Listen above, or download: Knives Out, Parasite (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #157 – “Terminator: Dark Fate” (dir. Tim Miller), “Dolemite Is My Name” (dir. Craig Brewer)

Poster for "Terminator: Dark Fate"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel see the triumphant return of an iconic character from yesteryear, for whom fucking up motherfuckers is the game. Also, they watched Dolemite Is My Name (48:48).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Terminator: Dark Fate): 6/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Dolemite Is My Name): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:04] Review: Terminator: Dark Fate
  • [18:29] Spoilers: Terminator: Dark Fate
  • [32:25] Review: Dolemite Is My Name
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “I’m Gonna Kill Dolemite” by Scott Bomar and “Dolemite” by Craig Robinson, from the score and soundtrack of My Name Is Dolemite.

Listen above, or download: Terminator: Dark Fate, Dolemite Is My Name (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #156 – “Joker” (dir. Todd Phillips), “Rocketman” (dir. Dexter Fletcher)

Poster for "Joker" (2019 film)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel check out yet another scary clown with Joker, a film that insisted we think deeply about its shallow politics and half-baked philosophy. We ponder whether death of the author is even possible when the author won’t shut his mouth, and whether a strong, dark, and gritty Joaquin Phoenix performance is enough of a selling point in a world in which You Were Never Really Here already exists.

Then we venture back to earlier in 2019 and find ourselves shocked by our unabashed praise for Rocketman, a biopic of Elton John that we refuse to call a jukebox musical. Glenn decided to make Daniel watch it this week because it’s as close to the opposite of Joker as he could muster, but also because it’s an entry in a genre that we could’ve sworn was creatively bankrupt, and we found ourselves delightfully mistaken (58:03).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Rocketman"

FilmWonk rating (Joker): 4 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Rocketman): 9 out of 10

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: Joker, Rocketman (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #155 – “It Chapter Two” (dir. Andy Muschietti)

Poster for "It Chapter Two"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel conquer their worst fear: a sequel to a strong horror film with an inflated budget, indulgent runtime, and inadequate faith in its two strong ensembles (45:55).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5.5/10 (Glenn), 6.82926/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [02:02] Review: It Chapter Two
  • [22:55] Review: It Chapter Two
  • Music for this episode is clowns.
  • We referenced an io9 article by Germain Lussier, “Condensing It Chapter Two Into One Movie Was Scarier Than Facing Pennywise“, and since that was posted, another story has indicated that Muschietti is interested in doing a 5-hour supercut of the two films.
  • The actress we praised for her performance in one of the haunts (and the film’s teaser trailer) was Joan Gregson as Mrs. Kersh.
  • When I asked Daniel to give me his score, he responded “7 out of 10.25”, and I’ll bet he didn’t think I’d take him literally, but I haven’t forgotten the last time he did something like this.

Listen above, or download: It Chapter Two (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)