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 #96 – “Silence” (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Poster for "Silence"

In this week’s podcast, two old friends make their second appearance ever on the podcast. A shout-out to 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, and our resident Japan expert (and Glenn‘s former fiancée and now-wife), Megan! And don’t worry, Daniel‘s here too, being quite unkind to Adam Driver. Take a stroll through Tokugawa-era Japan as we discuss cultural clash and religious persecution in director Martin Scorsese‘s most Catholic film ever (58:17).

Despite delving into some serious religious themes, this episode actually contains even more NSFW language than usual.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [17:58] Spoilers: Silence
  • Music for this episode is the track “Supply Chain” by ConfidentialMX, as isolated by Trailer Music Life on YouTube (as there doesn’t seem to be an official track available).
  • Bill Wurtz‘ “History of Japan” is one of the most entertaining and educational history lessons on the internet. Silence takes place at roughly the 4-minute mark of the video, but you should really just watch the whole thing. Seriously, go watch it right now. I might watch it again myself after typing this. It’s that good.
  • Correction: This isn’t super-germane to the film (as it’s over 100 years earlier on the other end of Eurasia), but Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were published in 1517, not 1597.
  • Note: We briefly discuss the story of Cassie Bernall, one of the victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, as an oft-cited example of a modern-day Christian martyr. Reading further, I was reminded of something I first learned when reading Dave Cullen‘s exhaustive book on the shooting, which is that this story is – to put it mildly – most likely just a story, even if it has still served the religious and rhetorical purpose that we have put it to today. On a related note, the film that Daniel mentions at the end of the episode is actually a loose Christian dramatization of another Columbine victim, Rachel Joy Scott, and it looks more than a little bit fictionalized and exploitative.

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