FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #170 – “Irresistible” (dir. Jon Stewart), “Da Five Bloods” (dir. Spike Lee)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel debate the merits of Jon Stewart‘s election-year political satire Irresistible, which joins a micro-genre that comes as regularly and tediously as the elections themselves, and which provoked far more knowing nods than belly laughs. Then we spend substantially longer discussing Spike Lee‘s outstanding modern Vietnam War drama (featuring a career-best performance from Delroy Lindo), Da Five Bloods (01:40:29).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Irresistible): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Da Five Bloods): 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:10] Review: Irresistible
  • [18:17] Spoilers: Irresistible
  • [33:10] Review: Da Five Bloods
  • [01:01:07] Spoilers: Da Five Bloods
  • Music for this episode is what’s going on.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to the Viet Cong/”VC” and the North Vietnamese Army somewhat interchangeably in our review of Da Five Bloods – while there was a bit of overlap between the two, they were not the same group.
  • CORRECTION: In discussing the history lessons in the dialogue of Da Five Bloods, Glenn mistakenly referred to Milton L. Olive III, an 18-year-old soldier who died heroically in Vietnam (and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor) as “Melvin Olive”.
    We regret the error.
  • CLARIFICATION: During an aside about current events, we referred to a few recent acts of apparent voter suppression, both the long lines in Atlanta, and the polling place closures that were reported in Kentucky for their primary election this past week. While Atlanta is still being investigated, we would editorialize and say that “Governor” Brian Kemp, who “won” his seat by a narrow margin after purging hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, is not entitled to a presumption of innocence here. However, as of this writing, it appears Kentucky is headed for a record high turnout for an election-year primary, and the early reports on the poll closures lacked additional context on all of the efforts that were made to expand early voting and vote-by-mail in its place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PolitiFact has a good roundup on the issue, and local newsradio station WFPL has a more detailed explanation on what we know as of this writing about actual turnout and voter experiences on the day, which did include some lines as long as two hours. Bottom line, in our opinion, please feel free to assume that in a post-Shelby world, if it looks like voter suppression, it probably is, and you’ll be correct more often than not. Until federal law reasserts itself to protect our sacrosanct right to vote, the burden of proving good faith is now on our elected officials.
  • Since we recorded, we did read a very interesting essay from Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film, which approaches the film from a Vietnamese perspective: how the Vietnamese are depicted, how it compares and contrasts with previous cinematic depictions, and where it could be improved in her estimation.
    Definitely worth a read:
    ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and the Strange Ghosts of Imperialism, the Vietnam War, and ‘Apocalypse Now’

Listen above, or download: Irresistible, Da Five Bloods (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)