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)

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #64 – “Inherent Vice” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Poster for "Inherent 55Vice"

Glenn and Daniel start off the New Year right with a borderline unhealthy dose of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice. We both identified this film early-on as a hippie-infused shaggy-dog detective story, but surprisingly, only one of us found this delightful. (33:59).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5/10 (Glenn); 5/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is Sam Cooke‘s original track, “(What A) Wonderful World“, as well as “Never My Love” by The Association, both from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The film mentions a [fictitious] blacklisted actor – in the film, this actor is played by real-life actor Jack Kelly, who was never blacklisted in real life. The film shows Kelly’s alter ego in a real-life 1962 anti-communist propaganda short film, Red Nightmare. You can watch this 28-minute film in its entirety on YouTube – the scene featured in the film begins at 18:31.
  • The term “inherent vice” is obliquely explained in the film as “whatever can’t be avoided” in the context of insurance – glass breaking, chocolate melting, etc. But the term originates from library and archival science, referring to the material constraints of preservation activities. For example, cellulose acetate film will degrade over time due to chemical instability.
  • Check out our review of Anderson’s previous film, The Master.
  • In the genre of “drug-addled protagonist goes on a confusing detective odyssey”, there was one bit of comedy that came to mind, but didn’t come up on the podcast. And that was a wonderful recurring sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look, known as “The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar”. You can find all of these sketches on YouTube – check out the first one here.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #26 – “The Master” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Poster for "The Master"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel purge their inner demons reviewing Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Laura Dern (25:33).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6/10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is Ella Fitzgerald singing “Get Thee Behind Me Satan“, from the soundtrack to The Master.
  • Check out my review of Rian Johnson’s Looper here.

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