“Your assignment will be Spy magazine’s greatest achievement: Tracy Lord. Big game hunting in Africa, fox hunting in Pennsylvania. Married on impulse. Divorced in a rage. And always unapproachable by the press. The unapproachable Miss Lord… The Philadelphia Story!”
I was so certain that recording an episode of The Canon with my friend Amy Nicholson, pitting one Problematic 1940 Divorced Cary Grant movie against another, would require me to perform an impression of Henry Daniell as Spy publisher Sidney Kidd that I might’ve ripped the audio of the scene into my iPhone and rehearsed it during my drive to Earwolf HQ in Hollywood a few weeks ago. In the end, I forgot to break out the imitation I’d practiced to carefully, because Amy is just as brilliant in conversation as she is in prose. So the fact that she spared you all my, um, acting is not the best reason to be grateful for her insight and eloquence, but it’s a reason.
You can listen to our debate here.
The Terminator is one of my favorite movies. When my Windy City pals Adam Kempenarr and Josh Larsen announced the other week that they would make writer-director James Cameron’s low-budget, high-concept sci-fi classic the subject of one of their “Sacred Cow” reviews, I knew that the likelihood that Josh—a critic who generally seems to dislike action films, with the bizarre exception of the Fast & the Furious franchise, which to me represents the genre at its most derivative and least inspired—would rain on it. He hates Predator, people! Predator! A film I saw last year at the Library of Congress!
So I took action. To paraphrase Al Capone, you can get farther with a kind word and a quote from The Terminator than you can with a kind word alone. And the threatening voice mail I left for Josh opened last week’s episode.
I was happy as always to join Linda Holmes, Stephen Thompson, and my Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon on this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein we perform an autopsy on the rotten corpse of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Based on my defense of Man of Steel on this show three years ago I was, I think, expected to stick up for BvS. I could not.
Since none of us liked this film — in fact we all disliked it so much that the controversial issue of Henry Cavill’s height never even came up — we decided to broaden the topic to try to pin down the elements that make a would-be action blockbuster work or not work. I forgot to say so on the show, but I wrote about this for Linda two summers ago after helping the staff of The Dissolve, may it rest in peace, to determine the 50 Greatest Summer Blockbusters. Continue reading
It’s a split verdict from the Pop Culture Happy Hour panel this week on the merits of Quentin Tarantino’s eighth and—on account of having been shot in 65mm Super Panavision, for a 2.76:1 aspect ratio when projected in 70mm—widest feature, The Hateful Eight. I don’t think I was at my sharpest trying to defend the picture. All I can tell is you that I saw its refusal to give us any character to empathize with fully as a strength, not a weakness, and reflective of a deliberate decision by Tarantino. Although more modest in scale and contained in its setting, this is a more complicated film than the two historical fantasias that preceded it, 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and 2012’s Django Unchained. I enjoy and admire all of these films, but it’s very clear in the latter two who is supposed to enjoy the audience’s support. Not so in The Hateful Eight. That discomfiture ain’t for everyone. “The viewership for this one narrows to the self-selected,” wrote my pal Scott Tobias in his NPR review three weeks ago.
Posted in movies, podcasts
Tagged Charlton Heston, Emeric Pressburger, Jack Cardiff, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Michael Powell, podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, Scott Tobias
These are indeed Strange Days we’re living in when my delightful friend Linda Holmes appreciates an action picture more than I do. We have each of us seen only the latter-day installments in the unaccountably resilient Fast & Furious franchise – those would be Nos. 6 and 7, the ones we watched together – which did not deter us from debriefing on the new Furious 7 in a small-batch session Pop Culture Happy Hour, which you can hear here.
Linda loves it. I like it, too, though I have some reservations. (My Travel Channel TV show is actually called Some Reservations. Call your cable operator.) Continue reading
And this episode of The FringeCasting Couch was recorded last Tuesday afternoon, during a brief interval between a depressing visit to my doctor’s office and the two fitness classes I had to teach that evening; one boxing and one boot camp. This were necessarily verbal-instruction-only editions of said classes for me; doctor’s orders. Nothing feels worse.
Anyway, I’m a big fan of Live Action Theatre. Their show in the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival, The Continuing Adventures of John Blade, Super Spy, was my favorite last year. I liked their new one, The Tournament, so much that I’m leaving to see it for a second time right now. Here’s the original Fringeworthy post.
I had them on the podcast last year, too.
Posted in podcasts, theatre
Tagged Capital Fringe Festival, Chris Niebling, Jake Guinn, Kristin Pilgrim, Lex Davis, Live Action Theatre, podcasting, podcasts, The FringeCasting Couch, Washington City Paper
For the fifth consecutive year, I’m running the Washington City Paper’s coverage of the Capital Fringe Festival here in DC, manifest mainly through a blog previously known as Fringe & Purge that we decided this year to rename Fringeworthy. In 2012, I started The Fringe & PurgeCast to accompany that blog; its rebranding this summer forced me to rethink the podcast’s name, too. The Fringe & PurgeCast is dead; long live The FringeCasiting Couch.
I’m not cross-posting most of the stuff I’m doing for Fringeworthy, but I’m going to put up a couple of recent episodes of the podcast that I thought were particularly fun. This one, which I recorded last night with Twanna A. Hines, whose show is called I Füçkèð Your Country, is one of those. The original post is here.