School of Movies
Arrival

Arrival

September 13, 2019

[School of Movies 2019] 

This one is going to be a challenging listen.

Arrival is a story about humanity utilising alien contact as a way of looking inward. It's an examination of our fears, our sacrifices, of language and of time. It's astonishingly powerful and perhaps the greatest performance of Amy Adams' career, requiring her to experience emotions that -as Mikey Neumann pointed out- we don't even have names for yet. 

Get yourself a quiet 80 minutes to listen, and some time afterwards to reflect upon it. And for the love of God see the film before you take in our show.

This episode was commissioned by Andy Rodriguez.

What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows

September 6, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

After a heavy couple of weeks, it's a welcome break to call in at a ridiculous, black comedy. This is a mockumentary investigating a house of vampires. They're a hapless collection of preening nincompoops, fragile egos and buckets of outdated neurosis (in other words very normal people).

This film, directed by mad Kiwi Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok) takes many trappings of how vampires have been classically depicted in horror, and even the later subversions and flips them further by adding a layer of ludicrous, embarrassing mundanity to how they unlive.

Next Week: Arrival  

300

300

August 30, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

A new direction for School of Movies. We've listened to our harshest critics and paid attention to what they seem to want from us and the overwhelming weakest aspect of our show is apparently our tendency to come at movies from a personal perspective, which in turn leads to heavy politicising of films where politics aren't present and don't need to be discussed.

The result is we go off on tangents when we should be talking about the pure mechanics of a film. So the first movie we chose to exercise our new discipline of zero-political rhetoric is Zack Snyder's accurate historical document of ancient Sparta, and how these perfect male specimens fended off the might of the Persian Empire, 300.

Guest:

Lorin Grieve

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

August 23, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

This was an unexpected one. We geared up for a Quick Review mere minutes after coming back from the cinema and then stuff just came flooding out. We send that recording to a few people to see if it was Main Event material and they pretty much demanded we get this out for everyone. So we added new sections and recorded a companion piece round-table session with two new guests (being released this week as a Cutting Class episode).

Quentin Tarantino's ninth film has made critics very happy (garnering massive positive buzz and 85% freshness) but also provoked a slew of think-pieces about some of the more crass decisions made in filming. 

What you've got here is what Sharon and I felt very strongly in the aftermath, before we'd read anything else. 

Sing Street

Sing Street

August 16, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The second commissioned show of our summer quickly grew from a film we liked a lot to one of our absolute favourites. This little-seen gem about teenage rebellion in Dublin, Ireland, 1985 is something we would love more people to know about.

Directed by John Carney, the man behind Once and Begin Again, this is semi-autobiographical and features a measure of authenticity and respect for young people that the very best films about growing up thrive on. It's also got some of the most accurate portrayal of the clothes and music at the time, giving both context for a deeper meaning that 80s punk pop usually doesn't get afforded.

Guests

Mackenzie Easton  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod  

Nathan Bertram @bertnerdtram of Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast 

Fate of the Furious + Hobbs & Shaw

Fate of the Furious + Hobbs & Shaw

August 9, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

It feels like a lifetime since 2015.

Back then, during the tail end of the Obama administration we were enjoying the run-up to new Star Wars movies and Mad Max was about to blow everyone away with one of the greatest automobile stunt-fests of all time.

But also Sharon and I were getting back into the Fast & Furious films very late after drifting away for a while. We were able to appreciate films 5, 6 and then the real life tragedy of 7 with a sharp immediacy. 

Since that fairly amazing experience the series has diverged in some strange new directions and we pick up with 2017's eighth film and the first official spin-off in 2019. Once again Neil Taylor is our wingman, guiding us through the furious and testosterone-soaked road.

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg @KidDogg  

Foodfight!

Foodfight!

August 2, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

One of the worst, most disgusting animated movies of all time. This obscure yet notorious exercise in soulless corporate shilling dressed up as punky rebellion is a collaborative work of supreme incompetence.

Begun in the early 2000s to surf in on the Pixar wave, but eventually released after Wreck-It Ralph in just a few cinemas, most people will thankfully never have heard of this. We are here to tell you the whole sorry story of what plays out like a nightmare before your reeling eyeballs. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  

Aaron LaCluyze of Monday Night Magic  @lacluyze 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

Stranger Things [Seasons 2 & 3]

Stranger Things [Seasons 2 & 3]

July 26, 2019

[School of Everything Else 2019]

This began as a short, thirty-minute Patreon-exclusive Quick Review just of Season 3. We didn't want to go all out since we hadn't actually covered Season 2 and the two-part Season 1 spectacular we recorded in 2017 was a Herculean feat of podcasting. 

However, this is a strong TV show that never ceases to delight us and that Quick Review soon got deeper, before we went back and watched all of Season 2 again, this time with our daughter. The lighter, more comedic and campy third season effectively gave way to a more dramatic series of arcs about recovering from trauma, which means we ended up going back and forth between both seasons for the second part of this show, and hit some surprising revelations which made this what I'm going to call 'Main Event' podcasting.

Due to some health issues mentioned at the beginning we are holding back the three remaining summer Commissions for a few weeks, but I have a bunch of banked shows for you folks that you're hopefully going to love, including next week's Foodfight! 

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Spider-Man: Far from Home

July 19, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The seventh live-action Spider-Man movie, but the eleventh big-screen outing for the wall-crawler. Following on from the creative magnificence of Spider-Verse was going to be a tough gig, but this movie seemed to please a lot of people. 

This show is about how planet Earth is bouncing back from cataclysmic disaster, the key reasons Marvel villains differ from its heroes, how Peter Parker is not Iron Man, and how deception is a key enemy of our age.  

Guests:

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse  

Maya Santandrea @mayasantandrea

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse 

The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

July 12, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The first of our Summer 2019 Commission Season is this beloved 1982 Rankin Bass animated cult classic. This episode acts kind of as a sister show to our early 2016 Flight of Dragons ep. 

It's the story of a unicorn who ventures from the safety of her lilac forest out into a dangerous world to search for the rest of her kind. And it's the kind of story that while dismissed by most means the whole world to a select few. 

So we recruited two of them to give us their accounts of how important this has always been to them. Also a big thank you to Holly Dotson who provided us with reference materials and a short essay for this one. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew 

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse