Robin Williams Season

January 18, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Now that we've talked about Good Will Hunting and ensured you guys know how much we love seeing Robin Williams at his best we can take a more critical look at a mixed bag of his work with not one but four films on the slate.

1. Bicentennial Man

2. One Hour Photo

3. License to Wed

4. Mrs Doubtfire

One of them is really surprisingly good and has held up very well for us. One of them is a tonally mismatched mess with some thought-provoking moments, one of them is genuinely wrongheaded and disturbing and caused our greatest ever outburst in the history of this show, and one of them slaloms between having a good message and championing the antics of a madman. 

One thing is certain though; we wish Robin was still here. 

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Good Will Hunting

January 11, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Back in late 1997 while Titanic was tearing up the box office around the time it came to pick the nominees for awards season, this small, personal drama was impressing small, personal audiences everywhere.

It's kind of gut-churning to look at the way this was promoted, courting awards left right and centre, all to further Miramax and their manufactured prestige. One of the posters shunted the actors to the left to fill most of the sheet with proclamations of its many accolades. Uncomfortable because of who Miramax was run by but also inappropriate because this is arguably Gus Van Sant's best and most delicate film, it's the serious introduction of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to the world of cinema, and most of all it's debatably the finest dramatic performance in Robin Williams' illustrious career. 

It's exceptionally well-played by a fantastic cast, contains at least four world-class dramatic scenes, and in our discussion of it, considering the subject matter of unseen parental abuse and the havoc it can wreak on developing minds, things got pretty heavy. So this might be a difficult show for some to get through, but I hope the end result is worthwhile.

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Bumblebee

January 4, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

After eleven years of terrible Michael Bay Transformers movies, which America and then the rest of the world slowly checked out of, leaving the fifth (which actually isn't too bad) to perform below expectations Paramount and Hasbro reshuffled for an inexpensive prequel spin-off movie, which, due to its change in creative team and divorce from those earlier movies is way better.

But it's not just because it lacks the gross fratboy sensibilities of its predecessors, there's actually a really superb film in here which hearkens back to Amblin pictures in the 80s. We brought on a bunch of brains to get to the bottom of this, discovering some deep love for Transformers along the way. 

Guests:

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse  

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse  

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow 

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Into the Spider-Verse

December 28, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

One of the best films of the year, and one of the best ways to end it. This one has already garnered itself something of a cult following with everyone who has seen it passionately declaring its qualities, but still not nearly enough people seeing it during a December absolutely packed to the gills with high quality blockbusters.

As a major event in comic book movie history this film, produced by Lord and Miller of The Lego Movie has one of the most arresting visual styles in all of cinema. But that's just the first thing you will notice. there's so much more going on under the hood.

So we talk through it, using your questions to us at @SchoolofMovies using the hashtag #SOMhandsup and for this we have a lineup of truly spectacular voices. 

Guests:

Bob Chipman MovieBob  

Hollywoo actress Maya Santandrea

Brendan Agnew of Cinapse   

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

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Ant-Man and The Wasp

December 21, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

After the operatic Infinity War we come to an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that some people needed to see and some people really didn't. 

Honest Trailers really nailed this one when they called it Marvel Season 3, Episode 8. That is what it feels like. And we begin the show with why I left the cinema muttering to myself. "Huh." Not with a question mark, that's a crucial conjuncture. Followed by a chunk of discussion on the stronger points that those who found this welcome and appealing relished.

I kept the cut of the main show hyper-focused to a precise hour, though there is 40 minutes of additional (somewhat meandering) chat that will be available on Patreon for those who want more. 

Guests:

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

 Collin Miller of The Cinema Cephalopod   

Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse 

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Mary Poppins

December 14, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

An accompaniment to our Disney shows, and perhaps Walt's greatest film. Not his greatest achievement, that was surely the pioneering of a feature-length animated film in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Not his greatest achievement, that arguably is the founding of an entertainment business that today has significant influence the world over. But his greatest single film experience... maybe.

Journey back with us to 1910, a bright and naive era, sandwiched between two ages of intense hardship. And meet a woman who claims to never be cross and proceeds to spend most of the movie thoroughly peeved, claims to be practically perfect in every way, yet gaslights children and manipulates them into ethical opposition to the prevailing patriarchy, and by all rights should be an insidious destructive force, but is in fact a wellspring of healing for a family that is considered by its father to be actually perfect in every way. 

It's a triumph and a masterpiece and for the longest time, the author of its source book hated it for the same reasons a lot of people hate Disney. 

Guests:

Kaoru Negisa @Moonpanther22 and

Debbie Morse @bastet8300 of Sequentially Yours  

Mackenzie Easton @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod  

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The Sony PlayStation (Revisited)

December 7, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

I go back to the console everybody is talking about, but rather than making this all about the micro PlayStation Classic I endeavoured to find the alternative best way to play specific games I remember and love as well as a mix of some I missed before.

It's nowhere near as easy as you might think, to just pick up and play. This is an account of what happened.

Games discussed include Resident Evil 1-3, Final Fantasy VII-IX, Tekken 3, WipeOut, Gran Turismo, Soviet Strike, Bloody Roar 2, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins, Soul Blade, Driver, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Siphon Filter, Vagrant Story, Spider-Man, Bust-A-Groove, Parappa the Rapper, Dino Crisis 1 & 2 and the promise of more Metal Gear Solid.

NOTE: This was originally intended to be a Patreon-only Quick Review, but the more time I spent on the project, the more experiences I had, the more it became its own fully-fledged episode of School of Everything Else. So since this ties in with the December 3rd release of the PlayStation Classic Mini Console I'm going to put this out now for preview and it will be released on the main feed this coming Friday.

Good Will Hunting is going to have to be bumped by a few weeks, but considering the amount of great movies on the cinema this December we were always going to be playing it by ear. Quick Reviews of Widows and Goosebumps 2 coming tomorrow, and next weekend Creed 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet. 

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Spider-Man (PS4)

November 30, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

This turned out to be one of my favourite games of all time, and as you'll hear it pushed so many of my positive buttons that exceptionally good games released immediately after I finished just don't measure up, for a variety of reasons.

This was a commissioned show by Chris Finik. I wasn't going to do an episode about it because I was very aware it might become work and suck all the joy out of the experience, but I was able to hit the right balance and crucially I decided while I was halfway through rather than being set the daunting task of completing and assessing forty hours of gameplay without having played a moment.

There are strong arguments afoot that this is one of the finest depictions of the wall-crawler in any media. We talk about why, and save the spoilers for the last act (around two hours in and you'll get a fair warning so nothing will be made worse for you if you haven't played, only better). 

Guest:

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow

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Special Announcement: #SOMhandsup

November 29, 2018

This is your official notification on a major way we're changing up our shows for 2019, including giving you a heads-up for the next four weeks worth of films each month, and the opportunity to spark discussion on any upcoming episode with this new hashtag. 

Next week is Good Will Hunting which is already recorded. After that, the following four movie discussions will be crafted with this in mind. 

December 2018 Lineup

1. Mary Poppins

2. Ant-Man & The Wasp

3. Waterworld

4. Aquaman/Spider-Verse/Bumblebee

And that Twitter handle is of course @SchoolOfMovies

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Colossal

November 23, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Seoul, Korea is under attack by a blundering kaiju that causes chaos whenever it turns up. Meanwhile in the fictional dirthole town of Mainhead, New England a recently single, unemployed writer named Gloria returns home from New York to the place of her childhood, bringing along her alcoholism and destructive antisocial behaviour.

This is a quirky, blackly humorous little drama about human weakness and how difficult it can be to break terrible habits, especially when you hang out with the wrong people. 

Next Week: Spider-Man PS4

Guest:

Hollywoo actress Maya Santandrea

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