School of Movies
The Others

The Others

April 9, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

An elegant, haunting Spanish-style ghost story of obsession and loss. This Gothic chiller materialised in 2001, from director Alejandro Amenabar (who also composed the score, which flits from comforting flute and harp to clangourous and menacing cacophony).

This was a commissioned show from Nicole-Kidman-appreciator Colin L. Dysart, and he picked one of our favourite performances of hers. This was the one that made us think she would be an ideal Marisa Coulter in His Dark Materials. She plays the whole thing with a brittle, fierce tenacity, clinging to what she believes is true, as her world unravels in this shadowy Jersey stately home.

It's also got some terrific child-actor performances, as the two endangered kids start to cotton onto the possibility that there may be more going on with the intruders to their home. It is a ghost story where light is so much more threatening than darkness.

Return to OZ

Return to OZ

March 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Commissions Season continues with a show sponsored by Maya Santandrea. Much like last year's Labyrinth show, this is also a story about a girl who travels inward on her fantasy adventures and winds up uncovering certain key things about herself.

It is based on two of the L. Frank Baum OZ novels, from which The Wonderful Wizard of OZ was also adapted in 1939. There have been other adaptations before and since, including Wicked and OZ: The Great and Powerful.

This one, however, released by Disney in 1985 to critical derision and scared, offput audiences who seemed to want a bouncy musical rather than a dark fairytale, eventually became an obscure cult classic. Those who love it do so with a passion, and we are here to talk about why that may be. It should be available to view on Disney+.

Guests:

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea

Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

Kung Fu Hustle

Kung Fu Hustle

March 5, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is a commissioned show by Alex Vargas and Joe G. Stephen Chow's cartoonishly absurd, occasionally brutal, breathtakingly elegant and frequently side-splitting opera of kung fu. 

Back in the 1940s Shanghai The Axe Gang rule the streets, massacring those who stand in their way (with axes). One day a pair of inept conmen come calling at Pigsty Alley and try to grift slim pickings from the locals, only to find, (along with the Axe Gang) that they are guarded by martial arts masters.

What follows is a war between plucky heroes and rotten villains, and some of the most stunning and hilarious fights you will ever see.

Guest:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Grease

Grease

February 26, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The Commissions Season continues with this classic, sponsored by Matthew A Seibert. It's a film made in 1978, set in 1958 meant for adults who were teens in that time period, now being watched more than 40 years later in 2021 by the children of those adults who grew up watching it and are now themselves adults. So this is going to be a kaleidoscope of shifting perspectives. 

The premise is simple, a sweet-natured Australian girl meets a sweet guy at the beach in Chicago. Then when she later turns up in his high school he acts like a different person in front of his male buddies. The girl throws her lot in with an indimidating gaggle of punky ladies, and the two groups sniff around one another, preparing for the horrors of real life after they graduate. 

It's a world where adults barely feature and teenagers clash, excitably, make fun of one another, and are sexually interested. This was made at a time when that sort of alchemy was new and thrilling, rather than a dead cert. Amid the peer pressure and societal expectations heaped upon these panicking hormonal kids (all played convincingly by adults) there's also a bunch of incredibly memorable and abiding songs.

Guests:

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

-Ali-

-Ali-

February 19, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is our 700th Podcast. I began in April of 2007, and through four generations of my show, myself and then Sharon have covered a hell of a lot of media. Fittingly, this episode is one of the very greatest. 

On the twentieth anniversary of the 2001 Michael-Mann-directed biopic of maybe the greatest sportsman who ever lived, we finally go up against Ali in the ring. It's not just a fantastic film, this account of the real life events that took place between his fight with Sonny Liston in 1964 spanning all the way to the Rumble in the Jungle with Foreman in Zaire, '74 changed the way I saw the world.

It did so, decades ago, drawing my attention sharply to the African-American experience, and the injustices it exposes in the heart of America. This informed upon the way I think, the way I speak, and it has definitely informed on how I write. It's also the performance of Will Smith's life (in case you needed any more excuses to track it down). Sharon and I move through the events, people and decisions that effected this flawed, infuriating, dazzling, inspiring man, and how he reacted to them, in a manner that transcended the limitations heaped upon him. 

The two accompanying films we also suggest as further viewing afterwards are 'The Greatest' (1977) and 'When We Were Kings' (1996).

The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

February 12, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

This is a commissioned show by Kevin Veighy, who specifically wanted to make a kind gesture towards his friends and all of our listeners in the LGBTQ community. And what began as a desire to extend a sympathetic hand turned into something rather special, and a landmark episode.

I haven't been entirely sure about this movie for several years. I know I loved it when I saw it in the 90s (make sure you listen to the end for my story on that), but I also know that there are troublesome elements that are less cool by the standards of the 2020s.

Fortunately, we had the extremely enthusiastic Victoria Grieve, who always makes our show better, and provided a hell of a lot of perspective on the trans narrative.

I am not the least bit sorry for all of my attempts at the Australian accent! I regret nothing!

Stonespring Maidens is now available to buy from Amazon in paperback.

Guest:

Victoria Luna B. Grieve: @VixenVVitch 

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Bill & Ted Face the Music

February 5, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

The trilogy of Time, Space and The Afterlife culminates in the best one yet. And while we've had loads of folks express delight with the first two episodes as they grew in complexity, this one is really special.

There's a sizzling energy to our discussions as things get very meta and concerned with generational responsibility, and the music that flows throughout is some of my favourite editing in a long career of talking about movies, games, books and TV.

I would say you must see this film to avoid us spoiling it, but it can't be spoiled. I would then say you must see this movie, because you should.   

Tweet us @SchoolofMovies

Guests:

Rachel Schenk @IAMRachelQuirky from Screen Snark and

Scott Thomas @OGScottieT from And the Winner Is

BOTH also from The Infinity Podcast

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

January 22, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

We begin a trilogy of shows taking us through time, space and the afterlife that begins here with this abidingly enjoyable romp through history, pilfering various key figures to make the deadline on a school report.

We talk about how the time travel seems utterly nonsensical at first, but actually remains consistent and makes an internally logical sense within the adventure itself. And also how Bill & Ted, with their affable approach to life often touch on a profound wisdom by accident.

We also hear from a couple of air-guitarists who have travelled right the way through delusion to emerge the other side as rock gods, before going back in.

Our guest for all three shows is Jesse Ferguson of the Recorded Tomorrow podcast, which is all about time travel. You might want to go back to Episode 6 and start with paradoxes, because I'm on that one. Jesse's co-host, Jonathan also joins us for this first outing.

Guests:

Jesse Ferguson @TheDapperDM and

Jonathan H. Liu @jonathanhliu 

from the Recorded Tomorrow Podcast 

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros.

January 1, 2021

[School of Movies 2021]

I've never known such a bad movie to be so loved, either secretly and shamefully, or boldly and unapologetically. If you're in either camp, lean into the second one. Firstly because why should you have guilty pleasures? Especially now. Unless you're eating mushrooms, growing to twice your size and jumping on the heads of those who call it garbage, you're not hurting anyone. Own that love. 

And secondly, knowing that some people who grew up with the disastrous first big budget attempt at adapting a major video game to the big screen and still care about it would bring some joy to the hearts of those who had to make the thing.

For this episode, where we focus on what went wrong behind the scenes, we brought in the Franchise Killer podcast, who take that same angle on their show, examining the movies that went wrong from a more explorative angle. It was fantastic having these folks on and I urge you lot to check out their show.

https://franchisekillerpod.podbean.com/

Guests:

From the Franchise Killer Podcast: @FK_Podcast

David Schmitzer

Irene Schmitzer

Rhys Paine

Cannon’s Ninja Trilogy

Cannon’s Ninja Trilogy

December 25, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

This show covers three movies: Enter the Ninja (1980) Revenge of the Ninja (1983) and Ninja III: The Domination (1984). They are hard to get hold of and almost entirely unconnected with each other, and they are violent, shoddy and absolutely hilarious.

The connection is Cannon films and wildly talented actor and martial artist Sho Kosugi, who is the villain in the first, the hero in the second and support in the third. And of course none of these characters are the same man. 

What we have here is an absolute treat; An enormous buffet, containing many surprisingly effective moments hidden among the weird and dangerous decisions made while filming all of them. No expense was spent, and no actor got through with their dignity fully intact.  

Guests:

Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300

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