School of Movies
Mystery Men

Mystery Men

June 5, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

As we languish in the ellipses between Phases 3 and 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Batman goes on hold, Superman hangs in the balance, Wonder Woman waits for her delayed sequel release, and the X-Men are quietly reshaped by Disney's Fungineers, and the only big bit of news for this breakdown in the age of superheroes is the Snyder Cut finally getting a chance to be put together. 

So tonight, we here at School of Movies remember the other guys (not the movie with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell) the losers (not the movie with Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans) the outsiders (not the movie with Matt Dillon and the Karate Kid), the wannabe vigilantes who just end up making things worse (not Watchmen).

Adapted from the Flaming Carrot comics, but not actually featuring the Flaming Carrot, this movie is almost entirely inept, shambolic, misjudged and ridiculous. Wholly appropriate, considering who it's about; a cadre of buffoons who want to help people in a city of the delusional, where the appointed good guys are actually kind of self-aggrandizing idiots too. Mystery Men has all the makings of a cult favourite, beloved by its fans (including us), and here you'll find out why.

This episode was commissioned by Jamas Enright. 

Guests

Em from Verbal Diorama  @VerbalDiorama 

Victoria Grieve  @VixenVVitch 

Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate

April 3, 2020

[School of Movies 2020] 

After 28 years of waiting and bad Terminator films they finally, FINALLY made a really good one... and nobody turned up. Unfortunately, if you comb YouTube the algorithm that prizes outrage over joy shunts to the top all of the angry boys who hated this box office failure.

But right here you will find a deep dive into why this is a brilliant legacy sequel to the first two. We will of course see more Terminator media again, most likely with yet another reboot, but for us and several of our guests, this is the conclusion to a Trilogy.

You don't have to see the film first, before listening. Far from spoiling it by talking about what happens I believe if we've done our jobs right we will actively enhance your viewing. This is a heavy episode, but there are heavy things going on in the world right now, and although we will be comforting you next week with the sweetness of E.T. we wanted to deliver a show that would tackle the storm. 

Guests

Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew 

Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow @TheDapperDM 

From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22 

and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 

The Bruce Lee Season

The Bruce Lee Season

March 6, 2020

[School of Movies 2020]

This began life as a commissioned show for a PC game called The Stanley Parable, which we had never played, and on our run-through proved to be infuriating to us on many levels; mechanically, aesthetically and philosophically. We were sent back to play the Beginner's Guide, which was even worse, throwing Sharon into frustrated tears. 

So we requested from our sponsor that he pick something else. His choice was the Bruce Lee film "Fist of Fury". But having seen that I knew we wouldn't be able to mine from it alone, a show of the kind of thorough, entertaining and informative depth we usually go for. 

So because we had failed to connect with the indie PC game (and let this stand as a warning to all those of you who believe your indie PC game of choice will somehow surpass all the others and enrapture us, it most likely won't) we went all out and covered Bruce Lee's film career. This is the first of what's likely to be at least two shows on Bruce Lee, as we first cover his films and later on in some other context, the man himself, behind the camera. But in this one we examine in a modern context the following movies, some are okay, one is pretty great, one is absolutely wretched.

1. The Big Boss (1971)

2. Fist of Fury (1972)

3. Way of the Dragon (1972)

4. Game of Death (1972-1978)

5. Enter the Dragon (1973)

And many thanks to the commissioner: Paschal Dooley 

Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep

November 22, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The saga of The Shining continues with a new generation being hounded by the very eldest.

This is one of those movies that nobody really expected. The original decades-old novel and film are at war with one another, and this drastically belated sequel is the battle-ground. Yet what transpires harmonises both in a supremely confident fashion. 

And hardly anybody saw it. So it's our job now to explore the shadowy, steamy depths of Doctor Sleep, establish what Stephen King was saying with his books and how director Mike Flanagan (fast becoming an understated mainstay in the horror milieu) reinterprets the best of multiple mediums... in every possible sense of the word.

This is one of our very favourite films of 2019. You can listen if you haven't seen it, most people haven't. The plot developments and character movements we discuss won't spoil the film, they will improve it.

The Shining

The Shining

November 15, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season concludes with arguably his most celebrated film (the only other contender being Space Odyssey).

This is the one we set out to talk about, but we had to try our level best to understand the men behind it as we did so. Making this a continuation of our Stephen King adaptations series where we compare the book and film (including IT, Pet Sematary and at some point in the future Stand by Me, Misery, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption).

So we watched and talked about everything Kubrick made since 1968, and we read through King's books of The Shining and Doctor Sleep. This really was a grand project and took a lot out of us, but crucially we tried to have fun along the way so it would feel worth it.

The end result is a pair of immensely detailed shows, including Doctor Sleep next week, wherein we discuss how these two creators' different outlooks permeate the cinematic story of Daniel Torrance over 39 years.  

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

Full Metal Jacket / Eyes Wide Shut

November 8, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

The Kubrick season continues with his creations from the 80s and 90s. 

First, a harsh, black vision of the experiences of United States Marines in the Vietnam War. Beginning with their training at the hands and barking yell of the apparently lone  Gunnery Sargent Hartman. Then a confused meander through various areas of the war-torn country, searching for meaning that does not reveal itself.

After that Tom Cruise finds out that Nicole Kidman once thought briefly about having an affair and journeys out into the New York Night for a sexual odyssey that was deliberately designed to be seedy, uncomfortable and weirdly puritanical. 

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

2001: A Space Odyssey / A Clockwork Orange

November 1, 2019

[School of Movies 2019]

Stanley Kubrick Season: Part 1 of 3

Last year we covered the work of Guillermo del Toro, this year we were only going to do The Shining after being asked to do Kubrick many times. But the raft of research and hard work that went into simply covering the context for that movie led to us talking about not one but six of his films. What unfolded as we recorded these sessions out of order was a veritable Stanley Kubrick Season.

So this first part we will cover 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and -briefly- Barry Lyndon (1975). Next week we have Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Finally, the third week will be all about The Shining (1980), and we will be closely comparing it with Stephen King's book.

We are going to be critical of Kubrick. This is a risky prospect for us as we are talking about a revered artist in our chosen field of study. But only one of these films that we talk about in depth do we actually genuinely dislike. The rest are very much a mixed bag of elements that appeal and those that do not. We trust you all to take this as a very personal response to a striking filmography. 

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