Eurovision, a heady brew of camp and pop music, has finally landed in the consciousness of American pop culture zeitgeist thanks to this Netflix film starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens.
Stevie and Emmet discuss the film, their connections to Eurovision, and throw in a nod to John C. Reilly flick Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Emmet interviews Craig Cormick and Harold Ludwick on their book On A Barbarous Coast. A reimagining of the HMB Endeavour's arrival - it sinks - Cormick and Ludwick discuss how this fork in the accounting of Australia's history allowed them to reflect on how indigenous Australians have been excluded from the colonial record.
The authors also discuss:
Nick Hornby's High Fidelity was adapted to film in 2000, and now Ugly Betty's Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West have brought it to Hulu as a vehicle for Zoe Kravitz.
Stevie and Emmet talk about the television series, comparing it to the Stephen Frears/John Cusack flick from 2000 and the original novel. The gender-swap conceit is addressed, as well as the ensemble cast (Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Jake Lacy, David H. Holmes, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Rainbow Sun Francks) and how the show fails to properly update material to the times leaning on nostalgia.
Thinking to put their money where their mouths are, Stevie and Emmet then share top five lists for one another.
To listen, check out this playlist on Spotify.
Also, here is a list of album cover art by Elaine 'Sgraffito' Nic Cuana.
Oh and this was our 100th episode! Thanks for listening folks.
Alejandro Landes's film Monos has screened to rave reviews around the world. Our roving reviewer Neevon Mohtaji attended a screening back in March. In this episode, Emmet challenges Neevon to try and remember a film he saw two months ago, in the before-COVID-19 times!
For digital release details, Australian listeners should check Madman for updates. Stay safe folks!
Oh why oh why did we agree to this!
In the last episode Emmet joked about watching the sequence of films that led to Alien Versus Predator in 2004 - and a listener thought that was a great idea. Apparently this was more a geas than a simple request, so Stevie and Emmet watched:
The credit due to Randy Stradley, Phil Norwood, Chris Warner, as well as Mark Verheiden's comics work in setting this franchise in motion, published by Dark Horse, is also discussed.
Handily collected on Netflix, the Jurassic Park franchise has been a blockbuster staple for almost thirty years.
Stevie and Emmet discuss the first, third and most recent 'Jurassic' flicks, the underrated Jurassic Park III, the overall theme of capitalism and science being turned to deadly or humanist ends - and just how creepy was Jeff Goldblum's Dr Ian Malcolm?
Also in this episode:
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often being in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.
Ursula K. Le Guin
First thanks as always for listening folks. In this episode Emmet and Stevie relate a personal bereavement and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted them. The eulogy for Gerard Cooney can be found here https://www.emmetocuana.com/news/2020/3/20/rip-gerard-cooney-1942-2020
In the meantime, now that we're all shut-ins following social distancing protocols, some recommendations:
Shout-outs also to Jason Franks and Neevon Mohtaji for....well helping us with groceries from our quarantine.
Jason Franks https://jasonfranks.com/
Neevon Mohtaji https://player.vimeo.com/video/240460026
Belatedly we catch up with the critical furore around Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn (...now rebranded as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey).
After wading through all of ...that... we cover Queen & Slim, out in Australia this week.
Written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, this film takes head on the themes of 'black lives matter' and police violence head on. Emmet argues Waithe's screenply juxtaposes the figures of Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith), with the idea of the outlaw so precious to American folklore. Full of sudden bursts of violence and artfully staged sequences that point to Matsoukas' history as a music video director, Queen & Slim is a provocative and rich picture for our times.
Stevie attended the premiere for Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears and interviewed stars Essie Davis and Nathan Page, as well as author Kerry Greenwood.
This cinematic outing for Miss Fisher, out in Australian cinemas this week, follows a successful crowdfunding campaign, a testament to passionate fans of the television series. Stevie got to meet some of them in person at the 1920s costume themed event at the (appropriately art deco) Rivoli cinema in Camberwell.
In part two of Stevie and Emmet's chat about films they relate to in particular - and it's a long 'un - you can hear discussed:
Tip of the hat to Brett Goldstein's Films to be Buried With. We borrowed his structure of an interview on film based around the premise that the subject has died and is looking back on their favourite flicks.
We in turn asked one another a series of questions about the films that make us who we are.
So join us on this trip at times nostalgic, sometimes regretful, and listen as we learn a bit more about one another.
Part one of two episodes.
Making a welcome appeal to kindness and care for others, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood follows on from last year's documentary on Fred Rogers Won't You Be My Neighbor.
Impressively this fictionalised account of a journalist (Matthew Rhys) encountering Rogers when his life is at a low-point manages to combine the needs of narrative and a genuine impression of the television entertainer's life.
As a complement to Heller's film, we also discuss John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch. (available on Netflix) While the approach is not the same as Mr Rogers, the sincere interest in what children are thinking allows for the comparison.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is out in Australia from January 23.
We are not reviewing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And that's because, well, we've already said everything we needed to.
So here are extracts from those episodes highlighting concerns we already had with the franchise, which The Rise of Skywalker...let's say it leaned into them and leave it at that.
Jake Kasdan and cast return to Jumanji for the sequel that provves if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Then a change of pace for Scarlett Johansson vehicles Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit.
We're taking a trip back to 1980.
That is, we're revisiting the worlds of The Shining and The Empire Strikes Back, courtesy of Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep and The Mandalorian from Disney+.
Also discussed, Diane Johnson's account from 2018 on adapting the Shining with Stanley Kubrick. https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2018/01/08/writing-the-shining-by-diane-johnson/
Are these films plumbing the nostalgia dollar? Where's left to go after recycling elements of works that were themselves recycled versions of 1950s pop culture?
Finally Emmet plugs his story Kill Screen, w/ Jeferson Sadzinski and Colin Bell, which was published in The Art of Hate http://centrala.org.uk/shop/the-art-of-hate/
It's Halloween, so we've got zombies, satanists, space necromancers - and killer robots from the future.
In this episode we discuss:
So something spooky and ooky for everyone.
What two episodes in one week!
Well we do like to spoil you.
This episode sees the return of guest, film-maker Tanzeal Rahim, to discuss all things The Joker.
Now in something of a change of format, here Tanzeal has been asked to *convince* Emmet to go see the film. Listen to find out if he was successful.
This week we try to look past the Ad Astra hot takes (daddy issues in space, Apocalypse Now in space, Space Cowboys 2....did we miss one?).
Is this a film loved by critics, but not by the punters?
On an entirely unrelated note, we also review Dark Phoenix...let's get it over with.
While Pennywise the clown is back in the cinemas, with IT: Chapter 2, Stevie and Emmet did not particularly like the first one. So they have not gone to see it.
This inspired a conversation all about Stephen King's four decades of immense commercial success and just why is it people are attracted to his stories about flawed characters facing off against cosmic horrors.
In this episode: IT, The Shining, Salem's Lot, The Mist and Mike Flanagan's upcoming adaptation of Doctor Sleep.
Also discussed –
Japanese and American Horror by Katarzyna Marak
"You have always been the caretaker: the spectral spaces of the Overlook Hotel, Mark Fisher's discussion of trauma and abuse in The Shining, collected in K-Punk from Repeater books.
Mud and Starlight: The Alan Moore Interviews 2008—2016 by Pádraig Ó Méalóid
20 years on we take a look at The Matrix, its influence on the broader pop culture and the reported return of the franchise courtesy of Lana Wachowski.
Plus we oo and aah over the ageless Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.
Our recommendations this episode –
High Weirdness by Erik Davis
Television by City Calm Down
This episode, director Tanzeal Rahim – who previously appeared on episode 39: Urine Aid – returns to discuss Quentin Tarantino's latest Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
The discussion takes in the use of violence, Tarantino's essential convervative vision, the choice to cast the Manson family with the daughters of Hollywood actors and directors – as well as Tarantino's own critic-proof reputation as a cinematic genius.
Booksmart and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, two movies that defy segues and punctuation.
We could try and sell you on how the two films treat of gender from their respective positions of indie movie critical darling and monster global franchise about cars...and spies?
But let's not.
Look we've been drinking some wine you guys.
Well first off spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
This second collaboration between Marvel and Sony Pictures on Spider-Man is an unexpected conclusion to the events in that film.
In addition to the usual superheroics (with a dash of media commentary), Far From Home also returns the winning cast of classmates for Peter Parker, including Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr and Angourie Rice.
And then we squeeze in the most bingeable of Netflix shows, Stranger Things 3, which goes in hard on the 80s nostalgia.
How do you have a world without the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are exactly the same!
Well Yesterday doesn't trouble itself with such questions.
We discuss Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle's Beatlemania 'Mandela effect' movie Yesterday.
Then we round out the episode with Men in Black: International which powers along thanks to the combined charm of Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth.
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens was a favourite book of Emmet's back in the 90s and over two decades later it has landed on Amazon Prime. Last year Justin Cronin's vampire apocalypse epic The Passage also was adapted to television (sadly it has since been cancelled. As a fan of both books, Emmet has thoughts on their televised iterations (Stevie didn't read the book, but also has opinions on the shows).
*Also Emmet messed up - the nod in the Roman sequence of Good Omens was to Spartacus, not Ben Hur*