I’m a cat lover, so I was naturally intrigued by the poster for the offbeat and totally unique micro-budget indie Goliath, which was released in 2008 by the Zellner Brothers, with David writing and directing and his brother, Nathan, handling producing duties. The film tells the story of a nameless man (played by David Zellner in a wonderfully strange performance) who is finalizing his bitter divorce (“It was just two fingers!” POWER) and is struggling with the fact that his cat, the titular Goliath, has gone missing. In an effort to recover his lost kitty, he sets out on a desperate search all around town looking for his buddy, while also getting tangled up with a local sex offender, naturally equipped with a voice-box(!), who may or may not have something to do with the missing cat. This is a very funny, frequently asinine little film that runs a quick 80 minutes and offers up some truly inspired bits of inspired lunacy. There’s some strange violence in the final act, with some awesome mental flip outs on the part of Zellner’s coming-apart-protagonist. It’s a priceless performance, down to the finely manicured moustache, and the way he interacts with people in this film can only be described as awkward at best if not entirely bizarre. There’s also an undercurrent of dark rage that pops up throughout the narrative, resulting in some wild tonal switches in the narrative. Willfully distinctive, frequently hilarious, and all together unclassifiable, Goliath is quirky movie that marches to the beat of its own drum.
Trainwreck is yet another consistently funny movie from the Judd Apatow factory, but this time, he’s not the on-screen credited writer – that distinction belongs to fearless star of the moment Amy Schumer, who more than proves she can play in the vulgar big leagues of the polished studio comedy. There’s nothing revolutionary about the narrative – it’s the same story you’ve see in countless romantic comedies, except this time, the norms and expectations are reversed and upended to some degree, with Schumer’s bracing sense of sarcastic deadpan on total display all throughout. She’s matched perfectly by Bill Hader, who is a comic genius in my estimation; his timing is virtually peerless and he’s able to elicit laughs just by being in a room. There are a FLOOD of hysterical cameos from a roll call of actors, celebs, and sports stars, with Lebron James and John Cena both getting HUGE laughs and the lovely Brie Larson doing the dramatic lifting as Schumer’s more responsible sister. If you’ve seen the ads, you know the film revolves around a promiscuous and socially rebellious woman (Schumer) who finally meets her match in the form of a sports physician (Hader) – there’s a “meet cute,” some montages, some arguments and misunderstandings that need be cleared up – but the way that all of it plays out has a great sense of heart and a near constant sense of aggressive humor and charming spirit. And I will say, Schumer does deliver in her few dramatic moments, grounding the piece with a level of emotional believability that counterbalances some of the over the top aspects to the horseplay. Apatow has also always been a comedy director who actually CARES about how his films look; Jody Lee Lipes’ 2.35:1 cinematography is pleasantly pleasing without ever being flashy, as his work also demonstrated on Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene. And I’d be remiss in mentioning MASSIVE Tilda Swinton POWER as Schumer’s over the top boss – who knew she was that hot?! The finale is well conceived, the laughs are nearly endless either in an out loud or quietly-to-yourself manner, and it’s hard to resist a movie that has an awesome male-on-female oral-sex joke right at the top of the narrative. Also, lots of Dave Attell and Colin Quinn POWER.
We are pleased to be joined by Joel Copling of Joel on Film, who is a great friend of Podcasting Them Softly’s. We discuss Steven Spielberg’s masterful MINORITY REPORT as well as the top five performances of Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton!
Podcasting Them Softly is extremely excited to present a chat with independent filmmaker Lynn Shelton, as she discusses her fantastic and eclectic body of work and singular filmmaking style. Over the last 10 years, she’s made six films, all of which have taken on a deep desire to explore people and emotions and the complexities of the human heart and mind. We Go Way Back, My Effortless Brilliance, Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Touchy Feely and Laggies have all demonstrated a fantastic ear for the way people speak with an observational shooting style that allows for the expansion of the visual language of cinema. She’s worked with big name actors and little known talents, and no matter the project, her unique voice has been heard loud and clear. We’re honored to have had the chance to talk with Lynn and we hope you enjoy the Lynn Shelton POWERCAST!
“You lost today kid, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.” – Fedora (Richard Young)
Every time I’ve watched INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, even as a little kid, I was always drawn to the character dubbed Fedora (Richard Young) in the credits. He’s never called directly by name in the film, but during the opening when Young Indy (River Phoenix) is watching the gang in the cave digging for treasure, the name Garth is mentioned.
Indiana Jones had met a wide array of characters in the films, but I don’t think anyone had as big of an influence on his life as Fedora did. Fedora has limited screen time, and few lines of dialogue, but during the opening sequence of the film – he’s the most important character. After Indy gets the cross from the gang and Indy gets chased to a circus train – he finds himself in a life or death situation when he falls into a train car that contains a roaring lion.
Indy tries to tame the lion with his whip, but Fedora and his men are on top of the train car looking down, and Fedora commands that Indy toss-up his whip so they can pull him up. After Fedora rescues Indy, they chase beings again, as Indy escapes from the caboose Fedora watches Indy run down the train tracks, away from the hauling train. As Fedora watches him run away, he gets a smirk on his face.
When Indy returns home to tell his father what he had just done, his father essentially brushes him off because he’s working on his obsession of the Holy Grail. Fedora’s gang shows up with the town’s sheriff and the sheriff asks Indy for the cross back. Fedora’s gang is pompous and smug because they just won. But as everyone leaves, Fedora is left standing in the doorway. He removes his fedora and as he sets it on Young Indy’s head he says one of the greatest lines in film history: “You lost today kid, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.” The film then resumes in real-time where we see Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones – he’s on a ship, being held by men with blood coming from his busted lip. He’s smiling remembering Fedora’s words of wisdom.
It’s not that Fedora is sympathetic to Indy, even though he’s the only one who shows respect to him; Fedora sees himself in Indy, and for that he gives him his fedora as if he’s passing the torch to him, telling him, “here you go kid, the job is now yours.” In the films when Indy is out in the field, he always has his hat, and risks his life on a couple of occasions to ensure that he has possession of his hat that Fedora gave him when he was a teenager. While it may not always be the same exact hat, the hat does symbolize Fedora, the man who made Indiana Jones.
When Spielberg shot the scene in the cave, where the men find this rare artifact, Fedora is hunched over, and he’s holding it – watching it. He’s mystified by the discovery and it’s then you realize he’s not after the money, he’s after the hunt. The tight close-ups, and the way the camera revolves around Fedora is much like the way Spielberg shoots Indy when he’s found the idol in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
When we see Ford as Indiana Jones, he’s dressed exactly like Fedora was in the third film. His hat, his rough leather jacket – and even Fedora’s rough look and demeanor and right down to that signature smart ass smirk transcended to Indy. As the third film displays, Indy didn’t have a good relationship with his father, Henry Jones, Sr. (Sean Connery) was obsessed with his work, too obsessed to provide the emotional commitment of being a father. Fedora accepted that role – though their interactions only lasted for a couple of hours when Indy was in his teens. Fedora shaped the man who stopped being “Junior” and became Indiana Jones.
In the original script the character of Fedora was originally Abner Ravenwood, who was the father of Marion (Karen Allen) and dubbed as Indy’s “mentor”. To be honest with you, I completely ignore the fourth installment of the franchise. Lucas, Ford and Spielberg should have known better.
The fact that in the original script that Fedora was Abner almost solidifies the fact that Fedora is actually Indy’s mentor. Next to Indiana Jones, I think Fedora is the second most important character in the franchise even though he had maybe ten minutes of screen time and ten lines of dialogue. In that short time, we see Fedora in Indiana Jones, and in turn when we see Ford as Indy – I see Fedora.
After the films premier, Robert Young reprised his role as Fedora/Garth for a live performance of the opening show of the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. This event was produced by Steven Spielberg.
I would have liked to have seen more of Fedora, even an adventure of his since he is the precursor of Indiana Jones – but that’s what makes him so effective – is the fact that we know absolutely nothing about him – yet his story is told through the adventures of Indiana Jones.
Minority Report is the most underrated movie ever to have a 90% Rottentomatoes score with a $350 million worldwide box office haul. For some reason, not enough people give this movie credit and I’m not sure why. It’s a visual marvel from top to bottom, the blending of the core sci-fi and detective elements were perfectly calibrated by screenwriters Scott Frank and Jon Coen, you got a terrific Tom “Movie Star” Cruise performance before he truly went off the Xenu deep-end, the supporting cast were all outstanding, Janusz Kaminski’s glassy-smeary-amazing cinematography looks beyond sharp and high-contrasty in the luscious blu-ray format, and the score from John Williams was one of his most unsung and propulsive. The vision of the future that this film painted felt tangible and realistic and it’s funny how some of the technology that the source material and film would go on to predict is eerily prescient. Like the best neo-noir science fiction hybrids (Dark City also comes to mind), Minority Report knows exactly when to riff on genre while simultaneously inventing its own set of rules and aesthetic guidelines that helped to turn it into one of Steven Spielberg’s most thoughtful blockbusters, a film with as many ideas as it does breathtaking action scenes. The production design in the film is truly extraordinary, and the mostly seamless visual effects compliment and heighten the narrative rather than overpower it with needless bombast. The jet pack chase and fight with Cruise battling it out with the various agents and crashing through the apartment complex is pure BEARD POWER, with visual humor to punctuate the seriousness of the situation, while always exhibiting a childlike sense of wonder and mentality that anything is possible. And even if the ending still needed some extra tweaking (I think another 20 minutes was warranted), this is one of those consistently smashing entertainments that pushed the boundaries of the PG-13 rating, telling an adult story that asked you to use your brain in order to figure out all of the exciting pieces.
Back in the summer of 1994, there were three big action films to hit the marketplace: Speed, True Lies, and sandwiched in between, was the underrated Blown Away, which suffered the worst box office fate of the bunch but still delivered more than enough thrills and excitement to qualify as an action-packed blast of unpretentious entertainment. This movie is so much fun in an old-school, traditional manner (it just FEELS, in a great way, like an MGM movie), shot with lots of style by director Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Ghost and the Darkness) and acted with intense ferocity by Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, as a Boston bomb squad officer and a mad Irish bomber respectively. Jones is running wild on the streets of Boston, blowing up anything and everything he can find, all in an effort to exact revenge on his old friend Bridges, who both went through IRA/terrorist issues which are dealt with in black and white flashback. Bridges is the noble cop who always seems to know which wire to cut – the blue one or the red one. While the plotting is mostly predictable, the film knows exactly what it’s doing with its numerous action scenes, and it must be pointed out, that the film features the SINGLE GREATEST DONE-FOR-REAL EXPLOSION ever captured on film. There’s no debating this. I fucking LOVE movie explosions. I’ve made it a point to STUDY them throughout my life. This one is top-dog. When Jones’ old shipyard boat goes kablooey at the climax, you literally can’t believe what you’re watching and that the two fearless stuntmen weren’t killed or burned to death. The image has REAL camera shake, glass windows in downtown buildings were blown out, and total radio silence in and around Boston Harbor was kept for 10 miles so no interference could occur with the destruction of the balsa wood ship. Peter Levy’s cinematography is terrific all throughout, and the brisk editing keeps the pace moving fast. Kino has just released an excellent special edition Blu-ray of this extremely fun, throw-back type action thriller that was more old-fashioned than audiences may have been expecting. Hopkins provides a great, info-filled commentary, and the picture transfer is very crisp and clean, retaining that awesome, slick-and-gritty 90’s film stock look, with that final explosion looking all sorts of epic and awesome in full 2.35:1 widescreen (previous DVD releases were non-anamorphic). Alan Silvestri’s score is appropriately bombastic and thoroughly exciting. Forest Whitaker, Suzy Amis, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Finn, and Lloyd Bridges all offer memorable support. Cuba Gooding Jr. has literally 30 seconds of screen time in one scene. Jay Roach (Meet the Parents) got original story credit!