A new month means a new filmmaker, so for this month we’re talking Taika. We begin with his feature length debut Eagle Vs. Shark, which at first glance looks like the next Napoleon Dynamite. Instead it’s much more down to earth and features characters that are more than just dorky caricatures. Doesn’t mean the film is without flaws and we note that were this movie made today it would end quite differently.
We also talk Thor Ragnarok, which provides an interesting look at the filmmaker and gives us a little bit of an idea about what to expect for the rest of the month. Boy, oh boy, are we in for a treat.
We end our John Singleton month with Four Brothers, a movie that never quite finds its tone and never really hits its stride. It’s a well-directed movie, and the acting is fun across the board, but the script drags the experience down by playing more to caricature than to character. We also discuss his entry in the Fast series: 2 Fast 2 Furious and why despite his obvious skill as a director, he was not right for the job. Toward the end of the podcast we wrap up our thoughts on the month and what we found interesting about his career. There’s quite a journey from Boyz in the Hood to Four Brothers.
We take a bit of a turn in our John Singleton retrospective with the film Shaft, not to be confused with Shaft, or the more recent film Shaft. It’s a film that features a lot of dirty cops and dirtier criminals and the sum of all these interesting parts leave us feeling uncomfortable. It’s a film that features the line “It is my duty to please the booty” along side a frat boy version of Patrick Bateman beating a black man to death and getting away with it. Well, at least until the end of the movie. There’s a lot here, and while some of it doesn’t quite work, and awhile some of it is tough to watch in 2020, it stands out as another strong piece of filmmaking from John Singleton.
This week in our John Singleton retrospective we’re discussing his sophomore film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. There’s a lot here to like. In fact, there’s a lot here in general. The film doesn’t feel nearly as focused as his previous but despite that feels very unique and very personal. The leads do marvelous work here, especially Tupac, and for those of us who are only familiar with him by name it’s enough to make us want to look into the rest of his career.
We also briefly discuss Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner. It’s not good, but John Singleton does what he can and his direction makes you wish that he had been given a Bond or Bourne film instead of this well-directed clunker.
In light of the current political climate we decided it would be best to educate ourselves and expand our perspectives. To do this we chose director John Singleton as our filmmaker this month, who gave us the intense and illuminating Boyz n the Hood. Everything about the film was astounding and took us out of our comfort zone. It was wild seeing the talent at play in front of the camera and behind it. If you haven’t seen this film yet, please do so before listening. Join us in widening our perspective.
We survived the month of May and now it’s time to say goodbye to our man JT. Well, until we watch another one of his movies that is. Anyway, we decided the best way to end the month was by watching the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits. No…you’re thinking of No Strings Attached. This is the other rom-com about two friends deciding to keep their sex casual while ultimately falling in love. It’s actually kind of good, until you get to the third act. JT and costar Mila Kunis have chemistry all over the place and it’s hard not being charmed by their relationship as it unfolds. A fun and worthwhile watch.
We also discuss Trolls and Wonder Wheel, two JT films that couldn’t be farther apart on the quality spectrum. Spoiler alert: the animated one is your best bet.
Our month of May takes a bit of a downturn with the film In Time, which just can’t seem to make up its mind what movie it wants to be. There are a few solid hooks throughout, but they never really pan out and never get much deeper than surface level. It’s quite the frustrating watch, but the cast is strong and our main man JT continues to impress with his charisma and utter watchability, even if he struggles a little as the leading man. Really, we just wished this movie could have picked a path and stuck to it.
Our month of May continues with another winner for good ol’ Justin Timberlake: The Social Network, from writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher. There’s so many things to love about this film, from the standout performances of everyone involved to the masterful score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Obviously, our focus is on JT and his scene-stealing portrayal of Sean Parker, but everything else is just so dang good that we struggle to find much fault in the film.
We also talk about some of JT’s older SNL sketches and performances for this week’s “Where Have They Been Doing” segment.
IT’S GONNA BE MAAAAYYYY! That’s right. We’re talking about Justin Timberlake in the month of May because we couldn’t help ourselves, and like…why not? To start off, we’re going to talk about the huge bummer known as Alpha Dog. But don’t worry, it’s not a bummer because of quality; it’s just going to completely and thoroughly bum you out. Justin proves in this film that he’s got some serious acting chops and we can’t gush about his performance enough.
We also briefly discuss his voice work in the Trolls movie, which is pretty awesome and elevates a surprisingly not bad children’s animated film. Let’s get our May on!
To celebrate our last week of ScarJo month we’re discussing perhaps one of the worst of the MCU fare, the film that put Scarlett on our radars and Black Widow in our hearts. That’s right, we’re talking aboutIron Man 2. It…doesn’t hold up, but not for lack of trying. You’ve got Robert Downey Jr. in top form, Sam Rockwell killing it as usual, and Scarlett Johansson kicking ass and taking names. You’ve even got Mickey Rourke in there hamming it up as the villain and despite having a bit of a mangled role, he manages to make an entrance.
We also discuss Ghost World and Jojo Rabbit in brief, as well as try to figure out why this month’s selections were all over the map quality-wise. It’s a great episode that wraps up a really fun month.