Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Podcast: What Are You Watching?

Well, it looks like I’m just another asshole who started a movie podcast. For two years, my best friend and filmmaking partner, Nick Dostal, has been on my ass about starting a film podcast. I rejected the idea for all the obvious reasons, market saturation and time commitment being two major ones. But my biggest drawback was that I didn’t want Nick and I to just talk about how cool movies are. If we were going to talk movies, then we were going to talk about the genuine emotion we feel toward them.

Why is Terminator 2 one of Nick’s Top 10 Films of All Time? Why will I weep every time I watch Phantom Thread? Sure, we love these movies as movies, but beyond that, these films and countless others have touched us deeply, for incredibly personal reasons. So, my number one rule for the podcast was that we always tell the truth. And if Nick and I ever have something personal to say about a movie we love, then we should seriously consider disclosing it.

That’s What Are You Watching? A movie podcast where Nick and I will talk all things film, but as indie filmmakers, and as two people whose psyches are forever linked to cinema. Nick and I are as close as brothers (he even played me in our latest movie, I Am Alive), and we’re really excited to bring our friendship to the podcast as well.

The podcast will cover similar territory as this blog, but they’ll be two separate things; I’ll still be posting on here! On the podcast, we’re going to do fun lists, director breakdowns, character actor deep dives, and episodes about the films that inspire us as filmmakers. What Are You Watching? will be available most anywhere you listen to podcasts, and we’ll be releasing new episodes every Thursday.

And look, here’s the thing. I’ve been running this blog since September 2007, and I’ve met a ton of incredible people along the way. So many of you have been so supportive of this blog and my films, and if you like podcasts, I hope you’ll give us a listen. Nick and I take this shit very seriously, and we always promise to keep the podcast fun, engaging, and emotional. And I apologize for slacking lately on new blog posts and blog comments on other sites. I’ve been drowning in Oscar movies and podcast maintenance, but everything seems to have leveled out now.

Thanks again to everyone, we hope you like the show!

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  1. Great pilot episode! You're good at this! Can't wait for more!

    1. Thanks so much, we really appreciate you listening and commenting here!

  2. Loved these, always fascinating to hear what's shifted around over the years and can't wait to catch the next one. Have been doing a lot of thinking about my own as of late...

    10. Chinatown (though this could be Wake in Fright, which you'd LOVE)
    9. Magnolia
    8. The Seventh Seal
    7. The Travelling Players / The Hunters (one day Criterion will hop off their ass and release Angel's films)
    6. Once Upon a Time in America
    5. The Holy Mountain
    4. Hiroshima, mon amour (the film that inspires my own work the most, by far)
    3. Andrei Rublev
    2. The Life & Death of Col. Blimp (you've got now idea how tightly it has you until the gut punches start flying)
    1. Marketa Lazarova (its just... 'free')

    and of the 2010s...
    10. Avengers: Endgame (not in a thousand years could I have guessed this when I went into the theater the first of several times)
    9. Toy Story 3
    8. Before Midnight
    7. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (that ending.)
    6. Shame (thanks ;)
    5. Horse Money
    4. Gotta Light? (because parts of it play like if The Tree of Life was pure evil)
    3. Incendies
    2. Once Upon a Time in....Anatolia (although Cliff Booth would have solved it a lot sooner)
    1. The Turin Horse (bc Tarr shouldn't have to be a bridesmaid forever)

    1. Dude you have such eclectic taste, I've always been so impressed by it. You've given me a lot of great recommendations here (I'll start with Wake in Fright). Love that Shame and Incendies made your decade list! And thanks so much for listening to the episodes, we really appreciate it!

    2. Finished Wake in Fright. I get what he was going for with the kangaroo hunt (Kotcheff is a vegetarian and I assume was trying to showcase the injustices of these hunts...) but fuck, that was tough to watch.

    3. Indeed, gruelling sequence but it hits the picture at just the right time. And yes Kotcheff's filming of kangaroo hunts in such a matter-of-fact way helped expose them to the general public and get them illegalised in the following years. He also tells a story of sabotaging the hunters' trucks once they had enough footage so the hunt would stop. And a young Martin Scorsese was apparently elated watching that kangaroo scene for the first time that the crew went all the way.

      I just think Wake in Fright is such a precise, unrelenting slow-burn up the sulphur trail of human sanity that has rocked me to the core time and again, a companion piece to Deliverance in some ways (which barely missed the list too, btw).

      And forget eclectic taste I'm beyond impressed you got on that film so fast! Ik I've reccomended them before but I'd suggest you hunt down 'Eternity and a Day' or 'Landscape in the Mist' before tackling the longer Angelopoulos films.

      Linklater episode was great by the way. The Before Trilogy will live forever and you both had a lot of insightful things to say!

    4. I can't lie, I was fucking mad when that scene started. I don't ever get on my high horse about this stuff, but I've been a vegetarian for 14 years so that was rough to watch. But then I calmed down and knew there had to be a reason Kotcheff did this, and once the film was done, I was so pleased to find bits of trivia like the ones you mentioned in your comment. Sometimes you have to go to extremes to incite change. I dig that.

      Thanks for the rec, I'm really happy I watched it. And thanks for listening to the podcast!

  3. Having just listened to both episodes so far..., I'm glad you're doing a podcast as I still don't have an official all-time best of list at the moment while my 2010s list I'm planning to do in a couple of years (Waves I'm planning to watch in a week or 2 as there's a bunch of A24 films on Showtimes right now) just to get it right as there's a lot to catch up on. Even with the film's this year.

    Definitely will listen to the next episode.

    1. Thank you so much for listening! We're publishing an episode tomorrow on Linklater... I've always loved hearing your thoughts on him. And it's so cool that A24 and Showtime are doing a thing right now. I rewatched Waves last night actually; melts my damn heart. I hope you have a chance to check it out!

    2. Having just listened to your Richard Linklater episode, here is my list as of right now though I have yet to see both Last Flag Flying and Where'd You Go, Bernadette at the moment. I just recently re-watched School of Rock and saw it with my 15-month old nephew who had seen it weeks before and LOVES this film. He just loves the music and energy of it as it reminded the reaction my late younger sister had for the film.

      I really liked Me and Orson Welles as I think Angus MacKay really captured the nuances of Orson Welles as it is a film about a young man learning about art and the idea of acting as I love what Zac Efron did.

      Why no discussion for Bernie and SubUrbia as I really liked those films a lot? The former as this witty black comedy and the latter was a film that I connected with in my 20s because of that air of uncertainty of what is going to happen. It's a bleak film but still engaging.

    3. Thanks so much for listening! Honestly have no idea why we passed over Bernie and SubUrbia, because I love both of those two. I addressed failing to mention Bernie in the bonus episode. I guess we were just moving too damn fast.

      And I have rewatched School of Rock since and I enjoy it much more now. So cool that your nephew likes it!

  4. John from twitter here!
    Love both lists, Alex! For your Best of 2010s, I was CERTAIN you would have You Were Never Really Here, that was the big surprise for me. Loved your Phantom Thread inclusion the most, what a film! You and Nick have some awesome picks, some overlap in my top 30.
    Any close runner ups, like 11-15?

    1. Hey John! YWNRH would definitely be my 11. That and Rust and Bone were neck and neck. Others I loved... Boyhood, Dogtooth, Gaspar Noe's Love, Incendies, Magic Mike, Spring Breakers, The Irishman, The Master, Warrior... just off the top of my head :)

      Nick's 11 would definitely be La La Land.

    2. oh nice! It's funny, I think I've got YWNRH and Drive neck and neck for 10 or 11 haha.

      As for some picks I don't see often on these end of decade lists, Ex Machina and A Ghost Story are in my Top 3 or 5. :)

    3. Ohhhhh! Ha fucking ha! Before I correct that grievous error let me just say, thank you so much for listening, John! I was shocked when Alex didn't have You Were Never Really Here on his list too! Glad you liked our picks. Close runners up for 11-15, off the top of my head would be... Clouds of Sils Maria, Blue Valentine, Black Swan, Mississippi Grind and Whiplash. No offense to La La Land (I'm just not a musical person)

    4. Loved A Ghost Story. There's a cool story coming up in a future episode about that movie.

    5. Hey John, "Unknown" is Nick! (Blogger has been a pain about commenting recently.) A Ghost Story is definitely high on my list too.

  5. I just got done listening to the first two episodes and i really enjoyed them. I love listening to podcasts, and especially movie podcasts, while driving or playing video games and will definitely add this one to the rotation. I already know you have a great taste in movies, Alex, but Nick really seems to know what he is talking about as well. I loved both of your lists as well. Great picks all around. As someone with an unconventional favorite movie myself, i love that Blow is Nicks number one movie. I need to watch that one again now. It's been years. This also inspired me to revisit my own top 10 again. It changes all the time, but for now this is it.

    10. Halloween (1978)
    9. The Thin Red Line (1999)
    8. Psycho (1960)
    7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
    6. Heat (1995)
    5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
    4. Zodiac (2007)
    3. The Shining (1980)
    2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    1. Collateral (2004)

    Honorable mentions goes to In Bruges (2008), No Country for Old Men (2007), Hot Fuzz (2007), Rocky (1976) and GoodFellas (1990).

    Again, this list changes all the time for me so on any other day most of them could have been shuffled around. The only one that usually never changes is Collateral at number 1. That movie just came out at the perfect time for me. Everything about it just clicks for me from the directing to the performances to the music. It's probably the movie i have watched the most times in my life.

    1. Henrik, this is incredible! Thank you so much for listening and posting your lists here. We’re both so happy that you enjoyed listening.

      I LOVE every movie on your list, that is a great collection of movies. My one tidbit about Collateral (a movie I love) is that Michael Mann is one of the best directors to record commentary tracks. And for whatever reason, his commentary for Collateral isn’t even listed as a special feature on my DVD. But it’s on there! I learned SO much more about that movie from Mann’s commentary. Maybe you’ve already heard it, but if not, I’d recommend checking it out!

  6. Now as for top 10 movies from the 2010's. This was a lot tougher to me. I really liked both of your lists again, but there was surprisingly little overlap with my own. There were a lot on them i still haven't checked out yet though like Rust and Bone, Waves and The Three of Life. But for right now mine would be this.

    10. The Shape of Water (2017)
    9. Whiplash (2014)
    8. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
    7. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
    6. The Master (2012)
    5. Her (2014)
    4. Parasite (2019)
    3. Gone Girl (2014)
    2. Drive (2011)
    1. The Social Network (2010)

    Honorable mentions: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), Shoplifters (2018), Uncut Gems (2019), Arrival (2016) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

    This was a good decade, but overall i feel it's weaker than both the 00's and the 90's. While i really like all the movies i listed, i don't really feel that passionate for the latter half of my list. Most of them could be switched around or traded for something else like the movies in my honorable mentions.

    I'll listen to the Linklater episode another time, but i really enjoyed these first two episodes so far. I subscribed on Spotify so keep the episodes coming.

    1. Really like both lists you got going!
      Got some overlap with Social Network, Master, Drive, Whiplash and Her with my top 10/15.
      Only one I haven't caught is Shoplifters, love the 2049 inclusion!

    2. (Henrik, that’s Nick who replied as Anonymous. Blogger has been pissy about comments lately, but that’s him!)

      Another incredible list. I think a rather easy case could be made that The Social Network is the movie of the 2010s. It could very well be remembered that way, which is so funny to me, because it’s the first year of the decade. I love every movie you listed here. I actually rewatched Gone Girl a few weeks for the first time in years and that thing still cooks.

      Thanks so much for subscribing, we really hope you like the new episodes!

  7. John here! (hopefully this google account option works for commenting)
    Really enjoyed the Linklater breakdown, I am in big agreement of Everybody wants some! A hidden gem that hopefully will be rediscovered in the coming years, probably got lost with some poor marketing.
    Just rewatched Boyhood a few weeks ago, it holds up beautifully and I've got to get on the Before trilogy and Tape now! I also loved the idea that "life awaits" as a big theme to a lot of his work.
    If I can recommend any conversations, maybe 5 or 10 favorite horror films of the 2010s?

    1. Hey John! I need to watch Boyhood again actually. It's been a few years. And I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Before series and Tape. Some great work there.

      And that horror list will be hard because, well, Nick is a big fat lovely baby when it comes to horror movies, so I don't think he's seen too many of them haha. But I just watched Goodnight Mommy and that movie is fucking scary and GREAT.

  8. This is so cool! Welcome to the podcasting world!

    1. Thank you so much! I've always loved Across the Universe. It was fun to be a guest on there way back when!