Download Film Junk Podcast for Nov. 11, 2007

This week on the Film Junk Podcast, Greg is back as we review the indie dramedy Lars and the Real Girl, count down our Top 5 Oscar upsets, and in Versus we debate who is a stronger influence on a film’s final product: actors or directors. We also look at some recent trailers including Valkyrie and There Will Be Blood, answer your Junk Mail, and discuss some of our other recently watched movies such as Bug, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who and Bee Movie. Sit down and saddle up for another jam packed episode of Film Junk: downloadable now through the mere click of a button!

0:00-02:30 – Intro
02:35-03:20 – In-house Announcements
03:30-16:35 – Stuff We Watched This Week
16:40-41:20 – Junk Mail
41:30-48:30 – Greg’s Big Announcement
48:35-1:01:00 – Review: Lars and the Real Girl
1:01:00-1:03:30 – Oscar Shortlists and Ratatouille
1:03:30-1:24:45 – Top 5 Oscar Upsets
1:24:45-1:38:35 – Versus: Actors vs Directors
1:38:35-1:48:30 – Trailer Trash
1:48:30-1:56:10 – This Week’s DVD Releases
1:56:10-1:57:40 – Outro


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  • Goon

    (i left this comment in the wrong section)

    gotta come to the defense of biopics to an extent, particularly the performances.

    I think one of the main reasons they get so many Oscar nominations is that those roles require more actual acting. sure you could point out that theres a gimmick to the ‘impression’ element of it that gives it an unfair edge, but the people in them have to actually, well, act, instead of just being a variation of themself as is often the case in most movies. Theres more to bite into, the roles are bigger and more important, and in the case of some of the better ones I could mention, theres some depth/something to say that makes it more than just the story of a persons life.

    Gandhi is a full story of his life, but theres so much about the pressure of one person being followed by so many who will follow his every word, but also distort or ruin what he meant to acheive, and Kingsley is doing more than an impression there – he’s a completely different person, and it works.

    In the Queen that role was so damn juicy, Mirren had the only true STAR role of the ones nominated, and the story there focused on just one time in her life and the divide between tradition and the modern world.

    Hoffman in Capote is so damn depressing, just again covering one part of his life and the conflict between personal relationships and the value of his craft. I mean, “Infamous” actually has the better Capote ‘impression’ going on, but Hoffman is considered the better of the two performances for the other things he brought to the table.

    As for “Ray”, well… hmmm… its not as important a role, but Foxx really did an amazing job that felt more than a gimmick. His performance is light years above the value of the actual movie. Taylor Hackford did a shitty job directing, and if he got nominated for it than its a crime, because it is as cheesy and throwing on fake importance to the very extent Jay would expect it would. Lots of bad flashbacks to force emotion. I would say though, that although the world didnt change because of Ray, I’d suggest that Charles did really have more impact on the music industry than a lot of the other music biopics and documentaries claim of their own subjects. Charles’ impact wasnt a temporary trend, and he isnt just important for being the first person to change gospel music into soul.

    The other major oscar stereotypes of course are that if you play a retarded person or someone going through the holocaust that you will get a nom… but I think it would be unfair to say Adrien Brody should be on one of your top 5’s to represent the entire practice of awarding for that sort of thing.

    Great show overall, the actor/director thing was well explored.

  • I recently watching The Hours and I thought Nicole Kidman did a remarkable job as Virginia Woolf.

    I’d say that Gandhi is the prototype of a pretentious biopic though. It’s the sort of movie that has to paint the person in the most epic strokes possible, containing life from beginning to end, and droning on and on, concerned more about lionizing the main character, than actually doing a good movie. On the DVD Ben Kingsley talks about how he would always baffle everybody with his impressions – it’s no coincidence that he brings it up on the Gandhi DVD. I mean once the bald head comes into play, it is pretty much doing an impression. Not that it doesn’t work, or isn’t entertaining, but it’s definitely the prime example of just doing a serious impersonation throughout a movie. I didn’t once feel like it was actually a real human being on the screen, it felt more like an acting class.

    What about Johnny Depp in Ed Wood though? That’s a pretty funny performance. It seems like it’s easier to appreciate performances based on people that aren’t that well known, or existed in a period where there are no audio or video recordings.

  • Yeah, I think it’s the performances inolving well known personalities that just don’t do it for me.

  • Connor G

    I have to agree with Jay I dont particularly enjoy biopics either. I just cant get excited about a movie I already know the end to. On a slightly different note, I’d like to say the junkmail in this episode was hilarious, great entertainment.

  • TheSnowLeopard

    Ordinary People and Raging Bull are two of my favourite movies, so I get annoyed when another of these tired ‘Oscar Upset’ lists comes around and Ordinary People is rolled out as a prime example. For all the B&W grittiness and bruality of Raging Bull, Robert Redford’s debut is an equally raw and uncompromising examination of a wealthy family on the brink of an emotional meltdown. Who would’ve thought in 1980 that Raging Bull would be increasingly revered as a modern classic while Ordinary People remained a fine, if modest, film whose reputation has been tarnished by this odious comparison.

    Ordinary People is a finely crafted, superbly acted character drama and one of the best American films about grief and loss. It is unfortunate that these two films had to contest the Best Picture Oscar in the same year, but Raging Bull losing out is nowhere near the travesty of justice it is made out to be.

  • Yeah I feel the same way about Forrest Gump. It’s not that you don’t like the movies people roll out as being cheated, it’s just that it doesn’t deserve to be known as ‘the movie that cheated so-and-so for its oscar’.

  • Yeah, when we chose this topic it was a lot harder than we thought it would be in the sense that there weren’t many “upsets” that we felt all that strongly about. In most cases, someone deserving did win, just maybe not quite as deserving. As for Ordinary People, I haven’t seen it… I just know that in retrospect it doesn’t seem like quite as significant a film.

  • Primal

    Nice Sean on the segment times or whatever its called. You guys shouldn’t really have to worry about spoilers now, right? Well I, for one, actually don’t mind if you do mention spoilers if you give us fair warning on the show notes.

  • I think when oscar season comes around, you should do “Top 5 Best Picture Winners”. Even though Greg’s list would be kind of predictable :P.

  • Goon

    the only movie to win best picture that truly made me retch was Crash.

  • Not sure what happened to my really long comment. Maybe there was a problem. Will try again. Sorry if I post this twice…

  • VARIOUS THOUGHTS ON EPISODE 143:

    I’m with Sean – who doesn’t like the show, “Seinfeld?” It’s arguably the best 30 minute sitcom of all time. Not that that necessarily translates to “Bee Movie.”

    BUG – Hell yes. I gave that movie a fairly positive review. But after thinking about it and talking about it a little more with Kurt, I realized it’s completely awesome. The ending goes a bit over the top for my tastes, but the rest of the film is bordering on amazing. Lots of people walked out of my screening (like 20 people) – totally expecting something else I think. I’ve been meaning to buy that movie for a while.

    2Girls1Cup – HAHAHA! I just had that emailed to me last night. HO LEE SHEE ITE. – http://www.2girls1cup.com/ – a couple of people at work have actually seen it too. Seems to be the newest “thing” with the kids these days.

    Other movie podcasts: Kermode is a great podcast – don’t always agree with him, but his rants are hilarious. – I posted a streaming version of his Pirates 3 rant here: http://moviepatron.com/blog/2007/05/31/my-favorite-film-critic/

    I also really like filmspotting (though a bit downhill without Sam Van Halgren). “Movies you should see” Podcast is just okay. Too many people talking and not much meat to their discussion. I heard the Movie Patron podcast is pretty good ;)

    Shakespeare in Love – a decent movie; but beating out Saving Private Ryan for best picture is preposterous. Maybe it’s too obvious, but how could you miss Annie Hall over Star Wars for best picture?

    I remember being upset about Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who I LOVE) winning for Truman Capote. If the performance were on Saturday Night Live, everyone would’ve laughed their ass off. It didn’t seem all that poignant to me. I agree with Jay – there is a difference between acting and impersonating. I think a good example is Reese Witherspoon in “Walk the Line.” Her performance was deserving of her nomination and win.

    “There Will Be Blood” – Most anticipated movie of 2nd half of 2007…. except that it is being pushed back to Jan of 2008. Sigh…

    DVD sizes PISS ME OFF! Those Simpsons series (in the shape of heads at season 4 and on) suck ass. However, if I can afford it, I’m totally picking up the Deckard briefcase for the new Blade Runner DVD release.

    Paris Je T’Aime is awesome – definitely my DVD pick of the week. In my top 10 of the year for sure.

  • Hey Andrew, for some reason your comment got filtered out by our spam plug-in. Not sure why… probably your filthy language! (I’m kidding of course.) It makes me wonder what else is being filtered out though.

  • Annie Hall is a masterpiece. Star Wars is also a masterpiece for its genre, but hardly holds up for adults, so I definitely think that was 100% the right choice.

  • Goon

    “I also really like filmspotting (though a bit downhill without Sam Van Halgren).”

    oh no kidding. Matty “Ballgame” Robinson is a twat of monstrous proportions.

  • TheSnowLeopard

    I’ve never heard of Mark Kermode. I’ll definitely give his podcast a listen. Always interesting to hear a British point of view.

    Here’s how I’d rank the podcasts I listen to weekly:

    1. Filmspotting
    2. Film Junk
    3. Movie Patron
    4. Cinebanter
    5. Cinemablend
    6. The Movie Blog

  • Greg

    Annie Hall over Star Wars isn’t that horrible. I enjoy both films and AH made me a Woody Allen fan. I think he’s a great director and is one of the best at showcasing New York and as an actor find him hilarious. I do prefer his early work though.

    As far as Ordinary People goes. I’m just not a fan of the movie. I based my top 4 on personal preference. I enjoyed Raging Bull more than Ordinary People, so I would have prefered it win Best Picture. I don’t think anyone ever said OP was a bad film.

  • Goon

    Snowleapord, a show you (and this goes for most of you here) should give a shot is Scene Unseen (sceneunseenpodcast.com) – one of them sees the movie, the other doesnt and they talk both about the movie and the marketing behind it and why the other would or wouldnt see it based on that. other than that they make a theme DVD pick of the week. its a good, short show thats easy to fit into my own podcast listening schedule.