Film Junk Podcast Episode #178: Step Brothers

0:00 – Intro / In-house Stuff
04:30 – Headlines: John Carpenter’s Next Movie, Tron 2, Aronofsky Confirmed for Robocop, Ebert and Roeper Jump Ship
25:56 – What We Watched: The X-Files: I Want To Believe, Dirty Sanchez: The Movie, The Middleman, Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Spaced, Hot Fuzz, Punishment Park, The War Game, The VICE Guide to Travel
40:35 – Junk Mail: Cult Classics, Movies To Look Forward To, The Dark Knight as a 9/11 Allegory
1:01:50 – Review: Step Brothers
1:17:15 – This Week’s DVD Releases
1:19:42 – Outro

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  • I’m calling foul on Greg’s non HMV story that just happens to take place in an HMV.

  • PhilippeB

    Ice-T flick is called Surviving the game I think. =p

  • PhilippeB

    …err… should’ve waited till the end before i posted, heh

  • swarez

    Jay complains about shit that happens after the credits yet the podcast does it all the time.
    What gives Jay? Why the double standards?

    Glad you liked Punishment Park by the way.

  • Kudos on the Peter Watkins love. I watch Punishment Park about once a year since the DVD came out, even wrote up a lengthy review over at Twitch back in the day: http://twitchfilm.net/archives/003854.html

    I like Watkin’s faux-doc style, which predates the ‘mock-umentary’ format from Rob Reiner by a decade or more…

    Haven’t seen Gladiators, or La Commune, I love that he puts his ‘documentary camera’ into eras that didn’t even have film.

  • swarez,

    I don’t listen to the show. I didn’t know Sean regularily puts stuff in after it ends. Now I’m DEFINITELY never going to listen to our show.

  • I heavily endorse “stingers” at the end of podcasts,. They’re irrelevant to the plot of each episode. ;)

  • “Jay complains about shit that happens after the credits”

    What a weird thing to be angry about.

    Also, not wanting to read into things seems defensive more than anything else. I guess with a major horror fan, at an early age you’ve learned to appreciate mindnumbness, but that shouldn’t exclude you from sometimes grasping to see if there is indeed more. Some movies are more than surface-deep. If you’re going to call Transformers “shallow”, you have to contrast it with something that you think is “deep”.

    And will Greg ever answer my beard-questions?

  • It’s not a matter of never wanting to read in to things, it’s a matter of not wanting to read into the parallels between George W. Bush and Batman.

    If Batman is Bush, does that mean the Joker is a terrorist? If so, are all terrorists motivated only by the need to see the world burn?

    This is stuff built for University pop culture/communications courses. Lame.

  • And Henrik, to call out Horror films as an example of being ‘mindnumbing'; that genre experiences an insane amount of dissection by academics.

    Don’t you know that Michael Myers knife is a phallic symbol!

  • I guess it’s the difference between College and University film courses.

    In college, you go to learn how to make films.

    In University, you go to learn how to apply bullshit meaning to the films that the college students are making.

    There are exceptions of course.

  • I think one thing that wasn’t really addressed in our discussion is the fact that not all of these types of symbolism and metaphors are a figment of the academics’ imaginations. You have to admit that there are definitely writers and directors who layer extra meaning into their movies on purpose. Whether or not that was the case with The Dark Knight is up for debate.

    And yes, The Joker works as a metaphor for a terrorist, because he has no fear, and can’t be reasoned with. It’s not that big of a stretch, I don’t think.

  • Of course there’s symbolism and metaphors in films. I just think that this particular example is a little too sensational and topical. I’m sure you can find ways to apply the Bush vs. Terrorism to almost every comic book film out there.

    And yes, the Joker IS a terrorist. I just don’t think he’s THAT kind of terrorist. From what I understand, he was not motivated by religion or politics. He existed to see everything burn. Hardly a fair summarization of the current real-life terrorists that we’re referencing here.

  • It’s funny because on the weekend our friend Chian showed us an internet video called ‘Batman or Bush?’, in which a host would read quotes and people would have to decide if it was Batman or Bush. Initially, I thought this was inspired by the whole Dark Knight comparison, but it actually turned out to be quotes from the 1966 television show.

    So even THAT Batman, pre-dating George W. by 40 years, can be compared to Bush!

    Totally. Meaningless.

  • For the record, here is the article in question:

    http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB121694247343482821.html

    The point seems to be that the movie is about morality, which is a topic that directly applies to 9/11 and “punishing evildoers”, intentional or not. But what seems a little silly is that the author wonders why we can root for Batman to take a hard line stance against bad guys when we criticize Bush for the same thing. And to that I say, people know the difference between a fantasy world, and the real world.

  • Matt

    Wow, what a pandering, self-righteous, and self-serving piece of drivel that Wall Street Journal opinion piece was. I wonder what Christopher Nolan has to say on this. Of course parallels can be drawn between Batman and George Bush, but only if you want them to be there bad enough.
    I would say that the main difference is that Batman goes out there, puts his own life on the line, and does what needs to be done without killing anybody. Bush on the other hand directs when, where, and how OTHER people are supposed to fight, kill, die, torture, and be tortured.
    I’m certainly never going to consider “W” a hero.

  • Well if it’s about morality…doesn’t Batman refuse to take a life? A little different than Bush.

  • Swarez

    Good point there Matt.

  • Swarez

    I usually don’t buy in to the whole “read between the lines” thing that many film scholars dwell in to. Especially with low grade horror or summer block busters. Most of it is utter bullcrap made by people who want to justify their tenure.

    But of course it does happen that filmmakers throw in some meaning behind the madness. Joe Dante and John Carpenter are some of the forerunners in that area.

  • “I guess it’s the difference between College and University film courses.

    In college, you go to learn how to make films.

    In University, you go to learn how to apply bullshit meaning to the films that the college students are making.

    There are exceptions of course.”

    Indeed some places combine the two (imagine that!). Like Copenhagen University.

    There is no point in knowing the techniques to say something, if you’ve got nothing to say. There is no point in having something to say, but not knowing the technique (I made this up myself).

    You seemed to argue that it was always just these academics wanting to read into stuff that spurred these topics on. I think sometimes movies are made where the director had something to say. I agree with you that a Batman film may not be the most worthwhile to delve into, but your argument (to me at least) sounded like you were applying this to everything, and that you had no interest in it. “I hate shit like this” I think is a direct quote.

  • Goon

    “it’s a matter of not wanting to read into the parallels between George W. Bush and Batman.”

    people did this same crap during 300 asking if Bush was Leonidas or Xerxes, and it was lame. I mean, I heard on Filmspotting a couple weeks ago some crap about how Hancock was america and that it can deliver justice and kick ass, but it is dirty and messy and expensive. I mean, pfft, whatever.

    As to Batman vs Bush though, if I were to take it seriously, this is what I propose is the difference, and why the kid at the end can get away with saying “but he didnt do anything wrong”:

    Batman isn’t sworn to protect the constitution. Bush is. When Bush breaks wiretapping laws and tortures people, it’s important. Batman is a vigilante and pretty much only has one item in his code, and everyone knows it. You don’t expect to trust Batman, but you should be able to trust your elected leaders and hold them accountable.

  • Goon

    and by the way, Smurfs are Communists with Papa Smurf as Karl Marx, and Garfield is a critique of the gluttony of capitalism.

  • “There is no point in knowing the techniques to say something, if you’ve got nothing to say. There is no point in having something to say, but not knowing the technique (I made this up myself).”

    This statement couldn’t be anymore false. This would totally eliminate the idea of their being above the line and below the line jobs in the film industry. There are MANY positions in the film industry that don’t require creativity, but are just as important to the overall process. Chris Nolan wouldn’t be able to say what he’s saying without the hundreds of talented crafstmen that may not have anything to say themselves, but work to finish the film.

    As for what I said on the podcast…I’m talking about the bullshit film theorizing that holds no water or can be applied to HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of films. You really think that myself, an aspiring filmmaker, would deny that film contains metaphors and symbolism? That’s ridiculous. About as ridiculous as Batman being George Bush.

    I don’t understand how this comparison is anymore academic or thoughtful than Jerry Falwell’s gay Teletubby agenda, athiesm in Happy Feet or satan worship in Harry Potter. It’s all too general, too obvious and too sensational.

  • Goon

    another Batman comment on the politics crap:

    One thing that I think did stand out to me was the old Churchill saying:
    “The first casualty of war is the truth”

    With this war in Gotham going on, the heroes and authorities lie quite a bit. Faking deaths, hiding letters of true feelings, hiding what Dent did and in some peoples eyes, they are hiding Dent period and that he isn’t dead.

  • Reed Farrington

    Jay wasn’t smart enough to go to university. That’s why he’s so defensive.

    I went to university, but I’m still a moron.

    If Batman is Bush, is Obama Superman?

  • I don’t expect the henchmen to have something to say. I am talking about art, not craftsmanship.

    “Chris Nolan wouldn’t be able to say what he’s saying without the hundreds of talented crafstmen that may not have anything to say themselves, but work to finish the film.”

    I don’t think so. Batman is not the only film to be able to say the things he wanted to say.

    Is learning carpentry or electric wiring really learning techniques to say something though? I doubt it, and I doubt that anybody who wishes to learn these things, do so because they want to say something with it. Nevertheless, I will grant you this point. I was talking about the artist specifically, not the hired help.

  • Swarez

    No Obama is the Black Vulcan.
    There’s lightning…in his pants.

  • Reed Farrington

    I’ll never understand American politics. How does one get lightning in his pants?

    Yeah, I’ve read about Obama being a Vulcan.

    I’d vote for Superman. He’s not selfish. And he wouldn’t be in politics for the power ego trip.

  • rot

    I enjoy film analysis creativity as entertaining fiction, like the one I read about the phallus imagery of the building collapsing at the end of Fight Club, I do not think there is any real overt message there but ok, its interesting, it can add to the discussion I guess.

    There is enjoyment in subtext whether deliberate or supposed, although I would lean towards Jay’s view that a lot of it is supposed. When it is your job to find meanings you will look anywhere and everywhere for it.

  • mits777

    Hell yes I agree with Greg. Die Hard 2 is much better than part 1. Ive watched them all recently and I rank them
    1. part 2
    2. Part 1
    3. part 4
    4. Part 3

    Sincerely,
    Asshole