Film Junk Premium Podcast #80: Michael Mann

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“Well you know for me, the action is the juice. I’m in.” We’ve been promising this one for a while now, but it was finally time to take a premium plunge into the shadowy, neon lit films of Michael Mann. We focused on a trio of crime films that includes Thief, Heat and Collateral but we also rounded out the discussion with the ’90s historical epic The Last of the Mohicans and his acclaimed thriller The Insider as well. Frank brings some deep research to the table on this one and spends a lot of time Mann-splaining while Jay continues to worship the beauty of Madeleine Stowe. Is Michael Mann’s move to digital video inspired or inferior? Is Christopher Nolan too much of a Mann fan for his own good? Can Frank accept the old cliche about cities being a character in any of these movies? Mann up and download this month’s premium podcast below.

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This series of premium podcasts was created to help support the regular weekly Film Junk Podcast. Head on over to Bandcamp and download the episode for a minimum donation of $1. As always, let us know if you experience any technical difficulties or if you have any other suggestions for future specials. Thanks for your support!



  • Not to be pedantic or anything, but STRAIGHT TIME wasn’t based on the same book as THIEF. STRAIGHT TIME was based on NO BEAST SO FIERCE by Edward Bunker, who played Mr. Blue in RESERVOIR DOGS. I don’t believe Bunker was in THIEF.

  • Jr

    80 already? I remember the Star Wars premium like it was yesterday…anyway, after these last two I put my vote in for keeping the separate chapters.

  • I’m in the “one chapter” camp.

  • Jr

    It’s well-known that Anderson is a fan of Mann. I don’t want to put any random links up but if you google it, you’ll find it (I mean, he makes references to a lot of movies and directors but Mann has come up a few times).
    “Could you make the order out to Ready Demolition, Tucson, Arizona?”

  • Nic

    Thank you guys for another great premium! I was among the unlucky few that voted for Miami Vice as that is my favorite Mann film (and I don’t care for Last of the Mohicans), perhaps you could do a retro review for that one in the future?

    With TNG, the video game premium and now Michael Mann, the last three premiums you’ve done are among the very best overall IMO, so keep them coming!

    @Sean you might want to read this article on the backstory of Heat: https://filmschoolrejects.com/real-story-behind-michael-manns-heat/
    The diner scene that you consider unrealistic did actually happen in real life to the people Pacino’s and de Niro’s character are based on.

    My favorite moment was Frank raving about what a difference the actors make between Heat and LA Takedown only to go on complaining about people that watch movies for the actors. As you can tell by my avatar, I’m a huge Bogart fan and I would watch any movie with him just because I enjoy his screen presence so much. It’s very similar with Pacino and de Niro for me, I can’t really see what’s bad about seeking out films because you like some actors that much. Frank would watch any Tarantino or Nolan flick and especially in the classic Hollywood era a single star could sometimes have a greater impact on how a film turned out than some of the journeyman directors working back then. It’s an element of filmmaking as important as any other (cinematography, score etc.)

  • Fletcher Thomas

    Wow, the Heat review quickly degenerated into a laundry list of everything Frank hates about the world.

  • Johnny

    This were truly some gold medal tier mental gymnastics by Frankie.

  • Johnny

    I’m a big Mann fan man and absolutely loved the premium. Especially Frank really killed it. But I have to say I was a bit irritated by the criticism of the lacking realism in Heat and Collateral, especially since you guys all liked the last of the Mohicans so much, which has a real fairy tale feel, I think. For me Mann is more concerned with questions of fate and existentialism in general than pure realism. So I don’t have a problem with the ending of Collateral at all and I think it would loose a lot of its poetic quality if it was different.
    Hope you guys decide to review Miami Vice, too, at some point.

  • Sean

    Thanks… I guess I stand corrected!

    On an unrelated note, anyone wondering about Val Kilmer’s career (like me) will find some answers in this recent article:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/magazine/val-kilmer.html

  • Glad you guys properly covered that EPIC, ICONIC, Diner scene between two screen LEGENDS in Heat. LA… it’s such a character in Mann’s work!

  • Jr

    I just read that…wow, crazy stuff. Very good interview.

  • Sam

    Love that James Cagney avatar