Foul Play

Foul PlayNetflix IMDb
Join me for a great romantic comedy/thriller from 1978 starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. Hawn fends off the world with a yellow umbrella. Chase embraces the world clumsily. Dudley Moore tries to screw the world unsuccessfully. The pope thinks The Mikado is supposed to end with dead guys hanging from the mast of a ship from another production. Maybe he just thinks it’s “far out.” I compare the film to other romantic comedies and other thrillers as well as to Far Out Space Nuts.

I don’t talk quite as much in this one, but I think the observations are a little richer insights into theme, character, and plotting, and not narrating the scenes so much. I forget to mention that the title is a play on words, since the assassination attempt occurs during a stage performance—a comic opera, actually, but Foul Opera would sound silly. I did slip in a mention in editing that the setup is borrowed from The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Bonus: The opening scene location and angle in Google Earth (turn on 3D buildings to see the Golden Gate Bridge)

Start the movie by pressing Play when I give the instruction. (54 MB).

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce VitaNetflix IMDb
Ooh la la! A silly experimental avant garde attempt at doing a commentary on a film I’ve never seen before. I watch this Fellini classic for the very first time, recording my amusement, confusion, frustration, and eventual disappointment. If you already know and love the film, laugh at my provincial attitude. If you hate it, laugh with me while I try desperately to enjoy it. I mention how the word paparazzi comes from the character of Paparazzo. I consider how much I like Marcello Mastroianni in principle. I mock how ridiculous “Casanova Xavier” is as a name for an American rock-and-roller. I misidentify Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” as “…G Minor” (but what are a few letters between friends?) I’m moved by the tragedy that develops, but ultimately feel that it is squandered, which may have been Fellini’s point, for all I know.

Start the movie when at the very beginning credits when I give the instruction. (81 MB)


CasablancaNetflix IMDb
My favorite film. I did a commentary for this a couple of years ago that was good but sounded lousy and was in three parts. With everybody downloading big podcasts over broadband, it might as well be in one file, so I’ve rerecorded it. I describe the historical context as well as the themes and how the plot points are foreshadowed and resolved.

I explain the “General DeGaulle/Weygand” mix-up and how the characters relate to the larger picture of Europe in the midst of World War 2, particularly how characters are introduced early and kept alive in the background until they become important.

Note: I mistakenly say that Rick fought in Spain in 1935, when the film clearly says 1936 (the Spanish Civil War didn’t start until mid-1936).

Start the movie at the very beginning credits when I give the instruction. (49 MB)


SerenityNetflix IMDb
It’s the rip-roaring, high-stakes, high-drama tall tale of the Serenity‘s greatest adventure ever! The crew is dogged by an Alliance operative almost as crazy as Jubal Early. I apologize to the people of Great Britain on behalf of the entire American film industry. I should apologize to Chiwetel Ejiofor for butchering his name horribly. Mal and the Hole-in-the-Boat Gang take an Alliance payroll but are set upon by reavers. Simon busts Mal a good one and gets dumped on a planet where River is driven cuckoo by a Fruity Oaty Bar commercial. Wash suggests they talk to their old friend, Mr. Universe. Yes. Mr. Universe. You remember him. Inara wants Mal to come and not fight with her. Trap! I show off my English degree my identifying “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Book will take his secrets to the grave. Wash doesn’t have any secrets, but if he did, so would he. River is carrying a politician’s secret to a lot of other people’s graves. The horror of the Pax is exposed. Kaylee and Simon sort out their romantic difficulties by killing reavers. River becomes a Super Bass-o-matic. Inara might hang around. All’s well that ends we— Wait… what’s with the graves?

I’m watching the R1 DVD version. Start the film on the countdown.

Firefly series

I wrote an analysis of Firefly and Serenity, but I found that I wasn’t done with thinking about it. So I started doing audio commentaries. I love audio commentaries found on DVDs and often listen to fan commentaries of movies I especially like. In fact, the presence of commentaries by the director, producer, stars, and effects guys regularly sway my DVD purchase. I hate bare-bones DVDs and often wait for special editions. Are you listening Hollywood?
Continue reading Firefly series

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