Episode 166 – Harlan County, USA

Episode 166 – Harlan County, USA

Harlan County, USA (Kopple, 1976) is still a gut punch some fifty years later. Watching the violent and bloody events unfold as miners strike to be recognized for their union organization, for better wages and more safety measures, and simply to live by the end of their shift, their voices…

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Episode 165 – Shadow of a Doubt

Episode 165 – Shadow of a Doubt

Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1943) was a turning point in the career of the master of suspense. It was reportedly Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite film he ever made. It is also what I consider to be his first truly American film. Once he looked into small town America’s heart of…

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Episode 164 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Episode 164 – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill, 1969) is a delight to watch time and again, a true piece of entertainment that seems to hit all the right notes. Surprisingly, the film was not an immediate hit with some critics or with directors like John Boorman who were confounded by…

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Episode 163 – The Last Picture Show

Episode 163 – The Last Picture Show

The Last Picture Show (Bogdanovich, 1971) will break your heart in a million different ways, all of them Texan. As an expatriate from a town very much like this, it hits me where I live. I’ve seen those fights on Main Street between guys who were best friends and will…

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Episode 162 – Vagabond

Episode 162 – Vagabond

When we first see Mona, she is already dead. In Vagabond (1985), Agn├Ęs Varda then sets about to reconstruct the last days and weeks of this young woman’s life, as witnessed and retold through the eyes of others. We learn that none of these people really seemed to know Mona,…

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Episode 160 – Rushmore

Episode 160 – Rushmore

Is Rushmore (1998) your favorite Wes Anderson film? It is certainly mine. When I first saw it in the theater when I was about 22, it hit me where I lived. This rich vein of the blackest comedy combined with pathos of a young man’s singular saga delighted and moved…

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Episode 159 – Tremors

Episode 159 – Tremors

We owe a debt of gratitude to Tremors (Underwood, 1990). Its arrival kicked off another boom cycle for one of our favorite subgenres – the creature feature! About every twenty years we get a new permutation of this subgenre and now it was the nineties’ turn. It was time for…

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Episode 158 – Diabolique

Episode 158 – Diabolique

Is Diabolique (Clouzot, 1955) a film noir or a thriller? We firmly assert that it is one of the most delectable, and yes, diabolical noir masterpieces to come out of the 1950s. That it manages to be thrilling as well is a testament to the deft hand of Henri-Georges Clouzot,…

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