Episode 047 – The Pope of Greenwich Village

Episode 047 – The Pope of Greenwich Village

It is fair to say that no movie has ever made as big a difference to me as The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984). I was fourteen when it arrived and it became the conduit to cinema adulthood for me. I might not have been able to articulate it at…

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Episode 046 – Michael Jackson’s This Is It

Episode 046 – Michael Jackson’s This Is It

I usually seek out documentaries to find a fresh perspective or insight on the film’s subject. When the documentary is about a person, I want to try to understand, to know the person. Part performance, part rehearsal, part behind-the-scenes documentary, Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Ortega, 2009) chronicles the preparations…

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Episode 045 – The Third Man

Episode 045 – The Third Man

The Third Man (1949) is rightly hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. I thought so the very first time I saw it and I think so even more now. Carol Reed’s virtuosity and Graham Greene’s nimble and acerbic assessment of the post-war human condition (and possibly himself)…

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Episode 044 – The Enchanted Cottage

Episode 044 – The Enchanted Cottage

I first saw The Enchanted Cottage (1945) very late at night, alone. I was entranced by the very singular tone and the quiet romance, and while the film stayed with me, it hasn’t necessarily been constantly on my mind. Since our episode on Desperately Seeking Susan (Seidelman, 1985), I’ve been…

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Episode 043 – The Andromeda Strain

Episode 043 – The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain (1971) is one of the building blocks of my scifi cinema education. I was born as science fiction films really began to lean into realism and more serious subject matter. The fears of the atomic age were beginning to wane and anxieties about artificial intelligence and what…

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Episode 042 – Desperately Seeking Susan

Episode 042 – Desperately Seeking Susan

Susan Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) blew my nine year-old mind, coincidentally arriving at the time when Madonna was just beginning to blow my mind. I had never seen anything like the film or Madonna, the New York they presented, or the characters they created. I was immediately smitten. They…

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Episode 041 – Do the Right Thing

Episode 041 – Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) is an all time great. It bursts with life and joy while simultaneously chronicling one of the things that is worst about life in America: our racial discord. It’s a hard movie to watch in places, and those are the places we most…

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Episode 040 – I Walked with a Zombie

Episode 040 – I Walked with a Zombie

If someone tells you not to love them, take them at their word. Who knows what may be lurking in their tower? So if we learned anything from I Walked with a Zombie (1943), producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur’s spare yet lush and dreamy film, it’s that not…

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Episode 038 – Meet John Doe

Episode 038 –  Meet John Doe

I first saw Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe (1941) at least fifteen years ago and had not revisited it, though it left me with very strong impressions. It was those impressions that made it a clear choice for the new year and our new political landscape. As for the film…

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