S1: The following podcast contains explicit language like.
S2: Shiell in great shape. I am.
S3: What’s in the box?
S4: Yo, yo, yo.
S5: Hi, this is Dana Stevens, Slate’s movie critic here with a Slate Spoiler special on Uncut Gems, the new film from the Safdie Brothers starring Adam Sandler. And joining me in the Slate studio to talk uncut gems are Heather Shadel, who’s a staff writer at Slate. Hey, Heather. 18F. And also Jeffrey Bloomer, a Slate senior editor. Hey, Jeff. Hi. So I think you guys are a little fresher from this movie than me. So you may have to prop up on a couple of plot details because there’s a lot of twists and turns through rocks in people’s intestines and other places. Weird movie. And I probably saw it a week ago at this point. First, I’ll do my usual. Just go around the table and get a quick response. Yes or no? Would you send a friend or family member over the holidays to see uncut gems?
S6: Yes, but I would check with them on their recent heart-healthy. It is a it is a tense movie and I will recommend it to people, but it is a grueling watch.
S5: Yes. I want to get into whether that grueling this is worth the Grewal or not, because in my particular case, I didn’t really find it. So what about you? Yes, I absolutely loved. Were you both really fond of it? Like, if you had a top 10 for the year, would you think about putting uncut gems in it?
S7: I think I would. For about half the movie, I thought, OK. This is like two punishing you for this after years. Like, I don’t know how much more of us I can take. And then by the end I was like, this is complete catharsis and loved it. So it’s just a tough movie, but I think so.
S1: I think I loved it a little more than that, just from the minute I saw Adam Sandler and in that costume. I just think he was amazing and I was so compelled by everything in it.
S5: Yeah, I guess to me the question is going to end up being and we’ll get into this, whether that catharsis ever really does come, because this movie has such an unrelenting pace and tone, there’s really not any modulation in that tone. Maybe we should actually to give a sense of it, just throw him to a clip from the trailer, which, if nothing else, will give you a sense of the sound mix of this movie, which I’m sure we’ll talk about the the layering of dialogue and music and background noise and just the general sense of claustrophobic sound clutter that is happening at every moment of uncut gems.
S8: Let’s go play soccer. All right. Laurie or Joe, again, welcome by.
S9: I made a crazy risk gamble. It’s about to pay off. I want the subjects to cover. I want to self-contained. Oh, my God. Points and rebounds. What do you know? Don’t know, I guess, now?
S10: Well, I’ll tell you what, I know it’s the dumbest fucking ballet ever heard of. I disagree. I disagree. Gary.
S5: So that should give you a little bit of a sense of the emotional tonality of this movie, which, as we were saying, is just sort of stays at eleven the whole time. And that is also to some degree a safty brothers thing. I mean, maybe we should quickly talk about who they are and where this movie comes in their career. This is their sixth feature film, I believe, which is a lot given how young they are. They’re 35 and 33 years old. Two brothers from New York who have this very particular filmmaking, language and vibe that all of their films so far that I’ve seen share. And certainly their last one good time with Robert Pattinson, which was I would say along with this sort of they’re moving into the mainstream right now, using bigger stars and getting a little bit more out of the indie world where they started. That movie also has nonstop pacing, very similar sort of seedy underbelly of New York setting and a somewhat similar main character in the sense that Robert Pattinson, bank robber, is just as luckless and doomed and makes just as poor decisions in every moment as Adam Sandler’s jeweler does in uncut gems. But this movie seems to have represented even more of a step into the mainstream for them, like it’s gotten lots of prizes. My own group, New York Film Critics Circle gave it best director, I think for the brothers. And then the National Board of View just gave it, I think, a best actor award in addition to making it one of their top ten movies. So it seems like even though I’m not the funders of uncut gems, we’re gonna be hearing a lot about it in the next few months over over awards season.
S6: Yeah, I think that’s right. I love these brothers for a long time and I am interested in this new, particularly frenetic time that they’re in, because if you look at some of the older movies like Daddy Long Legs or I Always Want to court haven’t been way, but it’s Heaven Knows What, which featured like real life heroin addicts in New York. The movies just to be more circumspect. Certainly there was always like a tone of desperation and there was always a protagonist who was living on the edge in a way that seemed deliberately making the audience uncomfortable. But what’s changed is like this, like sort of electronic, propulsive, does all consuming sense of like desperation and like having to achieve something. And like the whole movie feels like one long shot of that is fairly new. They used to be quieter. I’m not sure what to make of that evolution.
S5: Yeah. I mean, I have to say that my favorite of the rules that I’ve seen is probably Daddy Long Legs, which is their most autobiographical movie too. It feels like a first movie. It’s not their very first movie, but it was their second and sort of their first autobiographical movie. This movie has autobiographical elements as well. Apparently their father, who is in a way the villain, but a somewhat pitiable villain of heaven, knows what. Right. Was it pretty irresponsible, Dad? And a very strange dad. And at some point during their childhood, he worked in Manhattan’s Diamond District. And I’m not sure if he was a hustler on the level of Adam Sandler’s character in this movie, but he was certainly around characters like that. And they seemed to be interested in those kinds of characters, people who exist on the margins of New York and are kind of hustling their way to make a living. So maybe we should describe I’m gonna throw this to you, Heather. Describe Howard Ratner, the character that we meet by traveling through his bowels after the credits sequence of uncut gems.
S1: Sure. So Howard Ratner is played by Adam Sandler. He owns his own jewelry shop in the Diamond District. But it’s sort of in this suite where you enter it from. Like it’s not like he has a storefront and he’s very connected in the Diamond District where I guess everyone sort of knows each other. And he lives on Long Island, where he has this beautiful family that sort of like Shelley new money. His wife is played by Adina Menzel and he has three children. He’s addicted to gambling. He has a mistress. He works with him in the jewelry shop. And his life is sort of a mask. He’s estranged from his wife. He he can never make it anywhere on time. He he owns all these people, all these debts. So they’re chasing him down. But he still thinks he’s doing fine and is thinks like the next big score is what’s going to fix everything.
S5: Yeah. He’s sort of a beautiful loser in a kind of 70s movie mode. And in general, these guys seem to be very indebted to things like Sidney Lumet, movies about New York in the 70s or Midnight Cowboy. You know, I mean, he’s almost a character, although this movie takes place in 2012. So it’s relatively contemporary. He seems to be somebody out of those days of New York.
S6: Yeah, absolutely. It seems like they’re almost making an argument about New York having those fringes and then still being very much alive. Like if it seems like they’re saying if you go to 47 straight between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, you can find these people. We did that have the people in the movie or the actual people going on that street. It seems that they’re pushing back against the general consensus that New York is now boring or doesn’t have these people living on the fringes anymore.
S5: Yeah, it seems like the main reason they said it in 2012 really is so that Kevin Garnett, who appears as himself a basketball star, could still be a basketball player. Right. They wanted to set it then so that they could have the 2012 playoffs serve as part of the climax of their movie.
S6: Totally. Now. I want to get ahead of ourselves. Did you guys know that that was a real basketball player? Yes, I did.
S11: I realized the three of us are probably no sports unasked. But I knew enough that I knew he was a real basketball player and I knew his nickname was K.G..
S1: I did not know that he was retired now. And that 2012 was sort of like he was already older than me and more of a veteran.
S5: Same. I didn’t know the retired stuff, but I just figured from the safty brothers general process, as you say, of casting people from different walks of life as themselves. Right. The weekend also appears as himself in this movie. I figure that it must be a real basketball player.
S12: I’m dating a real jock now and he’s going to murder me. But I had no idea. Did you see the movie? Not yet. We can get into it later. But I think people who know what happened in the 2012 playoffs with the Boston Celtics are gonna have a fundamentally different experience with this movie than if you don’t know what’s going to happen. Right.
S5: Except that I feel like even if you didn’t know, it would be somewhat telegraphed by. Well, or maybe not. I guess I guess there’s a lot hanging on that game. But either way, I mean, whether they won or lost that game. You just know that Howard Ratner is doomed from the beginning. Yes. And some people are talking about that as a strength of this movie. But I mean, I’m just gonna put it out there at the top of our spoiler. I felt like every turn in this movie, I had a basic idea where it was gonna go. I didn’t necessarily know how he was gonna screw himself and his entire family over and probably die by the end of the movie. But I just knew that that was gonna happen because because this movie has no modulation in its tone. And and I know that’s purposeful on this RFD part. But to me, the catharsis, Jeff, that you were mentioning never really came or if it did, it came upfront. I just sort of knew in advance, like, there’s gonna be hell to pay for living this way because the whole movie is sort of about racking up debts, emotional and financial, that you can never possibly pay off. I mean, a big practical logistical question that occurred to me when we get the first 20 minutes or so that set up the way, the crazy way that Howard Ratner lives is how did he get so rich? I mean, if he’s this bad at every single business decision and everything he does is this kind of small hustle that doesn’t work out and he’s constantly gambling big. How does this little jewelry store that, as you say, doesn’t even have a storefront to 47 Street, keep his wife living in style and Long Island and make them have this nice life? I mean, is it just 2012 economy is different than what we would have today? It just seemed to me like unless we had some explanation of how much worse things got for him all of a sudden in 2012, he wouldn’t have been able to build any kind of fortune on the level of dysfunction that he lived that.
S12: I don’t know. Heather, what did you think? I thought that the movie made a slightly more rosy argument about him in general. I think you did. I think I did. I did assume something horrible was going to happen to him. But I also like he does when he like wins, he wins that giant bad night. Like, that’s like what he’s like wrote everything on. It seems like he knew once he got money that he was gonna gamble. Maybe even if he had got the million he was supposed to give for the Oprah, he would have done it. And then he did win. And there was that moment of like, holy shit, he pulled this off. He you know, it wasn’t an opportune moment and it didn’t end well for him, but he did.
S7: And I think you also do have a sense that he’s desperate, right. Because he’s he’s about to be kicked out by his wife because of his mistress, presumably. Right. Is that was your read on that?
S1: Yeah. Or she is asking for a divorce, I think. Yeah. Now that you mention it, it does seem like how did things so his father in law. I guess Idina Menzel helps him out with money at some point in the movie. I play by Judd Hirsch. So maybe he helped set him up in some way or, you know, how did he become a jewelry dealer? Like was his father or someone else originally in the business with him? Yeah, I don’t know.
S5: I kind of wanted a little bit more of that. I mean, I feel like the same thing with Goodtime that this actors are really good at creating a mood and Amelio and a tone and a kind of emotional affective net that you get caught up in. And that happens in both those movies, good time and uncut gems. But in both those movies also, I don’t really understand the kind of socio economic reality of the characters. At the same time, there’s a whole lot of detail about what their everyday experiences like and not a whole lot of background about where they came from or how they got there. And so I ended up being, for example, really unsatisfied with what could have been that great Sader scene, the long I think there Judd Hirsch’s house at that point. I’m not sure who’s her whose house they’re at, but they’re at the extended family’s house, having their Sader and. And there’s so many great little family details in there. But as you say, I didn’t quite understand. Well, what about his family? You know, is he closer to her family than his family? Does he come from any money? Sort of how does all of this work together? One point much later on to Judd Hirsch, his father in law gets in on a scheme with him. Right. And goes to that auction house and artificially bids up the gem. And you’re also not sure how long he’s been dragging that character who’s named Gooey. So we don’t know how long he’s been dragging Gooey into his schemes or if he objects to it. Then Eric Bogosian, who plays his brother in law, is also one of his debtors who’s lent him a bunch of money. And maybe this is because just the dialogue was overlapping. It was going so fast. But it took me quite a while to put together that Eric Bogosian was actually his brother in law because we get to know him as his debtor who’s sending thugs to beat him up. Oh, yeah. I got to know that he’s his brother in law. Is that supposed to be a surprise reveal?
S6: Yes, I think so. When you see him there, and which I think underlines the desperation of a situation, I think that’s deliberate. I guess that sense of disorientation that you describe is purposeful. And to you, it made you want to know more details and feel like you weren’t connecting to the story. But to me, I kept me off kilter in a way that I thought was helpful to put me in the spirit of what, however, was going through.
S5: Yeah, people love the off kilter ness of this movie and also Adam Sandler’s performance in it, which I agree is great. But I’ve also been somewhat baffled by the critical wave of praise for Adam Sandler because I just feel like Adam Sandler. He’s done so many great dramatic roles over the past 20 years. I mean, I feel like I could just take them off, you know, punch drunk love and Meyerowitz stories then movies that aren’t good like Spanglish. But he still plays a straight dramatic role in it. Or The Meyerowitz Stories, the Bombach movie from a couple years ago. Like it’s so not news that Adam Sandler can act. So to me, I felt like he was just kind of turning the Sandler up to eleven. I mean, I’m not trying to make this movie my enemy or something, but if this becomes kind of widely cited as Adam Sandler is back, I I guess I’m just scratching my head a little bit about it because he never seems like he really went away.
S11: Right? Well, I just wanted to add, I think it is purposeful that the disorientation aspect, as Jeff said, but maybe it’s a little under thought because I was thinking about that Sader scene. So I think it’s at Judd Hirsch’s house. But then Adam Sandler’s mom is there, too. And when you’re at your in-laws house are like your parents there now. Right.
S5: Just it’s a pretty big deal that his mom is suddenly in that scene. And I actually did love the scene where she was reading the plagues out in Hebrew. And he’s putting the drops of wine on the plate. Little details like that are such nice texture, you know, but but why couldn’t the mom be a character, you know? I mean, not making her a character is leaving a story element on the table that I think would have enriched the story. Right. Because it’s one more person that you can either be disgusted with him or concerned for him or teach us something about him. But she was really just there to add texture in that scene. Another example of a moment that I thought there was a story element left on the table is when Damani, the character played by Keith Stanfield, who we haven’t talked about, but he’s sort of a a hustler who helps get people into the store, right. He seems to be this freelancer whose job is to get high rollers into the store and possibly spend money there, including Kevin Garnett and his crowd. So there’s this moment. The two of them jump in a car, right, because Kevin Garnett has borrowed the gym, that hunk of Opal, which we have introduced, I guess, I guess I should say, at the oncogenes. Yes. And we actually also didn’t talk about the very intro to the movie in Africa. So do you want to interest introduce us to the gem, Jeff, through that that pre credits called Open?
S6: Yes, I’d love to. So the movie opens with like a very uncharacteristic shot for this after his nightly file because it’s not New York. I’m not sure that they actually filmed in Ethiopia.
S5: I think they did. I stayed to the end of the credits and there seemed to be an Africa unit. So they went a long way for a very short scene.
S6: It’s not surprising. I can imagine them not wanting to film something like that somewhere else. But you. And the scene with these like beautiful, like panoramic, what I presume are drum shots over like the coast. And then you go in to what seems to be like a diamond mine of sorts, or at least a precious mineral mine through a series of close-ups on someone’s very open wound. I realize that the workers are in the midst of a revolt because someone was injured and two others go down in the mine and find what seems to be a quite beautiful stone. And then the next time we see it, it’s arriving inside of a fish in the jewelry shop.
S13: And Adam Sandler is freaking out. Kevin Garnett, who I now know is a basketball player, isn’t in the shop when it arrives. The key Stanfill has brought him there trying to sell him. I don’t know, some kind of expensive watch or something. And Adam Sandler freaks out and opens up the jam.
S14: And it is a quite beautiful opal. I don’t know much about this sort of industry. I mean, what these things are actually worth. But it is a great rock. And Adam Sandler, this is basically him. Howard has put all of his eggs in this basket. It seems like it’s a very valuable. He expects to get a million dollars for it. And Kevin Garnett, the basketball player, falls in love with it. He he gives this very rousing speech about how dinosaurs walked with it. Let’s look. And truly like long has a long history. That’s quite infectious, I think. And he sells it a little, too. And then Kevin Garnett takes the jam and says, I need this for tonight. I have a game. And Howard’s like, no. And ultimately, let him take it, even though it’s supposed to be auction within a few days.
S5: Yeah. Which is the very first horrible decision you make, which leads to so many other horrible decisions. I want to get back to the jam and what it means to the Safdie brothers, what they’re trying to say in all of these mystical shots inside the gym, et cetera. But let’s shelve that for the moment. Thank you for explaining that, because I wanted to just say that after Kevin Garnett, as you say, takes the rock because he’s mystically kind of bonded with it and decided that it’s his good luck charm for the game that night. And Howard Ratner, Adam Sandler’s character, very stupidly agrees to let him take it, although he does take his NBA championship ring as collateral. Right. There’s this moment where Garnett doesn’t return it the next day and Doumani and Howard get in a car to go to drive to Philadelphia. Right. And so in my mind, I thought, oh, great, there’s going to be a different tonality to this. There’s gonna be a road trip. You know, there’s going to not be this kind of constant, frenetic screaming in your face, Adam Sandler. There’s going to be some moment where, like Keith Stanfield is pulling over and getting hit, Twinky, it gets to him or something. And and we’ll get to know something about their friendship, about Dumanis character. You know, that there would be a little world building in that transition. And instead, they cut to immediately them being in Philadelphia. And that, you know, again, is part of the always jumping ahead kind of pacing of this movie. But like the mom at the Sader, it was a moment where I sort of thought, well, wait a minute. Keith Stanfield, I want to know more about him. And in fact, he does kind of drop out of the movie. We never really learn what happens to him at the end. So I guess I guess to me, these are all examples of this compelling world being set out there and then parts of it just kind of being let drop because of the amount of space that the Adam Sandler character takes up in every second of the movie.
S6: Yes. And so while this is all happening, I just want to bring up the next subject, which we haven’t talked about at all. But as my favorite part of this movie, his mistress, as they’re called her, she is this. Her name, Julia in the movie. And it turns out in real life. Another thing I didn’t know until I read about the movie after her name is Julia Fox. She’s like a real like downtown girl type classic, New York, like tabloid fixture type of person.
S5: Another thing that we think of is disappearing from New York, right? The e.D, Sedgwick’s or whatever. But she’s she’s a real life woman.
S6: Oh, no. She she’s apparently as in her. There’s a. If anyone’s interested in this sort of world and like finds this woman the music in the movie, I highly recommend The New York Times styles did just a big piece about her and it is fucking hilarious like that down.
S5: So she’s kind of a similar character in real life.
S7: Yes. I mean, everyone’s like there’s like a great part where they, like other actresses, like tried out for the part like like real actresses. Cause she’s apparently never really acted before. And she was like, yeah, but I’m playing me. And also like they didn’t have enough budget.
S15: Like, that’s how I thought about the movie.
S11: Well, it was sort of based on her, but then she still had to audition.
S7: I think that’s basically. Yeah, that’s what my understanding.
S11: I also thought she was fantastic. She’s so beautiful. But she also seems real to me. She just reminded me of so many people I’ve known, the way she talks, she sort of has this like weird lisp sometimes. And this question linger for me. But like, was her butt real? She thought that I was like, did she get button. injections? When are we going to talk about that?
S15: I love that question.
S7: I have anything. I would imagine it would be inserted, but maybe this after’s wouldn’t allow that. Actually, that’s kind of sad that they probably. Then again, if she does that in real life, maybe they would. That’s hard to say.
S5: Oh, her character would completely. Right. I mean, there’s kind of an implication that her character was basically a call girl before she got put up by Adam Sandler as his mistress. Right. Because when she’s in the what? In the bathroom with the weekend right at the party, the thing that drives this huge wedge between them. She says something to Adam Sandler when he pulls her out, like I was on the verge of closing a huge deal, remember? And then he says, Oh, you’re just a skank. I can’t remember. He insults her in some way. And she says, oh, but you knew what I was when we got together or something like that.
S15: I mean, it’s all set at top volume with only a point ever shrieking in the background. Yeah.
S5: Electronic score. So you might not have gotten that line. But I think that there’s kind of an implication that, you know, she used to kind of go from guy to guy and now she’s been sort of a kept woman by Adam Sandler for a while, although we also get the revelation in the second half of the movie, which is a total surprise to me that she’s kind of in love with him.
S6: Yeah, I guess my read on that was more that she was like some sort of like promotor hustler type who like needed those relationships in order to like make money somehow. But I. It could have been that, too. So basically, while this is all happening, Adam Sandler Howard is having this affair with her and she’s like a big part of his life. And they’re like there’s like a great sex scene where he’s like hiding in the closet, texting her, telling her to do establish he’s doing and he’s watching. It’s actually kind of, I don’t know, almost touching. I guess I was less surprised than he would. It turns out they love each other like I was.
S5: You surprise. She loves him. I mean, he doesn’t have a lot to offer.
S6: Well, he’s kind of flashy and rich and like does give her an apartment. And also, like, he’s not, like, completely repulsive in a way. A character like this could have been like he’s Adam Sandler. He’s only in his 50s. He’s like relatively handsome man. All things considered. Like, I don’t know. I didn’t think that the sexual issues have seemed so crazy. But anyway, I was saying that the weekend he’s plays himself in 2012 where they act like no one’s heard of him, but by then he was it was already a thing.
S11: Right. I’m not sure. I mean, that’s around the time he was emerging. Oh, and I noticed at the beginning of the movie, the second time I watched it, he is credited as his real name is like Abel Tesfaye. It was just fun to see an onscreen, but that was around the time he was emerging. And I when he first came out, it was definitely like his name is great for joking like the weekend. What’s that about the person?
S6: I guess we’re jumping around a lot. But the point is, is that they’re in the club and he’s like randomly in this movie and a bunch of scenes. And he has a thing with Julia Howard’s girlfriend where they’re in the bathroom and the scene. I was honestly surprised that he was willing to do it because it was like borderline rape. I thought like she was saying, no, don’t touch me. No, no. And he was like, I don’t really like taking no for an answer. And I thought I was sort of a weird thing for someone to be willing to do, playing even a fictionalized version of themself.
S5: Interesting. Interesting. Because the no touching to me, that was another moment when I thought she seemed like a professional because it was almost like what a stripper would say in the backroom of a strip club or something like that. I felt like her no touching was not so much. I don’t want to be touched as like that’s not part of the deal yet, but yeah, could be.
S7: I mean, they’re doing coke in a bathroom and like a like a be packing club. I think it is. Right. Chelsea laughs I guess the implications here are sort of open to interpretation, right?
S5: I mean, but again, I feel like this speaks again to the murkiness of the movie is that none of us quite know what Julia is like. You would think that she might have some kind of side hustle, but she also works in a jewelry store and she seems to me like a call girl. And maybe that’s also supposed to be like floating on the surface. But a part of me wants to have more about this world nailed down for me to actually understand. Like, where does Julia come from? Where does her money come from? What would she do if she didn’t have Adam Sandler? How desperate would she be for money? Those things all seem important and things like why she makes the decision to place that giant bet for him at the end. An incredibly risky thing for her to do.
S6: Yeah, yeah. I guess I mostly want to talk about because I love the performance so much. Just so so enjoy spending time with the character.
S5: I completely agree. And she has that quality that this RFD try to bring when they cast people that aren’t professional actors as they often do, which is that, you know, you don’t even ask the question, can she actor, can she not? She’s just a wonderful personality and presence on screen. Like, I don’t care if she has range and could do anything else. I just want that person’s personality to come across.
S1: And it’s great seeing, you know, her magnetic quality interact with like camming Garnett’s like she flirts with him and they interact for a minute. It’s great seeing those energies bounce off of each other.
S5: Kevin Garnett is actually also really good and he has a very hard thing to do. I mean, he has to play I don’t know if he really does have a superstitious streak in real life, but he has to play this moment of this weird passion for this rock.
S11: You know, I wanted to say this is gonna be a such like entry level comment. But it’s I think part of what’s funny about the rock is like in basketball, you call the ball the rock sometimes. So like that he’s carrying this rock around it. It just like relates back to basketball in that way.
S16: I love that. That is the facts that I did not. Thank you.
S5: So I feel like there’s so many things happening at once in this movie that I’m not sure what thread to trace. But I think we should maybe just go with the thugs, the various hired muscle people from. Actually, Vince is gonna have a funny point in the movie from two different vets, apparently. Right. There’s two different sets of creditors that are chasing him around with muscle. One of them seems to be. Area, the other sort of old, balding, gray haired guy with his gray haired muscle just gets locked out of the shop and ignored most of the time.
S16: Yeah, I know. They’re so good.
S5: And they also are just great character faces that were found around New York somewhere. But it’s Eric Bogosian, his brother in law. Howard’s brother in law, who’s hired the more serious thugs to chase him around. And. And they get him into all kinds of scrapes, some of them comical, like when he’s locked naked into his trunk at his daughter’s high school play. There’s a kind of a slapstick element at the beginning to some of the situations he gets in because of his being so deeply in debt all the time.
S7: Yeah, that’s him. Seems kind of weird. Like, why did they just drive him around and then put him in the trunk? I guess to humiliate him in front of his wife.
S5: I think the idea was to humiliate him. Yeah. So that his wife will know. You know, I mean, it’s interesting because that’s his brother in law, right. So that’s kind of his wife’s relative. We don’t know if it’s his wife’s brother or his wife’s sister as husband.
S1: But I think we’re supposed to assume it’s his wife’s sisters has been because she’s talking about her sister and how her sister is jealous of her sometimes. And also he’s still not Jewish, that he can’t be in her family.
S7: Heather is interviewing the Saudis specifically about the movie’s like elements of like New York area Jewishness. And I’m wondering, do you have a good grand theory or assessment of the movie and the depiction? Because, I mean, it’s been pointed out for that. There’s this is this guy is quite obsessed with money. He’s quite obsessed with African-American culture. He’s he there’s stereotypical elements.
S15: So if Jesus wasn’t made by two Jews, I think it would Semitism.
S7: Right, to say nothing of the women. I mean, I also love the Idina Menzel character when she, like it, stares at Howard and calls him, says, your faces are stupid, you’re stupid.
S15: I’ll get in that scene. It made me wish there was more. More. Dina.
S7: But like where they’re always, like, screaming at each other about apartments for dresses. Say it’s like a lot.
S13: And I want Vivus look at this. Look at this. And I just thought that. I’m just wondering, like, do you. What was your general vibe when it came to did you think?
S1: Well, we didn’t mention yet. So that Jamm from Africa. It comes from Ethiopian Jews. So there is like this heritage or connection between the Howard character and and like they’re Jews. He’s a Jew, but he’s also like stealing it from them and exploiting them. And I think that comes into play later with just his relationship with the black community in general, like Kevin Garnett sort of questions him about it. I was reading a little bit that this character is based on a few different people, but one of them is this real guy, Jacob, the jeweler who sold a lot of rapper’s things and got famous for that. And then eventually went to jail. And he he was Jewish. He was Bukhari N or a Jew from East Pakistan. And it’s just like it reminds me in the wire of all the thugs having Jewish layers. It’s just like, of course, the diamond dealer is a Jew. What other type is that? And loving basketball, too. I mean, like the Howard character, like says his little repeated stat about how the first person who scored in the NBA or whatever was a Jew. And it it just I don’t know. It it made sense to me. I don’t think there was anything known nefarious about it.
S5: I agree. But I would be curious to you when you talk to this after Blow Brothers, please ask them the question that I’m about to ask you guys. Why do you think the movie starts in Africa? What do you think they’re trying to say about whether it’s about the relation of blacks to Jews in the United States or about labor exploitation or oppose globalism? Why did they travel all that way to get a very short scene in Africa so that we know the origin of this gem?
S7: Yeah, please do. Asa. Heather. Heather, we haven’t said Heather. I’ll be talking to them in a few hours and I’m really looking forward to the interview.
S6: To me, my read on that before I was thinking more about the Jewish connection was that it felt probably a little weird to them to make a movie about the diamond trade and not or the gem trade in this case. Opel’s they’re not diamonds are they? I don’t know.
S15: No, no, I don’t think they’re even the most valuable gems.
S5: It was more it’s more I guess that this is a very rare kind of opal, likable, likable, interestingly. Right. No question. Of blacks and Jews.
S6: Yeah. I guess I saw it as them nodding to the exploitation that goes up and down. And then there’s later a great scene when Camerada finally does buy the jam from Howard where a category and it’s like, how much did you get really pay for this versus I think he pays around 165, 175. And Howard doesn’t want to tell him. And he says finally that he paid one hundred thousand for it, which is frankly more than I was expecting. And Kevin Garnett is not happy about it. And then Howard gives his big impassioned speech about how it’s like winning basketball. It’s about hustling and it’s about taking what’s yours and triumphing and having this connection to it. And I assume that it’s setting up that scene and has to do with the different pieces of the movie. And that’s a. But I am very much looking forward to the answer that they give.
S5: Because there’s something about the rock itself that’s that’s very important to them and we might as well get into that now as it’s for covering this movie from every possible different angle. Then we’ll jump back in to Howard and his peregrinations around the East Coast after the rock, but that that that opening shot where they tunnel into the rock. Right. The rock is found by the miners in the cold open. And the connection between that and the rest of the movie, the way this RFD transition into the movie proper is that the camera tunnels into the rock goes on this completely trippy psychedelic. I mean, it’s like the 2001 Space Odyssey psychedelic trip sequence, right, where we’re going through the crystal and structures of the rock and all these colors with the only trick’s point never score again going crazy. And. And then that turns into the collar NSDAP of Adam Sandler. So it’s that one of the first of two times in the movie that there’ll be this connection between the rock and a mystical universe inside the rock, and then that mystical universe turning into the interior of Howard’s body. And. And that, to me was the most intriguing thing of the whole movie, maybe because it’s so out of keeping with the tone of the rest of the movie, which, you know, is this sort of I don’t know what you’d call it. It’s very crowded and claustrophobic, but it’s hyper real. Right. I mean, there’s not any supernatural element to the movie. But in those moments, which are the book ends of the movie, the beginning and end, there seems to be the suggestion about something supernatural that connects that the gym to to Howard. I wonder if you if you guys had any thoughts about how soon did you guys know it was a call?
S11: I I felt like I was weirdly proud, like before they revealed it. Like that’s a call. And I know that we’re inside. You know, Katie Couric always does. The footage of colon piece. And and I think there actually are moments I almost don’t have the words to describe them, but that are more mystical. Yes. In the movie than than most of the movie, like there is this shot of Adam Sandler, just like in the apartment from the outside, almost like surveillance where they just play that sort of mystical score over it. And like, I don’t know what that means, but they do bring it back throughout them. The movie there will just be these sort of interludes of like derision.
S13: Yeah, I totally agree. I think one way to read this movie is like a serious man style chronicle of Howard’s like collapse.
S6: But you could also read it as someone who knows who really does have a mystical connection to the rock into these events. It’s eventually going to get him and knows that he has to bet it’s not a gambling addiction, it’s a divine sort of perogative or something. And the movie kind of allows for that reading, I think. I mean, it doesn’t again, it does not end well as we’re going to get to presumably fairly soon. But I don’t know. I started to believe him at some point. I started to believe that what he was doing wasn’t so, so crazy, which I don’t know, maybe that speaks to them of his power if I hadn’t.
S5: But it’s like overwhelms me enough that I start to understand why he acted the way I feel like I’ve I’ve seen movies about gambling addiction before that give me that feeling, specifically owning Mahoney and if you guys know it. But it’s this kind of indie with Philip Seymour Hoffman where he plays a compulsive gambler. He’s so good in it. And and it makes a lot of connections like that. There are moments where you sort of can see how for him, this pathetic thing of just standing all night at a table in a casino has this kind of sacred quality, you know, a mystical quality that he’s connecting with luck and fate and all of these things. And also the gambler, which I believe was originally a Dostoyevsky story that was made into this great movie with James Caan in the 1970s and directed by Carroll Rise. And it has I remember a moment when he’s about to win big and he’s in front of a window that looks sort of like a stained glass window with light coming through, you know, and there’s this connection of apotheosis and gambling. So I feel like I I’m familiar with that cinematic experience, but I never had it in uncut gems and I didn’t even know I was supposed to. Exactly, except in those moments of tunneling through the rock, which again stuck with me as this kind of mystery outside of the movie. But yeah, we should we should hasten Howard to his side. I’m not even going to remember all the things that happened in the middle of the movie when he’s chasing the rock. But he definitely goes to Philadelphia with Doumani. Stan Field’s character and fails to get the rock there. Right. They can’t find Kevin Garnett. And they they sort of lose each other as well. I couldn’t take the bus back by Keith.
S13: This is him, right? And then, like, he just like, walks away into the locker room. And then the next thing you know, Howard’s back in New York and you’re like, oh, I guess that’s over.
S5: Yeah, that was that was another failed attempt. And then after that, he gets in trouble with the auction house. There’s the whole kind of ongoing problem with the snobby English auctioneers who want to get the rock to sell it.
S1: I read that the that’s voiced by Tilda Swinton.
S15: That’s amazing. Wow.
S5: It’s amazing that she read to do it. You have such a small part. But of course, she was able to give it that icy British reserve that makes makes him seem so out of place in the jewelry house, which I love. But eventually he gets gooey. Judd Hirsch’s father in law, too. Went into an auction against Kevin Garnett. The idea being to artificially drive up the price. But of course, that feels too right.
S1: He ends up with the Romney Adam Sandler, just based on his own estimation, says. Well, it’s X. It’s, you know, a thousand to three thousand per carat and then it’s six hundred carats. So this has to be worth a million. But the jewelry house, when they actually get it and they appraised it, it’s for much less, which she’s sort of panicking about. But then he still needs to sell it because he needs to make some profit on it. And he knows that Kevin Garnett is interested and is going to bid on it, but he doesn’t know if anyone will bid against him. So that’s where the Judd Hirsch character comes in. He’s he’s shown up to sort of support Howard. And then Howard has to ask him, you know what? Well, you drive up the price, right.
S5: But of course, it fails. And he ends up stuck with the rock himself. And so the very last transaction that happens, remind me again, how does Kevin Garnett finally come into possession of the rock?
S13: I think that they just call him and say, oh, good news is actually available again. And then he comes to the office and that’s when they have that moment where he, like, kind of questions the past of the rock and how much he’s being exploited. And Howard launches into his great tirade about hustling and just justifying basically in a fairly convincing way that he deserves the rock. And then he finally sells it to him. He had Pandit’s championship ring that he’d taken as collateral and he finally gotten that back. And the movie finally has this moment where you think, OK, things are calming down. He’s got finally this is finally happening the way that it’s supposed to happen. And then immediately. What does Howard do?
S1: He’d also sort of broken up with Julianne. Seemed like maybe things with his wife were back on track to. And he decides to abandon all of that.
S13: Yeah, I think. Yeah. So he did have. We should just for posterity mention the amazing blowout fight scene that he has with Julie outside the club after the weekend scene happens and how he sort of discovers them in the bathroom and they just scream at each other in such a magical way on the street. And that’s like Julie as I think financing. She’s like wearing this like totally amazing how issues as marching down the street screaming at him in a way that like I imagine we could go to want to walk or whatever that club is and see it happen.
S5: But I do think thing is that after he gets in the cab and drives away, she’s walking past that line of people waiting to enter the club and they’re mocking her and she’s just like spitting it back in their face.
S1: Oh, yeah. That was so good. I love that, too. She says to someone, what are you looking at? And they retort, not much like her, you know.
S16: And then she’s like, bitch, that’s why you’re in line. And Marty’s evacuated the color of it as he was. All this happens.
S13: I guess I got less the impression that his wife was going to ever have anything to do with him again. His kids seem to hate him, too, the young woman, more than the boys. But I. Yeah, I don’t know. I got less the impression maybe he thought that was going to happen since things were presumably financially back on track.
S1: I just thought there was a moment of satisfaction or something on Adina Mansell’s face when when they visit the apartment, because Howard wants to see that Julia has moved out. She just seemed like pleased to know that she was no longer there or or something, even if she wasn’t going to take him back.
S13: That’s interesting. Yeah, I guess I didn’t know what to make of how she reacted in that scene, but maybe you’re right.
S1: But also, his son did see and did hear about his son went in to go to the bathroom and he encounters the guy from good times, which was a shot last time. And the neighbor says, oh, there’s a hot chick living in your dad’s apartment. So the son knows about it. And that sort of seed is planted if nothing comes of it. I also thought the kids were great. Like that kid is probably like eleven years old, like a pretty awkward age. They have his mustache sort of like half coming in. And he’s gambling on sports, too. And yeah, I thought that was great.
S5: Yeah, it’s it’s it’s really sad to imagine what happens to his kids and wife after the movie’s over. Right. Because. All right, we’ll get there. So, yes, he makes his last big stupid bet on I think it’s a playoff game. Right? Once again, basketball knowing listeners will be scorning us. But I think I think it was the 2012 playoffs. I if that’s a big end of season game.
S1: I looked this up. The finals series ended up being between Miami and Oklahoma. And so the Celltex eventually lost to the Miami Heat. And then that he went to the finals. But the game before that, it was Celltex versus Philadelphia and Celltex won went that. So they’re kind of like two levels removed from the finals. I’m sure there’s a much better way you could say that.
S5: It’s an important late Yazan game and that the bet he makes his extra stupid because it’s not just betting all of his money that was gonna save him from being beaten to death. But doesn’t he bet on a big spread? Doesn’t he say not only are they going to win, but they’re going to win by X number of points?
S1: He has some specifics in that the bat where it matters who. It’s the tip off. And they use this language of gambling that, you know, I don’t understand, but seems very real where it’s like three players vs. crazy eights are.
S7: Yeah, I know it is. It is specific in sports. Gambling isn’t anything, I think. But it seems legit. And we should say that during the scene where he’s making the bet, he doesn’t just make the bet. Right. He’s trapped his brother in law and the two thugs he’s been carrying around with him in like the in-between of his jewelry store. You had to be like buzz into that room and then be buzzed again.
S11: The whole movie and I love that detail. Yeah, you go through that as well.
S5: Set up that that buzzer is it barely works. It’s incredibly loud. It’s a big part of his workday to try to buzz people in and out. And that setup very well. When he locks them into basically what’s a bulletproof glass cage at the end until the game is over, he’s almost just putting them in cold storage. Right. So that I finish watching his game. It’s just very kind of geographically believable because we know the layout of the store so well by totally.
S1: Yes, he has Julia run to the other suite next door and they have to do this exchange through the window of the money. Of the money.
S7: The money had just been handed over. And they’re exchanging the money like outside has this very caper ish quality that’s like almost fun at that point, although you’re also like as I pulling your hair out because like Howard, it’s hard.
S5: But can I. Again, this is just me being a crank about this movie at any possible moment. But I would have so much more of a caper ish feeling about that money hand off and about Julia going to the casino. I was also confused where the casino is because she seems to get there.
S1: Edify I men. Easier something.
S5: She seems to get there just very quickly.
S15: In a different state, it does take a helicopter. How do we afford a helicopter? I mean, none of it makes economic sense. Oh, he booked a blade. It’s like the uber of health.
S5: But see, I would feel more caper ish and just I would believe more that she would go to this extreme to place a bet for this guy who just threw her out of her apartment. If there had been some setup of who they are to each other, how she feels about gambling, you know, is she a compulsive gambler? Does she love risk? Is part of why she’s attracted to Adam Sandler because of his attraction to risk. There was something a little bit too gangster’s moll at the ready about the fact that she was just there to place the bet. You know, and that none of what we had previously learned about their history seemed to figure into her agreement to place the bet.
S7: I sort of agree. But I also did believe it. I mean, the scene before she had shown him that she had gotten like a tattoo of his name on her ass. Right. It’s just totally ridiculous details that she’s such an ostentatious character that I could see her glomming onto this like a fellow New York sort of type in a way that it was believable to me in the moment. And while you talk about it here, I completely see why it was not you.
S5: I mean, all I needed was one scene where maybe they were watching a ballgame together and going crazy, you know, or she was placing a bet or we just had some sense that she, too, was just a crazy person who likes to take wild risks. I mean, I guess we get that a little bit from what she does with the weekend at the club. But I just didn’t know enough about her relationship to gambling or to Howard to quite understand that twist. But OK, let’s go back to the bulletproof case. You forgot who hired thugs who all by the way, I don’t know if they’re professional actors or not, but they have incredible faces. Right. They’re all sitting utterly disgusted and in disbelief that the money that’s been owed them for so long is in Adam Sandler’s hands and he has now gotten rid of it. They figure out the scheme, the gangsters mall scheme. Right. Which I can’t figure out how they figured out via a security camera.
S1: They have another thug outside and they’re just yelling to him through the door like, go, go after her. She’s at the Mohegan Sun.
S6: Yeah, I think he they heard overheard Howard say something on the phone or something like that. But somehow they figured it out. And we should say, if you haven’t seen the movie and you’re listening to this, they like where they’re located that they’re in. It’s like plexiglass, like pull a proposal. So they’re watching how I do all of this and watching the game and watching the game with him when it comes.
S1: So it’s like a security measure for somewhere, presumably where there are really expensive things changing hands like you need to be buzzed down and I guess it’s to prevent them from being robbed. But ultimately leads to his downfall.
S7: Yes. So there so this is just this amazing setup. You had to even if you don’t, I understand your objections with this. Like setup is like such a great. I completely understand where they staring at him, like freaking out, like the color is drained of their faces. They’re waving guns at Howard and Howard, just like having the fucking time of his.
S15: He’s like a loving the game.
S6: He’s loving the game. He’s loving that. Have all the pieces of on in place or so he thinks. And meanwhile, Julia is off at the casino, kind of being chased down by the thugs, the thugs, his thugs and being hit on by man. She realizes that a guy invites her out to his room and she realizes that’s actually safer for her than to be in the actual casino. So she goes up to the guy’s room. Who is this just sort of impossibly tanned? I don’t. Do you have any sense of who that guy is?
S1: Yet another round person? Yeah. Yeah, it’s another found real person, jewelry guy. It was in some piece, but he he is he has an interesting backstory.
S7: I’m sure. You’ve probably read like a biography of everybody in this movie. And so she’s seemingly safe up in the hotel room while this is all happening.
S6: And then I guess the game starts going Howards Way, which, you know, if you know anything about basketball. But I did not.
S5: I would say that what most sticks with me in that Plexiglas scene, which I kind of agree, even though there’s so much in this movie that didn’t sit well with me going up to it. It’s Lumet worthy. I mean, them in that cage, watching him watch the game. And I think my favorite thing in that scene is Eric Bogosian reaction shots as the game goes on and almost the arc that he travels from, you know, disgust to rage to resignation to in several moments, almost admiration. It’s usually when the game starts going well and he sees that this crazy scheme is actually paying off for for Howard Ratner. There’s almost the sense of, you know, he’s in awe of his brother in laws, just a stupid way of leading his life that somehow is nonetheless led to this moment.
S7: I completely agree. I thought that was some of the best supporting, I think, of the movie, just the look of complete utter helplessness going to like while he pulled it off, so. Right. And if you don’t know, Eric Bogosian is the guy who plays the Pennsylvania senator that Shiv works for on succession. I think that’s. I think that’s a reference for everyone right now. And here’s that scene. He’s just amazing in that part.
S5: I mean, to me, Eric Pagosa, I still associate him with his kind of shock jock era. He was never a D.J. but, you know, he was an actor and sort of Stand-Up Model August and stuff, who who’ve traded in abrasiveness almost of the Howard Ratner kind, you know. So it’s really like I just see him aging into this. I didn’t know that. Yeah. That there’s lots of 90s movies where he’s kind of like the obnoxious white ethnic in your face guy.
S1: While you mentioned d.j.’s, another fun cameo in this movie. That will not be familiar to us. But now is Mike Franziska the big sport and stays in it for friends, which I don’t even know how to say it is. He plays a bookie in the movie. He’s the guy with the white slicked back hair. Oh, nice. Yeah, he’s great.
S5: Yeah. And another one of those people who speaks to this, you know, this world that I wish New York was like where it’s sort of like Damon Runyon, cigar chewing dudes everywhere. All right. So we have to get to Howard said, and which I mean, for me. I knew it was gonna be sad from the beginning. Right. Like, did you guys think that Howard would survive this movie?
S13: I don’t know if I thought he was gonna die. I definitely didn’t think he was gonna succeed in what he was trying to do, which he kind of does, although God knows what he would have done when he got his hands on that money and got going to happen to Juliette at the end.
S5: Right. I mean, it’s hard to imagine that she’s gonna be able to hold onto it.
S13: Well, yeah. Let’s just quickly talk about that before we talk about the bad thing. So there’s that scene where she’s come. You see, all of a sudden she gets the money. But you see while you see the guy who she was in the hotel room getting the money, you think, oh, fuck, like maybe he does something to her. Maybe he was in on the scheme. But it’s a bait and switch, which was kind of cruel, I thought. And she’s like waiting in a limo and it’s put him up to getting the money for her so no one sees her and he gives her the money and she just drives away with it. And I have to tell you that in my personal vision of her future, she has concerns, too. She has that money and she’s carrying on Howard’s legacy and everything’s happy. But it is true that those guys know that she has our money. They thought the thugs now and possibly that’s how it goes.
S15: I just hope she’s OK. I think the money.
S16: Oh, yes. And so the reason we’re worried about her is because basically the game is over. And Howard lets them into the shop for some reason to serve, letting them out.
S1: Yeah. And at that point, they they’ve just had enough. And Eric Bogosian character has sort of lost control of them. They’re pissed off enough that they’d just shoot Howard.
S5: And and it’s that it’s that guy, the guy with the incredible face who was also a real life find him. And the fact that there’s no dialogue before he shoots him or explanation of why is really powerful, because essentially, I mean, like so much in this movie, people are just acting on impulse. And essentially, I feel like that guy just shoots him because he’s mad. He was bored being stuck in the Plexiglas cage. Yes. You know, he’s not fulfilling. Eric Bogosian desires that point. In fact, Eric Bogosian is upset about it until he is subsequently shot a few seconds later. Right. But it really seems to be this moment that just that, guys, it kind of takes over like you dissed me, you locked me in a Plexiglas cage and I’m not putting up with this anymore.
S13: Yeah, they definitely like foreshadowing. There’s a couple other scenes where he loses control to look a little bit more. It seems that Eric wants him to. And that is his finally. Yeah. And he doesn’t assume he shoots him in the head. It is like a very graphic point. Oh yeah. Kind of moment.
S5: Yeah. And even if like me, he were kind of ready for the movie to be over 20 minutes ago. It’s really sad to see to see Howard in that way. Yeah. And so is it only Eric Bogosian and Adam Sandler’s characters who end up dead in that scene. Yes. That’s the casualties of the scene. Right. And then there’s that kind of awful moment where the guys just transform into robbers, right? I mean, the hired muscle guys just start breaking open the glass cages and taking all the jewelry.
S7: Yeah, it’s it is a rough scene. Eric meets his own because he’s sort of like refuses to go along with. The robbery, I think, are he won’t stay out of it. And so the other guy has his. Just shoot him in the head, too.
S5: And then he also objects to their shooting of Howard, right. Doesn’t he say, what are you guys doing? I mean, as you say, is a moment when essentially the boss becomes their prey and they’re just they’re just this pure a moral force that’s taken over.
S1: You’re thinking of Howard’s family a little. Because there had been this suggestion earlier that maybe when they were communicating with a thug outside, that they sent someone after his family. He had called his family to tell them to to get out of their house. And they were sitting there worrying. And like that Idina Menzel character is saying, like he was naked in the trunk. This has to mean something. And they’re going to have this family tragedy that is going to sort of explain everything soon. I was picturing them finding out and kind of getting the answers to their questions, but obviously not the way that they would like to.
S5: Yeah. And as awful as their relationship was, as clear as it is that that marriage shouldn’t have lasted, it’s tragic to think of the repercussions on all these other characters. Once again, cards left on the table because we could have gotten to know some of those characters like his mother or Damani. Better to know what his death might read to them.
S1: Yes. Thinking a little of the scene. Howard had with his daughter where he was telling her how proud he was of her of being in the play. Like before he goes out to the club and she just, you know, can barely look up from her phone conversation. She’s having to acknowledge like there’s just so much teenage disdain there. And like the normal teenage disdain, but just like an extra level of it, because he’s handsome and presumably has messed up so much.
S5: Yeah. And you see all of his kids get ignored and badly. Parents advice him at various times. Right. The one that he lies to about the mistress and then the younger one who whose bedtime in the race car neon lit bed. Me, he comes up to say goodnight to him and essentially ignores him and watches basketball the whole time. So I mean, he’s a sucky, sucky dad, but it’s still a horrible ending for him. And so the very last thing that happens, we get back to my favorite part of the movie, Tunneling Inside People’s Bodies. And the camera does this very bold and weird thing. It’s been a sort of a handheld camera through the whole movie. The cinematographer is this legendary cinematographer, Derrius Kanji, who’s usually known for, you know, beautiful compositions. And he shot Midnight in Paris for Woody Allen. You know, it’s sort of for presenting these painterly images. And this movie is obviously very much the opposite. Right. It’s all about jitteriness and almost ugly neon lit surfaces and things not being beautiful. But at the end, the camera does this really bold thing of diving into the wound on Adam Sandler’s face, which is this combination of, you know, it’s it’s gross and gory, but then it becomes beautiful. And it’s essentially the reverse journey from how we started at the beginning. Right. Instead of going from inside a jewel to inside a body. It becomes the opposite of that kind of morphs into the credit sequence and. Yeah. For him, for all the trash I’ve talked about this movie, I think that ending is really brilliant. Essentially, everything from locking the guys in the cage up through that that final camera move just really works.
S6: Do we know anything about like the art design of those sequences? I was trying to place what exactly they were doing in showing like what the color saturation and all that, like what that was coming from.
S5: And I couldn’t reveal it’s credited. I I’m not going to remember the group that did it. But that specific sequence is credited in the credits and it was whatever, whatever they call it, journey inside the gym or something like that. There’s a specific outfit of special effects housing that did. And it’s very different from the rest of the movie and very different from their style, the saftey style in general, Ray. They like to be all about grit and clutter and how things really look and not to create stylized, beautiful worlds.
S7: Yeah, it’s very fanciful. I don’t know. Did you guys get any vibe of like old school, movie theater, welcome messages like when you’re riding the roller coaster in those concessions or the weird colors? I wondered if that was like at all an inspiration, but it also seems sort of out of touch with like the dramatic weight of those moments. But that was what I was thinking of when I was watching those moments.
S5: Just something about the idea of this space that’s neither organic nor inorganic. That’s kind of in between, you know, is it is a really, really cool place to end the image of your movie. Although once again, we’ll ask was after you talk to them, whether it’s straining toward, in my opinion, but anyway, reaching toward some kind of bigger meaning, metaphysical meaning or geopolitical meaning, you know, I almost thought that we might end up back at the mines again. I had this feeling when the camera went in, like, what if we ended back up at the cliffs of Africa and saw the guys in the mines, you know, and that would make me think that the point that they were trying to make with some larger geopolitical one about, you know, global trade and exploitation in labour and things like that, but they don’t ever go back there again.
S1: The message that I took from it, maybe this is corny, but something about how like there are a million stories in the naked city, like we just tunneled into one person. But like everyone has this these weird like connections inside them maybe or in New York that it used to be like that. And it was better like that.
S6: That’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought too much about its thematic way. Because I was too busy thinking of, like, the movie theater stuff. I’m interested to know what they say. And I agree with you that it’s a beautiful and touching image that feels right. Even if I don’t have the faintest clue what it means.
S5: All right. We’re ready to wrap it. I’m just realizing I forgot to tell you guys a piece of trivia that I learned about this movie, researching it before we started talking. Did you know that Jonah Hill was originally attached to play the Howard Ratner character? And how do you feel about an uncut gems that would have starred Jonah Hill instead?
S6: I learned that last night while also reading about the movie a little bit. And like, thank God I did I. I do like Jonah Hill in limited doses, but like, I think he would have brought so much less. I thought one of the nice things about Adam Sandler’s performance is that even though he is loud and screaming and like very extra, the whole movie is kind of stripped down. It doesn’t feel like he’s overdoing it. It didn’t feel very accurately. And I have a hard time believing that that would bemoan what Jonah Hill would have brought to this.
S1: And I think I wouldn’t be able to get past the age thing. You know, Adam Sandler is the perfect age for this character. I think he has kids about the same age in real life. And I like it as the story of a family man with these kind of two lives. So it wouldn’t have worked for it for Jonah Hill to have a family of that age. And also the the sort of way that we can believe that Julia type would be attracted to a Howard type with Adam Sandler. As as Jeff was saying, there’s something like maybe, maybe Jeff and I if not Dana, goodbye about it. Like there’s something lovable about him. Like, could you see Julia going for Jonah Hill right now? You have to recast that role, too. And also, I think basketball fans will enjoy that. There were a series of basketball players connected to this before Kevin Garnett, and apparently they had to rewrite it each time to be about the the right player, like a series of playoff games that would make sense for the playoffs. Yeah, exactly.
S6: That’s why it’s text based in 2012, reportedly.
S5: Right. So I guess as we go into awards season, we’ll see how that performance gets talked about in this movie. I have a feeling that it’s gonna be it’s going to remain out there because most people agree with you guys. It’s been very, very well-received. And and I think it’s going to be critically lauded in the post-season movie postseason. I’m also Cure’s with this RFD will do next. Jeff, they had been offered direct a 48 hours remake, right. That they were doing for a while and then backed out.
S7: Yeah, I guess they just said something on a podcast that it’s not happening, which I’m sort of glad about. I don’t they don’t need to v make me making movies from the 80s. They could do their own thing.
S5: I agree. But there’s no question in my mind that they’re going to start to get offered more mainstream studio movies. And I’m just curious to see what they would take and why they would take it. You know, I could maybe see them doing a remake or revisitation of some kind of 70s movie of the kind that they seem to be in love with. You know, that might make more sense for them than an 80s blockbuster like 48 hours.
S6: Yeah, I think you’re right. Apparently, Oncogenes was something that that they’ve been sitting on for a long time and they’ve just gotten distracted by their other projects. Ever since Daddy Long Legs and they finally got this movie out the door. And so I think this is like sort of their masterpiece or at least one of the things that they really wanted to make. And now they may be unfortunately tempted to go in that direction. I wish that we can always spend time in just the worlds that they create, but perhaps that’s too much to ask.
S5: All right. Well, Jeff and Heather, thanks so much for coming in and telling me why I’m wrong to not be in love. James, you did remind me of the things that I do love about it.
S17: And there are quite a few, so I hope. Absolutely. Thanks, Dana. Thank you, Dana. Our engineer today was Merritt Jacob. Our producer was Rosemary Mason. If you have ideas for teacher movies or TV shows, despoil or other feedback, you can always e-mail us at Spoilers at Slate. For Heather Fidell and Jeffrey Bloomer, I’m Dana Stevens. We’ll talk to you again soon.
S5: Do you have a Slate fan in your life? I presume so. If you’re listening to this podcast, even if it’s yourself and you can find the perfect gift for that person at the slate shop. You can pick up a pair of socks in dazzling slate fuchsia. You should add that I have three pairs of slate socks and I love them. Or an ultra comfy hoodie featuring the slate asterisk. Now through December 25th, we’re offering 15 percent off using the code slate 15 at shop that slate.com. That’s 50 percent off slate merchandise at shopped at Slate.com. When you use the code, slate 15.