Culture Gabfest “Drive My Batmobile” Edition

Listen to this episode

S1: This Ad Free podcast is part of your Slate Plus membership. You.

S2: I’m Julia Turner and this is the Slate culture Gabfest drive my Batmobile Edition. On today’s show, we’ll discuss the Batman, the box office busting new film from director Matt Reeves, in which Robert Pattinson roams around an even gloomier version of Gotham than we usually see. Then Drive My Car, the meditative Oscar nominated Japanese film from director Sergei Hamaguchi, starring Hitoshi Nishijima and a very, very pretty red Saab. Finally long movie runtimes. Both of the films we’re discussing this week pushed 3 hours in duration. We’ll discuss the best and worst ways to make 180 plus minutes of movie and our relationships to super long cinema. Joining me today is Dana Stevens, the film critic for Slate. Hey, Dana.

Advertisement

S3: Hey, how you doing, Julia.

S2: And also joining us today in place of departed Steve not not forever departed steve just departed once again this week. Steve is Jamelle Bouie friend of the program and opinion columnist for the new york times. Welcome back, Jamal.

S4: Thank you for having me. Always happy to be here.

S2: We are so excited to have you on. And in honor of your deep film nerdery, we have gone full film today, so film nerds get ready. So we do a show.

S3: Let’s do it.

S2: First up this week is the Batman, the latest iteration of the caped crusader Robert Pattinson’s. Batman is has has become the custom brooding, stoic and fighting villains in Gotham City. But he’s also a bit younger than recent counterparts just two years into his caped vigilante career with a link physique, floppy, nineties, hair and I black that gives him an emo air when he takes off his cowl. His nemesis this time around is Paul Dano as the Riddler, who’s been killing prominent political figures around the city. And he also encounters Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Jeffrey Wright’s, James Gordon and an unrecognizable Colin Farrell as the Penguin. I think the best audio clip for us to give you guys a sense of the film will be a clip from the trailer. Here you will hear Paul Dana’s very spooky Riddler voice and then Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz as Batman and Catwoman.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Okay. I’ve been trying to figure.

S5: With it latest. It’s all about the wins. If we don’t stand up, no one will.

S1: You know, like, has.

S2: Never think about straight.

S6: The baton, the cap.

S1: It’s got a nice ring. New friend of yours. I’m not so sure. I’m just here to unmask the truth about this cesspool of record setting. You’re part of this, too. Up my part of this. Oh, you’re really not as smart as I thought you were. Guru Way.

S2: Jamal, you are our resident comic book expert today, so I’m going to start with you. I think we have now had five or six, you know, more than one hand’s worth of Batmans on our screens in my moviegoing lifetime. And can you please situate Robert Pattinson’s new Batman in the Batman space and tell us how he’s different and what you thought of him?

Advertisement

S4: Sure. So my favorite my favorite Batman performance remains Michael Keaton, who kind of portrayed Batman Bruce Wayne as a very bored rich guy who does not understand ordinary human behavior. And they’re sort of desperate for that bat signal to go up every night because that’s the only thing he knows how to do, really. And that’s the thing that kind of gives him meaning in the world. Pattinson’s Batman is not that, but he is not also he’s not also Christian Bale’s kind of, you know, playing up the duality of Batman being this serious Avenger and Bruce Wayne being this billionaire playboy. Because Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is barely in the film, and when he does show up isn’t a billionaire playboy. He is sort of this, you know, Howard Hughes kind of reclusive guy. And so for me, the Pattinson’s approach to the character is is sort of a Batman and a Bruce Wayne who have yet to kind of really figure out who who they are. Right. Like who Batman is, who Bruce Wayne is as a person. And that sort of a struggle for self-discovery is like part of the, I think, the narrative thrust of this film. But it also makes bat back people. I would say Batman, since I’m going to go with that. But it also makes Pattinson something of a much more interior Batman than even even Christian Bale’s was.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Yeah. I mean, he makes Christian Bale’s brooding look, you know, positively pool float, surface level. Dana, can you talk a little bit about Pattinson’s performance and where we find him as an actor now? And then also a little bit about what you made of this film.

S3: Yeah. I mean, I guess I would just start by saying, to my utter surprise, this movie won me over. I mean, I basically trudged grimly into the theater thinking, I guess I have to talk about Batman again, because between feeling pretty burned out on comic book blockbusters in general and also just having always found Batman to be a pretty boring myth and not a very interesting character. I was kind of won over by this movie, and it was largely because of Robert Pattinson and because of the choices. Some of the things that Jim was talking about, you know, to to make him younger, to make him and it’s not an origin story. We don’t have to watch his parents die again. But we see him at the beginning of his career and we see him almost as an adolescent. I mean, I guess he’s supposed to be in his early twenties, but it really is a coming of age story. And and Pattinson is is really, really good in that role and brings shadings to the character that made me care about Bruce Wayne, Batman and that transformation really for the first time ever, maybe. I mean, if I like the Nolan movies at all, it’s because of because of the direction and not because of that character or Christian Bale’s performance. But when you say this Batman is even more brooding than the last Batman, it almost goes to sound like it’s a self-parody. And I was thinking of of Will Arnett’s voicing of the Batman in the Lego movies, including there’s an entire Lego movie about Batman, which is all about, you know, making fun of this this dark, brooding edge Lord kind of aesthetic that that Batman inevitably seems to bring in his wake. But this movie has a different shading on it than just more. You know, we’re going to layer it with more black. How much more black can it get? Which is something almost mid-century. There’s there’s like a richness to the to the decor, to the world building. I don’t mean in a mythical way, but in the actual built world surrounding the Batman in the way Gotham is envisioned. There’s, for example, a sort of Edward Hopper esque quality to the way the city looks. Sometimes there’s just a little bit more of a feeling of of history in this Batman than in the more glossy, slick surface of the Nolan movies. So that’s that’s a very vibey kind of answer to the question. But but I think patterns and contributes to that with this performance that really is about an extremely damaged person. I mean, the Bruce Wayne that we see, he wears his mask around the house. That was something that really struck me in this movie, even when he’s at home with nobody there but his butler, Alfred, played by Andy Serkis, in this version, he rarely takes off his bat mask, you know. So he seems to be somebody who’s really hiding from the world. And Pattinson plays that super well, I think.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Right. And hiding from himself. I mean, it struck me, you know, I don’t know how many cinema fans have watched the Batman and Drive My Car is a double, three hour double bill. But, you know, it’s like two grief movies. Like, really, it’s a grief movie and it takes. Seriously. You know, the Bruce Wayne character’s emotional damage. And when we first meet the character, we hear a lot from the cops who are like, Why the hell is this weirdo in our crime scene? Like. And, you know, we meet that James Gordon played by Jeffrey Wright, who will become Commissioner Gordon perhaps in future installments of this version of the universe, if, in fact, there are such. But his early enough in his career that he’s just a detective here and, you know, he’s invited Batman in and everyone else is like, this is obviously ludicrous. Like, why is this brooding dude in a huge muscle suit, like helping us solve crimes like you’re a lunatic? And the notion that one of our first visions of Batman is not like a cool set piece where his cape flutters in the breeze, but a scene where we’re supposed to see it as deeply bizarre and a very strange emotional response to grief in the world is one of the things I really liked about the movie because. You know, rather than lionizing his brooding darkness, the film seems emotionally mature enough to recognize that as damage without romanticizing the damage. I mean, there’s some romance, I suppose, in the glamour of the of the shots and the world building. But, you know, the arc of the film is essentially he creates the Batman character because he’s so broken. And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that the events in the film cause him to reflect upon those choices and mature and perhaps pursue a different approach. All of which do make. The film feel refreshing or different or slightly less adolescent than some previous versions of it that I have seen. It is, however, still quite long. I enjoyed those pieces of it, but I did check my watch quite regularly throughout because it’s not the the zippy version, even though a number of the characters we encounter are pretty great. Um, Jamal, what did you think of the overall pacing and who were some of the standout other performances in the film for you?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: I didn’t have much of a problem with the pacing because I thought that the basic conceit of this version, which the movie isn’t really structured around big action set pieces, it’s it’s like it’s an investigation. It’s sort of following the trail, following the clues. I think like sort of like the noir in which this is clearly drawing influence. The whole point is right there, as is to say, well, what did this all mean? What did what did this investigation, what to this journey into the darkness actually mean? And was there any point in it at all? And I found that myself pretty compelling as far as performances go. I mean, the two that stand out, I mean, first of all, we have not even mentioned her yet, but Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, she is terrific. She is great. She’s not doing the Michelle Pfeiffer thing. It’s a very different kind of performance. She’s not doing it. Anne Hathaway did. And then in the in the Nolan Batman movies. But nonetheless, she, too, brings her own spin to the character. Should it be that she says, I like to collect strays? And it very much like captures her whole ethos, sort of wanting to find a place in the world, but also wanting to get what’s hers. I thought she was great. I thought she had great chemistry with Pattinson. And then also John Turturro. Jeffrey Wright, as you mentioned, as Commissioner Gordon, I’m a huge Jeffrey Wright fan and I’m just happy to see him whenever he’s in something amazing, probably his creativeness. And then Colin Farrell as the penguin, sort of a unrecognizable Colin Farrell who’s really I think because he’s under all these prosthetics, he can you can turn it to 5,000% and it doesn’t come off as being that high intensity. It fits the film, but it is kind of an extremely over-the-top performance. And I loved it. Oh.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Take it easy, sweetheart. You look at for me.

S3: I mean, truly unrecognisable. We always love to say an unrecognisable and so-and-so, but I literally did not know that was Colin Farrell because I didn’t watch any trailers and tried to not read anything about the movie. And I mean, we’ve just gotten to the point with prosthetics and and digital makeup, I guess, as well, where, you know, young, handsome actors can turn into jowly middle aged guys. And we don’t know who they are. And it’s it’s a weird new multiverse.

S2: There’s been a bit of a like justice for character actors backlash to this performance of like where will the wonderful jowly performers of yesteryear find work if we have to like slather Colin Farrell in cheek that in order to get our cantankerous villains? Where do you guys stand? Are you pro or anti handsome men in jowl, faux jowl? We’ve also had we had Jared Leto and growling and bald painting it up in in House of Gucci.

Advertisement

S4: I think this performance is so good that I can I can let this one pass. But I do generally think that we should be getting, you know, bring on the bring on the real actual jolly people. But then, I mean, the thing is, is like, who are those actors these days? You know, I mean, this isn’t this isn’t the age of why Charles Laughton or like Ned Beatty, right? Sort of who who who would occupy that kind of role. And I can’t really think of that person.

S3: I mean, I feel like we’re going to just discourage the emergence of a future. Ned Beatty If we continue to just slap rubber jowls on all are leading men. So it has to reach a little more critical mass before I’m going to be out picketing about it. But I think I stand on the side of the character actors in this one. Can I say something about is that the is the article in front of Batman from a specific series, comic book series.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: For a long time the character was referred to as the Batman. That was sort of like that was what people called him. It wasn’t like a name that he bestowed upon himself necessarily, just sort of like criminals, like, oh, there’s like there’s like Guy Batman, right? And very early on, it wasn’t a single. It wasn’t like Batman is like a single word. It was the bat space man. And I kind of like my one complaint is that that’s not what the movie was called. Like, I would have preferred it to be called The Bat Spaceman, which kind of gets to the get evokes the very, very, very early stuff.

Advertisement

S3: Since we need to have every possible variation we’ll get there, the space will find its way to the next reboot.

S2: I do think, though, it speaks to it’s a smart choice for the moment that the film situates him because he isn’t yet. A legend or a character or like a capital B Batman. He’s like a weirdo in a weird outfit doing weird things. And the world is like, What’s your deal, dude? So the notion of like, yeah, it’s that bad guy.

S3: Yeah, exactly. The feeling of the first scene is like, there is a man dressed like a bat standing in this crime scene.

S2: For some reason.

S3: With it.

S2: All right. Well, we’re very eager to hear what you, our listeners thought of the Batman. I appreciate it. If nothing else, a pretentious, definite article in a movie title. So check it out in theaters and let us know what you thought.

S3: All right.

S2: We have arrived at the moment in our show when we talk business. Dana, what have we got today?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Julia Our only item of business today is to tell you about our Slate Plus segment. When we were planning this episode this week, Jamelle happened to tell us that lately he has been rewatching all of Scorsese. I think he’s doing it chronologically. We’ll talk to him about that and having lots of new thoughts about the work of Martin Scorsese. So we thought we would take advantage of Jamelle Scorsese. He jag to talk about that director, what he’s enjoying or not enjoying, and our own responses to that very important filmmaker with so many movies under his belt. If you’re a Slate Plus member, you will hear that discussion at the end of the show as a bonus segment. And if you’re not a Slate Plus member, you can always sign up at Slate.com, slash culture plus. Okay, Julia, back to the show.

S2: Next up is Drive My Car, the new three hour film from director risk hamaguchi that has been racking up critics awards and is nominated for four Oscars. The film stars Hitoshi Nishijima as Yusuke Kafka, an actor and theater director. And the action centers on a workshop he’s conducting in Hiroshima a multi-lingual production of Uncle Vanya. While he’s in residence, he is driven around the city by a young female driver played by Toko Miura. And his car becomes the scene of many long conversations about grief and about art. We’re going to start by playing a clip. The clip is in Japanese and it will hear the driver played by Okamura, beginning to open up for the first time to her passenger.

S6: A data data portal to the voters. This. Yeah.

S5: Demonstrated accurate double digit error. What kinds of things?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S6: The domain mosquito.

S5: In addition to. So.

S2: Dana, I’m going to.

S3: Start with.

S2: You here. This is a beautiful and quiet film that has made, some might say, a startlingly big impact in the American Film Awards cycle this year. Tell us what you thought of it and what you make of the waves it’s making.

S3: I mean, I have a complex and layered history with this movie where I first saw it in the rush of award season movies and, you know, the week or two where critics have to just cram every possible movie into their brain so that they can vote on it and awards and make lists and things like that. And I think that I didn’t do justice to it the first time I saw it because I really, really didn’t get it. I had an experience of watching it where I thought, I admire what this movie is trying to do. I think it accomplishes what it’s trying to do brilliantly. Well, it’s original, you know, it’s it’s thoughtful. But I wasn’t emotionally engaged with it at all. And as we’ll talk about, it’s a very emotional story. I mean, if you’re not if you’re not identified and engaging with the characters, intense, but very discretely expressed, stoically, expressed emotions, then you’re really not experiencing the movie. And I think that was how I saw it the first time. Now, the second time around, it’s now streaming on HBO, Max. So we’ll talk about this in our long movie segment later. But I was able to experience it with a little bit less, you know, but burning tedium in a theater and it is slow. This is a three hour movie and it moves slowly. And it’s extraordinary to me that it’s achieved what it has in the in the American kind of marketplace of movies this year, that it’s, you know, kind of a hit for a foreign movie and is up for Best Picture Oscar and all kinds of other Oscars. It really speaks well to the American film going public, that a movie that’s this inaccessible in some ways has had the success and the warm reception outside of Japan that it has a second time through admired its artfulness even more. It was more emotionally engaged than the first time. I’m still not 100%. I am not I’m not fangirling over this movie in the way that many critics are and that I sort of wish that I could. And I think it may have to do with the way that it depicts, make it the making of art and the making of the play Uncle Vanya, which is, you know, the theater piece that he’s been the main character has been invited to Hiroshima to mount this production of it’s I’m just not clear what the movie is trying to say about that production or about art making or theater in general. Except that, you know, in many ways the Uncle Vanya story is is reflecting the character’s life. That’s something that’s happening throughout the movie. And I think I appreciate the way that the two stories are braided together. You know, the Chekhov play and his own traumatic back story, his connection with the driver, which is the emotional heart of the movie, really did strike me this time and actually win me over. Both actors are extraordinary, but I mean, maybe I’ll throw it back to you guys. What is this movie trying to say about art making other than, you know, we all need art to survive. We all need to make things in order to move on with our lives. But the production of Uncle Vanya that he’s putting on, is it is it good? Is it bad? Is it well or poorly acted? What is it? There’s just something very strange about his conception of theater. I almost wish that we had Isaac Butler, you know, Slate’s resident theater writer, to talk about this movie, because there were moments when they were doing the table read. For example, there’s many, many scenes of him sitting around with this multilingual cast. He has speakers of Korean man, Mandarin, Chinese, Japanese, and also one speaker of Korean sign language who are all actors in the play. They don’t necessarily understand each other, and that’s part of the point. But when things were happening with Uncle Vanya, I really didn’t understand the blocking or what was being said about that production. And it seemed very important to understand that because it’s a very large portion of the movie.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Interesting. Okay. Jamal, what what was your response to the film?

S4: So I loved the film. I was captivated by it. I said on Twitter after I finished it that I could have watched 6 hours of this movie. I thought that the characters and the performances were so fully realized and so and I just wanted to see how their lives continued on. Obviously, much of the movie deals with grief and with loss and with coming to terms with those things and with survivor’s guilt, with coming to terms with that. I’m not super familiar with theater or with Chekhov or with Uncle Vanya, so I don’t know if I necessarily even have the capacity to do a sort of fine reading of that aspect of the film. But to me, at least it seems, you know, the fact that it was a multilingual production, I’m including Tagalog. Language from the Philippines. You know, it seemed to seem to me trying to be part of the whole motif of sort of like communication across great barriers and how this one communicated across the great barrier to those barriers for like linguistic, you know, literally cannot understand what you’re saying or whether those barriers are emotional. You know, I can’t there’s you are hiding something or you are impenetrable in some way or you are shielding something. And so that’s that is to me, how that how this fits in to the to the overall character study. It’s sort of a dramatisation of of those themes. But beyond that, I, you know, I don’t necessarily have a sophisticated analysis. I just know that I finished this film so satisfied with my viewing experience and so glad to have seen it. And so sort of thinking about how because to me, the movie did not feel like 3 hours. It felt it felt very fast. It felt very like quick. Even though it’s not it’s not a snappy movie, right? Like it’s not the camera is very deliberate and operational. Like the editing is not like frantic or anything. It’s like a very leisurely pace movie, but it does not feel like one. So I’ve just been sort of thinking about how that, like how that was done, because that to me is a magic trick. Like how do you make a three hour movie feel so comfy and so quick, so. So it’s sort of easy to take in.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Yeah. I had a similar.

S2: Experience in In Feeling like the movie was weirdly late on its feet and fleet for being so long. The movie has a very, very quiet sense of humor about itself. It is just absolutely hilarious when 40 minutes into the movie after like a whole soap operas worth of plotlines, the credits roll. It’s just like fantastic. And you kind of get a sense that the movie is establishing its own reality for you. And it’s like, this is the pace upon which everything was happening. Like, you know, the movie is about grief without, without spoiling too much about the first 40 minutes. But, but a lot of what happens in the first 40 minutes of the movie could just be backstory that is alluded to. Right. Like a more conventional structure for a grief movie would be like, okay, all that happened off screen and we’re picking up two years later and where do we find our our tragic hero? I mean, that’s essentially what the Batman did. And it it still found a way to use those 40 minutes. Right. And I found the performance. Pieces moving. I didn’t find them boring. I did have a similar yearning to understand what, you know, a Chekhov scholar would make of them, or what kind of finer points about that play or about performances of that play this film might be making. But the notion that, I mean, acting is just an absolutely mysterious art and profession, right? Like, what a strange thing to do to try to pretend to be other people in order to elicit emotional responses in other other people. It’s it’s a weird art. And, you know, our heroes. Unusual. Method of both direction and, you know, guiding actors. I’m not sure the film is arguing that that’s the only way to make art, but that. I what I took away was that there was sort of a frustration. In what? Words can and cannot say, like the decision to say something or the decision to not say something isn’t actually where the communication lines, the fundamental emotional connection between people is, is just underneath language. And so how do you get to that when the structure of a of a play is to use language so that the sense of kind of human connection beyond the specifics of language and meaning felt like the point and it worked for me. And then also just the characterization of those that troupe of actors and their camaraderie and their exasperation with with their their weird director. You know, there were lots of little moments of kind of tension and delight and story in all of the hundred and 80 minutes of this movie. You know, arguably, I would say more happens in this 3 hours of people driving around than in the 3 hours of the Batman, even though that’s full of like mystery and motorcycle chases and, you know, beautiful shots of flaming explosions and capes set beautifully against them. Like somehow this movie was filled with more quiet incident that that engrossed me.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I mean, it’s strange because I have no there’s nothing I would change about this movie. I think it deliberately sets out to do all of the things that you’re talking about. It accomplishes them exquisitely. It has that contemplative pacing. There is just something about it. Even the second time through where I was more engaged that that seemed so very cerebral. And that’s not necessarily a knock against a movie, but when it is a movie about, you know, grief and bonding and two people establishing a connection in this very lonely time in their lives, something about the cerebral nature in particular of the theater stuff. It’s not that it rubs me the wrong way. I just I just literally have not found my way into it yet. I sort of do want to see this with someone who either knows Uncle Vanya really well or just is an actor or a director and works in theater because there seemed to be so little going on direction wise in those scenes where he was having table reads with his actors, for example, for long periods, he doesn’t let them move around. That’s part of his kind of directorial style, I guess. And the actors are frustrated because they’re still sitting around just reading the text. And there’s some interesting things that he says to some of the actors about letting the text guide you and how if you ask the test text questions, it will lead you somewhere. And that all seemed really interesting, but it remained on the plane of just analysis for me because I didn’t see how that was happening in the theatrical piece itself. And I suppose that you could just disregard that and not understand it and still enjoy the movie for everything else that it has to offer. But to me, that remained a sort of impenetrable mystery, so I didn’t quite feel the satisfaction that Jamelle did at the end. In terms of the central character relationship, yes, the final sort of emotional climaxes is really successful. But the the scene, the final scene of the movie or second to last scene, I guess is of a performance of Uncle Vanya. And I just didn’t understand what what road had been traveled to get there and what the place of arrival meant, if that makes any sense.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Yeah, I could totally understand having that reaction to it. Dana, what do you make of this film’s award season success and the fact that it’s up for so many Oscars? I believe your critics, Barry, awarded it best picture. And you’re probably verboten from telling us about the, you know, knockdown, drag out fights that resulted in that outcome. But you know what? Why do you think this is having such a big impact here?

S3: Yeah, I mean, that it won the New York Film Critics Circle Best Picture seems less surprising to me than that. It’s in conversation for the Oscar that is genuinely surprising and heartwarming. I mean, this doesn’t have to be, you know, my favorite movie of the year for me to say, wow, what a great thing for the for the movie ecosystem that people are recognizing it and that it’s getting seen even by Oscar voters. You know, I think it it stands little chance of winning a best picture Oscar. I mean, if only just because it’s a foreign film, but I think also because of its length and relative inaccessibility, etc.. But that doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t I don’t feel like, you know, I need to be on a hill waving a flag for a drive by car because its quality speaks for itself. You know, and the fact that it’s traveled as well as it has is is quite surprising and wonderful. We haven’t mentioned that this is this is an adaptation. It’s based on some short stories by Haruki Murakami, who is a Japanese author, who has also done really well outside of Japan and, you know, is a big favorite of a lot of Western readers. And a lot of people have said, I don’t know Murakami super well. I’ve read a couple of his novels, have not read any of the stories that this this film is based on. But people are saying that it’s a great adaptation, that it captures the mood of a Murakami story better than than any adaptation of his work has so far. And, you know, whatever it is that that sense of kind of loneliness and urban alienation and, you know, self-discovery, that is a very sort of Murakami theme, I think this movie realizes. This beautifully. And the fact that filmgoers as a whole are caring about that and are voting with their feet and wanting to to see this movie or I guess now stream it seems that seems like a wonderful sign. All right.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Well, the film is Drive My Car. You can now see it streaming on HBO, Max. Let us know what you thought. All right. Our final segment today is the long runtime. The Batman clocked in at 2 hours and 56 minutes drive my car clocked in at 2 hours and 59 minutes. We’ve also had a number of longish plus two hour films recently in Dune, in Spider-Man, No Way Home. It’s become increasingly common, particularly for some of these big action films, but also in other genres for movies to just really push well past that. You know, 90 minutes is normal and 2 hours is long ethos. It feels like now 2 hours is normal and 3 hours is long. So I’m curious to know how you guys feel about long films. Are you like, hooray, more movie for me? Or are you like, Boom, get your shares out? Why did you why are you being so indulgent or do you have some other response that is not handily encapsulated by those two submissions from me? Jamal, let’s start with you. What’s your what’s your relationship to a film that takes its sweet time?

S4: Sure. So I sort of have this belief that movies should either be 90 minutes or 3 hours. I did the two hour, the two and a half hour movie. Those are the ones that I often feel have a lot of fat to trim. I feel like I’ve not seen in two and a half hour movie that couldn’t be 2 hours, and I’ve not seen a two hour movie. They couldn’t be 90 minutes. But I think a three hour movie often is 3 hours for a reason. And maybe this is a bit of selection bias like what I’m watching, that’s a slave. But in my experience, at least movies at that length actually do have a reason to be that long. They are doing something particular with the runtime in this. I have no problem with it. One of my favorite watches this year is The Leopard, you know, the 1963 Italian film starring Burt Lancaster, which is about a little over 3 hours. And I think every single moment of that movie is essential. I think you need that length to really kind of get into the world of the film. A personal favorite of mine, Melville’s Army of Shadows, I think inches up towards 3 hours, and likewise, I think, uses every bit of the time that it has. And so I’m I’m you know, I’m often quite fine with them. And because I’m comfortable watching a movie over a day or two, you know, you’re splitting it an hour and a half, one day after next. It doesn’t really bother me to have that kind of length. Even if I’m watching it all the way through in a theater, it doesn’t really bother me. But I feel, especially when it comes to action films like mainstream action films, which are often, you know, going over 2 hours, I often find that those are the ones that feel just interminably long.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: And did the Batman belong to you.

S4: Know, the Batman did not belong to me. I hope it’s it’s pacing and it sort of being structural detective story like kept my attention and it was just interesting to look at the entire time as well. I often I think sort of that’s that’s part of this, right that when a movie isn’t interesting to look at, it makes the length feel all that much worse. And I think a lot of movies these days are not very interesting to look at.

S2: Yeah, I am. I will confess that to me, the Batman just kept going. I did find myself checking my watch a lot. There’s a moment where there’s a fraught confrontation with Turturro’s gangster character. And then I was like, Oh, wait, but he’s not the Riddler. We still have to get to the Riddler, dammit. Like like, you know, the kind of concatenation of confrontations and set pieces that now seems required for a major blockbuster does feel like, I don’t know, there’s an arms race where they feel like they haven’t given you your money’s worth. If there aren’t like five big set pieces. No, six big set pieces, that that I think can be a bit exhausting. But I agree with you that the just sheer kind of beauty and interest of a lot of those scenes and then the deepening characterization of the Batman character and in Pattinson’s performance did did carry me through, even if I got a little itchy. But Dana, you you know, you’ve really got to pack these films in in your role as a film critic. So to what degree are you clocking runtimes and what’s your relationship to them?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I mean, I think it’s kind of a universal joke among movie critics that, you know, a bit a long movie is a bad movie, even if we don’t really believe that. And, you know, I feel like it’s a standard joke when some new new big pop blockbuster comes out that, you know, when the running time is revealed, people are moaning and groaning that it’s especially right around 2 hours and 40 minutes for some reason. Jamila, I agree. That’s a deadly running time in particular for a big pop blockbuster. I mean, it’s very different when it’s an art film like you’re talking about Visconti’s The Leopard. I was thinking about Bellator’s Saturn two. Congo, which is famously seven and a half hours long and is usually shown in several parts. So it’s a little bit more like a series, but, you know, is an absolutely brilliant masterpiece that I loved watching in the theater. And it’s unbelievably long. But when you get into the realm of the blockbuster, there’s a whole different feeling too, to the length. And I think Juliette has to do with what you’re saying about, you know, things just being being padded out to make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth so that they’re flaunting their own budget on the screen. And it’s really there has been a real creep, I feel like, in terms of blockbuster links. Like if you think about last year, the Bond movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes. That deadly runtime. So is the Eternals roughly. So is Dune roughly. You know, it’s that thing where it’s not quite two movies, which would be 3 hours, two back to back 90 minute movies. It just feels more like one extremely long movie for some reason. And when things hit that zone, yeah, I’m definitely checking my watch. The Batman was much, much better than I thought it would be, and I gave it a very positive review, but it was at least 20 minutes too long. I read it as I was walking out of it with my editor who saw it with me. We were talking about the endings. There are at least four discrete endings to the Batman. We won’t spoil what they are the segment. But there were just moments that we thought the credits would start rolling or something that felt like a stinger, but it was instead stuck into the end of the movie. And it just kept unfurling and unfurling with action scene after action scene, honestly drive. My car felt a bit long to me too. But as I said in that segment, there’s nothing I would take out of it. You know, each individual scene was beautifully realized, and I see why they all flowed together in the way that they did. But it was long. It was long and it moved slowly. And there were a lot of long shots of a red Saab driving on highways in Japan that were a lot like the previous shots of a Saab on highways in Japan. And I definitely felt that. But I don’t think long equals equals bad, especially when I again, when it comes to a movie that’s as artful as drive my car, it’s trying to do something with that duration. It is a movie about duration in some ways, and and about the experience of sitting quietly in a car with someone and all the things that are happening under the surface of that moment. So it’s not as if trimming those scenes would have gotten the movie’s message across more clearly. Do you guys feel like your relationship to TV has changed your relationship.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: To film length? Like, I’m struck in my own sort of, you know, personal recreation or watching. Like when I’m not watching something for my L.A. Times work or for this podcast, I want to see TV and I follow you on Twitter Jamelle. And it seems like your rest and relaxation habits are very filmic and you’re inclined to pop in a movie for kicks. I like. I almost never want to pop in a movie for kicks because it feels like such a commitment, even the 90 minute ones. Even though I will pop in one episode of Veronica mars and then watch two more and quickly have spent just as many minutes with my eyes looking at a screen. But somehow, the episodic nature of television makes it feel like you get to choose. You get to opt in. You have all these key moments and just feeling sort of trapped in a film has has been has dissuaded me from that kind of non work watching and I’ve only just recently begun to do what you described, which is just watch the first hour of a movie one night and then pick it up. The other night I did that with Nightmare Alley actually for this show I worked fine. So, you know, maybe it’s just I need to train myself to break up my viewing habits. But. But do you guys think TV has broken your film Attention Span made you appreciate the sustained viewing experience of film not related to it at all. Curious to hear what you guys think.

S4: It’s been something of the reverse for me. I can’t commit I can’t watch TV because TV seems like a big commitment to me. If I put on an episode of something, then okay, I’m obligated now to at least like complete this season. And I just don’t I don’t want to make that. I don’t want to commit to things like that. I don’t necessarily know I’m going to finish something, but I like to finish things with movies. That’s a discrete set, discrete amount of time. And then once I’m done with it, it’s done. The movie is over and there’s no more to really follow up on it, and I should have prefer that. So for me, my preference for watching movies over watching TV is very much about being able to commit to something in the aggregate, much shorter than a whole TV show.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Which makes total sense. Like my. Your logic is more sensible than my logic. Like the number of hours I’ve watched now. Like listening to Veronica mars. I can’t. You know, both. Both of these films are a snap compared to how much time I’ve now spent in the noir universe of Neptune, California. So it is like a psychological trick that is wrong. And yet it is my emotional response to things. How about you, Dana?

S3: I’m 100% like Jamelle much more a movie person than a TV person. I’ve talked about this on the show a lot. I feel like TV seems so endlessly padded to me. It’s so rare that we talk about a series on this show or that I watch a series not for this show where I don’t feel like it could have been shortened, you know, like this meeting could have been an email. Very much applies it to TV in that way. Like this could have been a movie or it could have been a much shorter season of TV. That’s especially true of a documentary series. You know that it seems like there’s this new thing now that there has to be like a ten episode documentary about some, I don’t know, some true crime or something. And it really could have been covered in such a more concise and satisfying way. I don’t like the feeling of abandoning a show, just like it’s not fun to put down a book that you’re not enjoying and just feel like, Well, that book is just forever hanging there. But I’m certainly not going to put in the, you know, 10 hours that it would take to finish that book or finish that series if I’m not enjoying it. So yeah, I mean, this is what I call in relation to movies, the kind of wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. Kind of advantage, you know, like good or bad, the movie will be over. You will have experienced it in its entirety, and you can think about it and move on with your life.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Yeah, it’s a persuasive argument. I don’t know why it is not like I can’t can’t make my my watching feelings comport with reality in that way. I guess maybe it’s the the counterpart is that if I’m going to invest, you know what? I’ve always loved novels, but not short stories. Like I’ve always felt irritated with short stories. Like if you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up this world and characters I care about, then I want a whole novel out of it. Like, give me the whole story. And one of the perverse reactions I had to the Batman is I found the whole thing too slow to deliberate. Like, it just took too much time to set all this up. And yet I really liked the version of Gotham and the Batman that it created. And I, like, want there to be now another movie with this character and with this director and with this iteration because. Because the world we built was fascinating. You know, the notion that the brooding is not Batman’s strength, but his problem and that he he you know, it’s actually a similar message to the Lego Batman message of like, you have to learn to trust your friends. And like, I don’t know, the notion of all of that glowering storytelling bravado paired with a really humanistic message is interesting. I’d like to go back to that, and I think I would care more about the world and it might feel like it moves faster. So maybe, maybe my response comes that if I’m going to invest at all in your universe, in your characters, I want I want to really sink in and get in there. And and and the reason movies feel long to me is actually because they feel too short in some way. All right. Well, let’s give a twist ending here by making our long runtime segment the shortest that we’ve recorded thus far today. Listeners, please write us at Culturefest at Slate.com. Let us know what you think when you encounter a nearly three hour runtime. Next up, I think we will endorse. Dana, do you have something for us?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Well, Julia, before I get into my endorsement proper, I’m going to do a tiny bit of sell promo. I hope listeners will forgive me for this, but my book Cameraman is going to be the subject of a segment on CBS Sunday Morning this weekend. And I’m really excited and nervous about that, getting in front of a TV camera, even though I spent my life behind a podcast microphone. Getting in front of a TV camera is a different feeling. But I’m very flattered that CBS Sunday Morning wants to do a segment on Buster Keaton pegged to my book CAMERAMAN. So if you want to see that segment and I think they’re also going to interview Bill Irwin, the wonderful actor and clown who’s a huge Keaton fan and sort of a keeper of his legacy. You can tune in to CBS Sunday Morning this coming Sunday. But moving on to my real endorsement this week, I have one Julia that I think is going to do you proud as a magazine editor and a lover of the printed word. So I’m going to endorse a kind of thing I think I’ve never endorsed before, which is a specific issue of a specific magazine. This is the new issue of W that has on the cover a picture of Penelope Cruz in a bright pink unitard and a flower on her head. And it says The Director’s Issue. Penelope Cruz by Pedro Almodovar. So one of the things that W does is, you know, it’ll take one celebrity and have them interview and or write on another celebrity. Obviously, Almodovar and Penelope Cruz are old colleagues, have been working together for decades and have made wonderful movies together. They just made parallel mothers, which we talked about on this show and loved. And so I just wanted to hear what Almodovar had to say about Penelope Cruz. And as it turns out, he not only interviews her, but he photographs her. And and so there’s this wonderful spread of him, you know, outfitting her in incredible Almodovar colors and putting her against incredible backgrounds and taking these photographs of her. So just on the level of a fashion mag, it’s extremely successful. But also, of course, what he has to say about her is very nuanced, very affectionate and loving. And it was just so worthwhile. And it reminded me of how great magazines can be, you know, physical, big glossy magazines, which I generally I subscribe to a couple, but it’s more for the articles. I don’t often just sit around anymore and page through a fashion magazine and kind of salivate over the beauty of the images. And I did that with this W magazine, which also has not quite as visually sumptuous but really interesting. It’s got a piece by Paul Thomas Anderson on Alana Haim, who obviously is the star of his most recent movie. So if you want to see some great directors photographing their leading ladies and talking about working with them, get the new issue of W the directors issue.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Wow. I love it. An actual issue of a magazine rising to the level of enforceability. Very cool. Jamal, what are you recommending this week?

S4: So I recently picked up the four Q HD version of a movie called Hard Target. It is a 1993 action film directed by the famed Hong Kong director John Woo. It’s actually has a U.S. debut. I think it’s the first Hollywood movie directed by an Asian filmmaker and which is sort of funny given what the movie is. It is a Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle that takes place in New Orleans, an adaptation of the most dangerous game. It’s a very silly movie, very over-the-top, although it has some interesting sort of like class critique that it’s mostly just an opportunity for watching Van Damme, you know, do splits and kick people in the face. And it totally delivers. But this is my my pick, because this is weirdly one of the best restorations of a movie I’ve ever seen. The distributor or whoever did the restoration got their hands on the original negative of the film. So it’s a direct 4K transfer in restoration from the negative, and it looks incredible. It’s sort of a it’s going to be one of my Blu rays that I use when I want to like explain what makes this worth investing in, what makes, you know, 4K disc and a 4K Blu ray player worth owning? Because it just looks incredible. And it looks so good that when I was watching him, this is a movie that I’ve seen a dozen times. It was almost like watching a new movie. It was really that striking of a difference from previous transfers. So, you know, recommending hard target as a film if you’ve never seen it. But if you if you buy physical media and if you specifically have a 4K Blu ray player, I kind of recommend getting this test because it really is a great showcase disc for the technology.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Wow. All right. That sounds interesting on many levels. My endorsement this week is actually going to be a re endorsement, but it was to apropos to skip. A few years ago, I endorsed the Batman 66 Comics, which is a DC series published in the mid-teens. That is very clearly and deliberately and brilliantly. He’s set within the world of the 1966 Batman TV shows, which have an extremely different tone from any of the filmic adaptations we’ve had since the 1990 is much more colorful, much more kid friendly, much more just ironical. Like kind of recognizes the idea that the whole world and the whole concept is a little bit ridiculous and then places a very sincere, verging on pompous, but stopping just short of it competent Batman at the center of this Technicolor city of villainous lunatics who never get too far with their schemes. One reason I loved it is because it was very, very fun to read with my children as they were learning about this universe. And Thomas Coco wrote a wonderful lament online a couple of years ago about the fact that comic book movies are not actually appropriate for children. I would not take my nine year old boys to see the Batman. I’m sure there are a bunch of nine year old boys who have seen the Batman but minor still a little tender around such violence and gloom. So if you would like comics that are appropriate for kids but enjoyable for adults. Strong, strong, strong. Recommend for the Batman 66 series. I wish they were still publishing more of them. They are super, super fun. So if your kids are yearning for Batman and you think, no way in hell am I going to let them see this dark opus by them these instead, or take them out from the library and you will enjoy a very different dip into the bat verse.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: Can I add to that recommendation on a very similar note? At first glance you want to watch something? There is a series aired around the same time that these comics ran called Batman The Brave and The Bold You on HBO, Max Now, because it was run through Cartoon Network, which is part of WB or whatever, but it’s it’s a very 1960s style Batman depiction. Big, bright, colorful colors, really kid friendly, very funny. I’ve watched with my toddler a few times and it’s like a really, really well-done show and totally will scratch that itch as well.

S2: So that is such a good work. I think we watched a few of those, but I forget if if my kids went through and did the whole thing. So I will I will have to go excavate that this weekend. Jamal, thank you so much for coming in. Sitting in for Steve is such a treat to have you on for the whole show.

S4: It’s always my pleasure.

S2: And Dana, thank you as always.

S3: Yes, it was fun.

S2: You’ll find links to some of the things we talked about today at Slate.com slash Culturefest. And you can email us at Culturefest at Slate.com or follow us on Twitter at Slate, Culturefest. Our intro music is by the composer Nicholas Britell. Our production assistant is Nadira Goffe. Our producer is Cameron Vries. For Dana Stevens and Jamelle Bouie, I’m Julia Turner. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you soon. Hello and welcome to this last news segment of the Slate Culture Gabfest. Today we are taking advantage of honored guest Jamelle Bouie, who divulged, as we were planning the show this week that he is on a Scorsese JAG and has been watching film after film. We decided that this was not quite news pegged enough to be a main show segment, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to grill Jamal a little bit about why he has gone on this tear, what he has learned, and to compare notes on the Scorsese verse. So, Jamal, why? Why now? And how’s it going?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: Why now? Now’s a good question. I think some of it has been spurred by the recurring Scorsese, the discourse usually involving like superhero movies and, you know, him him not being the biggest fan of them. And I think during one of those news cycles, I realized that I had only ever really seen kind of the big, you know, marquee movies, Casino, Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street. I had sort of made my Scorsese analogies pretty limited. And so I was like, maybe I should remedy that. But I think the more the more specific reason went on. This was simply that during a criterion flash sale ended up buying the Age of Innocence and The Last Temptation of Christ. And I was like, Well, if I have these if I now own these two movies, I should, you know, watch them. And if I’m going to watch them, I might as well just sort of watch everything else as well. So my kind of tendency towards completion isn’t kicked in and have just, you know, really since the since late last year, I’ve been kind of methodically making my way through all of this movie is and it’s been completely delightful and it’s been delightful in part because it’s been so surprising. I sort of knew intellectually that the gangster flick was not the only thing he had ever done. That there is he’s he’s dabbled in many different genres, taken many different approaches to lots of different kinds of material. But even knowing that it’s so very different than sort of seeing it and seeing both how he really throughout his career has been capable of moving through many different kinds of genres and films, but also seeing what things are consistent across films with things that are sort of like his calling card, both visually and stylistically and also thematically. And it’s it’s been it’s been great. And I found myself sort of not being as fabulous of loving films that I think are a kind of almost forgotten, being left like less impressed by films that everyone happens to love and being sort of always interested in seeing how, uh, how he tackles things. I feel very own. Scorsese He like The Age of Innocence, which is a movie that I love is I think not something I think if you just like said to someone if a random person saw that movie and you ask them to guess like who directed it, I think not very many people probably guessed it was a martin Scorsese picture. And those who think those are the things I find myself really liking from from his work in his career.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: What was one of the most surprising titles? What was something you loved that didn’t fit into your kind of idea of what the oeuvre was going to be?

S4: One movie that sort of surprised me that it just didn’t it didn’t fit. I didn’t expect it to exist in his filmography is Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which is a very early of his films. I think it’s the film he does arrive after Mean Streets. It’s 1974 film that stars Ellen Burstyn as a widow who is sort of getting away from an abusive husband has or her abusive husband died, has a son, and is sort of working as a waitress in, you know, I think like a Las Vegas a Vegas town or a Nevada town or some sort of western town. And it’s very much sort of like this is how her life is unfolding. This is how her son’s life is unfolding. It’s very quiet and small and slice of life and intimate. And I loved it. I was sort of totally captivated by it having no expectations going into it. But it’s also just like not it’s both not something I think you would anticipate getting out of. Of course, as a you know, it doesn’t have any of his directorial touches that don’t really come to the fore until a bit later in his career at the Met. But having watched so many of his movies now there are things that are absolutely very Scorsese about it, sort of the it’s a movie that’s very much about guilt and about the guilt of not being able to deliver the life you probably. As to your child not being delivered the life you promised to yourself. And so sort of all the preoccupation with guilt to me, you feel very Scorsese is something that he, I think is drawn to throughout his work. But it’s a movie. I mean, it’s I highly recommend that people should check it out, but it’s a movie that I found that I really, really loved. Same with his remake of Cape Fear, which I was totally captivated by as a comment on the original film and also just a great genre picture in its own right.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Diana, what are some of your Scorsese faves and where does he? I don’t feel like I have a sense of where he lands in your pantheon. You know, I know there are some kind of legends that you’re typically a little skeptical about and some you’re typically fans of. But what’s what’s the Dana line on Scorsese?

S3: I mean, there’s so much of him. Maybe the reason you don’t have a sense is that I think, like Jamal’s getting across, he’s such a protean filmmaker and, you know, it’s all too easy to think of him as the gangster movie guy, the taxi driver guy. I mean, even even those two movies are wildly opposed. I mean, those kinds of movies are wildly opposed. But in addition to those, you know, more action based genre movies, he is he’s so good at, you know, as Jamal was talking about psychological portraits, character studies, which is really what Alice doesn’t live here anymore is or even literary adaptations like The Age of Innocence. I think that maybe I don’t love the Age of Innocence quite as much as some do for a very specific reason, which is the voiceover. And it’s the same thing that I don’t like about Casino, another Scorsese movie that, you know, while I admire things about it, never quite landed for me. And it had to do with him leaning too heavily on voiceover to to tell a story in a way that took me out of the story. Then on the other hand, for example, the voiceover in Goodfellas works perfectly, and that’s maybe one of my favorite. Maybe my top in my top three Scorsese movies would be Goodfellas. As for where he falls in the Pantheon, I mean, it’s he’s he’s he’s a great artist, you know, so he may not every one of his movies may be dear to me. I’m not somebody who stands up for his lesser movies like Shutter Island, for example. I consider kind of a failed genre experiment that he tried a few years ago, but he’s so protean and so able to change and try different things, even as an older director that it’s, you know, I’m odd. Silence is one example. Silence from 2016, this movie that is set in 17th century Japan. And it’s about these Portuguese missionaries who go to Japan. It’s a story about faith. It’s incredibly interior and contemplative and painful and long speaking of long movies, and I thought was absolutely beautiful. And I remember writing in my review of it, you know, I really hope this isn’t Scorsese’s last movie. He seems to be hale and hearty and have lots more life and more movies in him. But if it were his last movie, it would be it would have been a perfect and of last statement of his philosophy of of art and of life, even though it’s so different from everything he’s ever done. So, yeah, I think I would just say I’m so bedazzled by his prolific passion for movies, which also, of course, comes out in his his work as a film preserver and restorer and, you know, sort of a patron of of the art of film and keeping older films alive. I’m so awed by all of that that it almost it doesn’t matter whether every one of his movies, you know, hits the target for me or not. I just I think he’s he’s one of our great living artists.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Do you see either of you?

S3: And I guess I’ll start.

S2: Start.

S3: With.

S2: Dana here and then go to Jamelle film makers emerging in the next generation or in current generations that feel. Like they could follow in his footsteps. I guess what I’m asking is do they make directors thinkers as anymore? Like, given what movies are right now, given what kinds of movies get made? Can we see a career like that again or. You know, not really. I mean, even Matt Reeves, who I think is is. Done such interesting things with this franchise, with the Planet of the Apes franchise, you know, has found ways to take the kinds of movies that Hollywood makes and do really impressive things with them. More impressive than many of his peers, like I don’t know, Scorsese. He just have a particular moment in the history of film that we are unlikely to see. Or do you think there there are there will be directorial careers that rival his in the future?

S3: Well, I mean, I guess the whole nature of the future of an art form is that it will change in ways that we can’t yet predict. And we can’t sort of say, well, this this these three things need to happen in order for Scorsese 2.0 to come along. Right. There’ll be some some new person who who creates a world in an A of as vast as his. But something that will, I think, perish with him. And I’m knocking wood right now because I hope that’s a long way off. Is is the Hollywood history that he carries with him, right? I mean, whatever is true of the next generation of filmmakers, they will not have been alive during the days of classic Hollywood and grown up watching those movies and learning from them the way that he did. And he is just this vast repository of film history. I mean, there’s no one who’s more fun to listen to talking about movies than little Rapid Fire speaking Martin Scorsese, Z, who knows everything about everything and has unbelievable memory recalls. You know, the kind of images and sounds of movies that he saw, you know, 50, 60 years ago. And I feel like all of that, you know, kind of pours into the films that he makes, which is part of why he’s able to hop around and do all these different kind of genre pastiches or whatever you would call them, to reinvent all genres so beautifully. So yeah, it’s a melancholy thing to say, but, you know, there may be directors as great as prolific, but there’s a whole repository of cinematic history that will will go when he goes.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: I’m inclined to say something very similar because I think I do think that so much of Schwartz’s career is shaped by just that, where where Hollywood was at the time. Right? Sort of Hollywood of the seventies. Hollywood of the eighties of Hollywood tried to find its feet that are willing to take chances, that are a little more willing to take chances in that a little more willing to let someone like Scorsese, who in a lot of ways kind of a strange guy, exist and do his thing and flourish. And I’m not sure. I’m not sure that space really exists anymore. And although I am certain that there will be or there are filmmakers who will, as Dana said, be as prolific, as talented, as willing and able to experiment. I’m not I’m not sure that the kind of combination of auteur and journeyman director that Scorsese he has been over it career. I’m not sure that can really exist anymore. Sort of. I think of him. I think of him similarly to someone like that’s similarly sort of in the same vein as someone like Sidney Lumet, who also sort of just had this long career of doing lot of different kind of stuff, some huge and big budget more often, things that are very small. But but it’s just like not a, not the kind of career that that can that can exist anymore for for someone younger, which is, you know, which is a shame.

S2: Any recommendations before we go? Any I mean apart from Alice doesn’t live here anything you’d point our listeners to check me out.

S4: So the movies I find myself, I found that I really loved more than I expected to or more than I anticipated. Besides, Alice doesn’t live here anymore. Our after hours.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: Oh, so good. That was what I was going to say.

S4: I was just sort of like. I was, like, locked in with that movie, like, 5 minutes. And it’s like, this is my kind of movie. You know, we talked about Batman in the main show. I was joking with my wife that if I were a director who did a rip off a script as a movie to make a Joker Origin film, it would have actually been after hours, which totally, I think is the vibe for the Joker. A guy just had a really bad night, ruined his life. So after hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, which is like not the strongest film and I think it has a lot of problems, but I was sort of mesmerized by it and found it just interesting to watch. And it has that amazing Peter Gabriel score, which is both totally fitting for the movie, but also it’s just sort of funny about like, you know, you’re watching Yo Yo Jesus Preach. Then all of a sudden you hear like Peter Gabriel, like, oh, that’s very funny to me personally. And I enjoyed, I enjoyed it when it happened. So there’s that and then Cape Fear, which if you’re love watching Cape Fear, I would actually watch the 1961 film first with Robert Mitchum, with one of Robert Mitchum great all time performances, and then watch Scorsese’s remake, because I think watching the two back to back puts makes it both very clear what each movie is trying to do.

S3: Yes, that’s a great assignment. I love it. Can I can I do one little Scorsese you wreck of my own? Even though I’m not currently on a JAG? I don’t know if you’ve seen this one, Jimmy, because it barely even ever figures in his filmography because it’s short and it’s a documentary. But have you seen Italian-American?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: No, I just I just bought a Blu ray with that on, but with that as part of the set. So we’re going to watch that pretty soon.

S3: Oh, fun. That is that is a very fun watch. And speaking of runtimes, it’s less than an hour long. I think it’s about 50 minutes long. Italian-American is just a is a documentary he made in 1974 I think it was right after Alice doesn’t live here anymore and before Taxi Driver, I believe anyway, it was at that early point in his career and it’s just a documentary about his parents. He he goes to the apartment where he grew up in Little Italy. He films his parents talking about their memories, talking about their lives. His mom cooks meatballs at the end of the movie. It’s so charming and warm. And, you know, his obviously his his history as an Italian-American and as a the son of his his parents is such a huge part of of how he became who he became. So it’s a great glimpse of young Marty in the world he comes from.

S2: Oh, man, that sounds awesome. And I’m I’m excited to check that out.

S3: All right.

S2: Well, thank you guys so much for sharing your score. Suzy Dodson, Wisdom. Thank you, Sally Plus listeners for supporting Slate and our show. We will see you next week.