S1: This and free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership. Hello, welcome to the Magic Mike episode of Slate Money goes to the movies, season two. I’m Felix Salmon of Axios. I’m here with Emily Peck.
S1: And we are here with I’m very excited about this one, the one and only Shane Ferro. Welcome, Shane.
S3: Hello. Thanks for having me.
S1: Shane Ferro. For some people listening to this podcast, you do need an introduction. So who are you?
S3: Well, I used to work with both of you at various publications prior. I was an economics journalist at Reuters with Felix and Huffington Post with Emily. Then I went to law school and now I’m a public defender in New York City. And you have
S4: a great newsletter.
S3: Yes, I have a newsletter chanoff that substract dot com. It’s called Cruel. Unusual talks about the mundane but horrific things that happen in the criminal legal system.
S4: I always learn something when it appears in my inbox.
S1: Shane is going to tell the story of when Shane and I went to the movies one drunken evening and watched Magic Mike XXL, which is not the movie we’re going to be talking about today. What is the movie we are talking about today?
S3: They were talking about the first Magic Mike Twenty twelve classic about the precarity of being a freelancer and the post Great Recession gig economy.
S1: Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike taken apart and graded by me Emily Peck and Ferro coming up on Late Money goes to the movies.
S4: Magic Mike, as I told My Daughter, is a movie about a dancer named Mike who just wants to make furniture and is thwarted and his ambitions.
S3: No, it’s a movie about the gig economy, OK, in a post recession, Great Recession world. And I thought it was a parody of freelance work.
S4: Say more about the change because Shane is the one who picked the film.
S1: OK, so no one. Yes, we have to say, Shane, you pick this movie. Let’s start at the beginning before we start talking about disquisitions, about the tensions between labor and capital. You pick this movie. You went where were you and when was it that you first saw the phenomenon? That is Magic Mike?
S3: I actually I cannot remember the first time I saw Magic Mike, the first movie, the one that we’re talking about, but. I do remember that when the second one came out, Magic Mike XXL, which is a more fun movie, although not so much about the economy, Felix and I had some wine and decided that we were going to go to the movies.
S1: We had dinner, and then we decided there was like a midnight showing of the local movie. Yeah, but one of the reasons you wanted to see it was that you liked the first one you had already seen the first one at that point.
S3: Yes, actually, to be honest, I think when we saw Magic Mike XXL, I had already seen the first one and already seen Magic Mike XXL once before.
S1: And this is because you are a fan of Steven Soderbergh, right?
S3: Yes. And I am a fan of movies about male strippers.
S1: It’s a noble genre. Are there any other movies about male strippers? I don’t know about the coal miners. We should remember that one that came out in like the 90s, maybe the late 80s.
S3: I was not born yet.
S1: So the English one about the coal miners, if I remember correctly and I can probably look this up, was basically an economic empowerment movie. It was this very down on its luck northern coal mining town, and everyone was unemployed and miserable. And then all of the former coal miners who’d lost their jobs got together and created a group of male strippers. And it was lots of fun and it was like a triumphant ending when
S3: they were doing the opposite.
S1: So it was the opposite of this movie, The Full Monty. There you go.
S4: Because I think this movie is one in a line of movies about strippers and economics, because Flashdance from the 80s was essentially like the same kind of narrative. She’s a stripper, but she wants to be taken seriously. But there’s class issues. And then after Magic Mike, there is Hustler’s based on a Jessica and New York magazine, a new classic, which maybe we want to do in the season, where the strippers basically rob the bankers, the dumb bankers, drug them and rob them and steal their credit cards. And it’s also sort of an economic tale also about the Great Recession, right?
S3: Yeah, that was that’s the SONRA New York City Great Recession stripper tale. And this is the more that the Florida the Great Recession stripper jail.
S4: Yes. Two sides of the same coin, sort of Jaylo and Channing Tatum are kind of the actually. No, I don’t think that’s right.
S1: But similar shame plays this movie for us in its proper geo temporal context. This is after the Florida housing boom has bust. And yet there’s still some work for roofers, but I guess not enough.
S3: So he works as a roofer, but that’s not his only job, as far as I can tell. He has, I think, at least four different sort of freelance jobs, things he’s got going. So he has some work as a roofer, but it’s not enough to fully pay the bills. He also has an auto detailing business at night. He works as a stripper. And this is all to try to save money to start a furniture business because he what his real passion is to design and make furniture. But he can’t do that because he can’t get a loan, because he doesn’t have a credit score or he has a terrible credit score. That doesn’t really it’s never really clear.
S4: Why is it so bad? What it’s like in the four hundreds? There’s a scene where he goes to a bank for a loan. It’s very
S1: low. We don’t know exactly. We don’t know what I can answer why his credit score is so low. Please do. And for this, I’m going to flashback to the first season of sleep money goes to the movies when we watched Indecent Proposal. And one of the first things that Woody Harrelson, the architects, does when he comes into his Molli million is he buys this very famous Frank Gehry cardboard chair. And one of the first things that we see in Magic Mike when he starts talking about his furniture business is that he has a modest Florida upstairs apartment living situation.
S3: But in the I call it modest, but.
S1: Yeah, yeah. But anyway, so he has this apartment, sun drenched apartment. And in the middle of the apartment, there is a pair of vintage Brown meets the of Barcelona chairs, which even in the depths of the Great Recession in Florida, you have to pay a lot of money to get those shares. So I my theory is the reason he has a bad credit score is because he’s been splurging on vintage furniture
S3: and beach front apartment. But I’m sure it costs him most of his money he makes. And he all of these things that he does, he gets paid in cash. There’s so much cash in this movie and you just can’t exist. In a 2010 world’s only on cash, because then you’re not building credit and your credit score is going to be terrible.
S1: That’s a do you think explanation. Do you think that Mike, the titular mike of the movie is what the financial services industry would call unbanked?
S3: I bet he has a bank account. But it doesn’t have very much money on it. I mean, I would say he has a debit card for maybe his auto detailing business, like he needs a bank account for that. But certainly the construction roofing job, he’s getting paid in cash under the table and the stripping job, he’s getting paid in cash, probably under the table
S4: on the podium. Yes, if you will, is where he is paid in cash.
S3: Yeah, well, and he but he gets a cut of the door to remember.
S4: Yeah actually baby,
S2: what the fuck is going on in Miami? Miami is looking good. I’ve got a couple of loopholes I got to get through with the real estate attorneys down there. But after that could be all green. Lightburn what you need from me was myself. He’s got to keep doing what you do. Yeah. I love your head. You focus like a big brother on this team. You keep that up going, make a lot more in this door money. I guarantee you that both ways. This time to make sure he wasn’t here to say the word equity. He could you say to.
S1: So we need to talk about the difference between the cut of the door and equity, because like it’s like maybe the cut of the doors, like mezzanine equity,
S4: we before that. I just want to add to the banking question. Let’s remember that Magic Mike. Channing Tatum has a safe and his home where he keeps
S1: his life savings.
S4: Thirteen thousand dollars in in the little safe
S1: savings account is is a safe with thirteen thousand dollars in singles and fives, which
S3: was like, OK, so maybe he is this movie,
S4: right. You’re like, why are they mentioning such a specific number? And then later it’s like, OK, he has to pay ten thousand dollars to help out the kid, the worst actor in the movie, and loses his life savings and the door to the safe is open and all empty and stuff. Now we can talk about equity. I just wanted to play.
S1: So, OK, so this is a movie about Shane, you are saying this is a movie about economic precarity. Yes. What is the message of the movie? What is it telling us about economic precarity?
S3: I think what it tells us is no one in the movie seems to have any sort of safety net except for Mike, who has his thirteen thousand dollars in a safe. But one mistake by this kid that he has to use most of it to stop these people from destroying his house and then his entire savings is gone. And he’s just got to get up the next day and go again from gig to gig, trying to make ends meet. He doesn’t really get a paycheck per say, but everyone seems to be living basically from paycheck to paycheck, with the potentially the exception of the medical assistant sister of the kid. Although I would say she also doesn’t seem like she she seems to have her shit together, but she doesn’t. She’s got the knockoff furniture, probably also living paycheck to paycheck.
S1: I’m sure she is. The speech, of course, comes from Dallas, from Matthew McConaughey when he basically tells Mike that there’s no way he can quit, there’s no way he can leave because he needs this job. And the Dallas who represents capital in this movie compared to Mike, who represents labor capital here, holds all the cards. That’s that’s the speech. Now, whether it’s true or not is interesting. But it’s also interesting that Dallas is a worker. He is out there on stage gyrating and flashing his muscles as much as any of the rest of them. Right. It’s not a purely extractive form of capitalism that Dallas is performing here. Right?
S3: I mean, I think that Dallas in many ways represents capital. Looks like a lot of the time in the United States. It doesn’t look like the very top where people are just like not working and collecting rents. He wants to see himself that way, but he actually still has to hustle and he doesn’t actually have much capital at all. It all could fall through tomorrow. He’s been waiting forever to be able to get this second strip club in Miami. And this is like some great triumph that he is able to, like, just scrape together enough, by the way, stealing from his workers because he keeps telling people all through the movie, like, you’ll get one hundred dollars at the end of the night and then at the end of the night he comes here is the seventy five dollars I promised you or whatever it is he says, and he finally scrapes together enough for one more branch of a strip club
S1: or it’s not even one. I think he closes down, isn’t he closing down and moving the whole thing to Miami? Yeah, he’s he’s staying with one branch.
S4: I must act at this point with some Matthew McConaughey Dallas research. OK, so apparently he in the script wasn’t supposed to dance at all, but Matthew McConaughey insisted on doing a dance in the film, which was that amazing oh, good ending scene where he just gives it his all. He’s like sweating and people are going crazy. Second fact about that scene is that the extras went so crazy with Matthew McConaughey is stripping that they ripped his G-string off for real and going. And so that scene where he’s like covering his crotch because his G-string has been ripped off, that is something that wasn’t supposed to happen. But they just went with it. And there you have it.
S3: I have to go back and watch that scene again.
S4: Yes. And also, what was interesting about his character to go back to what you were saying was just like he is capital and he but he’s just like this cog in the wheel. And the way he treats the workers is so disposable that it taints him, too. Right. Like when Mike finally quits and walks away towards the end, which we should talk about, because I didn’t like that part of the movie. But he just goes to the kid and he’s like, Mike’s out, you’re in, let’s go. And it’s just like no one matters to this man. Right, because he just has to make his money and do his thing and exploit all these people, including himself. Kind of.
S3: Yeah. Well, it seems like he has been exploited for so long that he sees that as like the only way to project any power. Yes. And so he is like hanging on to this shred of power that he might have by exploiting everybody else,
S4: the shred of power, like the shred of G-string.
S1: But there’s also a fascinating subplot about the dangling the equity in front of the workers. So there’s this whole sort of subplot for most of the movie where basically the idea is that when they move to Miami, Mike is going to be a partner in the business with 10 percent of equity and. Already at that point, Dallas is trying to climb down to seven point five percent, but this places Mike squarely in the number two position in the small little business that is the male revue. No one else is in line for equity, but he’s in line to be like an owner rather than just a worker. And then. A couple of months later. He’s driving back with the kid and the kid just happens to drop in, you know, his drunken honesty that, hey, yeah, Dallas has promised him a kid, seven point five percent equity. And this is a betrayal of my right. It’s not. Mike, isn’t Mike’s response to this is not. Hey, great, we all get equity, that’s awesome, this is a worker’s socialist paradise. His response to this is how on earth I’ve been working for all of all of these years and working very hard. To finally get that 10 percent I was promised and now you are just promising seven and a half percent to this crack up of a kid. What’s up with that? It’s like success isn’t just like the workers get equity in the capitalistic business. It’s also. Doing better than your fellow workers?
S3: Yeah, and I think that’s a way for a lot of capital to pit labor against each other in a way that keeps them from organizing, say, and. That it’s just a bargaining chip to keep people at each other’s throats and keep them competing with each other so that they’re not actually competing with capital.
S4: The other thing I would say about the film is it’s there’s like class war elements to it because everyone in Mike’s orbit, like all the strippers, all of them delightful, let’s just say right away, delight, delightful. We love them. They’re all great. And the kids, sister, hardworking lady, nurse technician, whatever she is. But then all the people that are like educated in this film with college degrees are absolute douches. Like the sister has this boyfriend who’s just really snobby and like
S3: he does better insurance work than she does. Yeah. She handles more higher profile insurance or something.
S4: Yes. And then there’s the Joanna character that, like Channing, that Magic Mike wants to, like, be his girlfriend. And she’s just can you please just stop talking and be pretty, like, just totally demeaned. I love her, though. She’s like this Olivia Munn, right? Yes. She’s really good, but clearly looks down on him because he’s a stripper and. Oh, and then, of course, the scene where they go to the sorority party, which why are there a bunch of boys there? I don’t understand why they’re there. But anyway, again, it’s like a class thing, like here are these college kids and they’re looked down upon the trashy strippers, which to be fair, he did give the girlfriend the ecstasy or whatever. But that doesn’t you don’t shouldn’t have a bottle broken on your head over that, obviously. But again, why are the boys at that party? I don’t understand that part. If you want to explain that to me,
S1: Shane, being a veteran of many sororities canoe’s.
S3: I think I’ve been to maybe one sorority party ever in my life, I’ve been to fraternity parties, but there are always girls at fraternity parties. So like, yeah, I can’t explain it to you, but
S4: there’s a fraternity party where a stripper comes. Probably there’s not going to be girls there also. And then also like, why are the boys just huddled in the room looking all angry? Like, I just I don’t really understand.
S3: The dynamic doesn’t really make a lot of sense. They just they just needed a plot device to, like, get them in a fight and make him lose his ten thousand dollars worth of ecstasy.
S4: So like a little bit I
S1: thought I was just going to say this is not a plot driven. I mean, no, no, no. No one is watching this one. Even if you really do take it seriously, it’s a disquisition on modern capitalism, like the disposition of modern capitalism is in this situation and the way that the whole setup is framed more than it is in any kind of character arc. Although I did read one interview with Steven Soderbergh where he talked about how it’s about having to basically work out what you do when you feel that the labor you are performing is being undervalued. How do you react? What kind of decision do you make, how you express that when you feel like you being undervalued for what you do?
S4: Really, how is that part of the movie? When does he because he’s angry, he’s not getting equity. That’s how he’s undervalued in that instance.
S3: Yeah, I think Dallas really undervalues him, like he does a lot of the work for the strip club in terms of just going out and getting people to come and bringing money in the door and thinking about it as a business while Dallas is up there like on stage playing with his, like, flamethrower or whatever.
S1: Not to mention discovering the kid who was like recruiting obviously a fuck up from day one and is the guy who turns up to a roofing job wearing sneakers. And instead of saying, like, you are obviously a fuckup, what he does being Magic Mike, is he can look past the sneakers to the fact that this kid is actually really good looking. And that’s all you need to be a successful stripper.
S4: I listen to Slate Spoilers, special podcast, did an episode on Magic Mike. So I went back and listened to it. And I think Dana Stevens was pointing out like the first time the kid gets on stage, it’s just ridiculous, his whole act as he takes his pants off awkwardly and kisses someone and then it gets off the stage. And Matthew McConaughey or Dallas, the character, Dallas is like, you’ve got it, kid. You’re so talented. You’re so good at this. You’re a star. And it’s like, wait, what
S3: what’s all based on the fact that the girls, like, lost their shit when you kiss them, which could have gone very poorly, but because they reacted well, he was a star.
S4: But Channing Tatum clearly is a good dancer like he a star.
S1: Let’s Channing Tatum is an amazing dancer.
S4: Incredible. He’s doing his back flips. He’s he didn’t have a I don’t
S1: I don’t know whether he did all of the back flips, but he is an amazing dancer.
S4: Well, my half assed Internet research turned up that he did it all himself. He did it all well.
S3: Yeah, well, this movie is part autobiographical about yes.
S4: He was once a stripper in Tampa.
S3: And I don’t know, one of the things that I really like about this movie is it shows how much work labor goes into their act. It really portrays like sex work as work and they like really put thought and effort into it. And they practice and it’s like physically demanding.
S1: Although I have to say that it was Magic Mike XXL more than Magic Mike itself that really showed the amount of work they put into just pumping iron and watching their diet, which is the main qualifications. You need to be a stripper. So you need highly visible muscles and therefore you need to be very lean and very muscle.
S3: I continue to maintain that the first Magic Mike is about the economy and the second Magic Mike is about stripping,
S4: although in the first one there’s a scene. I don’t remember which dancer it was, but he lifts up like a heavier they’re always lifting up the women. That’s like a very core gimmick. Picking up a woman is
S1: an all male EnLink male strip clubs. As someone who has not been to many of these places,
S4: I don’t know. I’ve never been to one either.
S3: Shein I this is a on for research
S4: on our part. We should have gone through research. Maybe it’s a slate plus episode or something. But anyway, he picks up the heavier woman and you see he like hurts his back. And I was like, oh, occupational hazard right there. I bet you can’t get worker’s comp for that or anything. Must be really hard on your body to
S3: focus on it,
S4: maybe in the Biden White House.
S1: Well, there is that whole speech the Dallas gives at the very beginning of the movie, basically saying, I’m not allowed to do this. You’re not allowed to do that. But I don’t see any police in here. And you look like a bunch of law. Ragers to me, and that’s it, right? I mean, as we were saying, everything is all cash under the table. Like every single job that Mike has is. I’m almost certain not being reported to the IRS, right?
S3: Yes, yes, I really I love the opening scene there as someone who is very passionate about there being a difference between the law and enforcement of the law. I think it’s a great opening scene.
S4: What was the opening scene? I don’t remember.
S1: Was it what you can and can’t touch?
S3: Oh, I like goes through his body and he’s like, can you touch this? Can you touch this? And then he grabs his crotch and he says, you can’t touch this. But I see a bunch of lawbreakers here.
S2: What can you tell us?
S5: Can you tell us in? No, no, no.
S2: And finally, last one, lady, can you tell us, miss?
S5: Can you get in touch with.
S2: That’s the law says that you cannot touch, but I think I see a lot of lawbreakers up in this. And I don’t see a cop inside.
S4: Yes, there’s a lot of touching. I thought you were talking for some reason about the unit, the roofing scene, where the guy is like, I’m not bringing in a union worker for this. Like, I’ll pay you ten dollars an hour. And there’s the haggling there. That’s just so sad.
S3: That’s even more sad without the funny bits and without that kind of hair grabbing his crotch.
S4: So Matthew McConaughey, I think he’s just the star of this thing. I mean, I know Channing Tatum is technically the star and he he’s wonderful and delightful. But McConaughey just being so wonderful. Yes. In the Spoiler podcast, they wanted to win an Oscar for this, but I don’t know,
S1: I just couldn’t watch that, like triumphant final stripping scene of Matthew McConaughey without thinking, is this the next governor of Texas?
S4: And so it can’t be any more ridiculous than the current governor of Texas. And he would play the bongos, too. They got the bongos in there. He said, all right, all right, all right. Like a million times just to make sure you knew who he was. Right. I mean, it was incredible.
S1: It’s a good piece of casting. Then he suddenly steals every scene that he’s in, in contradistinction, as you say, to most of the rest of the cast, including like Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. Yes. The girl with the pig.
S4: The girl.
S3: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Every time I watch the movie, I’m just like, I forgot. There’s a small pig in this movie just randomly
S4: with a bottle that was disturbing. She was feeding the pig with the bottle, right? Yeah.
S1: I think the whole character, the existence of that character, who she is, what she represents, she has like one line in the entire movie. I do want to ask you, Shane, is this a feminist movie in any way at all?
S3: I’m definitely prepared to say a second one is a feminist movie. I mean, I think that, like, it has certain elements of like the male strippers, the whole strip, all the strip club scenes are sort of about thinking towards female pleasure and like making the women happy. But I don’t know that it’s necessarily feminist. I mean, I think it has some, like, feminist critique in it, like the scene that we talked about with the medical assistant sister who one is like she’s just she’s got her shit together and can’t understand why all these guys don’t. But she has this terrible boyfriend who, like, puts her down for the kind of work she does. And just the way that scene is framed, I liked but I don’t know that it’s an explicitly feminist movie.
S4: It wouldn’t pass the back doll test. Not that that makes it automatically feminist. That’s when, you know, give what is it, at least two women talking about something other than a man like this film fails that particular thing.
S1: I was thinking about the BEXELL test and I was thinking it totally fails the Peck they’ll test with the possible. Exception of late, right to the beginning, when those two girls were at the bar trying to get a drink and one says to the other, can you get me a drink? And I think that was the one. As Jessamine points out, the women who speak to each other have to be named. So that’s definitely not the case. And yeah, so it definitely fails to they’ll test.
S3: The only two women who speak to each other in the film are Olivia Munn and the sister. When Olivia is trying to get the sister to sleep with her. And Mike, I think it’s the only time the two women characters
S1: talk to each other at all. And she’s like, she’s trying to get the sister to talk about her tattoos.
S4: Oh, yeah. To my mind, the only way you could say it’s feminists is that. Well, it doesn’t. Women are not exploited women’s bodies in this movie. It’s really all about men’s bodies being exploited in this movie. And they’re exploited in a delightful way, I thought. But maybe that’s what men say about most other movies where women’s bodies are exploited. So I don’t know. That doesn’t seem actually feminist now that I’m saying all these words out loud and at another point. But I lost it because I got distracted thinking about the bodies.
S1: It’s like, yeah, it’s. Yeah, what I mean, one thing I will say about this movie, and I think this is very conscious on the part of Soderbergh, is that. He wanted to make a very physical move movie right the way the dancing scenes in particular, but basically all the scenes that set up their movements of people in the frame, very carefully framed, very carefully set up and. He I remember reading an interview with him where he thought you really ought to be able to work out what’s going on if you’re watching this with the sound off, it’s not a dialogue driven movie in any way, shape or form. In fact, one of the most charming parts of the movie is the way in which Mike is so. Finds it so difficult to express himself verbally while he also finds it so easy to express himself physically and Soderbergh is basically saying movies don’t need to be about words. You can tell the story just through bodies and movement. And I think he does that. Part of the interesting cinematic innovation there is definitely you know, we’re going back to the classic Hollywood musicals of the 1950s.
S4: Yeah. Did sort of feel like a musical. The most enjoyable scenes were probably the dancing, and not just because everyone looked really good, which they did, but those were the the fun scenes and the dialogue and the acting. And the plot was done right. I mean, I know it was a critique of capitalism and all shame, but really, was it I
S3: mean, yeah, I think it is. I do think that, like, it is definitely the glossiest version of this kind of critique of capitalism.
S1: And it’s not as glossy as showgirls.
S3: It’s. Yeah, but it’s there is economic precarity without anyone actually being poor. And all of these people, they’re mostly white, mostly male. They have the most amount of privilege you could have to free themselves from this precarity. And so it. It sort of shows this a little bit of freelance life and economic precarity without actually having to get into that really depressing parts of the economy when you are actually talking about these things in real life.
S4: Yeah, I felt like the steak, like when I was talking about Hustler’s before, like the stakes and hustlers were so much higher because the women had children and it seemed like there was more at stake and at risk. And for the kid, he’s 19. He’ll be fine. Like, the stakes just didn’t seem very high,
S1: even though there wasn’t like a single person in this movie had kids
S4: know the pig was the closest we got to any kind of like thing that needed caring for. Yeah, the stakes were just they were really low. And I just felt like Mike could have tried a little harder and gotten his credit score up. Like, how hard could that have been? The kid could have gotten a job, but he wouldn’t wear a tie. And that was supposed to be.
S3: Yeah, that was one of my favorite parts. I don’t play that. I can work at T-Mobile and I don’t. And I didn’t want to wear a tie.
S4: Forget it. Like, it’s hard to feel like the pathos of their situation, I guess.
S1: But the kid is clearly like the fucker, right? I mean, like the kid makes precisely zero good decisions in the entire movie.
S4: Really, he’s probably fine. Now, if we flash forward to 20 or 21, what’s the kid doing? He’s probably what, trading crap.
S1: Dogecoin million
S4: is fine. And that was my other thing I think with the movie was the ending. It all works out OK. And Magic Mike walks away from the stripping and he gets the girl. It just seems so boring. Like part of me wanted him to just like, lose everything or I don’t know, I wanted something more.
S3: I liked the boring ending now, like I liked that he walked away from it without really a plan and he just went to those boring girls boring apartment and they wanted to have breakfast together and he didn’t really know what’s going to happen after that. I liked that.
S1: And romantic. Do you not have any romance in you? Emily is has all of this journalism just done for your own?
S3: And I like that it picks up in the next movie with like her having left him and it wasn’t a great romantic ending. Sorry, no spoilers. Well, spoilers, but that’s like life goes on and it doesn’t have to be some great lifelong romance. They just had a nice night and then breakfast together.
S1: It’s really hard to make a sequel to Magic Mike where like he’s given up stripping and then never takes his clothes off again because no one would watch that sequel. Yeah.
S4: Also, you know, when he goes in the bank and he wears the suit and he like flirts with the bank loan officer, which was a delightful scene, and she gets all flustered by him but can’t give him the loan.
S2: That’s a beautiful necklace. Oh, I know. It’s no, it’s just a target, I think. A SBA. Yes, a name and social. Absolutely. Michael Lane zero three eight zero zero seven one two eight. And I brought the funds
S4: from the down payment. Is there always a scene where a guy goes to the bank and tries to get a loan? And so that’s A and B in real life, even in twenty twelve. Don’t you just go on the net on the web and try to get a loan?
S1: There was zero interest in this movie. There was an iPhone.
S3: But the problem is he has no credit score, so he has to charm his way into a loan if he’s going to get it. Like the Internet does not care about your charm. It sees your credit score and says no. So I’m sure he’s been online. He’s been rejected several times and he has to try to flirt his way into Iran, which also doesn’t work because the banks aren’t flirting.
S4: There’s also a scene in Falcon and Winter Soldier where the Falcon character superhero tries to get a loan. I feel like it’s some kind of cinematic shorthand for something else. It’s just like a common thing. Now we have the loan scene. Does he get it? No, he doesn’t care is he doesn’t get it. He’s a black superhero. And even though he can fly and save the world, he cannot get a bank loan in America. So even though Magic Mike can essentially fly with his body, he also cannot get a loan because capitalism does not reward these things, these talents.
S1: Can I talk about the scene where Dallas talks about his hypothetical kid and whether he’s going to send his hypothetical kid to school? And he’s like, no, I’m just going to park him in front of Jim Cramer? Oh, yes, yes.
S3: My favorite scene
S1: with Ameritrade account and quote, By the time he’s eighteen, he’s going to be flushing money
S2: when I have a kill myself in front of the TV, make him watch Mad Money all day long. I’m going to teach him about the stock market, get him into some Ameritrade and shit like that. I guarantee you, by the time he’s a. Know that little fucker is going to be flashing cash. You know, I don’t know why more people don’t do that. Know, just from an investment standpoint, what’s the state of the country in America? People. Stupid, I hope I get to meet your kids someday. Oh, no problem. Come visit any time. One of our three cool houses.
S4: That’s not a good strategy.
S1: Felix Ferro. You did that with your kids, right? How did it work out
S4: there watching CNBC right now? I couldn’t tell you. They’re not 18 yet. So they’re not quite millionaires, but they’re on their way, obviously.
S3: Wasn’t there some story recently about some of these robo advisors, like opening accounts for like 13 to 15 year olds or something like that?
S1: I think people do that know
S3: people who are your kids have a Robinhood
S1: account. I know a lot of people have opened up accounts for their teens to, quote unquote, teach them about investing. It’s the thing
S4: I mean, compound interest being what it is like they could do.
S3: Well, yeah. I mean, Dallas Kid is going to be on our Wall Street bets and be making money on Bitcoin and Dogecoin and AMC.
S1: So that’s like into that, I guess, in Magic Mike know that it happened yet. But that was it was prescient in that sense.
S3: The precursor to that was just sitting in front of Jim Cramer for hours.
S4: Everyone just wants to get rich quick. Satterberg also made Ocean’s Eleven, which is also about a bunch of charming, good looking men trying to get rich quick. I’m seeing a theme, actually.
S3: I just realized, although in Ocean’s Eleven, they’re really committing crime. So I like that movie even more.
S4: It’s a victimless defense lawyer. Yeah, the insurance even pays it off.
S3: Yeah, exactly. Victimless crime
S1: victims crime. It was Logan. Lucky Satterberg. I think it was. Yeah. Yeah. That was another great crime caper.
S4: All the reviews also said Soderbergh is known for his capitalism critique. His films have that in common. But is that right? Could either of you speak to that? The one review I read compared the stripper wants to be taken seriously, but all anyone actually wants them to do is strip is like how Hollywood, the entertainment industry, treats actors who want to be taken seriously. And they’re just like movie moguls are like, yeah, just look
S3: pretty gobe in a superhero movie,
S4: make some money, just go be in a superhero movie.
S1: I need to ask you guys, it isn’t auteur ish movie by a very, very big name. Famous independent film director. Probably the biggest name there is an independent film. Did it feel like that? Is this one of those like Hielo things where you can appreciate it on an intellectual level as well as just enjoying that acres of naked man flesh? Because I feel like really it’s mostly just about the acres of naked man flesh.
S4: See, this is where my lack of film critiquing ability comes to play. But it did have that nice Soderbergh in lighting and the quick cuts that I thought was trying to message like, this is an artsy movie. This isn’t just a trash movie. Like I’ve lived it in such a way. That’s interesting. Like especially the the beach scene on the little strip, the Tampa Beach strip, where they all go and like it’s like that very golden tones and has everything has a certain look. It seems very deliberate. That makes it seem more than just like about like hot men dancing. It had like a fancy look.
S3: I think there’s more to it. I don’t know. I think if you like, watched the movie and think about these people’s lives underneath the acres of naked man flesh, as you put it, it’s pretty depressing. And there are sort of layers of kind of critique of the economy like we’ve been talking about. There is the cinematography and the lighting and stuff that Emily was talking about. I don’t know. I really like and appreciate those movie for many reasons, including the strippers.
S4: Yeah, I think that’s right. I think there’s more to it than well, it’s a stripper movie.
S3: I also I think the dancing is really good. Like it’s a fun movie, not just because they take their clothes off, but the dancing is excellent. It’s very entertaining. Even if they had their clothes on, I think it would be entertaining.
S4: Yeah, the dancing was funny.
S1: That was the follow up movie, right? Hail Caesar, where Channing Tatum does that amazing tap dance routine.
S3: Yes, I vaguely remember that. I definitely didn’t see it, but so maybe so maybe I did need him to take his clothes off,
S1: although that wasn’t about that was the Coen brothers. So, yeah. Let’s get a verdict on this one. Shane, you wrote us this movie. You wanted to talk about this movie. We can assume you like the movie.
S3: I like the movie.
S1: Give it a grade.
S3: What is the scale that you use?
S1: Whatever scale you want. We’re not fussy on scales.
S3: I think I give it a seven and a half out of ten. OK, good. But not in half to an eight out of ten. It’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it is definitely an entertaining movie that I will see five more times.
S1: How many times have you seen this movie?
S3: Well, including I saw it probably twice in the last month to do research for this and had probably seen it two or three times before that. Wow. But I also just rewash think. I’ve already watched before as a rule. That’s just how I consume things.
S4: Do you fully pay attention when you watch or you do other stuff?
S3: Depends, like if you’re watching with other people. I usually pay attention, but other times I’ll just put it on in the background. It’s a great movie to have on in the background because you’re doing something else and then you look over and they’re like men dancing with their shirts off.
S1: I’m coming with you. I think like that kind of seven and a half, maybe like seven out of ten. It is not Soderbergh’s best film by a long shot. It is not Channing Tatum best film by a long shot. It could conceivably be one of Matthew McConaughey s films like his. His performance is fantastic. The huge weaknesses in the plot. They strike home for me just because I like more verbally adept movies. I guess I like the clever scripts. The script is not clever, so I can’t get too excited about this film.
S3: That’s another reason why it’s great to have on in the background because you don’t really have to be listening to it. Right.
S1: But Emily, you’re going to have to give us the final verdict here.
S4: So can I switch the scales to letter grade, please? Do I feel I can I mean, I pretty much kind of agree. Well, I think that it’s a big movie. It’s a grade B movie. It looks really good. And yes, there are these like interesting capitalist critiques kind of in there. And the choreography is nice. It’s very easy on the eyes, but the plot is dumb. As Felix has pointed out, the dialogue is poor, except when Matthew McConaughey is talking and saying, all right, all right, all right. And yeah. And then there’s like nothing to it, really. You know, it’s really just kind of like a confection, like there are other movies about stripping that I think have higher stakes. There are no stakes here. The plot is whatever. It’s just something like you said to have on the background. So that’s what makes it a B level movie, even though it’s very enjoyable
S1: and there’s no shame in making a successful Genre B movie.
S4: No shame in
S1: that. That’s one of the things we like about Soderbergh, because he dabbles in many pools. He doesn’t need to achieve greatness every time. And I probably feel like he wouldn’t he would feel like he isn’t stretching himself enough. If you did achieve greatness every
S4: time and it’s nice to see a movie, it’s kind of a small movie. It only costs six and a half million to make thank you, Wikipedia. And it grossed one hundred sixty seven million dollars. And I feel like Hollywood should make more movies like this that are like cheap to make, but they still look really good and our super entertaining and it’s not like a whole like extravaganza. No one got shot. There was a gun in the sorority party scene and I was like, oh my God, why does he have a gun? And I was like, oh, right. It’s a prop from the street. So that was nice.
S1: So it’s all about labour versus capital. The great thing about making a movie for six and a half million dollars is that is a small enough amount of money that Soderbergh and Tatum could and did finance it themselves. There wasn’t a bunch of rent a Hollywood producers who were skimming off the vast majority of that. One hundred and six million in profits if this costs money and made one hundred million and the producers a Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum, that’s like they’re obviously going to share that with a bunch of other people. But that’s basically fifty million dollars each, which is an amazing payday from this movie.
S4: Yeah. Good job.
S1: Does more money than you could make, you know, from a superhero movie.
S3: It feels like this was a fun movie to make. It’s fun to watch. I think it’s great.
S1: That’s it for Magic Mike. Next week, we’ll be back with Catherine Bell to talk about The Hudsucker Proxy.