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126: So, How Was Your Summer? Plus: ‘Three Thousand Years of Longing,’ reviewed!

September 6, 2022
Notes
Transcript
On this week’s episode, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) discuss how the movie business fared this summer. It wasn’t terrible … and it could’ve been worse … but it certainly wasn’t great, either. And then the gang reviews Three Thousand Years of Longing, George Miller’s long-awaited follow-up to Mad Max: Fury Road. Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ for the bonus episode on Friday, when we’re going to be talking about Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend!

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome back to across the movie. I will present to my Bulwark Plus. I am your host, Sunny Bunch, Culture Editor of The Bulwark. And I am joined as always by Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Western Post, Peter SUnderman. A Visa Magazine.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:20

    Listen, Peter. How are you today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:22

    I’m well. I’m happy to be talking about movies with friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:26

    It is Labor Day weekend. Which means summer is drawing to a close and the summer movie season along with it. Exhibitors celebrated the complete and utter lack of new product with a three dollar movie a on Saturday, which had the intended effect of boosting weekend to weekend numbers for the year’s biggest hits. Pictures like Top Gun, Maverick, bullet train, League of Superpets, minions, Rise of Groot, they all saw weekend to weekend games. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:52

    And it boosted the returns of re releases like Spider in no way home and draws. Sure. It was the worst weekend of the summer and and really very bad just in terms of pure overall gross. At least one report I saw said that last weekend was actually
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:08

    the previous weekend was the worst, but it’s like a half a million dollar difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:12

    Yeah. I mean, it it’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s tough. But the point is theater owners made the best of a bad situation and the gimmicks seem to have worked. It did actually boost the numbers quite a bit. The the overall number of admissions higher, whatever.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:26

    They made it work. Was the summer a bad situation all around kind of the question we’re asking ourselves. It’s hard to say exactly. On the one hand, box office is up a hundred fifty percent year over year. From last year.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:40

    Right? That’s not bad. On the other hand, it’s still thirty two percent lower than two thousand nineteen, the last pre pandemic year. And a thirty two percent decline might represent the new normal, which would, yes, be bad. Or it might just be an artifact of the fact that there are thirty percent fewer wide releases three thousand plus screens this so far this year.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:58

    Right? Or maybe that lower number of new releases is in fact the new normal, which again would be bad. Alright. One thing that’s obvious, the box office is even top heavier than usual. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:09

    Top gun maverick was basically two blockbusters in one with its seven hundred million dollar gross. Which is to say that it is literally is the equal of the gross of the two biggest titles still in release. Right? Minions Rise of Groot and Thor and Love and Thunder. Which have totaled about seven hundred million dollars between them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:24

    And while there have been some pleasant surprises. Right? Elvis grossing a hundred fifty million dollars. Huge surprise me. I I won’t shock by that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:30

    I figured this would be looking at the ads. I thought this would be an enormous bomb turned out to be a pretty big hit. Or the black phone lagging out to nearly a hundred million domestic. That mid range film, that mid range success has been sorely lacking. Bullitrade might limp to a hundred million, which would be a little bit winning, I think.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:47

    Nope performed notably worse than Jordan Peele’s two previous pictures. And family movies like League of Super Pets and Lightyear were super soft. Peter, what is your big takeaway from this last summer box office weekend? But really, the the whole summer in general.
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:05

    So
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:06

    I think what we learned this summer was that people are ready to come back to movie theaters, but they’re not ready to come back on a regular basis for just any old movie. They’re ready to come back when a movie demands to be seen on a big screen. And top gun maverick is the clearest example of that. Lots of people were happy to see that people say that many time. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:25

    Like, that that was a that was a a repeat draw for a lot of people. I mean, just anecdotally, you can you can find a lot of those stories, but you can also see it in the numbers. Movies don’t perform this well domestically without repeat business. People liked the big screen ness of it, and they liked that experience. But people don’t seem to be all that interested in coming back for original non IP films that don’t have some sort of big spectacle attached to them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:55

    Right? And so one reason that you you might speculate that Elvis is so far, it is the best non IP film of the year, unless you consider Elvis the IP. There is, like, a whole Hollywood history there, but I I think we’re gonna go ahead for and call it an original film for the purposes of this shouldn’t even though there’s obviously like people know who Elvis is. Elvis was in fact a spectacle. Like it was it was a truly incredible big screen experience.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:22

    BazLerman did not just sort of give us another kind of payload standard biopic. And it has some of those notes. For sure. But that is a movie that really wants to draw you in to into an immersive big screen theatrical experience I think more than a lot of the other films that, you know, in that sort of ten to twenty slot where we start to see some of the some of original films show up. But after a couple of years of people not really going to the movies twenty twenty, you know, basically, For all practical purposes, we can say that the box office did not exist.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:59

    Yes. Obviously, that is an exaggeration. And then in twenty twenty one, was a slow return. What happened over those two years was that people learned to be comfortable watching a lot of stuff at home And and so, like, it what effectively, it, like, raised the cost of going out to the theater for them. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:20

    And it’s because like the because the home experience, it got better just in terms of more people bought big TVs and surround sound systems that people got more comfortable with it. You know, just in terms of there were a lot more streaming services either debuted or expanded during that period of time. And so so to get people out, like, it it needs to be the Hollywood needs to produce really big experiences. And I think it’s good news that people are willing to come back, but I also think it’s it is a an ominous sign for the future of the industry. If a movie is certainly one like nope is is struggling a little bit, but if they’re not able to sell sell anything that that people don’t already know about in some sense.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:10

    Because, like, that you have to at some point, you have to be able to produce more movies that aren’t just sort of, like, yet another, you know, Toy Story film, yet another Batman movie, yet another Marvel film, yet another Jurassic Park. And Hollywood does not seem to have any reliable way to produce new properties that are gonna keep drawing people five or ten years from now if this sort of behavior persists.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:36

    Yeah. I mean, I unless I was gonna I was gonna ask for your take on that because it does it does feel like there was one movie that tried to do that that year. I feel like bullet train was was a legit attempt to do that sort of thing. Create a new John Wick style franchise, but it definitely feels like there is a little bit of creative exhaustion. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:55

    I
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:55

    think that’s right. The other thing I would say about this summer is that the movies aren’t just contending with COVID, they’re competing with every other aspect of life this summer. Right? I mean, this is the first summer if you have really young kids. As sunny and I do that it was possible for your kids to be vaccinated.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:11

    Right. This is the summer that, you know, how back summer of twenty twenty one aside, a lot of people have reached the mental point of seeing the pandemic as endemic and are catching up on family travel on, you know, on going back to concerts and music festivals and everything else. And so, you know, I don’t think it’s necessarily a great signed for movies that they were not like the number one thing on a lot of people’s to do list. But there were I think this is not a summer that I’m taking as, you know, an indicator of what a guaranteed new future is going to look like if only because I think the movies are competing with so much of a resurgence of normal life and people feeling like they have to make up for lost time. And so I am you know, and we’re also still dealing with the COVID production bottlenecks to a certain point.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:04

    You know, I am willing to give it another couple of years before I see before I say definitively, like, this is what the new normal is. So I I think this year was always gonna be a little weird. But yeah, it’s it’s a little worrisome. And, you know, beyond the question of setting up new franchises, like, it would be nice if people could make just the pure one off movies that people seemed interested in seeing. And I think advertising is still a little weird in part because so much else is strange in the entertainment ecosystem.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:36

    Right? I mean, you know, I think once Netflix has its advertising business set up, you may see, like, interest, you know, more advertising for theatrical movies, their own stuff. But, you know Wait. Do we so do we think they’re like Warner Brothers
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:49

    and and, you know, Disney are gonna advertise for Batman and the, you know, the the new Fantastic Four film on Netflix.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:59

    Is Netflix gonna take that advertising? I don’t know. Once the subscription tiers for some of the stuff get opened up, then there’ll be there’ll be some more advertising experience opportunities somewhere in there. Right? I mean, because as it is, like Netflix, even if Netflix just advertise some of its own originals more, they might, like, beyond just sort of the home screen, even if it was just serving that stuff to Netflix, you know, subscribers already, there would be more of that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:26

    Disney will you know, once it rolls out its ad tier will be advertising its own stuff. But, you know, linear television and in trouble, NBC is talking about cutting an hour of primetime, which is you know, a radical retrenchment in a lot of ways. So, you know, the advertising spends are janky the places where you could advertise are in trouble themselves in some ways. And so I think we have to see how that shakes out. I mean, I think we all saw a lot of ads for Elvis earlier in the year, but the movie we’re gonna discuss this week, three thousand years of longing, I don’t think I saw an ad for it anywhere.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:03

    Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:03

    see, I saw I actually saw I felt like at least a dozen trailers for this good just by going to the movies, you know, and and sometimes
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:11

    that’s interesting. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:13

    No. I saw so I I I mentioned this on on Twitter, but I saw I must have seen that trailer fifteen times. And it was interesting because I do think I read somewhere that the the movie over performed in Alamo Draught Houses, which made me wonder if there was, like, if they if they had some sort of, I don’t know, advertising arrangement with with Outlook. Because I saw it in front of literally every p g thirteen or higher movie than I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:38

    pretty sure I also saw advertisements for it on at least one social media network. Maybe it was whether it was Instagram or Twitter, I do not recall, but possibly both of them. I’m pretty sure social media was serving me ads for this. And but your your point about advertising is interesting because social media is where, like, is is where so much of sort of media eyeball time is being spent, and you can advertise to people there, but it’s not it’s like sort of strange. We don’t talk about TikTok very much on this show.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:09

    But it’s sort of strange that there is a whole generation of kids who make movies. Like, that’s what they’re doing. Right? They’re they’re making in some cases it’s just a sixty second little short film. And it’s, you know, maybe it’s pretty janky.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:21

    It’s made on their iPhone maybe the production values are actually kind of surprisingly clever for what they’re able to do at home with, you know, a single light kit and and a smartphone. But there’s a whole generation of kids who, like, speak in the language of highly edited video. And they don’t seem to be going to the movies very much. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:40

    But to get back to your point about social media, it’s I mean, I so I see stuff, I think, a little less exclusively in drop houses than you guys do. I mean, I have a season pass, but sometimes just in terms of my childcare schedule and Ximedy. There are a couple of other theaters where I see a lot of stuff, including my local independent theater. And you know, from a I think from a just me or taste perspective, I am probably the most of the three of us, like, I’m the person at whom three thousand years of longing is probably most targeted, not because we all like George Miller movies. We all like Tildesmith and Intraselba.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:17

    I unlike the two of you really, really like AS bias. Who wrote the short story on which this is based. And, like, have a real thing for her, like, weird moody novels about academics. And I don’t think I saw a trailer for this at all. Despite seeing a couple of movies over the summer in the independent theater where I eventually saw it, I did not get sort of a single ad for it on social media anywhere.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:42

    And so, like, you know, it’s the thing about social media targeting is if you do it wrong, you may miss the people of that. Yeah. You know? That’s
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:51

    interesting. That is interesting. I I wanna I wanna jump back to something that you said a little earlier though, Alyssa, about viewing habits changing and and and kids and families in particular. So the The reason I bring this up is because, look, I’ve got I have a three year old and a seven year old now. And there were precisely, like, three movies to go see this summer for the
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:16

    Like and so how many times did you see minions rise of crew?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:20

    There was light year minions rise of grew and League of Super Pets. And I saw a rise of Groove twice much against not not quite against my will, but like because I just was like out of things to do. But I like, that’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:31

    Did you dress up and do the, like, wear a tie?
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:34

    Gentlemenians. Yes. That was me. I started the Gentlemenians. I thought
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:37

    it
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:37

    was insane that DC didn’t do a summer rerelease of incontinence. That would have done bonkers business.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:43

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:43

    Disney should have done. Disney should have done that. Or, I mean, like, turning red, I don’t know something, literally anything. But, like, there was just nothing thing to go see. To the extent that, you know, we talked about this three dollar movie day, I was like, okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:55

    Well, maybe I’m the male. I’ll take the kids. I’ll take the kids. It’ll be nice trip to the theaters. It’d be nice and cheap.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:59

    There was nothing to see. There’s I’m not going to see League of Superpets again because it sucked. And I I I didn’t wanna go see Rise of Groove again because I don’t wanna kill myself. So, like, there just was there just was nothing to see. And I like, that is very frustrating for me as both a parent and somebody who is, like, trying to get my kids into going to the theater.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:19

    Legally, they love it because they just said they’re any popcorn. Popcorn, everyone else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:22

    Because they’re your kids. They
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:24

    do the things that I like to do because they want to please me. It makes me happy. The best thing about having children is that you can warp them however you Well, look,
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:32

    definitely part of the box office problem is an inventory problem. You know, the last couple weeks, we’ve sort of scraping together the schedule for this podcast. There has not been a lot that’s new. And it does not seem like the studios have figured out their programming cadence again yet. And if you don’t offer a couple of target demographics of people, something new every weekend, they’re not gonna go to the movies every weekend.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:59

    At
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:00

    the same time, this fallow period has coincided with actually a pretty heavy release schedule for big budget quasi cinematic television with House of the Dragon that Lord of the Rings, the Rings of Power, She Hulk, and then we’ve got Star Wars andor coming out in a very soon here in September. And those are all how’s the dragon obviously does not have, like, a movie that is associated with it, but it but Game of Thrones helped define the idea of cinematic television. She hulk is tied to the Marvel movie universe. Star Wars is tied to the Marvel movie universe. The Lord of the Rings is kinda sorta right tied to the Peter Jack and trilogies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:40

    They’re they have they’re sort of cinematically tied in all of those. And that’s a bunch of stuff for people to be watching at home. And so this is one of the ways that the right right that, like, the fact that that streaming that television series are better, more plentiful, more cinematic, more available, you’re cheaper for people to access means that effectively the the cost has been raised for them to go out. Right? And and I think we are seeing that during these, you know, sort of during these weaker release periods where, of course, people aren’t gonna go see movies when they’ve got stuff that if you had released something like this weekend’s episode of House of The Dragon in movie theaters fifteen years ago, people would have said, wow, that’s a pretty stunning fantasy production.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:32

    I think even as late as like two thousand nine, two thousand ten, people would have thought of that as like, that’s the kind thing you can’t do on television. And
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:39

    now you
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:40

    can’t. And
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:40

    one thing I think is smart, and I’m not just saying this because I’m a wholly owned subsidiary of Jeff Bezos, is that you know, Amazon is doing something intelligent by releasing the Rings of Power episodes on Friday nights. Right? They know that HBO owns Sunday nights. But also, you know, if you can make that the Friday night event instead of people going out to theaters, you know, again, that regular release cadence, which Netflix hasn’t done, but which every other streaming service has recognized is essential to keeping a conversation growing and growing a family and a community. And then doing it as Friday night event programming, when you have something that is blockbuster scale and looks, you know, but looks good on your TV but the demands your full attention feels like an event.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:20

    That’s really smart, you know. And that’s it it makes sense. That if Amazon is gonna spend, like, multibillion dollars or anyone’s gonna spend, like, a quarter of a million, you know, two hundred million dollars running up to now apparently like a billion dollars on television production. Seven
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:37

    trillion dollars a season. That
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:38

    they would try to capture that event night viewing. The shorter release windows
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:44

    have also played into this. And this is I mean, this is so, like, I think in some ways, The most emblematic disappointment at the box office for me this year was Michael Bay’s ambulance. Like Michael Bay should be able to put together a movie and make a hundred million dollar basically anytime he puts out something because it’s a Michael Bay movie. Right? Like the I I mean, I’m not saying that it has always happened, but he’s the kind of he’s the kind of filmmaker who, like, should just draw people who should.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:09

    I didn’t say does, but should just draw people in because he makes populist, like, accessible genre films Yes. You are Sunny, I can see you, like, right now, you’re googling some box office numbers. And he doesn’t always do his movies don’t always perform they’re not transformers films. At the same time, he is he is making the kind of, like, this is not an art film unless you wanna argue that his his angles like, you know, his weird angles and, like, choppy editing makeup and art film. He’s making big, like, cuss word laden bloody kind of frantic action movies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:45

    I there’s they’re a little arty and they’re in the the way that they sort of go full on with, like, the blunderized editing. And but, like, nobody saw ambulance. I didn’t even see ambulance in the theater, and I wanted to. And I was just like You know what? This thing’s coming to streaming in six weeks and I watch it at home on my OLED.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:02

    And it was pretty good on the OLED, but that’s the sort of movie are just not gonna see made anymore because if even I don’t get out to a theater to see it, there’s not gonna be any call for that sort of thing to be made. And Michael Bay is gonna end up just making transformers, you know, six through nineteen here instead. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:23

    I just I Peter was right. I was pulling up the Michael Bay page on the numbers dot com. And for the record, the last time he had a non transformers movie gross more than a hundred million dollars domestically at the box office was Bad Boys two. The last the last original, he had gross more than a hundred million dollars non franchise was Pearl Harbor. And Bad Boys two came out in two thousand three, Pearl Harbor came out in two thousand one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:46

    So I mean, like, I mean, I, you know, I love Michael Bay. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a creature
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:52

    of the nineties, Sunny. It’s always nineteen ninety eight in my head. He
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:56

    has not been a he has Michael Bay, who I love, and think as one of America’s great filmmakers, truly one of America’s great artists of all time. Not not like all challenging artists, he has not found the mainstream acceptance that he deserves. Alright. We’re running along here. So let’s cut to the cut to the question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:15

    So what do we think is summer twenty twenty two a a a net win or a net loss for the studios on the Hollywood and entertainment industrial complex writ large, Peter. I think it’s a net
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:26

    win for Tom Cruise and a net loss for the the Hollywood writ large. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:33

    think it’s a sort of chaotic neutral. We’re moving into a new normal and we don’t know what it’s gonna be
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:38

    yet. Oh,
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:39

    chaotic neutral. I like that. I I would say I would say it’s a net win. But as Peter hits, I mean, it like, the the Hollywood in general owes a great debt of gratitude for for Tom Cruise and Talk About Maverick, not only because it grows an an enormous amount of money, Obviously, that’s big. Not just because Tom Cruise, you know, fought tooth and nail to keep it off of Paramount plus and keep it in theaters.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:02

    He knew he knew what they had. But because it it really did spark a a it reminded people that going to the theaters is fun and also, like, soothed, I think, a lot of older audiences who had stayed away for reasons of COVID and other concerns they they came back to the theaters in droves for that and started showing up for other things like Elvis. So it was that was that was a huge thing. Tom Cruise is the big winner. Of the summer.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:35

    Alright. Make sure to tune in for our bonus episode on Friday, in which we are discussing the careers of two of our most interesting actors, Idris Silva and Tilda Swinton, speaking of whom, on to the main event, three thousand years of longing George Miller’s first film since Mad Max Fillery Road is I would say it’s not one of the summer’s winners, just in terms of pure box off office dropping out of the top ten in its second weekend after a mildly disastrous two point nine million dollar opening weekend. There were questions of advertising we discussed that before. You know, people folks didn’t show up for it, which is which is too bad because I like this movie. We’re not here to talk business.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:12

    We’re here to review it to see if you should go see it or not humble listener. And the answer to that question is, well, maybe kind of depends on on if you can get on the picture’s vibes because this is a very specific sort of movie. It’s a story about stories and the power of stories which puts it just a hair off of being a movie about movies, and I know how folks feel about movies, about movies, a little bit self indulgent, maybe. But, you know, still, I like it. In a very specific And it’s working on a very specific sort of genre, which we could describe, I think, accurately as magical realism.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:44

    Right? It’s a bit like time bandits or the never ending story. But for adults, definitely for adults, do not take your kids to see this movie. Till the Swinton plays Alethia Biddie, a neurologist, who is seeing things. Little men in the airport, men in Turbine shutting rubbish at her when she suggests that science is replacing myth as the way we order our experience of the universe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:05

    While in Turkey, she finds a bottle. And the bottle is a gin. The gin is played by Idricelba. The gin tells Alethia a series of stories stories about desire, about the need. We have to be with other people in the hopes of inspiring her to make the three wishes that will free him from his imprisonment.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:22

    Alethia, the dermatologist understands that all wish narratives are about the dangers of getting what you wish for. So she is hesitant. Can her post modern sensibilities and meta awareness of how storytelling works overwhelm, the feeling of sad, loneliness, that is at center of her heart. Because in the end, Alethia reminds me weirdly of Neil McAuley, Robert De Niro’s master thief in heat. He says, at one point in that film, I am alone.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:46

    I am not lonely. But that is a lie. It is it’s a lie, and he knows it’s a lie. And Alathea knows it’s a lie. When she says she happy on her own that she’s okay with her former husband being reduced to a box of possessions in the basement.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:59

    People need people as we see through the stories, the Jin tells us, look, again, movie’s not gonna be for everybody. You have to have a high tolerance for stuff like harps to play themselves and discursive meta narratives. Right? I quite liked it however. I like the Vantasia of it all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:13

    I like I like the story about storiness of it all as somebody who kind of works through why stories work and why they don’t in day job. It’s always fun to watch something like that play out on screen. And magical realism is a weird thing for me. I don’t love it in narrative. I don’t love it in narrative prose.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:29

    Like the novels of Selman Rusty for instance we’ve discussed on the show, they’re generally not for me even though I like his memoirs and his essays because I don’t love reading that sort of thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:24:38

    But I’ve
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:38

    always loved it on the screen. I’ve always loved it in film. Again, time bands, it’s in the never ending story. Among my very first cinematic memories, they’ve kind of shaped how I watch and experience and enjoy movies. So again, this movie is for me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:51

    I quite liked it. Alyssa, were you able to get on the vibe level. Where where the vibe is good for you is what I’m asking. Yeah. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:00

    mean, this movie this kind of movie is just extremely extremely my jam on multiple levels. Right? It’s two extremely talented attractive grown up actors just sort of being in a room talking to each other. It’s a movie about sort of the sensuality and revishment, both sort of, you know, physical and intellectual and emotional and it you know, is with the characters both experiencing those emotions and, you know, providing you with images that just kind of sweep you up in that. And it is, you know, it’s the kind of movie that makes me think about what I love about the movie business which is that, you know, as much expensive deadening garbage as it produces, People just take wild gambles on stuff like this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:54

    And it is delightful that they do. The world is a better place for people you know, letting George Miller spend tens of millions of dollars adapting an AS by a short story. But I think any sensible analyst could have seen this, like, probably not gonna be a big hit. Right? And a a business that preserves space for those risks and flights of fancy is just a marvelous thing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:19

    And yeah, I mean, look, I think this movie works because Swinton and Elba are both great as they typically are, and they’re great together. Right? You know, her you know, both of them are often play like very controlled characters who break at some point. And, you know, with Swinton, she I mean, she often plays characters who are not real attractive people on some Right? They are reptilian.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:48

    They are immoral. They are, you know, the enforcers of terrible corporate or political regimes. I feel like
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:56

    you’ve in all that that was all just a description of Michael Clayton for the record. Also snowpiercer.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:03

    Okay. That’s fair. That’s But here watching her be this sort of repressed person who just like lets out this you know, sensual, delighted side of herself is so much fun. And, you know, again, Idris Elba is a character who because he is a large, you dark skinned man is often cast playing these, you know, sort of threatening, you know, physically dominant characters for him to play a character who is both physically large but so exquisitely vulnerable and at the, you know, sort of at the whims of other people. But who has such wonderful capacity for delight is just lovely to watch.
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:44

    Right? I mean, you know, it is it is sort of a Shanda on the movie industry that it has not found recurrent space for idraselba to play a romantically than the lover because he is, you know, he is really devastatingly charming and seductive. And you know, watching him get to play in that mode opposite Swinton is just it’s delightful. Right? It’s just it’s an out standing use of two remarkably talented people.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:17

    One of whom in particular is, you know, really has been allowed to play sort of a fraction of his range throughout his American career.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:27

    Peter, what did you make of three thousand years of long. Oh, I loved
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:33

    it. It’s it’s romantic and magical and earnest without being Zaccarin, which is pretty rare and difficult to pull off. You know, it said what what Alyssa said, it’s a movie about loneliness and connection. Right? And but also about it’s a movie about stories, but it’s also a movie about the relationship between stories and science.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:54

    And the ways that both stories and science are explanations for the phenomena that we see in the world around us. But that, you know, ultimately science can It sort of makes this argument that science can tell us a lot, that it can tell us what a star is made of, and that it can, you know, to help us travel across continents on airplanes and make phone calls, you know, through the air. But there is some limitation to what science can do in this movie’s worldview. What science cannot do is it can’t explain the yearnings and the feelings that’s that’s tug at people’s hearts. And so this is a movie that is that does an interesting job.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:38

    It’s something interesting, which is that it seems it’s very comfortable with the idea of science and with the idea of sort of technological explanations for things. It’s not one that is that sort of attempts to dismiss that way of looking at the world. And just wants to say, there’s another there there’s more to it than that. And and if you’re only a world that is that is bound entirely by scientific explanations, by physical forces that can be mapped and, you know, chartered and and graphed, and measured, that that world lacks something. And that that something is hard to describe, but we all know what it is because it it’s within every person.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:20

    Even someone like Tilda Swinton’s character who claims to not need anything else who claims to sort of have who thinks of herself as as being compact and sort of all altogether already, even someone like that. Lungs
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:35

    for
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:35

    something herself. If even if she doesn’t admit it. And that’s It’s a very nice idea for a movie, and it’s just incredibly well executed. And obviously, like, it’s just
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:49

    such
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:49

    a technical pleasure to watch. Right? In a movie like this, which is in part about
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:56

    the
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:57

    pleasures of being a human and about the the pleasure of the sensations that people can, you know, can experience. That movie needs to sell those pleasure. And the smoothie does such a good job of that. Right? Just it is it is itself like a a decade in pleasure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:16

    To experience. And and so much so, you know, there’s a lot of CG in this movie. And people, like, you know, even on this podcast, we just talk about how bad CG is and and, you know, just sort of computer very expensive computer graphics can look terrible in Hollywood. And this is not this is not a cheap movie by any means, budget is reportedly around sixty million dollars, but it’s not super expensive. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:40

    This is not a two hundred million dollars marvel film. And yet, that both the execution of the CG just sort of unlike how good does this look, but also the imagination behind it puts so much else to shame. Right? And you watch this movie and you you think about like, here’s what people here’s what a a talented filmmaker can get onto the screen. And it really makes you think, we’re just missing so much even in even in a Hollywood that is kind of nominally dedicated to showing us elaborate imaginary worlds and spaces.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:18

    This is what this is what, like, real imagination looks like in, you know, with in high-tech cinema in twenty twenty. Well, and
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:24

    it’s a
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:24

    good movie for talking about, like, what is your CGI for? Right? Because if it is to deliver just like a hyper realistic sort of like a photorealistic, you know, set of images of something that couldn’t exist in the real world or couldn’t be brought to life in the real world. In a practical way cheaply. That’s only one of its uses.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:47

    Right? I mean, the but part of what is fascinating about this CGI here is that it is used to suggest things sort of at the edge of your perception. Right? Things that are not actually stable or crisp or clear, you know, in the sort of, you know, distorted way that the jean’s body sort of emerges into the hotel room with, you know, with, like, toes sticking around corners. You know, it it suggests sort of mutability, insubstantially, and things that are, you know, sort of beyond you, quote, slightly beyond human re you know, the limits of humans in perception because they’re so new.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:31

    Right? It’s like and In some ways, the weaknesses of CGI for, you know, recreating things that don’t or creating things that that don’t actually exist, are treated here as a potential advantage. Right? They Miller sort of specifically doesn’t use CGI only to create you know, photorealistic simulacra of worlds, but rather a feeling of touching something and in contact with something that is not quite inexplicable. That is not quite explicable.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:06

    Right? And that is you know, like, sexy and alluring and tempting precisely because it is not quite as explicit in Christ.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:16

    Well, and and and speaking of
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:18

    what CGI is for, I mean, in this in this movie, when something doesn’t quite look realistic, it’s fine. Because it’s not realistic. I mean, like, this is it it is it is very specifically going for a sort of fantastic sensibility, which in turn excuses things that don’t look real because they’re not supposed to look I mean, like, it it is a it is very much within itself a a fantasy and a fantastic retelling of these stories. Which is I in a way, very refreshing. I mean, I like, you know, I I don’t need to see anymore real fake dinosaurs.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:55

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:55

    It’s just it is it recognizes that enchantment isn’t always about selling you the idea that something is fake that is fake is real. Right? It’s about suspending the need to differentiate between fake and real because there is so much charm and pleasure involved in the illusion. So what do we think? Thumbs up
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:17

    or thumbs down on three thousand of longing. Alyssa. Thumbs up.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:21

    Great. Like, grown up date maybe.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:24

    Awesome. Peter,
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:26

    big
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:26

    thumbs up. Love George Miller. It’s just a wonderful movie. Thumbs up. I have a
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:31

    feeling. I I I said this at the time. I saw I saw this trailer about twenty times in theaters at least. And every time I saw it, I was like, that looks very interesting. Nobody is gonna go see it in theaters.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:43

    It’s just it is not the sort of movie that is an easy sell. It looks a little bit weird and it looks a little bit extravagant and, you know, people people will probably not show up for it. But I do think it has the possibility of becoming a cult favorite as the years go along. I I feel like this is the sort of movie that people will discover and enjoy and make a treasured part of their four k Blu ray disc collection. In their house on their walls where all their great stuff lives.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:13

    Alright. That is it for this week’s show. Make sure to swing by at t m a dot com for bonus episode on Friday. I promise to upload the actual bonus episode this week instead of an episode from another podcast as I did last week, for about ten minutes. I’m very sorry for that if you were a little bit freaked out by the non ATMA episode piece, but that’s okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:37

    Make sure to tell your friend and strong recognition from a friend is basically. The only way to grow podcast audiences, Girl will die. If you did not today’s episode, please comment to me on Twitter at sunnyshot coming to you that it is a fact the best show in your podcast speed. See you guys next week.
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