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Can Spoilers Make Movies Better?

May 16, 2023
Notes
Transcript
On this week’s episode, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) ask if people should stop fighting the war on spoilers once and for all. Then they review the new J-Lo movie The Mother, Netflix’s number one movie. Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ for a special live bonus episode this Friday. (Looking forward to seeing some of you folks at the Crystal City Alamo Drafthouse tonight for the WarGames screening. Make sure to say hi if you stop by.) And if you enjoyed the 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 a Cross movie aisle presented by Bulwark Plus. I’m your host Sunny bunch, culture editor of the Bulwark I’ve joined as always, by Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Washington Post of Peter Suiterman of Reason Magazine. Unless, Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:22

    I am great.
  • Speaker 3
    0:00:24

    I am happy to be talking about movies with friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:27

    First up, in controversies and controversies, should people care if plot points are spoiled for them. Anna Lisa Cohen, a professor of psychology at Toshiba University, argues that they should not in an op ed for the New York Times. She cites a study in which audiences were equally enraptured by an episode of Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show regardless of whether or not they knew the ending beforehand. This is a result of a phenomenon known as narrative transportation. That’s why we cry when we see something happen to a stranger in a movie.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:57

    Or are mesmerized by something like the sly stallone classic cliffhanger while it’s on. This is not a particularly new finding. Social scientists have argued for years that spoilers Not only don’t decrease enjoyment of shows, they might actually increase enjoyment. That was the finding of a twenty sixteen study by UC San Diego Psychology professor Nicholas Kristenfeld, which found that across genres, people enjoyed works more when they knew the ending beforehand. And while this feels counterintuitive at first, think of the way we actually Zoom Media.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:26

    When we love a movie, we watch it over and over again, even though we’ve already spoiled it for ourselves by watching it. When we love a TV show, we’ll watch it again and again. On streaming syndication, whatever, even though we’ve seen the episode a bunch of times and we know the jokes. And yet, I find all of these arguments too clever by half. Like, partly because it ignores the desire of the audience to experience Bulwark of art how they see fit, and partly because it ignores the artistry that goes into weaving an narrative in a way that both maintain suspense and delivers narrative thrust.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:57

    But mostly, it’s just rude. It’s a violation of the social contract. Just blurt out plot points. Front of people who don’t want to hear him. I’m reminded of a joke in the Simpsons where Homer Simpson blurts out that Darth Vader is Luke’s father after a showing of the Empire strikes back in front of a line of people waiting to get into the theater, and they all start grumbling about it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:16

    It’s boorish. We should oppose boars. Slash rant. Look, their debate’s over what spoilers even are. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:23

    I have frequently arguing with folks that nothing that isn’t a trailer can constitute a spoiler. I’m sorry. And everything from the first act of a movie is fair game to discuss basically at any point in any venue. And there’s also some discussion about when spoilers should be considered fair game. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:40

    Like people complain about spoilers and reviews Secret Podcast about a movie say, have always confused me. If you don’t want to know plot points about the mother, which we’re gonna be discussing later on. Why would you listen to the next segment of this podcast? But to like sit there and kind of smugly insist that people will be happier. Knowing what happens in a movie regardless of whether or not they want to, strikes me as kind of absurd.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:03

    Spoilerer, Alissa is one of those sickos who doesn’t care about spoilers. Isn’t that right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:07

    So I personally, as a consumer, don’t particularly care about spoilers, and part of that is be because I actually find them as someone who does not like, for example, horror or certain kinds of violence very much. I find them helpful. Right? I mean, it’s a way of knowing whether you know, I’m gonna have to brace myself for something that I find uniquely and pleasant, that other that may not be that big of a deal to other people. And so, spoilers can function in place of that other sort of much maligned content labeling convention and trigger warnings.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:38

    So, you know, one person’s boiler is another person’s sort of squick management. I mean, I’m interested in discussing art sort of as a whole. And so, you know, I’ve always been very, very heavy and empty with my own cultural writing You know? If you’re here, it’s assume I assume it’s because you want to discuss something in its entirety. Now that we’ve said that, let’s proceed on to the main without getting sort of fussy about the details.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:05

    That’s it. I mean, I’m not gonna, like, walk around with a megaphone. Like, just declaiming the plot points to random things all the time because as you said, that is sort of a weird boorish Homer Simpson s thing to do. And so, you know, I mean, I think the the debate over spoilers is really sort of a debate over, you know, the balance of liberty in society more broadly, which is that, you know, you should live your life the way you want. You should take care of sort of your own preferences and but you should also make sure that you don’t go sort of aggressively out of your way to infringe on other people’s enjoyment.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:41

    And, at the same time, you should be able to assume that everyone else playing by roughly the same rules. And so, like, the world is not going to be set up to accommodate your weird off sync viewing schedule But also, you know, you should like you should be able to live with the assumption that no one’s gonna like sidle up to at the Starbucks and be like, just start reciting the plot of this week’s succession. You know, it’s it’s better to live in a world where you can generally assume that people aren’t psychopaths, and that goes for many other things as well as from pop culture spoilers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:10

    Ridiculous. People aren’t psychopaths. I find that hard to believe.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:14

    Ideally, ideally people would not be psychopaths.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:17

    Well, yeah. I mean, I you know, if I if I had A million dollars, I’d also be a rich person. That’s not the case. Look. So the reason this kinda comes up is because as you mentioned, succession is currently in the midst of its run and, you know, the the elites always get very angry when something gets spoiled on their elite shows like succession.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:36

    But the the inciting incident here is the debt was the death of a character. I won’t I won’t spoil it for everyone else because I’m not a bore. But, you know, it’s one of these things where I kind of have I kind of have difficulty feeling too bad for folks getting spoiled about something like this, in part because television has become a communal viewing experience of a sort, particularly with shows that still come out on at a regular time, on a regular channel or a regular network, like, say, succession. You know, it’s it’s trickier with things like stranger things where it gets dumped all at once and whatever. But don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:12

    Peter, you’re you’re interested in ideas of liberty and freedom and balancing those with social responsibility What do you make of the spoiler debate?
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:21

    It’s my right to tell you that Jack, the narrator, and Tyler Durden, are the same person and you’re gonna listen to me whether and learn that whether you like it or not. That’s what I think. Yeah. No. So that so Fight Club is one of my all time favorite movies.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:37

    Probably top three or four, and it’s a movie I’ve seen dozens, maybe into the three figures, probably three figures, number times, like kind of obsessive watching at certain points in my life, which may or may not tell you something about me. And it was, like, instantly, one of my favorite movies. And I went in knowing the end. Not because I had read the book, but because I had read, I think an ain’t it cool news report on the production, like, nine months in advance or something? And so I never had the experience of not knowing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:10

    Right? I just was watching the movie kind of Like, I’ve sort of vaguely forgotten. And also, it was one of those rumor reports that, like, maybe it was wrong because Antigoul used to get stuff wrong sometimes back then. But I kinda knew where it was going. And even still, it became like, the the just the sort of sheer electric experience of watching it of of seeing this, like, you know, crazy set of ideas this year, nearly perfectly shot an edited movie unfold in front of me, even kinda knowing where it was going and having that in in the back of my mind, It was it remains, you know, one of my favorite movies and one of the sort of most memorable movie going experiences of my life.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:47

    And so I think people overrate spoilers as like a problem, even for movies that are highly twist dependent, even for, you know, a six sense or fight club type movie. At the same time, it’s interesting to think about that versus the current debate, which is much more about television. And I do think that there is something a little different between spoiling a movie and spoiling television these days because television has become so sort of plot and narrative dependent. And there is something I’m not actually not sure if I can even precisely capture this. And maybe maybe one of you can kind of can hit this a little bit more with more clarity than me.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:27

    But, like, we watch TV to sort of to find out what happens. We watch movies to find out how it happens. And that distinction seems to be coloring a lot of the debate about whether spoilers are appropriate or not. And like I said, this is all either sort of built around a big spoiler from succession, something that in some ways, people kinda saw coming ahead of time. And in other ways, happened at point in the final season that people did not expect it to be happening.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:55

    So I think that part of the debate about spoilers tells us something about the nature of television and, like, these sort of chapterized serial stories that people that or at least a certain class of person has become kind of addicted to recently. And I don’t know. Maybe maybe that’s a good thing for TV. Maybe that suggests that, like, writers have really figured out how to hook people and engage them. And when shows really, like, are really working and are really on it, like, that’s good serial, you know, plot driven writing.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:24

    But doesn’t that also suggest that in some sense television is I don’t wanna quite say lesser, and I really like succession, to be clear. But like a a less cinematic medium like I mean, you know, like there’s something about television that makes it much more just about the plot, about, like, what happens next and that’s why you’re watching. And it’s interesting to think that this test was done with admittedly a TV show, but something that that’s a study that this is all based on was built around a hitchcock directed TV show. And Hitchcock, you know, even when he was doing TV, was like all about not so much what happens, but how it happens. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:01

    He was like the ultimate kind of cinematic stylist and you watched to see the way that he was telling the story at least as much and maybe more than you watched to see what the story was. And so I I I just sort of wonder if there’s if that tells us something about like the devolution of the cinematic form and like how it’s just become about unfurling and, you know, and and laying out plot points for people to experience in real time together rather than about artfully telling a story in a particular way where the plot ends up being not incidental, but secondary or sort of I don’t know. It’s like the
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:42

  • Speaker 3
    0:10:42

    Yeah. — where where cinema is the thing rather than the story is the way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:46

    I mean, I I think one way of putting this is, you know, prestige TV in particular has kind of become this thing where you it’s a it’s a parlor game about which character is going to die and when.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:57

    Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:58

    To the extent that I get like emails, I get literal I get actual email pitches from sportsbooks that are like, you know, we have survival odds on the new episode of Game of Thrones. And I’m just like, first of all, you’re degenerates because if you’re gambling on what fictional character is gonna die on a TV show, you need you need to get help as a person in in crisis.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:20

    Seems fun. It’s just gonna help you become more invested in the TV show. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:24

    But this is because this is what these shows now are. These shows are about like who’s gonna die and when? And and this goes all the way I mean, this goes back to Sranos, I think. Right? This is like the the big part of the game on the Sranos was always, who’s gonna be the character that dies in the Penn Ultimate episode?
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:38

    That’s what we all want. Who’s gonna get it this year? Who’s gonna who’s gonna get taken out? Who’s gonna get whacked? And that has kind of carried over into other other shows and other programs.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:49

    I I’m I wanna I wanna touch on something a listed that you said though, which is that, you know, the the the goal of the writer here is different sometimes from the goal of the reader. The goal of the reader is often to get what amounts to service journalism. Should I go see this thing? And the assumption if you are reading for, should I go see this thing is you will not have the thing spoiled for you, which I I kinda get. I kind of understand particularly with daily newspaper writing or or, you know, daily website writing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:20

    I can I could see that being being a thing? But on the other hand, like, I go back and I read old collections of Pauline Cale criticism because I’m a big loser. And, you know, if you sit down and you read a a review that she wrote of seven samurai. She’s going she talks about the whole movie. And she talks about the whole movie at a time when, like, frankly, most of the country hadn’t had a chance to go see it yet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:42

    There’s no there’s no universe in which somebody is going to go see seven samurai in like, you know, Cleveland or Alabama.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:51

    But that gets at something, you know, Peter was sort of talking about. He was talking about how people were watching movies to find out sort of how something happened, and people were watching TV to find out what had happened. And I wonder if part of what we are responding to here is a shift in the synchronicity of each medium. Right? I mean, Now, it used to be that movies would roll out solely across the United States, viewing was, you know, was by nature an asynchronous experience.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:21

    Depending on where you lived. Now, with the, you know, sort of the triumph of the wide release model, that, you know, sort of slow release strategy still works for some movies, But increasingly, you know, movies live and die by that sort of opening weekend box office. And there is an expectation that if something is a hot property, you will have seen it in the first weekend or fairly soon in the run. Whereas, Netflix completely or at least temporarily, sort of broke the synchronous viewing experience in television, inviting people to really watch things on their own schedules, making it in some ways just impossible to tell when people were watching things, and sort of flipping the user experiences that entirely flipping the expectations. And so, I I wonder if this is less a function of sort of artistic quality or the function of the writer versus the reviewer, but a structural shift in how those media are viewed, that our expectations and criticism haven’t totally codified in response to yet in part because the shift is not conducted.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:24

    I mean,
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:24

    that that is a a real divide amongst readers is that there are quite a few out there and possibly even the majority of readers who are not looking for informed analysis or or ideas about a movie or television show or a video game when they are looking for a review. They they are just looking for that service y journalism, and I don’t think that there’s anything necessarily wrong with that. Right? That’s the perfectly legitimate function of journalism, and a perfectly reasonable thing for a reader to desire, the same time that’s not the only way, obviously, that that reviews can express themselves. And, you know, I part of this, I think, is something that is sort of a function of lack of how do I it’s not lack of education.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:08

    It’s but it’s like journalistic outlets have not done a great job of teaching readers the difference. Right? And that’s it’s a hard thing to do in a world where even regular readers of newspapers sometimes cannot identify or understand the difference between an opinion piece in the opinion section and a news piece in the news section and just, like, that’s not a distinction that they make in their heads. At the same time, like publications and and journalistic outlets can help readers understand like this is a piece that is designed to basically score a thing and say it’s either good, great, or terrible. And this is a piece that is designed to help you sort think about the meaning of and that, you know, that the patterns and the artistic qualities of a thing rather than just to say it’s good or it’s bad and it’s worth your money or it’s not.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:55

    Yep. I mean, the critics like to say, like, our job is not to tell you whether or not something is good. It’s to help you understand why it’s and, like, yes, that’s true to a certain extent. But also, like, there’s a reason when I worked at the Washington Times as a daily film critic that we had a little box that went in at the front of each of the reviews and you filled it out and it had the title, and the director, and the runtime, and a star rating. Because that way people look at it and be like, okay, three stars.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:23

    That that’s maybe good enough to go see. Or they look at it and they see two and a half stars. That’s a cop out rating, Sunny. What are you doing? Why’d you give another movie two point five stars?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:31

    And I’d just be like, look, man, sometimes it’s not most movies are like,
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:35

    because I see a hundred movies a year, and most of them are two and a
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:38

    half stars. But I I have to write I have to write a hundred reviews a year and eighty of them are in the It’s it’s probably fine. Range. That’s that’s just what movies are. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:49

    Okay. So what do we think? Is it a controversy or an controversy? That people are trying to normalize spoilers in this polarizing environment. Peter?
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:57

    It’s a controversy. People should be less sensitive about spoilers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:01

    Alyssa,
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:01

    It’s an controversy. Everyone needs to be more responsible for their own media consumption.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:06

    It’s a minor controversy because — Wow. — the people are right to be upset when somebody’s oh, you shouldn’t care. You’re gonna enjoy this thing more now that you know the ending. That’s not how art works. I refuse.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:16

    I don’t believe you’re sham social sciences. With your gobbledy gook and your your nonsense numbers. Don’t tell me about a show. I wanna watch it myself.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:27

    Yeah. Nobody enjoys the Mona Lisa if they’ve seen a photo bit of it beforehand.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:30

    That’s right. That’s why we should ban photographs. Alright. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus for a special live bonus episode this week. The war games screening has officially sold out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:40

    There’s no tickets left. But we should have something for you on Friday about the movie and the apocalyptic moment and movement in cinema, assuming all the technical issues are taken care of. Producers whispering towards you. Alright. We’ll see.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:54

    Fingers crossed, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a fun time. At the very least, I’m gonna have a beer and talk about movies with friends. It’s gonna be great. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:01

    And now on to the main event, The Mother. Jennifer Lopez stars as The mother, an assassin who is forced to come out of retirement to save the daughter she gave up for adoption when she turns state’s evidence against her compatriots for engaging, in human trafficking. Spoiler alert, the mother saves her daughter and kills the bad guys, and they both learn important lessons that is the mother and the daughter about survival and how surviving isn’t always enough. Alright. Look, I’m just gonna throw this out there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:32

    Just objectively speaking, this is not a particularly well made film. I feel like in the post John Wick era where you’ve got like high concept to action movies, it’s not enough. Just for the concept to be good and the actors to be solid. You need to have well construction action scenes and visual ideas that you were trying to tell in your story and give the audience something to chew on. And the action sequences in this movie are all not only boring, but edited to within an inch of their lives.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:58

    I mean, like, there’s this very funny clip I think of a lot from the movie Taken Three. That just shows the number of edits needed to demonstrate Liam Nissan climbing over a fence. There’s like twelve cuts in a three second span of time, like it’s if you watch it enough times, you, like, will have an epileptic fit because it is like a strobing light just like cut cut cut cut cut. It’s it’s awful. And that’s what this movie feels like a lot of the time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:22

    There are just these randomly spliced together shots that, like, approximate fluidity of motion than actually being fluid. I didn’t care about any of the characters in this picture. Lopez is sullen and charisma free. Her daughter who is played by Lucy Paez pay pay Pie is peace. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:38

    Is vaguely annoying, Omari Hardwick feels like a stuntman who’s been given a big break rather than a longtime actor who anchors a hit TV show, A Guile Garcia Bernal is in the movie for like five minutes and is good, but it’s too little too late. I’d already checked out. I don’t know. This feels like a very not good movie, guys. It’s like it is content that is content to coast on star power, in cliched silliness, which maybe means it’s the perfect Netflix movie.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:03

    It’s the streaming option that’s, you know, fine with entertaining you while you’re folding your socks. You can just put your socks together and just, you know, not really pay attention to what’s going on. I don’t know, Peter. What did you make of this mother’s day weekend offering the mother?
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:18

    Well, the first thing that I learned is that cashew cheese is objectively violence. I just if you’re gonna eat cashew cheese, just understand that you’re contributing to the violence in the world because there’s a whole scene about that, about how everything you eat. It’s actually kind of a weird random scene, and it’s in some ways indicative of the movie’s biggest problem. Which is that the script is really, really terrible. And I and the dialogue in this movie is just is just unfortunate.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:48

    Right? Like if there’s a like Jennifer Lopez actually has to say at the end of the movie, I’m a killer, but I’m also a mother. Raley’s like, come on. That’s that’s a direct to video tagline from nineteen ninety six. For a different movie called The Mother that has, like, the same plot, but is actually just this movie because that’s kinda what this is.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:10

    It’s a direct to video film with a a little bit more star power and a little bit bigger production budget. At the same time. As much as this is definitely not a good movie, It’s not a completely terrible one. And so Nicki Carrow is the director most recently of Mulan, but also She’s from New Zealand. She’s since I’ve done a bunch of films.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:31

    They’re sort of interested in women’s lives, but also in, like, natural landscapes and sort of places. And I do think that you’re ever so slightly too harsh on this movie, and when you say it has no visual ideas, Sonny. Because even though, yes, it’s edited very badly, and often, it’s like they just didn’t get a shot. Like, they’re sort of obviously missing motion in the middle of a in the middle of, like, what should be, like, a really small motion? Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:58

    Like, somehow or another?
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:59

    Like load loading a rifle or something. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:01

    Or, like, Jennifer Lopez is on the floor of a truck and then she’s driving a truck, and somehow there was supposed to be something in between that. But, like, we never see it. And the movie just has enough of those weird break that you start to notice them in a way that’s bad. But the movie also does some really nice landscape photography work that is better than you would expect from a movie like this. Caro is definitely taking advantage of the fact that we now have drone photography, and you can do these big sweeping landscape scenes in a way that you just couldn’t in a movie of this size, you know, twenty years ago.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:37

    And some of those some of those shots in particular one that ends in spoiler alert a car crash, actually do look kind of interesting. Do seem to have some sort of idea Right? There is a there is a real sense of maybe I won’t say there’s a real sense of place here, but there is an effort to in infuse this movie with a sense of place. And I Kara’s also, you know, continually, like, she’s been interested in the experience of women and the specifically female experience of the world, and I feel like she’s trying to put that into what is essentially taken, but for a lady. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:11

    Like, it’s lady taken. It’s very similar in its sort of themes and structure. Right? It’s like, Liam Newson had his daughter, kidnapped. He’s got very special skills, and he goes and kills the bad guys.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:22

    Same deal here except it’s Jennifer Lopez, and it’s her daughter. And she’s got very special skills, and same thing. Right? But she’s actually trying to do something with this in a way that isn’t just let’s go through the motions, let’s, you know, sort of hit the beats and, like, it doesn’t work, I think, ultimately, but there is more here than the bare minimum.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:41

    I could not disagree more about that. I mean, I they they made a movie that was like that, but better. And it was peppermint. That might be much better than this one. Another problem with this listen, I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:52

    I’ll I’ll get you in one second another problem with this just from a visual standpoint is that snipering sniper shooting is like the most boring possible thing to depict on screen as an action, like just aesthetically, like hand to hand combat is is interesting to watch and there are things that you can you can see happening, even close-up gunplay or knife play interesting. But snipers is just like, alright, I’m are I getting a beat? I’m pulling the trigger. Oh, I hate it. Alyssa, what did you make of the mother?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:23

    I mean, this thing is sort of a mess. The the scene that Peter mentioned is actually, despite the fact that it’s weird, is probably the best scene in the movie, if only because it encapsulates really Will Saletan argument between a parent and a righteous teen. Right? It’s like Jennifer Lopez, characters, daughter, Zoe, is, like, refusing to eat rabbit stew and, you know, starts insisting that there must be something in her, you know, that in her diet that’s like not the product of like cruelty and violence. And her mom is just like nope, poor lords, nope, like, you know, civil war, all of this stuff and it’s actually a pretty funny riff on the like you know stubborn parent and the, you know, willful child.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:11

    You know, this movie, A big problem with this movie is that it never explains why Jennifer Lopez character wouldn’t just have had an abortion. Right? I mean, she’s presented as this originally like amoral, you know, arms trafficker who is in this weird threesome with two other evil arms trafficker. And like she gets knocked up and she wants to keep the baby, it’s like, a person in her position might have just had an abortion. It’s entirely possible that that would be and
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:43

    Well, one of the arms traffickers definitely tries to cause one in the opening sequence. Spoiler alert.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:48

    I I don’t think stabbing someone in this. I that’s an attempted like, I’m pretty sure. And, like but, like, I think that’s an attempted homicide, not divorce
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:57

    Fair enough, but, like, the same outcome.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:00

    Yes. And so but then it also makes no sense that they like come back for the kid years later and like, you know, talk about just like wanting to like do horrible things to her specifically. In a weird way, this movie called The Mother, like, weirdly lacks any interiority on the part of its depiction of her like weird, murder ex boyfriends. Like, this is supposed to be a movie about this sort of deep power of parenthood, but it it it does not particularly feel like a script written by anyone who has an experience. Of parenthood.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:37

    Except for that one scene where they argue about the inherent violence of cashing cheese. And every scene where the actors who plays Zoe complains by not having her phone.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:48

    And
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:48

    it’s it’s a and it’s a shame because, like, Paul Rossi, who we all really loved in the SanF Medal is in this, right? As like, you know, Jennifer Lopez characters like, you know, gruff, Australian hook up, you know, supply hook up, not romantic hook up. You know, again, like Gil Garcia Bernal isn’t this for like thirty seconds.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:09

    There were a lot of can we I’m sorry. Do you know who else is in this movie for, like, thirty seconds? Efelco. Why? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:17

    As a it’s like a mean FBI agent who’s like, you wasted my time so we won’t protect you. Let’s terminate your parental rights. Right? It’s like, weird. Very weird.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:28

    So, it’s like And it’s interesting. I don’t know if either of you have seen WellRider, which is excellent. And probably because it is, you know, very sort of culturally and geographically specific, and looks beautiful. It’s like sort of Avatar the way of water in that it’s about like bonding with whales and stuff but, you know, that mayori people instead of, you know, Toggle aliens. So there clearly was something that attracted a fairly talented group of people to this, but whatever it is, it it it is not particularly evident on screen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:57

    I’ll tell you what it was. It was Netflix dollars.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:59

    Enough Well, yes. Sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:01

    Netflix I
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:02

    you know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:02

    I’m sure through, like, eighty million dollars that they’re probably not that much. They probably threw and I’ve seen amount of money at this movie and folks came and signed up to it and then they slopped together the crappiest stuff I this is again, this is this is my one of the reasons I focus so much on the business of filmmaking is because the business of filmmaking is very important if you care about the artistry of filmmaking. The artistry of filmmaking depends entirely upon what is working within the business of Phil. It’s the the two it flipsides of the same coin. And sometimes people are like, oh, you care too much about box office dollars Ron DeSantis?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:34

    Sixteen blah blah blah. And like, maybe that’s true. But the but the problem is when you don’t care about this this sort of stuff, you get a lot of things like the mother, which is the number one movie on Netflix. Lots of people watched it. You know why they watched it?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:48

    They watched it because they opened up their Netflix app, Jennifer Lopez, new movie from Jennifer Lopez is on the front screen of, you know, a hundred million households in the United States. They’re like, oh, yeah. Sure. I’ll watch that. Why not?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:59

    And now what’s a success? This is a success for Netflix. They get to say, look, we got another number one movie here. We got, you know, fifty million hours watched. People people love Jennifer Lopez, and we’re gonna get more lazy crap like this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:12

    So I care about these things because I care about not seeing bad movies and being forced to talk about them on this podcast and in other places. I don’t I don’t like to have to talk about bad movies I like to be a positive person. I’m the most positive person that I know. And this is a negative movie that inspires negative emotions in me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:30

    Can we spend sort of thirty seconds talking about Jennifer Lopez as movie star? Because I think we can probably all agree that I don’t think she’s ever made anything as good as out of sight again, and that’s a shame. Right? I mean, she she is you know, wildly sort of charismatic personality. She holds the screen very well, and she is, you know, very popular and successful, and nobody knows what to do with her.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:58

    And I really just, like, can we please reteam her and Steven Soderberg for something? Because that would be great.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:03

    Well, she was good in hustlers.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:05

    Yeah. I I Will Saletan gets to deliver an awful lot of terrible dialogue in this movie. And she does so with something close to Panash. She elevates it. I won’t say she always makes it good because it’s just wretched dialogue.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:21

    But she takes it seriously and she showed up to work here in this movie even though the movie itself didn’t actually end up being all that good.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:29

    Yeah. I mean, look, I think she always works hard. Right? Like she, you know, she never doesn’t bring it. She just brings it in a lot of stuff terrible.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:38

    Yeah. She’s look, she’s good in this. She’s good in this. But the problem is, again, she’s not she’s not asked to do anything. And, like, I don’t know, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:47

    I I the the word that kept coming up in as I was writing my, you know, Prisha right up here in my head was sullen. She just likes I understand that’s the character. She’s like off in the, you know, abandoned wastes of Alaska and kind of, you know, living her life and waiting to die or whatever. But, like, I there’s just there’s something there’s something missing. There’s something missing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:12

    She’s like
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:12

    a wolf sunny. She’s like a mama wolf. If you don’t understand the mama wolf, you’re not gonna understand motherhood.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:20

    And that’s part of the problem with this movie. Right? Is that, like, it’s, you know, it’s the mother. It’s all sensibly about motherhood. But it is so dedicated to just, like, making a you know, Liam Nissan But Girl movie, that, you know, there’s just no room in the pot for her feelings about her pregnancy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:39

    Why she decides keep the baby? How Like, does it change her as a person? What, you know, how does she think about her daughter in the twelve years in between giving her up and accidentally reuniting with her. Right? I mean, there’s not any particular interest in a mother’s role or any sort of distinctly female part of that experience.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:01

    And the movie is just flatter and less interesting than it could be as a result.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:05

    Alright. So what do we think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on the mother, Peter.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:09

    Thumbs down, sadly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:11

    Alyssa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:12

    Thumbs down.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:13

    Thumbs down. Bad movie. Don’t watch it. Alright. That is it for this week’s show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:17

    Make sure to head over to Bulwark Plus for our bonus episode on Friday. Tell your friends, strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences. We don’t grow, we will die. You did not love today’s So if you worked on the mother and you wanna yell at me, that’s fine. You can do that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:31

    You can play to me on Twitter at SunnyBunch. I’ll convince you that your movie sucked and also that this is the best show when podcast feed. See you guys next week.