Keith Phipps is a writer and editor specializing in film and TV, he created and served as editorial director of The Dissolve, a film website associated with Pitchfork. He also co-hosts The Next Picture Show Podcast.
The new Netflix comedy EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA sneaks moments of real pathos into its parodic look at a highly specific music scene, a sly approach it shares with another classic of the musical-spoof form: 2003’s A MIGHTY WIND, the third in a series of improv-heavy comedies directed by Christopher Guest and starring a cast of ensemble players. In this unfortunately “Ja Ja Ding Dong”-free half of our pairing, we dive into A MIGHTY WIND to examine the source and efficacy of said pathos, and how it aligns with Guest and co’s approach to both folk music and improv comedy. Plus, feedback on our recent Studio Ghibli bonus episode prompts further discussion of the oft-ignored Isao Takahata and the sub-vs.-dub debate.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about A MIGHTY WIND, EUROVISION SONG CONTEST, or anything else in the world of film, by sending an email to email@example.com, or leaving a short voicemail at (773) 234-9730. Outro Music: “A Mighty Wind” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Spike Lee’s ambitious new war epic for Netflix, DA 5 BLOODS, is brimming with cultural and historical reference points — including an extended homage to the other film in this pairing, John Huston’s THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE — but it’s also full of Lee signatures, in both its story and its style. We break down some of them in our consideration of DA 5 BLOODS, before connecting Lee’s doomed treasure hunt to Huston’s by way of their respective depictions of paranoia and madness, their ideas about foreign interlopers and native populations, and their grimly ironic endings. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radarPlease share your comments, thoughts, and questions about THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, DA 5 BLOODS, or anything else in the world of film, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leaving a short voicemail at (773) 234-9730. Show NotesWorks Cited:• “Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods Misses the Mark—and Does a Disservice to Its Women,” by Cassie Da Costa (thedailybeast.com)• “21 essential films about Black lives, in every major genre,” by Adam Davie as told to Tasha Robinson (polygon.com)• “Black Life on Film” by Adam Davie (letterboxd.com)Your Next Picture Show:Genevieve: Spike Lee’s PASS OVERTasha: Ousmane Sembene’s BLACK GIRLScott: DA Pennebaker’s ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANYKeith: John Patrick Shanley’s JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANOOutro music: Marvin Gaye, ‘What’s Going On’ (Lead Vocals Only) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Spike Lee’s new DA 5 BLOODS has no shortage of cinematic and historical touchpoints, but its focus on the literal and metaphorical weight of gold — not to mention that whole “stinking badges” thing — is a direct nod to the 1948 John Huston classic THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. In this half of our pairing we assess what’s made TREASURE endure, from the knotty moral complexity of its central trio to its utilization of real locations, and go beyond the most quotable moments to explore some of the film’s less-discussed standout scenes. Plus, some feedback on our recent episode on THE HAUNTING prompts some discussion of non-auteurs and the lost art of the commentary track.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, DA 5 BLOODS, or anything else in the world of film, by sending an email to email@example.com, or leaving a short voicemail at (773) 234-9730. Show NotesWorks Cited:• “The subversive masculinity of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” by Tasha Robinson (thedissolve.com)• “Forum: Treasure of the Sierra Madre” by Genevieve Koski and Keith Phipps (thedissolve.com) Outro Music: Stone Roses, “Fool’s Gold” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
2020 is the year that Japan’s beloved Studio Ghibli fully enters the streaming age, rolling out its films for Netflix viewers around the world, and for HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. This marks a major shift from recent decades, when Ghibli’s films were mostly relegated to boutique DVD releases and special theatrical events. So in celebration of Ghibli’s films being readily available to a wide audience for the first time, we’re departing from format a bit for an in-depth look at the studio’s very first film, CASTLE IN THE SKY, which is packed with early signifiers of director Hayao Miyazaki’s authorial stamp, from his fascination with flight and reverence for the natural world, to his distrust of the military and cynicism about humanity. Then, we each offer our respective starting points for the Ghibli catalogue, as part of a larger discussion about how one’s first encounter with Ghibli can shape the experience of all future viewings. Show NotesWorks Cited:• “Welcome to Studio Ghibli Week,” by Tasha Robinson (Polygon.com)• “Studio Ghibli’s first film, Castle in the Sky, is like no Hayao Miyazaki film that followed,” by Tasha Robinson (Polygon.com)• “The gross fluids and clean fluidity of Spirited Away,” by Tasha Robinson (TheDissolve.com)Outro Song: Azumi Inoue, “Kimi wo Nosete/Carrying You” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices