The Big Picture

A TV and Film podcast
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Best Episodes of The Big Picture

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Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey chats with Taika Waititi about his transition from small indie comedies in New Zealand to Marvel’s big-budget superhero epic ‘Thor: Ragnarok.’
Sean sits down with ‘Masked Man’ host David Shoemaker to discuss the evolution of pro wrestling on the big screen (0:31). Then Stephen Merchant joins to talk about his relationship to wrestling, working with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and turning Florence Pugh into a believable professional wrestler (21:28).Host: Sean FennesseyGuests: Stephen Merchant, David ShoemakerWrestling film recommendations:The Big Show OffNight and the CityThe Foul King
Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey sits down with filmmaker Todd Haynes to discuss his journey of making movies as a child to channeling youth and finding children to star in his latest film, ‘Wonderstruck.’
Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey chats with Katie Baker about the best hockey films ever made (0:30) before he sits down with actor and now director Jay Baruchel about making his first film, 'Goon: Last of the Enforcers'; hockey fandom; and filming the perfect hockey fight (6:00).
The Ringer’s Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins break down their favorite films about the British royal family (1:00) before Sean sits down with acclaimed director Stephen Frears to discuss his new film ‘Victoria and Abdul,’ making films about the royals, and his longevity in the industry (10:00).
The Ringer's Sean Fennessey sits down with Ted Melfi to discuss the success of his latest film, Hidden Figures (1:10), and how it came about (3:19), as well as the difficulties of making an entertaining movie about math (8:00). Melfi also shares what it's like working with Taraji P. Henson (18:27) and Kevin Costner (21:15), getting Pharrell to score his movie (29:20), and how he feels about the "Hidden Fences" mishap (38:45).
Ringer Editor-in-Chief Sean Fennessey speaks with Academy Award-nominated documentarian Yance Ford about making Netflix’s ‘Strong Island,’ a personal film about the tragic murder of his brother, William, and the larger implications in the story about segregation, race, violence, and power.
Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey sits down with documentarian Errol Morris to discuss his new Netflix miniseries ‘Wormwood,’ a story of mind control, LSD, the CIA in the 1950s, and murder. They also discuss Morris’s classic works like ‘The Thin Blue Line,’ as well as the day he spent with Donald Trump to discuss the president’s favorite film, 'Citizen Kane.'
Ringer editor-in-chief Sean Fennessey chats with filmmaker Francis Lawrence about making ‘Red Sparrow,’ his fourth film in a row starring Jennifer Lawrence; their working relationship forged through ‘The Hunger Games’ movie franchise; and his new creative venture with Apple TV.More on movies from the Ringer
To celebrate the release of 'The Invisible Man,' Leigh Whannell's clever reimagining of the classic Universal monster movie, Adam Nayman joins the show to help construct a shrine to the greatest creatures, ghouls, aliens, oversized apes, and ineffable spirits in film history (1:03). Then, Whannell joins Sean to talk about the making of his new movie, casting Elisabeth Moss as the protagonist of the story, and the unlikely inspirations he channeled (47:30).Hosts: Sean FennesseyGuest: Adam Nayman and Leigh Whannell
The art of placing music in a movie is harder than it looks. 'Ringer' staff writer Rob Harvilla joins Sean to explore the rules of a great needle drop and the pitfalls of an obvious one, before sharing their five favorite music movie moments (0:42). Then, Sean sits down with The Band cofounder Robbie Robertson to discuss his collaborations with Martin Scorsese, the relationship between movies and music, and 'Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band' a new documentary about his life and musical career (39:25).Hosts: Sean FennesseyGuest: Rob Harvilla and Robbie Robertson
Sean and Amanda are joined by Chris Ryan to break down the phenomenon of turning TV series into movies after the box office success of 'Downton Abbey.' Then, the trio discuss the shows they'd like to see extended into new movies, explore Maggie Smith's chances at a third Academy Award, and rank their favorite awards shows in the aftermath of a lackluster Emmys ceremony (1:00). After that, 'Downton' director Michael Engler swings by to talk about supersizing the costume drama into one of the year's most surprising movie hits (57:00).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda DobbinsGuest: Michael Engler and Chris Ryan
'The Oscars Show' returns to read the tea leaves out of Venice and TIFF, including the shocking Golden Lion win for 'Joker'; the divisive reaction to 'Jojo Rabbit'; and the glorious rise of Jennifer Lopez, 'Hustlers' star and Academy Awards contender (1:09). Then Sean digs into this weekend's smash hit, 'It Chapter Two,' with a conversation about the making of the Stephen King saga with director Andy Muschietti (32:04). Finally, Jason Concepcion joins to talk about the challenges of adapting King's work and what 'It Chapter Two' had to sacrifice to make it to the big screen (69:46).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda DobbinsGuests: Andy Muschietti and Jason Concepcion
We discuss the continued dominance of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ at the box office and the ramifications for wide-release movies and smaller festival darlings alike (1:30) before analyzing Zac Efron’s portrayal of Ted Bundy (26:40) in Netflix's ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.’ Then the film's director, Joe Berlinger, joins the show to discuss his documentary work, his second narrative film, and its companion documentary (31:40).Host: Sean FennesseyGuests: Amanda Dobbins, Joe Berlinger
We examine Charlize Theron’s arc on the big screen—from prototypical roles that leaned heavily on her sexuality to her turn toward action stardom, ultimately leading to her role as secretary of state in Jonathan Levine’s new comedy, ‘Long Shot’ (0:45). Then, Levine joins the show to talk about working with Theron, Seth Rogen, and what types of films he sees himself making in the future (49:15).Host: Sean FennesseyGuests: Amanda Dobbins, Rob Harvilla, Jonathan Levine
David Shoemaker joins the show to talk about how action stars are minted in the post–The Rock era of filmmaking, Dave Bautista’s rise to legitimate actor, and who is primed to make the leap from WWE to the big screen (0:45). Then, ‘Stuber’ director Michael Dowse comes in to talk about the role of improvisation in his films, working with Bautista and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, and what his future in directing looks like (25:07).Host: Sean FennesseyGuests: David Shoemaker, Michael Dowse
The discourse around ‘Booksmart’ blew up on Twitter over the long weekend, but the film still disappointed at the box office. What, if anything, is there to make of the reaction (1:15)? Then we discuss the breakout movies from the Cannes Film Festival, the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' and early Oscar favorites (25:41).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
You asked and we answered—sort of. In a year dominated by superheroes, it's been hard to find a common theme at the movies for just about anything else. So we share some of the weirdest movies of the year so far, like 'Serenity,' 'Under the Silver Lake,' and 'Wine Country.' Then we break down some of our favorites, including Olivier Assayas's 'Non-Fiction' and Claire Denis's 'High Life.'Host: Sean FennesseyGuest: Amanda Dobbins
As ‘Avengers: Endgame’ inches closer, we continue our Marvel month with one of the most effective, influential, and surprising movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: James Gunn’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ We review the original ‘Guardians’ comics, then examine the movie’s star-making ability, its use of music, and its long-lasting impact on the MCU.Host: Sean FennesseyGuest: David Shoemaker
The Criterion Channel streaming service is celebrating its one-year anniversary this week and it has been a shelter in a storm for movie lovers during quarantine. To celebrate, we've asked 15 friends of The Big Picture—writers, filmmakers, and critics—to explain why the Channel is so crucial and suggest one must-watch from its massive and essential library. (And maybe a few runners-up, too.) Then, Sean is joined by Criterion programmer Penelope Bartlett to break down how the movies find their way to the service.Hosts: Sean FennesseyGuests: Ari Aster, Penelope Bartlett, Erin Lee Carr, Amanda Dobbins (and Amanda's dad), Sam Esmail, Liz Hannah, Barry Jenkins, Miranda July, Adam Nayman, Amy Nicholson, Alex Ross Perry, Peyton Reed, Chris Ryan, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
The coronavirus and new social distancing measures have led most major studios to delay their spring theatrical releases. With blockbuster titles like 'Fast & Furious 9,' 'Mulan,' and 'A Quiet Place: Part II' on hold and many people quarantined at home, streaming has become the movie lover's refuge. Sean and Amanda talk about the long-term ramifications of the delays and then they each pick three movies from three different streaming services to get you through a long weekend free of human contact.Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
After a busy weekend for guild awards ceremonies, we have a new front-runner, '1917,' which scored a big win at the Producers Guild Awards. But 'Parasite' nabbed a surprise victory for Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, setting up an intriguing showdown. Sean and Amanda break down the new narrative for Best Picture as we head into the Oscars home stretch (0:57). Then, we're joined by Shea Serrano, who shares the best and most important things about the weekend's box office champ, 'Bad Boys for Life' (20:59). And finally, Sean and Amanda dig into the mailbag to answer all your questions about the past, present, and future of the Academy Awards (36:52).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda DobbinsGuest: Shea Serrano
We've touched down in Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival and we're ready to watch some movies. Sean and Amanda break down what it means to be a Sundance movie, the evolving state of the festival, and a few of the films they've already seen, including a Taylor Swift documentary and a hair-centric horror movie from the director of 'Dear White People' (1:00). Then, they share their lists of the movies they're most excited to see, from documentaries with grave international consequences to a drama based on a "stripper saga" Twitter thread (19:12). Finally, Sean is joined by Randy Newman to discuss his Oscar-nominated work in 'Marriage Story' and 'Toy Story 4,' his showdown at the Academy Awards with his cousin Thomas Newman, and his long career as a songwriter, composer, and bastion of wit and wisdom (41:55).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda DobbinsGuest: Randy Newman
With the 2020 Oscar nominations set to be announced Monday morning, we run down a list of 15 categories and attempt to predict which films, filmmakers, actors, and craftspeople will be nominated (0:45). Then, Sean sits down with writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton to discuss his film ‘Just Mercy,’ working with Michael B. Jordan, and his cohort of collaborators in the film community (1:07:12).Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda DobbinsGuest: Destin Daniel Cretton
Academy Award–winning director Steve McQueen stops by to discuss his new film, the Viola Davis–starring heist drama ‘Widows.’Host: Sean Fennessey
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Podcast Details

Jan 13th, 2017
Latest Episode
Mar 27th, 2020
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

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