Episode 31 – Children of Men (w. Patrick Hill)

We come off a Die Hard high by watching the equally exciting but exceedingly dark 2006 film Children of Men with return guest Patrick Hill. We contemplate what defines a “dystopian” movie and name some of our favorites. Then, we marvel over the masterful long-takes but probably spend too much time talking about animals. And does the movie have a hopeful ending, or does it reveal more about the viewer than the characters?


I think we only once mention director Alfonso Cuarón during the episode, but he is one of the self-proclaimed “Three Amigos” of Mexican film directing, which also includes Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro G. Iñárritu. They’ve all won Best Director Oscars in the last 5 years, and we’ve also reviewed a film from each on our show (check out our Birdman and The Shape of Water episodes)!

Although we do spend quite a bit of time discussing animals in this film, it’s because they demand quite a bit of screen time (and this is not a coincidence). And hey, everybody loves supercuts!

Yes, these Photoshop monstrosities are at our fingertips, and now they’re at yours too!

Here is the underwhelming cameo by Rick Moranis on The Goldbergs (merely a voiceover). Hopefully this isn’t the extent of his return!

Things We Reference:

Minority Report (2002)

The Lobster (2015)

Blade Runner (1982)

Watchmen (2009)

District 9 (2009)

Altered Carbon (2018)

Serenity (2005)

The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-Present)

Spaceballs (1987)


Episode 30 – Die Hard (w. Megan Heneke)

Somehow we have managed to make it to episode 30 without discussing a pure action film, but this week we’re doing so in style by reviewing Die Hard with our returning guest Megan Heneke! We appreciate John McClane’s All-American charm, except for Charlie who seems to be in Hans Gruber’s corner. Did Gruber come up with the (almost) perfect plan? And speaking of perfect, is this the best action screenplay of all time? And most importantly, we weigh in on the eternal “is it a Christmas movie” debate.


Nothing from this film makes AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes list. (Would’ve if we made the list…)

We actually address the “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie” question in an episode of The Gobeski/Wallace Report. Charlie was definitely in the “pro” camp back then. And several critics agree, though Adam would like to state that the more interesting question is: “Is Batman Returns a Christmas movie?” Huh… I guess it stands to reason?

But enough about silly questions, here’s a Wikipedia article about bearer bonds!!!

Die Hard director John McTiernan is no longer in jail, but he was apparently put in for lying to the FBI about illegally wiretapping colleagues, although we think it’s probably more likely a punishment for being involved in 2002’s Rollerball remake.

We couldn’t help but leave in our reference to SNL’s “The Plucky Ninjas”.

And finally, an AV Club article in praise of Die Hard.

Movies We Reference:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-Present)

The Fifth Element (1997)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Predator (1987)

Galaxy Quest (1999)

John Wick (2014)


Episode 29 – Alphaville (w. Adam Gobeski)

We remain perplexed by the 1965 French New Wave film Alphaville but manage to make some sense of it with our Executive Producer Adam Gobeski. We find out that Jessica is much less likely to be executed in this dystopian sci-fi universe. And what amazing executions those are! We touch on what Jean-Luc Godard really intended for the viewer to feel while watching this bizarre film, and we attempt to answer some of the riddles contained within! Time is a circle – but what KIND of circle is it?!


Yeah, if you’ve seen Alphaville, you really need to watch the video for Linger by The Cranberries. It’s spot on.

The band Alphaville had a couple hits, including “Big in Japan” and “Forever Young”.  Did they do more with the name than Jean-Luc Godard? That’s up to you to decide!

Of course you should listen to our Hulk episode of The Gobeski/Wallace Report to hear us talk about Ang Lee’s take on how a comic book movie should be made. He really goes for it!

Movies We Reference:

Hulk (2003)

TRON (1982)

TRON: Legacy (2010)

The Artist (2011)

Before the Revolution (1964)

Episode 28 – The Social Network

Bryan from The SilverScreen Redemption podcast talks with Charlie about why he originally missed out on the 2010 David Fincher film The Social Network. We discuss Mark Zuckerberg’s real personality vs how he’s portrayed in the film. Is he really an asshole, or is he just trying really hard to be one? And Bryan can’t help but pitch a ripped-from-the-headlines sequel which sounds genuinely intriguing.


EP Adam pointed out that Andrew Garfield had previously been in Doctor Who and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, a movie I saw but barely remember. Still, The Social Network was probably his breakout role…

Bryan refers to the Clint Eastwood/Justin Timberlake film Trouble with the Curve, but I cut the part where we eventually come up with the name. So there you go!

Also, we also failed to come up with the name of the “Greg Kinnear/windshield wiper” movie. It is called Flash of Genius.

Parks and Recreation started in 2009, and Rashida Jones was in it right from the start. But I guess much of the world hadn’t caught on to that wonderful show and actor yet!

Things We Reference:

Megamind (2010)

Trouble with the Curve (2012)

Flash of Genius (2008)

Big Fish (2003)

Silicon Valley (2014-Present)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Episode 27 – The Big Chill

We sit down and get all teary-eyed with Dan Hess and review the movie that spawned a Baby Boomer nostalgia revolution, 1983’s The Big Chill. We talk about that High Fidelity quote that causes Millennials like us to go into this movie blind. And the world has come a long way with regards to surrogacy, but we struggle to get into the free-love spirit. Is it just a case respectful relationship between three friends? Jessica and Dan have some strong thoughts.


We neglected to have a Baby Boomer on the show, and thus you are left solely with the opinions of Millennials. We just don’t connect with the free love style of the 60’s, and that can make it a little more difficult to get on board with much of the movie. Hopefully it doesn’t come across as too judgey, but part of the show is about recording our real reactions, and those are certainly in the episode!

Lawrence Kasdan also wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Storywhich I failed to mention during the show. But, you know, here’s his IMDb page if you want to know more. Huh, his real life wife is named “Meg”. Hmm…

The song Dan talks about is not called “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog”. It is called “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. Dan wants you to know that as a music aficionado, he immediately knew he was in error and also knew Adam would catch that when reviewing the episode and comment on it. And in that regard, Dan was correct.

This article on MovieFone about The Big Chill and Baby Boomer nostalgia may be the one to which Dan is referring.

Not sure exactly which Kevin Kline movies we could use for Dan’s next appearance. There is Sophie’s Choice, which would make the themes we discussed in this episode seem like a carnival ride in comparison. Contact us if you have thoughts!

Other Things We Reference:

High Fidelity (2000)

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Young Adult (2011)

The Sandlot (1993)

Episode 26 – On Golden Pond

Jessica introduces Charlie to one of her favorite films, 1981’s acting tour-de-force On Golden Pond. They discuss the deliberate casting, knockout performances and the one and only Dabney Coleman. Listen to find out Jessica’s least favorite 80’s slang term, and the one aspect of the movie Charlie hate hate hated.


OMG there’s a sequel to On Golden Pond coming out… maybe? It depends somewhat on being able to film it in New Hampshire, which does not have the same tax incentives for movie productions that other states have. Why those crotchety old tax-payers of New England won’t shell out money for the sake of people from California, I don’t understand!

Dabney was the 8,737th most popular baby name for girls in the U.S. in 2017 according to babycenter.com. For boys, it was 18,185th.

Hey kids, here’s some info on filmstrip projectors. Yes, we sometimes had to use these to “learn” in school. Don’t laugh too derisively – one day your children will laugh at you for having used iPads.

Oscar nominations we forgot to mention were for Best Sound Editing, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture. Eh, probably didn’t deserve to win any of those. It’s no wonder we forgot to mention them in the episode!

Roger Ebert gave this movie 4 stars, despite having many of the same complaints about the film that we do. It just goes to show that sometimes the good outweighs the bad, and you have to rate with your heart. Also, Roger Ebert was great.

Things We Reference:

Away From Her (2006)

Parenthood (TV series, 2010-2015)

This Is Us (TV series, 2016-present)

Episode 25 – Solaris

Billy and Topher from We Watched a Thing get up bright and early in Australia to talk about the 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky masterpiece Solaris. We wax philosophical about time, space, memory and wedding hangovers. We also get into all of the obstacles Tarkovsky had to hurdle in order to create this film, and whether that’s what made him the groundbreaking artist he was. If you’re into Alex Garland’s new movie Annihilation, make sure to listen!


Boy, it sure would have been great to talk about this movie’s connection to Alex Garland’s Annihilation! However, it hadn’t been released yet in the U.S. when we recorded this, and I’m not sure we had any idea of the very clear inspiration Solaris had on the new film. Plus, it would have been bad form to bring it up to our Australian friends, who only just now got it on Netflix. My feelings on Annihilation were mixed and I’m still kind of grappling with them. I’ll make sure to update you all with a review after I get a chance to watch it again.

Thanks a TON to Billy and Topher for being on the show. Hopefully you can’t tell, but our connection was severed in the middle of recording several times, and once the power went out to their entire building! Luckily, they had enough batteries on hand and good enough cell reception to continue the recording, like professionals. Again, that podcast is We Watched a Thingand is well worth your time!

Want to play the unrelated Atari 2600 game Solaris? Here’s a link! Although you may need to read some instructions first

I tried a quick Google search to determine why Solaris is split into two parts. I was not able to figure that out. I did find that some versions for home release have the cut at different locations. Are you a Tarkovsky scholar? If so, please contact us and clue us in!

Adam had a great comment that he thought of after the recording in regards to Tarkovsky and his representation of works of art within his filmography:

“OK, having thought about it for a while, here’s my take on why classical paintings and music show up, despite Tarkovsky’s insistence that cinema is a separate art form: there’s a difference between making references and pointing out the past and creating new paintings and music within your film.  When you reference the past, as with the paintings and the Bach, you’re drawing a specific link to the past that the audience can reflect upon, because they presumably have already experienced these works and they can think about what those works mean to them and how they tie in with the themes Tarkovsky brings up.  New music, by contrast, doesn’t have that same association, and so that leads to a distraction from the visual art of cinema, because now you’re also experiencing a piece of music you’ve never heard before. Tarkovsky hated Fellini’s idea that each frame of film should be like a painting, perfectly composed, because that’s not what film is for — that’s what painting is for, and they’re not the same thing.”

Adam and I had a long argument about whether Kris Kelvin’s jacket in the beginning of the film is blue (Adam) or purple (Charlie). We think this may also have to do with remastering of the film, or screen calibrations, but I do think it is also perception related. Asking three other test subjects proved inconclusive. Is it because Russian has a larger range of words for the color blue, and the associated linguistic implications? Nope, but I thought that it was a fun idea! Adam, being a linguist, takes issue with that paper though. Ask him about it next time you see him!

Movies We Reference:

Stalker (1979)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Wit (2001)

Sphere (1998)

Under the Skin (2013)

The Fountain (2006)


Great Movies of 2017

(written by Charlie Wallace)

10. Brigsby Bear

Spot number 10 was the hardest to fill. By the time you get to the end of this list, you’ll notice quite a few surprising omissions. But Brigsby Bear is a film that left me so warm and fuzzy that I simply couldn’t imagine leaving it out. Saturday Night Live‘s Kyle Mooney plays James, a man who’s childhood has been dominated by a children’s television show that almost no one else has seen (for reasons best left secret for anyone intending to see the movie). When James sets off to shoot a movie based on that TV show, Brigsby Bear has endless opportunities to be mean or pessimistic. But it never is. Brigsby Bear shows us that real passion can bring out the goodness in people and even form new communities, and that’s an irresistible message these days. And oh yeah, and Mark Hamill is pretty good in this too.


9. Columbus

The city of Columbus is only the tenth largest city in Indiana, but is also a bastion of 20th century modern architecture. The movie Columbus is about two young people who have met there by chance, one attending to his sick father (John Cho) and one who has lived there her entire life (Haley Lu Richardson). The laid-back ease of their first meeting hints that there won’t be any overwrought romantic entanglements or melodrama, but with cinematography like this you’ll be glad that’s the case. It’s almost hard to believe that this was the first feature film for Kogonada, who until now may have been best known for his online videos breaking down the visual aesthetic of famous directors. Each scene showcases the breathtaking design of the buildings of Columbus, with the ultimate effect of letting us know that wonder and inspiration can be found in new experiences or the familiar, we just have to look around for it.


8. Princess Cyd

Princess Cyd tells the story of a young woman who spends two weeks of her summer vacation in Chicago with her aunt, a well-respected local author. Their relationship is simultaneously endearing and awkward (at first), and as with any adult and teenager, we know they are eventually going to butt heads. But that predictability is punctured by a handful of unexpected emotional moments that make us rethink what we’ve come to expect from these two.

There’s one particular monologue delivered by actor Jessie Pinnick in a kitchen halfway through the film. She states that we shouldn’t pretend to know what makes other people truly happy, and it feels like she’s chastising us and young Cyd simultaneously. I’d say it’s the monologue of the year. And yes, I loved Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name; this one is even better.

I must also credit the movie for refusing to label the main character’s sexuality, or to pass judgement on her. She’s simply allowed to be with who she wants, without undue conflict or crisis.


7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

On a recent episode of The Gobeski/Wallace Report, I had the opportunity to rank all the Star Wars films. I rated this as my second favorite – lower than The Empire Strikes Back, but HIGHER than A New Hope. Needless to say, I got a bit of flak for it. Let me lay out a better explanation than I had at that time.

I have no idea when I first watched the original trilogy. There is no time in my conscious existence where I didn’t know every twist and turn of that story line. Of course Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Yes, we all know the Leia is Luke’s sister. Besides a few expendable characters, everyone gets out OK and the universe is saved; no big deal. That’s not the fault of those films, but just a consequence of the time I grew up and the ubiquity of Star Wars in the life of a young, nerdy kid.

1999 was the first opportunity for something new and the prequels were… well… the prequels. In retrospect there’s a lot to to like, but even now I can see that the magic just wasn’t there. And besides, the finale was predetermined.

The Force Awakens was entertaining as hell, but the only thing surprising about it was that it was so good. Fans no longer had to be either apologists nor haters (though some still are by choice). And that’s what we needed, it was enough. But it wasn’t new.

And then Luke ditches the light saber.

In one single moment, Rian Johnson opened up a universe of possibility. I didn’t know whether the old hero would come to the rescue. I didn’t know if the Rebel ships would outrun the New Order. I didn’t know whether Rey would give in to the temptation of the Dark Side. And I didn’t know if the main characters would get out of this one alive.

Of course, most of the outcomes were what we might have expected in any other Star Wars film. But feeling like the rug could be ripped out from under you at any moment is exactly what Star Wars needs. I desperately hope that the next film in the trilogy builds on what The Last Jedi has established.

So for all the fanboys out there who don’t like where “their” Star Wars universe is headed, might I suggest you “let the past die”? By the way, that’s the biggest stunt Johnson pulled here – he made me, if only briefly, feel the pull of the Dark Side.


6. A Ghost Story

I had to apologize to my wife. She has a major aversion to food eating noises, particularly silverware scraping the teeth. And I had known about the pie eating scene before we started.

Less than a minute in into Rooney Mara’s marathon dessert binge, my wife had to leave the room. At about two minutes, she asked why I didn’t call for her when it was over. “I’ll let you know,” I assured her. There were still two and a half minutes left.

Pastry aside, A Ghost Story has to be admired simply because it isn’t the afraid to take its time, and that is a very long time indeed. Eons, all of human existence. An intimate love story is dwarfed by the infinite expanse of time, which collapses on itself and brings us back to just those two people again. And the soundtrack! It’s at once haunting, expansive and deeply human. In other words, perfectly suited to the film.

And yeah, it has Casey Affleck walking around with a bed sheet over his head for the majority of the film. I suggest you get over it quickly, because somehow it just works.


5. The Florida Project

The Florida Project manages to capture the beauty of childhood and the despair and ugliness of adulthood simultaneously. Set in a group of motels outside Disney World in Orlando, Florida, there’s ample opportunity for the children in this movie to experience the joys of being young. They aren’t yet aware of the dim future that awaits them in poverty.

It shows children in a way that you almost never see – acting like real children. These kids are believable and never seem like they are working off a script, which makes the movie all the more effective. 7-year-old Brooklynn Prince’s delivers a standout performance in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I’ve seen in years.

The biggest complaint I usually hear about The Florida Project is that people that people hate the child’s mother, played by Bria Vinaite. We’re shown a portrait of a woman who straddles the line between caring mother and criminal with debilitating behavioral problems. She constantly makes terrible decisions that put herself and her daughter at risk of being separated, or worse. But it’s exactly this refusal to sugar-coat her behavior that makes this movie outstanding. The director, Sean Baker, is more interested in telling a story about REAL characters than fully sympathetic ones.


4. Get Out

As a white man, what can I say about this film that won’t make me the target of a sly Bradley Whitford meme? Probably nothing, so I’ll just bite the bullet: Get Out is the best horror film of the decade, and maybe the century so far. The sense of unease established in the first scene never abates until the credits roll.

Great performances abound, not only from powerhouse Daniel Kaluuya and ringers like Whitford and Catherine Keener, but also Atlanta star Lakeith Stanfield (above), Betty Gabriel and perhaps the only respite in a perpetually tense film, the hilarious Lil Rel Howery.

Possibly the greatest compliment I can give is that I DREAD watching Get Out again. Director/writer Jordan Peele holds a mirror to white America, and it’s deeply uncomfortable to see what’s staring back. More than any other movie of 2017, this one is required watching.


3. Lady Bird

It may surprise you to know that I’m not an adolescent girl attending a Catholic high school. Even so, Lady Bird felt just like my OWN experience. More specifically, it felt like I was recalling my MEMORIES of being in high school. Director/writer Greta Gerwig has managed to make something very specific yet deeply personal and relatable.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Lady Bird is a by-the-numbers coming-of-age tale. It breezes through 2002 and 2003 and before you know it, we’ve seen the entire senior year of Christine “Lady Bird” MacPherson. That the seams don’t show in a movie that has as MANY scenes as it does is a wonder and a true directorial feat. When that vision and competence is anchored by stellar performances by the mother/daughter team of Soirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, you’ve got something truly remarkable. I can, and do, recommend this to EVERYONE.

(Listen to our episode where we review Lady Bird)


2. Blade Runner 2049

On paper, I was vehemently opposed to this movie. Why base a new film on a moody, cerebral sci-fi classic? Isn’t the ambiguity of the original so pivotal to its success that a sequel would actually DETRACT from it? After Roy Batty’s stellar monologue, what more is there to say? Will Harrison Ford show up, and if he does will he just be cranky that he’s back here’s again?

But Denis Villaneuve knew better than I did. In his third collaboration with celebrated cinematographer Roger Deakins, he’s created something that would be a wonder to behold without any sound whatsoever, from the dust-ravaged opulance of Las Vegas, to a mechanical junkyard that appears like vast piles of human bones, to the recreation of the gloomy, rain soaked L.A. streets from the original. But seeing this in silence would also be travesty, because the sound production and looming score are just as integral to the film as anything else (this was a Zimmer/Wallfisch collaboration, and not Vangelis as in the original film). And though Harrison Ford isn’t in the majority of the film, he turns in one of the better performances of his career, possibly because the director here was actually, you know, giving him direction.

And the movie does a great job of expanding on the themes of the original. Every bit of dialogue, every scene, and every musical cue asks what it means to be human in the age of artificial intelligence but doesn’t insult the audience with a definitive answer.

It’s just unfortunate that it didn’t translate to box office success. Between this and the unusual distribution/poor performance of Annihilation, it’s not clear that philosophical science fiction is something Hollywood will bet on anytime soon.

(On a somewhat related note, here’s a link to the Gobeski/Wallace Report episode where I talk about my worst movie theater experience ever, story starts at 34:00. Don’t worry, it was it was during by second viewing of the movie.)


1. Phantom Thread

I guess it’s not a huge revelation that my favorite film of 2017 was delivered by Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s doubtful that any director today is so in tune with his craft. Every moment, every piece of set design, and every line of every scene feels perfectly in place.

Every scene has a surprise, and it’s startling how often it’s not delivered by Daniel Day-Lewis. Sometimes it’s the stunning dresses created by “The House of Woodcock”. Other times the alternately entrancing and brooding Johnny Greenwood score. Most notably it’s a short declaration or subtle glance from actress Vicky Krieps. Phantom Thread‘s story and themes hinge on having a female lead who is can hold focus around DDL, and she extends beyond that; she quite frequently steals entire scenes from him. That she wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for her performance is at once frustrating and entirely predictable.

But the most incredible thing about this movie is how funny it is. In fact, I say without any hesitation that it’s the funniest movie of the year. I’ve never been so upset that my wife hasn’t watched a movie. There are so many delicious passive aggressive quotes that I cannot use without getting blank stares:

“The tea is going out. The interruption is staying right here with me.”

“I cannot start my day with a confrontation. I simply have no time for confrontations.”

“Are you a secret agent? Are you here to kill me? Do you have a gun?”

Everyone in the theater was dead silent, except for two older women who sat next to me who made comments to each other and giggled the whole time. I didn’t mind; I’m glad someone else got it too.


Honorable Mention: Dunkirk

I won’t expound much here, but while this was an amazing movie, I did NOT have a chance to see it in the theater. In fact, I had a reasonably large IMAX theater nearby where I could have caught this in all its 70 mm glory. But I didn’t. I watched it at home on my TV, and so I have trouble even coming up with an appropriate rating for a movie that truly needs to be seen on the big screen. I have a sneaking suspicion it would have floated toward the top of my list, but oh well. C’est la vie.


Episode 24 – Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

Co-host of the podcasts Adam Sandler Please Stop and Mistakes Were Made Robert Bacon joins us to reminisce about the 1993 Disney film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993). Despite some misgivings we all find it IMPOSSIBLE to not like this film. We talk animal actors, and HUMAN actors! Plus, we develop several sequels and spin-offs we’d like to see made.


DC’s Batdog (more frequently referred to as Bat-Hound) is actually named “Ace”. Not sure why the movie didn’t take the opportunity to point this out!

Don Ameche actually attended the University of Wisconsin, like we did! And his son won the Heisman trophy while here as well. Don passed away in 1993, just slightly less than a year after this movie was released. So that’s the Don Ameche trivia I forgot to bring up in the show.

Movies We Reference:

Going Overboard (1989)

Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 (2015)

I, Tonya (2017)

The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

A Stupid and Futile Gesture (2018)

Episode 23 – The Shape of Water

We continue our abbreviated 2018 Academy Award Best Picture series with The Shape of Water, joined by our guests from our first two episodes, Adam and Ally. We try to interpret the meaning behind the character’s behavior, the creature design and the color scheme, but it appears that Guillermo del Toro has already told the whole world all of these things already. We break down all the Academy Award nominated performances. And we ask ourselves the important questions such as “What does it take to establish emotional intelligence?” and “What’s the worst thing you can encase in Jell-O”?


According to Adam G.: “A feral animal is one that lives in the wild but either was once domesticated or is descended from domesticated animals”. So yes, you can have a feral turtle!

We know you are all clamoring to hear about the history of Jell-O, so here you go!

Alright, alright, just kidding. Here’s that article on fish dildos you’ve probably already seen. (We clearly show a sense of taste and restraint within the episode that doesn’t extend to the show-notes.)

I really can’t find out whether Sally Hawkins sings “You’ll Never Know” in that black and white musical interlude. The soundtrack has that song attributed to Renee Fleming, but I don’t think it’s the same version as is in that scene. In any case, it would only make Ally’s argument about “voice actors not singing Disney songs” even stronger.

The amphibian creature from Hellboy was called Abe Sapien.

Movies We Reference:

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Turbo Kid (2015)

The Orphanage (2007)

Cabin in the Woods (2012)