You can't keep a good slasher killer down, so we've got even more Freaky Behind the Scenes coming your way! This time I had the opportunity to sit down with co-screenwriter Michael Kennedy, who notoriously teamed up with director and co-writer Chris Landon in a pitch rehearsal turned creative partnership!
We sat down to chat about what it means to write an openly queer character in a slasher movie, some fun sequel ideas, and how it feels to have your debut film suddenly become the only film in the back quarter of 2020.
I feel like I already expended most of my Freaky analysis in the blog intro to Chris' interview, so it's time to get a glimpse into my glitzy and glamorous Hollywood lifestyle. I first met Michael in the summer of 2018, when I was brought on to produce Attack of the Queerwolf, the queer horror podcast I ended up co-hosting with Michael, Nay Bever, and Mark Fortin.
Before and after recordings we would all talk shop and chat about what was going on in our lives. It was a delight to watch Michael go from an elated "I have a meeting with Chris!" to a tight-lipped "I can't say anything at this time" to a boisterous "holy shit, Freaky is actually happening!" Michael's primary goal is to make people laugh and have a good time, and it was an incredible privilege to watch that dream come true and unfold before our eyes (in feature film form at least, he wrote for television before Freaky came together - this isn't his first rodeo).
And between you and me, it's always nice when the friend you're supporting turns out work that's actually good and you don't have to fake it, so what a lucky break for me!
Freaky is in drive-ins and select theaters Friday, November 13 and on digital VOD December 4th!
All week, Rob annoyingly wandering around the house talking about our upcoming Let Him Go interview with Thomas Bezucha. He was using a thick Italian mobster accent and probably mispronouncing his name "Ba-zooooo-ka." By the time we got to the interview, it was so burned in my brain, that there's a fair chance I referred to him as a large rocket launcher weapon.
Please, please comment below if you read the above headline and instantly thought about Robin Williams. I need to know, so we can be friends forever. Anyway, Thomas Bezucha is an American screenwriter and film director. If you don't recognize his name you'll certainly recognize his filmography. He wrote and directed the films Big Eden (2000), The Family Stone (2005) and Monte Carlo (2011). He also co-wrote the films The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018) and The Good House.
Admittedly, I haven't seen any of his earlier films. I asked Rob not to share, but like in all good relationships, he failed me.
In a diversion from his previous films, Let Him Go is a 2020 American neo-Western drama, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Larry Watson. After the death of their son, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, a retired sheriff, set out to save their only grandchild. Basically, you find out real quick that their daughter-in-law's new family she's married into is bonkers weird and violent. So, we have to count on Costner and Lane to come in and bust some faces, and that's where I'll leave that.
We didn't talk about something during the interview, because we found out the hard way on our Top 5 Jump Scares episode, when Rob criticized his parents participation in Halloween, that my in-laws apparently listen to our podcast. But let it be known, that Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville) the horrifying matriarch of this abusive family is TOTALLY my mother-in-law. (Please note: she's not violent, but she is pretty cray).
The film is tense and stressful and really beautiful. On one hand, I was super sucked into the thriller/suspense aspect of the movie. On the other hand, I'm super frustrated that anybody would have to deal with the situation altogether.
The film was theatrically released in the United States on November 6, 2020, by Focus Features, check out and let us know what you think!
You can also read Tim's review of Let Him go.
I have been extremely lucky in my life as an entertainment personality-type person to have already had the chance to podcast with Chris Landon twice before (most recently about the movie Carrie).
Not only is Chris the writer-director of Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, and his new upcoming feature Freaky, co-written with Michael Kennedy, but he’s also one of the most genuinely nice guys working in the industry today.
He did nothing to dim that impression when we sat down for this interview where we chat about Freaky, how a pitch rehearsal turned into a full-on partnership, the importance of giving a queer character time to shine, how to turn your home into the perfect Freaky viewing environment, and (definitely most importantly) what we’re watching during quarantine.
One thing that we hit on in our discussion is the queer element of Freaky, which is certainly foregrounded: one of the lead characters is a queer teen. But that isn't the only way Freaky, which was written by two gay men, is a queer film. At the center of Freaky is the idea of the body swap, a concept that most would look on as fodder for comedy and wacky impressions. And yes, of course it provides that. But for queer audiences in particular, this can resonate more deeply. There's nobody in the world who hasn't wished their body looked different at some point in their life. But the very notion of being queer means rebelling against the strict parameters that society has set for the type of body you live in, from how you look and who you love, all the way on down to little things like what movies you'll like or what color clothes you should wear.
Having an identity that doesn't match the body you were born in obviously comes with the territory for trans and nonbinary folks, but even cisgender queer people ("cisgender" means that your gender identity matches your birth sex) feel societal pressure about their behavior not matching the meat puppet they're piloting around. There are few cis gay men who haven't at least once wish they could have been born with a vagina so that they could publicly hold hands with a guy they're dating without fear of blowback. Or cis lesbians who feel it would have been a damn sight more convenient to have been born with a penis so they wouldn't be ostracized for the mere act of loving.
These concepts might seem too highbrow for a simple slasher comedy, but I assure you they're not. The body, and all the expectations placed on it, form the backbone of Freaky. Vince Vaughn might not be delivering a Socratic seminar about queer theory in this movie, but the idea that this film is born from would be treated much differently if it were written by a pair of straight, cisgender people.
But enough from me! Let’s hear from the man in his own words as we dissect everything that went into making this wild movie a reality!
Have you ever noticed the pattern of successful entertainment personalities, having experienced some sort of adversity or hardship when they were young? The comedian whose Dad was an abusive jerk. The actor who was bullied for their acne or their off-brand jeans or their haircut (you know the important stuff that bullies care about). As a creator, you can control the narrative and ultimately, the outcome for your characters (what should happen). For Jacob Chase, Come Play, has a message about loneliness, about empathy and about overcoming the qualities in ourselves that challenge us most.
It's fair to say (I double checked with Jacob Chase) that Come Play is a blend of The Babadook and ET. Despite the heart-racing jump scares and sweat-inducing practical effects, when the terrifying monster Larry emerges, I kind of wanted to reach out my finger and say "Lar-Ry Phone Home." In fact, all Larry wants is a friend. The story centers around a little boy named Oliver (Azhy Robertson) who has a severity of autism that leaves him unable to communicate verbally. Oliver's Mom, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), is doing her best to navigate the challenges that come with this, while also dealing with the deterioration of her marriage to Marty (John Gallagher, Jr.).
The thing of the movie, is that Larry lives inside your smart phone or your tablet (I'll probably use this explanation with my kids to get them off those ridiculous package opening YouTube videos) and he grows strength and emerges from the technology as you read his story.
The thing is, yeah, Larry is a monster who wants to suck Oliver into his dark world. And sure, Larry will probably kill you if he has the chance. But Larry just wants a friend, after all, and who can't empathize with that?
We had such a nice time chatting with Jacob Chase. Everything from, his motivations for making the movie, his wife's work that inspired the film and his overall passion for all things that go bump-in-the-night. The making of Larry and how the practical effects came together, also gave us a different perspective on the film.
We hope you enjoy hearing about the making of Come Play too!
Put down your coffee and check out the trailer!
You can also read Tim's review of Come Play.
Screen legend Sean Connery passed away on October 31 at the age of 90, and we at Alternate Ending celebrate his career by devoting this podcast to the highlights of his career - the best performances, the best movies, and the most sadly appropriate opportunity Carrie has ever had to put Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at #1 on her top 5 list.
In Worth Mentioning we cover Come Play, Let Him Go and The Dark and the Wicked.
This week we had the chance to sit down with The Dark and the Wicked producer, Adrienne Biddle. We talked about the making of the film and our feelings on the movie, but we ended up spending a good chunk of time discussing her path to becoming a film producer. Schooling, early grunt-jobs, relationship building, the whole thing. It was such an enlightening conversation because I've always wondered what a producer actually does.
Indulge me for a little only somewhat relevant story. Back in 2008, I was at a wedding (with a date that wasn't Rob) and it was kind of fancy shindig. The groom, was my then-boyfriend's uncle. He was one of those guys who sometimes acted and sometimes bought and sold sports tickets and sometimes probably sold drugs (who knows).
I remember there was a "special guest" coming and everybody was being weird about ensuring this guy and his wife were getting the real VIP treatment. My job was to ensure my car was void of candy wrappers and random clothes (your car was gross when you were 25, too) and I needed to be on time to pick up them up from the airport. When I arrived at O'hare (probably late), he introduced himself as Stratton Leopold and his wife, as Mary. I had no idea who he was, but I was pretty confident he was a big deal with a name like Stratton Leopold (insert regal-sounding accent). Being the nosy person I am, I asked what he did for a living. He shared that he and his wife owned an ice cream shop in Savannah, GA and he did some work in Hollywood.
As it turns out, even all those years ago, I was still pretending to know about film.
Knowing the goal of the interviewee is to promote their movie, we of course spent at least 3 minutes talking about The Dark and the Wicked. The truth is, when Rob dropped out of film school, it wasn't because he didn't love movies, but he just didn't really see a path that he could be successful at. Through the years, and working in business roles, he's probably said about 100-ish times, "I think I would be good at producing". Supportively, I nod and say "hmm mmm, sounds great, you should totally do that" but really I'm thinking "dude, if this is you asking me to leverage our savings to make a movie the answer is N-O."
All that said, we were both pretty eager to hear more about Adrienne's role as a producer on The Dark and the Wicked, how she met Bryan Bertino and document every life choice she's ever made, to get to where she is today.
The bad news for Rob is that apparently it takes a lot of consistent hard work, dedication and acceptance of less than glamorous responsibilities, as you work your way up the ladder. The good news is that the role lends itself to people who are workaholics and excellent planners, who like control.
So...we'll see what the future holds.
On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a father is terminally ill. His children (Marin Ireland and Michael Abbott, Jr.)come back to the farm to mourn. It doesn't take long for super-creepy-weirdness to take place, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.
It's grim and dark and freaky and weird. It's also edgy and jumpy and there are some super cringeworthy scenes that you'll probably think "oh heck no, they won't..." and then they do. If you're into grim horror, this may just be your bag!
The Dark and the Wicked releases November 6th on VOD!
Ten minutes into The True Adventures of Wolfboy, we were triggered. You see, I usually shut off movies about bullying and Rob is super self-conscious about his body hair (he has the perfect amount of body hair), so when a young kid with hypertrichosis gets verbally abused by some douchebags at a carnival, tensions were high.
The True Adventures of Wolfboy follows a young boy named Paul (Jaeden Martell) who has hypertrichosis, an affliction which causes you to grow hair, everywhere. He’s living a somewhat sheltered life with his Dad (Chris Messina), who is encouraging him to face society, but not necessarily pushing him the right ways. I love the idea that he wants so much for his kid to be strong and feel confident, but his approach really does just feel like he’s throwing him to the wolves (yea, I know what I said). Desperate to find a place where he doesn’t feel so ostracized, his Dad searches out a boarding school for “unique children”. In response, Paul runs off in search of his estranged mother (Chloe Sevigny) and answers to his family history. Along the way, Paul’s experiences lead him to relationships that begin to shape a new perspective.
The most nervous we get for any interview is in the 3 seconds between when you see that the interviewee has joined the meeting, but not yet started their camera. There’s this flash of self-doubt where you think “oh gawd, what if they think my face is weird, or that my hair is weird, or worse what if they think I look like a BORING MOM THAT DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MOVIES.” While I feel that way right before all interviews, these feelings are particularly ironic for talking about The True Adventures of Wolfboy.
Martin Krejčí studied documentary filmmaking at Prague's prestigious Academy of Performing Arts before going on to hone his craft on countless critically acclaimed advertising projects. As a result he was named as one of the top ten advertising directors in the world.
Martin is a visual conductor who orchestrates many disciplines through his work, and pushes the possibilities of any given script. His keen curiosity and theatrical influences have allowed him to experiment, perfect and surprise us throughout his career – reminding us that film-making is truly an art form.
I’ll also report that at no point in our chat, did I get the sense that he thought my face and hair were weird.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Martin Krejčí and getting a behind the scenes look at the making of The True Adventures of Wolfboy.
The True Adventures of Wolfboy is scheduled to be released on October 30, 2020, by Vertical Entertainment.
Prefer video? Check it out here.
Welcome to the inaugural episode of Bride of Alternate Ending! Tim and AE contributor Brennan have joined forces for a monthly Patreon show covering everything horror!
We’re starting out our run with a special Halloween preview on the main feed dicussing the 1975 cult classic THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW!
Topics include unpopular opinions on the live show experience, the largely ignored tributes to 50’s science fiction, whether or not this movie is truly “bad,” and the refractory period of U.S. presidents!
For further episodes of this show, join the Alternate Ending Patreon at the $3 tier or above here: https://www.patreon.com/alternateending
Halloween is almost upon us, which means it's time for our annual dive into the spooky and scary. This year, we're going to be blunt and to the point: our top 5 jump scares in movie history. The simplest, most brutal way a filmmaker can give audiences a good wallop, jump scares sometimes get slagged for being too cheap and artless, but used well, they can be one of the most portent tools in the horror director's arsenal. To prove it, we're going to look at our very favorite examples of the form along with a special guest.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover Borat 2, The Witches and Synchronic.
Rob and I got into a marital tift the other night because I made the claim that I never lie. He didn’t agree. He contests that I omit details in a way that leads people to believe something that isn’t true. That’s not lying right? That’s just a totally healthy need for people to like me. So, in our interview with Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, this plays out something like this, - “I have to tell you, in the first 2 minutes of Synchronic I was totally getting vibes of Midsommar…” and what I was about to say was “THANK GOD it wasn’t like that, because that movie was the WORST” but Moorehead jumped in to let me know that “If I loved Midsommar… I should definitely check out his film “The Endless” to which I replied, “Ooooh… I’ll definitely have to check that out!” But see, I didn’t say what movie or when I would be checking it out…so see? Not a lie. (Edit: It turns out, I've see The Endless...shhh don't tell)
Two friends Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) are best friends and are working as paramedics on the night shift. They begin to encounter a series of strange deaths and people in hypnotic-like states that they link to a new designer drug, Synchronic.
In the mix of all of this Dennis’s daughter Brianna (Ally Ioannides) goes missing and the story unravels the more details about this trending drug and it’s true effects. Time travel!
Steve discovers something about himself that motivates him to buy up all the Synchronic in town to protect others, and to take it himself and chronicle how the pill works with different forms of ingestion, how it causes you to time travel with the goal of discovering what happened to Brianna.
Rob was super nervous about talking to the creative duo of Benson and Moorehead because he really admires their collective movie-making skills. I had only seen parts of two of their previous films, because murder-horror-thrillers always have a way of lulling me into a good sleep. This isn’t to say I don’t like their movies (I liked Spring), I’m just still an exhausted Mom, at the end of the day.
We really enjoyed catching up with Benson and Moorehead. Admittedly, we had a whole bevy of questions for them that we weren’t able to get to because of time constraints, but we hope you enjoy the time with had with this talented duo!
Synchronic releases on VOD October 23rd!
The truth is, if I’d known what Cicada was going to be about, I’m not sure I would have watched the film. I would have read the three sentence synopsis and surmised that it would be too painful, too grueling and that it would break my heart - and it was, and it did. Though, beyond the stomach-knots and frustrated tears, there is so much beauty and love I would have otherwise missed. To me, the cliche of having to know pain to know joy is only sometimes true. There is nothing purposeful or deserving about any of this, which just sort of ends up making me want to go find a few people depicted in this movie and slash their tires, but I digress.
Cicada is a queer love story that follows Ben (Matthew Fifer) who is the co-writer/director of the film. Fifer plays a fictionalized version of himself and allows us to watch the story of his own very personal struggles unfold. It’s alluded to early on that something has happened to Fifer as a child, through a series of brief flashbacks. The film opens with a pretty intense montage of Ben’s numerous sexual encounters (TMI, but I’ve dated ~4 people in my life, so after the first 20 minutes, it did take me a bit of time to scrape my jaw off the floor).
For Ben, it’s not about who, but more about how much and how often. Beyond this, Ben feels perpetually ill (you’re unsure if it’s legit or hypochondria, but what matters is that he doesn't feel well) and continuously looks for ways to self-medicate (in ways your Doctor would not recommend). There is reprieve, as we are introduced to some of Ben’s family. His Mom, Debbie (Sandra Bauleo) is overtly supportive of Ben’s sexuality and his sister, Amber (Jazmin Grace Grimaldi) talks about Ben’s conquests with breezy indifference.
In what seems like Ben's next potential sexual encounter, we meet Sam (Sheldon D. Brown), who is the co-writer/director of the film. Sam is a young Black man who is walking a seemingly endless tightrope of shaping his public persona to align himself for corporate success and getting comfortable with his personal identity as a gay black man. We also come to find that Sam has not shared his sexuality with his family. While disheartening, it leads to one of my favorite scenes of the movie, when the couple has dinner with Sam’s father (Michael Potts).
The meeting of Ben and Sam is where the film pivots. For a while, the melancholy seems to melt away. Suddenly you’re swept up in the swirl of fresh starts and the possibilities that come when you meet a person you really connect with. I would compare what comes next to how I felt watching Before Sunrise. It's breezy and conversational, you know, when you’re still figuring each others’ favorite foods and colors (before you discover they pre-soak their dishes for 48 hours and they have weird tics about leaving the car keys in a small bowl on your kitchen counter). You are a fly on the wall of a budding connection and if almost feels as if you're intruding on their intimate experience.
The couple faces a lot together. Each must grapple with their respective traumas and discover their paths towards emotional and physical healing.
There were only 14 tiny hours between watching Cicada and sitting down to talk to the film’s writer, director and star, whose life the film was based on. My emotions were still tangled with anger and frustration, hope and admiration. Fifer was quick to point out that this is not just his story. It’s Sheldon Brown’s story. It’s co-director Kieran Mulcare’s story. And you know what, it’s my story too. And it’s your story. We all have things about ourselves we’re afraid to share, for fear of how people will react. Our inclination is to think the deeper we bury something the less it will consume us. But instead, the catharsis ends up being in our vulnerability.
I’m still reeling from Cicada’s honesty.
In our chat with Fifer, I wanted to touch on his goals in making the film. Was it to normalize queer or interracial relationships or was it a personal catharsis for his experienced trauma? Before I had a chance to get there, Fifer was quick to share that this project was something that he needed to do. His vulnerability. His catharsis.
This was the point in the interview where I almost shared my plans to slash tires and hand out some free knuckle sandwiches, but I kept my cool.
Instead, I offered what I hope you will also offer this film: admiration for the film’s truth and vulnerability and reverence for bringing a voice to those who have not yet found their own.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I spent my days in a cubical, mindlessly tinkering with the calculator on my desk, figuring out how much I had to save to retire at 40. Sometimes, I would organize my post-it notes in rainbow color order, and the pens too, if I wasn't too busy. There was a coffee shop in my building, so every few hours, I'd sucker a co-worker into grabbing a caramel latte with me. I'm horrified when I look back on these years, I mean, do you have any idea how many calories are in one of those lattes?!
Kourtney Bell knew she wanted to become an actress when she was 7. She developed a plan. She got involved in high school theatre. Bell compromised with her parents, that she could pursue something in Hollywood, as long as it was agreed to that education was on the life plan. From there, Bell went on to study at the University of Michigan and majored in the arts, while balancing a few acting opportunities. I'm always so envious of people whose goals are so clearly defined. What I know for sure, is that Kourtney Bell would have absolutely known that multiple caramel lattes a day, wasn't good for anybody.
Chatting with Bell was an absolute delight and she is so clearly poised for success.
I will say, her polish led me astray a bit. At one point in the interview we went down the path of childhood Hollywood crushes. Naturally, as a good child of the 90's I said "Devon Sawa"....to which I could see her quickly searching her memory bank, for who the world he is. A nervous moment later, she met me with "Noah Centineo"...to which I agreed, while frantically searching my phone for a photo. Incidentally, this has turned into my first lie on an interview...
Don't Look Back is the newest feature written and directed by Jeffery Reddick (writer of Final Destination). This supernatural thriller follows a young woman (Kourtney Bell) who is working through overcoming her traumatic past. When she finds herself among several witnesses, who see a man fatally assaulted and don't intervene, they find themselves targeted by someone, or something, out for revenge.
The film will push you to self-actualize. If you were a bystander, witnessing something uncomfortable or even violent, would you step in? Would you run away? Would you film it? Of course many of us think we would rip open our suit jackets donning the first letter of our name and heroically sweep in to save the day. But the truth is, for most people, fear would supersede our best intentions.
If you give me just 2 seconds I'm going to blow your mind. Love and Monsters is going to be your favorite movie of 2020. There I said it. Admittedly, it's not mine. But it will be yours. That's because it's TIED for my favorite movie of the year with Spontaneous. Which, I realize it cheating, but there are no rules around here.
I have no idea how old Michael Matthews is, but what I'm coming to find is that by the time you're making great movies in Hollywood, you're more than likely just-about my age. I pressure test this by dropping breadcrumbs for them to disclose their favorite movies. If they say something like, The Machinist, I'm thinking "hmmm good taste, but favorite?"... if they something like (500 Days of Summer), again I'm thinking "Cute, but you're wrong" and if they say Inception, I just assume they're 15 years old and know nothing of cinema and I hang up on them. Or they're Rob.
But let me tell you what happened, I dropped my breadcrumb. Matthews throws out Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones and that's when I knew. We were going to be best friends forever (don't tell him, he doesn't know yet) and that he's probably 37-ish.
Michael Matthews is a South African director whose feature Five Fingers for Marseilles, won the award for best film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. His film also received 10 nominations, including awards for best film, best first feature film by a director and best cinematography. The film was also nominated for Best Achievement in Directing - Feature Film at 2017 South African Film and Television Awards. For his role in the production of Apocalypse Now Now, a short film based on the book of same name, Matthews won best short film at the 12th South African Film and Television Awards.
We'll get into the movie in a sec, but Love and Monsters is a massively well-crafted movie. However, to hear Matthews talk about the movie, it would seem that it's something we could all do. Just a few drawings here and a few ideas there and POOF... you've got yourself a blockbuster. I of course know this to not be true, as it takes me 45 minutes to put together a 30 second video for social media.
Matthew really was a treat to talk to so we hope you enjoy hearing about the making of Love and Monsters as much as we did!
I've already told you that it's going to be your favorite movie of this year, so that's probably a bit of a spoiler. And don't go being one of those contrarian people (like me) who says they don't love it just because I told you, you would.
Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground ever since giant creatures took control of the land. After reconnecting over radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), who is now 80 miles away at a coastal colony, Joel begins to fall for her again. As Joel realizes that there’s nothing left for him underground, he decides against all logic to venture out to Aimee, despite the dangerous monsters that stand in his way.
Now onto the monsters. A movie can be made or broken on the quality of its monsters. Matthew says they're not meant to be fantastical. But sorry, they're fantastical. They're glowing and beautiful and edgy and scary. To hear Matthew talk about how the conceptualized these beasts is something you can really feel in the film.
The other real highlight is the casting of Dylan O'Brien, as somebody you probably know from his tough-as-nails character in Maze Runner, seeing him as this tender, insecure guy who is trying to find himself is a mental shift. Paired with the hilarious script and O'Brien's comedic timing, we were laughing the whole way through. Supported by, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Rooker and Jessica Henwick, the cast felt entirely complete.
Let this trailer wash over your face...
Love and Monsters is available on streaming October 16th and we can't recommend seeing it enough!
October is shaping up to be a big month for Netflix original movies, between Radha Blank's Sundance prizewinner The 40-Year-Old Version (premieres 10/9). Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7 (premieres 10/16), Ben Wheatley's Rebecca (premieres 10/21), Glen Keane's Over the Moon (premieres 10/23), and maybe, if the right rumors hold, David Fincher's Mank. To commemorate all of these - as well as the fact that we've all been spending 2020 basically watching nothing but streaming shit, and have thus all become experts on the subject - our next episode will be celebrating Netflix's five-year history as one of the American film industry's most prolific studios. Join us as we discuss our picks for the top five Netflix original movies to date, in the hopes that they will soon be joined by more.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover The Personal History of David Copperfield, SCARE ME and Dick Johnson is Dead.
Be sure to take 1-minute to complete our SURVEY to help us get podcast sponsorship! If you fill out the survey, shoot us an email to let us know and you'll have a chance at a free Amazon movie rental to be announced at our next episode!
Here's the headline, in our interview with Josh Ruben writer/director/star of the new feature SCARE ME, Rob is 95% sure Josh tells him he's good looking. To be sure, you'll need to listen for yourself. For added hilarity, you can see the live reaction when Rob *thinks* that Josh tells him he's good looking. Imagine when Charlie sees that he's found the golden ticket.
Two writers of varying success, end up holed up in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, after a power outage has thwarted their plans to spend the weekend writing in solitude. To pass the time, the pair decide to have a "scare off" of sorts, to see who reigns as the best storyteller. Tensions build as feelings of inferiority creep in, for one of the two.
What you'll love is the films clever weaving together of both horror and comedy tropes, that have your heart racing one minute and questioning why you're laughing the next.
SCARE ME is Josh Ruben's first feature film and he has a lot on the line. For some, that might mean searching for purpose or a sense of life's meaning. For others, it could be the one shot they're giving themselves before they decide to sell their soul to corporate America (like me). But no, I'm not talking about any of that. I'm talking about cold hard cash. Josh li-ter-ally cashed out his 401K to make this movie.... let's pause there for a second...
...I immediately internalized this information. "What if Rob had a big dream, would I support him cashing out our life savings, because I know it means everything in the world to him?" "Am I the kind of spouse that recognizes that life is short and that we should embrace the now, because we might save our whole lives and then fall off a bridge and never enjoy it?"
After carefully evaluating I decided that no, no I am definitely not that person. <end moment of self-examination>
So back to Josh Ruben. Josh plays Fred, who you will quickly find is the "lesser" writer. He's endearing enough, but has a short fuse that keeps his character edgy and unpredictable. After the interview, Rob and I have a really honest conversation about which character we were rooting for, and frankly I think our instinctual leanings end up being ironically part of the message the film is trying to send. I realize that this won't make sense until you go out and watch it, so go stream it on Shudder!
Aya Cash is outstanding. If you're a The Boys fan (which I am not, but Rob LOVES it), you'll recognize her as the evil and highly unlikeable villain, Stormfront. In Scare Me, she is playing Fanny, a successful horror writer who's confidence comes accross as both empowering and narcissistic. Fanny is in the driver seat as she pushes Fred to dig deeper to unearth a truly scary story.
Ugh, I just spent like a good 2 hours trying think of a concise way to summarize this movie and then I realized the trailer does it so much better. Check it out!
Well first, we're sure that you'll love hearing Josh talk about his passion for his film and some of the motivations behind how he structured the film. We also think you'll find the way he built character chemistry interesting. Most importantly, we think you'll love his hair. I realize that seems shallow, but he does in fact, have that Patrick Dempsey hair thing going on that seems effortless, but it just can't be.
You can find SCARE ME streaming on Shudder now and we highly recommend giving it a watch.
Our next podcast topic comes to us courtesy of Patreon subscriber Martha, who wants us to help shed some light on one of the film industry's most notorious shortcomings: the challenges facing women who want to direct movies at every level, from thorny little indies to massive blockbusters (such as Wonder Woman 1984, helmed by Patty Jenkins, which was supposed to open next week till it got pandemicked away). As former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Witton once said, "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult", and we'll proving that with our picks for the best women directors of all time, talented artists who had to make some of the best films ever just to get overlooked and forgotten about only some of the time.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover Antebellum, Cuties, Spontaneous and The Conversation, thanks to Patreon Travis Neely.
Here's what happened. Rob was like "Ohmigosh... we're going to talk to Brian Duffield next week about his new movie Spontaneous!" **Crickets** "Jane Got a Gun?" **Crickets** "The Babysitter?" **Crickets** "Underwater...Kristen Stewart? Oh c'mon, you're on a movie podcast!"
So as you can imagine, I was super psyched to check out this dude's movie, who apparently everybody knows, by the way. Per usual, I didn't watch the trailer or read a single thing about the film before starting, which I'm convinced really does make for the best viewing experience. I can't tell how weirdly excited I got when Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why/ Love Simon) came on screen. I love her. Like, love love, her. I'm certain we would be the kind of best friends that snuggle and drink cocoa together on a chilly Fall day.
Katherine Langford in Spontaneous
Spontaneous is an absolutely bonkers movie. It's not a spoiler to say that the premise of the movie is that high schoolers are randomly and asymptomatically, spontaneously combusting. It might surprise you to know that this fact ends up being very little of what the movie is about. Instead, Spontaneous explores love and friendship and how you treat every moment differently when you realize that every moment that follows might be your last.
Post-spontaneous combustion of a classmate.
You never feel overtaken by extreme emotions. Duffield balances tragedy with humor and grief with the possibility of tomorrow. We discuss the importance of not overwhelming the audience, with what is a very grim story. At the same time, Duffield aims to infuse just enough shock, that you leave feeling compelled to live your life a little differently.
We hope you enjoy listening to Brian Duffield as much as we did. Spontaneous is available October 2nd on October 6th on VOD.
Our next podcast topic comes to us courtesy of Patreon subscriber Travis, who has given us a prompt as direct as it is merciless: name our picks for the worst films of the 1990s. It was in some ways a magnificent decade for terrible films, perhaps the last time when truly godawful boondoggles could still sneak their way through the studio system, while the rise of the American indie film scene encouraged people who'd never picked up a camera before to find their cinematic voice, with results that could be great, and could be... not. From the biggest to the littlest productions, we'll savage them all, as we turn our attention to the 5 worst films of the '90s.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover Mulan, Host and Tread.
It was a very special week in the lives of your humble podcast hosts - Carrie and Rob are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary! So that you can join in the festivities, we've decided to make this episode all about the best, most stable, most loving, and all-around enviable marriages in cinema. We're looking at our Top 5 married couples in the movies, and while there maybe aren't as many candidates as there were when we when we looked at our favorite movies about divorce (whoever would have thought?), we're pretty sure this episode is going to be a lot more uplifting and optimistic.
Before the Bombardier Blood interview:
Rob and I talk a lot about what we admire in people and what we can do to emulate those qualities. We also spend a lot of time talking about the best way to spend our own short time on this planet (mostly because of my intense anxiety about dying, without having accomplished anything of real value to the world, but I digress). In every conversation, despite the conversational tangents about website content and podcast topics, the root of what brings us the most happiness is in the moments we feel like we've made somebodies day, just a little bit better. When we hear your stories about how the podcast got you through a rough patch or that Tim's movie reviews bring you a sense of community, that really matters to us.
I'll admit though, we struggle with not feeling like we're doing enough. We talk about leaving our secure jobs and instead going to work for a non-profit or moving to Africa and digging wells for water. But we to be honest, it's hard to take those risks. It's scary to lose security and so, we continue to just admire.
Leading up to the interview:
Needless to say, we felt quite a bit of pressure sitting down with two people who are so wholly living in a way that serves the world for better. Two people who have taken their obstacle, and instead made it a job and a mission. Two people we truly admire.
Chris Bombardier is the first person with hemophilia to climb the Seven Summits, to raise awareness of the disparity in treatment for those with bleeding disorders in developing countries. He is the executive director at Save One Life, an international nonprofit that assists people with hemophilia, where care is limited. Then, Chris reaches out to award-winning filmmaker and global health advocate Patrick Lynch and their connection is instant. Patrick also lives with hemophilia and spends much of his professional career advocating for many important causes. Their mutual passions were the perfect mix to bring Bombardier Blood to life.
[caption id="attachment_44791" align="alignnone" width="392"] Chris Infusing with Guide Ryan Waters at Base Camp[/caption][caption id="attachment_44789" align="alignnone" width="399"] Chris on Summit with Save One Life Flag[/caption]
During the interview:
I had one question that was really important for me to ask. I wasn't exactly sure how it would come off, but I needed to know.
Was becoming the first person to climb to the top of 6 giant mountains and then traveling to and summiting Mount Everest over the course of 50+ days, whilst infusing their blood with clotting medication enough?
The pursuit of success and meaning and purpose is such a tricky thing and I needed to know if me (probably getting trapped on the side of a mountain and Rob having to send a rescue team) accomplishing an amazing physical feat would somehow bring that desired sense of success and completionism.
We hope you enjoy Chris and Patrick as much as we did. Check out the trailer for Bombardier Blood and find it on streaming now!
If you're anything like us, the months and months of endless quarantining might have you contemplating taking an axe to the people you've been stuck inside with. If only for a chance to do something new for a change. Fortunately, we have a good way too let off some of that steam: a whole bunch of violent slasher movies. By request of Patreon subscriber Brian Fowler, we're going to be taking a look at director Adam Green's Hatchet series, the over-the-top throwbacks to the most excessive extremes of '80s slasher movies. None of us have seen any of them, so we're flying blind.
You know when you watch a movie and you can just tell that the mind behind it is super cool? I Used To Go Here is smart and funny and relatable, in sort of an unnerving way. We could tell right out of the gate that Kris Rey was going to be so much hipper than us. To level the playing field a bit, I took extensive notes titled "Carrie's list of uncool things to not say." I also wore a dress from my Grandma's funeral last year to add balance my enthusiasm that can sometimes be hard for me to contain.
All of these things seem silly now. Kris was just so pleasant and approachable, albeit still WAY out of our league on the cool-scale.
Writer/Director Kris Rey
Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate (Gillian Jacobs, most known for her role in Life of the Party ) is invited to speak at her alma matter by her former professor David (played by Jemaine Clement). After accepting the invitation, Kate finds herself deeply engrained in the lives of a group of super fun college students. The film is about navigating the complexities of finding and embracing success.
Gillian Jacobs in 'I Used to Go Here'
It's an empathy trip to be sure for anybody who is a bit (or a lot) removed from their wild college days. Beyond that, the movie explores how we seek adoration and the physical/emotional trap that can be. What we loved was the character arch, of finding empowerment in whatever way serves you best.
Jemaine Clement plays the long-time admired professor in 'I Used to Go Here'
We hope you enjoy listening to Kris Rey as much as we did. I Used to Go Here is available August 7th on Amazon and iTunes.
If we're being honest, Rob and I were really nervous for the 1BR interview. We've done a few interviews over the years, but this was going to be the first time we sat down using video. What if I had stuff on my face? Or what if Rob accidentally picked his nose, like he sometimes does? Or what if I mispronounced somebodies name (which I did, g-damnit)?
So, the good news is, they were really nice, guys... and not scary at all. Rob did the thing that he does where he was all polished and prepared and asked great questions. Meanwhile, I did the thing that I do where I laugh awkwardly and veer off from talking about the movie, to instead focus on things like hair and drugs. They totally rolled with it (I think).
We talk about everything from 1BR, to Northwestern, to COVID, to eating hallucinogenic worms to how they lost their original female lead days before filming.
You probably know Naomi Grossman best as the fan-favorite "Pepper" on FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum & Freak Show. Naomi was also was a Primetime Emmy nominee for her role in Ctrl Alt Delete. And gosh darnit if she wasn't sweet and funny with the best smile (picture below does not represent her actual smile).
A San Francisco native, David Marmor studied computer science at Harvard and directing at USC. Don't worry, I made sure to point out that I went to Augustana College, to level the playing field. His award-winning short films have screened at more than 60 festivals worldwide and aired on television on IFC and CBC. 1BR is his first feature, and it is a strong debut.
A young woman named Sarah leaves behind a painful past to follow her dreams and ends up scoring the perfect Hollywood apartment. But something is not right. Unable to sleep, tormented by strange noises and threatening notes, her new life quickly starts to unravel. By the time she learns the horrifying truth, it's too late. Caught in a waking nightmare, Sarah must find the strength to hold onto her crumbling sanity...or be trapped forever in an existential hell.
1BR premiered at Fantasia Fest in Montreal and had a terrific festival run. It was later picked up for distribution by Dark Sky Films.
Check out the interview and more importantly check out 1BR, on whichever streaming service you use!
For all you aspiring filmmakers out there, here is the Joe Bob Briggs video Alok mentioned where he talks about making a film no matter what.
Acting is very hard work even for people who've spent their whole lives honing their craft; it must be unimaginably hard when the whole life in question doesn't span an entire decade. That's why we're using our next episode to celebrate our favorite performances by children: the young actors who go on to become great stars, the one who fizzle out once they hit the ugly part of puberty, the ones who just showed up that one time and blew us all away with a talent that never had a chance to develop.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover Greyhound, 1BR and Strasbourg 1518!
There are some movies that are so great that you make them treasured friends, revisiting them every now and then to appreciate once again how special they are. There are some movies that you obsessively watch over and over again, trying to absorb them right into your soul. And then there are the movies so great that you simply can't go back: one time is all the more you dare risk watching them - maybe to preserve the surprise, maybe to avoid the heartache, or for any other reason that one time simply had to be enough. We're devoting a whole episode to these last films, the ones that we love so much that there's no chance in hell of our ever revisiting them.
In Worth Mentioning, we cover Palm Springs and Bedevil.