Month: February 2017

The Magic Lantern: Episode 042 – Desperately Seeking Susan

Susan Seidelman’s Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) blew my nine year-old mind, coincidentally arriving at the time when Madonna was just beginning to blow my mind. I had never seen anything like the film or Madonna, the New York they presented, or the characters they created. I was immediately smitten. They formed my idea of what New York was and what a personality could do. I danced to their music, I wanted their clothes, I wanted to BE THERE.

As a young girl, I may have been the ideal market for the pop charms on the surface of this film and for Madonna, but since I’ve grown up, I’ve grown to appreciate the nuances of what artists are able to create, and appreciate what the artists behind the scenes of this film conceived to enthrall and captivate me. I hope you’ll give this film a first or second look. Start with a portrait of New York that will never be again, a Madonna before we knew she was Madonna, and keep coming back for an assured visual style, the music, the bazillion cameos, and Roberta’s arc in this modern screwball adventure.

I wasn’t aware at the time that women weren’t making films, headlining films, producing films, writing films, or managing their own careers as much as their male counterparts, so I didn’t conceive of two of the central achievements of the film–that it got made and that it succeeded. Like so many of the films we cover which have made such an impression, it arrived at just the right time for this girl.

What you’ll find in this episode: a slight explanation that doesn’t begin to cover the extent of Cole’s hatred for Aidan Quinn, Cole debunks some myths, Ericca learns what Into the Groove is really about, and Ericca gets starry-eyed every time she talks about Madonna.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Desperately Seeking Susan on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Evita.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Dangerous Game.
Ephemeral New York is a wonderful site full of great tidbits, and here are a couple: Club posters from the ’80s, and what you may have paid for rent downtown in 1983 (and read the comments).
If you’re looking for a really excellent dance track playlist (of which we covered way too few), start with Rock With You, More Bounce to the Ounce, Word Up…and I have to stop there or I will go on all day.

GTGM Episode 46: Cat’s Eye (1985)

Doug has a particular set of skills and has procured a salaried position at the ‘Quitter’s Inc.’ offices. No, he’s not the ‘rape guy’ (that’s gross). He’s the guy who cuts pinky fingers off of people. He and Jamie were actually a package deal as she is responsible for disposing of the digits…she actually has quite a collection at home.

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The Magic Lantern: Episode 041 – Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) is an all time great. It bursts with life and joy while simultaneously chronicling one of the things that is worst about life in America: our racial discord. It’s a hard movie to watch in places, and those are the places we most need to be watching. Growing up in small town Oklahoma in the ’70s, I wasn’t exposed to a very diverse group of people. That’s no one’s fault, exactly, but it left me hungry to learn more about the world beyond the Wichita Mountains. My primary outlets for those curiosities were literature and film and they provided me with an invaluable window into worlds that I didn’t inhabit. Few of those worlds affected me as mightily as Spike’s heat-blasted depiction of Bedford-Stuyvesant. I found much to relate to in the playlists of We Love Radio, the power of Radio Raheem’s boombox, and the nonstop razzing of ML, Coconut Sid, And Sweet Dick Willie. I found I had much to learn about representation, the deep divide that exists between people living side by side, and how a community is often not safe from those sworn to protect them. It was one of the most valuable cinematic experiences of my life and continues to resonate in ways that leave me alternately delighted and dismayed. Whether this is your first or fifteenth time watching it, I hope it yields as much for you, and that’s the double truth, Ruth!

What you’ll find in this episode: reminiscences of Brothers and Sisters Records and Tapes, a brief history of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the founding of the Richard Edson Appreciation Society, and the profound effect this film has had on us for almost three decades now.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Do the Right Thing on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of 25th Hour.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Crooklyn.
St. Clair Bourne’s documentary about the making of Do the Right Thing.
One of the greatest anthems in hip hop history, Public Enemy’s Fight the Power.
A televised debate between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

GTGM Episode 45: The Blue Lagoon (1980)

Jamie and Doug’s business partner, Arther Lestrange arrives in San Francisco a bit behind schedule. They’re perplexed that he waits 5-8 years before deciding to search for his son and niece. And to be honest, they just assumed he murdered them because his story of a sinking ship and a drunken pirate abducting them seemed kind of fishy.

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Criterion Close-Up 58: Punch-Drunk Love and the Films of Paul Thomas Anderson

Mark and Aaron get back to this century with a look at Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love. Naturally we talk about Adam Sandler’s dramatic acting jobs, and, well, what happened to them? We go further into PTA’s career, film by film, chronicling the evolution of his craft and style. We explore why he is so popular, and question whether he belongs in the conversation of greatest living filmmakers.

3:40 – Punch Drunk Love

47:40 – Paul Thomas Anderson

Episode Credits

Next time on the podcast: Late Spring