Josh: Josh Clark
Chuck: Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant
Vo: Voiceover Speaker
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Vo: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.
Josh: Hey and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant, a.k.a. Siskel and Ebert.
Chuck: Save us the aisle seat.
Josh: And Jeri's over there. I guess she's Gene Shalit.
Josh: That's the Stuff You Should Know triumvirate.
Chuck: I don't know why that tickled me so much. Because Gene Shalit is so funny-looking, I guess.
Chuck: And Jeri is not. I'm just picturing her with a big afro and a mustache and like a tweed jacket and bad opinions about movies.
Josh: Gene Shalit had a look, for sure.
Chuck: Still alive-he's around, right?
Josh: Yeah, I think so.
Chuck: Yeah, RIP both Siskel and Ebert. So sad.
Josh: I know.
Chuck: Have you seen the Roger Ebert documentary?
Josh: No. I've heard nothing but good things.
Chuck: Really, really good. Very touching.
Josh: Yeah. What is it-a something life?
Chuck: Life like mine, life with me, life on top.
Josh: Life Itself.
Chuck: Life with thumbs.
Josh: Life Itself.
Chuck: Life Itself.
Josh: Life with thumbs?
Chuck: It was really great and I watched it on-I made the mistake of watching it on a plane and I was just like, "My allergies are acting up."
Josh: Oh yeah?
Chuck: Oh yeah. I was watering.
Josh: Because of your allergies?
Chuck: No because it was sad. I was crying. Do you want me to say it?
Chuck: I was crying on a plane.
Josh: I was confused there for a second.
Chuck: That's better than when I watch other movies that are on my laptop that are like-have like bad violence or nudity or something. I'm always just like, "Oh," and I kind of lower the laptop and it's like, "I didn't realize this was in here." And the lady next to me is just like, "Ugh."
Josh: Yeah, "You disgust me."
Chuck: Yeah because I don't-I want to be sensitive to the people around me.
Chuck: I'm not one of those jerks that like just lives in my own bubble, just like watching some sex scene on the plane.
Josh: Right, you're like elbowing the lady next to you.
Chuck: "Check this out."
Chuck: No, I hate it. I was so embarrassed. That happened to me a couple of times. I'm like I need to just start going PG on movies-
Josh: Yeah, you just looked at her like-
Chuck: -on airplanes.
Josh: -"Judd Apatow, huh? Am I right? He's unpredictable."
Chuck: Yeah. All right.
Josh: So Chuck, this is your episode to shine, man.
Chuck: Is it?
Chuck: You're a movie guy, too, though.
Josh: I like movies but I almost consciously don't let myself watch movies on like a film aficionado level.
Chuck: Oh, right, you're just-
Chuck: -pure enjoyment.
Josh: I don't ever want to see the individual shots and just be like, "Oh, well, that could have been better," or whatever-
Josh: -and just miss the movie as a whole.
Chuck: Yeah, I fall somewhere in the middle of that. I try to let go but like our video producer director Casey is pretty bad about that. And our buddy Scottie who shot our TV show-
Chuck: -oh, he's the worst.
Chuck: He's just, "Ugh, the camera work and the lighting in that scene." [LAUGHS]
Josh: Yeah. Scott is awesome. Hey, Scott. Hey, Casey.
Chuck: They're all in here with us in spirit. And hey, this is the last show in this studio.
Chuck: The last episode in the old office.
Chuck: The murder room.
Josh: I couldn't feel more neutral about it.
Chuck: I actually feel less than neutral, less than zero.
Josh: It's weird-that was a good movie.
Chuck: Thank you.
Josh: Great shots.
Chuck: Yeah. I say thank you as if I directed it.
Josh: Right. I not only directed it, I also played Andrew McCarthy.
Chuck: [LAUGHS] Oh, yeah, I'm ready to get the heck out of here, man. I can't wait to get in that new office and the-
Josh: Yeah, it's going to be good.
Chuck: -tiny little dedicated studio.
Josh: A whole new world.
Chuck: All right. Let's do this.
Josh: Okay. So Chuck, films, you've seen one or two of them in your time.
Josh: Have you seen any of the ones in this list? I know you've seen a few of them but have you seen like some of the early ones?
Chuck: I've seen-well, we'll just go piece by piece because I have not seen Battleship Potemkin.
Chuck: But I do love Mandy Patinkin.
Josh: It's a little different.
Josh: In spelling, pronunciation, meaning, the whole thing. But it's close, I guess.
Chuck: But we're talking, of course, about films that changed filmmaking, in some way or another. And the first one on the list is from 1925, Battleship Potemkin. That's hard for me to say.
Josh: Which is not the first movie, by the way.
Josh: The first screen movie was Workers Leaving the LumiÃ¨re Factory, which was 47 seconds long and the most boring piece of celluloid anyone's ever put together.
Josh: But it was the first.
Chuck: That's right.
Josh: This was many years-that was a full 30 years before Battleship Potemkin. By the time 30 years had passed, we were doing like narratives and there was banning and all sorts of great stuff.
Josh: And Battleship Potemkin fell under both of those umbrellas. It was a narrative story. It was a silent movie.
Chuck: That's right.
Josh: But it told a pretty clear story and it was a bit of Russian propaganda, as well.
Chuck: Yeah. It tells the story of a 1905 uprising in where there were Russian sailors, basically there was a mutiny aboard a ship. And then the bad guys, the Cossacks came in looking for revenge.
Josh: Yeah, 1905, that would have been rising up against tyranny, it would have been rising up against the Romanov monarchy, I guess.
Josh: But it was made in 1925, so this is a time when Lenin and Trotsky and all those dudes were running around trying to do the great experiment. And it ends up, it turns out that the Battleship Potemkin was banned in some countries. Some countries were like, "We don't want this Rusky propaganda." But Russia itself later on banned it when Stalin came to power because he was a self-aware dictator.
Chuck: Oh, was that the deal?
Chuck: Okay. [LAUGHS]
Josh: He knew, "This could be a metaphor for rising up against my dictatorship, so I'm going to just ban this movie."
Chuck: Oh, yeah.
Josh: Even though it's Russian propaganda.
Chuck: Well, filmatically-I need to bring the history, by the way-filmatically speaking, it was a landmark film because of the montage, and most notably the Russian or Soviet theory of montage, which is basically that your impact is going to come from the juxtaposition of shots and not necessarily a smooth sequence of shots.
Chuck: And it should be rhythmic instead of necessarily being tied to the story. It was like a rhythmic series of shots. And this one is popular, it was the Odessa Step sequence, as one of the five acts. And it is huge because it has been aped and mimicked and mocked and homaged probably more than-well, I don't know about more, but a lot of times in film history.
Josh: Well, yeah, the montage, it's like a go-to editing technique, right?
Chuck: Oh yeah, well, the montage in general, but specifically the Odessa Steps.
Josh: Oh, okay.
Chuck: There are two notable parts in that sequence. One is it's basically a big charge on these grand steps leading up to a building and a big battle.
Josh: In Odessa.
Chuck: Odessa, Texas. And there's a part of it where there's the old baby carriage going down the steps, what's going to happen to the baby? And it sounds tired because we've seen that in The Untouchables, notably.
Josh: Yeah. I did not find it tiresome. I was thrilled.
Chuck: And Naked Gun 33 1/3.
Chuck: Everything is Illuminated, a great movie by Liev Schreiber. That was from, directly from the Odessa Step sequence in Battleship Potemkin.
Chuck: The baby carriage. And the old shot in the eye through the glasses.
Josh: Oh, cool.
Chuck: That comes from this movie, too. They were the first ones to do it. And you've seen that in Woody Allen's Love and Death and Bananas and of course The Godfather.
Josh: Oh yeah.
Chuck: The great sequence where Moe Greene is getting the massage and he looks up and puts on his glasses-
Josh: During a montage.
Chuck: Yeah. That's exactly-that whole sequence.
Josh: That's like the assassination montage.
Chuck: Yeah, because there was an assassination on the steps, as well.
Josh: Oh yes, that was definitely-
Chuck: It was a double.
Josh: Who was that? That was Francis Ford Coppola?
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: He was clearly aware of Battleship Potemkin.
Josh: I was trying to think of other examples of montages and the only thing I could come up with was the A-Team building something. But that counts as a montage; right?
Chuck: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Josh: It's like some related, in some way related shots that are kind of put together that-a little bit transcend, like time and space-
Chuck: Tell a story in itself.
Chuck: Like Rocky training for a fight or something.
Josh: Yeah, that's another good one.
Chuck: A lot of times it's set to music. Yeah. I love that that's the only one you can think of.
Chuck: And the great movie Brazil, too, has the shot through the glasses bit, as I like to call it. So that's Battleship Potemkin.
Josh: Doesn't one of the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark get shot through the glasses?
Chuck: Maybe. That wouldn't surprise me. It's been oft homaged.
Josh: Yep. So Battleship Potemkin was a-it made a pretty big splash in 1925. In 1926, the following year, the next movie on the list-it wasn't his first but it really solidified I think his stardom, Buster Keaton's stardom.
Chuck: Yeah, The General.
Josh: Rightfully so, too.
Chuck: Yeah. He was one of the great-well, some people call him the greatest stuntman to ever live.
Josh: He's done some stuff that I think earns him that.
Chuck: Yeah, because-
Josh: I mean-
Chuck: This is back in the day, too, where he was legitimately risking his life.
Josh: Right. Like very famously where he's standing on the street in front of a house and then the whole front of a house falls over him and the window just goes right around him. I watched that again today. It is-I can't believe he did that. There's actually a half of a second where his arm jerks up because he's startled as the house finally makes its way into his peripheral vision. And it has to be one of the most dangerous things a human being has ever done on film.
Chuck: Oh yeah. I'm sure the whole time before that was like, "We did the math, right? You did the math."
Josh: Do the math again.
Chuck: "Do the math again. Show me the math." Show me the math. Because that's all it was, it was math and measurements. But yeah, he could have been squashed and killed very easily.
Josh: And he had a lot of faith in everybody who was pulling off this stunt with him. He had to just stand there. That was his whole thing, is he had to just stand there. And then his bit was that he was-he played it straight, constantly. He was a stone-faced actor.
Chuck: Yeah, deadpan. He kind of started that whole thing because his big-I was about to say rival but I guess just contemporary, Charlie Chaplin, while similar in some ways, was completely different because Chaplin was constantly mugging for the camera and asking for the audience's sympathy.
Josh: Right, raising his eyebrows or-
Chuck: Yeah, like, "Look what's happening to me. Come on. Come on." Whereas Buster Keaton would just-he had that deadpan look the whole time.
Josh: Yeah. He would go from like a house falling around him to jumping on a train, or something like that, with just the same blank facial expression.
Chuck: Yeah. And the reason this is a highly influential film, The General, is because it kind of showcases the best of both, the amazing stunts that would be mimicked throughout the years and built upon and then the deadpan style that influenced everyone from-obviously Bill Murray is one of the great deadpan actors of all time. You can count the number of times Bill Murray even smiles in a movie on like two hands, much less like apes or laughs or anything.
Josh: Michael Cera is mentioned in here, and I think he might have Bill Murray beat as far as-
Josh: -deadpan actor goes, yeah.
Chuck: Well, Zach Galifianakis is on the list. He's super deadpan.
Josh: Yeah, sometimes.
Chuck: Leslie Nielsen, of course. Amy Poehler, I think, is a woman that's very deadpan-has a deadpan style. Jason Schwartzman.
Chuck: But people say this all is a direct descendent of Buster Keaton's work.
Josh: Yeah. And if you think we're overstating this, go watch any Buster Keaton movie. You will be thrilled and delighted. And if your attention span has been shredded to ribbons by the internet, just go onto YouTube and type in "Buster Keaton" and it'll bring up all sorts of clips of his awesome stunts.
Chuck: Yeah. It's pretty great.
Josh: You will be thrilled and amazed, I promise.
Chuck: Yeah. And I think I made a note here, by the way, that we have a Fatty Arbuckle retraction to make. Remember when we called him out as the rapist murderer-
Josh: I didn't say murderer.
Chuck: Well, we said rapist at least.
Chuck: But we were taken to task by a fan. He was acquitted of all that stuff and apparently didn't do either act. And his career and life and family name were ruined forever. So he was evidently done a grave misjustice, and me, I sort of cavalierly just still called him that today.
Josh: Yeah. I need to look into it more.
Chuck: All right. So next up we have The Jazz Singer, the 1927 edition.
Josh: Not the Neil Diamond one.
Chuck: No. And there was one in between, too, with Danny Thomas, I believe.
Josh: Oh yeah?
Chuck: I like Neil Diamond's. It's good.
Josh: I never saw it.
Chuck: Did you ever see it?
Chuck: It's not bad. But this is the original from Alan Crosland, and it is notable because it was the first feature length movie that was at least 25% spoken dialogue.
Chuck: Does that make sense?
Josh: Yeah, it was totally new. And it was like-
Chuck: It wasn't the first talkie, because they had short films that were talkies.
Chuck: And there was a movie the next year, I'm sorry, yeah, in 1928 called Lights of New York that had 100% full spoken dialogue. But The Jazz Singer had a mix of music and spoken dialogue, the first big daddy feature length film to do so.
Josh: Right, with substantial dialogue, right?
Josh: And they did it in the most roundabout difficult way that you could possibly do it, which is to record the audio and the soundtrack, both the dialogue and the music, onto vinyl records, probably wax records really, and then the projectionist had to sync the record up with the film strip so everything was in sync.
Chuck: Yeah, it was a device called a Vitaphone that Warner Brothers sunk about half a million into, this company called Western Electric who invented it. And it was actually physically connected to the projector's motor, so while they did have to sync it, it was a physical connection between the phonograph player and the projection reel, I guess. And it went on to gross $3.5 million for 1927.
Chuck: That's a lot of dough.
Josh: That's a ton of dough. That's like $5 or $6 million today, at least.
Chuck: Yeah, at least. But it was ineligible for the best picture because they were just like, "You can't compete with the rest. It's not fair."
Josh: Oh, wow.
Chuck: "Because everything else is silent and everyone's going to vote for you." So that changed the whole game, for sure.
Josh: We will continue on with our awesome and engrossing list, right after this.
Josh: We used to have a terrible phone system.
Josh: Now we have a good phone system. Do you know why?
Josh: Because How Stuff Works got Ring Central.
Chuck: That's right and it's really awesome. It's cloud-based and it costs a fraction of what the old system cost. And right now, dude, they have seamlessly integrated with Google.
Chuck: You can make calls through Ring Central from your Gmail account. You can listen to your voicemails directly within Gmail.
Chuck: You can invite as many as 1,000 audio participants to any Google Hangout.
Josh: Yeah. You can view your complete communications history-calls, texts, faxes, voicemails, everything-all without leaving your Google Apps. It's pretty cool.
Chuck: Yeah, that's right. You can even schedule Ring Central meetings within your Google Calendar.
Josh: Right. What's even more awesome is that Ring Central has zero start-up costs, no PBX hardware to install, and really, really good prices. Prices are as low as $24.99 per month per user, and that includes everything.
Chuck: Yeah. And if that wasn't good enough, my friend, they are offering a 30-day risk-free trial that is actually risk-free. All you got to do is go to RingCentral.com to learn more. That is RingCentral.com. Or you can call them up because they're a phone company.
Josh: Yep. Give them a call at 800-574-5290. That's Ring Central.
Josh: So, Chuck, if you'll notice, the first three movies on our list, the first three films that changed everything, happened in 1925, '26 and '27.
Chuck: Things were changing fast.
Josh: They really were. I mean like by leaps and bounds. But you can also make the case that there was a lot of new ground to cover, so just about anybody who did anything new that was noteworthy should-
Chuck: It was an innovation.
Josh: Yeah, it was a big innovation, yeah.
Chuck: Yeah. Harder to innovate these days.
Josh: It is. And if you'll notice on the list-so the earliest ones were like technical editing innovations. Now, starting with Citizen Kane from 1941, we start to get into innovations in storytelling, which is a lot more nuanced than doing your own stunts or using a montage or something. It's figuring out how to tell the story in a much less linear narrative fashion. And Citizen Kane was one of the early ones to pioneer a nonlinear narrative.
Chuck: Yeah, did you-you saw this.
Chuck: Yeah? Okay. I didn't see it until-I mean it was probably about 15 years ago, but way later than you would think I would have seen this, as a big film buff.
Josh: Yeah. I saw it in college at a-in a film class.
Chuck: Yeah. If you sign up for a film class, you're going to study Citizen Kane, pretty much.
Josh: Exactly. And I finally found out what Rosebud was.
Chuck: Don't ruin it.
Josh: I won't.
Chuck: [LAUGHS] But it is a landmark film in every way and it has often been top of the best films of all time lists for great reasons. One of which like you said, the nonlinear narrative was a really unique thing at the time. Although flashback wasn't brand-new, it was the first time it had been this extensive and effective in the story.
Josh: Yeah, because I mean it's substantial enough that it really cuts up the flow.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: It's not like a quick flashback and they come back and the actor is staring off into space to transition back into the present again.
Josh: I mean, like it was all over the place.
Chuck: Yeah. Some of the more concrete cinematic landmarks, one was using deep focus. Director of photography Gregg Toland, legend, used-he had used deep focus before on a movie called Long Voyage Home but it's all over the place in Citizen Kane. And that basically means if you see a shot where something very far away is in focus in the shot, basically where everything's in focus.
Josh: The background and the foreground are in focus, so you can press pause and look around-
Josh: -like you're sticking your head into a box.
Chuck: Yeah. That's called deep focus. And it was brand-new as far as Citizen Kane goes, as to how extensive they used it. One of the other things was off-center framing. It was a big pretty common thing to just center whatever the main action was, either the character or the object. And Citizen Kane had a lot of things where the main focus of the scene, the character maybe even off-screen-which was really weird at the time. People didn't know what to think of it.
Chuck: Expressionistic lighting. Back then everything-they just lit it. They were like, "Make sure everything's well lit." But-
Josh: Wasn't Otto Preminger also like a big pioneer with that?
Chuck: Yeah, I think so.
Josh: With Dial M for Murder, I think he directed that.
Chuck: Was that Hitchcock? I think that was Hitchcock.
Josh: Was it? Okay, well, Otto Preminger directed stuff like that, though, right? He used moody lighting and shadows and stuff a lot.
Chuck: Yeah. I probably messed that up. People are going to be-
Josh: Dial M for Murder, I think it was Preminger.
Chuck: Okay. But Orson Welles, of course, I don't think we even mentioned that's who wrote, directed, starred and produced and I think even edited Citizen Kane.
Josh: Yeah, I just assumed everybody knew that, you know.
Chuck: Yeah. He came from the theater where you create a mood with lighting only certain parts of the stage, so he brought that into the movies and it was very evocative and set the mood well. And people were like, "Man, why are we lighting everything all bright all the time? Look at Citizen Kane. This really worked."
Chuck: A couple of other things, one of which I know you will appreciate, sir, is that he pretty much invented the wipe.
Josh: Oh, the star wipe?
Chuck: Not the star wipe.
Josh: But it followed.
Chuck: Yeah, the star wipe followed, which I know is your favorite transition in cinema.
Josh: Oh, it's awesome.
Chuck: The star wipe.
Josh: The star wipe. Because it almost makes a "bee-oop" sound, you know.
Josh: By the way, I want to say you're right. Dial M for Murder was Hitchcock.
Chuck: Oh, was it?
Chuck: Okay. What was Preminger? Did you look that up?
Josh: He did one called Laura, The Man with the Golden Arm. It's not who I'm thinking of. I'm thinking of a director named Otto who directed in the '20s or '30s, and he directed moody movies, murder movies.
Chuck: Yeah, like film noir?
Josh: Yes, film noir, that's exactly what I was going for. And I don't remember who it was.
Chuck: Maybe his name is Otto Film Noir. He's French. And then one final thing, of course you could study Citizen Kane for a week in a film class, so this is an overview, but the low-angle shots. People didn't use a lot of low- or high-angle shots back then; it was kind of just shot from straight on. And Orson Welles even dug out-cut out the floor a lot of times to get the camera lower.
Chuck: And for the first time, we saw ceilings in view in a movie. Because quite often, things were shot on a sound stage where you don't have ceilings. And he wanted those low angle shots, so they used fabric most times to act as a ceiling. But very effective shots from below of Orson Welles as-I mean it wasn't exactly William Randolph Hearst, but it was an approximation of William Randolph Hearst.
Chuck: So very effective low-angle stuff that now, I mean we take for granted all these things.
Chuck: But there would be no Pulp Fiction and that nonlinear storytelling if there was no-well, maybe somebody would have done it but-
Josh: Maybe eventually but-
Chuck: He was the first.
Josh: He did the first and that's why it was innovative.
Josh: It's Fritz Lang that I was thinking of.
Chuck: Yeah, there you go.
Chuck: Fritz Lang, Metropolis.
Josh: And M. Just M, that's-
Chuck: Okay. It's all making sense now.
Josh: I get confused.
Chuck: Yeah, but you were right there.
Josh: Fritz and Otto are not close. I mean they're both German, but that's about it.
Chuck: Yeah, but do you know the difference between "M" and "dial M"? Just a telephone. [LAUGHS]
Josh: What's up next, Chuck?
Chuck: Breathless, one of my faves.
Josh: So I am going to rely on you mostly for this one because I looked up what the French New Wave really did, what it counted for, and all of the essays I found were hard to-they were dense. And I didn't really understand. I understood that the French New Wave changed everything, and that a lot of the movies that I know and love today are the offspring of the French New Wave. But I still didn't get exactly specifically what the French New Wave did.
Chuck: So you're going to rely on me to summarize this?
Chuck: No pressure.
Chuck: Well, for me the French New Wave basically ushered in an era of what now I think most people might associate with Indie filmmaking.
Josh: Okay. Okay.
Chuck: Like handheld camerawork and what some people at the time considered amateurish camerawork. Movies where maybe not a lot seemingly happens, nothing grand happens, which was the case in Breathless. A lot of people didn't like it at the time because it was like-not much happens. The two leads in the movie, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg weren't really like-didn't show, express a whole lot of deep love and there weren't these big moments of love and affection and these huge action sequences. It was described as flat by a lot of people. And I think a lot of Indie movies do that, just kind of show life as it happens.
Josh: Yeah, so without Breathless we wouldn't have Bottle Rocket.
Chuck: Maybe. Wes Anderson is definitely a big French New Wave guy, for sure. But Jean-Luc Godard, who directed it, and Truffaut and some other French New Wave forefathers were film critics at first.
Josh: Oh yeah?
Chuck: Yeah. And they decided as a group, like we want to look at cinema in a new way and do something different. So they went and started making their own movies.
Josh: That's like James Fenimore Cooper.
Chuck: Oh yeah?
Josh: The guy who wrote Last of the Mohicans.
Chuck: Oh, really?
Josh: Yeah. He apparently used to complain that nobody wrote good books anymore, and so I think his wife or something said, "Well, why don't you do it, big shot?" And he did. And the books he wrote weren't so great, but he went and wrote them.
Josh: And he wrote a bunch of them, too.
Chuck: One of my favorite Far Sides ever is the "Second to the Last of the Mohicans." It's just a line of Native Americans and the second to the last one-they're all in line facing away, he just sort of is turned around and waving at the camera. [LAUGHTER]
Josh: That is a good one.
Chuck: Or I guess the camera, at Gary Larson's hand. So Breathless is notable for those reasons. It kind of kicked off the French New Wave. But the use of jump cut editing, which we see so much now, it was the first movie and it was very jarring at the time, to see jump cuts in a movie.
Josh: Yeah, I'll bet.
Chuck: And that's when you're showing-I guess the best way to describe it is multiple shots of the same subject or thing from different angles.
Josh: Right. It's like you indicate the progression of time or movement or something by just cutting quickly. Rather than focusing on somebody walking down the street for five minutes, you cut a couple of times and all of the sudden they're just closer to the camera and then closer and closer, and then they're past the camera. It's a jump cut.
Chuck: Yeah. Or even something as simple as you're going to leave the house, so you go and pick up your keys then you put on your coat. Instead of showing all that, you come out of the bedroom, boom, you're putting on your coat, boom, you're putting the keys in the door.
Josh: Right, exactly. You're just showing the highlights of this progression of stuff where that would otherwise be boring to watch the whole thing.
Josh: But it also is used to create tension, too, because it's jarring, I guess is probably why it creates tension. And Scorsese famously used it in Goodfellas.
Chuck: Oh, yes.
Josh: At the end, when Henry Hill is trying to sell some guns to-
Chuck: The cocaine sequence.
Josh: -De Niro, yeah, he's coked to the gills, right? And he's trying to sell some guns to De Niro but they don't fit the silencers and he's-the helicopter is following him, he's got the sauce going. And all this stuff is being represented and compressed into a very short amount of time by the use of jump cuts.
Chuck: Yeah, very effective. And for budding filmmakers, it's a great way to hide mistakes of things that you may not have gotten that you thought you got. Jump cutting is a really easy way to just sort of hide your errors. I did it a lot, in other words, when I was making little shorts.
Josh: I realized that in my head I was referencing the shot in Soultaker. Have you ever seen that Mystery Science Theater 3000 with-
Josh: His last name is Estevez, it's Martin Sheen's brother, and he is a soultaker and he's next to this guy who's a soultaker. You just have to see this. But anyway, they're walking down the road and this jump cut has this progression of them. It's so unnecessary but it's a great use of jump cut. You could tell the director was like, "I can't wait to use a jump cut." And that's what she did, she used it on. But go watch that MST3K. It's a good one.
Chuck: Man, did you see every single one of those episodes?
Josh: No, I still run across ones that I haven't seen.
Chuck: Nice. Hey, and a shout-out to Bill Corbett, who I know is a listener.
Josh: Oh yeah, he is, isn't he?
Chuck: Yeah, I don't know if he's going to hear this one-
Josh: I forgot.
Chuck: -but the great Bill Corbett.
Chuck: Next we are going to move on to Federico Fellini's 8Â½. Have you ever seen this one?
Josh: No, I haven't.
Chuck: It's good.
Josh: Now I understand why it's called that, though.
Chuck: Yeah, it was one of the first-although not the first-movies about moviemaking, and starring the great Marcello Mastroianni from La Dolce Vita, a muse of Fellini's over the years, too. And this one really kicked off the surrealist filmmaking and sort of saying you can play around and shoot a dream sequence where the guy is in traffic and then he leaves his car and floats up in the air and is being pulled down to the ground on the beach from a rope tied around his ankle. Just go nuts.
Josh: Yeah, and successive filmmakers did go nuts. Gondry did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Chuck: Oh yeah, he's hugely influenced.
Josh: Darren Aronofsky did some weird stuff here or there.
Chuck: Yeah. David Lynch and Terry Gilliam, of course.
Josh: Yeah. Just basically surrealism is what I'm taking Fellini introduced into this.
Chuck: Yeah, for real. And besides the surrealism, that opening sequence of 8Â½ where the director-he's the director in the movie, Guido is stuck in traffic. It's really claustrophobic feeling and that's why he floats away and escapes that traffic jam. But that was directly mimicked in REM's "Everybody Hurts" video.
Josh: Oh yeah.
Chuck: And the beginning of the movie Falling Down. Do you remember that?
Chuck: That started with a traffic jam that Michael Douglas just left.
Josh: He doesn't float. He gets like an Uzi.
Chuck: I saw that again the other day, most of it.
Josh: Does it hold up?
Chuck: It's weird. It alternately felt way ahead of its time and also very dated. Because the stuff that Michael Douglas was doing felt way ahead of its time, but then there was-I just forgot about that whole weird subplots with Robert Duvall retiring and he had this wife that was henpecking him and this retirement party they were trying to throw him.
Josh: I forgot about that, too.
Chuck: Yeah. It was just so unnecessary and felt really weird and out of place the other day, when I was watching it.
Josh: Was there a jump cut montage where he's putting on his gold retirement watch?
Chuck: [LAUGHS] No. But then too, the Barbara Hershey is in Venice, at home with the daughter, and he spends a whole day coming there to grab them basically, and the whole time she just keeps calling the cops like, "I know he's coming. I know he's coming." And I was watching it the other day and I was like, "Freaking leave."
Josh: Oh yeah.
Chuck: What are you doing there?
Josh: Yeah, that's a move character thing.
Josh: That's just bad writing, bad directing. When you just walk right past the ability to leave, there's-you missed a huge step.
Chuck: Where were we, Falling Down?
Chuck: I think that pretty much sums up 8Â½.
Josh: I think so, too, Falling Down, boom. So Chuck, we got a little more left. We've got more films. Is this making you want to watch films?
Josh: Me too. I feel like eating ice cream, watching a film, and scratching from poison ivy lately.
Chuck: Yeah, and burning this office down.
Josh: You know if that happens now suspicion is going to fall on you for saying that.
Chuck: That's all right.
Josh: We'll be right back after this.
Chuck: I would classify both of us as sort of amateur home chefs.
Josh: Amateur, yeah.
Chuck: I mean, we love to cook for our wives. It's a great fun thing to do. But we're also busy dudes and sometimes we don't have time to go to the store and find all the right stuff and get the recipes.
Josh: Man, you're preaching to the choir.
Josh: Fortunately we have a solution. It's called Blue Apron.
Chuck: Oh yes.
Josh: Blue Apron makes cooking delicious meals easy and fun because they deliver fresh, ready-to-cook meals right to our doors.
Chuck: Yeah, man. And for less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron is going to send you fresh ingredients, perfectly proportioned, and with step-by-step recipe instructions. They got little recipe cards. It's super easy and you're going to save time by not having to go to the grocery store.
Josh: Yep. And Blue Apron is perfect for date night, cooking with friends, they even offer family plans with kid-friendly ingredients so the whole family can eat well and have fun preparing meals together.
Chuck: Yeah. And each balanced meal is 500 to 700 calories per serving, and they're really delicious and you'd never know that they were that little calories.
Josh: No, Chuck, they are delicious. Like take for example, the spicy Asian chicken soup recipe.
Chuck: Oh, yes.
Josh: Or the lamb meatball shawarma with chickpea salad.
Chuck: Oh man.
Josh: When else are you going to just try that on a Wednesday night, you know?
Chuck: Well, you're going to cook incredible meals and you're going to be blown away by the quality and the freshness. So check out this week's menu and get your first two meals free. Two meals for free just by going to Blueapron.com/stuff. Seriously, guys, it's on us, the first two meals. Just go to Blueapron.com/stuff.
Josh: All right, so we're back with our awesome jingles, which by the way we have to thank John Begin.
Chuck: Begin the begin.
Josh: He even emailed with the pronunciation of his name.
Chuck: I know.
Josh: But he, the original guy who did our jingle, the first jingle ever, Rusty Matyas-man, I'm not good with the pronunciation. Well, anyway, Rusty, whose band the Sheepdogs are on tour right now, just because his work was so original, we contacted him and said, "Hey, we've got this other guy who's done covers of your work. Can we use these?" He's like, "Totally."
Chuck: Mash it up, brother.
Josh: Yeah. And John's been making awesome versions of it ever since.
Chuck: Yeah. They're both great and talented.
Josh: Thanks to you both.
Chuck: And go check out-I think-what'd you say, they're on tour right?
Josh: Yeah, the Sheepdogs.
Chuck: Yeah. Go check out the Sheepdogs in a town near you. All right. Let's finish with these two in reverse order.
Josh: Okay. Toy Story was a big one, hugely innovative.
Chuck: Big landmark film.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: And again, it's one of those things where now almost everything about it seems pedestrian or what it did.
Josh: It's still a great movie, I'm sure.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: But the innovations that it undertook just seem pedestrian, but at the time it was totally groundbreaking.
Chuck: Yeah, game changer.
Josh: It was the first all-CGI movie ever. That was enormous.
Chuck: Well, yeah, and I remember at the time seeing it and just being like, "Wow. This is the future of animated films."
Josh: What's the best all-CGI animated film you've ever seen, visually?
Chuck: Well, I haven't seen a lot of them these days because Emily doesn't like those, so I probably wouldn't be the best person to ask. Holly from Stuff You Missed in History Class, she'd probably be the one to ask.
Josh: For my money, have you seen The Adventures of Tin Tin?
Chuck: Oh yeah. That was amazing.
Chuck: Yeah. I saw that on your recommendation and really, really liked it.
Josh: Yeah. The story was great, the action was great, the characters were great. But the CGI, the computer animation is, I think, possibly the best ever done.
Chuck: Yeah, and that's a bit of a different style than say like Up or The Incredibles.
Josh: It's not nearly as cartoonish. It's like the what-
Chuck: I think it's the motion capture. I think that's what they did for that.
Josh: Oh yeah, with Up it would strictly be totally just animation, right?
Chuck: Yeah, but I mean they're both animation. But yeah, man, Tin Tin, that was really good.
Josh: It was good.
Chuck: I was surprised how much I liked that.
Josh: But Up was good, too, and Toy Story was good, too. But all of these things came as a result of the ground that Toy Story broke.
Chuck: Absolutely. In 1995, like you said what seems like a common thing today, I mean, you don't see cell animation anymore. It's almost-
Josh: I know. I kind of miss it.
Chuck: I totally miss it.
Josh: Like the new Mickey Mouse is all weird and CGI. Stuff from our generation should have just been discontinued and then you just come up with all new stuff that's CGI. Strawberry Shortcake, not supposed to be CGI. It just all looks weird now.
Chuck: Yeah. I wish there would have-people would have done a little bit of both still, because I think cell animation like-I think The Iron Giant came out after Toy Story and they did cell animation, and that was great. A great movie.
Josh: Yeah? I haven't seen that.
Chuck: Oh, it's really good. You'd like it. It was a movie for grownups, and Toy Story sort of laid the way for that because it was one of the first movies, I guess cartoon-y kids movies, to really have a lot of dialogue that flew over kids' heads that adults got a little nod and a wink.
Josh: What, Toy Story?
Chuck: Not like dirty humor but-
Josh: It's not like Fritz the Cat.
Chuck: No, no, but a little entendre here and there that adults might appreciate that kids won't understand.
Chuck: Those are the best jokes. [LAUGHS] And now we have best animated feature in the Oscars, which definitely came straight out of the original Toy Story because movies started being considered, before they created its own category, Up and Toy Story III were actually nominated for regular best picture. And I think everyone was like, "Oh, we need to get them their own category because we can't have an animated movie win best picture, can we?"
Josh: Well, Up would have come after the best animated picture category came out.
Chuck: Oh, really?
Josh: So that kind of goes as a testament to just how amazing that movie is.
Chuck: Yeah, that's right, that was-
Josh: That it was still up for best picture.
Chuck: Oh, it was both?
Josh: I don't know if it was up for-it probably was up for best animated as well, but it was definitely also up for best picture.
Chuck: Oh, wow.
Josh: While there was an animated category.
Chuck: Yeah. I never considered that.
Chuck: That was a good movie.
Josh: Yeah. It was sweet.
Chuck: So I got nothing else on Toy Story.
Josh: Well then, what about the last one?
Chuck: Yeah, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Man, quite a film.
Josh: You sent this essay on Criterion, I think Criterion.com, but you know, the Criterion Collection. It was written I guess in 1988, even though it says posted in 1988; it's like there wasn't an internet to post it on in 1988.
Chuck: Maybe it means posted like in the mail.
Josh: Maybe. But I realized I can read film essays about Stanley Kubrick's work all day long.
Chuck: Yeah, me too.
Josh: I love that documentary "Room 227."
Chuck: Was it 227?
Josh: 247. You know the one, about The Shining conspiracy theories.
Chuck: Yeah, the number of the room is-
Chuck: I can't remember, though.
Josh: I read a bunch of articles. I think 237. I read a bunch of articles around the release of that documentary, which were basically film essays on The Shining. I read this one amazing one from several years ago about Eyes Wide Shut.
Chuck: Oh yeah, me too.
Josh: About how it's a masterpiece of sociology, a big-
Chuck: I love that movie.
Josh: -study of sociology.
Chuck: A lot of people hate that movie.
Josh: Yeah. And then now this, 2001. I'm sure there's tons out there to consume, but I can just read that stuff all day long because that guy was so just amazingly detailed as a director.
Chuck: Yeah, I agree. I can read more about his work, critical essays on his work than any other director.
Chuck: It's just unbelievable. Can't get enough.
Josh: It's almost like it's its own genre.
Chuck: It is. Kubrickian.
Chuck: It's got a word named after it.
Josh: And well it should.
Chuck: So 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968, blew minds back then, blows minds today. One, for its-just the amazing look and the technical achievement. It ages really well. I mean if you see a movie from 1968 about outer space-
Josh: It still looks like the future.
Chuck: Yeah. You don't expect it to hold up well, but it totally does, so much so that a lot of the George Lucas and Ridley Scott were just like, "It's done. We might as well give up."
Josh: Yeah. George Lucas when Star Wars came out said, "Star Wars is technically comparable, but for my money, 2001 is by far the better movie."
Chuck: Yeah. Everyone was sort of intimidated, I think, by how talented Kubrick was.
Josh: Well, plus also you have to take into account that he made this movie at a time when other sci-fi movies were just pure schlock.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: So not only to make the movie in this way, this visually amazing and amazing with an audio soundtrack and just totally innovative, it also took that mindset to just completely go in a different direction that everybody else has, as well.
Chuck: Yeah. Of course I think about Ridley Scott saying that and then he goes on to make Alien and Blade Runner after that, so I mean he helped-
Josh: And Prometheus, man.
Josh: People don't like Prometheus. I don't care. It's a cool movie.
Chuck: No, I liked it too.
Josh: I thought-okay, one flaw, the big flaw to me was-and I'm sure it's part of the subtext or the context or one of the texts-
Josh: -but the engineer coming back to life or coming out of hibernation after however long, and just immediately inflicting violence on these pea-brained humans who are showing him no threat whatsoever, I just thought it was a little-it wasn't explained well enough, I think, for my tastes.
Chuck: Right. Yeah. I think I agree with you.
Josh: But when I'm watching a Ridley Scott movie, I just assume if I'm missing something he has an explanation for it, I'm just not catching it.
Chuck: Yeah. I know what you mean. I think I read some stuff about how it tied into the Alien canon and realized I need to go see it again with all the knowledge that I wasn't really thinking about, and maybe I'd like it more.
Chuck: But I haven't done that yet. So back to 2001, it was also notable for being bookended basically with 30 minutes of silence on both ends of the movie. The first 30 minutes are-and when I say silent, I mean no dialogue.
Chuck: And the last 30 minutes have no dialogue.
Josh: Yeah. The last line comes like a full 30 minutes before the end.
Chuck: Yeah. And over the 146 minutes, there are only 40 minutes of dialogue in the whole thing. And that's why I just-when people compare something like Interstellar and call it Kubrickian, I just want to smash. Hulk smash.
Josh: Did you not like Interstellar?
Chuck: Not really.
Josh: Oh, I liked it.
Chuck: I was super let down.
Josh: Despite McConaughey doing Wooderson in the future, I still liked it. I even liked him in it.
Chuck: I liked a lot of the parts of it, but to me it's anti-Kubrickian because every ten minutes they're explaining everything that's going on all over again.
Josh: Oh yeah. That is another thing.
Chuck: Just like Inception.
Josh: Inception. Ellen Page's entire character was written in to explain what was going on every ten minutes.
Chuck: Yeah, and I felt like Interstellar was the same way. It's like Christopher Nolan needs to just trust his audience a little bit like Kubrick did and say, "Figure it out or don't."
Josh: Yeah, no, that's true.
Chuck: "But I'm not going to stop every ten minutes just to explain anything. It was just going on, remember? If you didn't get it right, here's what's going on again."
Josh: Well, I think if they are labeling something like Interstellar as Kubrickian, one of the ways that you can interpret that is that he rooted his 2001 in science fact, right?
Josh: So the stuff that the astronauts are dealing with and the things that are going on and the conditions of space, it was all factual. Whereas with Interstellar, same thing. They went to really great lengths to do what they could to make everything scientifically factual-
Chuck: Yeah, to make the science work.
Josh: -aside from the fact that the idea that you could go into a black hole and then come back out or something like that, drifting in space; that's not going to happen. But for the most part, Interstellar was scientifically accurate. So maybe that's what they meant when they called it Kubrickian. Because you're absolutely right. They did explain a lot and went to great lengths to explain a lot, whereas with 2001, you just watch it the first five times like, "What just happened?" And apparently Cary Grant had that same reaction as well.
Chuck: No, it was Rock Hudson.
Josh: Rock Hudson, that's right.
Chuck: Yeah, the original screening that Roger Ebert was at in L.A., Rock Hudson just left and said, "Can somebody tell me what the hell that was about?" [LAUGHS]
Josh: Yeah, and it wasn't even over yet.
Chuck: Yeah. Well, the reason it has science fact and not science fiction is because Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke who-it wasn't actually a book that was made into a movie. It was a movie-a book made after a movie, and they collaborated on both. And they went to Carl Sagan, of course, of Cosmos, and said-
Josh: He said, "You're going to make billions and billions of dollars."
Chuck: That was pretty good.
Josh: Was it?
Chuck: Yeah, that sounded a lot like him. They went to Carl Sagan and said, "Hey, we want to portray these extraterrestrials. Are they-maybe the star child is-or they turned Dave into the star child-are they humanoids? What are they going to look like?" And Sagan was like, "They were very unlikely to be humanoid." So Kubrick did the smart thing and was just like, "Well, we just won't show them at all, instead of making a fool of myself like Signs, and making some dumb-looking alien."
Josh: Oh, man. Man.
Chuck: "Let me just not show the aliens." Very smart move.
Chuck: Getting back to the story of 2001-
Josh: Although I think The Village is underrated.
Chuck: Eh, I can stomach that one.
Josh: What about-well, you like The Sixth Sense, right? Everybody liked The Sixth Sense.
Josh: I guess that was it for him, as far as Kubrick-
Chuck: I loved Unbreakable.
Josh: That was one where like-yeah, I think it was maybe even better the second time.
Chuck: I thought it was good. Yeah. I still like that movie. But he also made that Lady in the Water movie and the one with Marky Mark where people were jumping off the-
Josh: Four Brothers.
Chuck: No. Three Kings.
Josh: Is it the one in the elevator?
Chuck: No. He just produced that one.
Josh: Oh, I know what you're talking about.
Chuck: The one where people are jumping off of buildings and stuff.
Josh: I didn't see that either.
Chuck: I didn't-I couldn't get through ten minutes of that movie. So 2001, back to good movies, had a three-part structure but not a conventional three-act structure that you might be used to in movies, which is why it confounded people like Rock Hudson. The first-they called them movements-the first movement was the dawn of man sequence with the apes with the monolith. And he has that great part where he throws his little bone tool up in the air and then it morphs into-well, not morphs, but maybe it's a dissolve into the spinning in outer space.
Josh: It's called a match cut.
Chuck: Yeah, a match cut. And of the rotation of what we now know was a nuclear warhead, because I read that little article, "20 Things You Didn't Know About 2001." I didn't know those were nuclear warheads necessarily in outer space. They made it a little more vague and initially it was going to be more explicit, and they were going to explode it in outer space.
Chuck: But he said, "No, that's a little too close to-"
Josh: The ending of Dr. Strangelove.
Chuck: "So let's not do that." Probably a good choice.
Josh: Yeah, but as a result, some people have taken it to mean that it was a-that match cut was supposed to show how far humans have come from using a bone to murder somebody to satellites in space. But if you know that the satellite is actually loaded down with nuclear warheads, that match cut demonstrates how little humans have changed-
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: -from using a bone to murder somebody to using satellites to murder somebody. The motif is still the same, and it's murder.
Chuck: Yeah. He was going for some deep things.
Josh: Oh yeah.
Chuck: A lot of metaphor happening.
Josh: I mean, it's supposedly in every single shot because he started out as a still photographer, right?
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: Supposedly every frame of a Kubrick movie, there is nothing that isn't unintentionally placed there by him. He did a lot of his own set decorating.
Chuck: Yeah, like the pencil holder on the desk in the office of the guy at The Shining hotel was where it's supposed to be.
Josh: Right. And if it has a picture of a goat head inscribed on it, that means something. It's not accidental.
Chuck: Yeah. Although I will say Room 237, which I think may have been the point, is a little bit like, "These people are crazy." Not like, "Oh man, I just see what they're saying in all this, right." I was just thinking these people are nuts.
Josh: Right. It's kind of enjoyable to hear their interpretations of it.
Chuck: Well, and I think it was a comment on obsession and fandom more so than The Shining.
Josh: For sure. But I thought some of their ideas were interesting.
Chuck: Oh yeah, totally.
Josh: I said "Room 227," didn't I? Like one of the conspiracy theories is like, "Mary."
Chuck: Wasn't "Room 227" a sitcom?
Josh: Yeah. It was just called 227.
Chuck: Okay, yeah, 227. Gotcha.
Josh: Remember it was JackÃ©e? She'd be like, "Mary."
Chuck: Oh, okay. I-
Josh: That's what my impression was. What'd you think I was doing?
Chuck: Well, I wasn't sure what you meant.
Josh: Just being a weirdo?
Chuck: The second movement was of course the HAL sequence, the computer, the HAL, was it the HAL 9000?
Chuck: Really creepy, and HAL ended up being a lot of people's favorite character, even though it was just a voice, the super computer on the Discovery ship.
Josh: Remember, he's like, "What are you doing, Dave?"
Chuck: He is so creepy. I had the Mad Magazine spoof of 2001 when I was a kid. It was great.
Chuck: And then the third movement is when Dave moves on to the next stage of human development with these extraterrestrials that you only hear, and basically it's when it comes full circle, the third movement.
Josh: And the third movement is the one that has almost-well, it's really just the second movement that has dialogue.
Chuck: Yeah, it's got most of the dialogue. Yeah.
Chuck: Some of the alternate titles for 2001, "Journey Beyond the Stars."
Chuck: "Universe," not bad.
Josh: Yeah, okay.
Chuck: "Tunnel to the Stars."
Josh: Not so great.
Chuck: "Planet Fall." That sounds bad.
Josh: Sounds like a James Bond movie.
Chuck: And then "How the Solar System was Won" as a play on How the West Was Won.
Josh: Yeah, which movie geeks would find that appealing but everybody else would say, "That's dumb. You ruined everything."
Chuck: Yeah. And Kubrick was-this is the last thing I have. He was so obsessive with protecting his material that he allegedly-I don't think allegedly, I think he did have all of the sets and props and miniatures destroyed after he shot it so they would never be reused, which was a common thing at the time.
Chuck: Like, "Hey, we're doing a space movie. Go get that space ring from Stanley's set."
Chuck: "Let's reuse it for 'Planet Fall.'"
Josh: He also destroyed all of the footage that didn't make it into the original theatrical release.
Josh: Destroyed it. It's gone.
Chuck: Yeah, so they wouldn't one day after his death recut it, which they invariably probably would have done.
Josh: Yep. He's a smart man.
Chuck: Yeah, I could-we should just do a podcast on Kubrick.
Chuck: He was-
Josh: I'm down for that challenge.
Chuck: -a BA dude.
Chuck: One of my heroes.
Josh: You got anything else?
Chuck: I got nothing else.
Josh: If you want to know more about movies-if you like this one, you'd probably also love our exploitation episode.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: Exploitation movie episode.
Chuck: That was a fun one.
Josh: What else have we talked about movies in? Cannonball Run.
Chuck: Oh yeah.
Josh: That had a lot to do with the movie.
Chuck: Yeah, our James Bond episode.
Chuck: Yeah. We've had a few of these and people always respond to these. They're like, "You guys should have a spinoff show."
Josh: Yeah, do an all-movie podcast.
Josh: Maybe one day.
Josh: Remember, if you're looking for any of these, press control F or Apple F in your web browser and search that way on our podcast archive page. You can also search for this article on How Stuff Works by typing "movies" in and seeing what comes up. And since I said How Stuff Works, it's time for listener mail.
Chuck: I'm going to call this, Mike DuPont, really cleared something up for us on scientific method.
Chuck: "Hey, guys, it was a great"-well, actually he doesn't say it was great. I think I just made that up. "Hey, guys, your scientific method podcast has a consistent misuse of what a scientific law is in relation to the working of the scientific method. It appears that you believe that a law, e.g., Newton's law of gravity, is held in higher esteem than theory, and that eventually a theory matures into a law." I think I probably did think that because of politics.
Chuck: How a bill becomes a law.
Josh: Right, exactly.
Chuck: He says, "When in fact theory is considerably more robust than a law. A law is a mathematical model that describes observed behavior. It does not answer the why."
Chuck: "Theory does answer why something happens."
Josh: Did we not say that? I thought we did. I knew that. I remember finding that out from the research; I just can't believe it didn't come out of my mouth.
Chuck: He claims we did not. And I feel like I'm learning this, so I definitely did not.
Josh: Okay, go ahead.
Chuck: But you may have. "For example, Newton's law of gravitational attraction describes the action of two bodies that can be used for pretty much everything. It is perfect for describing what happens but it cannot tell you why the two items are attracted or drill down to the underlying mechanism."
Josh: Yeah, a law is much more succinct. It just is what it is.
Chuck: "Nor is the law even universal and could not be used to explain the perihelion procession of Mercury's orbit."
Chuck: "In comparison, Einstein's theory of general relativity was eventually used to solve the Mercury issue"-oh yeah, the Mercury issue-"in the standard model, along with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson by CERN, can answer the why do these two masses attracted to each other question." I think what you mean is why are these two masses attracted to one another, Mike.
Josh: It's pretty teleological.
Chuck: "A theory is considerably more developed and richer than a scientific law, which is more of a tool that is applicable to a wide range of applications. Keep up the good work." That is Mike DuPont.
Josh: Thanks, Mike.
Chuck: Thanks for that.
Josh: Of the Valley Forge DuPonts?
Chuck: I think so.
Josh: Have you seen Foxcatcher?
Chuck: Oh no. I've heard it's good. Is it good?
Chuck: Oh really?
Josh: I don't think so, no.
Chuck: I heard it's kind of slow.
Josh: It's beyond slow.
Josh: Oh yeah. I can understand why the Academy loved it. A lot of people I'm sure do like it. I was not a fan of Foxcatcher.
Chuck: I think people generally seeing a turn by an actor like Steve Carell doing something really different, they're knocked out by that.
Chuck: I still can't believe you didn't like Birdman.
Chuck: Spoiler alert for people who have not seen Birdman. The following conversation is full of spoilers.
Chuck: What didn't you like about it?
Josh: So I thought Michael Keaton was good. Who plays his daughter, Emily Blunt? Is that who that is?
Chuck: Emma Stone.
Josh: Emma Stone, excellent. Ed Norton even pretty good.
Chuck: So the acting was fine.
Josh: Who is-Naomi Watts was in it?
Josh: She did great. Okay. So yes, the acting was fine, I thought the acting was fine. I thought the photography was amazing.
Chuck: Yeah, the whole seemingly one-take thing kind of knocked you out, probably.
Josh: I didn't even pick up on that but yes, it did. It was more the-for me the juxtaposition of the story, which was pretty boring and realistic and everyday life-even though it was about a Broadway production, it was still about the everyday life of it; against the surrealism that's threaded in and embedded throughout the whole movie, I didn't like that. It was like, "Choose one or the other, man."
Chuck: Got you.
Josh: It irked me. And then just that one part with the critic, where Michael Keaton tells off the critic, I thought Michael Keaton did a wonderful job. But just the whole point that it was in there of like the director using Michael Keaton's character to tell off all the critics he's ever wanted to tell off in his movie-
Chuck: Oh, got you. Yeah.
Josh: I just thought it was pretentious and I thought it was kind of clumsy in that sense, too.
Chuck: All right.
Josh: And it was enough that it-
Chuck: Tainted it.
Josh: Yeah. And then the ending, I did not like the ending at all.
Josh: At all.
Chuck: That'll ruin a good movie.
Josh: Because it was-it completely went contrary to all the other stuff that he went out of his way to point out was fake or fraudulent or not real, and then all of the sudden it is? What? No, choose one or the other. The director refused to make very important decisions and I think that that ruined the movie.
Chuck: That is a very well-thought-out criticism, I think.
Josh: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Josh: Man, that was the end of listener mail even, wasn't it?
Chuck: Yeah because now I'm not like, "Geez, Josh is weird. He didn't like Birdman." I'm like, "Josh didn't like Birdman. He has good reasons."
Josh: Thank you. I like justifying my opinions.
Chuck: Don't we all.
Josh: So if you want to get in touch with Chuck and I or Jeri, who I apparently just spoiled Birdman for, you can contact us via Twitter @SYSKPodcast, you can join us on Facebook.com/StuffYouShouldKnow, you can send us an email at StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com, and as always, join us at our home on the web, StuffYouShouldKnow.com.
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