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School of Movies

Author: Alex & Sharon Shaw

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Super in-depth analysis of movies (and occasionally TV, and video games). Hosted by veteran podcasters Alex & Sharon Shaw with different guests for round-table chats every week.

To get into our hundreds of previous episodes look for the School of Movies Archive and the School of Everything Else Archive. If you can't find a show it will be on one of those.
179 Episodes
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[School of Movies 2020] The year of Spielberg continues (though I have a feeling 2020 isn't going to be remembered for this, no matter how good we make the shows) with the second Indiana Jones movie, which is in fact a prequel. There's... reasons for that. Ditching the writer of The Empire Strikes Back, producer George Lucas brought in the duo who would pen Howard the Duck, and decided to really lean on the colonial atmosphere of movies that were racist as hell fifty years before this film emerged into cinemas.  I think the best way I put it is you can easily *watch* Raiders of the Lost Ark followed by Temple of Doom, and have a good time with both, but it's quite another thing to start an explorative and enthusiastic film analysis with the first and then graduate to the second. It feels like a booby trap and the floor falls away. And you tumble into a pit of spikes, lava and dodgy representation for Asian people, women, frankly even white dudes! Guest Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa
This is Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap

2020-06-1901:59:27

[School of Movies 2020] Hot on the heels of The Princess Bride our unexpected Rob Reiner mini-season continues with one of the loudest mockumentaries of all time.  Fictional band Spinal Tap gear up for their big American comeback tour carrying them from New York to Japan. Along the way they experience inconsistent catering presentation, an album cover with zero visual information and a bust-up between their two passionate creative forces that may spell the end of their musical career.  And all of it is captured on film in improvised, painfully human fashion. Join us as we void our musical guts with the band that has had more drummers than albums.  This episode was commissioned by  Kevin Veighy, Dan Mayer and Nick Ord. Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Gimme Some Money Hell Hole Sex farm Nigel Tufnel Solo America Rock and Roll Creation Stonehenge Break Like the Wind Jazz Odyssey Big Bottom Cups and Cakes Listen to the Flower People Heavy-Duty Rock & Roll The Majesty of Rock Guests Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  Nick Ord of the Midnight Movies blog  https://midnightmoviesonline.wordpress.com/   
The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

2020-06-1201:39:14

[School of Movies 2020] How does one discuss the worst Pixar film? When a studio accomplishes so much and changes the industry, should we not simply forgive them their mishaps and move on? We decided, not necessarily. Because delving into where things went wrong can in fact better illuminate when they get their pieces of art so very right.    So what we have here is an exploration of a downright bungled production with one of the most erratic tones of any animated film we've seen, veering between cutie-patootie and gut-churning nightmare, seemingly scene to scene.  It's what would happen if you asked Werner Herzog to reboot The Care Bears. A series of genuinely baffling choices and a disbelief suspended on gossamer-thin threads, this one makes Cars look like a documentary of entirely grounded concepts.    We were worried this would come off as too negative, when we recorded it a long while ago, but listening back I'm proud of how incisive and merciless our approach was. And it makes the shows where we shower the best movies with adulation all the more genuine. 
Mystery Men

Mystery Men

2020-06-0501:52:32

[School of Movies 2020] As we languish in the ellipses between Phases 3 and 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Batman goes on hold, Superman hangs in the balance, Wonder Woman waits for her delayed sequel release, and the X-Men are quietly reshaped by Disney's Fungineers, and the only big bit of news for this breakdown in the age of superheroes is the Snyder Cut finally getting a chance to be put together.  So tonight, we here at School of Movies remember the other guys (not the movie with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell) the losers (not the movie with Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans) the outsiders (not the movie with Matt Dillon and the Karate Kid), the wannabe vigilantes who just end up making things worse (not Watchmen). Adapted from the Flaming Carrot comics, but not actually featuring the Flaming Carrot, this movie is almost entirely inept, shambolic, misjudged and ridiculous. Wholly appropriate, considering who it's about; a cadre of buffoons who want to help people in a city of the delusional, where the appointed good guys are actually kind of self-aggrandizing idiots too. Mystery Men has all the makings of a cult favourite, beloved by its fans (including us), and here you'll find out why. This episode was commissioned by Jamas Enright.  Guests Em from Verbal Diorama  @VerbalDiorama  Victoria Grieve  @VixenVVitch 
The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

2020-05-2902:35:301

[School of Movies 2020] It is inconceivable that we've not covered this movie yet, but there is a shortage of perfect movies, and it would be a shame to waste one. We've danced around doing this abbreviated adaptation of a kissing book for years, and eventually a commission gave us no further excuses, we had to say 'as you wish'.  Both well-known and beloved with the fervour afforded cult classics, this clever spin on fairy tales leaves most of the other attempts in the dust, through a combination of an amazing cast, a razor-sharp script delivered with impeccable, deadpan timing, and at the core a big, beating, romantic heart.  This episode was commissioned by Chris Finik.  Guests Victoria Grieve  @VixenVVitch  Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew   Mackenzie Easton  @KenziePhoenix of Rainbow Connection @MuppetsPod   Nathan Bertram @bertnerdtram of Video Game: The Movie: The Podcast  @VGTMPodcast 
Shrek

Shrek

2020-05-2201:34:44

[School of Movies 2020]   On the 19th anniversary of the release of this game-changing animated movie, we look back on the alchemy at work which made this such an abiding hit. Effectively one giant, green middle-finger to Disney, this caper resonated strongly with audiences who wanted to defy that wholesome, controlling and overbearing megacorporation with its twee fairy tales of slender, pretty people with dreams and songs and irritating animal sidekicks. Shrek was more like regular people, selfish, bitter and obnoxious, with irritating animal sidekicks. As well as the movie, we get to highlight some of the best aspects of the Shrek musical, which in  a strange way carries things full-circle.  This show was rather special, for reasons you'll find out at the end.  Guests: Victoria Luna B. Grieve:  @VixenVVitch  
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

2020-05-1501:55:04

[School of Movies 2020] In comparison to the enjoyable, solid-enough campy, juvenile, playful original 1995 movie, THIS is a spectacular departure in the direction of chaotic, nonsense. this is what the Mortal Kombat movie would have been if quality was unimportant to the creators.  It's as dumb and cheesy as a sack of Trump chew-toys, and at the same time weirdly specific and accurate on costume and character appearance. It has almost everyone from the Mortal Kombat 3 game, even going to far as to name-check the few who they couldn't squeeze in. But every single version of everyone is utterly wasted.  But it's still deliriously entertaining, and our show on it is a ton of fun. Guests Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool 
Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat

2020-05-0801:39:502

[School of Movies 2020] Lunatic sorcerer holds a fighting contest to determine whether or not another dimension is allowed to invade ours. They have to win ten in a row. Also there may or may not be fatalities. This 1995 movie was one of the first video game adaptations for the big screen and somehow manages to remain one of the best. Mainly because it's colossal fun and doesn't seem to be so embarrassed about its subject matter. It doesn't toss out the story and world for something more superficially realistic. This episode was a ton of fun to record, and frankly that's something most of us need right now. Next week we cover the sequel. And before you start tweeting at me, yes I know Cary Tagawa resumed his beloved role of Shang Tsung in the 11th Video game. of 2019.  Guests Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  Mike Hearn  @MikePHearn   Dan Hoeppner @MightyMegatron0  Jason "Chewie" Slate @TheManaPool 
Westworld

Westworld

2020-05-0101:18:43

[School of Movies 2020] This Commission was for the 1973 movie, but this allowed us to contrast the events and philosophies of Michael Crichton's seminal techno-thriller with those of the 2016 HBO show. And we take you on a brisk tour through a land that poses more questions than it answers.  It was decided upon that the fortysomething men and women of an alternate 1983 would like nothing better than to visit the wild west, medieval Europe and ancient Rome to fight, kill and shag anyone they so chose. For that they would need to be provided with lifelike robots to defile... So much to unpack here. So much psychoanalysis needed.  In terms of spoilers we examine the whole movie and allude to things that happen during Season 1 of the TV show, but no more than that.   This episode was commissioned by Eric Jones.
Red Dwarf V

Red Dwarf V

2020-04-2402:23:31

[School of Everything Else 2020] The long-running British sci-fi comedy series gets its first podcast with us. We picked the season that's easiest to get into and most immediately funny. If a lot of people like this one and especially if newcomers get into Red Dwarf (currently available on Netflix UK and Britbox) then we will record more shows. A ragtag crew of losers on their way back to Earth cross paths with all manner of androids, genetic mutants and time travel phenomena. Aboard we have Dave Lister, maybe the last human slob alive, Arnold Rimmer, the holographic projection of his pedantic boss, a fussy mechanoid named Kryten and a preening evolved feline known only as The Cat. They are semi-guided by the super-genius A.I. Holly who may have gone a bit strange over three million years.  It is delightful how this show has held up over the decades, and if you're unfamiliar you're in for a treat.  Guests Hollywoo Actress  Maya Santandrea @Mayasantandrea  Derrick Ritchie @thenewdelboy   Kat Essman @Kat325   
Poltergeist

Poltergeist

2020-04-1701:50:37

[School of Movies 2020]  The same year that Steven Spielberg was directing E.T. fifty miles down the road he was also producing this magnificent Californian domestic ghost story. Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Lifeforce here helmed what ended up as by far my favourite of his films.  And there's many reasons why this one was so effective in 1982 and remains so today. Set aside the ghoulish fixation on whether or not this was a cursed set and journey with us into the intoxicating, otherworldly family drama that is Poltergeist, accompanied by the spine-tingling music of Jerry Goldsmith. Guests Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa  Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

2020-04-1002:19:12

[School of Movies 2020]  The Spielberg Season continues with this seminal classic about a gardener, abandoned and far from home, forced to throw his lot in with a group of strange aliens. This is a means of Steve re-exploring the broken family of Close Encounters with a softer, child's perspective. And It's an intimate, playful, heart-aching tale that still absolutely stands up today. It is absolutely worthy of a re-watch, especially now, when families are both locked in together and also separated and broken.  Guest Chris Chipman of The Chipman Bros Tangent @The Chippa
Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate

2020-04-0302:15:261

[School of Movies 2020]  After 28 years of waiting and bad Terminator films they finally, FINALLY made a really good one... and nobody turned up. Unfortunately, if you comb YouTube the algorithm that prizes outrage over joy shunts to the top all of the angry boys who hated this box office failure. But right here you will find a deep dive into why this is a brilliant legacy sequel to the first two. We will of course see more Terminator media again, most likely with yet another reboot, but for us and several of our guests, this is the conclusion to a Trilogy. You don't have to see the film first, before listening. Far from spoiling it by talking about what happens I believe if we've done our jobs right we will actively enhance your viewing. This is a heavy episode, but there are heavy things going on in the world right now, and although we will be comforting you next week with the sweetness of E.T. we wanted to deliver a show that would tackle the storm.  Guests Brenden Agnew of Cinapse  @BLCAgnew  Jesse Ferguson of Recorded Tomorrow @TheDapperDM  From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22  and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 
[School of Everything Else 2020] Part 1 of 6 Throughout the year we will be releasing episodes covering one of our very favourite animated shows, now available worldwide on Disney+ which is why we waited until now. Most people haven't seen this, so you can watch along with us. We won't spoil any later episodes and the podcasts won't release all at once. Next week the Spielberg Season continues with E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.  The elevator pitch for this one is "The Simpsons meets Twin Peaks". A pair of twins, one of them fascinated by strange and mysterious things, the other determined to have fun at all times go to stay for the summer with their grotty con-man of a Great Uncle Stan. As it turns out; Gravity Falls, this sleepy Pacific Northwestern Town is filled with both strange and mysterious things and fun! Episodes Covered: Tourist Trapped / The Legend of the Gobblewonker / Headhunters / The Hand that Rocks the Mabel / The Inconveniencing / Dipper vs. Manliness Guests: Victoria Luna B. Grieve:  @VixenVVitch    Theo Leigh of The New Century Multiverse    From Sequentially Yours  Kaoru Negisa  @Moonpanther22  and Debbie Morse  @bastet8300 
Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2

2020-03-2002:32:15

[School of Everything Else 2020] This show was recorded back in 2019 not too long after the remake of the 1998 game was released (in fact it was before the free DLC emerged) so there will be speculation regarding when Capcom would naturally proceed to a remake of Nemesis (which at the time of release is due out in a matter of days). This was one of my favourite games of the 1990s, and the remake is one of my favourites of the 2010s, as well as being one of the most impressive and accomplished reworkings of a game that by modern standards is fairly simple and even clunky. This show is being released at the time of a pandemic, the biggest in my lifetime, and people are scared. So there's a certain strange appeal about the notion of confronting our fears and seeing them symbolically rendered into disgusting undead beasties we can shoot, stab and evade. That makes this game either wildly inappropriate for our times or the most appropriate.  Guests: James Perkins @Mijmeister  Derrick Ritchie @thenewdelboy 
The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

2020-03-1303:40:34

[School of Movies 2020] I was six years old in 1986 when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh released this hit musical adaptation of the 1909 Gaston Leroux Gothic novel. Far too young to appreciate it, and yet, thanks to a double cassette tape they brought back and many long periods in my bedroom building things with Lego it became a production that was very special to me. And then in 2004 when I was 24 the Joel Schumacher film adaptation of that stage musical emerged and was mostly derided. Critics panned it, Phantom fans considered it unworthy and it seemed like only Sharon and I thought everyone involved did a great job with a tough to balance production. This podcast episode is an absolute epic. We focus on the film and contrast it with the stage version, highlighting the original cast and the 25th Anniversary show which is available on blu ray. It’s not going to be for everyone, some people don’t like musicals, and some musical lovers don’t like Phantom, BUT if we’ve done our job right then some of you will be able to watch this thing with fresh eyes and listen with keen ears, with more focus on the details we draw out. Guest: Michaela Gray: @bookiesnacksize
The Bruce Lee Season

The Bruce Lee Season

2020-03-0602:18:56

[School of Movies 2020] This began life as a commissioned show for a PC game called The Stanley Parable, which we had never played, and on our run-through proved to be infuriating to us on many levels; mechanically, aesthetically and philosophically. We were sent back to play the Beginner's Guide, which was even worse, throwing Sharon into frustrated tears.  So we requested from our sponsor that he pick something else. His choice was the Bruce Lee film "Fist of Fury". But having seen that I knew we wouldn't be able to mine from it alone, a show of the kind of thorough, entertaining and informative depth we usually go for.  So because we had failed to connect with the indie PC game (and let this stand as a warning to all those of you who believe your indie PC game of choice will somehow surpass all the others and enrapture us, it most likely won't) we went all out and covered Bruce Lee's film career. This is the first of what's likely to be at least two shows on Bruce Lee, as we first cover his films and later on in some other context, the man himself, behind the camera. But in this one we examine in a modern context the following movies, some are okay, one is pretty great, one is absolutely wretched. 1. The Big Boss (1971) 2. Fist of Fury (1972) 3. Way of the Dragon (1972) 4. Game of Death (1972-1978) 5. Enter the Dragon (1973) And many thanks to the commissioner: Paschal Dooley 
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark

2020-02-2802:13:06

[School of Movies 2020] Our year of Spielberg continues. Prior to Jaws in '75 he directed Duel and The Sugarland Express, and after it came Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 1941. We talk about all of these on our Quick Review Patreon bonus feed, but we are saving the Main Event shows for the ones we have a LOT to say about. In 1981, a year after The Empire Strikes Back, Steve collaborated with his buddy George Lucas to give Harrison Ford his second iconic silver screen role; embodying the most famous adventurer of all time. Now the Indy movies may not be overflowing with deep, philosophical quandaries, but at least two of them are cinematic entertainment in its purest form, and we worked extra hard to find the details and flourishes that make this first outing such a classic.  Guest Kevin Veighey @GoldenTalesGeek 
[School of Movies 2020] The immediate question will be "Hang on, where's the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" show? Why are we starting on Film Two? I'll go into detail on why in my intro, and we will hopefully do a show on Fantastic Beasts 1 in the future, but right now THIS is on the table. The Magical World is at its lowest possible ebb. It's hard to say whether The Cursed Child or this movie were more unpopular, there's different gauges of success between the theatrical and cinematic mediums. But suffice to say we are now a long way from the deeply satisfying, bittersweet, not to mention highly lucrative end of the Harry Potter saga, both in book an movie form. We brought in Lorin Grieve to pick over this confusing mess of a story, to try to figure out what went wrong, and maybe suggest some positive directions they could move in further down the line.  Guest: Lorin Grieve
Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger

2020-02-1402:03:00

[School of Everything Else 2020] A game I have a 25-year history with, just starting and stopping over and over like Groundhog Day (as I will detail in the opening of the show) and have now finally concluded my staggered, protracted journey with. In the UK during the 90s things were not as richly abundant in terms of readily available JRPGs (again, I'll detail this), so Chrono Trigger was yearned for, but never released in 1995 over here. In fact the first official physical copies on sale on British store shelves were the DS version, 14 years later in 2009. But it's one of the most beloved of its type, and on this show (which I had to recruit a couple of experts for, to fill in all those details and secrets) hopefully should go some way to determining why it became such an abiding favourite.  And before you ask me to delve into a dozen more fifty-hour JRPGs, take into account that this commission was a VERY special case! Guests Kevin Veighey Alexander Peregrine  And many thanks to the commissioners: Kevin Veighey, Alexander Peregrine, Nicholas Kosky, Matthew A Seibert and Brian Legg.
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Comments (6)

Joseph Flynn

White privilege? Really? That guy that went on about that, is an absurd, pandering moron. Great show up until that ridiculous, defining moment. White privilege indeed. Bugger off.

Jun 1st
Reply (1)

Henry Winston

The Eddie Izzard joke sequence made me delightfully happy! What a rad podcast!

Oct 21st
Reply

R J

A very honest podcast. I totally agree QT is a bit overated and of dubious character.

Aug 29th
Reply

Mark Bentley

Very well produced podcast

Jun 5th
Reply

Eamon Falloon

it's OK to be white.

Nov 30th
Reply
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