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The Big Picture

Author: The Ringer

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The Ringer dives into movies as Sean Fennessey sits down with Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers, breaks down the latest industry trends, handicaps the upcoming Oscars race, and reviews new films with Ringer colleagues like Shea Serrano, Amanda Dobbins, and Bill Simmons.

275 Episodes
We're still stuck at home, but another wave of new movie releases arrives this weekend, including Netflix's exciting new Charlize Theron action film 'The Old Guard,' the delightfully high-concept 'Palm Springs' on Hulu, and the Tom Hanks World War II story 'Greyhound' on Apple TV+. Sean and Amanda break down all three, before inviting The Ringer's Kevin Clark on to help construct the Dad Movie Hall of Fame (1:25). Then, Sean is joined by 'The Old Guard' director Gina Prince-Bythewood to discuss her new film (1:10:57). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Kevin Clark and Gina Prince-Bythewood
Sean and Amanda discuss the life and career of the legendary film composer Ennio Morricone, who died on Sunday at 91 (1:24). Then they discuss the new additions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and what it means for the Oscars (0:00). And finally, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical phenomenon finally began streaming this weekend on Disney+. It's a composite of three June 2016 performances, so how does it work as a movie experience? And how has ‘Hamilton’ aged since it premiered in 2015? Sean and Amanda are joined by Juliet Litman to discuss the history of the show, what it’s like to see it at home, and the state of plays in 2020 (25:55). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Juliet Litman
Movie theaters have been closed for more than half the year, but we’ve still gotten our fair share of great films. Adam Nayman joins Sean and Amanda to share their top five movies so far this year. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Adam Nayman
It’s happening again: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ has been moved once more, stoking new debate about the future of movie theaters. Sean and Amanda talk about when, if ever, they’ll be back in a theater. They also discuss the weekend’s new VOD and streaming releases and the life and work of the late Joel Schumacher (0:52). Then, Sean and Amanda (finally) share their top five movies about making movies (33:32). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
We’ve got a double shot of interviews on today’s show. First up, David Koepp, the writer-director of the new horror film ‘You Should Have Left,’ which is available right now on VOD. Koepp is the screenwriter behind some of the most beloved blockbusters of the past 30 years, including ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Mission: Impossible,’ and ‘Spider-Man’ (1:51). Then, Sean is joined by Karina Longworth, the film critic turned podcaster extraordinaire, to talk about her show, ‘You Must Remember This,’ which is focusing on the great Polly Platt this season (36:17). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: David Koepp and Karina Longworth
After five years away from feature filmmaking, Apatow is back with a new muse: ‘SNL’ star Pete Davidson, who loosely adopts his life story for their new dramedy. Sean and Amanda review the film—which features some great performances and a few new moves for the writer-director—and then look back at Apatow’s career to build a Hall of Fame enshrining his greatest contributions to movies and TV. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
The release of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ was pushed back, setting in motion a domino effect for the rest of the summer movie slate. Sean and Amanda discuss when we’ll be back in movie theaters. Then, they address the changes announced by the Academy to improve diversity in future Oscar nominees, why the number of Best Picture nominees has expanded to 10, and what the extension of the eligibility window means for awards season. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
Released directly to Netflix during a bracing period of American tumult, Spike Lee's 'Da 5 Bloods' continues his mission as a politically minded and always entertaining filmmaker. Sean and Amanda are joined by Justin Charity to closely examine Lee's career as a celebrity director and to analyze his new movie, which tracks four Black Vietnam veterans as they return to the site of conflict in search of reckoning and buried treasure. Then, Sean and Amanda discuss the film's awards chances during this strange moment in movie history. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Justin Charity
The Importance of Spike Lee

The Importance of Spike Lee


Some filmmakers interpret the past. Some capture the present. Spike Lee does both, and he sees the future. There has never been a more urgent moment for the director’s work: In this episode, we spotlight a 2019 conversation with Wesley Morris about 'Do the Right Thing' (9:53), interview Lee's longtime composer Terence Blanchard (35:32), and revisit a conversation with Lee's editor Barry Alexander Brown (65:01). Plus: Sean shares his top five (OK, top six) favorite Spike Lee movies. Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Wesley Morris, Terence Blanchard, and Barry Alexander Brown
The launch of HBO Max means a new entrant in the streaming TV wars. But the big winners might be movie fans. HBO Max's catalog is one of the deepest we've seen. Sean picks a few favorites to start (1:15). Then he's joined by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering to discuss their new film, 'On the Record,' which can be found on the service (30:24). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
The new Netflix film 'The Lovebirds' falls into a classic bucket: the all-in-one-day movie. Sean and Amanda talk about what works (and what doesn't) in the Kumail Nanjiani–Issa Rae comedy. Then, they share their top-five all-in-one-day movies. All killer, no filler. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
After years of lobbying Warner Bros., the fans are getting what they want: the Zack Snyder cut of 'Justice League,' exclusively on HBO Max in 2021. What does that mean? Is that a bad thing? Does it confirm our fears about toxic fandom? Sean and Amanda examine the news and then dive into the mailbag to answer listener questions about which movie made them obsessed; how to watch the essentials in film history; and what to expect from the movie business in 2021, 2022, and beyond. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
An extraordinary burden has been placed upon 'Tenet.' With a still-unchanged July 17 release date, the Warner Bros. production could be the movie to reopen movie theaters and kick-start Hollywood again. But is it too soon? Many in the industry believe the date will stick and topple a series of dominoes that will affect the movie industry for months and years to come. Sean and Amanda look at the 'Tenet' conundrum from all angles. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
No one challenges the expectations of movie stardom more than Tom Hardy. His latest film—the scatological, phantasmagoric, late-life biopic 'Capone'—features one of his most visceral performances yet. Sean and Amanda are joined by Chris Ryan to review the new Josh Trank–directed film and build a shrine to Hardy's fascinating, frequently bizarre collection of performances. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Chris Ryan
We needed a bigger boat to select the finest movies set on the great ocean blue, so Chris Ryan returns to aid Sean and Amanda. They each choose their top five films, talk about why they love the sea, and what scares them most about it. This conversation got out of hand. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Chris Ryan
It's been nearly two months since movie theaters closed and Hollywood was forced to pivot. Sean and Amanda dig into the VOD crates as well as the streaming services to recommend 10 movies to watch from the comfort of your home, including the best that Netflix, HBO, and Shudder have to offer right now (1:45). Then, Sean is joined by stunt performer turned director Sam Hargrave to talk about his rise from fight coordination on MCU movies to helming his explosive action thriller, 'Extraction' (58:17). Host: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Sam Hargrave
Here's the case as it stands: We put the vote to you, the jurors, and you wanted to hear our closing arguments on the best courtroom dramas in movie history. Amanda and Sean, the only litigators this side of the Mississippi who can handle the truth, dig into one of film's most indefatigable genres. They talk through picks from the 1940s all the way through the 1990s, and explore why the courtroom drama has vanished from the movie landscape. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
With a double hit of noisy movie-business news, Sean and Amanda dive into the mailbag to answer all your questions about the movie theater chain vs. Universal fight over windowing and 'Trolls World Tour' and the ramifications of the Academy's decision to allow streaming films to compete for Oscars at next year's ceremony. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy pod. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
That's right, Mike D and Ad-Rock have teamed up with Spike Jonze to make a movie chronicling the history of one of the most important bands of all time: Beastie Boys. Chris Ryan joins the show to talk about the group's history and rank their top-five songs. Then Sean interviews Mike D and Ad-Rock about the film, what late band member Adam Yauch would have thought about the movie, and their favorite fruits during quarantine. Waxin' and milkin'!  Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, and Chris Ryan
During quarantine, Netflix has risen high above its competitors, with a soaring stock price and a captive audience. Sean and Amanda dig into the relatively brief but surprisingly vast history of Netflix Original Films to create a Hall of Fame lineup (0:59). Then, Sean is joined by writer-director Alex Garland ('Ex Machina') to talk about his FX series ‘Devs’ (73:02). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Alex Garland
Comments (10)

Sean Smith

These two are pathetic. Please never leave your houses.

May 19th

Adam Westerholm


Feb 21st

John Simpson

Great episode

Dec 9th

Yves-Langston Barthaud

can you publish this list please?

Dec 7th

Harry Parsons

how could you only talk about Mark Hamills Joker portail as the joker for about 10 seconds ? disgraceful

Nov 9th

Vasilis Tsompanidis

Great, but how could you miss talking about Bo Peep, maybe the best female icon in recent Pixar movies? She mostly drives the action plus she saves Woody like 10 times.. In a very male actiony way too.

Jun 23rd


finally some Free Solo love from the Ringer

Feb 7th

Dave Courtney

if it's not on Netflix it doesn't matter? Seriously? That sort of rhetoric makes it hard to take any of this conversation seriously. You do realize that of the close to 150 2018 new releases I saw last year, 98 percent were not Netflix originals and a good 85 percent were not on Netflix at all? There is plenty to watch that is not on Netfkix, and of the stuff I saw, its worth noting that 6 of them were in my bottom 10 of the year.

Feb 3rd

Mary Dobrian

I LOVED seeing Angela Lansbury at the end of this film. She is the same age as Dick Van Dyke (93) and also an icon of at least one live action Disney film of the Mary Poppins era (Bedknob and Broomstick). Seeing her was a delightful surprise for me. I also highly doubt that DvD's dancing was CGI. He is still a very spry guy, and the sequence was very brief. (I wouldn't be surprised if he still dances at home every day. 😁) On the whole, I thought you guys were overly harsh on this movie. My family and I are all big fans of the original, and I expected to be quite critical of this, but I mostly found it sweet and charming. I liked the Meryl Streep sequence too. My biggest criticism was the villian(s) - Colin Firth and his animated coynterpart - who seemed to just be evil for evil's sake. The original film didn't really have that: the capitalist bankers came off as misguided, but not really evil, and there was a sense of redemption for Mr. Banks at the end. As far as Emily Blunt is concerned, I felt she made the role her own and did a great job. I wish there had been a bit more of her in the film.

Jan 14th

Pooriya Sarhadimoghadam

Oct 30th
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