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Cows in the field

Cows in the field

Author: Blobcat

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Two cows talk about moovies, philosophy, art, and culture. Hosted by Justin Khoo (professor of philosophy at MIT) and Laura Khoo (art historian turned fundraiser).
21 Episodes
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Join the two cows on their journey into the world of fantasy basketball-star-crossover vehicles, featuring guest Vishal Dave! It's 1996 and Michael Jordan is fresh back from retirement, ready to take on the Monstars and save the NBA from a bunch of talentless hacks. Is there a tragic emptiness at the core of Space Jam, marked by Jordan's self-destructive quest for dominance? And how does it compare to what might be its polar opposite -- Kazaam, a rapping genie movie about a child who comes to accept the imperfections of his parents, starring the ebullient Shaquille O'Neal? Tune in to find out and dig in to some mid-nineties pop classics! 
The cows are joined by Mattia Acetoso to discuss the feature debuts of Wes and Paul Thomas Anderson. What might we learn about these original and influential directors' first films? Both movies center around misfits who retreat from a random and often harsh reality to form their own surrogate families and find new ways of living. Along the way, genres are subverted, narratives obfuscated, and souls redeemed.
Scream / The Craft

Scream / The Craft

2020-10-2358:24

The two cows discuss the social complexity of female high school friendships and the sexual politics of teen horror in their reappraisal of these two '96 classics. They explore how cliques can provide social insulation as well as opportunities for emotional manipulation, and consider how the "horror movie rules" encode a Puritanical ethics towards sex and drugs while also aiming to satisfy the male gaze by providing copious instances of such behavior.
Independence Day

Independence Day

2020-10-0901:07:39

The two cows start their journey through 1996 at its blockbuster peak, revisiting Roland Emmerich's game-changing blow everything up alien disaster extravaganza, Independence Day. What made the 1990s such a fertile time for disaster flicks, and what makes ID4 one of the best movie star vehicles ever? The cows also explore neoconservative themes of US military dominance on the world stage, and discuss the case for Randy Quaid being the emotional center of the film. 
The cows take a drive with Abe and Agnes Callard and Ryan Clark into David Lynch's fantastical and depraved version of Los Angeles. What mysteries will they find in Club Silencio, or on the set of the Sylvia North Story? What explains the continued appeal of Lynch's absurdist masterpiece? How does he deploy narrative and filmic tropes to subvert his audience's expectations and what are we to make of the often frustrating and contradictory results?
Identity

Identity

2020-09-1101:02:26

Things get scary when the two cows are stranded in a motel on a rainy night with James Mangold. What makes a good twist? What’s the appeal of Agatha Christie? Is this a movie about white guilt, or flaws in the criminal justice system? Tune in to find out!
Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

2020-08-2801:44:31

The cows revisit 1994’s Best Picture winner, Forrest Gump. Is it a conservative agenda piece, portraying Forrest’s racial colorblindness as the envisioned end of racism in America, or is it a sober reflection on the history of violence and racism baked into contemporary America and American cinema? Is Jenny’s the story of an entire generation’s complex relationship with shifting power dynamics and its reckoning with an inability to impart lasting social change? Tune in for this and much more in our longest episode yet!
Titanic

Titanic

2020-08-1457:51

The cows go back to Titanic and explore how Cameron weaves together themes of love, memory, duty, and class into a massive scale disaster flick. Is Titanic, which was at the time the most expensive and highest grossing movie ever, secretly an anti-capitalist propaganda piece? Or is it just the pinnacle of Hollywood bombast? Tune in to find out!
The two cows journey into the madness of toxic masculinity, pairing the madcap Nicolas Cage classic “Vampire’s Kiss” with the recent Kitty Green masterpiece, “The Assistant.” How do artists use hyper-realism and non-realist expressionism to depict challenging and often elusive problems? What is the significance of using vampirism as the framing device to portray workplace misogyny? And how can we cope with the moral harms toxic masculinity imposes on those of us forced into the orbit of a serial predator?
Searching for Bobby Fischer

Searching for Bobby Fischer

2020-07-1701:04:44

The two cows visit the chess hustlers in Washington Square Park to dive deep on one of the best sports/parenting movies, Searching for Bobby Fischer. What does the pursuit of excellence demand, and is it ultimately worth it? How should we as parents or mentors advise those who would strive for such greatness? Also discussed: the tragic and cautionary tale of Bobby Fischer, Jordan vs. LeBron, contempt vs. compassion for one’s opponents, and the fashion of IZOD polo shirts.
The two cows are joined by friend Vishal Dave to visit humanity in its final days in Children of Men, a movie that seems in retrospect sadly prescient for our current times. What would knowledge of the imminent end of humanity mean for the final generation of humans and how might it affect what matters to them? How does Cuarón weave does art and iconography into the film and what themes does he use art to invoke? Why does Julianne Moore rule? And more!
The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project

2020-06-1901:01:30

The two cows delve into the Black Hills Forest to sort out why the Blair Witch Project was the tenth highest grossing movie of 1999, why it took so long for Hollywood to capitalize on found footage horror, the nature of horror itself and why we desire to be horrified, as well as what makes the Blair Witch Project so especially horrifying.
The two cows head to Texas with their pal Edward to consider one of the best film adaptations of a book ever. Topics discussed include encounters with the unintelligible, grappling with our shared fate of becoming lost to the passage of time, Sartrean bad faith, and Anton Chigurh’s quarantine haircut.
The Social Network

The Social Network

2020-05-2501:05:28

The two cows revisit a more innocent time, when Facebook was just a silly site where people posted relationship statuses and the only concerns about it involved whether your mom saw that frat party photo your friend tagged you in. Is Sorkin overrated? Is this a breakup movie? Is it a movie about revolutions without ideals? What is Jesse Eisenberg like in real life?
Contact (w/ Molly Perkins)

Contact (w/ Molly Perkins)

2020-05-1701:29:14

The two cows are joined this week by special guest Molly Perkins; together, they embark on an interstellar journey into the bureaucratic maze of academic funding. Join us for a discussion of aliens (where are they?), McConaughey vs. Fichtner (who best?), scrunchies (what do they signify?), our favorite first contact movies, and whether this is Robert Zemeckis's masterpiece! [0:02:08] Overview [0:25:31] McConaughey: good/bad? [0:44:57] Aliens!! [0:51:40] Laura's scrunchie breakdown [1:13:32] Talking Zemeckis [1:19:23] Favorite first contact movies
Minority Report

Minority Report

2020-05-0701:16:05

The two cows go running with Tom Cruise and discuss the future as it was projected in 2002, the nature of middle knowledge, themes of blindness/control/justice, and give their top five Spielberg movies. 10.44: Future talk 28.34: Justin's philosophy corner 41.31: Theme and variation 67.22: Spielberg ranked
The two cows recommend five double features, all streaming on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. The themes are: High and Low, Paranoia, Families Falling Apart, The Rules of the Universe, How to Win Friends and Influence People. . . . . Movies recommended: High and Low (0:59 Bringing out the Dead // 5:00 Inside Llewyn Davis) Paranoia (9:27 Clue // 12:53 The Conversation) Families Falling Apart (15:52 Suspiria [2018] // 20:03 The Squid and the Whale) The Rules of the Universe (25:13 Killing of a Sacred Deer // 29:34 Highlander) How to Win Friends and Influence People (33:14 Aguirre, Wrath of God // 37:16 Mitt) ++ Two bonus recs (44:22 // 51:04)!
Can't Hardly Wait

Can't Hardly Wait

2020-04-1343:16

The two cows go back to high school to revisit this classic 90s teen comedy and discuss house parties, a real life Trip McNeely story,  and Siskel & Ebert's rating scale. 
Joy Ride

Joy Ride

2020-04-0554:53

The two cows take a road trip to discuss how a decade of bored contentment in America gave rise to both the gen-X slacker and prank culture, laying the seeds for a generational conflict that takes center stage in this highly rewatchable 2001 John Dahl thriller.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

2020-03-3001:04:41

The two cows discuss time travel, religious themes, and the nature of sequels in this action-packed episode. 
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