DiscoverCows in the field
Cows in the field

Cows in the field

Author: Blobcat Filmindustri

Subscribed: 41Played: 983


A movie podcast inspired by a Werner Herzog quote, “We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field.” Hosted by Justin Khoo (professor of philosophy at MIT) and Laura Khoo (art historian turned fundraiser).
99 Episodes
Liam Billingham (Die Hard on a Blank / OuevreBusters) joins us to discuss Paul Verhoeven's meta-propaganda Brechtian war film Starship Troopers. We discuss the film's odd mixture of big budget VFX with soap opera stars, how it's three movies in one, the nature of meaning in a world devoid of conflict, and art that risks embarrassment. It's a squishy, gooey, fun time, so jump on this one way rocket to Klendathu with us, folks!
The Phantom Menace has weathered the highs and (mostly) lows of fan appraisal. Once derided, then reclaimed, where does it stand in 2023? We issue the definitive assessment: it is good (kind of). Matt Teichman (Elucidations Podcast) brings his colleague Jar Jar Binks along for the ride, as we discuss pod racing, queen wardrobes, lightsaber battles, Jedi Stoicism, ineffectual bureaucracy, and the allure of fascism. Stay with us to the end for a blast of 1999 nostalgia!
96. Roma (w/ Agustín Rayo)

96. Roma (w/ Agustín Rayo)


We sit down with my colleague Agustín Rayo (Professor of Philosophy, Dean of SHASS at MIT, and winner of the big number duel) to discuss Alfonso Cuarón's autobiographical film, Roma. We discuss memory, dreams, guilt, class, background, lenses, digital formats, and, of course, Mexico City.
Join us and Bilge Ebiri (New York Magazine / Vulture) to discuss Christopher Nolan's deconstructed biopic about the man who birthed a very big bomb. Deconstructed narratives, quantum mechanics, moral dilemmas, subjective inflection, brilliant and sure-handed intercutting... and we set the record straight on whether Nolan's films are funny and whether his female characters are poorly developed.
Joining us to talk about What Maisie Knew (2012) is the film's producer, Daniela Taplin Lundberg (whose feature credits include The Kids Are All Right, Beasts of No Nation, and Honey Boy)! We talk about the challenges making independent feature films, the film's portrayal of divorce and new beginnings, and how it captures the feeling of a memory. After you listen, you should check out Daniela's podcast, Hollywood Gold, a series of interviews with Hollywood producers about the stories we know and love.
We sit down with Lydia Tár expert Emily St. James to talk about guilt, repression, cancel culture, subjectivity, moral hazards, the Todd Field Cinematic Universe, and... you guessed it... Oklahoma! How is any of this possible? Tune in to find out!
Bright light! Bright light! We sit down with Brandon Polite (Philosophy, Knox College) to discuss Joe Dante's horror comedy masterpiece. Topics include: Chekov's rules of Gremlin lore, Mogwai metaphors, slapstick humor, why you shouldn't show this movie to young children, practical special effects, old and new Hollywood, capitalism, and what we can learn from Gizmo. Guess who had a stuffed Mogwai as a baby??
How did Steven Soderbergh remake an obscure Soviet art-house film based on an even more obscure science fiction novel starring the most bankable A-list movie star? And how did he pull it off?! We sit down with Phil Iscove (Sleepy Hollow / Podcast Like It's...) to unpack the film's poetry and vibes, and explore what it would do to someone to encounter their deepest regrets and desires manifesting in physical form. Come vibe on this very odd and intangible classic of the early aughts!
Our guest Matt Strohl (Philosophy, Montana; author of Why It's OK to Love Bad Movies) thinks Richard Kelly's 2009 film THE BOX is due for a critical reappraisal, and we agree. We talk about altruism, self-deception, faith, freedom, Hell, Sartre, and why this is a freaking Christmas movie! Buckle up for a weird and wild journey into the unknown and unknowable!
Welcoming back Carly Severn, we take a moment to indulge in Michael Mann's existential police / serial killer drama Manhunter. We talk about the film's distinctive use of unexpected style to convey the inner lives of its characters, the film's (and Mann's overall) focus on the individual rather than societal, dreams, tigers, mental illness, men doing work, men playing god, and the angst of being called to do something impossible. Follow Carly on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter! Buy a cow shirt on Threadless!
Matt Belenky returns to gush over Brian DePalma's love letter to mediocre men and the women they fancy themselves saving. We discuss the deep anxieties about inadequacy at the film's core, and how DePalma creates magic out of a plot that's somehow both threadbare and unnecessarily complex. Even Pauline Kael, one of DePalma's great champions, thought this one was old hat, but not us -- no -- we positively LOVE its shaggy unreality. So jump on this nonstop train to Hitchcocksville -- we'll supply the telescope if you bring the drill!
We hit the road with Paul Keelan (Cinematic Underdogs) and talk bands, touring, growing up, and more in this jam-packed episode on Cameron Crowe's memoir film Almost Famous. Paul shares his experience touring with bands, and we discover that we were once in the same room over a decade ago! We talk about the illusion and fantasy of life on the road, the desire to hold on to fleeting moments, and role of writers in crystalizing our most cherished memories in prose. We are not golden gods, but we are on drugs!! Listen to Cinematic Underdogs! Follow Paul on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter! Buy a cows shirt on Threadless!
How should we engage with the work of immoral artists? We explore this question through the lens of Woody Allen's late period masterpiece Match Point. Mary Beth Willard (Philosopher, Weber State, and author of "Why it's OK to Enjoy the Work of Immoral Artists") joins us to discuss the aesthetic costs of not engaging with art, the expressive nature of uncritically loving the work of immoral artists, and we delve into the film's many themes: guilt, luck, meaning, and morality. These are complicated issues, and we are glad you are joining us to explore them! Follow Mary Beth on Twitter! Buy "Why it's OK to Love the Work of Immoral Artists"! Follow us on Twitter!
We're joined by Matt Pais (author of Talk 90s with Me) to discuss a favorite 90s nostalgia flick, made thirty years ago about a time thirty years prior to when it came out. So it's nostalgia about nostalgia, or what some might call meta-nostalgia! We talk about the desire to hold on to the ephemeral, how the film explores the loss of innocence in the 1960s (and compares that with the kind of Gen-X cynicism that gripped the US in the 90s), connections to another film starring Tom Everett Scott (La La Land), and how being in a band on the rise is all fun and games until the 300th time you play your hit song and realize you're stuck in a loop you may never escape from... Buy Matt's book here Follow Matt on Twitter!  Follow us on Twitter! 
Join us and professional film/tv critic Emily St. James to talk about the BEST movies of 2022. We give out awards to our favorites, and also discuss some often overlooked categories (best use of 65mm film, best "boys are weird but hot" movie, best bed, best men are trash movie, and best movie to fall asleep to). Which movies will rise to the top and achieve a coveted Blobscar award? And which Nobel Peace Prize winner will be taking home a trophy? Tune in to find out!
83. Willow (w/ John DeVore)

83. Willow (w/ John DeVore)


With the release of the Disney+ show set in the world of Andowyne, we figured it was time to revisit a beloved fantasy classic from the 80s, Ron Howard's delightfully magical WILLOW! Big time Willow-head John DeVore joins us to talk about how the film was his fantasy gateway drug, and how it's about an adoptive family of ordinary folk who must undertake an extraordinary quest. We discuss all the wonderful action scenes as well as why the film passes the Bechdel test, why the Brownies are the best, and why the eborsisk was just a misunderstood two-headed dragon. Oh, and also John hates Tenet wtf?? That definitely comes up a few times.  Follow John on Twitter!  Follow us on Twitter!  Buy a cows shirt on Threadless! 
Who is the INSIDE MAN? We sit down with Roxana Hadadi (Vulture / New York Magazine) to discuss Spike Lee's twisty bank heist thriller from the early aughts. We consider the film's central theme, which focuses around conflicts of duty and consequence, and takes a very even-handed look at a morally complex world. We also compare the film's insistence to call out racism with its casual dismissal of homophobia and sexual assault, and think about the challenge faced by those of us just trying to get by while up in unjust systems. We touch on topics of current concern: effective altruism and longtermism, and consider how the film illustrates what might be lacking in such perspectives.  Follow Roxana on Twitter!  Follow us on Twitter!  Buy a cows shirt on Threadless! 
We hop into a black hole with Jon Gabrus (High & Mighty, Action Boyz, 101 Places to Party Before You Die) to discuss Christopher Nolan's spacetime warping epic! We consider the film's complex relationship with science, exploration, and family obligations; and we defend Nolan against the charge that he's an emotionless filmmaker. Naturally, we try to figure out which character we each are (can you guess?) and then Justin does his best to explain/understand gravitational time dilation. Don't miss out, this is a good one folks! Follow Jon on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter! Buy a Cows shirt here!
Join us for a re-release of our Minority Report episode from early 2020! We 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 our top five Spielberg movies. Follow us on Twitter! Leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the show!
Join us and proverbial bringer-of-Christmas-cheer Emily St. James as we dive into Frank Capra's existentialist Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life! We talk about the film's overt and subtle political messaging, which got it labeled Communist propaganda soon after its release, and contrast the zero sum deadlocked conflict of Potter with the generosity and warmth of George and (especially) Mary. We consider various interpretations of what George learns in his journey through the alternate reality of Pottersville and how Capra underscores the communitarian and occasionally Christian values by cramming his frames full of smiling faces. So come find out why this thing we call life really is wonderful! Read Emily on Vox and Twitter and Mastodon! Read Emily on It's a Wonderful Life here and here! Follow us on Twitter! Leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the show!
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