#182: Galaxy Defenders, Pt. 1 – Men In Black (1997)
The lackluster new MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL has failed to rekindle much interest in the action-comedy franchise — more on that in the next episode — which makes the 1997 blockbuster from which it stems seem like even more of a miracle in hindsight. Having seen how the franchise’s formula can fail, we’re going back to the source to see how director Barry Sonnenfeld, with no small assist from stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and effects master Rick Baker, achieved that rarest of cinematic feats: a weird blockbuster. This week we dig into the strange performances, mindful effects, and sharp political allegory that enliven this lean, mean galaxy-defending machine. Plus, some feedback on our recent GODZILLA episodes, and a thought experiment inspired by CHINATOWN.
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Works Cited: • “An Oral History of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Perfect Men in Black ‘Sugar Water’ Scene,” by Rachel Handler (vulture.com)
Outro music: Will Smith, “Men In Black”
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