EPISODE 293: with special guest AMY NICHOLSON

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14 Responses

  1. So it seems I’m not the only one who felt that The Avengers was not a good film. I absolutely loved Amy’s comment about the characters in the film and their motivations: “Wouldn’t it be great if these things actually mattered?”

    Much of the reaction to The Avengers begins with “wasn’t it cool when” rather than “wasn’t it interesting when” or “what did you think about when,” which is what a good film should do, in my opinion. There isn’t anything wrong with being cool, and there isn’t even anything wrong with being unsubstantial, but it frustrates me when even the professional reviewers don’t seem to care. One review that sticks out in my mind is the Spill.com review, in which it was specifically stated that emotional connection to character doesn’t matter as long as there’s enough action on the screen to keep the viewer distracted.

    The Avengers does hint at some interesting ideas—notably the scene that took place in Germany towards the beginning of the film—but I don’t hear about that much. What I hear about more are the awesome aliens, the cool explosions, and the sweet battle scenes. The Avengers is so concerned with throwing as much intellectual property at the screen and delivering as much fan service as possible that it forgets about plot and character. I like this line from Nicholson’s review: “Forget character development—there’s not even character explanation.” The last half of the film plays out like an extended episode of the Power Rangers.

    Do we really want to send the message to Hollywood that this is what we want to see more of? I fear that as this trend continues, Hollywood will abandon films with substance in favor of films like Transformers and The Avengers—two films that have a great deal in common.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      Art exists on planes other than the intellectual and cinema exists on planes other than the dramaturgical. The entire medium does not hinge on character and plot. While I’ll freely admit that The Avengers could have used more of both those things, they weren’t its chief concern (at least not in the much stronger second and third act).

      There’s nothing wrong with a film aiming to produce moments that are simply “cool,” as long as there’s feeling behind them. That’s the difference between Joss Whedon and Michael Bay as far as I’m concerned. Where Whedon aims to bring you to the edge of (or even out of) your chair, Bay aims only numb you until you can’t move at all.

      – David

  2. Seth H. says:

    If BP ever officially drafts someone to be “third chair”, it should be Amy Nicholson (sorry, Fadem). What a charming, intelligent lady. Tyler and David were okay as well.

    My favorite episode since the marathon session with Colin Marshall.

    • Nick S. says:

      I concur wholeheartedly, she was a ton of fun to listen to. Like Tyler, I’m still trying to pin down her taste in films but I suspect it’s futile. She’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma and rolled in crushed almonds.

  3. Scott Nye says:

    The extent to which Bay is a more effective, affective, and certainly cooler director than Whedon is so vast, I’m not sure it could possibly be discussed. To stand on either side of the canyon separating the two perspectives is to be unable to conceive of how the other lives, or even that there is another side. Each sees only a cliff with tales of this other world.

    But that’s besides the point. What I really came here to say is that the theatre scene in Los Angeles is so, so awesome and unbelievably accessible. It is not hard to find quality productions at intimate venues for under $10. Some even use a pay-what-you-want scale! I really encourage anyone in the area (Valley definitely included; the row Amy mentioned is pretty righteous) to scope them out.

  4. Max Mayo says:

    I can’t remember all of the topics (300+ shows is hard to remember) but have you guys done on episode on book to film adaptations/book vs. film adaptations? If not, I think with Cloud Atlas out right now this would be an awesome discussion. I, like David, read the book this last month and absolutely loved it, but I’m having trouble parsing what was great about the film, and what I brought to the movie having just finished a labyrinthine novel, bursting with ideas and emotions. I think Never Let Me Go, The American, and the LOTR trilogy could be other interesting comparisons.

    Also, I’m glad someone is mentioning Farewell, My Queen. Great, great movie!

    • Scott Nye says:

      I support this, largely because we should all be talking about NEVER LET ME GO much more often.

      • Max Mayo says:

        We all NEED to be talking about NEVER LET ME GO more! I’m not sure if you will agree, but to me it’s an instance where the film compliments the novel and vice versa, each one expanding the total experience. As opposed to having one of them (novel or film) replacing the other depending on what order you experienced them.

        • Scott Nye says:

          As someone who saw the film first, read the novel afterward, then saw the film again about a year after that, I totally agree. There are things about each that I find inseparable from the experience, and I was so struck by how they informed my experience each time. I cannot possibly find the words to express how they both affected me, but they loom very large.

  5. Rick Vance says:

    Wooooo more support for the Anonymous train, that movie was such an unexpected delight.

  6. Joshua says:

    Its driving me crazy – this guest sounds like a total empty-headed blonde – who am I thinking of?!

  7. DBF says:

    Really liked Amy Nicholson, and i hope you anti-social hosts didn’t scare her away 🙂

  8. Davide Perretta says:

    Not only do I fully agree with Amy on Avengers I also have the same reasons for not liking it. It’s crazy. Love your voice by the way 🙂

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