I could ask whether or not the world needs another movie podcast but it might be a bad start posing questions to which we both know the answer. Still, Movie Mindset has elevated above the glut of background noise for host Will Menaker and Hesse Deni’s approach: amusing but not frivolous, personal appreciation that doesn’t risk lapsing into narcissism.

A year after our last chat about the current cinema, Menaker and I sat down for a discussion that took slightly different turns: having not seen a number of the year’s most-acclaimed title, he preferred running the gamut on 2023 at large. Which engendered something funnier and more caustic––you can’t love movies if you don’t also hate them.

As I turned on my recorder we were already underway.

Will Menaker: You asked me how doing the Movie Mindset podcast has changed my movie-watching habits, and I don’t think it’s changed it much save for adding some layer of responsibility––or rather guilt at my lack of responsibility––at not having trooped-out to see Afire, Anatomy of a Fall, Passages, The Zone of Interest, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt. Obviously my guilt is kicking in, but no: I have to reject the guilt entirely and throw it back on the audience and the moviegoing public at large. No, Movie Mindset means I am in total control of my film-watching experience, and if you want an opinion on any of those films––or Godzilla Minus One, which I still haven’t seen yet––take your ass outside, go to the damn movies.

The Film Stage: I didn’t do a top-ten this year because I just didn’t keep up enough to have an interesting list. Thus I appreciate that Movie Mindset isn’t trend-chasing in terms of… “Everybody’s talking about The Zone of Interest so we have to, too.” Instead it’s, “Here’s a two-hour episode about Halloween III: Season of the Witch.”

[Laughs] Yes, absolutely. I will probably eventually get to seeing it; just not now. I’m looking at what I logged on Letterboxd this year, movies released in this calendar year I have either seen on television, in the theater, or my favorite category: movies I’ve seen on an airplane. A special category for movies that, under no circumstances, would I otherwise be watching. But yes: I do have a take on the final Guardians of the Galaxy movie because I was in a hermetically sealed tin can somewhere over the middle part of the country and needed to distract myself.

Looking at the slate of movies I watched this year… most of them not very good. [Laughs] There’ve been a few bright spots here, but I’m going to begin my 2023 in watching movies with:

Infinity Pool

A movie I despised. I’m a fan of drug-induced, nihilistic sex and violence. But where’s the heart? Where’s the heart, young Brandon? I find it indicative of a lot of movies this year––just trends in movies––that draw from a wellspring of ideas or a style that I feel like I’m pre-programmed to like, but when I actually see the movies I really don’t think there’s anything there. I would describe Brandon Cronenberg’s style as very droning––this strobing and droning phantasmagoria––but one that, like I said, doesn’t really move me, or I think really has much to say.

Knock at the Cabin

I’ve seen this movie on a lot of people’s best-of-the-year lists and I… I don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Dave Bautista: always pretty entertaining. He’s a welcome presence in movies. But I think my reaction to this movie is that I would have enjoyed it more as a sincerely Christian apocalyptic movie where someone has to do a Straw Dogs-type home invasion on a gay couple to start the apocalypse rather than prevent it from happening.

I’m usually a Shyamalan fan, but if you gave me the one-sentence logline I think I could have pictured this film perfectly without having to see it. And I agree: not a great apocalypse movie.

I mean, once again, this is a genre I feel like I’m very primed to enjoy: I really love movies that represent a keyhole kind of glimpse of the apocalypse, so you don’t really know––you’re only really presented with what the characters themselves are seeing, and you get little glimpses of what may be going on in the outside world. That kind of paranoia. I find myself usually very much enjoying movies like that. But this one, like most of his movies, I find completely silly. I think people… there’s this sense to kind of reclaim him as this kind of Hitchcockian auteur. I guess what I can say in defense of that is: his movies are certainly very much his own thing, but I think they just get progressively sillier and dumber at this point.

This year’s movie where Josh Hartnett gets trapped at a music concert might be worthwhile, though.

Hartnett’s in a Shyamalan movie coming out this summer?

Starring his daughter, too, so it’s like a makework project.

We’ll get to Mr. Hartnett soon.

John Wick: Chapter Four

The first movie of the year that I actually quite enjoyed and had a great time seeing in the theater. A movie that, really, by this point should be unbearable, and I felt like the John Wick sequels did get more and more tiresome. But there was something about John Wick Four that is, I think, absolutely the most fun movie since the first––there is something about pushing it past the point of it being tiresome to a new level of almost Buster Keaton-like absurdity. Just in terms of how many people he kills. Like, more than cancer at this point. But just the stunts and the absurdity of it––that whole final set piece in Montmartre where he just keeps falling down, like, 10,000 stairs over and over and over again. Like I said: there is sort of a Verhoevian sense of pushing it past absurdity into grotesquerie and then back into pure, pure joy to me.

This is the first endorsement that’s excited me, because I also felt, progressively, each sequel there is a question of: why are we still doing this? I think the 170-minute runtime was a little bit… but knowing it can be pushed into that level of absurdity as opposed to the self-serious mythologizing is good to know.

I mean, I’m really glad that they expanded the lore in this movie to, “What’s the Japanese assassin hotel like?” And the answer is: pretty fucking cool. Also, shout out to Donnie Yen as the blind, Zatoichi-like swordsman. I thought that was an incredibly fun role for him. I always love seeing Donnie Yen in a new movie. Also, Bill Skarsgård was very hatable as the villain, which is a very important thing in movies like this. You really have to want to cheer when they get domed at the end of it, and I certainly did with Skarsgård in that movie.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Pure theater experience I did find myself liking, in spite of all things. Normally this is the kind of movie that I am inclined to hate because it’s full of quirky dialogue and Whedon-esque smirking in a fantasy setting. But I had a fun time with it. I thought it did a fairly credible job referencing, giving a little weight to the real D&D heads out there.

Are you one yourself?

Well, I like the universe. I was never smart enough to actually learn how to play the game or had any friends interested in playing the game. So I just sort of had the dice but really didn’t know what to do with them. Nonetheless, there’s something about it I found I just found entertaining––it was one of those movies that, had I seen it when I was 13, it probably would have been one of my favorite movies of the year. The ironic quipping and the quirky dialogue I think, at times, did actually kind of work for me––it was somewhat intelligent or funny––and I did like the overall vibe of the classic “party coming together to do a quest” and pull off a D&D campaign.

Shin Kamen Rider

Really fun, creative superhero movie in the Japanese TV style. It was [Hideaki Anno’s] favorite TV show and I think he got his start doing a Kamen Rider fan movie or something like that. Everyone is talking about the superhero genre, this being the year it has definitively died in America––or is on the respirator––but we’re seeing cool stuff done telling stories in a superhero mode in Japan and other countries.

Shin Ultraman also came out in the U.S. this year. General interest in those and Godzilla Minus One is very encouraging––I hope for a 2020s National Weeb Movement.

Yes. As long as it doesn’t lead to a live-action, American adaptation of Evangelion.

Distractions of Last Resort on an Airplane: The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

I’m going to grade these movies on a very specific curve because, for both of them, I was––like I am most of the time on a plane ride of longer than three hours––absolutely obliterated off an edible. So I will say, in that context, I found the Super Mario Bros. Movie basically inoffensive. It did the job. Mario, all our friends––Toad, Bowser––you know? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, even obliterated off an edible, I was like: is this movie still going on? I vaguely remember something about the plot where they have to liberate people from some sort of international zookeeper.

Given James Gunn’s initial dismissal from Marvel, making a movie about an Epstein-like figure in the MCU I found sort of intriguing. Do you usually keep up with those films?

I think I saw the original core of them. I’ve seen it up until at least Endgame or whatever. But after that I don’t have much to say about them. I don’t want to get into the whole “superhero movies versus other kinds of better movies” debate, but I think we can say they’re finally dead and anyone who enjoyed them was wrong for doing so.

Extraction 2

Not a real movie. I know I logged this on Letterboxd but I don’t think it’s real. This is a Mandela Effect movie. Doesn’t exist; I have nothing to say about it.

A Movie I Watched for My Job: The Flash

Truly one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and I actually do have a lot to say about it because I found it singularly hateful and evil in a way that chilled me. It wasn’t just bad; it was horrifying to watch. Everyone talks about the scene at the end of the movie where… I described it as sort of competing disco balls of reality collide with one another in this horrible CGI muddle of George Reeves and Nicolas Cage’s CGI-superimposed face depicting a scene from what would have been the Kevin Smith Superman. One of the most punishingly visually incomprehensible pieces of dreck I’ve ever seen.

But not enough people are talking about––from the get-go, from the opening scene of this movie starring a guy accused of doing Jim Jones stuff to [Laughs] families of people he’s abducted for his nefarious purposes––this scene in which the Flash, like, in super-Flash mode saves something like 30 babies who are thrown out of the window of an exploding hospital. Which has a really obscene resonance given current events––that’s how I know this movie was channeling true evil.

There’s the part where he puts the baby in the microwave, right?

Yes! Yes. He saves a baby by putting an infant into a microwave.

Yeah, I saw that clip and thought, “I shouldn’t be seeing this.”

Yeah, that was, like, punishingly evil in a way that kind of shocked me.

Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One

This was a movie [Laughs] when I left the theater I was like, “That was awesome. That was exactly what I wanted to see. Mission Impossible. Tom Cruise. Movies, baby.” But I realized, in retrospect, I was a little bit bowled-over by just the sheer force of Tom Cruise, Mister Movies and my desire to really want to support him as the President of Movies. It delivered some cool stuff––any action sequence on a train I usually enjoy––but in retrospect, looking back on the fact that it was part one of some punishingly long and stupid story that… you know, all the Mission: Impossible movies are pretty goofy, but this one pushed it past a breaking point. I believe at one point Ving Rhames says, “Ethan, you’re playing 4D chess against an algorithm.” And then all this stuff about “The Entity” said with the utmost seriousness. In that movie they’re at some cool John Wick-style party and they’re like, “The Entity’s at the party” and the lights are strobing.

The threat of a Windows 7 visualizer.

“The Entity’s in the room!” A movie I initially liked but, in retrospect, somewhat punishingly stupid. [Laughs] But Tom Cruise: please don’t stop making movies. Actually, Tom Cruise: let me take this moment to apologize for my doubt and betrayal of you. I will continue to support the Mission: Impossible series and all the work you do, Mr. Cruise.

And it’s one of the only movies that has gotten directly to Joe Biden. Did you see the story about how he saw the film and found its depiction of AI “very concerning”?

[Laughs] Oh, that’s great. Thank you, Mr. President. I just hope you have another good year at the movies, sir.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Absent the movies I mentioned at the beginning that I haven’t seen, obviously the best movie I saw this year. What was most impressive to me about Killers of the Flower Moon was that this was very much a different setting, but this is a variation on a theme that we’ve seen from Scorsese in a lot of his movies: dumb idiots doing evil and getting away with it. However, what impressed me about this is how he takes that same theme, and the new chambers and the juxtapositions and ambiguities that he introduces into this. It was a Scorsese movie that made me feel something different than I’ve ever felt watching one of his movies, which is the sense of a profound… where you’re told everything, pretty much, in the first scene of the movie. You know exactly what is going on here.

But when you’re watching it, as a viewer, you’re kept in this almost nauseating ambiguity about Ernest’s character, about both Ernest and Molly––of just how much each one of them knows or suspects the other knows about this evil that permeates every frame of the movie. And I’m just struck again by how many large, outdoor group scenes––of either funerals or weddings or that big main street stretch of the town depicted in the movie––where, again and again, him presenting this canvas of moving figures, and without saying anything he’s showing you exactly who’s doing what to whom and why they’re doing it. But you were kept, as a viewer, in that state of always questioning and a state of profound unease. And I thought it was really a remarkable achievement. He’s done it again, folks.

Have you read the source book?

No, I hadn’t. My girlfriend, Katherine, has read it and says it’s great.

Because I hadn’t read it either, and I sort of loosely knew the story, so I had a similar experience where it’s this A-leads-to-B-leads-to-C narrative progression, but it’s fascinating how it’ll show you A and then jump to C, or––e.g. Molly’s sister being murdered––two-and-a-half hours later it’ll come back to the “B” of her actually being killed, or the shorter-term reveal of who exactly bombed the house or immediate “revelation” of who killed the PI. I usually don’t think of Scorsese as a plot guy––he’s much more of a mood and vibe guy.

And character.

Yes. So for him to have a movie this densely plotted was very exciting.

And then one of my favorite moments in a movie theater this year: shout-out to the dude sitting directly behind me watching Killers of the Flower Moon who, during the scene in which it finally depicts––towards the end of the movie––the murder of Molly’s sister by Louis Cancelmi. Great actor who was in The Irishman––really truly evil in this movie––but in this scene of almost dead quiet depicting the cold-blooded execution of this woman, right after they shoot her in the head, the guy behind me goes, “That’s how they do it.” [Laughs] So shout-out to him for really, really underscoring what was one of the most viscerally upsetting scenes in a movie this year with that comment.

Also, Robert De Niro’s character in this movie, another favorite trope of mine: criminal mastermind who is, like, the king of Oklahoma because he is about ten IQ points higher than everyone else, but it is just a complete oaf himself who is just, like, 5% smarter than everyone else around him. Again: just the sheer audacity––similar to Goodfellas or Casino––in the scope of these crimes, and just how little they tried to get away with it and how openly they did it is astonishing. And people have pointed it out, the scene that’s probably two-and-a-half hours into the movie where there’s a big parade in town, and as De Niro or DiCaprio is crossing the street there’s just the guy you see who’s administering the distribution of the oil money to the Osage people is the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Just the sense of unspoken evil that suffuses every frame of the movie and, by extent, every ounce of the present day that we live in.

It makes me hope Scorsese has any inclination to do an Ellroy adaptation.

Mmm, interesting. The plotting was kind of Ellroy-esque.

With De Niro as Dudley Smith.

But the thing is: Dudley Smith is like Satan himself. An Archon of Hell. Whereas “King” Hale is, you know, probably as evil a character as I’ve seen portrayed in a movie since John Huston in Chinatown, but he’s just so dull and stupid. [Laughs] I mean, that’s the real horror of it.

Asteroid City

Hesse and I, my co-host of Movie Mindset––shout-out Hesse of Seeking Derangements––we saw this one in theaters together, had a great time; one of my favorite movie experiences of the year. I’ve found myself really enjoying this stage of Wes Anderson’s career; I really like The French Dispatch. There’s a line in it that stuck with me, where Jason Schwartzman’s character says, “All my pictures come out.” And that, to me, was sort of like, “This is maybe the most self-consciously about Wes Anderson and his movies.” All his movies are kind of about himself, and I thought this one was kind of his way of stunting on people that say, “Oh, Wes Anderson, he just makes the same thing over and over again. He makes these little dollhouses.” But you know what? They all come out; it’s all still good.

I like the idea of him making a story within a story, and of course that story looks the most “Wes Anderson” of anything he’s ever made.

Yeah, all his guys and gals [are] in it.

You said that you really liked French Dispatch. I think a lot of people have had kind of a moment of doubt with him, or a bit of a lapsed-fan period. Have you?

Yeah. I mean, I guess I have a Wes Anderson lapse where… obviously Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, when I was in high school, were two of the important indie American movies. And then perhaps through my own, you know, “fashionable” tastes or whatever I began to find him a little bit tiresome. And over time, bit-by-bit, he just kept doing this thing. I felt like the last couple of ones I’ve seen, I’ve really enjoyed. So yeah: perhaps it’s time for me to reevaluate some of my earlier, lukewarm takes on some of his other movies.


I enjoyed that it was men in rooms talking with a sense of action and momentum. Nolan is another director I find myself going kind of hot-and-cold on, but this is exactly the kind of Nolan movie I do like: these big, sort-of-procedural clockwork epics. And I sort of like that the actual detonation of the Trinity site was an anticlimax because I thought the first frame of the movie––that shows you this almost abstracted, molecular image of a nuclear fireball––that did it for me. I was like, “You get the point. You understand the horror of atomic warfare here.” And then, of course, it made us all fall in love with Josh Hartnett again. It’s been too long. He was great; everyone in Oppenheimer was great. Underrated Casey Affleck performance in that movie––very menacing little role for him there.

Obviously it’s easy to take the critical view decades later, when everyone’s gone, but an American studio movie saying the atomic bombings were an actively bad thing…

[Laughs] I was astonished reading takes from people who said the movie had an ambiguous moral take on whether it was good or bad that we dropped those atomic bombs on Japan. I was nervous going into the movie that it might indulge in that, which would be an obscenity, but I thought the scene with Gary Oldman as Truman… and then the real climax of the movie is the scene where he has to give the speech after they drop the bombs and he is flooded with the white light and heat of what he has done.

I assume you’re smart enough not to have seen Ben Shapiro’s review of Oppenheimer, but I saw a little clip of it.

What did Ben have to say…

He says, “They’re absolutely correct. They shouldn’t have given him security clearance. Look at the facts. How could you trust him?”

[Laughs] From his perspective, that’s exactly right. But if they hadn’t give him the security clearance they wouldn’t have had the fucking atomic bombs to drop in the first place! Because the movie flatly makes it an element of the plot, how many of the scientists themselves were, if not communists or fellow travelers, they hadn’t even built the thing when Hitler had already blown his brains out. The war in Europe was over. The stated reason for why they were developing the atomic bomb––i.e. so Hitler doesn’t do it first, which is conceivably morally justified, at least in the context of the total war that existed at the time––but they were like, “No, we’re still going to use it.” I think that should be pretty clear to anyone with half a fucking brain, but hey: we live in America. Look at the world today.


I will say: fine. But if you think I’m going to talk shit about Barbie in an interview in which I suck off Martin Scorsese and Oppenheimer, you’re out of your mind. Not gonna happen.

The Holdovers

Everything about the New England winter setting of this movie was just so bittersweet and cozy to me. Every period detail and the feel of it was just so perfect for Alexander Payne. But also, for him, I think there is definitely his sardonic edge and darkness, as all his movies have, but this one had a niceness and sweetness to it––as opposed to his more Midwestern films that are truly bleak, that I like more and think are funnier, like Nebraska and About Schmidt, but movies that made me want to kill myself when I’m watching them. Whereas Holdovers, I felt very nice. I also have to give a shout-out to my friend Rob Franco, who made this point about Holdovers that I did not think for a second myself watching the movie: he said that it’s actually a movie that does a better job of just, unintentionally, being about the COVID years than any other movie that’s yet been made. And it sort of accidentally creates this feeling, in the setting and the feel of the movie, this––intentional or not––portrayal of an emotional and psychological weird non-space.

Let’s just begin the campaign right now: Paul Giamatti, Best Actor. He’s going home with that little golden man this year. We got to really get the juice started. Let’s get this one viral. Mr. Giamatti, I’m doing this free PR work. We’re getting the Best Actor campaign started right now––Movie Mindset, The Film Stage, get Giamatti that Oscar.

Poor Things

A film people are going to get mad at me for not liking.

Oh, it’s a terrible film. I hated it.

Poor me for watching this movie! Back to what I said about Infinity Pool: it had all the elements of things I’m supposed to like in a movie. Great cast––Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo––and you know what? They were all great. But the movie was stupid. I think Chris Person said it best: the movie was, “What if Frankenstein jacked off a lot?”

Which actually sounds kind of cool.

That sounds like a better movie. All the cool sets and, like, the weird fisheye lens stuff he keeps doing––there was nothing there for me.

Lanthimos is just one of the worst to ever do it. But people get so mad and defensive when you suggest he’s not a good filmmaker.

I’m glad you agree with me because I found it was just punishingly pretentious and so boring. “Oh, there’s a lot of sex in it. Cool.” The “feminist fairy tale,” I found it all incredibly shallow and punishingly dull.

The Pigeon Tunnel

I can highly recommend if you’re a fan of John le Carré––he is charming and fascinating and his life story is very, very interesting. I’m currently in the middle of the Karla trilogy right now.

I know you’re excited about Morris adapting CHAOS.

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I was doing the Twin Peaks rubbing-my-hands-together thing thinking about that. I cannot wait for that. Especially given the Wormwood series and le Carré and with CHAOS: the world of intelligence juxtaposed with his role as a documentary filmmaker. Particularly with le Carré and this idea of: where is the door that you walk through in which experience and memory becomes fiction? That’s true in the world of intelligence or whatever: what is a real objective record of the world, and then at what point does it pass through some invisible membrane and become something else and become part of an agenda or a lie or a conscious act of will, or like or a conspiracy?

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

What can I say? It’s Friedkin. I liked it. It’s a Naval-based courtroom procedural, which is a one-set movie––it’s all just like testimony and acting, and it’s Friedkin so he imbues it with a lot of his signature touches. But it was a movie that would be, like, pretty standard were it not for the hilarious and amazing last scene of this movie, which is pure Friedkin and completely eviscerates any easy sense of watching the movie––completely throws back in the viewer’s face. Literally. The last image that Friedkin ever put on film is Jason Clarke chucking a drink in someone’s face.

I thought, “What a beautiful exit for the God Friedkin. Just yanking the tablecloth off the table, throwing everything right back in the viewer’s face.” And then we get [Boz Scaggs’ “Lowdown”], which in a movie about a fucking Naval mutiny procedural [Laughs] makes no sense in the final credits. You just have to give it up. Rest in peace, Mr. Friedkin. I think this was actually also Lance Reddick’s last movie––another good one we lost. A tribute to him as well.


It’s one of those things where I have to be fair––if you’re a Sofia Coppola fan, this is the movie for you. It’s a movie that I appreciated but I just didn’t really connect with. Probably because of my gender handicap. I liked the Austin Butler Elvis better!


A movie that I extremely did not like. He should be sent to the cinematic equivalent of Elba or Saint Helena after this one. The scene where they think all of those hundreds of people in a frozen lake with cannon fire: yeah, sure, okay. That was cool. I think the problem was that he could never get out of the shadow of Stanley Kubrick. And the fact that Kubrick always wanted to do this movie, or do a Napoleon movie to tackle the life, the man. But I think the tone of it was so odd because he was going for that so-dry-it’s-almost-not-even-there, pitch-black humor and comedy of manners that Kubrick does in basically all of his movies––most pertinently, here, in Barry Lyndon. The writing, the voice, it just didn’t have a sense of humor. So it had just these ridiculous and bizarre scenes of Joaquin Phoenix mugging. The scene where he gets horny and starts going “meow, meow, meow” and then ruts with Josephine––I should find this funny. “That’s me for real.” But everything about this movie I just thought was cynical, detestable, stupid. Ridley Scott: stop making movies, please.

I’ve kind of checked out with Sir Ridley, partly because every release is now a requirement for all-out war in his defense, and… this is what you’re fighting for? His best days are obviously behind him––notwithstanding, you know, The Counselor was fun. But that’s also a Cormac McCarthy thing.

I had the exact same feeling watching Gladiator in the theater––a movie I, you know, charged into the theater psyched to see and was utterly deflated by. It’s not a good movie and the battle scenes do not make up for it.

Special Mention: God of Gamblers

The Hong Kong action comedy starring Chow Yun-fat. I was very, very glad I got the chance to see this on a whim at Metrograph this year––shout-out to them––and I had never seen it before. I loved it; it was fantastic.

Wong Jing, Andy Lau––very up my alley.

Chow Yun-fat starts the movie as the coolest guy in the world––the God of Gamblers. He’s known world-over as the world’s best gambler because of his preternatural skills. Then, in some sort of hilarious accident, is bonked on the head and loses all his memories and goes Dougie Jones / Twin Peaks: The Return Mode for, like, 90% of the movie. But he still has this supernatural luck and talent for gambling that is taken advantage of by a pair of small-time crooks. There’s some great, Hong Kong-style action shootouts in it, but it’s Chow Yun-fat at the height of his coolness. Really fun movie that was a blast to see in theaters.

This was a pretty big year with Movie Mindset launching. You did screenings at the Roxy: In the Mouth of Madness, you picked up the torch from us for Rio Bravo, and the Halloween III / The Fog double-bill. And these have mostly been revisits.

Yeah. They’re all movies I’ve seen before. Hesse and I, from programming these double-features, give me a chance to revisit some of my favorite movies and also share them with the Chapo audience––or a general movie-podcast-listening audience.

Any big surprises in doing a full-on movie podcast?

Because we’ve always done movie podcasts on the show, it was a big question between how easy and fun it is––how much material you can get out of––talking about a movie that’s bad, because those are some of the most fun movies to talk about. But having some of the same energy talking about movies that you deeply love, where you’re putting something of yourself at stake, it’s been a process of figuring out, exactly, what are these episodes. The process of doing them, which is all credit to my co-host Hesse, is really the answer to that question about, “How would I do a movie show?”

It’s just the pairing of our sensibilities and it’s easy to talk to her about movies. We like a lot of the same stuff. It’s just one of those things where I felt suddenly sheepish doing it because, “Yet another movie podcast of people just talking about movies instead of making them.” But at the same time: that’s my favorite thing to do. As a miniseries that I’m in charge of, it’s been very rewarding and the reaction to it has been great. And season two will be coming in spring of this year.

What can we expect from it?

Going to have to finally, probably do a Robert Mitchum episode. I have one idea here: it just says “John Frankenheimer Loves Cars,” and that would be Grand Prix and Ronin. And then a Walter Hill episode. We’ve talked about, like, maybe a James Cagney episode or just classic American musicals––could be an opportunity to talk about Footlight Parade, which is Cagney and one of my favorite movies of all-time. We did ‘70s Altman in season one, so I’m thinking maybe a ‘90s Altman episode on The Player and Short Cuts.

Do you have any movie-watching goals for 2024? Directors, countries, eras?

You know, I keep a pretty set rule for myself never to set goals. Just keep watching. Just to follow certain directions––you know, an actor you notice or rediscover, or a director. Sort of like an archeological excavating of their influences and work that I may not have seen yet.

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