Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 070: I, Frankenstein (2014) and Mitt (2014) and Life Itself (2014) and Sundance 2014 Report

Welcome to Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 070! For this show, we bring you this year’s Sundance 2014 Report, starring Joshua Ligairi and special guest WILLIAM ROWAN JR., filmmaker and friend. And of the Sundance crop of films, we go a little more in-depth in our discussions of “Mitt” (which is now streaming on Netflix) and “Life Itself.” We also bring you a Feature Review of “I, Frankenstein,” and we revisit our debate about “The Act of Killing.” Don’t miss it!

Movie Podcast Weekly features four hosts (and frequent guests), who give you their verdict on at least one new movie release that’s currently in theaters, mini-reviews of what they’ve been watching lately, and specialty recommendation segments. New episodes release every single Monday.

I. Intro
—Welcome back, William Rowan Jr.
—William sells his children to Meryl Streep

II. Mini Reviews
Karl: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Andy: Prisoners, The Heat, 2 Guns, Phantom
William Rowan Jr: The Act of Killing
Jason: A Lonely Place to Die
Josh: Gravity Falls (TV)

III. Feature Review: I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014)
Jason: 4.5 ( Avoid )
Andy: 2 ( Avoid )
Karl: 5 ( Rental )


Movies Josh Didn’t See (But Keep Them on Your Radar):
Blue Ruin
The Skeleton Twins
They Came Together
The E-Team

Movies That Josh Saw at Sundance 2014:

V. Review: MITT (2014)
Josh: 9 ( Buy It! / Stream It! )
Jason: 7 ( Rent It / Stream It! )

William Rowan Jr: 9 ( Buy It! )





William Rowan Jr. = 7.5 ( Rental )

XII. Tease: DEAD SNOW: RED vs DEAD — Hear our review at Horror Movie Podcast, Ep. 008

XIII. Review:
LIFE ITSELF (festival cut)
Jason = 8.5 ( Buy it! )
Karl = 7 ( Rental )

XIV. Listener Feedback:
—E-mail from Levi
—E-mail from Christian
—E-mail from Jeff Hammer

XV. Wrap-Up

Links for this episode:

Check out our wives’ Book Review Podcast

Follow Movie Podcast Weekly on Twitter: @MovieCastWeekly

Jason talks pop culture: The Donut Show
Jason and Josh, especially for horror fans: Horror Movie Podcast
Josh covers streaming movies: Movie Stream Cast

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram and the voice talents of Midnight Corey Graham from The Electric Chair Podcast, Willis Wheeler from the Terror Troop Podcast and Mr. Ron Baird for their help with our recommendation segment intros.

We’d also like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave Eaton himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Today is Dave’s birthday—happy birthday, Dave!

If you like what we do here at Movie Podcast Weekly, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons in our right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month.

You can always contact us by e-mailing Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Thank you for listening, and join us again next Monday for Movie Podcast Weekly.

19 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 070: I, Frankenstein (2014) and Mitt (2014) and Life Itself (2014) and Sundance 2014 Report

  1. NOT A COMMENT ABOUT EPISODE 70. Haven’t listened to it yet, but I’ll get to it soon. Sorry, I happened to dive all the way back to Episode 60 over the weekend, and I have to give Josh some backup on “Survivor,” which I have watched ever since the start of “Thailand” and still find highly entertaining, give or take the inevitable weak sauce season that pops up from time to time. Still a very good show. On the other hand, I have to dock Josh a few points for recommending Coach 3.0 from South Pacific as a model for aspiring contestants. Coach was playing the game for the third time, so he should have been better at it than a collection of largely unimpressive first-timers. And he totally lucked into becoming Mr. Miyagi to a tribe of mostly dopes. The only smart players on his tribe let him front all the way to the final three, then smacked him down when the jury came calling. His pitiful performance at the final tribal council exposed that he only half-understood how he’d gotten there in the first place. Fun personality, redemptive performance, elevated understanding of gameplay, but far from a dominant or instructive showing, except in a few small particulars (namely: make friends fast, roll with whatever dominant culture evolves, lead without demanding to lead).

    Also, I tend to think Boston Rob is vastly over-congratulated for “masterminding” the first “Redemption Island” season. Total luck of the draw on tribemates: Switch Russell and Rob, and Russell would have been just as dominant. Rob got a tribe full of pushovers and headcases who were practically tripping over themselves to defer to him and follow his lead. His tribemates basically handed him the game. And on top of all of that, Rob was playing for the fourth time and competing against hugely timid first-timers. (All but one or two of the gung-ho first-time players were on the other tribe.) He darn well should have been dominant. In my book, nobody except maybe Yul has yet come close to how dominant Russell was in his first season on the show. (And even Yul had a top-caliber sidekick in Ozzy 1.0.) Russell played a near-perfect game in all aspects, then got shafted by the most dishonest, bitter and cowardly jury in the history of “Survivor.”

    Finally, Josh, why were you even thinking about getting Andy on “Survivor”? “Survivor” should only be played by people who a) think “Survivor” is awesome, and b) can back that up by having watched at least 10 seasons. Use your mad filmmaking skills to get on the show yourself! “Survivor” practically has a Utah Mormon contestant pipeline. And “documentary filmmaker” is the sort of unusual profession CBS casting would jump at (unless there’s some obscure CBS rule that prevents filmmakers from competing).

    • Cody, you’re my new best friend. First of all, let me say that I’m ecstatic to have a true Survivor superfan amongst our listeners, especially in the form of such an esteemed film critic that dear Jason would never dare dismiss, as he dismisses me. I actually blame the harsh reaction from my MPW colleagues for my own “weak sauce” Survivor reviews. There was so much tension on the line as I began each of those reviews, I actually became a little flustered and did my best to hurry things along, not giving the show the respect of thorough, earnest analysis that you’ve given it hear.

      Now, let me retort.

      I don’t flatly disagree with most of your criticisms of Coach 3.0, however, I’m not one to dock players for being returnees, or for playing with knuckle-heads–neither thing is their fault and luck is a major part of any Sole Survivor’s game. Coach may have had an advantage for those reasons, but he had many other disadvantages as well. Being compared–on day one–to someone like Ozzy, being immediately humiliated in front of both tribes, and entering the game with the legacy of a true moron, the tables were severely stacked against Coach. The guy showed a major improvement in self-awareness and he played a text-book game. All of the faults that you pointed out were there, but I was so shocked to see any game at all from Coach, I was really happy for the guy … until he blew it in final tribal in the worst final performance since Sugar. Still, it has to be in the top 20 games in Survivor history. And I liked his game much more than Sophie’s, who was a very disappointing winner, in my opinion.

      As far as your Red-I criticism goes, I’d say the same thing for Boston Rob 4.0 that I said for Coach 3.0, I can’t penalize him for being put with knuckle-heads or being the most experienced player in Survivor history. Survivor is all about the luck of the draw and being flexible when you get a bad hand. And darn it, he played beautifully. After so many seasons of watching recruits stumble through the game, it was so refreshing and gratifying to see a true All Star just play the hell out of the game–and with so much heart–exactly how it should be played. He truly dominated. Would Russell have dominated in his position? Maybe, but as much as I liked Russell 2.0, I actually wasn’t quite as impressed with Russell 1.0, and Russell 3.0 really confirmed my worst fears about the guy. He’s not good at the thing that the very best Survivor players are good at: adapting their game play. Basically, Russell 1.0 was a good liar and Russell 2.0 played the exact same game–because he could–and because he had the advantage of going into the game with no one having any idea who they were dealing with (so much so that you’ve got J.T. writing love letters and passing idols). Russell 3.0 proved to me that his only real game is being deceitful and when people know his one trick, he has nowhere to go. Hatch wouldn’t have found himself in that position. Heidik wouldn’t have found himself in that position. Sandra wouldn’t have found herself in that position. Kim Spradlin, forget about it. Russell is, however, incredibly entertaining television, he was robbed in Samoa (maybe even both times), and I’d watch a fourth installment.

      I like Yul. I like Earl. I like Kim. They played perfect games. J.T. technically played a perfect game, but I give the majority of that season to Stephen. Brian is one of the best ever winners. Perhaps a psychopath, but he played the game incredibly. I’m a Rob Cesternino fan. I love confessional snark. That’s the reason I like Cochran and Tyson so much. I was really happy for / proud of Tyson 3.0. Another near perfect game that also required a 3rd trip and a lot of luck. But it was Boston Rob 2.0 that really blew my mind for the first time and made me a Survivor fan. For that, I will always be indebted. If I had to pick my personal favorite player, it isn’t actually a winner, or an incredibly good player, but I just love the stuffing out of Penner. Particularly in the Philippines, but in the Cook Islands as well.

      Re Andy: Because I am a late-comer to the show myself and now consider myself a superfan, I’m always looking to recruit new superfans. Due to Andy’s love of the outdoors and his keen mental prowess, I thought he’d love the show (and have a fighting chance if he got on), but if you don’t like Palau (my vote for best single season), I don’t know where to go with you. Andy and his wife will be easy casting for The Amazing Race and that’s a better fit anyway.

      Cody, don’t you worry, I am actually applying for Survivor soon enough. I’ve also become friends with a couple of those Utah Survivors you mentioned and they’ve given me some tips for my casting tape. I think I’m the next Cirie. I just want to make sure I can at least “get off the couch” first. Actually, I think I’d probably perform all around like Penner or a more savy Lex. And if you want to know who would actually make an incredible Survivor, it is our guest William Rowan Jr. You wouldn’t know it from his mild-mannered podcast persona or his lack of formal education, but mark my words, he could be one of the biggest villains of all time. Randy, meets Heidick, meets Hantz. He’s a super villain!

      Thanks, for the comment, Cody. Most fun I’ve had so far this year related to the podcast.

  2. Apparently I properly lowered your expectations Jay. That movie was terrible from the start guys. And it’s a huge disservice to Van Helsing to say I, Frankenstein is nearly as good.

    • Sheesh! I know! These home theater jocks. All they care about is showing off! (This comment not directed at Chad Downey in any way. Please let me continue coming to your beautiful theater. Please, please, please.)

      • I still have not shown anything in my theater to you guys to actually show it off. Bloodline, The Shining, and Escape from Tomorrow? Its time for me to break out the crappy movie – good demos – For the next movie night we are going to watch Battle L.A. or maybe The Incredible Hulk :)

  3. “lack of formal education”? Is that how I come off? I’m going to have to use bigger words when I’m podcasting.

    • Yeah, if you were more educated, you’d know that you are supposed to reply on the same comment thread. Don’t worry, soon you’ll be officially more educated than me and you and Dave Groesbeck can mock me openly.

  4. Hi Guys

    Enjoyed the show and in particular enjoyed the Sundance coverage. A few good movies to look out for.

    First off I wanted to wish Jay all the best on his surgery today and I hope he is back on his feet soon. Take care and feel better soon

    Second Josh I heard when you were discussing “The Michael Moore Rules” for Oscar nominated documentaries and I was trying to think back and remember if you had ever discussed Michael Moore’s movies and could not remember it coming up. He seems to be a very divisive and people either love him or hate him. I really enjoyed Sicko and Bowling for Columbine. I was lukewarm on Fahrenheit 911 and I think these are only ones I have watched. Just wondering what you and the guys opinions where on this.

    • PS I also Love Survivor and cannot wait for the new season.

      In my opinion Yul played the greatest survivor game that I remember and he is closely followed by Russel and Rob. There was also a player called Yao Man who played a near perfect game but was screwed very close to the end.

      Take care guys

      • Love Yau-Man, but I thought Earl played a near-perfect game that season as well. Absolutely agree with Yul, but he really milked that idol in a way he probably couldn’t get away with today.

    • First of all, I’m a HUGE fan of Michael Moore as a human being. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with him and he is one of the most gracious, generous guys I’ve ever met. He’s also a fierce champion of documentaries and independent film, so I love him for that as well. Not to mention that BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE and FAHRENHEIT 9/11 are pretty much the only reason people can see documentaries in theaters today. His success has benefited us all.

      The style of documentary that he kind of created has been very poorly executed by so many other people since, that I think there was a backlash against him and his style of filmmaking for quite awhile within the cinephile community, but the copycats have fallen by the wayside and Mike has persevered.

      As far as his films themselves, they are generally a bit too didactic for my taste. I would never make a movie the way he makes movies, but I also don’t look down on him for having a strong point of view. That’s his prerogative as an artist. I think there was so much negative hubbub surrounding him for awhile, I became frustrated that he was the loudest mouthpiece representing my own political beliefs, but was saying things I thought were maybe selectively honest or that went too far down a partisan road. The problem is that people on the right want to cast him as some sort of official media spokesperson for the left. When he started his career, people referred to his as a humorist and satirist and that’s exactly right. The reviews for ROGER & ME will tell you everything you need to know about Mike. He’s brilliant and he’s heartfelt, but he’s provocateur.

      Nowadays, I’m thankful for his films as these historic pieces of art that really capture the zeitgeist of the time they were made. I own all of his movies. ROGER & ME is still one of my favorite documentaries of all time. I have the poster on the wall of my office. I think FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is extremely powerful. I’m a little lukewarm on the other 4-5 films, CAPITALISM and SICKO being my favorites of those if I had to pick. I really liked his TV show a lot, though, THE AWFUL TRUTH. Definitely worth checking out. I’ve go the DVDs. And I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket to anything he ever releases in the future.

      Roger & Me & Josh

  5. Hey Josh,

    I’ve seen Upstream Color twice now, and I love it.

    It’s like a dream on film and it literally altered my perception for days afterwards.

    It’s a 10.

    Ask Jason to forward the email that I sent to him about it. I can’t quite remember what I said, but I explained why I thought the film worked the way it did on my brain. It was like I was slipped a filmic LSD roofie that altered me in some weird way through bypassing my logic center.


  6. Great show guys!!! Love hearing the Sundance round up every year (two years in a row, now). I’m kind of a fan of the action horror genre, so I’ll probably like I, Frankenstein…..
    Can’t wait to see What We Do In the Shadows and Life After Beth….I’m queuing up Mitt on netflix as we speak….I’m an unabashed liberal, so It’ll be uncomfortable to actually see him an a human, but, hey, it necessary….
    Love you guys and keep up the good work!!!
    Nisu from Portland Oregon (that’s pronounced nee-su and ory-gun)

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